I haven't read the whole thread, but I have transported bikes while pulling a fiver. I modified the TV's hitch and put in a 2 bike rack using an oddball ball that sat on a 4-4 in cylinder of steel. It was good when we were young, but hoisting the bikes became a chore with age. We opted to install a front receiver on our Range Edge. We cut the bike carrier down to minimize visual distraction. The local State Police post looked at and loved it.
For the first time ever, we got a warning about a front air-bag. (I think it had to do with installing the hitch.) We drove 70 miles out of our way to see a Ford Dealer in Newberry and he told us...no worries the bags won't deploy at random.
Days later, we were driving home from Minnesota on US-2 in the UP. I was chooglin' around at 62mph and being passed on a 2-lane when a deer appeared on the shoulder. You never really no what a deer will do. Our rig obscured the passing car's view of the deer. Exiting stage left, was not an option. We started braking hard and the deer jumped in front us, jumped away. And then, it jumped in front us.
The airbag did not deploy. We struck the buck at low velocity. When we finally came to a stop and looked back, Rudolph had flown away. Our two ancient Sears Roebuck bikes were rearranged and and covered in deer scat.
We were able to drive home safely. There was minimal damage to the front of the Ranger. Because the bikes were spooned, we were able to salvage the rear portion of one and the front portion of the other to jury rig one phoenix from the ashes.
I've enjoyed the front receiver and have used more than I expected. If I boondock, I will lock my gen set to it. I can easily lift my moped on to a cargo carrier. If anyone is having trouble getting into a spot, you can park the camper wherever with a front mounted ball.