5 Best Swing Away Bike Racks to Pick in 2023 and Beyond!

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The swing-away bike rack is the ultimate solution to take the bike to the camping site safely with your car. It helps you to carry your bike at the rear of the vehicle without occupying any inside-space or the car’s roof-top. Unique thing about this product is the fact that you’ll be able to slide this thing away when opening or closing the hatch. You need not to remove your bikes and bike rack to access cargo space.

Well, In this article I’ll introduce you with some of the best swing away bike racks that would do just that. By the end, you’ll have a clear idea about all the things about this equipment. I’ve sorted out all the information based on my own experience, a thorough research, and precise comparisons.

Best Swing Away Bike Racks – Comparison

Best PickAllen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksThule Apex XT Rack
  • Bike capacity: 4
  • Load capacity: 150 lbs
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksYakima Swing Bike Rack
  • Bike capacity: 4
  • Load capacity: 160 lbs
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksRockyMounts BackStage
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Load capacity: 60 lbs
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksSportRack Swing Rack
  • Bike capacity: 4
  • Load capacity: 180 lbs
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksGUDE Swing
Away Rack
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Load capacity: 86 lbs
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches

Top-Rated 5 Swing Away Bike Racks Review

There are lots of brands and models for this product and choosing the best from there seems awfully overwhelming. But worry not! I’ve gone through the trouble so that you don’t have to. Here are the top 5 swing bike racks that stood out among the others and made their way to the list of the best ones.

1. Thule Apex XT Swing Away Hitch Bike Rack

Best Overall
Thule Apex XT Bike Hitch Rack
Quick Summary:
  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions: 42.2″ x 11″ x 40.2″
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
  • Item Weight: 42 lbs
  • Bike Capacity: 4
  • Load Capacity: 150 lbs
  • Brand: Thule
Check Price on Amazon

1st position in this list of the best swing away bike racks is none other than the Thule Apex XT. Now the question is, ‘Does this really deserve to be one of the top 5?’ Let’s find out! 

Thule Apex XT Bike Hitch Rack is that kind of a product that gives off a premium vibe at the first sight. It’s a hanging hitch bike rack. The build of this carrier is meant for heavy-duty performance. The structure is made with durable metal and has an ergonomic shape to do the job perfectly.

This bike carrier comes in the dimensions of 42.2 x 11 x 40.2 inches (Length x Width x Height) and it weighs 42 pounds. The weight here might seem like a big deal here but trust me, it really isn’t. Considering its sturdy build and that, I would say this weight is only normal.

The thing is, this particular bike rack was designed and built to carry 4 bicycles at the same time. It has an estimated load capacity of 150 lbs. But don’t worry, this amount of weight won’t feel like a problem while driving your car.

Now the question is – ‘Can it safely carry 4 bikes at the same time?’

The answer is yes, your bikes will be safe and secure all the way. It was designed in a way that there will be a gap of 7 inches even after carrying 4 bikes at once. This space in between the bikes is more than the other ones. This extra space makes the bike loading process much easier.

The ratcheting cradle straps ensure great stability. It keeps the bike’s frame steady while it rests on the rubber cradles. It also allows you to carry bikes of different frame sizes as the straps will be able to hold it tight anyway. Also, the integrated cable lock prevents the bikes from colliding with each other.

The swing-away feature of this bike rack is smooth and easy. It doesn’t only allow you to move the rack away with the bikes on, it lets you do that all the way aside. This means, opening your trunk will be the same as doing it before there was any bike rack.

Also, this bike rack from THULE is a compact-sized attachment. You can easily fold the arms of it when it’s not in use. The installation process of this rack is rather easy. You don’t need any kind of tools to attach the carrier to your car’s hitch.

Speaking of hitch, the Thule swing away bike rack is compatible with all the vehicle that has 2-inch hitch receiver. There’s not much of an issue of nuts and bolts to attach to the bike rack. Simply place it in the right position, twist it, and lock it. 

I hope you’ve got the answer for yourself whether it deserves to be one of the top 5 or not. Well, I would definitely consider this one if I had a family of four who loves to go on biking trips together. In short, this is a product worth every penny.

2. YAKIMA – FullSwing Hitch Mount Bike Rack Review

Premium Chocie
YAKIMA swing rack
Quick Summary:
  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 43.5″ x 26″ x 17.5″
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
  • Item Weight 56 lbs
  • Bike Capacity: 4
  • Load Capacity: 160 lbs
  • Brand: YAKIMA
Check Price on Amazon

At # 2, we have the YAKIMA – FullSwing Hitch Mount Bike Rack in here. I wouldn’t call a list of the best swing away hitch bike racks complete if there is no YAKIMA product in it. Because this one here is known as the world’s leading brand for all kinds of racks and other stuff for your life’s adventure.

I’m sure you’ve already figured out how the quality and performance of a brand will be to gain the reputation of that stature. But, we’re going to find out whether this particular product here can meet the general expectation of how a reliable bike rack should be.

This carrier has the dimensions of 43.5 x 26 x 17.5 inches (L x W x H) and it weighs 56 pounds. While this weight thing looks like a con here, you should keep in mind that it’s a rack for four bikes. So, having this much weight is nothing short of normal for a structure that has to carry the load of four bikes. 

Also, we’re talking about a load of almost 160 lbs. That’s right! The maximum weight of each bi-cycle is 40 lbs. However, for safety measures and the longer lifespan of the product, the recommended weight is within 150 lbs. So, we better stick to that.

This Yakima swing away bike rack has a sturdy steel construction that gives it the durability to undergo all the weathers and environmental catalysts. Also, the high-gloss black powder coat finish on this rack really gives it a premium and shiny look.

I should definitely say that Yakima has walked some extra steps here to ensure the safety and security of this bike rack. It has 25 inches long, fully padded arms on which the bike frames rest. These fully padded dual arms minimize any possible damage to your bike to a great extent.

The anti-sway cradles along with ratcheting ZipStrip straps help you to keep the bikes in one place. The straps hold the bike in 3 different places. Also, the cradles are adjustable from side to side. They allow you to tie the frames anywhere on the arms. This also lets you provide optimal space between bikes.

All the bikes that have traditional geometry frames can fit in these bike racks. But, in some cases, you’ll need a TubeTop adapter that doesn’t come with the product. You can buy it separately from any nearby bi-cycle shops.

The ‘SKS – Same Key System’ locks save your bikes from getting stolen. The integrated cable lock keeps the bikes secure to the rack. The SpeedKnob lock that secures the rack to your vehicle has this feature too. Both of the locks can be opened with a single key and there is a spare key in case you lose one.

You’ll have full access to the rear cargo area of your car as it’s a swing away bike rack. You can even do that with the bikes on. When not in use, the arms of the rack can be folded down quite easily. You can even attach or detach the rack any time, thanks to its tool-free and easy installation system.

To sum it up altogether, this bike rack is surely eligible enough to be on the list of the best ones and it’s sure to serve you well with quality performance. The extra security features in it are really worth some extra bucks.  

These are all the best ones out there that could be the right one for you. Each of them has its own plus sides and minus sides. You can choose the one that meets all your basic requirements. However, if you’re not sure what to look for in a bike rack for the right purchase, follow the next part for some tips.

3. RockyMounts BackStage 2″ Receiver Swing Away Bike Rack

Platform Style
RockyMounts BackStage rack
Quick Summary:
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 46″x22″x8″
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
  • Swing Away: 180 degree
  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Load Capacity: 60 lbs
  • Brand: RockyMounts
Check Price on Amazon

This one here is one of the premier bike racks from RockyMounts. As far as the reputation goes, RockyMounts is well known for making premium car and bike rack accessories. This brand has been in the market for almost two decades and it’s moving forward at a great pace.

It’s the one and only platform bike rack on this list. This one might seem like an average competitor among the others but let me assure you that it has its own specialties that the other ones don’t. You’ll get to know all that along the way.

This carrier from rocky mounts has a whopping weight of 63 pounds and the dimensions of this product are 46 x 22 x 8 inches (LxWxH). It’s is definitely the heaviest carrier for two bikes compared to all the other ones on this list. However, the other specifications don’t let this weight thing look like a big deal.

As I was saying earlier, it’s a platform bike rack. While the bikes in a ‘hanging rack’ hang from the arms of their rack, the platform bike racks carry the bikes like a tray. Some people actually prefer this type as they think it’s safer and much more durable.

RockyMounts Backstage bike rack is very reliable when it comes to the build. The material of this structure is Aluminum. The whole structure itself is thicker than most others. It ensures a great life span and of course a great service for your bikes.

Now, let’s talk about the features that make this bike stand out. The large wheel trays along with the extra-long straps allow you to carry fat bike tires up to 5 inches, and diameters from 20” to 29”. The ratcheting hooks provide your bike safety by holding it firmly by the front wheel.

Then again, the arms of the carrier make sure that the frame of the bikes doesn’t come in contact with each other. To make this security step further, the people at Rockymounts have added the adjustable bike trays to the feature list. These trays can slide side to side ensuring a 12” distance between bikes. 

The pivoting rear-wheel cradles of the carrier allows you to carry bicycles with the wheelbases from 34 inch and 49 inches. It should cover all sizes of bikes and all of them will fit well without any problem. Also, each part of the rack has a weight capacity of up to 60 pounds per bike; so there’s that too! 

To put a cherry on top, this carrier allows both the tilt away feature and the swing away from the rear of the car feature. You can tilt this bike rack 30 degrees from the rear part to have a convenient gap to access the cargo space or you can swing it all the way to the side for like 67 inches.

This attachment is compatible with all the vehicles that have a 2-inch hitch receiver; be it a car, SUV, van, minivan, or truck. The premium axis-3 anti-wobble system prevents the rack from rattling while driving. You can also fold the rack against the vehicle when it’s not in use.

All bundled together, the rocky mounts backstage rack can be the smart choice for anyone who’s looking for a platform bike rack with some convenient features.

4. SportRack Ridge Hitch-Mount Swing Away Bike Rack

Easy Install
SportRack bike rack
Quick Summary:
  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 39″ x 17″ x 11″
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
  • Item Weight 42 lbs
  • Bike Capacity: 4
  • Load Capacity: 180 lbs
  • Brand: SportRack
Check Price on Amazon

We have another worthy contender here and this time it’s none other than the Ridge Hitch-Mount Bike Rack from SportRack. After well-thought comparison and proper research, this one seemed like the one that should be one of the top five bike racks. Now it’s time to dig a little and find out why.

This bike rack has the dimensions of 39 x 17 x 11 inches in length, width, and height and the weight is almost 42 pounds. This is considerably not heavy-weight if you take its sturdy rubber build into account. The rubber build ensures great durability and a longer lifespan for the rack.

It’s a hanging bike rack that was designed to accommodate 4 bi-cycles side by side. It has a total load capacity of 180 lbs. It’s a product that you can rely on for carrying your two-wheeled companions safely to a distant place without causing any harm.

Speaking of which, the soft rubber cradles ensure protection for the top tube and frame paint of your bikes. It’s definitely a plus point for any bike racks. Because, in some cases, the bikes have to suffer from some serious paint and frame damage as the body of the bike rack & frame came in constant contact. 

Also, there are these ratcheting straps that keep a tight grip on the cycle while the frame rests on the cradles. The frame must fit well within the straps. If it stays loose then the bike’s body won’t remain steady while driving the car. It’s bad, both for the bike and the strap.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, the people at SportRack have designed the straps in a way that all frame sizes can fit perfectly. There are few holes in the straps that make sure to that. It’s pretty much the same mechanism of a belt that we use to wear our pants.

Another safety feature would be the anti-sway stability cradles of this bike carrier. It prevents any form of the bike to bike or bike-vehicle contact. There’s also a very decent gap between the bikes to avoid the bike-to-bike collision.

To access the cargo space of your vehicle, the swing-away feature is available in it. If you want to access the whole rear space of your car, you can simply slide the rack with bikes any time you want.

This swing away rack is only fit with the 2” hitch receivers. So, it will cover most of the types of vehicles. To secure the bike rack to your car there is this anti-rattle hitch pin. It also prevents the rack and the bikes from wobbling while driving.

In conclusion, it’s safe to say that this one here will be nothing short of a great purchase in a budget-friendly range.

5. GUDE Heavy-duty Swing Away Hitch Bike Rack

Budget Pick
GUDE 2 Swing Away Hitch Bike Rack
Quick Summary:
  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 24.7″ x 13″ x 26″
  • Receiver: 2″ hitches
  • Item Weight: 11 lbs
  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Load Capacity: 86 lbs
  • Brand: GUDE
Check Price on Amazon

What we have here is the GUDE, Swing Hitch Rack. GUDE is a name of reliability and integrity in the field of different sports equipment. It has gained worldwide acceptance for its consistency and innovation. This bike rack here is a part of many other products that represent the A1 quality of GUDE.

This product here has the dimensions of 24.7 x 13 x 26 inches and weighs only 11 pounds. It’s compatible with all kinds of vehicles that have a 2-inch hitch receiver at its rear part. Doesn’t matter if it’s a car, SUV, pickup trucks, sedans, van, or even a minivan.

The first thing to ensure about a product like this is the durability of it. Because it has to undergo all the rough stages same as the car itself. Keeping that in mind, the people at GUDE have taken all the important measures to make sure of it.

It has a steel construction with the carry arms having 2.5 mm of thickness for the heavy-duty workload. Also, the anti-rust injection molding arm and leg of the structure ensure safety from rain, dust, and other environmental catalysts.

It has adjustable mounting saddles that you can rotate around the supporting arm. These saddles can be attached or detached very easily if needed. The durable rubber straps ensure a tight & secured grip for great protection. This strap has five holes in it to fit bike handles of different sizes.

The 16.5 inches carry arm of GUDE 2 can carry 2 bikes up to 86LB weight at the same time. This arm can be folded easily when it’s not in use. This convenient design proves to be helpful when you’re parking your car in a small place. Because sometimes that extra length of the arm really gives you a hard time.

The best thing about this bike rack is that it doesn’t get in the way of opening your trunk. You can simply pull the rack away from the rear part of your car, open the trunk easily and move your luggage or other things from it without any trouble.

This bike carrier also has an anti-rattle hitch tightening feature. It’s often seen in the usual racks that make a disturbing rattling sound while driving the car. But this tightener makes sure that your rack won’t wobble much.

Looks like I haven’t told you about the red reflector feature yet. No matter how trivial it may seem, it really is a very important thing. When the arm of the carrier is stretched and you’re carrying your bike at night, these little reflectors make sure that the vehicles behind you will know to maintain a proper gap.  

Overall, this one seems like a great deal for the price it comes in. It has all the necessary features to carry your bike safely to any place, no doubt about that.

How to Choose a Swing Hitch Bike Rack: A Complete Buying Guide

best swing away bike rack

I have already given you a complete idea about the five best swing away bike racks for you but there’s still the trouble of choosing between these five. You see, choosing one of the five might sound really easy but it gets troublesome with all these features, individual characteristics & differences.

So, in this part, I am going to help with some tricks & tips that I’ve up my sleeve. There are some basic things that you need to keep in mind while going for a purchase like this. This should save you a lot of time & trouble. Here are things that you should consider when buying a swing away bike rack.

Choose a Type for Starter

Whenever the details seem a little complicated and twisted, I always start by choosing a type. Starting with this step really helps you to narrow down the whole process. Because, each type is designed for a particular set of purposes and if you can determine what’s yours, the whole thing gets easier.

In this part of my article, we’re talking about the swing away hitch bike racks only. There are only two specific types when it comes to swing away hitching bike racks. They are –

Platform Swing Away Hitch Bike Rack: The platform hitch racks are the ones that keep hold of your bikes by the wheels. There are some cradles on the rack that work as a tray for both of the wheels. The ‘RockyMounts BackStage 2″ Receiver Swing Away Rack’ is the only platform bike on the list.

Platform Swing Away rack
The platform swing hitch racks are the ones that keep hold of your bikes by the wheels.

This type has its own pros and cons. For the pros part – easier to load the bikes, bikes remain secure at both the wheels and the frame. Then again, these are actually heavier when it comes to weight and they are hard to store when not being used.

Swing Away Hanging Hitch Bike Rack: The hanging hitch bike rack are the ones that hang from the arms of the rack. The ratcheting straps keep the bike tight with the rack while the frame rests on the cradles. All four bike racks in the list except the RockyMount one, are of this type.

Swing Away Hanging Hitch Bike Rack
The hanging hitch bike rack are the ones that hang from the arms of the rack.

To talk about prose, it would be – easier to load and store for the lightweight, installation process is quite convenient. Then the cons would be – a bit troubling for loading the bikes as you need to get them higher from the ground, some bikes need an adapter to fit well.

Durability is a Must

I’d say durability is a top priority for a product like this. This attachment will remain outside your car, which means open in the air. So, it has to go through almost all the casualties that your car has to, be it rain, dust, mud, heat, or other catalysts.

Sometimes it has to undergo the pressure of constant jumping of the car while driving on an off-road or a road with many potholes. Also, you can’t rule out this possibility totally that another car may hit your back while you have the rack installed!

So, make sure the whole thing is very durable. But especially take these things into account. Ensure that the whole structure is made with durable material. Then make sure that the parts holding your bikes are thick enough to take the pressure and the straps won’t get torn easily.

Durable swing rack
Ensure that the whole rack structure is made with durable material. Photo: yakima.com

Always Check for Compatibility

It’s necessary to check for compatibility before any purchase but in this case, is it’s something more than that. Because, if you don’t check to do this properly, you’ll have to suffer in every step. So, specifically, you need to make sure to these compatibility issues –

Hitch Receiver: This one is the primary thing. Hitch receiver is where you attach the bike rack to your car. All the racks provide 2” receivers but some of them come with both the 1.5” and 2” ones. Well, most of the times. Although, almost all the vehicles are compatible with the 2” ones.

Swing Away Distance: If your bike rack has the swing away feature then make sure that it goes all the way to the side of the vehicle. The main purpose of this swing-away feature is to enable you to access the whole cargo space. But if your chosen one doesn’t cover the whole distance then it would be a pity.

Tilt Away Angle: This one is pretty much the same as before. Make sure that the tilt away angle is enough to open your trunk at ease. Sometimes it’s seen that the trunk can’t be opened because the rack comes in the way even after tilting.

Extra Security is Worth Some Extra Bucks

I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘must have’ thing for your bike rack but, I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to give some extra bucks to have this feature. Your bike is a precious companion for you and just like any other precious things we own, it’s only fair to ensure some extra security.

Sometimes you need to wait for a long time in the traffic or someplace else. You might even get by a store on the way to your trip sometimes. Who is to look after the bikes in those cases? There’s a high possibility of your bikes getting stolen from the rack in these scenarios.

So, it’s really apparent that having some extra security features saves you from worrying all the time, about the bikes and the rack as well. The bike rack from Yakima has built-in security features both in the rack arms and the speed-knob. This type premium rack are perfect for premium Tesla Y Model.

Fuel Economy is an Important Issue

A common thing that appears to be a problem while buying a bike rack is fuel economy. The aerodynamics of a vehicle can change because of the bike racks and bikes. Sometimes the extra weight comes off as an issue too. The roof mount racks can cause an increase of your fuel by up to 30%.

But lucky for you, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Because the rear swing away hitch bike racks don’t come in the way to cause any form of distress to the aerodynamics. Also, this much weight at the rear part would hardly bother you at all.

Some Important FAQs 

In this little segment, I’ll answer some of the common queries about swinging bike racks. It’s pretty much normal to have a question on such matters because you wouldn’t want to go for purchase without a clear head. Here I’ve chosen to answer some questions that you might find convenient too.

What is a Swing Away Bike Rack?

A swing-away bike rack is simply a bike carrier for a van or pickup that you can pull away from your car’s rear. It’s an attachment that enables you to carry your bi-cycles at the rear of the car. You can ride the vehicle without worrying about your precious two-wheeled companion.

How does Swing Away Bike Rack Work

The best way to understand how it works is to consider it as a wheel tray. It will be easier to figure out the whole thing if you’ve ever come across a cycle stand in a high school compound or some other place. If you want to have a look at a bi-cycle stand, you’ll find it in bike shops as a display.

The mechanism of keeping the bikes steady is pretty much the same, both in a cycle-stand and a swing away bike rack. Speaking of the mechanism, it is, if the two wheels of a bike stays steady then the whole body is bound to stay steady. The wheel casing in both of these tools makes sure to that.

The major difference is that a swing away bike rack has to keep the bike steady while being attached to a car that’s in motion. So, a swing away rack is basically a cycle-stand but a lot more modified, lot more developed and lot more durable.

Also, you’ll be able to slide it aside when opening or closing the rear hatch of your car or SUV.

Another basic thing that you should know is that a bike rack is installed on the car by attaching it with the hitch of your car with a few bolts and nuts. If your vehicle doesn’t have any hitch equipment on it then you can buy a good trailer hitch from a shop and get it installed in any nearby automobile repair shop.

Can you open your trunk with a bike rack on it?

Of course, you can! The bike racks come with two different features to make sure to that. One, swing away from the bike rack and two, tilt away from the bike rack. Some bike racks come with both of these features. You can even open the trunk while the bikes are on the rack.

How do I keep my hitch bike rack from swaying?

Some bike racks come with the anti-swaying feature. I would recommend you purchase those ones to prevent your bike from swaying. The anti-rattle hitch tightener works well in this case.

What kinds of cars are compatible with a swing-away bike rack?

Almost all the cars are compatible with a swing-away bike rack. You just need to make sure that the hitch receiver of the car and bike racks matches. There’s nothing to worry about whether you have a private car, SUV, pickup trucks, sedans, van, or even a minivan.

Few Words Before Wrapping Up

By this point, you should have a clear idea about all the things related to how the best swing away bike rack should be. I’d like to provide a piece of advice at the end. It is, don’t swirl around thoughts too much. Just set your priorities first and then see which options work better according to those.

I’ve tried my best to sort all the detailed information in a way that you’d find easy to understand and process accordingly. It’s totally fine if you don’t find any rack on my list up to your standard. That’s why, there’s a buying guide in place. I hope you’ve found all the necessary things in this guide.

If you have any inputs regarding the topic, I’d be happy to listen. Let’s discuss more in the “Comments” section.

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of RackTutor.com. In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

2 thoughts on “5 Best Swing Away Bike Racks to Pick in 2023 and Beyond!”

  1. Question: Will any brand bike carrier rack work with these Swingaway arms? Can I buy the Swingaway hitch arm and use the bike carrier I already have? Thanks.


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