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There is no better way to experience nature than peddling through it on your bike. You can get close and personal with your surroundings. No noise – no choking exhaust and you can really travel with a bike. One of the most popular
But any plan for going up the country – especially if you’re a member of the city dwelling, bridge and tunnel set – will likely involve hauling your bikes out to the wild places with your car or truck. Vacation time goes by like a hurricane, and you want to get where you’re going fast.
So, of course, you’ll need some type of bicycle carrier to make that happen. When you begin your search for a bike carrier, you will find an incredible variety to choose from. But, to make it simpler, it helps to know that there are three basic types: the hitch-mounted carrier (mounted to a receiver hitch fixed to the rear of your vehicle); the trunk-mounted carrier (mounted to the trunk of your vehicle); and finally, the roof-mounted carrier, which attaches to crossbars on the roof of your vehicle.
Depending on your needs, some of these racks will be better for you than others. It’s best to do a little research before deciding on a carrier for your vehicle. You’ll be spending a lot of time with it, and you want it to be right. In this article we’re reviewing one of the most popular hitch bike racks, from Yakima, called the Yakima FullSwing.
Why Should You Buy a Hitch-Mounted Rack for Your Vehicle?
In general, the hitch-mounted variety of bike rack is considered to be the sturdiest and most versatile of the three types. There are some very appealing advantages to this style of rack. First of all, 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. They also offer a low mounting height. You won’t need to lift your bike much more than waist high to load it on to a hitch-mounted rack.
These types of carriers are also adaptable to several other functions, such as hauling skis, attaching a cargo box, and more. One caveat about the hitch-mounted rack: You pay for the added stability and utility – they can be expensive.
Yakima FullSwing: Tough and Convenient
The FullSwing hitch-mounted bike carrier by Yakima is a tough customer – and an extremely versatile rack for carrying up to four bikes. It offers a host of features that make it convenient, simple to install, and a pleasure to use. If you’re looking for a great-looking, truly top-of-the-line bike carrier with all the bells and whistles, this is it.
To begin, the FullSwing is compatible with vehicles having a 2 in. hitch receiver. And it brings the hauling power: the rack is rated to carry 160 lbs. worth of bikes, with an individual bike weight up to 40 lbs.
Installation is straightforward. The FullSwing comes out of the box in two pieces, the hitch piece, that attaches to your hitch receiver, and the mast hardware, the part that holds your bikes. All you do is insert the hitch piece into the receiver until you hear the Auto Pin click. (Note: The manufacturer says that to use the FullSwing, your receiver must allow for use of the hitch auto pin.) Then the mast hardware attaches to the hitch piece with a single bolt. There is an included wrench – no other tools are needed – for this task. Finally, you hand tighten the big orange “Speed Knob” (this engages an anti-rattle wedge that will eliminate any play in the mechanism and help to secure the rack), lock it, and that’s it.
Once the rack is installed, you load your bikes onto the carrier’s padded frame, and secure them with Yakima’s new ratchet-style ZipStrips – it’s best to load your heaviest bike in first. Finally, there is a locking cable that you wrap around all the bike frames and lock.
The Yakima FullSwing is known as a swing-away type of hitch-mounted receiver. This means that you can swing the entire rack section, with all your bikes attached, away from your vehicle. This allows you to access the trunk or hatch and get at anything you need stored inside. Very nice.
See the FullSwing in action, from assembly to bike loading, in this video below:
It’s a good idea to be sure the FullSwing will be a good fit for your vehicle. You don’t want the rear bumper to interfere with e rack. This can also be an issue if you have a spare tire on the back of your truck. Yakima says you should never use a hitch extender with this product. Here is a list of measurements from the Yakima website that will help you determine if the FullSwing is a good fit for you.
A Few Thoughts on the FullSwing
The FullSwing is a premium product – top of the line, in terms of both popularity and quality. But, as with any product designed to serve the greatest number of people, there will always be a few grumbles.
One of the main complaints is concerned not with the carrier itself, but with what that carrier does not provide. If you want to carry a bike with a step though/ladies frame, or any type of bike that does not have a traditional, straight top tube, you will need the TubeTop adapter, which is, of course, sold separately. Some users were caught off-guard by this. Keep this in mind if you are thinking about the FullSwing.
There is also the price, which will leave a noticeable dent in your wallet. But quality costs.