on April 27, 2010
I love this bike rack. The price is very reasonable and its build-quality I consider top-notch with all holes and welds being quite precise. The design has clever features that were new to me, such as being able to fold down the bike support arm when not in use so one doesn't accidentally run into it and also the ability to fold down the whole rack allowing quick and easy access through the rear door. The strap cinching system seemed cheap and goofy at first but after using it a few times I've now become quite adept at strapping and unstrapping the bikes to where it only takes a few seconds for me to do so. I now feel its quite clever in that this strapping system will accommodate any size bike tube (unlike some other bike racks I've had in the past). Its important to note that the spacing between the supports is quite wide at 14" and that might limit its use for smaller bikes, as our adult bikes just barely fit (with <2" to spare). I did run into an issue that I've noted that some other Amazon reviewers (reviewing other similar model Allen bike racks) had alluded to. All hitch mounted bike racks will wobble to some extent and that's why most have some sort of anti-wobble system that basically draws the bike rack tight to one side of the receiver to prevent it wobbling. Well, the anti-wobble bolt that is supplied with the bike rack works well for a 2" receiver hitch, however if you have a 1-1/4" receiver it won't fit unless you drill out the hole on one side of your receiver... it will need to be slightly larger than 1/2". If you don't want to do that then you'll need to buy an 'after-market' anti-wobble bolt. That's when I ran into the problem that anti-wobble bolts don't seem to exist for 1-1/4" receivers... oh, there are a huge variety of choices for 2" receivers but not the 1-1/4"... I don't know why. There are brand specific anti-rattle pins for 1-1/4" but none of them will work with these Allen bike racks. Finally, after much searching, I finally found one (the only one on the internet I've got to believe), however it was also a locking pin, which was okay with me. I got it from a site called [ etrailer ]... do this search on [ Anti-Rattle with Lock for 1-1/4" Trailer Hitches ] It's code#63147 and basically costs $25 and with shipping totals out at a hefty $30 but was well worth it for me. It works perfectly and is very high quality. I've read reviews here on Amazon by others with 1-1/4" receivers who couldn't seem to find a 1-1/4" locking pin (evidently even Allen's own won't work!!!)... well this one is both an anti-wobble as well as a locking pin and works on Allen bike racks. So I hope this bit of info helps those with 1-1/4" receivers like myself. And if I've managed to help you please check the YES under helpful checkbox below.
Okay I've got to add this edit... I just got through another search of that website 'etrailer' and did find Curt makes an anti-rattle pin (no lock) for a 1-1/4" receiver code#F-315 that appears will work with the Allen bike rack, its $11 less than the locking style. As far as I could find, after extensive web searching, these are the only two anti-rattle (anti-wobble) 1-1/4" hitch receiver pins I could locate anywhere that will work with Allen bike racks. So if anyone who reads this knows of another please add it in a comment as I believe others might find it helpful to have choices.
Final edit due to the many helpful comments attached to this review... Allen is definitely supplying both pin sizes with these bike racks now so no additional pins are required, however I still stand by my review in that this is a quality and cleverly thought-out bike rack system and represents an excellent price/value bargain.
on August 19, 2010
This is the least expensive hitch mounted rack I could find anywhere.
The item arrived whole and the instructions are very clearly written, but not well illustrated.
Assembly was fast, but in putting the two larger parts together, I found it easy to tighten the bolts too much, thereby chipping the paint. The metal gave slightly, and the paint around the bolts came right off, but the pieces are definitely securely fastened.
The two included cotter pins are good, but the fasteners on the ends are a little flimsy.
Attaching to the hitch is straightforward. There's a two piece sleeve that goes over the 1.25" pipe to make it a proper 2" male end. Attaching the 'no wobble' bolt required two wrenches and upon tightening it to the maximum I was unpleasantly surprised that there was so much vertical movement of the rack in the hitch. It definitely does not wobble side to side, and the torsion is minimal to non-existent, but it is a little alarming that the rack travels up and down almost 1 to 1.5 inches, pivoting on the 'no-wobble' bolt.
The bikes went on quickly and easily and I was surprised that fully loaded, that they needed no more than the included straps to affix to the rack with no movement.
In taking the assembled and loaded contraption for a test ride I was disappointed and upset that a bumpy road definitely made the whole thing shake. I'm using shims on the top of the receiver to keep it all from bouncing too much, but I really felt I got exactly what I paid for - the cheapest 3 bike rack out there.
Warning - Amazon tags a Master brand locking hitch pin (with a blue anodized end) to sell with this item THAT DOES NOT FIT this rack.
on April 3, 2010
Great bike rack all around. Easy to assemble, just make sure you have the tools to do so. The locking washers are a pain without the proper wrenches. The "anti-wobble" bolt to make sure the rack doesn't sway from side to side is a little difficult to install, and it took me a few tries to get it right, but now it is rock solid and won't move anywhere. The fold down mechanism works like a charm, you just have to make sure you don't tighten the two bolts at the top too much or it will be really difficult to move.
+ Easy to assemble
+ Very sturdy
+ Holds the bikes very well
- Wal-Mart has the same rack for $23 cheaper at the time of this review (which I found out AFTER the fact, come on Amazon!) Edit: 11/19/2010 - Wal-Mart has since removed the 3-bike version of this rack on their website.
- Instructions could be a bit more clear, but they have a great instructional video on the company website.
on September 7, 2012
Changed it to 5 stars after many months. It's worth it!
Warning: This is a woman's review! You guys will think I'm ridiculous.
In a nutshell: This is my second Allen bike rack and I've been very pleased. I read all the reviews before purchasing--the first review you see is spot on--and the racks have been great and much less expensive than many others I've seen advertised. They have lived up to every positive review I have read.
Recently I went through quite a process to figure out whether I should get a hitch on my new RAV4 or just do this bike rack thing on the spare tire. I decided I did not want to deal with screwing things onto the spare tire, and--most importantly--the spare tire cover is very pretty and I didn't want to mess that up. (I told you--it's a woman's review.)
I hemmed and hawed about prices, etc., but I felt that the hitch would be good for me in the long run. After I made the appointment to get the hitch, I had to look into bike racks. They ran the gamut. It was kind of confusing, and I had to learn a lot of new jargon. I finally decided to buy the Allen bike rack, mainly because I own another Allen bike rack that's not for a hitch and it is fantastic.
What I learned about bike racks and hitches, though, is important for the ladies. You want one that's easy to get on and off. The nut and bolt that came with the Allen bike rack should be replaced immediately, which is what some of the reviewers said. You can easily buy a pin (ask someone to show you what it is) to replace the nut and bolt. Get a 1/2"--or at least bring the bike rack to the store and have someone help you. (I had someone help me at the hitch place, but they gave me a 5/8" pin and it didn't fit at all. I went to the local hardware store and a young man helped me tremendously.) A pin is extremely easy for a non-handy person to use. You can take off the pin in seconds and then throw the bike rack in the back of your car or your trunk. The other thing to know with this bike rack is that it actually does come with pins for other sections of the bike rack. (Wish it came with one for connecting it to the hitch.) The pins enable you to easily drop down the arms of the bike rack so they don't stick out when not in use. It's great. And then the other pin enables you to drop down the whole rack when not in use so that you can open your back door. I actually can't open up my RAV4 rear door all the way when I do that, but I can still have enough room to get groceries and beach chairs in and out.
The other important thing to note is that I put the bike rack together myself. I was very proud of myself, I must say. I took the bike rack to the store to ask an employee what kind of wrenches I needed. I bought a regular one (I don't know the name of it, but you can adjust it) and I bought a ratcheting wrench. I did not understand the directions when they said use 2 wrenches. (I know... I'm a dummy.) A guy explained that you use one to hold the bolt and the other to tighten the nut. I decided to go with the fancy ratchet one, because it really was easier for me to do this in seconds.
I hope this makes sense. I like the bike rack a lot. Again, you do have to buy a pin to attach it to the hitch, but that's okay. I would not recommend using the nut and bolt. You need flexibility for when you just want to pop the whole bike rack off.
I don't know about the size of the receiver/hitch comments. I only know that everyone told me to get a 2" hitch, and this bike rack fits.
There is wobbling, which I've been told is normal. I am going to read the first review again and figure out what he's saying about anti-wobble pins. (Heavy sigh. I need a handyman in my life.) I did buy some bungee cords to tie the bikes together, etc.
I really think the quality is there. Great pricing. I didn't give 5 stars because I don't have a lot of experience with these things, but it's 5 stars to me.
on May 4, 2011
- The method for folding down the rack works effortlessly, and results in very little wobble.
- The system used for securing the bikes is great! The mounts rotate, which is huge for toting around my kids' bikes. The system allows for some creative mounting of the bikes, and the straps go on and come off very easily.
- The rack is very close to the car, which I like. There is a lower pivot point if you need to move the rack out of the way to open a trunk or hatch, but I wouldn't want to use that if you had bicycles mounted on the rack.
- If the weight of the rack is any measure of its durability, then this will last through an atomic blast.
- It's simple to use, with or without instructions.
- I fervently dislike the locking bolt w/nut idea to eliminate wobble. I know, they all have it, but I'd rather be able to use a standard hitch locking pin instead of having to carry around a 9/16" wrench to remove the hitch. Drives me nuts. I have to believe a better solution can be engineered.
- I'm noticing a little rust around the welded areas. The rack was either not primed or painted correctly. Easy enough to fix, but I shouldn't have to during my first year of use. (Knocking off a star for this.)
- Use the brace near at the lower part of the rack to "lock" the rack to the vehicle by using a cable or chain threaded around the brace and through the safety hooks on the hitch.
- Place a double-stick reflector (or reflective tape) on the upright part of the rack. This thing is absolutely black, and impossible to see at night. The reflector will alert anyone behind you to not get too close.
on July 11, 2009
Works as advertised! We took a 300 mile trip to the beach with this rack and our two bikes were rock solid as we went down the road. Easy installation, folds down easily, and nice tilt feature for trunk access.
I installed this on a 2008 Ford Focus Coupe (I posted some images of it on my car). I first installed the "CURT Manufacturing 113193 Class 1 Trailer Hitch" which had a 1.25 inch receiver on my car. The rack was very easy to put together. The one pole slid in the base and had a bolt to hold it and a quick release pin, than the top pole (with the rack on it) slid it and two bolts held it in place. I use a ratchet to tighten the bolts super tight so there would be no movement. However, I will note that there is some movement in the part that has the two bolts connecting it. I think it would have been better to have the bolts cross or to have one in the front and one in the rear to make it stay in place. You do get some movement in it (not much, but I prefer no movement at all). I made sure all the bolts were super tight (using a ratchet and pliers), this was not difficult. I took the 2 inch receiver plates off of the rack and took the rack out to the car. I slid the rack into the receiver and lined the hole up with the proper hole (says which hole in the instructions). I than put the no wobble bolt in and tightened until I could not tighten anymore. The bolt went in perfectly and the no wobble push side went in through the hole and the bolt pulled everything toward it and there is no left and right wobble, it is super tight. You can still move the rack up and down, but this has not been an issue since the weight of the rack and bike keep it always angled down (if it was an issue I would probably get some wedge piece and knock into the top part of the hitch).
The rack is installed on the car and seems to be perfect! I mainly use this for one bike (since my car has a class 1 hitch, it can only support two bikes on it (weight limit for tongue)), so this rack will easily hold two bikes with no problem (I think three would be a crowd, but my car cannot support three, so two is perfect). I also chose this over the 2 bike rack since it was cheaper.
This rack has pull straps which are easy to use and I can quickly load the bike on the car. I got the largest foam pipe cover I could find (the ones that you put around water pipes to insulate it) and cut it to size and used zip ties to tie it around the part of the rack that would come into contact with the frame of the bike. I zipped tied it nice and tight so it would not come off. Now, I can put the bike against the rack and use a rubber twist tie to tie it tight to the rack and now the bike does not move at all! There is no swing or anything, I also use the rubber twist tie around the front wheel and the bike's frame to keep it from moving when driving (you can see my setup in the product's customer image section).
I really like this rack since I use my bike nearly daily and wanted something more convenient than the trunk rack. This is super easy to load, just lift the rack part and lock it, put the bike on and wrap the nylon straps around the frame (this has a nice cutout for the brake cable to fall into so it is not pressed against the frame) and than tie everything down, takes no time at all.
In my coupe I can still easily open the trunk without moving or angling the rack, so I still have full access to the trunk, but if loading something large that needs this out of the way, I can angle it down using the quick release pin at the bottom. This is very convenient. Plus, if you have an SUV with a door that opens out it should allow you to still access your trunk area.
After putting my bike on the rack I always like to lock it, right now I am using a cable lock that I have wrapped around the little support beam at the bottom of the rack (where the hitch meets) and I wrap it around that, through the rear wheel over the front derailleur and back to the locking mechanism (this way it keeps the rear wheel from spinning when driving).
Since I usually only carry one bike, I use small zip ties to tie around the other pair of feets to keep there straps from just hanging. This way they are all nice and tight (I can always cut the zip tie to make use of the holder if I needed them (for a second bike).
This rack is great since I do not have to remove it, even when not carrying a bike, but I wish that when the arms at the top were in the down position they had a pin hole to make them not move. They have a lot of move in them (when you shut the doors you can hear them shake), it does not seem to be an issue, but I would have been happier if when in the down position it could have locked through like when in the up position, so they do not move. Like I said, it does not seem to be an issue, but I would have just liked it to be more secure and not have any movement.
In the end this is a great rack. It is easy to install and once installed it does not have to be removed. I can quickly load my bike and the rack's center pole allows me to tie my bike down to it and not have to worry about it swinging. The rack also has a nice place for a lock to go and I can secure the bike to the rack. I am very happy with this rack and it was a great buy! I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting a convenient way to carry bikes around!
on November 9, 2011
We purchased this rack to fit on the back of an Equinox with a 1.25" hitch. Since we don't ride all that much, we didn't feel like spending lots of money on a rack until we know we will actually use it. :)
- Price for 3 bike rack
- Solid build
- Fits great in 1.25" hitch with no wobble
- Quick release system means we can leave it on the car with no loss of use of the tailgate
- Nothing to prevent the bikes from swaying on the rack
- Quick release pins can be a bit difficult to quickly get back in when releasing the rack to open tailgate
- Tether cable for lower release pin is attached to the vertical bar and gets caught in the hinge
- No easy method to lock the top portions of the rack to the vehicle
I initially put the two bikes on the rack and tightened down the mount straps. The bikes were still able to sway back and forth into each other as well as tapping the vertical post of the rack. I ended up using long velcro straps to hold the two bikes together and up against the vertical post. In my paranoia of not wanting the bikes to ever fall off on the highway, I also used velcro from the bikes to the horizontal bars just in case the straps ever came loose or failed. With the extra velcro, the bikes do not move at all on the rack. We recently drove 3 hours at Interstate speeds with not even a wiggle out of the bikes.
To lock the rack and bikes to car we ended up threading a cable through the chain holes on the hitch, through the brace bar, and then through the bike frames. Eventually we may purchase a locking hinge pin, but don't think we really gain much from that other than a slightly cleaner look. The rack itself is not secure from someone with wrenches since we technically only have the hitch bracket locked. The vertical bar and horizontal mounts are not "locked".
- How well will the plastic clips on the straps hold up being exposed to the elements
-- This is one reason I use velcro straps as well
- How well will the painted finish hold up to the elements
*** UPDATE - 2012.10 ***
- Still holding up nicely
- Extremely pleased with the quality and performance, especially for the price
- Finally figured out how to mount a woman's bike without using a bike bar (actually solves the original sway complaint)
- Starting to get a bit of up/down wobble
- Paint/hardware starting to fade (completely expected)
- The pin clips have gotten more difficult to operate
- Still haven't found a locking hitch pin that will work on this model
We have had this rack for about a year now and have had no real issues with it. The paint has faded out a bit, which is to be expected since it stays mounted on our vehicle three seasons of the year. There has been an increase in the amount of up and down wobble. Side to side and rocking movement is non-existent. I ended up jamming in a toothpick or two in the hitch to lessen the up and down movement.
I have a stash of velcro and foam padding (water pipe foam insulation) in the car that keeps the bikes from tapping and/or rubbing against each other. We took a 1500 mile road trip over the summer with both bikes and had zero issues the entire journey.
I did figure out that instead of using a Saris Bike Bar on the women's bike, I turned one of the mounts to the side and put the mount tube behind the the seat. That actually keeps the bike from swaying and doesn't require me to use the bike bar anymore. With that setup, I only need three pieces of velcro.
1.) Front-Tire to Bike Frame - Bike #1 (don't want the tires smacking the bumper of the car)
2.) Front-Tire to Bike Frame - Bike #2
3.) Pedal (#2) to Bike Tire (#1)
With that setup, neither bike moves and I can have the bikes on or off the rack in a few minutes.
If we could do it over again, we would have bought the model above this one that has the easier releases on the pivot points. But for the price of this model (it has actually gone down $10 since we purchased), we are extremely pleased and will for sure be looking at Allen products again when the next time comes to purchase.
on August 9, 2011
Surely, this rack is of nice quality and workmanship. No problem there. And yes, it is made in China (but so is everything else). The big problem I have with this is the wobble. It is awful. I drove my bike up the street 3 miles and I thought my bike was going to fall off. I got to my destination and another car pulled up behind me and said, "Jeeez dude, I thought your bike was going to fall off in the street!". The so-called anti-wobble bolts DO NOT WORK! I have a 1.25" receiver. It's just a really loose connection into the 1.25" receiver. The anti-wobble bolt can't solve this problem. Looking at the reviews, the 2" hitches don't seem to have this problem.
on April 3, 2010
First received this on a beautiful spring day which was also my birthday. excitedly put it together with my son with plans of biking. BUT....the holes on the upright arm were predrilled in the wrong place. It was unusable. Called the customer service and also emailed them on saturday (they weren't open). Allen customer service responded early monday morning both by phone and email. Although I only needed the one part replaced, they sent an entire new rack which was received within 4 days. The rack is very solid and easy to put together.
Product flaws exist as a fact of life, but excellent customer service can more than make up for it. Its nice to know that there are still companies around who place value on their reputation.