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add-a-bike durability?


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So I did some searching but couldn't find any add-a-bike specific posts in the last 2-3 years aside people mentioning them in general hitch carrier posts.

I really like the idea and design overall, especially now that the new models have the extra foot peg holder but I'm really nervous that one of these things can stand up to a 300lb MX bike and frequent use???? I'm probably just too paranoid but I prefer things way overbuilt. Especially when it's the only think keeping an expensive motorcycle from tumbling down the interstate at 70mph and landing in someone's windshield.

Looking at the specs/instructions/videos there's specifically two areas I don't like that seem like glaring week spots. The first is that the main beam going into the hitch and supporting all the bike weight is aluminum. To me Al just does not like to be repeatedly flexed or bent, and it tends to fail catastrophically. Even my mountain bike hitch carrier that only holds 100 pounds of bikes has a steel main beam. I'm sure it saves weight and doesn't rust, but I'd much rather see it be steel. It looks like really thick AL in the instruction images so it's probably not a big deal and it's a pretty short arm so I could live with that one.

The second and certainly my biggest concern is the attachment of the vertical beam. It bolts off the side of the main beam with a single bolt, and the only thing keeping it from collapsing is what appears to be a short piece of thin flat bar aluminum held on by a couple 1/4" clip bolts if that. I know all it has to do is hold the bike vertical but it seems like the front to rear forces on the bike from stopping/starting/off road rocking transferred that far down the vertical arm could easily bend that little flat stock or start fatigue/round out the bolt holes. If that happens the whole bike is off the rack and on the pavement. Perhaps it's beefier than the pictures tend to suggest.

I'd much rather see the foot peg support be on the other side of the bike as a separate unit to be a redundancy point of security. I can't see the bike slipping under that big retention arm, but if that thin little flat bar support fails the foot peg attachment on the main beam does nothing to provide redundancy and the bike is still going on the pavement.

I wonder if add-a-bike would put do a "one off" and put a foot peg holder on the outside of the rack for us "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" paranoid people. That or maybe us paranoid people just should stay away from hitch racks 🙂

I'm sure if failures happened on any large scale we'd certainly hear about it, but I'd feel a lot better about the rack if those two areas were beefed up a little, at least on the HD model.

As an aside for those of you using the add-a-bike does the vertical arm that rests on the seat wear on the seat at all?

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  • 3 months later...

I realize this post is pretty old, but I'll add my comments anyway. :excuseme:

I've used an add-a-bike for many years now. It does beat the crap out of your bike, no question. You'll end up with rub marks on the seat and nasty worn spots on your clutch cover. There is a plastic piece that you can position to keep between your clutch cover and the vertical beam, but even with this on, you'll get wear marks on your cover.

And the bike returns the favor and is destroying the vertical beam bit by bit. Even with the front and rear tires tied down, you get enough left to right sliding that your brake pedal and footpeg will bang into the beam. Mine is looking pretty nasty at this point.

It does seem pretty tough and obviously I trust it. I've carried my XR400 through some rough stuff in CO and now have used it a few times to haul my Husaberg. Just bought a truck, so will probably retire it soon.

Add-a-bike has a new system that holds the pegs, I'd definitely go this route. Or just get one of these: http://ultimatemxhauler.com/

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