“Bought a hitch rack online only to find out I had a better alternative waiting in the wings.”
Seems familiar? It happened to me countless times. I bought a bike rack and later got news of a slightly better one. This is why you’ll need to do thorough research. If you’re choosing between two near-identical options, a comparison guide will help you as it did for me.
I had to choose between RockyMountsSplitRail and MonoRail. That’s when I read a ton of reviews, got to work testing out different aspects, and put in my experience with these racks. I didn’t find a guide or two comparing both the racks side-by-side, to my surprise.
Not to my liking anyway. That’s when I decided to write one myself. Hence, this article. Here, you’ll find me documenting my experience with the two racks, comparing different features and benefits of the two products, and charting essential details as we proceed.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
RockyMounts SplitRail vs MonoRail Comparison Table
Before we move to a detailed comparison, let’s glance at the differences each of the products has side-by-side. This will make it easier for the users to decide what to buy and when. Let’s get to it, shall we?
|RockyMounts SplitRail LS||RockyMounts Monorail|
|Type||Platform rack||Platform Rack|
|Expandable||Yes, to 3 or 4 bikes||Only 2” Model, to 3 bikes|
|Expanded Weight Per Bike||45 lbs||45 lbs|
|Hitch Sizes||2″ hitches||1.25” or 2”|
|Item Weight||44 lbs||39 lbs|
|Max Tire Width||3”||5”|
|Wheel Base||34” to 50”||34” to 49”|
|Wheel Size||20” to 29”||20” to 29”|
|Bike Lock||Integrated Cable||Cable|
|Locks Rack to Vehicle||Yes||Yes|
|1800 Swing Away||No||No|
|Folds Down 300||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Buy From Amazon||Buy From Amazon|
Reviewing Both the Products
I don’t know about you, but I’d surely want to know what each product offers. It’s never a good decision to run blind, only to throw in the tower. That’s why I’ll be reviewing these racks and explaining their benefits before pitting them against each other. Let’s jump in, shall we?
RockyMounts Monorail Platform Bike Rack
In a sentence or two, this is a 2-bike hitch rack that’s a secure, easy-to-install, and versatile tool. Monorail fits quite well with 1.25 to 2-inch hitches.
You won’t have to jostle with, twist, turn or pick apart anything to get going with it. Just make contact with the bike, and you’re good to go.
I rigorously tested this bike rack when documenting my take on it. In my experience, you can easily tow around two 60lbs bikes with this baby. It can accommodate commuters and fat bikes alike. I’m talking about tires that are 5 inches wide.
In terms of diameter, it’s 20 to 29 inches. In terms of wheelbases, it can take up from 34 inches to 49 inches.
“Where does it get the strength,” you ask? The lower frame of the product is made using carbon steel. E-Coat and Powder coating give it the weather resistance we need.
Installing it is relatively easy. I had to fit it with a standard 2-inch hitch hole and bolt it tight. Monorail is secure. It holds two bikes tightly in place. Want to extend the capacity? You can! Purchase an add-on and carry an extra bike with it.
However, I had to deal with the reduced weight capacity of each bike. I could carry three bikes of 45lbs instead of two. I can vouch for the bike’s security (s) with my eyes closed. I could load them up rather quickly. And no! It doesn’t make contact with the frame.
RockyMounts Monorail features wheel caps to lock the front wheels of our bikes in place. I found engineered nylon in the making of the cups. Naturally, these things are strong.
As far as the back wheels are concerned, I had to deal with a folding clamp. It goes upwards and ratchets down. This secures the rear tire with an over-arched design. The rear wheel is secured with a belt just to put the cherry on top.
Don’t worry; you won’t run the risk of multiple bikes colliding and scratching each other. There’s a two-inch gap between each bike.
That’s not the end of things! I got a 10mm cable lock that loops around wheels when needed. It secured two of my fat bikes with the hitch bolt.
I can gain access to the car’s rear hatch without breaking a sweat. The thing is, RockyMounts Monorail comes with a 30-degree tilt function. It allows me to access the hatch without getting tangled in bikes. When not in use, I can fold it flat against my SUV.
RockyMounts SplitRail Bike Rack
It’s natural to look at the SplitRail version of the bike rack after the MonoRail variant. There’s not much of a difference between the two. However, the SplitRail version can carry 3 – 4 bikes weighing 60lbs. with ease. Obviously, with add-ons.
Bikers can assemble this thing from scratch if they want to. I could do it in a quick time. Trust me, it’s deceiving. SplitRail comes in a small box with everything packed in.
Thankfully, I got competent, decent tools that aided me in installing. 20 minutes will be all it takes. The result is a sturdy bike rack. With 45lbs of weight, this thing is set to stay with you for life. The combination of aluminum-Chromoly steel is durable as well.
Sure, the hitch rack isn’t the lightest one around. It’s heavy. However, the performance speaks volumes for itself. You can tilt it away by 30 degrees to access the rear part, as with Monorail. When not in use, SplitRail folds itself to facilitate storage.
SplitRail can carry 3-inch (in terms of diameter) tires if I’m talking commuter bikes/road bikes. As far as mountain bikes are concerned, make it 20 to 29-inch tires. Yes, this thing can accommodate kids’ and adult bikes alike.
Just so you know, this thing can accommodate wheelbases from 34 inches to 50 inches.
When it comes to RockyMountSplitRail, there’s no gimmick. Using it is super-easy. One has to get the arm ready. Then, secure the front wheel using the trays you get. Get the arm over the wheel and pair it with the hook on the other side. You’ll hear a loud click.
You’ll have to strap the front and rear wheels in place at the very end. If I had to, I’d compare SplitRail with Thule T2. The arms are better. This rack is leagues ahead in performance.
Loading bikes within this rack is rather easy. In fact, the makers used a nub just to keep straps at bay when you try to get the rack ready for use. Thanks to this, straps won’t get tangled around my shoes. You’ll have cable locks (similar to Monorail) as an added perk.
The cable locks are secure, I agree. However, there’s a catch! Ideally, the locks should come down from the top of the arms. You have two locks for two arms. But they get stuck. I had to spend some time releasing them. Not too happy about it.
You’ll have to tighten your receiver with the hitch. That’s not the real issue here. I had trouble with the “Release Trigger” of the product. It’s too stiff. Push it too hard, and it’ll tighten the hook further before releasing it. For a newbie, this can be a tough spot to be in.
Comparing RockyMounts Monorail and SplitRail Bike Racks
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of things. I found subtle and glaring differences in the security, carrying capacity, handling, and overall build. In short, I’d be comparing different aspects of these two bike racks and see which one bests the other. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Expanding the Capacity Has Limits in MonoRail
While both the bike racks can carry similar weight when it comes to bikes (60lbs.), you can’t expand the capacity to your liking. MonoRail 2-inch model can carry 3 bikes at a time. SplitRail can carry 3 to 4 bikes. This is thanks to the minor design tweaks you’ll find.
It’s not that big of a deal if you’re going on short trips with a friend. However, MonoRail isn’t family material. You can’t go on a full-fledged vacation or a bike trekking with a party of three or more. MonoRail isn’t built that way. Yes, I’ve seen people trying to fit an extra bike.
MonoRail would crumble under additional bikes wanting space, weight, and security.
MonoRail Wins When Tire Base is Your Concern
Monorail can accommodate any tire (up to 5 inches wide) when locking it in place. Be it race bikes, MTBs or Fat Bikes… you won’t face issues. The locking mechanism is secure as well. Your bikes won’t budge. However, despite the name, SplitRail loses the battle hard.
Riders can hook bikes with up to 3-inch tires. Yup, you can’t take some bikes with you on tours, thanks to the tire width limitation. This is a bummer, no doubt. However, people can always get roof racks as well. That is, if they want bikes with bigger tire sizes.
SplitRail Wins When It Comes to Tray Flexibility
To be perfectly honest with you, I couldn’t take MonoRail far when adjusting trays. Don’t get me wrong, a 2-inch adjustment is excellent when you’re working with two or three bikes. But 2-inch adjustment side-to-side is hardly enough room if you’re a newbie.
However, SplitRail promised more and delivered! I could adjust the tray for up to 4 inches.
This allows more space in between bikes. 4-inch adjustment allows room for cable locks, clamp movement, and straps. You can even set the straps aside when opening the back hatch of your SUV or car.
Wheel Base and Size Makes SplitRail the Winner as Well
Don’t get me wrong, both bikes can carry 20 to 29-inch wheels as far as size goes. However, the wheelbase is different. MonoRail can hook up wheels with a 34 to 49-inch base. But SplitRail goes a bit further. This thing can go up to 50-inch wheels.
Not all wheels are made for every road. That extra inch goes a long way when you factor in different terrains. You need an extra room just so your wheels don’t catch onto abrasion or scratch damage. However, both racks come with a no-contact system to prevent damage.
Locking Mechanism is Slightly Different: SplitRail Takes the Cake
MonoRail comes with a 2-axis anti-wobble lock system. The hitch pin locks your bike securely to the rack. The problem with that is, that MonoRail itself moved back and forth while keeping the bike immobile. SplitRail has a three-axis system that gives it greater flexibility.
SplitRail comes with integrated cable locks. These locks are held in the upper clamp of the object. Whereas MonoRail Bick Rack has a separate cable lock. It’s hard to manage. Combine the two security measures together, and you’ll see SplitRail is the better option.
Do RockyMountsSplitRail and MonoRail Have Similarities? – What Are They?
Despite all the differences, you’ll find a bunch of common threads that tie these two bike racks together. It’s not always a RockyMountsMonoRail vs SplitRail battle. Sometimes you have to make room for similarities that make these products great purchases for bikes.
- The weight capacity for the two bike racks is the same. It won’t make a difference if you buy these products based on your bike’s weight and want to tow 2 – 3 bikes. Either of the two racks is a worthy investment to make.
- Both of these bikes feature a cable lock-based security system. You’ll have to wrap the cable over your bike’s tires. Where the cable locks are stored is the difference here.
- SplitRail and Monorail bike racks don’t make contact with your bike’s frames. Both the racks lock bikes on the wheels. That’s why measuring tire width and wheelbases is crucial. You’ll have a tray to set your bike’s tires on (the front tires), and that’s it.
- Setting up these racks requires the same set of tools. You won’t have to buy anything extra or aftermarket tools. All that you need comes within the package delivered to you.
- Both the bike racks fold down when not in use. You can gain access to the rear part of your SUV or car relatively quickly. Both racks have a 30-degree tilt to make things easy for us. One even has a cable management system to go the extra mile.
- RockyMountsMonoRail and SplitRail have similar high-carbon steel frames with black powder and e-coating. This build protects them against adverse weather conditions.
- These racks don’t come with the 180-degree swing-away feature. This is a bummer since you must tilt the racks to access the hatch rather than push them away.
My Final Two Cents
To be honest with you, I’m splitting hairs when comparing RockyMountsSplitRail and MonoRail bike racks. A layman won’t find these two products different. That’s until you take a deep dive and look at specific features.
If you carry different bikes, it’s better to buy a SplitRail rack. MonoRail is the better option if you have similar bikes that need just the space. It’s versatile as well.
People can pair MonoRail with different hitches (1.25 to 2 inches). SplitRail works with different wheelbases. Also, buy this variant if you are concerned with bikes wobbling and rattling. SplitRail secures our bikes with a 3-axis anti-wobble system.
Make sure to consider your budget while buying as well. SplitRail is costlier than MonoRail. Also you can check Thule T2 Pro XT and XTR hitch rack for best alternative option.