Swagman Bike Rack Review

Swagman Bike Rack Review

Not only is biking a fun activity to do with your family but it is also a great way to get your necessary exercise. 

For the best family biking adventures, you need a Swagman bike rack. With over 20 years of experience in developing outdoor-oriented products and bicycle racks, you can trust that Swagman will deliver. 

However, to provide you with peace of mind, we have created this detailed review on Swagman’s XC2 rack with everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

Let’s get straight into it. 

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for an affordable hitch mount tray rack option, then this Swagman’s XC2 is an excellent option. It offers some great features suitable for infrequent bike rack users

It is among the only bike racks available that allow you to fold it in the middle to minimize space – perfect for storing. 

On top of this, this rack is suitable for up to two bikes and is highly adjustable to accommodate a range of different tire, bike, and wheel sizes. 

While the clamp-to-frame contact of the XC2 isn’t something to be incredibly excited about, the clamps proved to be others. 

Additionally, while the rack is small and lightweight, which makes it easy to store, it lacks any necessary security. For instance, no strap for securing the wheels. 

Therefore, we recommend the XC for those looking for a decent rack on a budget, for light-duty use, and who are not too worried about their bike frame’s paint job.

While it may not be the most high-tech bike rack available on the market, it gets the job done at half the price of most competitors. 

Analysis And Test Results

When looking at Swagman’s products, the XC2 hitch mount bike rack falls to the lower end of the price range.

While it may be far from fancy; containing a relatively simple, no-frills design, this doesn’t negate the fact that it is highly adjustable – suitable for a range of different bike sizes. 

In this review, the XC2 was put to test on a range of different vehicles, using a variety of bikes and road surfaces – taking it to its limits to fully understand the bike rack’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Overall, it was praised for its lightweight design, adjustability, small collapsable size, and versatility. On the other hand, where it excelled here, it fell short in security features, clamps, and noticeable wobble. 

Below, you will find a conceive analysis of the Swagman bike rack. 

Performance Comparison

Ease Of Everyday Use

One of these bike racks’ most notable features was their ease of use in everyday life. 

If you don’t mind the clamps making direct contact with the frame of your bicycle and driving on relatively smooth surfaces, then you shouldn’t face many issues with this bike rack. 

Featuring a low loading height, this is among the easier bike racks to load. Although having said that, you have to adjust the wire loops by hand to perfectly accommodate varying wheel sizes. 

The wheel trays can also be adjusted by tightening and loosening the plastic knobs located on the trays while sliding across the bar until in the desired position. 

This may take some trial and error until you have found the correct position, and may not be as straightforward as some other bike racks.

In the center of the rack, you’ll find a vertical bar that contains two soft rubber-coated hook-shaped clamps that move up and down using a ratcheting system that holds the bikes by the top tube through downward pressure. 

These can be easily adjusted by simply pressing the small metal tab located on the side of the clamp housing. 

Due to the bike bars’ vertical position, loading and unloading the bike can be awkward, especially when close to the vehicle as you’ll have to lift it above and between. 

Ease Of Removal And Storage 

Swagman XTC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE: The XTC2 TILT hitch mount bike rack is light weight and only takes a few minutes to assemble following the instructions. Once assembled, simply load your bikes and you are on your way!
  • STURDY: Sturdy design with soft, frame friendly grip arms which hold bike in place so you have peace of mind knowing your bike will stay put!
  • CONVENIENT: Bike rack tilts down to allow access to rear of vehicle effortlessly. Saves you time and energy for more biking 🙂
  • VERSATILE: A great solution for carrying 1 or 2 bikes with the secure mounting capabilities of a platform style rack. Comes complete with a 1-1/4“ receiver bar and a 2“ adapter plate allowing it to easily fit most Class 2 or higher hitches
  • ACCESSORIES SOLD SEPERATELY: 1/2" Locking Hitch Pin (64029) and Locking Hitch Pin with Security Cable (64031)

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Since the rack contains mounting hardware, tools are required to install and remove the rack from the receiver. 

In case the rack comes loose during use, there is an extra cotter pin and threaded hitch pin for security. 

For receivers measuring 1.25”, the included hitch pin should work fine; however, it was found to be too short for 2” receivers. 

At 25lbs, the XC2 is lightweight – making it easy to carry on and off. Likewise, it is impressively compact and can be collapsed small for storage and travel. 


On the whole, we found the versatility of the XC2 to be impressive. There are many adjustable features that can be modified in order to suit various bike sizes. 

For instance, the wheel trays can be increased or decreased by sliding the horizontal bar to suit wheels between the sizes of 15-52 inches. While the oblong wire loops can fit securely around wheels with a diameter of between 20-29 inches and a width of up to 3.5 inches. 

The standard wheel trays aren’t large enough to accommodate fat tires. However, you can purchase separate trays to suit these.

The vertical bar located on the rack contains a ratcheting length between 15-29 inches which can accommodate small and tall bicycles. 

The weight limit of the rack is 70 pounds, so around 35 pounds per bike, this doesn’t make it suitable for heavier downhill or e-bikes.  

An adapter system situated on the rack makes it suitable for 1.25” and 2” receivers. Although, having said that, the hitch pin included was too short for the 2” receiver when we put it to the test. 

Ease Of Assembly

The beauty of this bike rake is that it comes partially assembled already. You don’t have to worry about installing the vertical or horizontal bars since these come attached to the center rack.

Inside the box, you should find easy-to-follow instructions, and all-in-all it will only take approximately 10 minutes to assemble. 

For the setup, all you have to do is attach the receiver bar to the center points of the rack, attach the clamps onto the vertical bars, and slide the wheel trays onto the horizontal bar. 

The only tools required are a Phillips head screwdriver for two small keeper screws which are installed to prevent the wheel trays from sliding around. 


There are no included security features offered by the XC2 bike rack.  

As a result, it scored quite low on this rating metric, since it doesn’t come with a way to lock the bikes to the rack or lock the rack to the vehicle

Although, you can purchase aftermarket locking cables and hitch pins for added security. 


When compared with other bike racks, this XC2 rack is reasonably durable. 

It is composed of mostly metal, a part for the wheel trays, plastic knobs, and rubber-coated clamp hooks, and can handle weather and tough conditions. 

With a carrying capacity of 35 pounds per bike – a total of 70 pounds – if you were to exceed this weight limit you could risk damaging your rack. 

If used on smooth surfaces, the bike rake is expected to last several years. 

Best Applications

This bike rack is best suited when traveling on smooth roads and for those who don’t leave their bike racks unattended. 

On the other hand, it isn’t ideal for those who travel off-road on bumpy and even surfaces as you run the risk of damaging not only your rack but also the bikes since the clamps make direct contact with the frame. 

That being said, if you’re looking for a cost-effective bike rack that you’ll occasionally use, then this lightweight and easy-to-store bike rack would be perfect for you. 


When looking from a value standpoint, the XC2 is hard to beat. With a retail price of $180, it is among the cheapest bike rack you can find on the market with the accompanying durability. 

While it may lack some of the features of the more expensive models, if you’re simply looking for a bike rack that gets the job done, then this rack will do so.

Final Thoughts

While the Swagman bike rack may not contain all the fancy and high-tech features that the more expensive models may have, it still remains an inexpensive bike rack that gets the job done if you’re simply looking to take your bikes out for an adventure. 

Not only is it lightweight but it is also incredibly versatile; so you are able to fold it up small enough for both storage and transportation. 

Therefore, if your bike rack needs are relatively simple, you drive on smooth surfaces, and you’re not bothered about the clamps touching your bike’s frame – then the Swagman’s XC2 is an affordable option that will meet your biking needs. 

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about the Swagman XC2 to make an informed decision before purchasing. So, you can make every biking adventure memorable.

Leave a Comment

Best Roof Box is supported by readers. We may earn a commission when you buy with our links.

Popular Articles

The Best Roof Boxes of 2024 – A Buyer’s Guide

Let’s take a look at what you should look for in a roof box, which options are topping the market, and which of those are ...
Read More →

Best Roof Tents For Your Car: A Detailed Review

Roof tents are easy to set up and offer more versatility than traditional ground tents. They are also space-efficient as you can set up camp ...
Read More →

Best Thule Roof Boxes – The Ultimate Guide

Thule rooftop cargo boxes are a leader in car storage solutions. This guide to Thule’s car roof boxes will give you the information you need ...
Read More →

Roof Box or Roof Bag: Choosing What’s Best

Trying to find the best rooftop carrier can be a bit of a problem, especially if you have no clue what you are looking for. ...
Read More →