Comparing 5 Bike Trailer Hitch Mounted Bike Racks From Thule, Yakima, and Swagman

Question:

I have a family of 2 adults and 2 kids soon to be 3 kids. Im thinking of getting a 5 bike hitch rack for my Nissan Armada. Id like to get a hitch that will allow me to swing it out the way or fold it down when I open the back. Are there 2 or 3 that you can recommend that I can compare?

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Expert Reply:

For a 5 bike, trailer hitch mounted bike rack, we have a few options. First is the Thule Apex XT, # TH9026XT, that you have referenced. This bike rack does tilt down away from the vehicle to allow you greater access to the rear of your Nissan Armada. With the rack fully tilted down, you should be able to open the rear hatch. This bike rack also features anti-sway cradles and a built-in anti-rattle device.

Next we have the Yakima RidgeBack 5, # Y02459. This rack can also tilt down like the Thule so you should be able to open the rear hatch on the vehicle. It also features anti-sway cradles and a threaded hitch pin that acts like an anti-rattle device. There are also built-in bottle openers at the ends of each arm because, well, Yakima puts those on all their bike racks.

With either of these 2 bike racks above, you would probably also need to use an adapter bar like # Y02531 or # TH982XT. for womens and childrens bikes in order to hold them more level. I have included a link to a video review of the Yakima bike rack and adapter bars for you to view.

My third option may be more ideal for you, the Swagman XP, # S64970. It is a single arm rack but what it lacks in anti-sway capabilities it makes up for with its rotating cradles. What this means is that you would not have to use an adapter bar to hold the bikes level.

The deep cushioned cradles still offer anti-sway protection, and like the others, this rack tilts down away from the vehicle. The one draw back is that with the other racks, you can also fold down the arms when the rack is not in use. With the Swagman XP, you cannot.

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Michael H

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