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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After listening to all of your advice and realizing that if I'm going to becoming a true cyclist, I need to commit to a long term solid solution instead of a cheap $60 solution - so I want to look into adding a trailer hitch and bicycle hitch rack for it to my 2013 Kia Optima. (and it didn't hurt seeing a small little sedan today with a nice looking bicycle hitch rack hooked up to it beside me in the parking lot today either)

I would still prefer to keep the cost as low as possible but not at the expensive of taking a chance of damaging my car or my bikes.

So several questions:

- Is there a place you would recommend to purchase a trailer hitch for my Optima?

- It appears as though the 'ball' hitch is being replaced more by the (sorry, don't know the name for it) square type where you insert the rack...I assume that's the type I should go with?

- It seems the 'square' trailer hitches are offered in 1.25" and 2.0"...should I go with the 2.0" version?

- Are there different types of bicycle hitch racks? If so, what are they?

- What affordable hitch racks have you had success with and would recommend?

- What else should I know before looking for a trailer hitch / bike mount combo for my Optima?

Looking for something solid (but affordable), front wheel doesn't have to be taken off, rack can be taken off without a huge amount of trouble (car won't fit in my garage with it left on), and probably able to hold 2 or 3 bikes.

Thanks again for all your help and your patience....and for pointing me in the right direction!

TripleB
 

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It's called a receiver hitch, and a lot of U-Haul dealers install them. And they aren't cheap, but my Kuat rack has been fantastic. You can catch them on sale at backcountry.com sometimes, and if you go thru activejunky.com to get to that web site, get a cash rebate.
 

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Kuat and Thule are the 2 racks I would recommend. Watch Craigslist if you are near a larger city - I see them on there about once a month. You can either get one fast and pay more, or be patient and save some money. I've seen them for less than half price more than a few times a year. For the hitch, U-Haul is a good choice and I would get a 2 inch as you will be more likely to find a good deal on a bike rack that will work with that than a smaller one.
 

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You can save money if you don't mind hanging your bike on the rack. If you want to stand the bike up on its wheels and have an arm gently grab a part of the frame you're generally talking big bucks (Kuat, for example).
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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I googled hitches and ordered a Curt online from a company that specializes in them. Don't remember the dealer name (few years ago) but the quality is as good as any and it was quite a bit cheaper than U-haul or any other local source. Paid less than $150 with shipping. Just checked and might have ordered from here: Trailer Hitches & Vehicle Accessories (800)298-8924

As I posted in your other thread, this carrier looks good and has good reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Cros...29-20&linkId=36f130c8cf29401677a7ccd8f4fa5250
I prefer this style over those that hang the bike from the TT.
The Thule costs twice as much and may not be any better.

And my hitch installed without too much trouble, it only uses a few bolts. Places like U-haul charge a relative fortune for installation, especially if you want a trailer light connector wired in.
 

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I googled hitches and ordered a Curt online from a company that specializes in them. Don't remember the dealer name (few years ago) but the quality is as good as any and it was quite a bit cheaper than U-haul or any other local source. Paid less than $150 with shipping. Just checked and might have ordered from here: Trailer Hitches & Vehicle Accessories (800)298-8924

As I posted in your other thread, this carrier looks good and has good reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Swagman-Cros...29-20&linkId=36f130c8cf29401677a7ccd8f4fa5250
I prefer this style over those that hang the bike from the TT.
The Thule costs twice as much and may not be any better.

And my hitch installed without too much trouble, it only uses a few bolts. Places like U-haul charge a relative fortune for installation, especially if you want a trailer light connector wired in.
Agreed! TripleB, you can probably do this yourself w/ minimal hand tools. There may be *slight* "clearancing" required of the rear valence for some cars.

As far as what size hitch, unless you actually plan to tow stuff, you only need a 1.25" receiver. However, you should research what hitch rack you want- not all of them are available in the smaller size.
Kuat is very good, although I prefer 1upUSA- all aluminum, made in USA, really solid, really light, very secure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Anyone used and/or installed a DrawTite trailer hitch?

If so, what are your thoughts?

And I would prefer to stand the bikes up on the rack I purchase instead of 'hanging' them.

Thanks for the help so far!

TripleB
 

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Anyone used and/or installed a DrawTite trailer hitch?

If so, what are your thoughts?

And I would prefer to stand the bikes up on the rack I purchase instead of 'hanging' them.

Thanks for the help so far!

TripleB67
I find 2" to be the most common, maybe I'm wrong... I have 2" on my Honda Element and on my Quad so I can share receiver components. That said, I never spent the scratch to have electric connection on my Honda. I have it on my quad. You don't need it, you don't have trailer lights to worry about. The ball hitch you mention? Still super common. You put a 2" piece into the receiver with a ball hitch attachment. Again, you don't need it...
 

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I think for smaller cars they only make the 1.25 hitches . No need for a heavy duty hitch in a car .

I have a curt and installed it on my Honda Accord no problem ..


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Amazon is a good place to order a hitch, although there are cheaper. Just get one that is no drill and take your time putting it on.

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I just bought a Curt hitch for my 2012 Camry and installed myself (with the help of the wife). Bought it from Auto Anything for $116. I bought a two bike carrier from Performance Bike on sale for $125. Very happy with the install. I had the Thule trunk mounted tray carrier but wanted something where I could still use the trunk so I sold it and bought the above mentioned set up.

 

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Curt is good, and etrailer is a good too. The Curt site shows vehicle specific installation instructions and in some cases vids on how to install the hitches. In many cases it's pretty straightforward for DIY. I've done a number of them.
 

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Etrailer, imho, is very good. They offer several that fit my 2013 Accord, went with Curt, you need a 1 1/4", not a 2 ", for your car. I tried several racks, but love the 1 up USA! Can use it for 1 or. 2 bikes. I am sure others are good, but the 1 up is superior, I think, and made in USA.
 

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Anyone used and/or installed a DrawTite trailer hitch?

If so, what are your thoughts?

And I would prefer to stand the bikes up on the rack I purchase instead of 'hanging' them.

Thanks for the help so far!

TripleB67
Most hitch installs are basically identical across all brands (they either use the same mounting points, or you drill into something and make your own). Drawtite, Curt, Reese, Hidden Hitch, they're all pretty reputable companies. I would check the Kia forums to see if & what hitch racks they're using.
 

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I went with a Hidden Hitch from etrailer for my Honda Odyssey, and a more expensive (but worth it to me) Stealth hitch for my Prius V from Forklift. I have a big 5 bike Thule for the minivan and a 3 bike Thule Helium Aero from etrailer again for the Prius.

I can definitely recommend both companies and all the stuff I listed above. The Helium was fairly expensive at $310, but it is fantastic. It comes with an integrated cable lock that stows in the rack and no tools are required to attach it to the hitch. You just turn a know to tighten it in place. The same key that works the cable lock can be used to disengage the knob so no one can make off with the rack. The best thing about the Helium is that it is very, very light.

Oh, and I think 2" hitches are way to go. It isn't for the strength, but because they are more rigid and reduce sway. I would not put my bike on a 1-1/4 hitch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I thought I was in good shape for the hitch mount for my '13 Kia Optima because I found a Draw Tite hitch for only $90 - but the Kia place said they will charge $260 to install it. After that I called my local tire and auto shop and they said they only charge $45 for installation but I have to purchase the same Draw Tite hitch from them for $182!

So now I'm left in a quandary: do I pay the $430 for a trailer hitch/installation/bike rack and forego a possible new road bicycle (currently riding a mountain bike with roadish type tires on it) next Spring or do I go with a Trunk Rack for around $120 (that will more than likely damage my car) and save the $300+ to put towards a new bike?

Anyway, thanks for all your advice!!!

TripleB
 

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Have you looked to see what's involved with installing the hitch? Any chance you could do it yourself and save the installation charge? I installed my Draw-Tite hitch on the Jeep. Getting it in place without jack stands wasn't easy, but the installation itself was basically just four bolts. I know with some vehicles you might have to drill a hole in the frame to make a mounting point, but even then it's doable.
 

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Figure out how to painlessly remove / reinstall bicycle wheels and stash your bike (s) inside the car. If you know the tricks, it's quick, easy and not dirty. Let someone at an LBS show you quick wheel removal / reinstallation. Your quandaries are keeping you from riding your bicycles. When you get the hitch / rack issue resolved, you're still left with having acquired a valuable skill.

On the help: Even just someone who can hold something up while you get a screw started or two holes lined up is of great value. Doesn't have to be a mechanically inclined person.
 

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Take a look at the hitch, the car and download the instructions before you decide you can't install it yourself.

Some places that charge a flat rate for installing a hitch include the time for splicing in a trailer wiring connector. Should be a lot cheaper without it.

You don't have a mechanically-skilled friend who will help you for a six-pack?
 

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I thought I was in good shape for the hitch mount for my '13 Kia Optima because I found a Draw Tite hitch for only $90 - but the Kia place said they will charge $260 to install it. After that I called my local tire and auto shop and they said they only charge $45 for installation but I have to purchase the same Draw Tite hitch from them for $182!

So now I'm left in a quandary: do I pay the $430 for a trailer hitch/installation/bike rack and forego a possible new road bicycle (currently riding a mountain bike with roadish type tires on it) next Spring or do I go with a Trunk Rack for around $120 (that will more than likely damage my car) and save the $300+ to put towards a new bike?

Anyway, thanks for all your advice!!!

TripleB67
You should be able to install it yourself. Most only require six (6) bolts which are pre-drilled. I had my wife help me. Save your money and do it yourself.

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