The new Thule Vertex 5 bike hitch rack carries up to 5 bikes and is easy to load and unload with the unique arc design that provides better ground clearance and creates greater distance between bikes.
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Thule Vertex 5 Bike Hitch Rackis rated4.25out of5by4.
Rated4out of5bysetiennefromHigh-quality except receiver-couplingI really like this bike-carrier with one caveat. We have a 2005 Honda Odyssey with a 2" receiver, and love that with bikes attached, we can hinge-down the main-support to access the back door. That said, the receiver coupling is too small to fit snugly in the receiver and so you must use the supplied bolt to secure it in the receiver-housing. Is this by design, or is this a work-around because it's really made for European-sized hitches? My gripe is that I already own a locking hitch-pin and wish to use it to protect my investment in this very-nice bike-carrier. Thule sells their own locking solution which looks good, but at an extra expense. Thule should make a USA-sized receiver that allows the use of a standard hitch-pin.
Date published: 2013-12-18
Rated4out of5byhorta389fromTight fit, but it does hold 5 bikesI use this with the family minivan to hold all five bikes. Easy to install and adjust the pivot points. The arm can only be so long, I suppose, but it is a tight fit to get four mountain bikes and one road bike (three of them youth sizes) mounted. Takes effort, and gloves are helpful, but all five do get on there.
I wish the hitch bolt's flat and lock washers had retainers on them so they wouldn't fall off. Because of this, you need to be careful you don't lose those washers when the rack is in storage. And, also related to storage, the center of gravity isn't well-balanced in the closed position, so it is hard to prop up the rack in the shed. The "pocket" in the rack for carrying it to and from storage makes for relatively easy toting. All in all, it is a good rack, it holds the whole family's bikes, and it's easy to install and remove.
Date published: 2013-07-17
Rated5out of5byNCStephenfromSolid Product does what it was designedThis product is well made and does what it was designed for very well. It isn't designed to allow tilt when loaded but might be done if a very small clearance to open a hatch is needed. If fully loaded with 5 adult heavier bikes (150lbs) this would be a load to hold, tilt a little and then lift back into place. Do so with care if you attempt this (2 people minimum). If you need full rear vehicle access when fully loaded, you need a side swing mount made for that.
The use of 5 bikes can be done with some planning and careful placing. Bikes with rear racks and other features will eat up valuable room in successfully figuring this out. It can be done but they will be packed tight. Less than 5 bikes are a breeze. You will need to decide just how close to the mount the first set of cradles are. Closer gives you move room for other bikes but when packed tight, bikes are going to rub here and there.
The cradle mounts all work well, easily, quickly and reliably once you realize the mechanics of how the straps work best along with the anti sway vertical mounts. Loading on the 5 bike rack is the only place I have a real negative with using this rack. It has nothing to do with the mount but just the extra effort it takes to place the first bike over the ends of the longer arms and then move it all the way up next to the base of them. They are long and you must work around them. It is the required nature of the rack to have long arms for fitting 5 bikes. This is nothing bad just some extra effort. If the first bike is a heavier bike (better placement is up close to the mount) and those mounting it are not that strong, it might be easier with two people. Once past the first and second bike, loading is easy.
It is best to plan your loading before starting and to place the cradles about where they need to be. By design they do not move easily. Once in place with a bike they are pretty solid. To move them unloaded takes some twisting and rotating to slide them a little at a time. It is more difficult to do this if you already have bikes on the rack.
Before the 5 bike model, we began with the 4 bike version when we had changed cars and had to change mounting abilities. The price seems steep at first but then you see how the product works so well and remains solid over time. The 4 bike rack we have has been in use for a year now and continues to work as when new. All the hardware and moving parts remain solid Our son, an enthusiast, took it over and it remains on his small car all the time and is used many times per week for local and long haul carrying.
If you regularly carry 4 bikes, the 5 bike version is a good choice. If 90% of your load is 3 bikes or less, I prefer the 4 bike version as it is just a little easier to load the first bike and then the arms do not extend as far behind the vehicle which could be a concern for many urban parking situations when they are raised.
Our use of the 5 bike version is on a Volvo XC90 SUV. That model has a split rear hatch with 2/3 being the window and door going up and 1/3 being a tailgate. We are lucky with that in that both will just work with the rack in place and unloaded. With bikes on it, a road bike just barely allows the hatch to open still. With a mountain bike, the bars are wider and just block the hatch from opening. If only 4 bikes it can be loaded so this is avoided by moving the bike closest to the mount outward a bit. THIS IS NOT THE DESIGN intent. Full size hatches aren't going to open. We are just lucky with that on this car and it might work with others like the split hatch on mid 2000s Ford Explorers and perhaps others similar in design.
When loading a bike with no top bar the accessory for putting a temporary top bar works very well. If you are talented workshop person you can make one. If you aren't and have to carry a bike like this regularly, buy this even if you use another rack. We recently carried a Specialized Ladies Cruiser bike. It is very upright and tall stem bike and using the bar from seat to stem still resulted in the front wheel being very low. This temporary top bar then went from seat to one of the forks and worked well in that position. If you are going to have a bike that will be low to the ground, mount it first on the rack so it will not suffer from being mounted at the end so far from the rear axle so best avoiding a chance of dragging it.
The 5 bike mount is a heavier piece of equipment to hold and while only needing a simple bolt into the receiver pin area with a wrench provided, we prefer to just leave it on the vehicle all the time.
It also works as a great work stand when other things are available.
* Great product, expensive price but glad for the quality of it after regular use after a year. (on a vehicle all the time out in the weather)
*Holds 4 bikes easily, 5 with care in packing and some puzzling over how best to fit things
*Once familiar with the mechanics easily moves out of way when unloaded
*Holds bikes securely
*Design of cradles and straps works well.
*Works well with our SUV XC90 and our midsize V70 Wagon.
Good enough product that when son took over our 4 bike version we bought the 5 bike model for our use!
Date published: 2013-01-15
Rated4out of5byJolsterfromGreat value for moneyGreat bike rack. I bought the rack as I wanted the flexibility to transport a variety of bikes.
DH bikes - I've only managed to get 3 downhill bikes on the rack, as they are quite bulky. It is rated for 160 lbs though, so you can get 4 on. Some of the shapes are pretty awkward to get on and tie down though.
Road bikes - very easy to put on.
Cross country MTB - similar to DH bikes with their awkward shapes if they are full suspension, but I haven't found a shape that won't go on.
It's a really stable rack at a great price. There's no point in buying the more expensive one (Apex I think) unless you are taking your rack on and off all the time.
Date published: 2012-10-03
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