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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I think too much about this I feel like throwing up.


Coupla days ago the dealer installed the OEM Suby hitch to our brand new Ascent. The next morning I installed a brand new Rockymounts Backstage bike rack.



The Backstage is a cool rack, but it's also tall. The bikes set at least a foot above the hitch. I strapped my bike in, then stepped back and realized our standard 7' tall garage doors aren't tall enough. The car was trapped inside the garage.



Epic Fail.


The Backstage would work fine with a low, under the bumper hitch. But with the OEM hitch the bikes are way too high.



Even if we could get in and out of the garage, putting the bikes on/taking them off would be much more tedious. My wife is 4'11". She looked at the bike I'd placed on the rack and commented about how much more work it'd be for her. We have e-bikes so they're kinda heavy.


Does anyone have any ideas for a high-quality rack with a very low profile? It looks like the Backstage is going to be an expensive piece of clutter in our garage, and a powerful lesson to do more research before whipping out the plastic...
 

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1up-USA.com.
Independent shop in SW Wisconsin building a great, all metal tray-type rack that sets up in seconds and touches only your tires. I especially like ours because my wife likes to go for rides on her own a lot, and you can use it as a single. Making it much lighter and easier to deal with. If I’m coming along I can quickly add another tray and off we go. It is solid in use and takes up less space.
 

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You may be able to use a "double hitch adapter" (inverted) to lower the "receiver" for you when using the bike rack. The OEM hitch receiver in the bumper is pretty common now across many vehicles for both "looks" (it can be covered), no disruption to approach angles and a stronger integration to the vehicle. It's not unique to the Ascent.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks, Jim_in_Pa -


I didn't know there was such a thing. An adapter would set the rack further away from the car. Not thrilled about that but it might be the best option.

Another option might be to buy an aftermarket hitch like the Curt that hangs below the bumper. Two hitches on one vehicle. Ridiculous.


I saw a 1-up just last week. Very cool, industrial look.
 

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We have a Yakima Hold Up for 4 bikes. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it on the Ascent. We didn’t have any issues when the rack was on our 2010 Honda Pilot. We were able to load the rack while the car was backed up to the garage. The rack was in the garage to load. If I get a chance, I’ll throw it on in the next couple of days. I’m curious now how much higher the rack sits considering that the hitch is higher on the Ascent.
 

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Yes, the adapter would set the bike rack back a few inches, but it might be preferable to the cost of a new/different rack.
 

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I also noticed this with my rack as well and with the bikes so high they block my rearward view where as they didn't in my old vehicle.

Granted my bike rack was pretty cheap so I'm not as worried about it.

I do like the idea of buying an adapter to lower the rack just a bit for easier loading and unloading.
 

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My Grand Cherokee hitch was in the bumper, too. I did have a bike rack for awhile (not a large one) and like anything in that position, it did have an effect on rear vision through the lift gate window. Nature of the beast. But yes, lowering a bike rack with an adapter similar to what I posted could help with this. Folks with the Ascent Touring may be in a better place with the rearward camera setup since the camera is pretty high up on the lift gate.
 

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I was able to get my rack on the Ascent today. No problems with loading bikes within the garage as you can see from the attached picture. With the lift gate tilted down, the rear hatch cleared the rack. We didn't try opening the rear hatch when the rack was flat in normal carrying position, however, we think it would still clear it. My Xterra and Honda Pilot you may see the tops of the handlebars. In the Ascent you do see the bikes more but not enough that it blocks the line of sight. With my other cars, deadlift the rack and you get it to the receiver. The Ascent, it's more like a deadlift and a shoulder shrug to get it to the receiver(I'm 5'6").
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey, guys, I really appreciate the feedback.


ATXV18, is that a 7' tall garage door? Would you have the time to take a measurement on your Yakima rack? What's the height difference from the top of the hitch to the tire tray?


mr. paul, if you see this, same question - do you have a moment to measure from the top of the hitch to the tire tray?


As goofy as it sounds to put two hitches on one car, it looks like an under-the-bumper aftermarket hitch would set about 8.5" lower than the genuine Suby unit. I spent some time measuring yesterday. If I added an under-the-bumper hitch the big Rockymounts swingarm is directly in the line of fire from the right exhaust pipe. I could try to attach a heat shield to the swingarm, or take our brand new car to the muffler shop and ask them to cut off/modify the exhaust. However, at some point it's time to admit defeat instead of pursuing increasingly silly workarounds.


I got an email from Rockymounts. It sounds like they might be willing to do a return. That would be a super nice thing for them to do.



All the racks set above the hitch, so if I use the OEM hitch it's gonna be a tight fit into the garage with all of them, and a big heave-ho to get the bikes on board too. I need a rack that hangs LOWER than the hitch.


I just thought of something. I could open the garage doors, then use the tilt mechanism to tilt the bikes back, then drive out of the garage and tilt the bikes back up. Same thing when returning.



Until the day I forget to tilt them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Here's the car going thru the garage. It does fit, but the bullhorns brush the seal. Too close for comfort. My bike is kinda tall. I added a stem extender for a more comfortable ride.



The Backstage is a massive rack. About 11.5" height differential from top of the hitch to the bottom of the tire in the tire tray.


When I put it in reverse, the Subaru RAB system shuts itself off, sounding the alarm for about a minute. The LED screen highlights the Backstage swingarm in red. That was my first experience with the RAB system. I guess it worked like it was supposed to...
 

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80” to the rubber seal, the opening is more like 81”. We should go on a ride tomorrow and will have the racks on. I’ll take the measurement.

Looking at your post with the bike and rack installed, if your bullhorns are the only thing hitting the top of the garage. I would suggest rotating them down. Back in the day when bar ends were the standard for leverage to help climbing. I would position them flat or slightly angled up. However, if your just using them for a more upright position then carry on!
 

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The Backstage is a massive rack. About 11.5" height differential from top of the hitch to the bottom of the tire in the tire tray.
Looking at the picture again, that is a pretty massive stalk. I would say the Hold Up will definitely be lower. Getting an E-bike (and yours is racked/bagged up) up would be more difficult than a sub 18lb road or sub 30 lb MTB bike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey, good morning to everyone!


I think I might have stumbled onto a solution. Expensive solution, but we don't have kids so we're spending the inheritance.
I was on the 1up website. Noticed that the plates that connect the hitch tube to the racks are bolted, not welded. I emailed them and asked if they make a version that holds the rack lower than the hitch tube vs. higher. They do. It's called "reverse side plate". I'm not sure if the plates are cut any differently. My understanding after phoning and talking with someone at 1up is you lose the ability to tilt the rack vertically against the rear of the car.



1up sent me a picture so I'll share. The rack is on a Dodge Ram pickup. You can see how the side plates lower the rack, but they also stop the rack from tilting vertical.



Since our e-bikes weigh about 65# with batteries I'm gonna order a Super Duty 1up with reverse plates.


Our other bike hauling vehicle is a Prius. I feel less guilty about climate change when we use the Prius. Tork Central, an outfit in Kent WA, makes the only 2" Prius hitch that I could find. So I'm gonna replace the existing 1.25" hitch on the Prius and keep the Backstage.


A Prius with a Backstage. Betcha that's a rare combination!



I have some wrist/hand problems. I played around with bar end position quite a bit. The position you see gave me the most options and the least pain. The stem extender is an Outerdo. My wife's bike has one too. I bought them on Amazon. The more relaxed position helps. I can still lean forward for more playful riding.


Those Cloud 9 seats are very heavy but comfy.
 

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I have some wrist/hand problems. I played around with bar end position quite a bit. The position you see gave me the most options and the least pain. The stem extender is an Outerdo. My wife's bike has one too. I bought them on Amazon. The more relaxed position helps. I can still lean forward for more playful riding.
Whatever gets you out riding! Looks like it’s going to work out for both of your vehicles!
 

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I'm also looking at an e-MTN bike and they're incredibly expensive. May I ask how you plan to secure them to the bike rack to prevent theft? I prefer to use a bike rack, but if I can't secure the bike against theft, I was going to haul it inside the Ascent.

How do you like your Trek? I'm considering a Trek Powerfly LT 9.7 Plus.
 

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If I think too much about this I feel like throwing up.


Coupla days ago the dealer installed the OEM Suby hitch to our brand new Ascent. The next morning I installed a brand new Rockymounts Backstage bike rack.



The Backstage is a cool rack, but it's also tall. The bikes set at least a foot above the hitch. I strapped my bike in, then stepped back and realized our standard 7' tall garage doors aren't tall enough. The car was trapped inside the garage.



Epic Fail.


The Backstage would work fine with a low, under the bumper hitch. But with the OEM hitch the bikes are way too high.



Even if we could get in and out of the garage, putting the bikes on/taking them off would be much more tedious. My wife is 4'11". She looked at the bike I'd placed on the rack and commented about how much more work it'd be for her. We have e-bikes so they're kinda heavy.


Does anyone have any ideas for a high-quality rack with a very low profile? It looks like the Backstage is going to be an expensive piece of clutter in our garage, and a powerful lesson to do more research before whipping out the plastic...

Woould a drop down hitch receiver help?
 

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I have a Kuat Sherpa 2.0 2 bike rack, and had a Rocky Mount Monorail 2 bike rack. In both cases the bikes do not extend any higher than the top of my Ascent. These are a Colnago road bike, and a Santa Cruz mtb. However these are two bike racks. Some of the four bike racks seem to be offset higher, most likely due to road clearance when going up steeper driveways, etc.

Also, when I tilt the Sherpa with a bike, I can still open the hatch.

The top of the Kuat Sherpa hitch is approxmately 33".

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Haven't visited this thread in a few days.


pro10is, theft is indeed a concern. When we were shopping for a car a few months ago, we looked at "hide the bikes inside" options like a Ford Transit Connect. Or an enclosed trailer.


There was no perfect answer. Our garage doors aren't big enough. The garage isn't deep enough for a vehicle and a small trailer. Our environmental sensibilities precluded buying some huge gas-guzzler. I didn't want to deal with taking a trailer on/off several times a week. There were some brands either my wife or I wouldn't consider. Maybe a truck instead of SUV? Etc. etc.


If a Forester could tow more we woulda replaced our 2001 Fozzy instead of buying the hulking Ascent. Frankly, I've questioned whether the Ascent was the right choice every day since we bought it.


So, as far as security, buying the Ascent solved nothing. The bikes are still exposed. I have a Kryptonite lock and a couple of long Kryptonite cables, but I'm guessing a prepared thief could cut thru a Kryptonite cable in a few seconds. The Ascent is the widest vehicle we've ever owned. Both bikes would fit inside on their sides. Pretty sure the front wheels would have to come off (don't forget your brake pad spacers!) but only because of the stem extenders and bullhorns. Tossing the bikes inside and wrapping them with a tarp is the best security compromise I can think of. Of course, if we were already loaded up with camping gear that would get complicated.


We haven't done much singletrack, almost all sedate rails-to-trails, but we're pretty happy with the Trek Powerfly 5's. I had a problem with the lower battery bracket loosening. Tightened with a security Torx socket. Walk Mode didn't work on my bike until the dealer updated firmware.


You are right, a name-brand e-bike is crazy expensive. If that doesn't make you feel a little bit ill, try pricing a spare battery.



JimmyD, I looked at dual hitches and dropdowns after that was mentioned on the first page. Felt like an inelegant workaround to me. Any adapter pushes the bikes further from the car, lowering tongue weight capacities by some undefined amount and requiring more length in the garage. I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that the 1up with reversed side plates solves the problem.


Eddiesjr, thank you for the measurement. With the Backstage plugged into the OEM Suby hitch I measured the height of the tire tray. 35.5" from the concrete floor to the top of the tire tray, approximately where our 2.35" wide tires would rest. As mentioned earlier, that means the top of the tire tray is about 11.5" taller than the top of the hitch tube. Looks like a Kuat Sherpa would be 2.5" shorter. The bikes would still tower over the back of the car, and getting them on/off would still be a grunt, but at least they'd fit in the garage!



The big problems for my specific situation are: 1) the height of the OEM hitch tube, 2) the height of our handlebars after modifications, and 3) the 7' tall garage doors.


I'll definitely be back with a report when the 1up arrives.
 
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