Swagman Straddler A-Frame Trailer 2-Bike Carrier Review

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Review of the Swagman Straddler A-Frame Trailer 2-Bike Carrier


Hi there trailer owners. Today, we're going to be taking a look at Swagman Straddler 2-Bike Carrier for A-frame trailers. When you're hauling your trailer or your pop-up camper or your travel trailer, any of those you're using your hitch already. So now your bikes and your bike racks and things like that, you're going to have to try to fit inside your trailer and your truck bed or something else because you can't put your bike rack in your hitch.Well, with this on our trailer here, we've got an additional two-inch receiver here on our trailer, so we can fit accessories in it like our bike racks and bring those along with us. So on top here, you can see we've got our two-inch by two-inch receiver that uses a standard 5/8 inch hitch pin and clip. This is going to be great for whatever accessories you're wanting to place in here.

It does have a maximum of a 100-pound tongue weight. So you do want to keep that in mind.It is a universal fit that's designed to work with your A-frame trailer. You can mount in various different locations as these arms are adjustable. And the design of them allows it to go around your propane tanks. You can see here, we've got ours installed and it butts up and it does sit right above our propane tank cover here.Now it's not just limited to propane tanks.

If you have a toolbox or other accessories here as well, that is kind of the main purpose of this setup is to be able to have our arms extended outside of our A-frame and bring our hitch here up above those accessories. This rack is designed to work with up to two propane tanks that are each 30 pounds, and that's the size that we've got here. You can see our cover. And it is a little bit of a tight fit here, but it does work just fine.So we'll go ahead and show you a typical application here. We're going to go ahead and slide our bike rack in.

So we're just going to finish installing this like we would as if it was going into our normal hitch. Go ahead and tighten down our anti-rattle bolt and secure it with the pin on the opposite side.One of the things I did want to point out is that since it's got a universal design and you can kind of position it on your frame as necessary to avoid your accessories here, we we're able to get in a position where it all works and we can still use our jack here without any problems. And then you can go ahead and load up your bikes. You may need a step stool or an extra set of hands when doing it because it is up pretty high here. I'm a pretty tall guy, so I don't have too much trouble with it, but it is definitely more of a struggle than loading it on the hitch at the back of your vehicle.Now that we've got it fully loaded up, we're going to go ahead and take it out on our test course so you can see how it's going to operate behind your vehicle.

So as we head into the test course, we're going to start by going over our uneven bumps section. This is going to simulate potholes and other uneven terrain. And you can see our bike rack is wobbling back and forth here. But we don't have any type of clearance issues and our bikes seem to be securely mounted onto it.Next we're going to head into the even bump section. And while driving it, this one got a little bit scarier in the driver's seat. But when we take a closer look on the GoPro and things like that, we noticed that we don't have any clearance issues here either even though the rack does appear to be coming close to the back windshield. And then we make our long turn coming back around.We went ahead and we're going to stop here and going to take a look at our clearances because it does seem to be coming close to our back windshield. We're going to hop out and take a closer look. It did concern me how close it looked like we we're getting. And if you look here, it is close, but we've got plenty of clearance here.On our first test run when we checked it out, we we're using just a traditional ball mount and it got a little bit too close for comfort. So to get around that, we used an extended ball mount here that does reach out and extend this out about 10 inches to do this. Now, this is really only a concern here because we're using an SUV and our bike rack could potentially come into contact here with our lift gate. If you we're in a truck though, your tailgate would be down here and you'd have no clearance issues whatsoever in a truck. So if you're planning on using this setup with an SUV, you may or may not need an extension to get the proper clearance. That's also going to just vary depending upon your particular SUV and the trailer that you're hauling.Now, this bike rack is universal. You can put it at different spots here on our frame. So what I recommend is after you've got it installed, load up your bikes and hook up your trailer and have somebody watch you and make a nice sharp turn. Kind of do some circles. You want to do that. If you can't maybe be going out of your driveway just to see how your clearance is going to be.If it looks too close, you can move it further back on your trailer. Now in our particular trailer here that we're working with, if we we're to go any further back, we would be hitting into other accessories that we're already installed on here. So we we're unable to, that's why we went with the extended ball mount. If you're unable to move it back to get the clearance that you need, then you would want to consider the ball mount that is extended. And just set up your trailer like this, where you've got it sharp and close, and see how close you are and measure that gap. And depending on your angle here, if you aren't turned to that sharp yet, and you're already very close and you're likely going to need a pretty long extension like we have here.If you need an extension, we've got plenty of different sizes here at etrailer.com with varying lengths, as well as varying drops and rise so you can get the best matchup for your trailer. And to give you an idea of what the clearance would look like on a truck, we don't have any extension on the ball mount that we've gotten there now. So it's just a traditional ball mount. And our rack here is hanging over our tailgate, but we've got plenty of room. So clearance is not going to be any kind of an issue unless you we're to have maybe like a camper shell on your truck.Now, if you do have a Flip-Up Style jack, depending on where you put the arms, it may interfere with its operation. You can see here that we're going to hit and no matter which way we try to take it, it is going to interfere with our jack here. But again, that's going to vary depending on your trailer and where you've got your components mounted. Now, if you do have a Flip-up Style and you're having some clearance issues and you just can't work around it, then I would recommend cranking it all the way up. And then you could take the wheel off on the bottom to ensure you don't have any clearance issues when driving down the road.We'll begin our installation by installing our arms onto the A-frame of our trailer. Now this is going to work on any trailer. It's a universal design. So it's going to work right here on our pop-up, but it's also going to work on your travel trailers and your utility trailers as well.We'll begin by taking the two pieces. You don't have to have these bolts in here yet. But they're going to look pretty much identical which you'll notice at the top on one of them. We're going to have these little weld nuts here for our set screws. And one is slightly smaller diameter so it can slide inside the other. You'll have two sets like this and each is going to go on each side, clamping around the frame. So now that we know how we're going to do it, we want to make sure that our pole is on the outside of the frame. And then we can drop our bolt down from the top until it goes down the bottom. So we're just going to drop that on.We we're hitting on the bracket where our propane tanks are, but that's okay. We can go either slightly forward or slightly backwards. Because, that's what's nice about this system is that it is designed to go around our propane tanks. So now that we've chosen our position, we're going just behind the brace from where our propane tanks are sitting. And on bottom, we're going to.We'll then secure the carriage bolt we dropped down through both of our brackets with a lock washer and a nut. Once we've got that one started, we can go over to the other side and install that one as well. Then over here on the opposite side of our trailer, we're going to set it up in the exact same way that we're going to go over our frame. We're going to go right behind our brace for our propane tank. So, that way we're going to stay even from side to side on our trailer. And then we'll secure it in place.Now that we've got both of our arms in place on each side with our hardware loosely installed. We can go back and tighten it down with a 9/16 socket or wrench.\ You will likely need to use a wrench because your depot's likely not going to be long enough. We want to go back and forth ensuring that we tighten it down evenly.We can now take the S-shaped arms that come in our kit and slide them down into our ends that we attach to the trailer. You will see a sticker on them. This is the minimum insertion distance. So we need to make sure that we go in at least to where our sticker can't be seen anymore. A little bit of it is probably going to peel up when you're pushing it in. I mean, that's going to be okay.Now we want to check our top arms and see if we have a decent position where they're going to work. They do pivot around. So we're going to turn them in as far as we can. And we're hitting our propane tank cover here and our arms aren't in far enough. So, that doesn't mean it doesn't fit. It just means that we need to move our arms a little bit.If we go further towards the front of the trailer, going down the A, it will bring the arms closer together as we go forward. So we are going to have to move ours a little bit further forward down the frame here some in order for this to fit. So I'm going to go ahead and loosen those back up, slide it down and we'll see you here in a minute. So you can see, we did move ours probably about four inches forward down the frame from where we we're before.And if we head up to the top, now we can see that our arms do twist in far enough for our system to come together. It is a little tricky getting everything to fall together because your arms do want to slide down in there as you're trying to get the top piece slid in. So we're going to just get that side started a little bit, and then we can get this side started over here. And once you've got them both started, then we can just start kind of getting them together.It is a little bit of a tight fit and a lot of that's just due to the thick powder coating that's on it, which just makes it difficult to slide in. But once you get everything slid together, it does get a little bit easier. Now, if you are having a real hard time getting it down, you can use like a rubber mallet or a dead blow to just give it a little bit extra assistance.Those stickers that are on there, they're there for your convenience to ensure you don't go down too far and you have enough there to bite onto. But they can kind of get in the way and make it a little bit difficult till make it go that last little bit because of those stickers. Now that we've got everything in place, we can go back and tighten down all the set screws. So we're just going to snug those up.We are using the included Allen key that came with our kit here to do so. You do receive two Allen keys. This is the smaller of the two. We're going to repeat this for each set screw. You'll have two at each end of the S-shaped bars on each side.Once we have all of our set screws tightened down 90 degrees from where the set screws are, you're going to find an open hole. There's going to be one on each side, and we're going to drill these out using a quarter inch drill bit. Once you've got that modeled out we can then take the Allen head bolts that come in our kit. We're going to slide them in. I like to go from the outside-in. It doesn't really matter, but I think it looks nicer that way.And then we'll secure it with the nylon locking nut on the other side. We'll then use the larger Allen key that our kit comes with to tighten it down. And then the nut here on the opposite side, we'll tighten down with a 10 millimeter socket. We'll then just repeat that for the remaining three bolts. We're now ready to load up our favorite trailer approved accessories, and we're ready to hit the road. And that completes our look at Swagman's Straddler 2-Bike Carrier for A-frame trailers.


Questions and Comments about this Video

Diana

It appears that this product may make it possible to bring my bikes camping BUT the swagman appears to be in the way of the pop up campers slide out beds?? Was this tested? Thanks

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

This is a universal design that can fit with most trailers that have an A-Frame setup. To make room for your popup camper slide out beds you should be able to remove everything but the bottom brackets and the lowest part of the uprights.

Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee David F
Installed by:
David F

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