Swagman Bike Rack Reviews:
Popular Swagman Bike Racks
- Every once in a while, what you want in a company is one which focuses specifically on the kind of product you are interested in. Many companies have a diversified product line, and they do well enough, but there is nothing quite like a company which puts all its energy into creating one product in one niche in one market. That's what you get with Swagman. This is a company which manufactures bike racks for bike riders, and accessories for those racks, and that's it. They were the first company in North America to create the hitch mounted bike rack
, a product that is still the most popular Swagman bike rack although it has of course gone through many different changes since then. We're taking a look at a few of the different Swagman bike rack models, what makes them popular, their costs, and their relative benefits to you as a biker.
Hitch Mount Racks: Swagman’s most Popular Bike Rack:
By far the most diverse of Swagman's bike rack offerings are those of the hitch mount style. These are the best bike racks by far, as long as your vehicle has the capacity to fit them. All that is needed is a hitch, standard on most SUVs and trucks. Swagman’s most popular bike rack, the hitch mount XC series
, is adjustable to both a 1.5" and a 2" hitch. Another model, the single arm towing rack needs a ball to work, which adds $70 to the $170 price tag. These racks are not nearly as popular as the Platform XC models, which received rave reviews on all the sites we checked, from Amazon to Mtbr.com to Mountainbikingonline.com and epinions.com. The platform bikes are fully collapsible, from the wheel frames to the mounting arm, so you can get it out of the way of the rear of your car whenever you want. They also have enough room between vehicle and bike to allow an owner to open the rear window of the vehicle without taking the bike off of the rack. The XC comes in models which can fit two, three, or four bikes at once. They are carried securely in place by the strap down wheel frames and the padded overarm features. What's more, these bike racks are almost ridiculously easy to set up. They do require a ratchet or some other type of wrench (which is not included), but this is strictly for bolt tightening purposes. Videos on Youtube show the rack being set up to the car in a matter of five minutes or less, and the bikes attached to the rack in even less time. The XC series is probably the best bike rack out there for most biking purposes as long as you have a hitch on your vehicle.
Swagman Trunk Mount Racks:
Trunk mount racks are the basic model of bike racks. Like other makes, Swagman trunk mount racks are the least expensive bike racks the company has to offer, usually running around $50-$70. There are two models, the Long Haul and the Long Haul Pro. Trunk mount racks
are easy to set up, using six straps to secure the racks into place, and they carry up to three bikes at once. However, there are several problems with this type of rack. The bicycles are not as secure as with a roof mount rack or a hitch mount rack; they tend to wobble around, into each other as well as into the car. The weight of the bikes is supported by the panels of the vehicle instead of the frame, which means the panels may bend or warp over time. Additionally, trunk mounted racks are inconvenient for most drivers as you have to take them off in order to open the trunk; this is not much help if you are out on a trip that will last more than a few hours.
Swagman Roof Mount Racks:
There are about four different offerings in Swagman's roof mount rack line. Roof mount racks
have the advantage of greater security over the trunk mounts; they are clamped down using a carrier system, and the weight of both the racks and the bikes is supported by the vehicle's strong frame. They can be carried by almost any kind of vehicle, from coupes to larger vehicles. It is gratifying to see four bikes carried stress free on the top of your Toyota Corolla, and a van can carry up to seven bikes at once! Swagman's roof mount racks also carry bikes very securely; you won't have to worry about them tipping over or rubbing up against each other. There are two different kinds of securing methods on the bike mount racks for car roofs. The first is the fork down claw model, which secures the bike on the roof by clamping down on the front fork of the bike. You have to remove the front wheel in order for this rack to work, which can be inconvenient. The other models all feature upright bike carrying. Both the Barracuda and the Standard rack carry the bike off to the side of your vehicle, rather than in the middle, and you can carry the entire bike intact. All roof mount racks are complicated to set up; much more so than hitch mount racks or the strap on trunk mounts. The difficulty in setting them up means you can't use them between several vehicles very conveniently. And if you don't already have a roof rack system on your vehicle, these types of bike rack can be somewhat pricey; only $80 to put on with a system already in place on your vehicle, but add about $100 to that (not to mention a lot more work) if the roof top system is not already in place. Also, roof mount racks cut down on the overhead clearance of your vehicle, and will make it handle differently as well (there's more air resistance outside). On the other hand, once you get that Swagman roof mount rack on there, it can be used for many other carrying purposes as well. On a final note, getting your bike on an off the rack on the roof means a lot of lifting, and potentially scratching your car or bike.