Swagman XTC on Subaru Forester Review- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2010

    Swagman XTC on Subaru Forester Review

    Just installed the unit and drove all over Asheville the past few days and really like this rack. I've had a lot of experience with another bikers Hold-up and...it's not that. For the money, tho, $110 at Amazon, 1/4 the price of the Yakima, it's amazing.

    Very impressive value-engineering and the best way I've seen to carry 2 bikes securely at a reasonable cost. BTW, I had a Burt hitch installed at the same time and it went on flawlessly, looks good and stout. The tow hooks would not go back on though.

    The good:

    Padded hooks ratchet down the bike frame so that the wheels are securely captued in the wells. The center post that holds the hooks folds down and out of the way of the hatchback.

    The knobs that tighten the wells in place are on carriage bolts so there is little chance of them working loose from their square receptacle. All pins have tethered clovis pin locks. The bolt that secures the rack tongue to the hitch receiver threads through a captured nut then protrudes well past the receiver with a hole for the included cotter pin.

    Now the not-so-good:

    The little screws that hold the plastic endcaps in place do double duty as stops for the wells. Kinda cheesy.

    Those plastic knobs are supplied with flat washers; they should be replaced with lock washers.

    I had trouble getting the bolt that threads through the receiver tight and still leaving access for the cotter pin. Backing it off 'tight enough' to get at the hole left the rack wobbly. I went back at it with a 1/2" drive extry long wrench and got it tight-tight which brought the hole around enough and the rack now wobbles not at all. That experience leaves me wanting to replace the bolt with a "Grade 8".

    The ratchet release buttons can be hard to disengage when you really jack down the hooks on the frame but their shroud is drilled to accept a padlock, which keeps them from being released, a nice feature for when you just have to spend an hour in a motel room.

    On the road the rack wobbles less than the above-mentioned Yakima and I quit obssessing/staring into the rear-view mirror by the second day. Overall, besides the below nit-picks, I'm very satisfied. My Yakima owner friend thinks it'll rust more than his but I figure if I get 3 or 4 years from it, I could buy at least 3 of them, 10-12 years worth.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Swagman XTC on Subaru Forester Review-img_2407_1.jpg  


  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanks for the post and review 450! Just installed a hitch and Swagman XTC2 on my Highlander this morning and am loving it.

    I'm just trying to decide whether I am going to leave it on all the time or keep a ratchet on hand to take it off/put it on as needed. I have a cable lock from rack to hitch so it's safe enough - and just seems to be a hassle on and off all the time.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Thanks for the review! I already have a Swagman XTC4 that we use with the van for bringing the entire tribe on rides or trips. I want to get a smaller one for my car for when just me and one kid are riding. I've been using a cheap trunk rack which isn't very secure.
    The point about rust is a good one. On my XTC4 I did the poor man's framesaver with boiled linseed oil to prevent it from rusting on the inside.

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