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Discussion Starter #1
Last week we once again headed to Northern Michigan for a week of camping. We loaded our Pilot with all our camping gear, put the mountain bikes on back, and hit the road.

This is the first time I have loaded the Pilot so heavily, and I was a little concerned the back end appeared to be sitting so low. I had four bikes on a hitch mounted RhodeGear rack. Having the bikes hanging out there appeared to really drop the rear ride height.

Thankfully, handling was not really affected much. The Pilot drove very comfortably, with a noticeable difference in weight. I was even impressed by the passing power still available with that load. I was able to easily and safely pass slower vehicles on the two lane roads. Even more important than acceleration, the brakes worked great too. I had a daydreaming cyclist decide to make a sudden turn right in front of me! :eek: I was traveling about 40 Mph at the time, and was happily able to stop immediately, with only the tiniest squeal from the back tires.

It was an enjoyable trip, and the Pilot performed flawlessly.
:D We saw three other Pilots, but they didn't wave back. We were rolling though a parking lot in one of the parks, and heard a guy say rather loudly, "Look, there goes the new Honda!".:18:

Now for the pics!:2:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Camp Site #2

Camp Site #2

Still riding a little low with the bikes & tent unloaded.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Camp Site #3. Good Night!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
At the bridge..............
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In the woods.................again!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
In the woods, and gettin' a little dirty!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Happy Trails!

In the end, all the mud, bugs and tree sap washed off. The sand vacuumed out of the interior as well!

Our Pilot is back in the safety of its suburban garage, and paved streets.

Until next time! :2:
 

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Once again, great pictures. We will be heading up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes with the Pilot in 1 week! Can't wait.

-Newt
 

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Would you have any idea (roughly) how much your gear weighed?:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm not really sure. :confused: Here's a mostly complete list from memory:

1 four person tent & assorted stakes, polls and ropes.
4 sleeping bags & pillows/blankets
4 folding camp chairs
2 queen size air mattresses
1 large suitcase (very full)
2 kid size suitcases (carry-on size)
2 grocery bags of food
Assorted tools, rope & Flash lights
3 adult size mountain bikes (Trek 820's)
1 kid size (20") BMX bike (Mongoose)
4 helmets
other misc. junk needed to travel with two kids.

This stuff filled the back to a level just above the second row headrests. I raised the headrests to prevent a brake induced avalanche. It looked "at the limit" of rear ride height, but drove just fine. I boosted rear tire pressure up to 36 lbs, and never really exceeded 72 or 73 mph for any great length of time.

Hope that helps! :D

Have fun at Sleeping Bear! We recommend the senic drive. There's a place to climb down the dune to Lake Michigan that is much funner to climb than the larger Dune Climb area out along the main road. It's 450 feet nearly straight down to the lake! Heed the warning signs of the tough climb back up!
 

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A2Pilot

Thanks for the pictures. My Sandstone is scheduled to be built this week. I have been looking for a 4 bike trailer carrier and have just about decided on a Thule Swing Away (can't remember the number). I see you have a RhodeGear Rack. Can you give me pros and/or cons of one v the other? The reason I was leaning towards the Thule is that you can pull it away from the back and swing it to the side even with the bikes on it.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi CoPilot

If you're considering a hitch mount rack, I'd go with a swing-away model. My Rhode Gear rack tilts down, and even with two bikes on the rack, this can be difficult. It's nearly impossible with all four bikes on there. :rolleyes:

I had used this rack on my previous F150, and it worked great.
I won't continue to use it on the Pilot. It actually does not fit the Honda hitch very well. The metal part of the rack is sized to fit a class II receiver. I'm using the optional plastic sleeve to make it fit the class III on my Pilot. This adaptor is longer than the main tube on my hitch, resulting in some vertical play that stresses the rack.

I've got a Yakima rack system for the roof, and plan on carrying the bikes up there in the future. I'm 6'5", so reaching up there is not a problem. :D

I am curious if carrying the bikes on the roof will also help distribute the load more evenly on the suspension. As I mentioned above, once I added the bikes out back, the rear bumper dropped below my comfort level. :eek:
 

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a2Pilot

Thanks for the response. I'm short and squat so reaching to roof racks is not for me. Also the wife sometimes wants to go by herself or with girlfriends so it is difficult for them to get bikes up or down from the roof. Most of the roof racks I have seen also require removing the front wheels, which means you have to have some place to store them. I was concerned about putting 4 bikes on the rack because of the way they extend out the back it is more stress than a trailer hitch; but I guess, based upon your comments it has more advantages than disadvanteges.:4:
 

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Hey, I am an avid cyclist and depending on what kind of bikes you have and how much money you have in them, I recommend the hitch mount bike rack that holds the bike by its fork, and then a strap holds the rear tire down.

Let me see if I can find a pic:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/large_photo.html?SKU=12613&Store=Bike

This way your not scratching your top tube paint and your bike is more secure.

Just my opinion, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
new2honda said:
Hey, I am an avid cyclist and depending on what kind of bikes you have and how much money you have in them, I recommend the hitch mount bike rack that holds the bike by its fork, and then a strap holds the rear tire down.

Let me see if I can find a pic:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/large_photo.html?SKU=12613&Store=Bike

This way your not scratching your top tube paint and your bike is more secure.

Just my opinion, thanks.
That looks very cool. :29: Does it swing to the side? I didn't see that info on the site. My top tube paint is pretty messed up from hanging on that Rhode Gear rack. I went with fork mount for my roof rack.
 

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Another possibility...

I have seen is to use those "pipe wrap" pieces of insulation that plumbers use to go over the top tube and any other parts of the bike that get "scrunched" up on the carrier. I'm not talking about the fiberglass type insulation; but those round plastic like pieces that go over water pipes. You can pick them up for just a couple of dollars at most hardware stores. They can be cut to fit the various bars on the bike and just slip on and off in a nano-second. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
:18: Excellent Idea!

I wish I would have thought of that a couple years ago before I scratched up my frame!! Oh well, the next bike will stay nice longer!:D
 
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