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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I go looking at mountain bikes and worrying whether I need to spend another $800-$1k on a trailer hitch and bike rack, does anyone have photos of their bike in the back of their Outback? Can you do it with just the front wheel off?
Thanks.
 

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2021 Outback Touring XT
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I am sure someone will post a pic but several thoughts…

1. It should fit as I have done it in a 2014 Crosstrek before. Noting that if you have an XL frame or 29er that may change the fit a little. I could fit a mens 26” large frame and a womens small 27.5 in the Crosstrek with the rear seats down.

2. If it is just one bike, roof mounts work great and are not usually as expensive as the hitch racks.

3. If you want a mountain bike for the cargo area (rear seats up) check out Montague folding bikes. They are trail worthy mountain bikes that fold. I have been riding them since 2006 and they have never let me down. I am admittedly not the most intense rider ever, but have done reasonably rough trails without issue (Wapehani bike park in Bloomington, IN as a reference point). Certainly not a bike I would ride for downhill or more extreme riding (not really setup right for it), but for most mountain bikers it should be able to do the job.
 

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2013 3.6R LTD, 2022 Onyx Edition
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I also do not have photos, but absolutely you can throw a bike in the cargo area of an Outback. I have seen plenty, some with front wheel off, some with the whole bike intact, so I guess it just depends on the bike & whether or not you need any of the rear seats up at the same time.
 

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If you don't mind folding the rear seats down, the whole bike can get tossed in the back of the Outback, wheels-on. I've done it many times.

I still prefer an external rack, because it's much easier and much cleaner, and it leaves space for people/friends/bags.

You don't have to spend $1k for a bike rack. While the hitch racks are great and I love them, you can get something like this much cheaper:

 

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2021 XT Touring Popular package #2 OEM Hitch
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Only thing I can add in PA if they can't read the tag they might pull you over. Mosty it because of toll by plate roads.

 

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Before I go looking at mountain bikes and worrying whether I need to spend another $800-$1k on a trailer hitch and bike rack, does anyone have photos of their bike in the back of their Outback? Can you do it with just the front wheel off?
Thanks.
I have no photos, nor a mountain bike, but I am able to fit 2 road or all-road (now branded as gravel) bikes in the back of my Outback as long as both wheels are off. We use a Pedro's chain holders that keep the chain and RD in place. I can fit in one bike with only the front wheel off. Granted, our road bikes have dropbars which are not as wide as mountainbike flat bars which affects if the front forks stay forward or turned 90 degrees, and the our hubs are QR and not thru-axle. My bike also has a rear rack, which I remove if we are taking a long road trip to make packing easier.

I use wheel bags for the removed wheels that I picked up real cheap when Performance Pike had their bankruptcy sale. The bag will fit fat 29er tires and wheels, but not fat bike wheels. The bags really make storage easy as no more pedal/lever/misc in the spokes issues to disentangle, so they can go where ever they fit best, including one set between the 2 bike frames. After all is packed, we cover thye luggage/bike/stuff with a tan canvas painters drop cloth.

This year I am getting a wide cargo box to carry the wheels and other assorted bike stuff and light luggage.

That said, a platform hitch rack is quicker to load, BUT also means the bikes are exposed to the elements, as well as gawkers and idiots who mess with the shifting, and to thieves. Some of the nicer racks do fold down, even with bikes still mounted on them to open the rear hatch.

If you go rear hitch mount, check whether the hitch or rack mount warranty requires using an upper support strap to minimize hitch bounce.
 

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Hmm, I don't recall my hitch/rack costing anything like $800-$1000! Another thing to consider. If you are absolutely sure you'll never want to tow anything (utility trailer, boat, tent camper, etc) with your OB, you might decide installing a hitch would be somewhat wasted money. I've installed hitches on most of my vehicles because I use them. That it can accept a bike carrier was just part of the justification for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have no photos, nor a mountain bike, but I am able to fit 2 road or all-road (now branded as gravel) bikes in the
Thanks, much appreciated, answering my question and not second guessing my decisions :)
These are many of the reasons I don’t want a rack. If I start riding often, I will invest in a rack and hitch, but I have a carport with a tree nearby and I use the rear camera all the time; I will be getting a fat tire bike for the Pine Barrens sugar sand and they are high theft items. Even the REI fat tire bike is $1500. I’m sure there are cheaper ones out there. And I’ll make sure I can get it in the back before I take it home!
 

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Hmm, I don't recall my hitch/rack costing anything like $800-$1000! Another thing to consider. If you are absolutely sure you'll never want to tow anything (utility trailer, boat, tent camper, etc) with your OB, you might decide installing a hitch would be somewhat wasted money. I've installed hitches on most of my vehicles because I use them. That it can accept a bike carrier was just part of the justification for it.
If you are getting the Subaru OEM hitch installed by the dealer AFTER purchase of the car, that is a very common ballpark estimate range. Then you have to add the actual bike rack of your choosing. That is why if you think you want a hitch it is better to add the hitch when you order the car. There are a number of posts on this site about OEM vs. aftermarket hitchs - pluses & minuses, and it can vary depending on OB Generation and design of the hitch and its interface with teh car's unibody structure. One critical issue with any receiver hitch is the ball tongue, bike rack, cooler carrier, etc., must fit securely without wobbling.
 

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Thanks, much appreciated, answering my question and not second guessing my decisions :)
These are many of the reasons I don’t want a rack. If I start riding often, I will invest in a rack and hitch, but I have a carport with a tree nearby and I use the rear camera all the time; I will be getting a fat tire bike for the Pine Barrens sugar sand and they are high theft items. Even the REI fat tire bike is $1500. I’m sure there are cheaper ones out there. And I’ll make sure I can get it in the back before I take it home!
...and then there are Jersey Devils in the Pine Barrens (and greenheads)..., Pedal Tommy, Pedal!... Good Luck whichever route you take.
 

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I appreciate the way my OEM hitch tucks into a notch in the bumper rather than my '18's aftermarket did below it. Maintains ground clearance and just looks neater.
 

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Before I go looking at mountain bikes and worrying whether I need to spend another $800-$1k on a trailer hitch and bike rack, does anyone have photos of their bike in the back of their Outback? Can you do it with just the front wheel off?
Thanks.
If you really want a photo I can shoot one, but I can assure you that if you can put the back seats down, you can fit the bike in there without taking the front wheel off. I do it all the time, even though I have a Saris Bones rack. Its just easier to do it that way.
 

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I regularly fit a size large 29er (SC Hightower) in the back of mine, sometimes with the front wheel on sometimes with it off. With the front wheel on it is a tight fit, but just because my handlebars are 800mm wide. Unfortunately I don't have any photos.
 
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