My Final Bike Rack Choice with Picture
After consulting with the threads in this forum, I finally order the Thule 994 Expressway Bike Rack.
I wanted to see how the bike rack fits together on the MDX but it is not as easy as I thought. The reason is that in Memphis neither Yakima or Thule carries the top of the line rack in their shop. They have the lower end models but the top end must be ordered. I was left with kind of catalog shopping.
The Thule's dealer The Peddler's Shop has the "994 ExpressWay" ($250) model but has none in stock due to holiday, I guess. The young man works in the shop has one on his PathFinder and let me try the set on my MDX. This help a lot in my decision process.
The Thule 994 Expressway model has a tilt down feature so you can move the rack away from the hitch door. However, it is highly recommended that you must remove your bike FIRST. This is definitely an inconvenience. On the other hand, the Yakima use an integrated frame so that the main frame arm can not be move down when not in use. I like the Yakima's description of easy to take rack down feature but I guess I decided that probably don't remove and put back the bike rack on a frequeny basis. Since the Yakima does not permit the tilt-down of the bike arm, the total length with the MDX will be too long to fit the garage. I had to drop it.
On trying the Thue Expressway, I am surprised but delighted to find that the 994 rack would allow the hitch door to open without tilting down the rack. So, I can open the hitch door when the bike is not mounted.
This is a big convenience. The door will not be able to pass the rack when you have the rack bike arm up and security cable lock put on. In short, I decided to go with this model and bypass the choice of "swing-to-the-side" rack on either Thule Swingway or Yakima RocNGate.
As a result, I can be inside the garage.. with the bike rack on the MDX and open the hitch door. That's what I like. I don't know if the next level down Thule 944 model would allow you to open the hitch door since it does not have the "tilt down" feature. But .. I decide to use the 994 anyway for better stability with the wheel tie-down bar and still have the tilt-down feature if I need.
I hope this article helps anybody with a decision to make on the bike rack.. it was like buy the MDX MSRP all over again on this thing in the sense of trying to get the right thing
Anybody who's not limited to garage space should consider the higher-end model that has the swing to the side feature which both brands carry.
The following pictures demonstrate my experience described above...