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I'm in the market for a tow setup so i can attach a bike carrier. I have 2 beach cruisers that are heavier than the road bikes that most carriers are weighed by. Anyone have history with a tow setup and/or a carrier that handles more weight? Attaching a carrier to the hatch is not an option because of the weight of the bikes. Any help appreciated. Driving a 2016 Outback Limited 3.6R. Wouldn't hesitate to put a tire carrier on if it works better.
 

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Suggest a Draw Tight 4,000 lb hitch with a 2”receiver and a Thule heavy duty hitch mounted bike rack.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback Touring 3.6R Wilderness Green
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310 Posts
Or Curts 2" receiver ad 1UP USA bike carrier is another choice.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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The Gen 5 Outback ... not just the hitch ... is limited to a hitch/tongue weight of 200 pounds.
 

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2019 Outback, 2014 Forester
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91 Posts
Great question! I consider myself an expert on this topic because I have a trailer hitch on all my cars just for this reason- to carry bikes.
First off, your beach cruiser bikes aren't as heavy as you think they are. The bikes and carrier are not going to exceed the tongue weight of any decent hitch unless the bikes are made out of solid lead. That's a joke.
Anyway, I'm assuming (please don't break out the tired old cliche about assumptions) you're going to carry anywhere from 1 to 4 bikes at a time. I personally own a 2 bike carrier and a 4 bike carrier. The 4 bike carrier is old and made of HEAVY steel. My wife can't even pick it up it's so heavy. It was originally purchased for a 2001 Dodge Durango and it is in perfect working order. The 2 bike carrier is much newer and made of aluminum. It's very light and she can handle it by herself. Know this- I did not spend a bloody fortune on either one of these. The Yakima and Thule racks are great but they cost as much as a bike!
I recommend a rack from a company called KUAT. They're inexpensive and lightweight. I bought my 2 bike carrier online for less than $200. They're serviceable meaning spare/replacement parts are available.
Now for the hitch- there's 2 kinds. Bolt-on and welded-on. I have both. I spent around $300 for a welded on hitch from a local, reputable company and I'm happy with it. If there's a problem (I've had it for almost 6 years on my 2014 Forester) I'm sure they will stand by their products and workmanship. To be clear, I did not get the wiring harness on either as I only wanted it for carrying bikes so I saved some money there.
On my 2019 Outback I opted for a bolt-on hitch from U-Haul. I'm very happy to tell you that it costed me about $100 less than the weld-on hitch and that included installation! The other advantage to the U-Haul hitch is this- it came with a nation-wide, lifetime guarantee!
How about that?

~now let the opinions fly...
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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Now for the hitch- there's 2 kinds. Bolt-on and welded-on. I have both. I spent around $300 for a welded on hitch from a local, reputable company and I'm happy with it. If there's a problem (I've had it for almost 6 years on my 2014 Forester)
A welded-on hitch on a unibody vehicle? I'm not sure what it would take to convince me that is a good idea.
 

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2019 Outback 3.6R
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39 Posts
I went with a Ecohitch. OEM style bolt on with a 2 inch receiver and a 1UP hitch.

I spent almost a year researching and talking to everyone who would listen at my cycling events both MTB and Road.

would go the same route again.
 

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2019 Outback, 2014 Forester
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it's for the people who really want to be committed to an accessory.
What’s your point? Once welded on It’s no longer an accessory but it becomes a value added fixture which is pretty much the same as an item that’s bolted on.
I personally would have no desire to remove and reinstall a hitch from one vehicle to another given how inexpensive they are.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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What’s your point? Once welded on It’s no longer an accessory ...
That's for sure. The structural damage and increased susceptibility to rust in the weld-affected zones will last as long as you own the vehicle. Your car, your choice.
 

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2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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2,550 Posts
I have a couple of beach cruisers and also a couple of Specialized bikes too.

Ecohitch was easy to install. Gave it a couple coats of CRC Marine inhibitor before installation and it looks great with no rust.

Kuat NV 2.0, also FTW. Extremely durable at 56 lbs. and it will hold bikes that weigh up to 60 lbs. each. If you need to carry 4 bikes they make an add-on but that reduces the bike weight to 40 lbs. each. I don't have that however.
 
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