01-12-2013, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Mein Auto: 2012 X3
attaching a bike rack
Hi folks. I don't generally post here and certainly do not want to spam the board, but was directed to this thread by a customer. Hopefully, I can add some value to the discussion about attaching a bike rack to the X1. Full disclosure: my company recently purchased the North American rights to the Execuhitch product line, and we are rebranding the product as the invisihitch.
In other parts of the world, our invisihitch is the BMW X1 factory hitch, so we know a bit about the design of a hitch for this vehicle, as well about the various options for attaching a bike rack.
To add clarity to a few points raised in this thread:
Why no factory hitch or bike rack for the X1?
Unfortunately, BMW North America made a strategic decision to bring the X1 to market here in the U.S. and Canada without a factory hitch option. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. So in North America we provide the invisihitch as an "aftermarket" hitch for the X1. Again, it is the exact same hitch that we provide to BMW for use as their X1 factory hitch in other parts of the world.
It is also unfortunate that the X1 in North America has only one tow eye on the factory metal bumper core. So attaching the BMW bike rack via the tow eyes is not a viable option on the X1. If you want to put a bike rack on the back of the X1, you will need to install a hitch. (This assumes that no one really wants to strap a clamp-on rack to this vehicle).
The X1 bumper and hitches:
The metal bumper core on the X1 is a fairly stout piece of steel. It's primary purpose is to transfer impact forces to the crumple zones of the vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision, the idea being to sacrifice the vehicle's body panels to absorb crash forces before those forces can reach any precious human cargo. For this reason, the only BMW-approved method of attaching a hitch to the vehicle is to replace the factory steel bumper core with a steel hitch beam that attaches to the vehicle in precisely the same way and at precisely the same points as the original bumper core. Any other method of attaching a hitch, such as bolting to the sides of the frame rails or using an A-frame support point, compromises passenger safety and is not approved by BMW.
Providing access to a hitch receiver on the X1:
There seems to be some confusion regarding any required modifications to the X1 to install a hitch. All hitches require access to the opening on the receiver in order to allow for insertion of a ball mount or a bike rack. Typically, either the bumper has to be cut or the plastic gravel guard underneath the vehicle has to be cut. In the latter case, the receiver is typically designed to drop down through an opening in the gravel guard and then stick out horizontally under the bumper The invisihitch receiver takes this approach, and then adds even more stealthiness by making the part that sticks out removable. So, when not in use, there is no visible evidence that the vehicle even has a hitch installed. And in the event of a rear-end collision, there is nothing protruding to interfere with the bumper's intended purpose of transferring the crash forces to the crumple zones.
To accomplish this, there must be an access opening in the gravel guard underneath the vehicle. Fortunately, BMW designed the X1 with a factory access opening in the gravel guard. To ease the process of inserting and removing our removable bike-rack connector, we recommend increasing the size of the factory gravel-guard opening slightly... by approximately 1 inch by 4 inches. Personally, I would be very surprised if anyone noticed a very slight increase in the size of the existing gravel-guard opening located entirely underneath the vehicle. But we are looking at ways to eliminate the need to perform any trimming of the gravel guard whatsoever, no matter how small.
I am attaching some photos of the X1 with the invisihitch receiver installed so you can see for yourself what this option for attaching a bike rack looks like. As far as I know, there is currently no better way to connect a bike rack to the back of the X1 in North America. I will, however, admit to being biased.