Thoughts on platform style 4 bike racks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on platform style 4 bike racks

    (reposting in this forum as advised...sorry if this is against forum rules...yeah I didn't read em =)

    Hi:

    Gear:
    2 adult bikes (1 mountain, 1 cruiser)
    1 20" child's bike (could fit in trunk for short trips)
    1 16" child's bike (could fit in trunk for short trips)
    1 SUV w/ 2" receiver

    I was looking for a 4 bike carrier off the bat at first and was considering the Swagman

    However I figured name brand is either Thule or Yakima. And I needed something quick...so we picked up a Thule T2 at a pretty good price at REI (320 w/ 15% off coupon). Premise is I can expand this easily by adding the 2+ kit later on (say in summer since I spent a buttload of money)

    Thule worked fine for today's short trip (~60 miles round trip). Only thing that worried me a bit is the allen screws holding this down were terribly difficult to torque when installing, causing me to near strip one of them. I'll probably have to call and replace at least that one (if not the entire bracket).

    Today I've been reading quite a few threads on T2 and the wiggle problem. Of course as with most things I notice complaints are amplified versus those who are satisfied on the internet. But I am now debating what I should choose and wanted to hear from others their opinion. Since it's a recent purchase and from REI I can return it hassle free (but a PITA to haul it back...)

    KEEP the Thule T2 & buy the additional add on later:


    BUY what I originally planned: Swagman XC-4 Cross-Country 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack


    TRADE for the Yakima Hold up (and buy the additional add on later):


    OR other options (I was reading about the kaut but doesn't look like they sell a 4 bike version...)

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  2. #2
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    here's our take on the difference between the t2 and the holdup.

    keep in mind, also, that the t2 is now the 916xt, which is a new part number for 2010 which accomodates 29" wheels better, and also includes the stl2, and lock cylinders.

  3. #3
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    Good points...

    Good points on the blog and I think you hit the nail on the head w/ one particular point: these things are really heavy.

    I took off the T2 yesterday (and thanks for the note on that, I now realized I bought the T2 as it did not have the hitch lock or the locking cylinders). And it definitely weighed quite a bit...and I am struggling to figure out where to put it if I want to leave it indoors. Garage space is at a premium.

    So realistically is there any 'easy to remove' and store 4 bike platform rack?

  4. #4
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    Check out Raxter racks; my situation is similar to your's, and I just ordered one late last week so I haven't personally used one but hopefully will soon. These racks are much lighter, allow for bikes to be adjusted laterally so that they don't bump/rub/interfer with one another, are more compact than most other 4-bike platform racks, will accommomdate even small 12" children's bikes, and get great reviews. The only problem is they are nearly impossible to find locally to check out in person.

    bk

  5. #5
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    I have the swagman x2 and i can say that it is very good. no wobble at all. Very good quality

  6. #6
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    Thanks great feedback. I like the Raxter...but like you said no local dealers in my area either. Do you know if it tilts down? Sad to say I accessed the trunk A LOT and while not easy, it was possible w/ the Thule. I know I can do that on the Swagman....definitely love to hear more once you get it Benuki.

    Swagman is coming out w/ a new model this summer, looks like a cross between the Thule/Yakima platforms w/ ratcheting locking arms.

    If the Raxter allows tilt down I think I may give that a shot. Form factor/convenience seems to win hands down versus Thule.

  7. #7
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    Nope, I don't think the Raxter tilts down. Fortunately, that's not issue for me 'cause I've got a pick'em-up truck.

    bk

  8. #8
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    Confirmed on the Raxter, I emailed em and they emailed me back.

    I also checked out the specs on the Swagman and found something surprising, it says it doesn't hold bikes smaller than 20". Right now the kids have a 20" and a 16" so it looks like I may have to take that one out of the running. Or wait for the new rack they are releasing in the summer.

  9. #9
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    I'm in the same situation as the OP. I decided to switch from my roof rack to a hitch rack. I have been assuming I wanted the T2, but after seeing the price of the Swagman, I'm thinking about that. Does it tilt down to allow access to the hatch? Does it fold up when it's not in use?

  10. #10
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    Benuki did you pick up the Raxter yet?

    Straz85: Swagman doesn't seem to swing down. They have a new rack coming out in Summer that has similar "holders" as the T2. No price yet thou.

    After cleaning my garage this afternoon I'm really leaning towards the Raxter. Storage for these platform racks is a pretty big requirement and none (other than maybe the 1UP too) fold up as compactly as the Raxter...especially given I need it for four bikes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomdilbert
    Good points on the blog and I think you hit the nail on the head w/ one particular point: these things are really heavy.

    I took off the T2 yesterday (and thanks for the note on that, I now realized I bought the T2 as it did not have the hitch lock or the locking cylinders). And it definitely weighed quite a bit...and I am struggling to figure out where to put it if I want to leave it indoors. Garage space is at a premium.

    So realistically is there any 'easy to remove' and store 4 bike platform rack?
    I have Thule 916 plus 918 for three years by now. I am satisfied with my purchase from REI. Back then I had two adult mountain bikes and one 20" and a 16" on this rack. It can hold 16" children bike with an additional strap to hold the front holding arm and wheel together.


    I don't leave my rack on the car all the time, I have a BOONE DOCK storage rack to hold it upright against the wall in my garage. Amazon has it for $35.
    http://www.google.com/products?q=boo...N&hl=en&tab=wf

    Hope this helps,
    Joel

  12. #12
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    I have the 916xt and i changed the the allen head screws to allen socket head bolts.Tey tightendown waybeter an st r 7 bucks at your local hardware store. They do not move at all. Also se altle blue loctite with them!

  13. #13
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    I ended up picking up the Swagman XTC4 and returned the Thule:

    Pros:
    Very compact...meaning it sticks out about as much as the Thule but holds 4 bikes
    Cost effective...out the door it was under $300 (including the locking hitch pin)
    I can get it on the back of the car and have all four bikes loaded in 15 minutes (this includes lowering two adult bikes from ceiling storage).
    Lighter (relatively speaking of course). I think this weighs in around 60 lbs, about the same as the Thule. But of course this carries all 4 bikes already.
    Folds up

    Cons:
    Build quality is so so. Examples: latching can be stiff, see little knicks here n there...machining is not as polished versus Thule.
    Placement is a bit of a tetris puzzle. Of course the sacrifice w/ the bikes being closer together is there's now more chance of overlap w/ pedals between bikes etc. But after doing this a few times I have the cadence and sequencing down.
    Doesn't fold up as well for storage. I'm planning to install a couple hooks and hang it off the wall so it should be out of the way. Thule less so...I think the Raxter or 1Up would be the only ones that would fold up to what I want. But then I'm back to $600+ to cover four bikes.
    Doesn't tilt down. Then again...tilting down w/ the Thule w/ 2 bikes was really heavy...hard to see how this would be done on a 4 bike.

    All told, I'll give Swagman a 4 out of 5...it grows on me as I use it. And I'm a tough customer...so to me this is a good rating.
    Last edited by phantomdilbert; 05-10-2010 at 04:40 PM.

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