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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > My New Receiver Hitch and Bike Rack for 325i



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      02-03-2009, 09:36 PM   #1
abcommercial
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My New Receiver Hitch and Bike Rack for 325i

FINALLY!!! Here are photos of my new 1-1/4 receiver hitch and removable bike rack.









I've been planning to get this done for some time. Since I ride alot (several times per week for the past 4+ years), it is worth it to me to invest a little extra in a good transport system. I tried the BMW roof rack but the appearance was too drastic. I considered a Saris trunk-mount rack, but I don't like that it contacts the paint. So, I decided to go again with a hitch and a hitch-mount rack. This is the most sturdy, reliable option and doesn't touch the paint at all. I can put it on and remove it in about a minute, in less time than it takes to put on a trunk-mount rack.

I have to give Master Hitch due credit for the great install. I have had Master Hitch install a hitch on my past 5 vehicles (including a few Audi A4). There are alot of car-specific hitches available in the aftermarket. Unfortunately, the Curt brand hitch for the 325 is tailored specifically for the 325xi (the all-wheel drive model). For some reason, the bumper area of the 325i (2-wheel drive model) is a bit different and the stock Curt hitch will not work on the 325i without modification. However, Master Hitch is a great company with some good talent working for it. So, for a few hours labor (around $170 with tax), they modified this Curt hitch to fit the 325i.

Incidentally, the Yakima Double-Down rack costs about $200. The Curt hitch retails for around $300, but I found one on eBay for less than $200 delivered. Total cost for this "project" including hitch, labor, and rack is around $550.
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      02-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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No offense, but that is the ugliest thing I've ever seen.
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      02-04-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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No offense here either but,
Roof Rack system seems way better than that setup....
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      02-04-2009, 12:05 PM   #4
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I would rather get OEM BMW roof rack for better style.
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      02-04-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Definitely ugly, but if he rides 4+ times a week I'm sure this is easier to work with.
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      02-04-2009, 12:59 PM   #6
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If my rack is ugly, then the roof rack is Fugly.

The point is to have a sturdy, reliable rack with minimal affect on the car, its performance, and its appearance.

Trunk-mount rack - scrapes up paint over time; least sturdy option

Roof-mount rack - seriously affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle; exposes bike to the elements (sandblasting effect and moths); exposes roof to dings from falling bike; exposes bike and roof of car to disaster if you pull in the garage (requiring extra precautions)

Hitch-mount rack -- the hitch is barely visible (the least visible of the three). When the rack is connected, it doesn't touch the paint and is extremely sturdy. It also goes on and comes off extremely fast - faster, even, than the trunk-mount. Clearly the winner here.

Friday night - rack goes on, bike goes on, ready to roll out in the morning (club ride starts at 7:30). At club meeting point, bike comes off, no need to remove wheels. After ride, come home, and rack comes off in mere seconds.
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      02-04-2009, 01:00 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

I am waiting for the weather to break a bit so I can put the Curt hitch on my E91. I might even wire a light package so I can tow small utility trailer with my BMW. I want to see peoples faces when I pull upt to the hardware store and buy a sheet or two of plywood and haul it home with guess what, my BMW. My E91 and wifes E90 are daily drivers not garage queens.

I had a roof rack on my E39 and it was a pain to put it on take it off. It was a major pain to put the bikes on the rack also.

I am not crazy about seeing the receiver but for the convenience I will live with it.
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      02-04-2009, 01:17 PM   #8
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lol, I never thought people would see racks as a fashion accessory. We know they look ugly, but its all about function. Roof racks are a PITA to deal with compared to hitch mounted racks. lifting your bike on/off the roof of your car gets old really quick. plus, any dirt/mud left on the bike usually ends up on your car.
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      02-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blk335i08 View Post
No offense, but that is the ugliest thing I've ever seen.
Wow - I got to agree. And that big Yakima thing sticking out the back don't help any more than the smutz on the plate.

Much more elegant solution. Open hatch, stick it inside, close hatch.
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      02-04-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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I don't understand why everybody is so down on this. Without the rack, you can barely tell the hitch is there. And, how the car looks with the rack is pretty irrelevant since he isn't going to be driving around with under ordinary circumstances.

From what I can see, the hitch install looks great and is a very practical solution for carrying bikes around.
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      02-04-2009, 03:53 PM   #11
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Glad I live 1/4 mile from a trail head that leads to 40+ miles of paved off the main road trails.

Wish I could go 4 days a week, but alas I am limited to weekends currently due to work and school schedules.
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      02-04-2009, 08:53 PM   #12
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Thanks for the pics Ab. This actually helps me.

I am debating between the roof mount and a hitch mount. From how I figure it, there are many benefits with the hitch mount. My biggest concerns with the roof mount would be scratches from placing/removing the bikes and then the residual crap dripping/falling off the bike onto the roof of the car. Either option is not very attractive, so I am leaning toward the one that protects the car as well as is the easiest to use. The hitch mount seems easier & faster. Wouldn't even dream of placing the bike in the car for I don't want to get grease in the car.
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      02-04-2009, 09:19 PM   #13
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Ugly? Function trumps roof bars and I don't think anyone with taste would call the BMW roof rack "stylish". Being able to make the rack almost disappear in a matter of minutes has much more style than roof bars on a sedan or coupe.
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      02-04-2009, 09:26 PM   #14
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It's a shame we can't get the hitch that is a factory-installed option for European BMWs. It hides behind the bumper cover until you open the trunk and push a button that lowers it into position.
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      02-04-2009, 09:40 PM   #15
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Now you all know why I ordered my 335i with folding rear seats. My bike goes with me 3+ times per week without any rack issues whatsoever. But I do have the roof rack as well for the rarer occasions when I need to bring a second bike with me.
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      02-04-2009, 09:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy92782 View Post
Now you all know why I ordered my 335i with folding rear seats. My bike goes with me 3+ times per week without any rack issues whatsoever. But I do have the roof rack as well for the rarer occasions when I need to bring a second bike with me.
But then your bike would need to be spotless (including tires) before your put it into the car each time no?
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      02-04-2009, 10:45 PM   #17
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But then your bike would need to be spotless (including tires) before your put it into the car each time no?
Negative on that one. Throw down an old blanket for the bike to rest on and you're good to go. My Ibis Mojo mountain bike and my 335i and I have gone on all sorts of extremely muddy adventures together. A little dirt never hurt anything, including the trunk of your car. It vacuums right out.
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      02-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy92782 View Post
Negative on that one. Throw down an old blanket for the bike to rest on and you're good to go. My Ibis Mojo mountain bike and my 335i and I have gone on all sorts of extremely muddy adventures together. A little dirt never hurt anything, including the trunk of your car. It vacuums right out.

ohh...Ibis. I remember drooling over some of those frames when I would sit in class in Jr. High reading cycling magazines.
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      02-04-2009, 11:59 PM   #19
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What skiwagon said is right on. Anyone who is pretty serious and consistent with cycling would recognize the clear advantage of the hitch. I'd get mostly props on a cycling forum, though I know some of us here are cyclists and so I'm glad to post it on a BM forum.

It is barely noticeable when the rack is off. It actually looks pretty cool to the extent you can even see it -- similar diam to the exhaust pipes.

Keep in mind, anyone without the xi option is going to have to find a pretty competent hitch place who can do the custom engineering (i.e. I wouldn't take it to U-Haul, as I don't think they'd be qualified).

Oh, on the fold-down seats -- if I had that option on my car I might use, but I note that the used BMs with fold-down seats had really marred-up trim in the backseat from stuff bumping around. I also prefer keeping the bike behind the car, and not on top or inside.
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      02-05-2009, 02:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Oh, on the fold-down seats -- if I had that option on my car I might use, but I note that the used BMs with fold-down seats had really marred-up trim in the backseat from stuff bumping around. I also prefer keeping the bike behind the car, and not on top or inside.
I've had my 335 for 2 years now and I've been throwing road and mountain bikes in the back with the seats folded forward since the day I got it. There aren't any scuff marks anywhere except for a few along the plastic piece on the inner rearmost part of the trunk (but who cares). Every once in a while I'll get a little dirt on part of the rear seat but it's nothing a quick wipe of a towel or a vacuum won't fix. I like keeping the bike inside because it's secure. I don't have to worry about exposing my uber pricey carbon fiber MTB to all the baddies out there whenever I park.

Most people here would say they'd never buy a Lexus IS350 because they can't get it with a stick shift. As an avid cyclist, I say I'd never buy one because I can't get it with a folding rear seat. Infiniti G35/G37 for that matter, too.

Still, nice job on the hitch rack. One advantage they have over roof racks is no extra wind noise (and thus better gas mileage).
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      02-08-2012, 04:12 PM   #21
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I think the rack set up looks fine and my wife can't throw a bike on the roof. Is modifying the Curt still the only rack available? What mods did they have to do? Thanks.
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      03-31-2012, 01:39 PM   #22
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Kind of late to the discussion but just got my car and have been on a hunt myself.
There are several options. A 1 1/4" receiver made for the 2007 328i costs about $180 bucks from several folks online and made by Sportframe or Draw-Tite. They come with instructions and install without any drilling although a couple of appearance panels have to be removed and replaced. U-haul quoted me a Sportframe installed for $269.
I've had a receiver rack for years and in my book nothing works better for a bike rack, plus they give you the ability to put on storage rack or even pull a trailer of some kind if you had to, and yes, I wish it could be totally hidden, but it's a small price to pay. I love my bike too...
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