Hitch-mounted hauler for 2 bikes?

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#1
Does anyone know of a hitch-mounted bike hauler that can handle two full-sized dirtbikes?

I currently get to riding areas with a Suburban. I have a motojack rack that will carry one full-sized bike and one mini. This works well for when I ride with my kid.

However, sometimes I want to ride with a buddy with a full-sized bike. I'm looking for a hitch mounted rack that will carry two big bikes. I need something that feels solid so I'm not worried about dumping my bikes as I travel at 85MPH on the freeway.

Any recommendations?
 

Patman

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#2
Why not get a utility trailer? Then you could handle up to 3 bikes AND have something for hauling other items as well. I'd suspect that having 2 bikes and a carrier hanging waaay off the back of your hitch might over tax it's ability to stay attached. There is a distinct difference between a 500# tongue weight that is 9" off the hitch pin and that same weight 24"-40" off the hitch pin. Kinda' like a lever ;)
 

Highbeam

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#3
Add another class 3 receiver to the front of the suburban. The front ends are stout enough to hang snow plows from so another bike up front is not unreasonable. Check to be sure that the new receiver has the same 500 lb tongue weight rating as the rear and attach a new motojack rack up there. Now you can carry 4. Also check to be sure that you will not be exceeding your trucks total weight ratings or axle weight ratings. A half ton suburban does not have much payload capacity.

Do get pictures, this I gotta see.

I have a utility trailer for my chev pickup with a canopy.
 
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#4
With respect to a trailer, I don't really have space for one at my house. Also, if you're towing a trailer in CA, (i) you can't drive in the fast lane, and (ii) the maximum speed limit is 55 MPH.

With respect to a front end hitch, I've already researched this a bit (as usual, DRNers really helped on this topic--if you're interested I've posted on this this issue in this forum before). Ideally, I'd get a front end hitch and use my current motojack rack to haul two minis (I don't think I'd be able to see over a full-sized bike up front). Then, I'd use a 2-bike rear hitch mounted carrier to haul 2 full-sized bikes. That way, my buddy and I can ride with our sons. I guess when my younger son gets a bike, we'd have to put it in the back of the 'burban.

Note that this all results from my wife's refusal to allow me to get a pickup truck (yes, I'm whipped).
 

Patman

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#5
What bikes? You could pretty easily hit 500# with a pair of 250's and a carrier. What Suburban? I doubt a 1/2 ton will be able to operate safely with that much weight cantileavered off the back since most of your braking and all of your steering are done with the front wheels. What hitch? Most stockers require load distribution for a 500# TONGUE weight, your placing a significantly higher load on the hitch in this configuration. Also consider, how safe is driving 85mph with this setup? Not very. Maybe your buddy should ask his wife if he could get a truck? Seems it would be a lot less expensive than picking bike pieces up out of the fast lane or paying for the damage and injury caused buy overloading your vehicle or it's hitch. Also note that if you are operating outside the parameters of the vehicles towing limits your insurance won't be in place for long and one of Elk's associates will be providing you with legal paper requiring some cash outlay. Maybe it's time for the wife to drive the 'burban or get her a crew cab pickup. :)
 

Highbeam

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#6
All class 3 hitches (including the stock receiver on a chev) have a tongue weight rating of 500 lbs and 1000lbs with a w/d hitch. It doesn't matter if this weight is carried 9" or 30 inches away from the bumper, tongue weight is tongue weight. Where it is placed will affect the axle load since you will lighten the front end the farther back you place the weight, like a teeter totter. You may exceed this rating, the GAWR for the axle nearest the hitch.

Are you exceeding the 500lb rating? I think you probably are with 2 bikes. Even 1 bike plus the carrier has got to be getting close. You can weigh these things and should.

If I add 500 lbs of tongue weight to the back of my 1/2 ton chev I will be over the GVWR. If I add it to the front of the truck I will probably exceed the front GAWR. Your insurance will not cover you in a wreck if you operate outside any of the ratings. Have you ever checked your tire capacity ratings?

Then it would look goofy and people would laugh. Slow down and look at a different vehicle or a trailer. You need a long term solution with a growing boy and a lifetime of riding ahead of you.
 
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#7
As usual, you guys are right.

Highbeam, I must say that, intuitively, it seems that 500 pounds further back from the hitch receiver should be harder on the receiver than the same 500 pounds right near the receiver. I must be missing something.

As much as I hate the idea, a utility trailer is probably the best way for me to go.
 

Patman

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#8
The hitch is being asked to do a different job with the trailer vs. the carrier so while the actual weight applied to the tongue of the hitch might be the same the forces are going to be significantly different in a cantilevered 500# vs. a direct load of 500#, so while in a pure sense of the term "tongue weight" my description may have been a bit off in a laymans dictionary I think the point was made, perhaps "tongue force" or something might have been a better term. Also most specifications for tongue weight are made with a specific distance in mind and I doubt 40" is within that spec.
 

Highbeam

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#9
I never heard of a distance requirement at which the tongue weight is to be measured. Maybe there is such a number, it would be important when looking at these types of carriers.

If you applied the 500 lb max tongue weight way back, say 100 feet, the front end of the truck would begin to get light and may lift. At this point the rear axle is loaded with the tongue weight of 500 lbs plus the weight that was on the front axle. When you apply a force at a distance you create a twisting force (moment) measured in ft-lbs. This twisting force is what you folks intuitively feel will cause failure of a hitch when loaded way aft of the bumper. Several things can fail first... the frame could bend, the axle/suspension could collapse, the bolts of the hitch could be pulled apart, or the hitch itself could bend down. Like a fat dude on a teeter totter the greatest twisting force will be present above the fulcrum and if the board is the same strength through its length then I would expect the board to break at the fulcrum.

It gets real tricky with a weight distributing hitch.
 

HGilliam

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#10
Get one of the trailers that fold in half and stand up on edge for storage. That way it takes up no more storage space than a 2 bike rack.

Toolman
 
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#11
I built and use such a carrier on my van from time to time, such as when I haul three bikes or bring the 4 whlr + bikes on race work days. To sturdy things up, I added side supports which stabilize the carrier to where it is sturdy enough to hook on the lightweight popup camper. With just two bikes aboard, it is NO problemo, and I would have no fear at 85, but keep in mind, my van is a one ton and the hitch seems a bit sturdier than a normal class 3.

As to the distance from the hitch question... Yes, it makes a difference how far away, from an engineering aspect. True, the little stickee says "blah-blah-blah" and mentions nothing about distance X weight, but it would be opening a whole can of worms for the average guy if they did. I'm sure we can all rest assured that there is a substantial margin of safety built in, probably for guys like us who ride the edge of the envelope.

Anyways, f you'd like a pic of the carrier & a few dimensions + pointers on designing your own, I can scan and send.