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Old 08-27-2012   #1
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Trailer Hitch Bike Rack - how much sway is too much?

I picked up a Swingdaddy and had to use an adapter for my trailer hitch receiver to go from 1 1/4" to 2" to put the rack on my car. I took it for an outing yesterday with a couple of bikes and it seems like the bikes sway about 6" or so from side to side, mainly when going around corners at low speeds, or going over bad bumps. On the highway everything seemed fine, even on a bumpy freeway.

So I wonder if I need to go with something else to cart bikes around.

Anyone have similar long-term experience with a setup like this?

Or have stories to relate or expertise to share?

Arm-waving speculation?



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Old 08-27-2012   #2
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Strap 'em down!

Hi Andy! Long time!
I had that problem with a bike rack once and I filled in the gap between the rack and the hitch by wrapping duct tape around the rack and that stopped the "banging around". Then I took a short strap and ran it through the wheels and around the bike rack. No more sway. Two things I know you have handy, too.


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Old 08-27-2012   #3
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
follow the link below to etrailer, the single greatest and cheapest place to get all things trailer and hitch. I use this Blue Ox hitch receiver immobilizer to completely immobilize my 18" hitch extension that has a seconday tube atop it for a swing daddy like bike rack. I used the trailer hitch anti rattle kit for the bike rack itself. The blue ox works so well that I use it to immobilize the ball hitch when just towing my trailer in the normal setup. It makes all the rattling and clanging go completely away, even on washboard. It no longer sounds as if my truck is falling apart a bolt at a time. The parts page listed should solve your problems. - Products anti rattle
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Old 08-27-2012   #4
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
Nothing wrong with letting them swing in the wind! Your bikes.
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Old 08-28-2012   #5
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
Hi Andy, I've been using one for about 5 years now and mostly enjoy it. Not having to lift it up on the roof or take a wheel off is nice. You did the right thing by getting the swing-out version. I did not and it's a pain to access the hatch now. I have a Thule and get a little sway but not as much as what you're talking about. I would have to think they build a little sway into the design, but I don't know.

Ground clearance is much decreased (mostly from lower departure angle) with my setup due to having to use frame adapters. If I know I'll need the extra clearance I'll put the roof racks on.

Only one mishap so far. I stopped to adjust the straps on a trip to Fruita last year and forgot to reattach one of them. I get to Fruita and notice the front wheel of my bike is resting on the concrete. I adjusted in Eagle, so it could have been dragging for a looong time. If I hadn't locked the bike on, the damage would have been much worse. As it was, I only had to get a new tube and tire, with some cosmetic damage to the rim. So always double check the strapping and lock the bike.

One thing I do is immobilize the wheels when it's on the rack with a strap. They can get spinning pretty good and I figure it's putting wear on the bearings. Probably overkill, but it takes 30 seconds and makes me feel better.

Have fun!
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Old 09-02-2012   #6
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
We have the Thule version for our truck. I am not sure if you mean the bikes are moving, or the whole rack is moving. If the bikes alone are swaying - the Thule version has stabilizer brackets, as you don't want the bike banging against each other. We use a strap for further stabilization and to keep the wheels from spinning in the wind (sparing the hubs/bearings). If the whole rack is moving - I have been told that it is better than all that force all being absorbed by the bike frame. I wouldn't worry so long as all the nuts and bolts on the rack are still snug. FWIW, we like our rack a lot, especially being able to open the whole tailgate without taking the bikes off the rack.
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Old 09-02-2012   #7
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 377
I have hitch mounted carriers for three bikes and one dirtbike. At first I was unhappy with the slop in the system, but then I realized it has some benefits. A real rigid connection will transmit all the road variations (potholes, dips, etc) to the bikes. A little sway will give your toys a smoother ride.

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