For those of us who frequently get out on the trails, we have all suffered from the stress of loading up the car and making sure you have all the gear and everything you need for the day. In a perfect world, the car is fully loaded with gear, you’ve loaded the bikes to the rack, and you’re ready to go! The more realistic consequence of loading up your car for a bike adventure is that you’ve forgotten to put something in the cargo area, and don’t remember it until after the all bicycles are loaded.
Rather than cramming everything into the back seat to avoid the hassle of unloading and reloading, a swing away bike rack would allow you to simply swing the rack out the way whenever you need to access the cargo area, even after the bikes are loaded. A swing rack allows full access to the rear end of the vehicle, no matter if it’s an SUV or a smaller hatchback, and brings a whole new level of convenience to bicycle transportation. Gone are the days that you fear opening the back door of your car! There a few options for swing away racks on the market, and we have picked the best ones for a variety of needs.
Out Top 3 Choices
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The Rocky Mounts Backstage 2” rack is the best all around swing away bike rack because of the rack’s platform for bikes to rest safely. Although it is the priciest option, it is well worth it as this is a feature that you won’t find with other products. The resting platform is superior as it greatly reduces the movement of the bikes on the rack, and there is no need to worry about damage in transit. We will go into more detail in the full review below.
7 Best Swing Away Bike Racks In 2021 Reviews
1. Rocky Mounts Backstage – Top Pick
The Rocky Mounts Backstage swing away platformis the premiere choice of products for swing away bike racks. The Colorado company claims to be the innovator of the 180-degree swing away function for bike racks, and they have perfected the system, allowing complete access to the cargo area with absolutely no obstruction. What makes this swing away rack better than the fact that this rack is a platform hitch rack, so rather than being hung from the rack, the bikes will rest on the platform. This ensures that the bikes stay put in transit, and there is no need to worry about them bumping against each other. This 2” hitch mount rack carries accommodates 2 bikes, weighing up to 60 lbs fully loaded, and is a breeze to install. The company also offers an extension to add on a third bike. The rack construction is heavy duty and durable enough to haul even a heavy fat bike. In addition to the swing, these bike racks also have the ability to tilt away from the trunk.
Backstage swing away platform carrier boasts a full 1 swing away platform hitch rack, anti-sway support, anti-wobble pin to reduce movement when driving
- Easy tool-free setup
- Swing away platform hitch rack
- Compatible with all bikes with tires under 5 inches wide (fat bikes included)
- Cannot accommodate more than two bikes, but there is an option to purchase an extension to add on a third bike
2. Yakima FullSwing Rack– Best 4 Bike Rack
The Yakima FullSwing Hitch Mount Bike Rack is a great option for those looking to transport a greater number of bikes. These swing away bike racks will accommodate up to 4 bikes. It is a good option for families who need to ensure they have carrying capacity for everyone’s bike. This rack boasts a carrying capacity of 155 pounds, and has the durable construction to back it up. This rack has a tilt away and a full swing away design to ensure ease of access to the trunk even when the bikes are loaded. This product features fully padded arms, so there is no need to worry about bikes getting damaged as you drive.
Swing mechanism, tool-free installation, high carrying capacity of 155 pounds
- Fully padded arms
- Accommodates up to 4 bikes
- Mounting smaller sized children’s bikes can be tricky, but this can be easily remedied by using a crossbar to mount the a children’s bike
3. Thule Apex XT Rack – Best Collapsible Rack
If you need a product that has a large carrying capacity, but also has the ability to easily compact when not in use, the Thule Apex XT Bike Hitch Rack is a perfect option. This premium swing away design accommodates four bikes, has a full range of swing, and works with all types and sizes of bike with a load capacity of 150 pounds . It boasts superior bike stability for a hanging rack, and has an integrated cable lock system. The rack swings away, and when it not in use, the arms of the swing rack fold down, making a rack that takes up much less space whether it is on or off the car.
Full swing, hanging rack, with foldable arms to create less obstruction
- 150-pound fully loaded
- Integrated cable lock to secure bikes
- Superior bike stability with anti sway design
- Requires a longer loading time that some other models, but it is worth the extra steps for better bike stability
4. Saris Glide EX Rack – Best Tilt Away
The Saris Glide EX Bike Rack Hitch Mount is a great solution if you are considering a tilt away rack rather than full swing. The product name says it all: this rack has the ability to angle away from your vehicle with just a one step trigger system in a smooth glide, allowing total access to the rear end of your car. This hanging rack can transport any two bikes with a high load capacity of 100 pounds. It also boasts a universal hitch fit, accommodating 1 ¼” and 2” hitches, where many racks only accommodate 2” hitches. See more of our Saris bike racks review post.
Trigger gliding system tilts rack away from vehicle; ratchet strap system secures bikes to rack
- Universal hitch mount
- High load capacity
- Some difficulty mounting children’s bikes, but can be remedied by using a crossbar
5. SportRack Ridge 4 Towing – Best Budget 4 Bike
The Sport Rack Ridge 4 Towing rack is a great mid-range option for those who need to transport four bikes on a budget. If you are looking to spend a lower price but need to transport 4 bikes, this product is your solution. This product accommodates up to fours bikes, and tilts away from the vehicle for rear cargo access. It comes equipped with anti-sway soft rubber cradles that help prevent bikes from bumping against one another, and holds them secure. SportRack also offers a limited lifetime warranty.
4 bike hanging tilt away, anti-sway technology
- Lower cost option
- Rubber cradles prevent damage
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Light weight construction may impact durability, but keeps cost low
6. Heininger Sports Rack – Best Hitch Adapter
The Heininger Automotive 2110 Advantage SportsRack offers a specific glide away technology that seamlessly tilts rack away up to 23 inches from vehicle to gain total access to your car. This rack accommodates hitch sizes of 1 ¼” or 2”, and is outfitted with an adapter that can be used for each hitch size. This makes is a great option if you need a rack that can be transferred between vehicles with different hitch sizes. This four bike hanging rack comes with an anti-rattle device and has extra-long saddle straps to ensure a secure and smooth ride. Each arm of this tilt rack have a reflective coating, so cars driving behind will be aware of the bikes on the end of your car. It is made of a heavy duty steel.
Glide away technology smoothly tilts rack away from car, anti-rattle device to further secure bikes
- Ease of loading and unloading bikes
- Reflective coating alerts drivers behind you of the extended length on your vehicle
- Some difficulty using with bikes full suspension bikes that have suspension underneath the top tube of the bike, but this can be remedied by using a crossbar to mount the full suspension bike
7. Allen Sports Racks – Best Budget Option
If you are looking for a basic rack at a great price, look no further than the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack. As the name suggests, this rack allows up to four bikes and accommodates a wide range of bike frames and designs. Like some of the other options, this is a tilt away hanging rack, allowing full access to the trunk. It is easy to install, and has an individual tie down system, allowing you to quickly and securely load up your bikes. It hits all the desirable needs for a tilt rack, and is available for a fraction of the price of the top contenders. As there are many models of this bike carrier, it may be confusing to understand which ones have a tilt away function. Be sure to choose the Deluxe + Locking, Premiere, Premiere Locking, or Premiere Locking for Spare Tire models for the tilt away function. You may also want to see our top 9 list of best spare tire racks where Allen Sports Premiere is included.
Quick install locking hitch insert, rapid tilt away mast, individual tie down system
- Has folding carrier arms
- Easy tool-free installation
- Some issues with individual tie down straps breaking or malfunctioning, but these can be replaced
What to Look For When Buying A Swing Away Bike Rack
All swing away bike racks attach to the hitch of your vehicle, with the bikes resting level with the rear door. Many products function in similar ways, but there are definitely some important considerations to make when choosing the swing away bike rack that is best for you, your car, and your bicycle. Before diving into the product reviews, take a moment to review the key considerations to make when choosing your swing away bike rack.
Things to Consider
Swing Away or Tilt Away
The swing away or tilt away style of bike carrier is the largest difference between these products. While both of these racks will mount to a hitch, the swing away rack is designed to fully swing 180- degrees, so that it is parallel with the car on the passenger side, allowing full hatch access to the rear end of the vehicle. If you like to tailgate with your pals after your ride, the swing away rack is the option for you. The tilt away rack simply angles away from the back of the vehicle. The result is rear of vehicle access to the cargo door, but its slightly more limited access than with a rack that swings away. Keep in mind that although there is a distinct difference between swing away and tilt away, they are both considered swing away racks.
Platform or Hanging
This consideration is what puts one product above the others. A platform bike carrier has a platform that allows a bike to rest on it, and they are secured at the bottom of the platform and the top of the bike frame. On the other hand, a hanging swing away rack suspends bikes by the top of the bike frame, but offers no support for the bottom. A platform rack will offer superior bike protection, as it greatly reduces the amount that the bikes sway and swing around when in transit. Also, if you’re interested in knowing some of the best roof mounted bike racks, you can check our recent post about it. We also have a post talking about which between Yakima vs Thule cargo box is the best to purchase for your vehicle.
Number of Bikes Needed to Transport
These swing away racks either accommodate up to 2 bikes, or up to 4 bikes. If you have a family or are the friend who is constantly at the mercy of being designated driver for carpool, the swing away racks that allow 4 bikes would be the best option. If you are often solo or just ride with one other person, you should be fine purchasing one that accommodates 2 bikes. The weight capacity will vary with each hitch rack and each size, so bike weight is also something to take note of if you have heavier bikes, such as full suspension bikes or fat bikes. However, the frame style and type of bike tires, whether they are mountain or road tires, should not matter.
Each hitch rack has a designation for the sizes of trailer hitch it is compatible with. Some are compatible with a 2″ hitch, some are compatible with a 1 ¼ hitch, and some work with both sizes of trailer hitch. Make sure to take note of what size hitch your vehicle has before you choose a product.
Whether you are in the market for a new bike rack or simply want to up your hitch rack game, a swing mechanism rack is a must. Gone are the days where you were forced to unload 4 bikes off of your hitch when you need to get rear of vehicle access to the cooler to make lunch after a ride. The convenience of a swing away rack allows you to tailgate with your friends or stop at the store and load your groceries with the bikes loaded. It is also a must for dog owners, who can easily allow their pup to hop in the cargo area of their SUV after they have the bikes loaded. It will become the solution to your bike transport problems, and it just may become the most essential item out of all your gear carriers.
If you are concerned about the price, although most of these products will be an investment, it’s important to remember that it should last you as long as you have a need to transport your bike. After reading these reviews, if you are still having a hard time finding the best rack for you, remember that the Rocky Mounts Backstage 2” is a perfect option to suit many needs.
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