So, cool. Bikes. Trouble is the Jeep is not real user friendly when transporting bikes. (Sell the truck she said…. Buy a Jeep she said…. It will be fun she said…..) Outside of a truck or van, I am hard pressed to figure a vehicle that is friendly in that regard. Now the Jeep has been modified. I know this because I have the receipts to show for it. There really is no such thing as a stock Jeep is there? Our modifications included a beefy rear bumper with tire mount and various racks. Can’t really put more weight there. So hitch rack it is. Went with the Swagman Escapee 2 Bike Platform Rack. The Swagman Escapee uses a wheel mount system. Bikes are getting pricey and the wheel mount looked like a great way to go to protect the bikes also looked easier than on off dealio with front wheel. The Swagman Escapee has a pretty high weight rating per bike and seems to be made for EBikes in particular. Our Ebikes are Haibike SDURO Hard 7 SL. They come it at 49.3#’s with battery.
ETrailer always makes it easy to buy, giving all the real word knowledge so you get it right the first time. The information provided in the Jeep listings and bike rack listings on ETrailer and the distance to center point of pin vs first of rack is GREAT information when deciding on what to buy.In this case, they showed the closest part of carrier at 15 – ¼”. Oh so close for my needs. I suppose it is in how you define closeted part of carrier, I also think it is closer to a 14 not the advertised 15 ¼” As you can see from the photo I needed about 15”.
ETrailer strongly recommends against hitch extensions. I understand why, and I agree. There is really no need for one if at all possible and there is a trade off on everything, in this case, mostly bad. I get all of that. Test fit showed I needed the extension. Sometimes there is no option. I did some research and found a Heeringer Sport Rack Hitch extension. Designed just for this application. If it gets to be an issue, I will visit my favorite fab shop, RPM Fab in Tempe and rework the rack.
Onto the Swagman Escapee itself. The packaging is good. Even our dog Hoodlum approved. Came mostly assembled. I used thread sealer on the bits. Would be nice if the hardware came pre dipped. Everything goes together smoothly with good tolerances to avoid the slop. All the holes line up. I am confident the directions are the bomb digity, but if you can’t figure it out from just the picture, toss out your man card and ask the neighbor kid to do it. It is a big rack once assembled. So, that may be an issue for storage? Again, a work around for us. Also a work around for us is that in our application the rear hatch cannot open. Might differ depending on your style of hatch / trunk what have you. A tip: The arms can fold down towards the wheel well, if you are driving without bikes, use the straps to hold the arm and not lose the straps.
Once everything was in place I test fit the old bikes on the Swagman Escapee. As a side note, the old bikes are donated to a local mountain bike club at the junior high school; hope they get lots of use from them. Some clearance issues unique to my set up with the upper rack and handle bars. Some clearance issues on seats between second bike and first bike handle bars. Both are easy work arounds. The new bikes fit great. In part due to the 27.5” tire vs the 26” tire. As an added bonus the Swagman Escapee comes with two locks and four keys. More “adventure keys” for me. Between the teardrop trailer, the SeaDoo trailer, storage units and now the rack I am all keyed out.
Now, a word of warning. Wheel mount systems seem to do great on the road / highway. Etrailers has various videos on their “test” track that show what I mean. Various mount systems hold the bikes more securely than others. This application is for the road only for us. Maybe gravel, but not designed for, or in our case, to be used during off road jaunts. There is some sway and rock on the Swagman Escapee and so not recommended for off the beaten trail. We have an off road tear drop trailer and I am researching the best roof rack system for the trailer to really lock the bikes down solid for our off road camping adventures. That will be a function over form decision no doubt. I am kind of leaning towards this for the tear drop rack.
So, what do I think? Well, I may mount a third brake light to the rear of the Swagman Escapee hitch rack. Simple pigtail plug into trailer outlet plug. The Swagman Escapee sticks out a bit from the rear and I don’t want to get rear ended. Took it out on a 90 mile highway trip and no issues. I would say the Swagman Escapee is a good product, a fair price, and if the Swagman Escapee fits your needs, buy it. I am pleased; I suspect you will be too.
As always, ETrailer is a great vendor, multiple purchases over the years, always a fair price and a good product with speedy shipping. Their website is very informative and customer service rocks.
BTW, Hoodlum? He says “Two paws up!” for the Swagman Escapee; oh and “Cookies and ball for everybody!”