Hitch Carriers - Trackside? Versahauler? Joe Hauler?
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  1. #1
    Junior Member AstronautJones's Avatar
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    I noticed cycle gear has a Trackside Motorcycle Carrier for $99 in store (normally $199)... with a ramp. That seems too good to be true. I can't find anything on this carrier other than on the cycle gear site and reviews. How does this one compare to Joe Hauler and others that are quite a bit more?



    Anyone have experience with this one? I'll be using it on a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4door. I also have to hope it'll clear my spare tire mounted on back.





    If you have suggestions on other carriers you recommend, I'm all ears. Especially those with a tw200 *And* and Jeep.





    FYI I bought my tw200 in January. I'm excited to get out and do some exploring!

  2. #2
    Junior Member AstronautJones's Avatar
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    Does anyone use a hitch hauler with a Jeep wrangler (2dr or 4dr) that is able to clear the spare tire and mount the bike ok? My spare is a 33x12.5 so I need even more clearance than normal without putting too much weight/pressure on the rear hitch on my 4dr Jeep Wrangler JK.



    How does driving with the TW on the back change the ride - will I notice it? The hitch is rated for 350 so it'll be maxed out between the TW and weight of hitch hauler.





    Any advice or recommendations on a hauler would be greatly appreciated

  3. #3
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    I have used a variety these rail type carriers to carry a variety of bikes on the back of a Toyota 4Runner. Here are some of my thoughts:



    -These carriers put a tremendous load on your hitch receiver and in turn on your vehicle. You will definitely notice it. Carrying a bike probably drops the rear end on my vehicle 2-3 inches and raises the front by 4-5 inches (these are only estimates, I have never actually measured it). This makes the rear end (i.e., carrier) prone to dragging and the front end can get pretty light and squirrelly at freeway speeds.



    -Trackside (Cycle Gear) - These appear similar to the Harbor Freight carrier which I have. The rails on these are pretty narrow so the TW tires will basically sit on top instead of down between the rails. They will work but you will need to ensure that the bike is secured well to the carrier.



    -VersaHaul - I used to have one of these also. They are extremely well built and have some neat features on them. The main rail has side walls that are angled outwards so it will work well with the TW's fat tires. I just found mine to be too damn heavy and got rid of it in favor of lighter carriers.



    -Joe Hauler - I don't have any first hand experience with this brand.



    I would be very careful with any of these carriers if you find that you need to extend them in order to clear your spare tire. I am not a mechanical engineer, but know that an extension of one foot will significantly increase the load on your hitch, possibly exceeding its rating.



    These carriers may work okay for your 4dr Wrangler, but I don't think these would be a good choice for a short wheelbase vehicle like the 2dr Wrangler.



    Your mileage may vary....



    Brian

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  5. #4
    Junior Member AstronautJones's Avatar
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    Awesome insight, Brian.



    Yeah I'm concerned about front end getting squirrly and having that much weight hanging off the hitch. I don't want to take my full trailer just to haul the dirt bike around.



    Joe Hauler is here locally which is nice and maybe I can talk with them about beefing things up to help with the weight distribution and extension, or maybe it is just not possible.



    I like the look and specs of the versahaul.



    The trackside is only $99 at cycle gear right now but I'm worried that it might be too cheaply made to risk all that weight, not sitting in the rail just right, etc.



    I have seen other 4dr wranglers with these haulers and dirt bikes on the back so I'm wondering if it's not "that bad" and driveable, maybe just not for long distance or high speeds.

  6. #5
    Member canyonlock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astronaut Jones View Post
    Awesome insight, Brian.



    Yeah I'm concerned about front end getting squirrly and having that much weight hanging off the hitch. I don't want to take my full trailer just to haul the dirt bike around.



    Joe Hauler is here locally which is nice and maybe I can talk with them about beefing things up to help with the weight distribution and extension, or maybe it is just not possible.



    I like the look and specs of the versahaul.



    The trackside is only $99 at cycle gear right now but I'm worried that it might be too cheaply made to risk all that weight, not sitting in the rail just right, etc.



    I have seen other 4dr wranglers with these haulers and dirt bikes on the back so I'm wondering if it's not "that bad" and driveable, maybe just not for long distance or high speeds.




    I am not sure of the brand of my carrier, I find it to be very handy. I have a swb toyota 4x4 with "improved" rear leaf springs and a custom bumper / receiver set up. Static weight is not the problem so much as bumps at speed. Frost heave and big pot holes cause concern. I mostly carry my TW, but occasionally haul my Honda CB750 on it (carefully).

  7. #6
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astronaut Jones View Post
    How does driving with the TW on the back change the ride - will I notice it? The hitch is rated for 350 so it'll be maxed out between the TW and weight of hitch hauler.


    I have the VersaHauler, which is beefy as hell (about 80 lbs), is rated to 500 lbs, but my Tundra hitch is rated to 750 lbs. With the rail and bike full of gas I'd say it's more like 390 lbs. I ended up having to install airbags on the rear axle. With the long truck wheelbase I do not notice different handling, but I'll bet you would on a Wrangler. Whether it would be to the point of danger I can't say.



    Sounds to me like you would have weld problems down the road with such a light rating, if not right away. I also doubt that your bike would clear that big spare without mods. My bike ends up with about 12 to 15" clearance behind the tailgate with the right handlebar only 6" from the window, meaning I can't open it fully.



    Sorry to be negative, but it sounds like an iffy proposition for a Wrangler, big spare or not.
    Rocky
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

  8. #7
    Senior Member Phantom99's Avatar
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    I used a Joe Hauler for several years with a variety of vehicles, but nothing as light as your Jeep. I hauled everything from small dirt bikes to 500lb. sport bikes.



    Your 350lb hitch weight is marginal to begin with, and the need to extend the hitch to clear the spare would weaken it far too much, IMO.



    You would have stability problems with your vehicle as well as lack of strength in the carrier.



    This is not even close to a doable proposal, IMO.

  9. #8
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astronaut Jones View Post
    Does anyone use a hitch hauler with a Jeep wrangler (2dr or 4dr) that is able to clear the spare tire and mount the bike ok? My spare is a 33x12.5 so I need even more clearance than normal without putting too much weight/pressure on the rear hitch on my 4dr Jeep Wrangler JK.



    How does driving with the TW on the back change the ride - will I notice it? The hitch is rated for 350 so it'll be maxed out between the TW and weight of hitch hauler.





    Any advice or recommendations on a hauler would be greatly appreciated




    I have a 2010 2dr JK Wrangler and used my homemade hitch carrier on it with my TW. It does not work well with the 2dr model at all. Suspension sag and very erradic handling. Can do in a pinch and a short trip, but I wouldn't use it on my JK. Actually, I wouldn't use any hitch hauler w/motorcycle on my Wrangler.



    I have used the exact hitch carrier w/TW on my Jeep Liberty and it handles it a lot better and I do use it from time to time. However, one should still be watchful of the handling as there is still a fair amount of weight on the rear which I'm guessing is still not good with the Liberty.



    Hitch carrier w/TW on my F250 Ford, not a problem.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  10. #9
    Junior Member AstronautJones's Avatar
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    Damn. I've seen other 4 door wranglers with this setup so I'm guessing it can't be THAT bad or they've done something to help with weight/handling ??



    I want to be able to take my dirt bike with me without screwing with a trailer all the time. Wonder if I could fit the TW in the back of my jeep with the rear seats down



    I would probably remove the spare and mount on top rack if that helps get the dirt bike much closer to the bumper/back of the jeep for balance/weight. But yes, I'm worried about that 350lb rated hitch. Although I did see the TW200 is like 275lbs wet and even a 75lb carrier would put it at 350. But I don't want to be worried about every bump or rough patch on the road when the weight starts shifting around.



    Hmmmmmmmmmm

  11. #10
    Senior Member JagLite's Avatar
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    I just got the Cycle Gear (Trackside) hitch carrier and I am very impressed with the quality and design of it.

    Much, much better than I expected for the $120 (including shipping to Alaska) that it cost.

    I had welded a carrier for a friend and know how much the steel alone costs to make one.

    So, when I got the Cycle Gear email about their carrier for $99 I decided to give it a try.



    I expected thin sheet metal channel that I would have to reinforce and weld up to make it useable.

    But instead, it is heavy steel angle and strong!

    I like the removable bolts for wheel placement too.

    The only negative for me is that the loading ramp is way too short.

    It should be the length of the carrier for the height I need.

    That is something I will fix though.



    Mine is rated at 500 lbs load capacity.

    I would, and do recommend it to friends.

    I haven't tried the TW on it yet though, just my DR650.
    James

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