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Saris Bike Racks Swing Away Hitch Extender Review

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Review of the Saris Bike Racks Swing Away Hitch Extender


Hi everyone, it's Evangeline here at etrailer and today we'll be taking a look at our Saris swing-away hitch extender, right here at etrailer. So if you wanna carry your bike racks, but you also want a little bit of space behind your vehicle, for different reasons. Whether you have a spare tire, whether you have a van like a sprinter or a promaster where your doors swing out, or if you just wanna camp out right over here, and want space behind your hatch, while still keeping your bikes on your bike rack, as well as on your hitch, this may be a good option for you, because this creates a full 90 degree pivot, bringing your bikes to the side without having to take them off. As you can see, we're using this with our Saris freedom two bike platform rack, but this can also fit a bunch of different Saris bike racks. Check out our product page for the complete list of Saris bike racks. You can also use this with other bike racks, and we'll take a look at the dimensions you'll have to have on those racks to see if it's gonna fit or not.

So now we're gonna pull our extender back in so that we can take a closer look at it. Now, to start that, you have to pull this knob, it says pull to close, so just pull that out of the way, that way it releases the hitch extenders to slide right back in. You may have to lift up slightly, just to get it over that ramp and then lock it into place. Then to secure in the closed position, you just lift this lever up, so that that U bolt fits right into that hook, and then tighten it down. And then secure it with this pin, right into the latch, kinda like the latch you find in your towing systems.

So this is what it looks like in the stored or closed position, this is what you're going to have it in when you're going out on a trip, you're out on the road, when you're ready to go onto your adventure. So make sure that everything is secured. We have a bunch of different latches, as well as different bolts that are holding it together and making sure it doesn't jostle out of place. So, we'll take a close look at those. So starting at the bike, you can see how we have a two inch hitch receiver.

The Saris freedom is an inch and a quarter shank with a two inch hitch adapter. That's just 'cause it's a Saris bike rack that we can use it with this hitch extender. But with any other bike racks, they have to have an actual two inch shank to fit into this hitch receiver. This over here is the spot for the anti-rattle bolt or hitch pin lock that will come with your bike rack. So if you are using let's say a stabilizer to tighten it down, that won't fit right here around that hitch receiver, you're gonna have to have a bike rack that uses either a hitch pin or a bolt to secure it.

Now, if you have a lock on your bike rack, that goes right where that anti-rattle bolt or a hitch pin is gonna be, you may or may not have enough clearance to put that lock on. As you can see, our bolt is three and three quarter inches long, and the distance away from our U bolt is about three quarter inches apart from the end of that pin. So if your pin is shorter or is closer to this U bolt, you may not be able to put that lock on. Now as for the handle system, or the latch system, that you use to engage or disengage the hitch extender, causing it to swing out or swing back in, I personally really, really like it. I do like how we have a guard, which is this triangle right over here, which is gonna help you out as you swing it back just to prevent any accidents, as well as with how easy it is to operate this latch, just like that. And then you're basically ready to go, once you release this hook. I do like that compared to the knobs on other hitch extenders, which take a little bit of finagling in order to engage. Another thing that impressed me is how many different handles we have on this hitch extender. That's gonna be helpful for carrying the hitch extender, but also if you need to secure your bike racks, and you need anchor points for your cable locks, this is a great way to put them through. As you can see we have this fully loaded up now. I even have my slightly heavier women's bike. Now please check out the product page for the instructions as to weight capacity. I do not recommend carrying over two bikes if it's a platform rack on this hitch extender, just because of the leverage, as well as the weight concerns. And this does have a weight capacity of about 60 pounds per bike, depending on what kind of bike rack you have on there. So that's a good thing to see, especially with our heavier bikes on there right now. So let's take this out onto the test course so that we can see this hitch extender, as well as our bike rack, in action. Here on our test course, we'll start by going through the slalom. This is going to show us the side to side action, which simulates turning corners or evasive maneuvers. Once we get to the alternating speed bumps, we'll see the twisting action. This will simulate hitting a curb or a pothole or driving over uneven pavement. Now lastly, we're going over some full speed bumps and we can see here the up and down action. And this will just be like driving in and out of a parking lot, garage, or driveway. So you saw it out there on the test course, as we went over those speed bumps and as we took those sharp turns. If there was any movement, it was definitely from the bike rack and not from the hitch extender. I did notice that the hitch extender was very solid, which is probably because it has two points of anti-rattle, or stabilization. You have the anti-rattle bolt, as well as the hitch stabilizers. So let's take a look at those. So here, right where the hitch extender fits into the hitch receiver of your vehicle, you can see how it's held down by those two points. So we have this anti-rattle bolt, as well as a lock. So you do get keys to lock this down. You also have this U bolt with a bracket on the bottom, and that's gonna be your hitch stabilizer. So your anti-rattle bolt takes away the side to side motion, and this hitch stabilizer takes away your up and down motion. Now you also get a tool to tighten this down, but I do recommend picking up a socket, like what I do with this wrench. This is a three quarter socket, and that's gonna make it a lot easier to tighten that bolt down. Now let's take a look at some measurements. Now, your ground clearance, as well as whether you have a spare tire, or where your door is, those are gonna have different measurements. So I'll give you a good basis just to see, and you can do some math yourself to see if it fits on your vehicle. So, measuring from underneath our shank to the ground, we have a ground clearance of 15 and a half inches. That is aligned with the bottom lip of our hitch receiver. Now for the highest point of this hitch extender, which is right by that lever, that's gonna be 22 and a half inches. So just take the measurement from the top to the bottom. And that's gonna be the amount of clearance you're gonna to have to clear when you wanna open your spare tire or your door. As for the height this adds to your hitch receiver on your car, you're gonna have three inches of a height difference, from the center of the hitch pin hole on your top receiver to your bottom receiver. As for how much this actually extends your hitch, which is from the center of the hitch pin hole on your hitch receiver right to where the hitch pin hole is, where you put your bike rack in, that's gonna be a measurement of 13 and a half inches. So that's how much additional space you get if you have a spare tire or a bumper that goes out really far out, that's gonna give you some extra clearance there. And now we're gonna swing out this extender. That way we can take a look at how much space we actually get with this completely swung out. And with it completely swung out, right over there, we're gonna take some measurements, again, just to see how much length we now add to this side. So, from where our hitch was, so the end of the hitch receiver, all the way to the center of the hitch pin hole, it now sits at 24 and a half. And then to figure out where your bikes are resting, you'd then add the center, or the distance from the center of the hitch pin hole to the closest point of the bike rack, and that's the extra clearance plus that 24 and a half that you have to the side of your vehicle. So let's take a look at how this works with our spare tire on the back of our Jeep. So you can see here, we have plenty of clearance or enough clearance underneath our door. Now I can't bring this all the way out to a full 90 degree, just because it goes and hits the pedals on our bike. But this still creates enough space to get into my trunk, maybe grab whatever I need without having to take my bikes off. So while this works great with our Jeep, with its spare tire, which most bike racks don't work on actually, this can also work with a bunch of other vehicles. So you can use this on your truck in order to lower your tailgates. You can use this with your SUV's if you want full access to your hatch, with this swung away. You can also use this with minivans that have an extra large door in the back, which will give you full clearance to your bikes, even with them on. Now, one thing with this hitch extender is please be mindful of your towing weight capacity, as well as what you can or cannot do with the expender. Now, you can't really overburden this hitch extender just because this adds extra pressure on your hitch. So this would usually half your towing weight capacity. And then if you have bike racks that can tilt down or like the glide, which can tilt the weight, even with bike racks or bikes attached, you can't do it with it on the hitch extenders. So you will lose some of those features. Now let's try this out on our truck. So as you can see, if we lower our tailgate, let's just get some clearance and drop it down on top of our extender, we do have plenty of clearance between our handle, as well as our bottom of our tailgate. Now to disengage, we do have to bring this back up. So let's do that real quick. When it's swung out like this, we'll lower the tailgate again. And with it swung away, you can now see that we have a lot of clearance as well on this side, between our bike rack and our tailgate. So when comparing the swing-away hitch extender with the other hitch extenders from other brands, let's say two things first. The first is that this is the most affordable option, compared to those other brands. Now at the price point it is that isn't much of a difference because it is kind of a pricier hitch extender. Now, the other thing is, I think I would rate it maybe second or third when it comes to our different brands. Our premium option is definitely the Kuat hitch extender. That's because you got different options, you can choose a driver's side or a passenger side swing away extender. That's a pretty cool feature, because I do like how you have options, especially if you have different types of vehicles. Now, this is definitely better than the Tuey hitch extender, just because you have this extra feature right over here, this knob, as well as how our latches work and all the handles, those are nice extra things that Saris added to their hitch extender, which I think made it a really good hitch extender for the price point that it is at. My final thoughts about this swing away hitch extender is I do like the extra features they added to it just to make it easier to use, as well as to work well. Having two points of anti-rattle hitch stabilization, where you get the up and down and the side to side rattle, that was nice to see 'cause it's definitely a sturdy extender. Also, with the way this latch works, and having all those different handles, or handholds, those are nice, because even I could install it into this hitch with no problem. It was actually easy to carry, which is something special, compared to other hitch extenders, which can be pretty bulky and hard to maneuver. So I think this works really well, it being the more affordable hitch extender, you do get the most use for the price. So my coworkers had some questions about this hitch extender, so we had a little call with them. Let's check that out. All right, hey everyone, we have the Saris swing-away hitch extender here, we also have as a prop our Saris freedom bike rack, just to show how it works with a bike rack on there. It's been pretty fun playing around with this hitch extender, seeing what it can do, what it can't do, do you guys have any questions about itI think the big question is will it just work with the Saris bike racksSo, the approved bike racks are just Saris, but, if you have a two inch shank on your bike rack, and you're within the weight capacity of the hitch extender, this will most likely work. Awesome, perfect. Yeah. Is it easier to operate from like the driver's side, rather than the passenger side, to open itThat's a good question, actually. I didn't really notice a difference. I did notice that we have plenty of clearance, no matter where you operate it. It might be easier from the driver's side, just because you can see everything. But I think it's easy either side you operate it on. I just didn't know if, with bikes loaded, there was gonna be a safer side to be on. Yeah, even with the bikes loaded, I still have a good enough clearance just to kind of stand like this and then maybe move around. If you have larger bikes, then that's a really good point. You might be more comfortable standing right over here to operate it where you don't have this in the way. That's all you'd have to step around. It has a lot of clearance though, so yeah, if you're on the larger side, maybe the driver's area would be more comfortable. Watching you open it and swing it away, it really reminded me of how the Yakima works, in terms of the steps to get it to swing out. Yes, very similar design. You don't have like a knob as much to turn for that. This one's just mainly a latch, so yes it's similar, with a ramp too, that's a similar design. Camerperson Okay, well thanks for joining us. All right, thank you very much. So I hope that discussion helped you out. If you have any more questions about how this works, and what it can handle, please check out the product page here at etrailer. And that was a look here at our Saris swing-away hitch extender, here at etrailer. My name is Evangeline and I hope this helped you out..


Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee John S
Video by:
John S
Employee Evangeline M
Test Fit:
Evangeline M

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