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Ready for the country? Well, if you really want to experience all those beautiful green places out there, get out and see them from the vantage point of your bike. Only walking or hiking will get you closer to nature, but a bike lets you cover a lot more ground.
But free time is a valuable – and rare – commodity these days. You want to get to where you’re going quickly. Investing in some type of bicycle carrier will help to make it all happen.
Which type of carrier should you buy? Before spending your money, it’s a good idea to take a little time and do some research on bike racks. Learn about what is available and what you can expect from the various types of rack. The type that is best for you will depend on your needs, the type of vehicle you own, how many bikes you want to carry, and other factors.
Basically, there are three types to choose from: hitch-mounted carriers (they mount to a receiver hitch at the rear of your vehicle); trunk-mounted carriers (which mount to the trunk of your vehicle); and roof-mounted carriers (they attache to crossbars on the roof of your car or truck).
Below, we’ll take a close look at a hitch-mounted rack. Is this the right type of carrier for you?
Why Should You Buy a Hitch-Mounted Rack for Your Vehicle?
Generally, hitch-mounted bike racks are considered to be the sturdiest and most versatile of the three types. There are some very attractive advantages to this style of rack. To begin, they are extremely stable. They attach to a solid receiver hitch, which is mounted to the frame of your vehicle, and ride low behind your car or truck – out of the wind. This type of rack also offers a low mounting height. If you can lift your bike waist high, you should be able to load it easily onto a hitch-mounted rack. You can also adapt these carriers to perform several other functions, such as hauling skis, attaching a cargo box, and more. One warning about hitch-mounted racks: The added stability and utility will cost you – they can be a bit expensive.
Swagman Traveler XC2-RV 2: Utility and Value
The Traveler XC2-RV 2 by Swagman is a great choice if you are looking for the stability and usefulness of a hitch-mounted bike rack, but you don’t want to spend a fortune. This carrier lets you carry one or two bikes, with a maximum weight of up to 35 lbs. per bike.
This rack is designed to fit a 2-in. class 3 hitch receiver. And, included with this Swagman rack is an adapter that let you mounts the carrier to a 4.5-in. continuous steel welded RV bumper. More about that below …
The XC2 is a platform-style bike carrier. Each bike sits in a pair of wheel cradles that take the shape of metal loops. Then, a large hook on top of the rack’s central mast grabs onto the frame of your bike, holding it securely down into the wheel cradles. A push of a button lets you adjust the height of the mast to fit a wide variety of bike sizes and styles. (Users report that this rack will work with step-though frame bikes.) Thick padding on the hooks protects the bike’s frame and finish. The positions of the wheel cradles are also adjustable, allowing you to size the rack to fit bikes with varying wheelbases. Keep in mind that those wheel cradles will accommodate wheel sizes from 20 in. to 29 in. and tires up to 3.5 in. wide.
An extremely useful feature: By simply removing a single securing pin, you can fold the support mast down and out of the way, so you can access the trunk or hatch of your vehicle without removing the rack. Unfortunately, you can’t do this with bikes attached, as you can with the swing-away models.
The Traveler XC2-RV 2 is a sleek and very professional looking piece of gear. It is constructed from steel and has a black powder coated finish.
A Few Thoughts on the Swagman Traveler XC2-RV 2
We have heard mixed reviews from a number of users about the RV bumper adapter for this rack. Some have reported that the adapter works as advertised, allowing them to install the rack onto their RVs solidly with little difficulty. Others have reported that the adapter causes deformation of their bumpers in some way. Still others have noted that using this type of adapter to attach a bike rack onto their bumpers will cause the RV manufacturer to void the trailer frame warranty. Further, there is this from the Swagman instruction sheet for this product:
Mounting the bike rack on a Trailer or 5th Wheel:
Purchaser is advised that the load created by rack and bicycles will exceed the strength of trailer or 5th wheel bumper, mounting location or the bike rack. The rack is not under warranty if mounted in this location.
But we like the fact that this rack adjusts so easily to different bike sizes. The adjustable hook and mast assembly holds bikes snugly into the wheel cradles. Users say the rack is secure and steady on the road. And by most reports, installation and loading and unloading of bikes are very simple and quick.
Perhaps best of all, if you want the advantages of the hitch-mounted mounted bike carrier at a reasonable price, this might be the one you’re looking for. It seems to be a solid, reliable, and durable bike rack. We just wouldn’t use the RV adapter. Or, at least, think twice about it.