Rocky Mounts SplitRail Hitch Rack
The beginning of summer brings out some of the scariest scenes on the highways heading out to the favored riding spots. Bike racks that have been stored away at the back of the garage for the past six months are hastily strapped to the back of the minivan and then laden with the whole family's bikes and secured with as many bungees as can be found. It's a common sight and causes me to cringe when I see a pedal stuffed into the spokes of the next bike in the stack, jostling around over every bump for mile after mile headed to this summers chosen vacation spot.
This SplitRail has been in my possession for the past 18 months so this is definitely a long term review. It has been used at least once a week, usually twice, removed from the vehicle regularly and dragged though all kinds of weather and road conditions. It's mostly carried one or two bikes but can take up to four on special occasions with the extra trays added.
In use, the SplitRail is very similar to its competitors. It folds up when not in use and will also tip away when loaded to access the trunk. Especially handy when your buddy has left his cash in his bag and it's his turn to buy the post-ride tacos. The handle to do that is easily accessed and makes moving the rack when loaded with one hand an easy task.
The extendable swing arms are familiar to use and when hooked over your front wheel are easy to ratchet down to secure the bike. The ratchet seems very distinct with a reassuringly loud click when snugging the hook down onto the front wheel and the arm hasn't developed excessive play over this extended test. Releasing the arm is easy too, with a nice large button to push and I've not once had a problem even without any maintenance. A simple strap holds in the rear wheel for extra security.
The trays are nice and wide to accommodate the growing girth of mountain bike tires, up to 3 inches wide. If I had one niggle it would be that the trays could be longer. The ever-increasing wheelbase on my bikes has the rear wheel hanging over the end of the tray now. Not so much to cause an issue but for peace of mind I'd take an extra inch or so more. The trays do have the ability to offset them against one another to minimize interaction between the bikes, but with dropper posts on all the bikes I've transported on the rack I've not had to worry about that.
The rack secures into the hitch with a little wedge which takes up slack in that interface and does an incredibly good job in taking up the slop. RockyMounts imaginatively call this their anti-wobble system. With the hitch pin installed you can tighten the rack into the receiver with that wedge taking up any slack between the two. Add to that a lockable pin and everything locks in place so the rack is secure on the vehicle.
In fact it's the most noticeable thing when I first loaded up the SplitRail and hit the road, the lack of wiggle and bobbing that my bike was doing in the rear view mirror was impressive and still is 18 months later. It really is a nice solid rack to use.
The base SplitRail retails for 499 USD with extra trays retailing for 199 USD ( I've found both cheaper online). They also offer two other hitch racks, the cheaper MonoRail and the BackStage which is a swing away platform rack.