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Old 04-16-2008, 09:11 PM   #1
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Found this swing away for bike racks and hitch cargo

I was looking on the web for something that would extend my hitch mounted bike rack beyond the tire, and at the same time swing out of the way so I can open and close the rear doors. On about page 50 of my Google search, I found this. I called the company today, and based on the weights of the wheel chair and scooter carriers it is rated for, it will handle 125# in the swing out position. This is the weight of the lift only. They say to always remove the wheel chair or scooter before swinging out. However, my bike rack with two mtn bikes weighs less than 80 pounds, which is much less then their 125# max load in swing out position. Has anyone seen one of these or tried them for a bike rack? I called my local dealer, and he will have one in stock by Monday for me to look at.
http://www.discountramps.com/docking_device.htm

oclv
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:00 PM   #2
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Please post some pics! I'm definitely looking for something like this for my bikes.

Thanks!

Adam
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:05 PM   #3
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I am planing on seeing it Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully I will get my van on Friday. This way, I can go to the dealer with the van and the bike rack, and try the swing away option from Harmar. I want to see how rugged it is, if it rattles a lot, if it bounces a lot, etc. The local dealer for Harmar medical equipment also told me that he has a full fabrication shop, so if this doesn't work, we can discuss if they can make something for me. I'll keep you posted. oclv
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:08 AM   #4
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There's a discussion here of bike-racks like this: Towing and Toys.

I bought a Softride (which scissors rearwards away from the rear of the van) and a short hitch extension. I can open the rear doors with the bike rack attached, even with my rear-mounted spare tire..

Here are my photos of the Softride on a Sportsmobile:

http://octopup.org/sportsmobile/bikerack

(For some reason, I don't have a good shot in the scissored-out position.)

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Old 04-17-2008, 12:38 PM   #5
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Looks good. I decided to go with the Saris Cycle On Pro. I liked the fact that with the Saris nothing touches the frame of the bike, and they don't sway back and forth, which would lead them to sometimes hit each other. Unfortunately the Saris doesn't tilt down, or swing away. Seeing your bikes, I think I will have to look for a cover to keep all the dust and grit off the bikes. oclv
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:31 PM   #6
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Yakima Swing Daddy

I purchased the swing away version bike rack from Yakima.

http://www.yakima.com/racks/bike-rac...s-only%29.aspx

It can handle 4 bikes although fitting kids bikes is a pain, as it is with most bike racks. The rack is very heavy and solid. I had no concerns that it would have a mechanical failure.
I also purchased the locking hitch pins that take out the sway; otherwise with the depth and the weight of a loaded rack it has too much play.

When stopped, I could open the tire to one side, the bikes to the other, and access the van's back doors.
Below are pictures from the summer trip showing it closed, swing away, and the depth (length?) which is considerable.





While I had no issues with the rack, there are a few items that you may want to consider. It didn't work well on the front of the van. It mounted the kids bikes too high and blocked sight lines; in addition, we were in the southwest during summer and I was concerned about airflow.

Mounted in the rear, I was always conscious of that extra couple feet on the van. It made parallel parking more entertaining for the people watching. I use my daughter as my rear view camera; if you have an electronic one, it may an issue for you. The bikes didn't block my view and I could see the pink handlebar tassels waving in the wind through the rear window which reassured me that the bikes were still there.

The biggest downside is that the bikes get filthy in the back, regardless of the rack type. In general, the back of my van is always covered in road grime and if I were going to do anything different, I'd get a large bike cover. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything suitable for the kids bikes. I didn't want to use a blue tarp so I ended up pressure washing them on a regular basis. I don't think I'd use this for expensive bikes but it worked fine for family bikes.

Due to the bikes blocking the license plate, I was stopped 3 times in Utah by the highway patrol . After a pleasant chat, I was off to the races again. If I were to carry bikes (in Utah) often, I'd probably figure out a better solution for that as well.

With these qualifications, I'd give it a thumbs up. I picked mine up off craigslist for $125.
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