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Swagman Trailhead 4 Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Swagman Trailhead 4 Bike Rack


Today we're going to be taking a look at this Swagman Trailhead. This is a hitch mounted hanging bike rake and it's been designed with foldable arms so we can get these down and out of the way when not in use. Now we've got this available in a 2-bike, a 3-bike or a 4-bike with the foldaway design. In a 4-bike with the fixed mount here. The Trailhead's a very sturdy, durable rack, it is really stable as you head down the road. There's a couple of features that they've incorporated in there to make sure that happens. The first is our threaded hitch pin bolt that keeps any side to side or up and down movement contained.

Then if we come up here just a little bit further, we've actually got a threaded black T-handle here, it works in conjunction with the black plate you can see, you'll see when it's loose our rack has some movement and some wobble there. When we tighten that back down, all that movement is going to be taken care of and we'll not have to worry about that. Now once we have our T-handle loosened, we can just rotate the black metal plate so it's running the same way as our rack and then pull the silver pin that's going to allow us to tilt the rack right out and away from our vehicle. In most cases, this going to give you more than enough room to open any rear trunks or rear hatches that you need to get in and out of your goodies that you want. Now it's very simple to get it back in its upright position, we're just going to bring it up so the holes line up, slide our pin back through, secure here on the other side and then we turn that plate and tighten our T-handle back down. Now they use a black powder-coat finish so it's going to be a strong and durable finish. We don't have worry about it fading over time or a lot of corrosion and stuff. There's that other pin here, you just pull that out and we can move our dual cradle arms up into position. Now there's two rubber stops right here.

Just like our features down here at the bottom did, this is also going to keep that rattle and that vibration to a minimum. We'll slide through our pin with our cradle arms in the upright position, sometimes you've got to push up and down on the arms a little bit to guide it in. Bring our clip around, we can secure it on our pin there and we'll have our cradle arms out into the loading position. The dual cradle arms of the Trailhead are just 11 1/2 inches from the outside of one to the outside of the other. This is really going to help us accommodate a wide variety of frame styles and secure our bikes properly onto our rack. Each set of cradles is going to have four rubber straps that help hold the bike in place.

As you can see here, these would be for going across the top two and then we've even got the anti-sway cradles located here in the rear. The seat down tube will come through there, the straps will come around and that's going to keep our bikes from swaying back and forth preventing them or at least helping to prevent them from making contact with one another or with our frame. The straps, themselves, are very nice, long, durable straps. They're really thick, heavy-duty. They're going to hold our bike very securely. As you can see, we've got the grooves that run through the bottom of the cradles there to help it accommodate any other brake cables and things of that nature.

These are wide enough to accommodate all the way up to an inch and a quarter frame width. Really nice, deep, wide pockets so we can really secure our stuff with. These will rotate to whatever angle that we need them to. To best accommodate our bikes, there's a lot of different types out there and a lot of different configurations so you are going to have options as far as moving those around go. Now they don't move freely, we don't have to worry about them spinning on their own, it definitely takes a little bit of force but it does allow us to customize that. These will also, again with a little bit force, it's not something that happens really easily but we can adjust these forward and back, right out to the silver stops that here on the back to keep them from coming all the way off, you see right here. That's easily adjustable, forward and back, so we can get the appropriate spacing on our bike. My bike's a big old bike so maybe I need a little bit more space and other narrower frame bikes, we don't need so much room so we can get that customized. The straps go onto one of the three, nice, heavy-duty connection points there. It'll hold our bike nice and snug no matter what diameter the frame's going to be here, we're going to have plenty of room to get that around and get it connected. Now that we've gone over all the feature of the rack, let me show you how to install this on your vehicle. As you can see here, we've got our inch and a quarter shank exposed. This is going to go right into the class one and class two hitches. You do want to keep in mind that if you're using it on a class one, you are going to be limited to a 2-bike capacity. Then to switch this over so we can put it our class three, we've got our two plate adapter. You can see there's a bevel hole there and a threaded hole, we want those to be in line with each other and those should be placed over the non-threaded hole, you can see here, this is our non-threaded hole. The one further up is threaded to accept our anti-rattle bolt. We'll place those on, line it up with the hole we just discussed and then it's just a matter of threading our Allen bolt into this side and we'll use our Allen key and we're going to tighten this right on down. Perfect, easy to install. Now we'll place the rack right into the receiver tube of our hitch. We're going to line up our threaded hole here with our hitch pin hole. Once we have those in line, we're going to take our anti-rattle bolt which is provided and we're going to thread this on through. Now that we've got threaded through you'll notice we've got some movement and kind of some wiggle to our rack so now we need to use our wrench, we're going to tighten our bolt on down. This draws the shank of the rack over against our receiver tube and you'll notice that once that's nice and tight, all that play and all that wiggle is gone. We'll then take our provided clip and we're going to slide in the other end. Now here on the rear of the rack, if it's not already tightened, you see how we've got that wiggle and that noise, they've got this nice plate that's designed to go across the backside and then we just thread in the black T-handle and it going to take all that movement and all that play out of there as well. As you can see now, real nice and secure and we're ready to go down the road without a lot of noise. Loading up the bike is an easy process as well. You pull our pin located here at the top, rotate our arms up into position and we'll reinsert the pin in the new hole that we've created. Bring that on around. As you can see, nice, stable, sturdy ride for a bike and we've got our four straps that we're going to undo that we talked about earlier. With those opened up, let me grab our bike and we're just going to place the bike right up into the cradles that we just exposed and we've talked about the anti-sway cradle strap that you can select on each side. You want your down tube of your seat to be on the side that you've got your anti-sway cradle set up on. Now it's just a matter of pulling the straps around and getting it secured. As you can see there, nice and secure and ready to head down the road. As you can see, we've loaded our rack down to capacity. We are allowed 35 pounds per bike so we add 4 times 35 and it gives us 140 weight capacity. We started with our road bike then we went to our aluminum mountain bike, we got a hybrid style bike here, we've used an adapter bar on that and we also used an adapter bar on our ladies' bike just to even it out. This would have gone on the rack without but the rear end would have been kicked up really high so we wanted to keep it level, wanted to keep it even. The adapter bar we used is from Swagman, that part number is 64005, you can check that out on our website if you don't already have one and if you have a need for it. We'll now take the full load out through our test course to give you a really good idea of what it looks like in action. Here on our test course, we'll start by going through the slalom. This is going to show us the side to side movement of the rack just like if you we're going around corners or doing some evasive maneuvers. Once we turn the corner, we'll get into our alternating speed bumps, this shows you the twisting and torquing action on the rack just like a curb or a pothole might cause. Once we get into our solid speed bumps, we'll see the up and down movement, just like going in and out of a garage, parking lot or driveway. That will complete today's look at the Swagman Trailhead, part number S63380. .


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