Great product! I own a Toyota Tacoma w/ a tall camper shell and a slightly raised suspension. I used a roof rack on my truck for a long time. Loading/unloading bikes on the roof was difficult and required some creative climbing techniques. Plus, while on the roof, the bikes took a beating on rough roads, like wicked swinging that drew gasps from onlookers. I needed something easy, secure, and that wouldn't block me from getting into the back of the truck. Other hitch racks that folded straight down didn't allow the assess I needed and they were hard to lift back up into place with bikes still loaded. They also prevented my dogs from being able to jump up or down from the back of the truck.
I was reluctant to spend the extra $$, but the Swing Daddy is well worth it. It is easy to load/unload. It swings open and closed easily, making access to the truck bed a snap without having to unload bikes (other people's complaints about this must be due to damage to their rack, or they've got some dang heavy bikes). Plus it adds another barrier to would-be thieves who would like to check out the back of my camper shell (which has a busted lock).
A few drawbacks:
1. It holds medium-large bikes much better than small ones. Although fitting 4 adult-sized bikes on this rack would be a display of some serious talent. It fits 2 great, 3 ok, I'm scared to try 4.
2. The rear shock on some full suspension bikes interferes with the supports. My wife's bike requires some puzzle solving skills to load.
3. My biggest beef: The hitch bolt continually becomes loose on rough 4x4 roads (even with locking washer). I have to keep a crescent wrench handy and retighten it regularly (a trip to the hardware store might solve this).
Tip: Don't rely on the cable lock for true security. Back it up with some chain or thicker cable or an angry dog. The built-in lock is great for quick trips into the store, but not for leaving your bike unattended for long periods.
Also, I use bungee cords to secure the front tires of my bikes. Otherwise there's a whole other kind of swinging from this daddy.
More functional than other rear racks
For a rear mount bike rack, a swing away style is the only one that has ever made sense to me. A rack that merely drops down to allow lifting of a hatch or dropping of a tailgate still leaves the rack and bikes in the way.
This rack and the comparable Thule are improvements over what I think was the first of its type, the OSI by Surco. I've had an OSI for 20 years or so and it usually stays on my truck. Oddly, they've never tweaked that rack or discovered that the bike market was much larger than the automotive segment they pursue.
I've needed a second one for our car, so when I saw the SwingDaddy I bought it, after comparing it to the Thule version. Pretty much a toss up between the two I think, though the easily used built in cable lock looked a little better on the Yakima, but are small and I suspect that a thief could cut it easily. The cradles are easily adjusted for spacing bikes.
As to ease of use, it takes about 10 seconds to release and swing the rack away from the rear of the vehicle, gaining full access, with or without bikes. I like the rubber straps that retain the bikes, though my wife struggles because they have a lot of tension. The down tube stabilizer works well. The pin that retains the rack to the receiver has a threaded portion with a nut inside that serves to help reduce the usual rocking that occurs due to the inherent gap between the rack tube and receiver. It's a clever system that does a pretty good job, though the bolt wants to vibrate loose. The bike shop in the REI had a spare bolt/pin that fit the nut a little better and I put a little red Locktite on it to help. The only other solution that I've seen is to drill holes in the receiver and weld nuts to it for bolts to tighten into.
Hope it's worth the cost
I bought this for my 2013 Chevy 2500HD, which has a larger hitch than this rack. After getting an adaptor for the larger hitch I installed the rack. It moves around a lot when closed in all directions and when opened with bikes on it the entire rack really puts some torque/force on the hitch and leans. I saw in a previous post about others having this same issue, which was solved with a hitch vise. I found one at www.hitchrider.com and when installed it seems to really help with the movement and the lean when rack is opened. I have not traveled a distance yet with the rack loaded with bikes and am waiting to see how durable this rack is. As for the four bikes it is supposed to hold, I have two adult road bikes and one childs. The adult bikes fit well and are held firm, but the childs bike is too small and requires the use of cords. As for getting four bikes on the rack, it seems to me that it would really be a challenge to get four adult bikes on the rack and things would be very tight/close. I also would be curious about how the rack would handle while driving with the weight of four adult bikes on it. We shall see how it does on longer trips and I may post additional info later.
Product works great for SUV!
Great product - fits great with our SUV and easy access to trunk/ back. Fits family bikes and secures them well - parked in several places with all the bikes and no issues! You will need some strength to lift up the bikes onto the the rack and a little positioning - but that is what husbands are for :) Only con of the product was it blocks our license on our SUV and we did get a 'fix it ticket' because of that. Not a way to install without blocking the license though :(. If you are going to get it - look online for some discounts, just give yourself plenty of time for shipping. Needed it urgently - went to the REI on Reseda/ Devonshire. Floor staff avoided us like the plague - we look like amatures and had our kids with us. We had to walk in front of an available employee to get him to even make eye contact and he kept looking at our kids, who of course were making sounds and being kids, as if they were aliens. Its next to a gym, so most of the customers acted like they were 'professional athletes' so not so much a family place. Moms - Get it online and save yourself the judgement stares!!
Does exactly what we need.
We used a Yakima Bighorn swing down hitch rack for several years before upgrading to this rack. Since upgrading last year, we are super happy with this as it makes getting into the back of our vehicles pretty easy. We use this rack on a 2011 Subaru Outback and a Ford F-150. It works great on both and lets us access the back of the vehicles to get the dogs and gear in and out with relative ease. Before we had to either remove the bikes or tip the rack down which was a major pain and hard on the bikes. I have seen some complain about the multiple steps required to swing this out, but personally think that it is pretty easy, especially considering the alternative. I have noticed that on long road trips, the hitch bolt does tend to work itself loose a little creating wobble. I carry a box end wrench that fits the bolt and when we stop for gas I just do the standard vehicle check and walk around and tighten the bolt if needed. We are very happy with this rack and it does exactly what we need it to.
I spent a lot of time researching racks and was hesitent to get this one because of the higher price. My wife actually talked me into spending the extra money on this because of the fact that we have kids and often need to repack or throw things in the back last minute. I have used this rack one time so far and I am so glad I went with this one.
First off it was very easy to install. I like the fact that you bolt it on instead of a pin. the unit is solid with no movement once it is on. I packed 4 adult mens bikes on the rack and it was a little tight but it worked. 2 were drop handle road bikes and two were straight bar comfort bikes. I would be easier if they were all road bikes. The anti-sway straps worked great and even though it was tight the bikes did not rub.
This rack was worth the extra money compared to some of the other racks. Very happy with the purchase.
So far, so good
I posted an earlier review regarding this being unstable and moving a lot in all directions when mounted. I made reference to a hitch vice, which worked perfectly to stabilized the hitch and I would recommend it to anyone concerned about movement. I recently completed a 4400 mile trip with it installed and had no problems. The bolt you tighten to secure it folded in ended up tightening one turn farther than it did at the beginning of the trip, but still secures well. I drove some on a rough dirt road in Yellowstone and several rougher paved roads. None of the metal looks fatigued and the rack worked very well. I swings easily with three bikes on it and out of the way of my campers door. I gave it 4 stars still, since I needed to buy a hitch vise to secure it better, but would still recommend this rack to anyone who is looking for a rack that swings to the side.
The swing out feature works great!
Originally we weren't sure we wanted to spend the extra dollars to get a hitch rack with the swing out feature. After using it, we're glad we got that feature. It made accessing the back of our minivan much easier. Everything works smoothly, no creaky mechanism, exactly as advertised.
Negatives were relatively minor. The stowable lock cable wouldn't retract into the storage hole all the way. Not a big issue, we leave the cable out and lock it to the bike carrier arms for storage. Hope the lock cable storage hole doesn't trap rain and rust out the rack from within. Also, the wrenches that come with the rack aren't very good quality. Use your socket wrench instead.
Overall, easy to install, generally good quality parts, holds bike very securely. It's overkill for the level of our usage but I'd recommend it to anyone who will use their hitch rack often.
As advertised--the king of swing (racks)
We use this for family outings. Standard bikes are a breeze but with my angled, "thick" tubes of my Trek 6000, they make it a bit more difficult to mount.
I use the Yakima Top Tube for the Trek 6000 and for the ease of use and no PITA factor, go with one of these.
The kids bikes are the most difficult but they work out with a little effort.
If you have a standard triangular frame, it will be a snap to mount and unmount
After you use the "swing-away" function, you'll never go back.
I even do swing out the rack just for fun!!
My 9 year old can swing the rack with the bikes easily.
It's either this Yakima or the Thule Revolver.
Oh, did I mention it has dual bottle openers?
Holy Cow, it works!
Bought this for a family trip across the States into Canada and back. Carried 3 full size Mountain bikes (27' to 30'), and 1 smaller bike (24' frame), without issue. Getting into the back of the mini-van without having to remove the bikes was a HUGE bonus! Recommend going slower than normal over speed bumps - not that it won't handle it, but the bikes do bounce, and it just looks a bit disconcerting. The locking mechanism is also handy, and with augmented locks (U-lock on last two bikes), felt very secure leaving the bikes in the hotel parking lots.
Would recommend this bike rack to anyone who needs to open a tailgate (mini-van, SUV, hatchback, etc.).