Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The CURT hitch-mounted rack #18086

Traveling any about of distance with your bicycle secured to a hitch or trunk rack, you want to focus on driving while knowing your bicycle(s) is/are secure.  I’ve owned both trunk and hitch mounted racks before, but before my family’s road trip this summer I purchased a CURT tray-style hitch-mounted bike rack #18086 which would hold all four of our bikes. The receiver tube is two inches. I have had issues with hitch racks and their swaying motion at times. The last thing I wanted was for anyone’s bike to fall off.  Each one of us in my family has not only a different size bike frame but tire size also. With the different frames sizes, using a hanging style rack, where the top tube rests on the rack, would not be an option due to the different size frames. My mountain bike weighs 33.5 pounds and has 29 inch tires. My wife's bike weighs 34 pounds and has 26 inch tires. My son’s bike weighs 33 pounds and has 27 inch tires. My daughters bike weighs 31 pounds and has 20 inch tires.  

Each bike would be loaded in the same spot, so the wheel trays or cartridges could stay locked down. The frame hook part of the rack that holds down the top tube, forcing pressure down on the bike so the tires stay in their trays, holding the bike in place is very secure. The hand knobs/screws are a little difficult at times. Over the next week, depending upon our night time staying location, we left the bikes on the rack secured with a heavy cable and lock or brought them inside our hotel room.  The best part of bringing the bikes inside the hotel was riding them down the halls. Really how are you suppose to tell a nine-year-old and six-year-old to walk their bikes down the hall, with the rooms we were always given being the farthest away from the elevator. Okay, honestly how do you keep a 40 something year old from not riding his bike down the halls too?
 I was worried the first day of our trip, constantly checking the rear view mirror to see if the bikes were still attached. Every time I glanced back, they sure were. We encountered a lot of rain a few days on our trip and the rack performed very well. 

The CURT hitch-mounted rack #18086 can hold up to 180 pounds. The rack itself is pretty heavy, especially with the added two bike extension also bolted to the original rack. With all of my family’s bikes weighing 131.5 pounds, the max load is still under the racks limit. How would they ride while attached to the rack? After taking off on our road trip, I loaded the bikes on the rack from tallest (mine) to shortest. Adjusting the wheel trays depending upon the bikes wheel base. 

The rack is elevated a little bit, so for myself loading/unloading the bikes is not a problem. As for my son, it takes a little extra to life the bike up onto the rack. I like the elevation of the rack, so I don’t need to be concerned with it rubbing on a driveway curb or speed bump when going over them. The rack folds a few different ways when keeping it still bolted to the vehicle. This is great when parking in a garage or shorter parking space. The rack stayed on the car the entire trip as it was unnecessary to detach it from the car. 

We traveled on a few dirt roads and the bike rack was still very stable. This weekend will be the first time I will try using it with my road bike. The wheel trays are pretty wide, so accommodating the wide mountain bike tires was easy. After the 1665.9 miles, all with the rack in place, I would highly recommend this rack to anyone wanting or needing to transport up to four bikes of various sizes. 

** Full Disclosure**  I purchased the rack and was not compensated for this review by anyone. 


F. Tom said...

I am considering buying this rack, but didn't like having both locking arms fold towards the rear rather than sideways. In one of your pictures, however, it looks like the rear locking arm can actually fold towards the front. Is that the case? Thanks.

Tim Hacker said...

F. Tom, The rack closest to the vehicle folds backwards, away from the back of the vehicle. The second rack add on then folds forward, towards the vehicle. The whole rack then can be folded, angled, straight up and down on the back of the vehicle. Let me know if have any other questions, I would be happy to help answer them.