On the lookout for the best swing hitch bike rack? Keep reading to check out our top picks and to learn if a swing away bike rack is the right option for your cycling needs.
Best Swing Away Hitch Bike Racks
QUICK SUMMARY: On the lookout for the best swing hitch bike rack? Keep reading to check out our top picks and to learn if a swing away bike rack is the right option for your cycling needs.
Table of Contents
The Best Swing Hitch Bike Racks Reviewed
A bike rack is a must if you want to transport your bikes as you hit the road for a far-off adventure. But, most hitch bike racks come with one major drawback, namely, that they prevent you from accessing the trunk of your car and all of its contents.
The solution? A swing hitch bike rack.
Swing hitch bike racks can comfortably transport your bikes to and from any destination, all while providing you access to your entire car. Finding the right swing away rack for your needs, though, isn’t as easy as it may seem.
To get you started, here’s our ultimate guide to the best swing hitch bike racks on the market today. Coming up, we’ll introduce 3 of our favorite models and offer some tips on selecting the perfect option for your cycling needs.
RockyMounts BackStage 2″ Swing Away
One of the most popular swing hitch bike racks on the market, the RockyMounts BackStage 2” Swing Away is designed to swing a full 180º away from the rear of your car, providing unparalleled access to your vehicle.
The rack can carry up to 2 bikes on its platform-style frame, with a total weight limit of 120lbs (54kg). Moreover, RockyMount’s rack uses their 3-axis anti-wobble system to reduce swaying while you’re on the road.
It’s capable of carrying bikes with anything from a road tire up to a 5” (12.7cm) fat bike tire, making it a versatile option for lovers of all things cycling. Since the BackStage also secures bikes by their front wheel, the rack has no contact with the frame of your bike, reducing the likelihood of damage in transport.
With enough capacity to comfortably carry up to 4 bikes or 150lbs (68kg) of weight, the Apex XT is a solid choice for group or family riding. Unlike many other racks, which cram a bunch of bikes into a small area, however, this model has 7” of space in between each bike to help prevent damage in transport.
Plus, the rack is designed to swing away from the rear of your vehicle, allowing for access to your trunk. The Apex XT also has integrated cable locks throughout the rack to minimize the chance of theft or the loss of an unsecured bike when traveling.
Yakima FullSwing Bike Rack
The FullSwing uses a ZipStrip system to quickly tie down your bikes to the rack. Each bike can be seamlessly locked using the integrated SKS locks while the rack itself can be locked to your trailer hitch for an additional layer of security.
Meanwhile, the FullSwing has a unique SpeedKnob and AutoPin installation design which allows for tool-free installation and removal before and after your trips. If you want to leave the rack on your car, even when you’re not carrying bikes, the arms on this model also fold down to a compact size for simplified transport.
Types Of Bike Racks
Not sure if a swing away bike rack is right for you? The good news is that there are plenty of different types of bike racks available today. Here are some of the most popular types to consider.
Swing hitch bike racks, as the name suggests, fall into the category of ‘hitch racks,’ which are bike racks that get mounted into the receiver of a standard trailer hitch. These racks can be mounted on nearly any car or truck that’s trailer hitch-compatible and they’re popular because they’re easy to install and load.
Hitch racks come in a variety of different styles, each of which has their own advantages and disadvantages. These include:
- Vertical hitch bike rack
- Tow hitch bike rack
- Hidden hitch bike rack
- Trunk hitch bike rack
- Front hitch bike rack
- Platform hitch bike racks
- Swing hitch bike rack
Truck racks are ideal for pick-up truck owners who want to transport their bikes inside their truck bed. They are relatively simple to install and they allow for quick loading and unloading of your bikes.
Spare Tire Racks
Spare tire racks attach to the rear hatch of your car, providing easy loading for one or two bikes. They’re often quite affordable and they move up and down with your hatch, allowing you access to the gear in your trunk.
Finally, we have roof racks, which are bike carrying systems that mount onto the roof of your vehicle. These versatile racks can be used on nearly any vehicle without impeding your access to your vehicle’s doors. But, they are often difficult to load bikes onto and have a substantial negative impact on your gas mileage.
Benefits Of A Swing Hitch Bike Rack
The primary benefit of swing hitch bike racks is that they swing away from the rear of your vehicle. So, they provide all of the benefits of a hitch bike rack, such as easy loading and access to your bikes, without limiting your ability to get into your trunk during the day.
How To Choose A Swing Hitch Bike Rack
Swing-away bike racks are fairly complex pieces of gear. So, it’s imperative that you know what to look for as you shop. Here are some key features to keep in mind before you buy.
Each swing hitch bike rack comes with a maximum bike carrying capacity, which makes a big difference in your ability to use your rack for travel and other purposes.
Of course, bike carrying capacity is really a matter of personal need as you may need more or less capacity depending on the maximum number of bikes you can reasonably expect to carry at any given time.
In addition to total bike capacity, you’ll need to consider the weight capacity of your rack to determine if it’s appropriate for the size and weight of your bikes.
Most racks list a maximum capacity for the overall weight that the rack can handle. Additionally, you may see a maximum per bike weight on certain racks, which is a critical spec to keep track of, especially if you ride heavier bikes, like fat tire models.
Rack Weight & Ease Of Installation
Swing hitch bike racks are some of the heaviest on the market, usually weighing in around 60lbs (27kg). This is partially a function of their size and durable steel construction, but it’s an important feature to consider as you shop.
While most hitch receivers can handle much more than 60lbs (27kg), you may want to consider your own personal abilities to ensure that you’ll be able to lift the rack during installation and removal.
Although many swing hitch racks are fairly easy to install, lifting the rack up to the hitch receiver can be quite a challenge.
No one wants to buy a piece of gear only to have it break after a few uses and swing hitch racks are no exception. When it comes to durability in your bike rack, look for robust, steel frames with anti-rust components and other similarly rugged materials.
Are hitch bike racks safe?
Hitch bike racks are some of the sturdiest and most reliable rack options on the market when installed properly.
Do keep in mind, though that some bike racks can block the tail lights or license plate of your car, which may be illegal in some jurisdictions. Check in with your local motor vehicle department if you have more specific questions about what is allowed in your area.
Can you open your trunk with a bike rack on it?
With a traditional hitch-mounted bike rack, you will not be able to open your trunk. However, a swing hitch bike rack will swing away from your trunk, allowing you to access the rear of your car.
How do I keep my hitch bike rack from swaying?
Swaying movements in a hitch bike rack are normally an issue with wobble inside the hitch receiver. In these situations, using threaded pins can be helpful for tightening up the connection between the bike rack and the hitch receiver and reducing swaying while you’re on the road.
What kinds of cars are compatible with a swing-away bike rack?
Any car that has a trailer hitch mounted to it is theoretically compatible with a swing-away bike rack. While you may have to purchase a trailer receiver or a hitch extension, most swing hitch bike racks can mount to any appropriately sized hitch receiver with relative ease.
Let’s take a look at items you need on every bike ride and the gear that makes riding fun, easier, and more comfortable. Essential Mountain