I posted a review of the Swagman XC bike rack about this time last year. Having been through quite a lot of abuse throughout the last 12 months I thought I would report back on how it’s doing.
Well this rack has been to Burning Man and back as well as to southern tip of Baja Mexico and back without any significant problems. It will fit pretty much any two bikes you care to mount and holds them quite securely even when bouncing down some ugly roads.
I guess there are 3 downsides to this rack I should mention:
- the extra length [especially with the extender I've got installed] makes the vehicle uber long which can be a challenge in parking lots or when trying to tackle steep off-road sections.
- the clamp that holds the bikes’ top tubes is hard to undo without a wrench to bang it with!
- the bolt that installs the rack tightly to the receiver is long and hard to install so you are not encouraged to install/remove the rack frequently – although this works as a plus for bike thieves!
Given the cost of this rack [less than $200 with extension] I can’t really complain and I’m happy to use it. If I know I’ll be doing some serious off-roading I’d carry the bikes inside. I like using the extension because it lets me open the tailgate of my pick up truck and get inside without messing with the racked bikes.
I should also point out that the bikes I carry on this rack are 30-40lbs – not light at all so this rack has been well tested.
If you are going to only use the rack occasionally you may want to replace the stock receiver mounting bolt with a QR version. The rack won’t be as secure, but you’ll be able to throw it on in 10secs and remove it just as fast.
One last point I should make – with this rack you can turn any vehicle with a receiver hitch into a bike hauling machine in about 10mins. That’s cool and something you can’t do with a Thule roof rack!