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Swagman Semi 2-Bike Platform Rack Review

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Review of the Swagman Semi 2-Bike Platform Rack

Colin: Hey everyone. I'm Colin, here at etrailer. Today we're going to take a look at the Swagman Semi 4.0 two-bike rack. This is a platform-style rack. It's going to allow you to transport up to two bikes to and from your destination.A couple of benefits of the hitch-mounted rack is that you won't have to worry about it taking up too much space inside your vehicle. You can leave your bikes on the outside.

Leave space in there for passengers or other gear. If you don't have a roof rack, then you don't have to make that investment, as well as a couple of bike racks to put on top, to get your bikes from point A to point B.This bike rack also is available in a four-bike configuration. You can find that here at etrailer. If you already have this two-bike version, but you want to expand it to four, you can just get the add-on instead of having to buy another full bike rack. That's also available here at etrailer.What's great about this platform rack is that it grips your bikes with no frame contact.

So if you have a really nice carbon fiber bike, you're not going to have to worry about any type of hook or center of mass scratching up the nice carbon fiber frame of your bike. How it grips your bike is up front. We're going to have a nice wheel hook putting downward force on top of our front wheel. It's going to be forcing it down into the wheel cradle, down here. It's going to have a nice, hard padding to make sure it gets good grip on your tire and holds it in place very well.The coating along our frame is going to be very tough and durable.

It's not one of those foam pads where it could rip over time or even too much exposure to UV rays could make it crack and fade. This is going to be very tough and durable, and it's going to make for a great hold on our bike.The straps of our rear cradle are going to be able to adjust back and forth on both sides to accommodate bikes of different lengths. You want to make sure that you adjust it to where it's in the center of our wheel, wherever it's making contact. Then just flip it over and secure it. Now, if you have a skinnier tire like our road bike does right here, you can see that it's basically flush with the top lips of our cradle.

We have this nice rubber spacer in there to make sure that we make contact with our wheel, and it's also not going to harm or scratch the finish of our wheels. You can see it makes for a great, solid contact.Each wheel hook is going to have an integrated cable lock, which you can use to wrap around the frame of your bike. It's going to act as a great theft deterrent. We'll just take our included key right here. We'll show you how it operates real quick. There's a cylinder on the outside, right there. We turn it. It gets the lock off the notch. When we're ready to unload our bikes, we can bring it back and around. It's actually going to stow in the top of this upright arm right here. So now it's out of the way until we need it. When our bikes are all loaded up, we're ready to hit the road, we'll just bring it around. You want to make sure you get it around that main frame of the bike, not just the handlebars or something like that. When it's around that main frame it's going to be the best theft deterrent. Then we'll just lock it in place, and you're ready to hit the road.Because the bike rack doesn't tilt away, I do want to point out you can still have rear hatch access when the bike rack is empty. With the hooks folded down, you can see the hatch comes right open. We've got space to reach in here, grab whatever cargo, groceries, anything else that we might need out of our trunk, and be on our way.This platform rack is going to have a weight limit of 45 pounds per bike, so that's going to be good for all of your road bikes, kid's bikes, women's bikes, and most mountain bikes. Each of the four cradles are going to have a slot right here so that your smaller road bike tires fit more snug in their cradles. Now, however, it's also going to be able to fit your mountain bike tires, which you can see right here. The cradles will be able to accept tire widths of up to three inches.The hooks have a ratcheting system on the upright arm of the hook. How they operate, we just push in that button. The hook comes off, allowing us to unload our bike. When we're ready to secure it, the hook will actually let gravity take its course until it makes contact. Then we'll just give it a quick push, take out that little bit of slack.As far as how the bike rack is built, our cradles along with some other parts of the bike rack are going to be made up of a durable plastic. It's going to hold up great to all the elements and make sure it really grips your bike well. While the frame of our bike rack, everywhere else is going to have a sturdy steel construction with a silver powder coat finish. It's going to be very durable. It's going to hold up great to rust and corrosion.The bike rack's going to fit your standard 2" by 2" hitch receiver. We're going to have a threaded anti-rattle hitch pin that tightens down. That takes away the shake and play from our bike rack, even when we're traveling at high speeds. And on the other side, we are going to have a nice lock, which is going to be a great theft deterrent. No one can remove the bike rack without this key. It is going to be a separate set of keys from your cable lock, but both will be included with your bike rack.There's a few things you do want to think about with a hitch-mounted accessory. One being you want to make sure that it's going to fit your application. So if we measure from the center of the hitch mount hole to the closest point of our bike rack, that's going to be 8 1/4" right here. That's relevant because you want to make sure that it's going to not make contact with your vehicle. Now, you also want to think about the center of the hitch mount hole to the outermost point of your bike rack because that's going to determine how much length is added to your vehicle. It is going to be 31" right there, so that is how much added on to the back. That's something to keep in mind for any close-quarter situations, like if you want to park in your garage or a tight spot around town.We can actually take away that space added on to the back just by folding up our bike rack. What we're going to do is come in close and take the pin and clip off the bike rack, and come right there, and then take the snapper pin off. May need to lift up just a little bit on our bike rack to remove the pin. Then from there we'll just fold it up. Now we can replace the pin. Make sure you put that clip on at the end as well.Now if we measure from the center of the hitch mount hole to the outermost point, that's going to be 17", so we did take away a lot of that space. This is very handy for if you want to park in your garage and you don't want to remove the bike rack necessarily. It's going to create a lot less hassle for you.When loading your bikes up, it's a good idea just to go ahead and fold out your hooks. We're also going to extend them all the way up so they can come up over our tires, and also get your straps undone as well so those are ready for your back wheels.Another benefit of no frame contact is that we're not going to have a center of mass right here, impeding our ability to get our first bike loaded. We don't have to maneuver around it, possibly bumping into our vehicle and scratching it. We can just go right up and over top of that first cradle, and just set the first bike into place. While holding on to our bike, you want to make sure you have that wheel very snug and push as far back into the cradle as possible. Then we'll just bring this hook up, let it fall onto our tire, and again, just give it a couple quick pushes to make sure you get all that slack out.Now we'll take our back strap, put it through the slot. Make sure that spacer is sitting right on top of your wheel, and then pull it down to secure it. Once you're done, don't forget to lock your bike up. And then just repeat that process for your second bike.Overall, I think this is a really solid bike rack. It's going to do a great job of holding your bike securely for the duration of the trip. I really like that there's no frame contact involved. The no tilt-away feature is a bit of a downside, but personally, I never really have to get into my trunk with my bikes loaded. The only times I really need to are when I have my bikes unloaded already, and then I need to get my helmet and other gear out, stuff like that. I think it's much more important that the bike rack can fold up when it's empty to conserve on space.Let's go ahead and take a look at it on our test course. Up first is going to be our slalom, which is going to simulate side-to-side action, like evasive maneuvering or taking a sharp turn. Now we're on to the solid speed bumps, which is going to simulate the up-and-down action, like going over a speed bump or pulling into your driveway. And now we're alternating speed bumps, which is going to simulate driving over uneven pavement like potholes.Now with all that being said, this is going to do it for our look at the Swagman Semi 4.0 two-bike rack.

Info for these parts were:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee John S
Video by:
John S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Colin H
Test Fit:
Colin H
Employee Evangeline M
Test Fit:
Evangeline M

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