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Swagman Hitch Bike Racks Review - 2016 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Review of the Swagman Hitch Bike Racks on a 2016 Subaru Outback Wagon

Today on our 2016 Subaru Outback wagon, we've got the Swagman Trail Head out and we're doing a test fit on it, and see how it measures up on the back side of the vehicle. The Trail Head is a 4 bike hanging style rack. It's been designed for use with the inch and a quarter or 2 inch hit. Part number on it is S63380. The Trail Head uses 4 straps to hold our bike in place. Most of the time we just see 3. We're going to have 2 here for the top frame tube, 1 here for our top frame tube a little closer to the seat, and then 1 down on the seat post.

That's to help with the movement as we're heading down the road, anti-sway cradle there. Now to release them, we just pull down and out on our straps. The straps have several hole locations on them, so different size frames won't be a problem, and we'll just slide them off. Now, these are some of the larger cradles. They're designed to pivot, giving you 3 different angles to choose from to most closely match your bike. But, they can also sometimes, the rubber will kind of hang up while we're putting our bikes on and off.

You see here, these are completely pivot-able to whatever angle that you'd like to have, what's most closely going to match your bike there, and get a good ride. There's also some small recesses down in there, so if you've got cables and things, that'll help prevent them from being smashed. Let's get an overall measurement on it here, and see exactly what we're adding to the rear of the vehicle. Looks like fully extended, we're going to add about 32 and a half inches to the backside of our Subaru. If we come right up here to the top, there's going to be a pin, it's got an attached clip to it, I'm going to remove that. We'll actually be able to tilt our arms down into their stored position.

Now in the stored position, we're going to go down to about 16 and a quarter, which is roughly about half of what we had added originally. As far as ground clearance goes, we'll have about 17 inches here on the backside. The closest point of the rack to the rear of the vehicle is going to be about 4 and a half inches away, but it would stop here from the receiver tube before that would actually make contact. Right down here on the backside you can see how nice and stable the rack currently is. Part of it has to do with this black T handle on the backside. It has a stabilization band that goes across, you can see now if that's not in place, a lot of movement then. But, that does allow us to then pull out our pin, and tilt our rack out and away from the vehicle to give us more than enough room to open that rear hatch and get items in or out of there that we really want. If I could figure out how to operate the door, we'll get it closed, I'll show you how to return it back into its upright position.

You might guess it's exactly opposite of the way we tilted it down, and you're right. So, we're going to move that band where it's going all the way across, and then just tighten that set screw down. Another nice thing about the Trail Head here, it comes with an anti-rattle bolt and a clip. So, we can thread our bolt in, get it nice and secure, as you can see really tight, have a great ride going down the road for our bikes, and then just put the clip in that other side just as a little bit of a fail safe. So, we've had a good look at the Swagman Trail Head and we see how it's going to fit onto our 2016 Subaru Outback wagon, let's take a look and see how that rack performs when they had it out on our test course. Here on our test course, we'll start by by going through the slalom. This is going to show us the side to side action. This simulates turning corners or evasively maneuvering. Once we get to the alternating speed bumps, we'll see the twisting action. This will simulate hitting a curb or pothole, or driving over uneven pavement. Once we get to the full speed bumps, we'll see the up and down action. This will be just like driving in and out of a parking lot, parking garage, or driveway.

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