Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Fantastic Bicycle Hitch Rack From Swagman

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE

I purchased my first Swagman Bike Rack in June 2011. The XC2. I knew right away this was the rack for me. The first thing I could tell was bikes went on and off very easily and quickly. And another plus was that a person would not have to worry about traveling using a Swagman. Bikes were secured well just with the wheel housings and the middle arms that fit secure on the top tubes of a bike. But I always went farther using bungee cords to wrap around the wheels and the frames to the bottom of the rack. I never had to worry when taking turns and curves. The design and functionality gave me real piece of mind when I traveled carrying my bikes.

Being new to bicycling, I bought a Saris trunk mount rack. This was a top of the line rack. I didn't really look at many other types. But I quickly realized this rack and my bikes were not a good fit. I was a nervous wreck driving with my bikes in such an awful position. One had a slanted down tube, and the other (woman's style) had no down tube at all. And having six straps to adjust before and after the bikes were mounted also made this a bad rack. As you can see on the left, the Saris Bones 2 Bike Trunk Rack was clearly a bad choice for my bikes. So I realized I had to make a change and started looking at other bike racks.

My choice to upgrade to the Swagman XTC2 was a smart one. This is one good looking rack. It comes fully assembled from the manufacturer with the exception of the wheel cradles and the slide bar arms that hold the bikes secure in place. There are three pins at the bottom of the rack that hold the main middle bar, and both folding bars that the bikes sit in. So I installed and adjusted my bike in the back wheel cradles first, then did the same to the front wheel cradles. This order worked out well for me. Very fast and easy. Rubber on the slide bar arms that goes down on the bike top bar keeps the paint from getting scratched.

The wheel cradles on the XTC2 are much better than the earlier XC2 model. First, the tightening knobs face upward on the XTC2, where as the earlier XC2 model had them facing underneath. Also the wheel cradle unit slides very easy on each bar thanks to hard plastic inserts inside the ends. Also the wheel cradles are raised more than the previous model. This allows bikes to sit higher which I like a lot.

The main section of the rack is shown here. Pins hold each arm in place very securely for when bikes are loaded, and then they can be quickly pulled out and just dropped thanks to the cable securing them so they cannot get lost. The metal feels like it is anodized aluminum which is definitely rust resistant. Nice.

Here is a close up of the wheel housings that can easily and quickly be adjusted thanks to the hard plastic knob on each assembly. I found that these moved very easy along the bar. Just a nice design.



About a month after I received the XTC2 rack, I noticed when I loaded my bikes, the rack swayed back and forth. Too much for my comfort and piece of mind. So if the bar that attaches the rack to the trailer hitch on the Swagman XTC2 becomes loose, here's what to do. Remove the two M10 metric 1.25" long allen bolts and replace them with M10 1.5" long bolts. I always go to Home Depot. I gave up going to Lowes for screws and bolts because they were usually out of stock on most inventory. This simple fix solved the slight movement of my rack. It is now tight and sturdy.

I'm very pleased that I upgraded to the Swagman XTC2. I've been wanted to get this for a year or so. This rack should work well on my trips to the many paved trails in Florida. If you bicycle in Florida, see the link to my website 'Florida Paved Trails Dot Com'. Lots of info and photos on many of the trails throughout the state. Thanks for seeing.