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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not to beat a dead horse, as I've read the many threads on trailer hitches but Im hoping for some insight into my specific situation.

I have a new to me 2006 RAV4 V6 Limited with the tow prep package. The PO didn't even know he had it until we looked at the original window invoice sticker. Its never had any type of tow bar attached.

I'd like to add a hitch, but not to "tow." I would be using it to carry a bicycle, and occasionally a dirt bike or motorcycle using something like this: Black Widow Economy Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier | Discount Ramps

For carrying with a max weight of 500 pounds (my bikes weigh between 250- 400), would you guys trust a Curt or other aftermarket bar? The price difference is just huge compared to the OEM as we all know, but the multiple mounting points has me wondering if its a better/necessary option. I don't mind spending the money if necessary, but I hate to waste that much just for 'peace of mind" as opposed to common sense.

I also have no idea between the different classes of tow hitch, but I think i need a Class III?

Thanks for any and all advice.
 

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I have the same RAV4 with a 4-bolt Valley hitch and would have zero concerns with you using any brand 2" square receiver. IMO the many-bolt factory ones with their extra plates and little bolts don't buy enough extra to be worth the $$$.
But I also don't like those hitch m/c carriers and wouldn't carry my 300# DRZ-400 on one. I'd get a bike trailer instead especially if you haul the bikes often. You could get by with only a trailer light kit. Wouldn't need a brake controller.
I do have a custom built carrier that bolts onto the front of my F-250 with two 1 1/2" square tubes and carries the DRZ easily and safely. Just came back from using it many evenings in the Black Hills National Forest on my Sturgis trip. It included driving down a 4X4 dirt road as fast as safe in the pouring rain. The bike is fastened by its front fork and rear wheel so it can travel on its suspension for less strain on the carrier. Those rear carriers don't allow the same. (After it stopped raining the same road took about 1/4 the time on the DRZ. :))
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have the same RAV4 with a 4-bolt Valley hitch and would have zero concerns with you using any brand 2" square receiver. IMO the many-bolt factory ones with their extra plates and little bolts don't buy enough extra to be worth the $$$.
But I also don't like those hitch m/c carriers and wouldn't carry my 300# DRZ-400 on one. I'd get a bike trailer instead especially if you haul the bikes often. You could get by with only a trailer light kit. Wouldn't need a brake controller.
I do have a custom built carrier that bolts onto the front of my F-250 with two 1 1/2" square tubes and carries the DRZ easily and safely. Just came back from using it many evenings in the Black Hills National Forest on my Sturgis trip. It included driving down a 4X4 dirt road as fast as safe in the pouring rain. The bike is fastened by its front fork and rear wheel so it can travel on its suspension for less strain on the carrier. Those rear carriers don't allow the same. (After it stopped raining the same road took about 1/4 the time on the DRZ. :))
Thanks for sharing the experience. My bikes are a bit heavier - a DR650 and an 85 Honda Nighthawk CB700. I would only be using it for transport to shops and things like that. Always on asphalt/highways, etc. Not looking to bring a bike down rough roads as a launching point. Quite the opposite in fact - I'd be taking the bikes to get fixed so I could ride those back roads on those bikes :)

Maybe its wishful thinking but based on what you said, maybe a 4 bolt hitch on the back is Ok for the type of carrying Ill be doing?
 

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Cost extra but it is a true hidden hitch. Curt and others look like crap dragging on the ground. I just installed one on a 2014 Rav4. You will have to see if they have it for your year. (rust in bolts holes, had to tap and one pulled on torquing so I had to tap to a 1/2 by 13 thread, did not drill out ,just tapped to 1/2 inch x13 pitch)


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I would think a trailer is likely required for this application. The max tongue weight (including the carrier itself!) is 350 lbs.

Plus, if you put that much weight on the back, you could use your headlights to signal airplanes.

Or UFOs.

Further, the bike on a carrier would likely obscure your taillights from drivers behind you, which is dangerous and may even be illegal. Less likely a problem if the carrier itself has lights, though.

Trailer is far better, I think.

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As I said I'd much prefer a small trailer to a hitch carrier. Problems with the trailer are it needs to be registered (and property taxed) and you need a place to store it. But since I assume both bikes are registered and road legal, possibly a front wheel carrier would work well. This one is made for Harleys so it's probably expensive but would certainly easily handle your bikes.
 

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For that weight it is definitely motorcycle trailer time if intending to use a RAV, even with the OEM towing package.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice. I had no idea that the weight of a motorcycle would be a bad idea to carry that way. Im thinking one of those front -wheel tow systems might be the way to go. Im not looking to tow anything heavy full time, so maybe a non-OEM tow hitch will be perfectly adequate, from what Ive been reading from you guys here.
 

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Ok, I did not read the post before, but I did now. By no means would I load a 500lbs motorcycle on any hitch bolted to the Rav4. I installed my hitch and the uni-body bumper struts are not very strong. 350lbs is MAX I would use. I have a TIG welder at home and work with metal on a semi- basis. So I have some idea on metals strength and engineered design. Plus you will extend your 500lb load out 2ft increasing the leverage on the hitch mounting points that are far from being anywhere near even a weak truck frame.
 
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