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Yakima OnRamp or Thule EasyFold XT for Low-Step E-bike

Question:

I have another questions about another bike rack: I am looking for a hitch rack for an Aventon Level step through ebike and I do not want to use an adapter bar because they do not lock and, while I could lock down the clamps on a rack like the Swagman Current— which I love— someone could just unhook the adapter bar and walk off with my bike. The Swagman current comes with a long and a short “hook.” They recommend that the long hook go on the back bike— the one next to the trunk. 1. Could I switch them so the short one was used on the ebike in the back? 2. Can I use the short hook to secure a step-through ebike, or does that place the hook too low to securely hold the ebike in place? 3. Or… is there a locking adapter bar?

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Expert Reply:

Good news! My friend AJ's video is finally up and you can see him review the Yakima OnRamp #Y36FR in the video I attached below.

I love your description of a road narwhal. If you're worried about the extra length behind your vehicle with a folded bike rack, I recommend the new Yakima OnRamp # Y96FR. In the video, AJ doesn't get into exact measurements since they're vehicle/hitch specific and he was doing a more general review, but I attached picture comparisons of the two bike racks you're interested in so you can see what I mean.

Both bike racks were designed with e-bike users in mind. Since the low-step is a common e-bike frame style, both racks' frames are great with lowering and rotating their frame mounts for the differently angled frames.

In terms of tilting though, there are differences. The Thule EasyFold XT has an easy and controllable tilt straight outwards. Since it sticks so far out, there are no issues with clearance when opening a rear door.

The Yakima OnRamp, however, tilts straight down. The possible issue here is that it has no stop within the rack, so the instructions recommend TWO people during the tilting process: one to hold the rack, and another to undo the tilting pin and release the titling knob. The rack then will continue downwards until it hits the ground. That unstopped design is to allow as much tilt as needed to access your rear door, but it can be a jarring experience for someone who isn't ready to support the rack's weight while releasing the tilting mechanism.

All in all, if you're looking for an easy e-bike hitch rack that you can leave on your car and won't make you feel like an unwieldy road narwhal, I recommend the Yakima OnRamp # Y96FR. The Thule EasyFold XT truly shines when you have to constantly install, uninstall, and store it, but it's not as low-profile when left on the vehicle.

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expert reply by:
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Evangeline M

Question:

I am trying to find an ebike hitch rack for a low-step ebike. I have it down to two: The Yakima OnRamp, which is brand-new and you havent made a video for yet, and the Thule EasyFold XT, which sticks out 3 feet from the back of the car when not in use, turning our car into a road narwhal. Im terrified of ramming other cars when backing up. How easy is this thing to take out and reinstall for an averge person? If you have another suggestion something well designed that we can install and leave in place would be ideal, but it also has to secure a low-step bike *without an adaptor*. Alternately, when will you post a video for the OnRamp? Thank you in advance!

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Expert Reply:

The Swagman Current # S64678 does have ratcheting hooks that can be switched around so the short hook faces the back. I've done it before and it works, you just need to make sure your bike on the outside can fit under the taller hook.

I'm not sure about the exact dimensions of the Aventon step-through bike, but I am concerned about if the hook will come in contact with the gears if it ratchets down low enough. If you check out the frame mounts on the Saris Freedom # SA4412B, it has rotating frame mounts with straps which takes up less space on the bike frame compared to the hooks.

The hook frame mount works best on a top tube. Since there is no locking adapter bar, have you considered using the Swagman's integrated cable lock for security instead? The Swagman cable lock is part of the Swagman Current Bike Rack so it uses the same key as the frame locks and is 7' long. You can wrap that around your bike if you're worried about security while using an adapter bar like the Swagman Deluxe Adapter Bar # 64005. If that isn't long enough, you can also pick up an etrailer 10' Long Cable Lock # e98891.

My recommendation is to use an adapter bar and the Swagman Current's integrated cable lock instead of trying to ratchet the hooks down low enough for your step-through bike. I think it's a much for elegant and stress-free solution than trying to constantly rotate and rearrange the frame mount hooks.


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Evangeline M

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