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Swagman XTC-2 2-Bike Platform Rack Review

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Review of the Swagman XTC-2 2-Bike Platform Rack

Speaker 1: Today we're going to be taking a look at the Swagman XTC2- two bike platform rack for inch and a quarter and two inch hitches. Part number is S64670. Now, the Swagman XTC-2 is easily one of the most popular bike racks available. I think that's for several reasons. One, it's really easy to use. We don't have a lot of moving parts that we have to deal with.

Also, it's built really well. It's really solid. You're not going to have a lot of noise or a lot of movement as you head down the road. And it also comes at a very cost-effective price.When it comes to the ease of use factor, the XTC-2 is going to hold your bike in basically three locations. You're going to have a front wheel hoop, a rear wheel hoop, I like that it rests down on top, and then we've got our rubber straps holding it in place.

Then we'll have our frame hook up here on top. Now, this is going to work out with all different types of bikes. Some people prefer with a carbon fiber style bike like this, not to have anything touch the frame. They can be pretty expensive, it's understandable. In that situation, I think you'd be better suited with a front wheel hook clamp, a clamp that would come down over the front wheel.

The material that the hooks are coated in is a very dense, very good grade rubber. It has a little bit of give to it, but I don't think it's so hard you'll have to worry about it kind of rubbing off on the frame of the bike. And it's not so soft, like some of these are wrapped with just foam, and that foam, over time tends to deteriorate, and then you can wind up with metal on bike contact.When it comes to the ease of use department, as far as loading up a bike goes, it's really quick and really straightforward. You don't have a lot of mechanisms to deal with. We just want to place our bike up and on.

You're going to place the wheels into the cradle. And at that point, we're just going to bring our hook down. Now, we can just press on the hook, or we can press the lever here. That's our locking lever, bring it down, then just apply a little pressure. As you can see, nice and solid. At that point, we'll come to our front wheel cradle, get our strap secured in our rear wheel cradle, get it secured.Once we've got that done, we're ready to either load up or next bike or head down the road. An advantage you'll have with a platform style rack like this that we don't see out of the hanging style racks, that we're supporting the bike from the bottom, so we're not going to have to worry about our carbon bikes hanging and the frames being stressed. But also, we don't have the wheel going forward and back. A lot of times on a hanging style rack, the front wheel just kind of goes back and forth unless you get a strap to secure it. So that'll prevent any contact of that wheel with our vehicle or the bikes behind it.The XTC-2 offers adjustable wheel cradles, so we can adjust the pairs forward and back or independently from one another. That helps us accommodate bikes all the way up to 66 inches of wheel base, but it's also going to help you position your bikes so you can get space in between them. That way you're not going to have to worry about any kind of contact from one bike to the other.When loading multiple bikes, you definitely want to make sure that the heaviest bike is going to be closer to the vehicle and the lighter bike further back. The wheel cradles are going to accept a tire up to two and a half inches wide. So not only is that going to work out great for road bike tires, but also for mountain bike tires. When they get wider, all of them are held in place really well. Even going to work out really well for the ladies' bikes and for the kids' bikes. The cradles have also been designed to work with wheels from 20 all the way up to 29 inches. Regardless of the frame type that you have, the XTC-2 does a great job of fitting just about any bike out there. You see here, we've got kind of a higher cross tube. On our mountain bike, it drops down a little bit more. Both of our hooks are independent from one another, so they're going to adjust independently and they're offset. So this one holds a little bit lower, this one holds a little bit higher. So that gives us a good range of adjustment.It's even going to work out on the really short frames on the kids' bikes or the ladies' bikes will have a pretty big drop here. It's going to work out really well for just about all of those. If you do have some very odd frame on your bike, or something that just doesn't work, they do offer an adapter bar. That part number is 64005.The rack offers a 35 pound per bike weight limit on it. That's going to work out for just about all of your standard bikes out there on the market. The only real exception we see to that will be with the e-bikes. Those can be 40, 45, 50 pounds.To adjust the wheel cradles, we're going to have nice, large, easy to get a hold of knobs here on top. We just need to loosen those up, and then that's going to allow us to slide it in and out. Really easy, really simple. That gets us, like we said, all the way out to that 66 inch wheel base. But when we bring them down all the way, we can get all the way down to 27 inches. So that's going to cover just about all the bikes out there.We've got the mast that's designed to tilt down, either to the left or to the right. We've got a pin at its base that we can pull. We can rotate this down, and then get that pin reinserted. I like this pin style. There are several bike racks that have this kind of pin style for folding arms and tucking arms away. This has a ball detent on it, which is just a little ball in the pin with a spring behind it. So as we put that in, it doesn't matter if we've got our handle tilted up or down or sideways. It goes in without any issue. Other racks like this, there's a little key way, so you have to get the pin in just the right spot to be able to kind of wiggle it in or wiggle it out. So this kind of eliminates that process and makes it a little bit easier to use.All of the steel is really nice and heavy duty. You can feel the difference in this as compared to other racks. We're going to have the black powder coat finish here on the main base, and then that's going to turn into gray on our wheel hoops. The quality continues right on through those. Also with our shank, we have a three inch rise. So as it comes out of our receiver tube here, it comes up, that's going to give us plenty of ground clearance here at the back side of the rack. You don't see that with all the platform racks out there on the market.Another thing here, going back to the quality. You can see the sleeve here, that adapts it from the inch and a quarter shank up to the two inch. That's going to work in both configurations. This is made of an aluminum. In some racks that are a little lower quality, you'll find this is made of nylon, and that can tend to lead to a little bit of extra movement.To keep everything nice and secure as we're heading down the road, we've got an anti-rattle bolt that's going to come with the rack. Threads right into the shank, and it pulls the shank over against the receiver tube. That eliminates the movement. They've provided a clip here just to secure it in. If we pull that clip out, I'm going to loosen up the bolt slightly. To loosen it or tighten it, you'll need a 19 millimeter socket. You could also use a three quarter. They're just about the same size. You'll see, once we get this loose, see how much movement and play that we have without much pressure. As soon as we tighten that back down, we're going to eliminate it. You see, right back, nice and secure.As a replacement for this, if you want to lock the rack to your vehicle, you can use part number S64029. That'll give you a pin similar to this or a bolt similar to this with the lock on the end. To take that one step further, it also comes with a cable lock if you do part number S64031. That'll give you your locking bolt with a seven foot cable to wrap through your bikes to keep your bikes secured to your rack and your rack secured to your vehicle.A lot of times, we'll see people without bikes loaded, just with their bike racks on the back of the vehicle. I like the fact, the Swagman can fold up really easily. Just have, kind of the same way we did that center mast, we'll have them on the outside here. We're able to pull that, rotate it, and put our pin back in. And do that on the other side as well. As you can see, that's going to make it nice and compact, so we're not going to have to worry about a wide platform here behind our vehicle, but it also makes it very convenient for storage. So when it comes time to store it, as we talked about, of course you'll need to remove the pin and clip. You can see, it's going to be very narrow. It doesn't take up a lot of space. So this can easily be set over along the wall in your garage or out of the way. So you don't have to really worry about a big platform style rack taking up a lot of room.To help determine whether the XTC-2 is going to fit on your vehicle, we'd like to give you a couple measurements. We're going to go from the center of the hitch pin hole, you just want to find the pin hole on your hitch, and then out to this edge is going to be eight inches. So you need to make sure that you've got that kind of clearance from your bumper into that pin hole, if yours sits in under the vehicle. Also from the center of that hitch pin hole to our upright bar here, we've got about 15 inches. Now, in most situations, we've found with this in the upright position, on SUVs with hatches, you're just not going to get it open, you will have to lay that down.Each cradle arm is also going to have a hole drilled through both sides to allow us to use a small padlock to secure these. But if we can't press this button in, this arm's not going to release, or a bike can't be removed. You'll need a lock with a 3/16 inch shank or hook on it to go through. You can get that on our website, it's part number 131D.Let's take a second and compare the XTC-2 to other similar two bike platform style racks. Typically when we compare anything, we like to look at other manufacturers to kind of see the differences, but really the best choices in this two bike platform style category seems to always go back to the Swagman. The XC-2 will be kind of the little brother of the XTC-2. It's very similar in design. Have the center mast here, going to have the same style of hooks with the same padding on them. So really good at holding the bike. Your wheel cradles are going to be slightly different. They offer kind of big loops, kind of go like this. These are a little bit more robust. They look a little bit sturdier, but the weight capacity from one rack to the other are going to be the same at 35 pounds per bike.With the XTC-2, the wheel cradles are designed to hold tires up to two and a half inches, but with the XC-2, that's going to go up to three and a half. So if you've got a wider tire, that might be a slightly better option for you. With the wheel base, the XTC-2, we can go all the way out to 66 inches. With the XC-2, we're going to be down to 51 and a half. So it kind of limits us there a little bit, but that comes at a really, really good price point. You're going to get a really good rack at a really good price.As far as a rack that's going to give you a few more features than what you get with the XTC-2, the Swagman Chinook is a really good option. Same hook material up here, so we're going to get great protection for our bikes. But the slide handles here are a little bit larger and easy to operate, and they incorporate locks already, so you don't have to worry about purchasing those additionally. Also, you will get a locking hitch pin, so that helps to secure not only the bikes to the rack, but the rack to the vehicle.The wheel cradles, I like the design on the Chinook a little bit better. They're designed as kind of a tray that comes up. That's going to give us full wheel contact as we place our wheels down and in, whereas with the XC-2 or the XTC-2 here, we just get the contact on the front and on the back edge. Also, the straps that are going to hold the tires down in those cradles have spacers on them, it's a ratcheting design. I just think it's a little more sturdy.The biggest gain you're going to get with the Chinook is going to be that it will fold away from your vehicle for access to the hatch even if you have the bikes loaded. That gives you really good options, a little bit easier to use than what you're going to get with the XTC-2, because it doesn't fold away. Also, when you don't have the bikes loaded, the Chinook will fold up toward the rear of the vehicle. That's going to eliminate some of the space you'll need behind it for parking and things like that. The wheel cradles on the Chinook are going to be a little bit wider. They're going to accept a tire up to three inches. Also, the Chinook will give you a 45 pound per bike capacity, where with the XC-2 or XTC-2, we're going to be at 35 pounds per bike.So with the Chinook, we're going to pick up some ease of use, we're going to pick up those nicer wheel cradles, and we're going to pick up a rack that's fully equipped with locks when we get it. And the price point isn't that much higher than what we see out of the XTC-2.That'll complete our look at the Swagman XTC-2, part number S64670.

Questions and Comments about this Video

Can the center post be folded down prior to loading the first bike, so that I dont need to lift the bike over that post?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Rachael H.

Yes, the center post can be folded down, but depending on the cross-tube of your bike you may need to remove the hook that secures that bike too and reinstall the hook with the mast in the upright position. Otherwise when you raise the mast up, the securing hook would be in the way.

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