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What Do You Recommend for Fitting Four Bikes Securely on a 2016 Subaru Outback?

Question:

Hi there, A while back I bought a Kuat NV 2.0 Base for my 2016 Subaru Outback equipped with a Curt class III after-market hitch to transport my road bike and my wifes low-step Trek Verve hybrid bike. Ive been quite happy with the rack, but my two small kids are starting to get into biking and we now have a 16inch and 21inch kids bike to contend with as well. Ive therefore been struggling to determine the best way to transport all our bikes safely to and from the local trails, as well as on longer trips. Kuat does make a two-bike add-on for the NV 2.0 Item # BA02B, but the max tongue weight of the Outback is only rated at 200 lbs, so Id likely be exceeding that limit with the add-on plus four bikes. I could replace the NV 2.0 with something like the Thule Apex XT Swing 4 or other hanging-style rack, but I do appreciate the no-frame contact and wide separation between bikes when using a platform rack, and Id hate to scuff up the adult bikes due to the closer proximity / contact. There is also something like the Saris Superclamp EX4, which would be a slightly lighter four-bike option. I do, however, frequently go on lone biking excursions, and constantly lugging around a four-bike rack that will hold a single bike 80 of the time seems cumbersome. Another potential idea might be to keep the NV 2.0 and put the remaining kids bikes up on the roof. I have the original Subaru factory crossbars, so perhaps there are some viable options there. That would at least take some weight off the hitch. Any help, suggestions, or perspective would be highly appreciated! Thank you so much!

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Expert Reply:

I have a solution for you. You are right when you mention that the Kuat NV 2.0 Two-Bike Add-On # BA02B will get you close (if not over) to the 200 pound maximum weight capacity of your 2016 Subaru Outback with 4 bikes plus the Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack # NV22B.

In order to have the safety of your adult bikes with a platform rack without having to mount extra bikes on the roof, I recommend the Yakima FourTimer Bike Rack for 4 Bikes - 2" Hitches - Frame Mount # Y02469. The great thing about the Yakima FourTimer over a rack like the Saris Superclamp EX4 # SA4026F is that the FourTimer can allow you to remove two of the bike rack positions when you want to travel with just a single bike. Even though you will have an extra position when transporting a single bike, it will not be as cumbersome as traveling with a single bike on a 4-position bike rack. The FourTimer also has a carrier weight of only 66 pounds (with all 4 positions). With this weight, you will be able to transport two adult bikes with two children's bikes under the Outback's 200 maximum weight capacity.

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Question:

My wife's bike needs a frame adapter. What part do I need?

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Expert Reply:

If your wife's bike has a step-through frame or an alternate-style frame, I recommend the Yakima Tube Top Bike Adapter Bar # Y02531. The Tube Top Adapter can telescope from 14 inches to 22-1/8 inches long to give the bike a straight plane to mount on the rack.

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