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mwb 04-21-14 05:10 PM

Bike rack and hitch
Hi. I bought a dealer's 2012 CT with 8,000 miles on it in a "December to remember" moment of weakness and I dearly love the car. After driving one version after another of the ES300 since 1992, I needed a smaller car so I wouldn't keep hitting things and so far so good!

I want to put a hitch on the car to accommodate a platform bike rack. I'm looking at the Curt through eTrailer and probably the Swagman XTC2.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these two items or recommendations for others? I want to be able to 1) get into the hatchback with the bike rack on the car (don't care if I have to remove the bike and 2) be able to take the bike rack off the hitch VERY easily. I am 66 years old and am recovering from shoulder surgery and will be having some knee surgery next week, so I'm in considerably worse shape than I was even a few months ago. But, I love to take my bike on trips.

Thanks! Molly

Clutchless 04-22-14 12:32 PM

I have the Curt and it was an easy 10 minute bolt on project. it is a 1 1/4 inch hitch mount. I recommend you get an independent shop to install it rather than the dealer and you will save money.
I think Thule or Yakima makes hitch mounted bike racks that swing out of the way to open the hatch.

I will test if the hatch opens with the rack in place and get back to you. I have an old Swagman hitch rack that hangs the bikes from the top tubes. I had a shop modify it to make it taller as I had a very low car previously, although the CT is even lower!

mwb 04-22-14 02:43 PM

Thanks, Clutchless. The Swagman XTC is a platform rack -- although I'm not sure how important that is. It just looks easy to mount the bikes. Previously, I used a Hollywood rack that attached very easily to the car (no hitch). I could get the whole thing on including the bike in less than 5 minutes, but it won't work on the CT because of the spoiler. And there wasn't such a great need to get into the trunk with the bigger car because I had access through the back seat and the car actually had a usable back seat -- one with room for legs so I didn't usually need to put anything in the trunk. I'm babbling. Sorry.

I look forward to hearing from you. Molly

Clutchless 04-23-14 07:16 AM

I tested the fit. I have a 12 inch ball mount that the bike rack is mounted to. It allows barely enough room to open the rear hatch with the bike rack in place.

I checked out the Swagman XTC 2 and it allows the center mount to fold down easily so you can open the rear hatch without removing it from the hitch. Although it has its own integral ball mount that slides into the hitch, I could not determine the distance between the rack and the end of the mount. It appears long enough and I still think it should work. You can always buy an extender at etrailers.

Get a locking hitch pin to secure the bike rack to the vehicle hitch. Also a locking cable for your bikes.

tk1971 04-24-14 01:13 PM


Had my Swagman XC2 since 2005 or 2006. I needed a new (curved) shank to elevate the rack for the CT:

DixieDude 04-26-14 04:16 PM

I have the curt hitch with a swagman platform rack. Great investment. No problems at all.

DixieDude 04-26-14 04:17 PM

I should add that mine tilts back so you can get I to the hatch with out removing the bike.

JayGoldste 04-27-14 08:46 AM


Originally Posted by tk1971 (Post 8503319)
Had my Swagman XC2 since 2005 or 2006. I needed a new (curved) shank to elevate the rack for the CT

I'm going to be getting a hitch for the CT so I can use my Swagman G10 platform carrier. The G10 has a straight shank and worked fine with the hitch I had on my HS250h. Why did you have to get a curved shank for your Swagman?

Clutchless 04-28-14 11:51 AM

He said it was to raise it up because the CT is a low vehicle. It provides more ground clearance. Your HS was higher off the ground. Cheap insurance.

mwb 04-28-14 02:15 PM

Thanks, everyone. I love the pictures. I've ordered the hitch and am still dithering over which bike rack. The guy at eTrailer recommended the G10 (if I remember correctly that one tilted so that I could get into the back of the car without taking the bike off). He also recommended a similar Thule but it has some dicey reviews about the top stabilizer taking the paint off the bike. Any recommendations? I really appreciate everyone's help and pictures. The bikes look almost as big as the car. :-)

tk1971 04-29-14 11:04 AM


I'd look into how each rack would secure and fit with your bike(s). I can only offer my experience...

My Swagman XC2 is all metal. I've had it since 2005 /2006, and have not needed to replace any parts due to wear / failure, or do any maintenance on it. There are no plastic parts on it to break. Also, the rack is particularly easy to use. Once the metal loops are adjust to the width of the bike, all I have to do is place the bike on the rack and push the ratcheting hook down on the bike's top tube. Done. No plastic straps for the wheels or frame. For a full suspension bike like mine (pictured above), it's very simple and reliable.

But... because of the way the XC2 secures a bike (hook pushing down on the top tube), if your bike has cables or hoses running along the top tube, the hook will push them down onto the frame. Here's my hardtail bike with the cables / hoses on top:

I release all cable tension before I secure the hook, but eventually, the cables will wear through the bike's paint. I guess I could place some kind of plastic sheet under the cables (on the frame) before I secure the bike, but that would be an extra step and carrying around a sheet of plastic, which means I won't do it.

You need to get what fits your needs and your bike. Also think about how simple you want the process of loading / unloading your bike. Then pick your rack.

Voracious 04-29-14 07:01 PM

hmm, this is pretty cool! i wanna get back into biking a bit... but i don't want to add any racks or add ones for it. have you ever try to put your seats down in the rear, take off your front wheel, and stuff your bike in the back? would that fit for some bikes?

DixieDude 04-29-14 09:26 PM

I can fit my bike in the back with out removing the from wheel. It's a pain though.

mwb 05-01-14 05:24 PM

Every time someone has shoved my bike into a folded down back seat something goes awry like the gears or brakes. I don't want to do it.

DixieDude 05-01-14 10:08 PM

Yeah luckily my bike doesn't have either of those.

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