Know the difference between Class I, II, III and IV Hitches and the Bike Rack Carrying Capacity
What does it mean to have a hitch of class I, II, III, or IV, and how does it affect the weight that you can carry and what you can safely tow? (Be knowledgeable about the weight limitations of various hitch-mounted bike racks.)
It is essential that you be able to differentiate between a 114-inch receiver and a 2-inch receiver and understand why this distinction varies depending on the class of the receiver. Also, the gross tongue weight of a hitch is more essential for a bike rack than the weight of the rack when it is completely loaded, which is something you are going to find out about a little bit later on in this essay.
Now, let’s take a look at the many kinds of hitches that are available.
Hitches of both Class I and Class II may be attached to receivers measuring 11/4 inches.
Class I hitch, which may often be seen on more compact vehicles
A trailer hitch having a gross trailer weight capability of up to 2,000 pounds and a tongue weight capacity of up to 200 pounds or 91 kilograms.
Class II hitches are often located on automobiles of a middle size and smaller sport utility vehicles.
Hitch for trailers having a weight-carrying capacity of up to 3,500 pounds (1588 kilograms) of gross trailer weight and 300-350 pounds (136-159 kilograms) of tongue weight.
Hitch fittings for Class III and Class IV may be used with 2-inch receivers.
Class III hitches are often seen on full-size automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, and vans.
The weight bearing capacity of a Class 3 hitch is up to 5,000 pounds (2268 kilograms) of gross trailer weight and up to 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of tongue weight.
This category is often defined as a hitch that may be used with any 2″ receiver, whatever the rating of the receiver.
Class IV hitches are often used on automobiles such as SUVs, trucks, and vans.
The weight bearing capacity of a Class 4 hitch is up to 10,000 pounds (4536 kilograms) of gross trailer weight and 1,000 to 1,200 pounds (454 to 544 kilograms) of tongue weight. There are occasions when you will notice that any hitch that has a capacity more than 5,000 pounds gross weight is labeled as Class IV.
The Maximum gross trailer weight is used to determine the towing weight, which is the entire weight that is being towed behind the vehicle. For instance, when towing a trailer to a vehicle with a class I hitch, the maximum weight that may be pulled is 2,000 pounds. If your trailer weighs 600 pounds, you have a capacity for 1,400 pounds of stuff on it. Keep in mind, however, that a hitch bike rack distributes its weight in a downward direction, therefore the most significant weight capacity to focus on is the tongue weight. (For examples, see below)
The Maximum gross tongue weight for a class I hitch is 200 pounds, which indicates that the maximum downward weight, which includes the weight of the bike rack as well as the combined weight of all of the loaded bicycles, cannot exceed 200 pounds (91 kilograms). This is the weight that really exerts a downward force on the hitch itself in a vertical direction.
In most cases, the maximum weight that can be placed on a trailer’s tongue is equal to approximately 10 percent of the total weight of the trailer. As a result, the maximum gross tongue weight that can be supported by a hitch is equal to approximately 10 percent of the maximum gross trailer towing weight that can be supported by that same hitch.
Because of the downward weight transference that is exerted by hitch mount bike racks, a bike rack that is capable of supporting 3, 4, or 5 heavy bikes will be heavy itself. For this reason, you’ll always be able to find hitch mount racks that are capable of carrying 3 to 5 bikes and are compatible with 2-inch hitch receivers.
A 1.25-inch receiver may function as either a class I or class II hitch, with the primary difference being that class II hitches are constructed from larger gauge steel in order to support greater loads.
Class III and class IV hitches are both possible with a 2″ receiver.