Rocky Mounts SplitRail Hitch Rack
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Two Bike: 46.8 lbs (21.2 kg)
- Three Bike: 67.6 lbs (30.7 kg)
- Space between bikes: 12” (30.5 cm)
- Length from end of hitch (two bike): 29” (73.7 cm)
- Length from end of hitch (three bike): 41.5” (105.4 cm)
- Length from end of hitch (folded up): 16” (40.6 cm)
- Vertical clearance at furthest point: 7” (17.8 cm) above center line of hitch
- Width: 53.5” (135.9 cm) (more if trays are staggered)
Wheel sizes: 20” – 29′′, tires up to 3” wide.
MSRP: $499.95 (2 bike base unit), $219.95 for each additional bike. $719.90 as tested.
Test Location: Whitefish, Montana
Test Duration: ~6 months
Rocky Mounts has been making bike racks for a long time, and they have a reputation for making well-thought-out racks at a fair price. The SplitRail is one of two new hitch rack offerings from Rocky Mounts that follows this trend, the other being a swing-away rack called the Backstage. While the SplitRail isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a solidly executed design and competitively priced.
Options and Compatibility
The SplitRail comes in both 1.25” and 2” receiver hitch versions, with the “base” unit holding two bikes on both the 1.25” and 2” versions. The 2” version can be expanded to hold three or four bikes. I used the 2” version with a one bike expansion, so I could carry three bikes on the rack.
The SplitRail can handle any wheel size from 20” to 29”, and the trays play nicely with tires up to 3” wide. It’s not designed for fat bikes, and I don’t think it’d be quite as secure with big tires. It could probably be made to work with fat bikes in a pinch, but I think you’d need some extra straps to help keep everything secure.
As with many tray style racks, there can also be some fitment issues on bikes with fenders, baskets, or other contraptions that interfere with the arm securely engaging against the front wheel and fork. The arms can be swapped to either side of the tray, which means (among other things), they can be made to work with Cannondale Leftys without too much trouble.
The SplitRail is rated up to 60 lbs (27.2 kg) per bike, but that drops to 40 lbs (18.1 kg) per bike when you add additional trays. For some bikes, the more significant limitation may be the tray length — the rack is rated for bikes with up to a 48” (1219mm) wheelbase, which isn’t particularly long. Most size-Large DH bikes (and some Large trail bikes) are longer than that, so expect those longer bikes to dangle off the end a bit. To be fair, though, the SplitRail isn’t uniquely short — racks from Thule, Kuat, and Yakima all have similar (or smaller) wheelbase limitations.
Bikes are spaced 12” apart on the SplitRail, which is fairly close. This is good in that it keeps the rack from sticking out too far, but bad because it means that there’s a higher likelihood of conflicts between the bikes. Fortunately, the SplitRail has the ability to stagger the rails — each rail can be set in three positions laterally, which makes it relatively easy to set up the rack to avoid handlebar and seatpost interference.
The SplitRail is, as far as hitch mount racks go, relatively light. On my scale, the rack in the 2-bike configuration weighs 46.8 lbs (21.2 kg), which is slightly more than the stated 44 lb weight. But that’s still less than most of the competition. With the third bike tray attached, the rack weighs 67.6 lbs (30.7 kg). That’s a bit lighter than a Kuat NV 2.0 (52 lbs for two bikes), or the Thule T2 Pro (also 52 lbs for two bikes).
The rack comes with integrated locks both for the bikes and for the hitch pin. The cables pigtail around bikes to keep them secure, and store away nicely when not in use. As with pretty much any bike rack lock that I’ve used, the cables wouldn’t be too hard to cut, so don’t consider it to be a high level of security. A determined thief won’t be deterred, but honest people will be kept honest.
The rack has an easy-to-grab handle on its underside that can be used to flip the rack up vertical when not loaded with bikes, and the same handle allows the rack to tilt down at a roughly 45° angle while loaded with bikes to allow access to the rear of the car. That movement isn’t damped or assisted, so it can be a bit heavy with bikes loaded up, but most reasonably strong adults should be fine with it.
One feature that’s pretty minor but makes me excited enough to write three sentences about it is a little hook to keep the rear wheel strap held out of the way while loading the bike. Anyone who has used a tray-style rack has probably at some point performed the artful maneuver of trying to swing the bike around so the wheel strap hooks over the rear wheel as the bike is placed into the rack. I’m bad at that move, and the little hook on the SplitRail makes the whole thing a non-issue.
For people that are taking the rack off the car somewhat frequently, the SplitRail also includes a wall mount for hanging the rack out of the way in the garage.
NEXT: Stability, Durability, Etc.