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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This spring I bought a 4 bike Recon to use with my 2009 Forester. I bought it for short trips to get out of the city (~10-20km) with 2 bikes and so far it's been great. I'm contemplating taking it on a ~1400 km road trip with 4 bikes on it, but I'm concerned about the weight on the hitch.

The rack plus the 4 bikes I want to carry is around 200lbs. The hitch is an aftermarket Curt with a max tongue weight of 400lbs. From what I read in the Subaru manual and on the interwebs, it seems the Forester itself says max tongue weight is 200lbs regardless of what the hitch max is.

This type of weight seems like a different type of load than a trailer would be. e.g. going over some bumps with the weight hanging pretty far out (see photo) would create a lot more stress.

Any advice on taking this on a longer trip? I'd be using the vehicle to haul bikes only. All the other gear would be in a different vehicle.

 

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EDR
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The tongue weight spec by Subaru is your limiting factor. The Curt hitch will be fine.

You are at the limits with that set up at two hundred pounds. The further the weight is moved away from the receiver/hitch interface the more leverage it places at that point.

Think of it this way. If your bikes were mounted on a verticle pole directly on top of the end of the hitch they would put a lot less stress on that area than if they were on the end of a horizontal pole 4 feet from your car.

I think you'll be fine in the short-term as specs usually err on the side of caution, but I'm not a math major or mechanical engineer, I just play one on mtbr. In other words, don't take my advice, lol. You are definitely at the limit or over the spec recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In case anyone else finds this thread, I've done a couple of 1500km trips with 4 bikes without any problems.

What I did for those long trips was use a ratcheting strap to secure the top of the bike rack to the roof rack. I did a crisscross from the left wheel basket to the right roof rack rail and vice versa to prevent side to side sway.

It removed 99% of the bounciness that made my slightly nervous.
 

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In case anyone else finds this thread, I've done a couple of 1500km trips with 4 bikes without any problems.

What I did for those long trips was use a ratcheting strap to secure the top of the bike rack to the roof rack. I did a crisscross from the left wheel basket to the right roof rack rail and vice versa to prevent side to side sway.

It removed 99% of the bounciness that made my slightly nervous.
Not sure if it was Subaru, the hitch or rack manufacturer. This is in the instructions. The bouncing exponentially increases the effective tongue weight. If youre close to the max, the bouncing could quickly put you outside of the manufacturers 'safetey net"
 

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In case anyone else finds this thread, I've done a couple of 1500km trips with 4 bikes without any problems.

What I did for those long trips was use a ratcheting strap to secure the top of the bike rack to the roof rack. I did a crisscross from the left wheel basket to the right roof rack rail and vice versa to prevent side to side sway.

It removed 99% of the bounciness that made my slightly nervous.
That is an excellent way of solving the problem. The straps (when placed under tension) reduce the forward/backward and side-to-side movements of the rack thus minimizing the rotational forces that are being generated and transmitted to the hitch on all three (XYZ) directions. (Spoken as an engineer).
 
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