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Thule Vertex 9029 4 Bike Hitch Rack
Style Name: 4 bikeChange
Price:$247.12+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
I talked to Thule about the Amazon comments, specifically the rubber straps that rip. Their response was "The straps are the same design, but use a different rubber blend. There was an initial version where we had an issue with some of the straps, but that has been resolved". I then asked how I could identify the old design versus the new design, their response was "when you get it check to see if the manufacture date is after June 2012. If it is then you're good! There will be a sticker on the box and product with serial number and production date"
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
Here is what I was looking for in a bike rack:
1. The ability to easily mount and carry Full Suspension bikes as well as Road Bikes.
2. Security in knowing that the bikes will not fall off at 65MPH.
3. Theft Prevention features.

1.Thule generally makes a fine product. I have been very impressed with the craftsmanship of a Thule products overall. But this rack just does not cut it. I purchased this rack to transport my full suspension mountain bikes. I was in a rush, needing the rack the night before a trip. At REI the salesman stated that it would work fine for full suspension mountain bikes. IT DOES NOT WORK FOR FULL SUSPENSION BIKES. So needless to say it was a struggle to get the bikes on the rack and an even greater struggle to get them off. Mounting the bikes onto the rack required removing the air from the tires. Can you spell BUMMER?

2. This rack requires the use of rubber straps to secure the bike to the racks. The straps have holes so you can wrap them around the frame and secure them onto a plastic pivot on either side.
However I must have pulled the strap too tightly because when I arrived at my destination, 2 of the four straps were split up the middle and one was broken in half. I found this to be a bit unnerving, considering they were holding $5,000 worth of bikes on a six hour trip. On the return trip I mellowed out and only one broke in half. In fact if it was not for the very long cloth strap they include that wraps around the bikes and the mechanism itself, the bikes might have fallen off on the first leg of my trip. (Maybe that is why they include the cloth strap, it seems like a quick-fix afterthought. It seems out of place with the rest of the product.)

3. The product was relatively easy to install and had some nice features like the ability to fold down both of the components of the rack. It should have come with a locking removable pin to mount to the hitch. It should also have had some means of locking the bikes onto the rack. It did not. The result is that I had to use a cable lock to prevent theft. I believe that most people do not keep this rack on their vehicle, only mounting it on the hitch when they are transporting bikes and removing it afterward. Yet,in terms of attaching the rack to the hitch, the only thing provided is a bolt and two washers, not a very strong theft deterrent and moreover, a hassle to take the rack on and off the vehicle.

So here are my suggestions:
1.Put a big conspicuous sign on the box -"Not for Full Suspension Bikes."
2.Replace the rubber straps with ones that do not break if pulled too hard. I am not Superman and I managed to break 4 of them.
3. Include a quick release locking mechanism to mount the rack to the hitch and to take it off.

For Mountain bikes I noticed most of the pros at the mountain use The Thule 916XTR, which holds the bike by the wheels and seems to include a locking mechanism. It is available for a good price on Amazon.com. REI took the rack back with no questions asked.
-Joe
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
We are a family of five (2 adults, 3 kids) and we all ride bikes, so we needed a 5 bike hitch rack. This one is top notch, high quality, easy to install and use. A couple of tips after using it for about a month are #1) If you have a very small child's bike it likely wont be able to sit on this rack because the top tube needs to be a certain length to go over both of the rack's poles that extend horizontally. It shouldn't be a big deal because if the bike is that small, there's a good chance you can squeeze it into your trunk or somewhere in the vehicle. Soon, my youngest child will grow into a larger bike and we'll be able to use all 5 spaces on the rack #2) I am going to invest in a Locking Hitch Pin, which you can find on Amazon for about 30 to 55 dollars. The reason is that we took our bikes on a 700 mile trip and the stock bolt that is used to secure your rack to your hitch actually loosened up by the time I arrived at my destination. There is a lock washer that comes with the rack, but apparently that wasn't enough to keep the bolt fully tight for the entire journey. This is a well built piece of equipment though and made our road trip a lot more enjoyable because we were able to go bike riding after we arrived at our destination. I would highly recommend this to anyone that has a need to transport five bikes. And if you are planning on traveling long distances, invest in the Locking Hitch Pin.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2012
I love this bike rack. It works perfectly with my 2" reciever. It was super easy to assemble for the first time and installs and comes back out in under a minute. It has two release handles. The first allows the arms that actually hold the bike up to tuck away when not in use and come up when needed. The second handle release down by the hitch allows the rack to lean away from the car giving me more then enough space to open my cargo area and either load or unload cargo. The rack itself has a nice heavy feel to it that makes you think that it's gonna last. I paid the premium for the Thule Lock Cylinders to give me a little piece of mind that when I come back out to my car that the bike rack is still going to be there.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
* 1 1/4 inch install is what my intent was for one car, with the option to intall on other car which is 2 inch.
* Solid construct, loose installation.
* The receiver install bolt did not go all the way through with no nut required, wierd. Bolt should be longer, with a nut.
* Rubber straps will definitely go bad over time, should be nylon or something else.
* When simulating braking, there is a 1/8 inch gap that will rattle inside the bottom housing that will create a "CLANK" noise.
* Inconsistent plastic shapeing, will warp over time in the sun.
* Did not snugly fit inside the receiver, which will create another "CLANK" sound. It it will rattle on non smoothe roads.

** Not for Mountain bikes, unless you have a extended bar thing.

Good design intention, bad little design things that will make you regret the expensive purchase.
I expected more.
Returned.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
Great bike rack.
The arms that hold the bike that can fold down is a huge benefit. Also, the ability to tilt the bike rack away from the hatch/tail gate is also a huge benefit.
Well made, high quality materials.
Probably could not fit 5 Beach Crusier style bikes, but significant amount of room.
Also, I have not had these for very long so I cannot speak to long term durability.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
I selected this bike rack due to its features and the well recognized Thule brand. The bike rack has so far served me very well, especially during a round trip 1500 mile road trip. There are a couple of annoyances, but none of these would keep me from purchasing this product in the future. First, the connection bolt for the hitch is sized for a 1-1/4" hitch vs. a 2" hitch. The result is that you cannot use an existing hitch lock for this product on a 2" hitch since the pass through hole is too small for the larger diameter hitch bolt. You will need to purchase the Thule special lock (STL2) for $45 if you want to lock your rack to the hitch. You can buy a hitch lock at an auto parts store for much less however, the STL2 has a special design to ensure a snug fit within the hitch. Second, I noticed that on long journeys, the left rubber frame mounting pad will drift forward on the arm bar until it rests against the vertical arm. This will ultimately require that I install some sort of shim (pipe insulation) to keep the pads off the vertical arm. While I have focused on some potential improvements to the design, the positives far outweigh the negatives and I definitely recommend this product.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
I find the rack perfect for our two bikes, traveling 5-hours to and from our beach home. However, on the first use I had two of the six straps partially break (one a complete separation; the other a partial tear). This worries me with regard to any prolonged use; and how they will fare over time. But for the strap issues I would have rated this much higher.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
I like everything about it except for the rubber straps that secure the bikes to the rack. I've had the rack for a month and one of the straps has already broke.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2014
Picked this up a few years back because we needed to mount a cargo box on our roof to pack for vacation. This did not leave enough room for my usual roof rack. I didn't want to spend a lot of $$ on a hitch rack this was the cheapest that had 'anti-sway'. Picked this up at my LBS for around $200. The best thing I can say about this rack is that the hitch did not break, hence the one star, but read on.... It rained cats and dogs on the 12 hour trip to our cottage. The 'anti-sway' feature did appear to keep the bike from moving much. But with the road grit the strap for the anti-sway feature did manage to grind a spot of paint off the bike's seat tube. WAIT, it gets even better! On the way back, while traveling on the Mass Pike (one of the longest speed traps in the US) we get pulled over by a trooper. It seems that some flipping plastic piece of ‘anti-sway' cup had broken off, allowing my bike to fly in the wind! Got a fine for 'unsecured cargo'. More paint ground off too, this time on the seat and top tube!!!! Fortunately I always carry a couple of straps so we were able to fasten the bike and proceed home. That was the first and last time I used this rack. It sits in a far corner of my basement, one of these days I'll call Thule to get the part fixed so I can sell it at a garage sale. We now have a bigger car so I can carry a box and roof rack, but I'm considering getting one of those hitch racks that hold the wheels instead of the frame.
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