RockyMounts SplitRail hitch rack review

Lightweight rack with sleek design and robust construction

Gear
RockyMounts SplitRail can take two bikes and is an expandable system.

The RockyMounts SplitRail can take two bikes and is an expandable system.

Lowdown: RockyMounts SplitRail Hitch Rack

RockyMounts has been around since 1993, but we knew them more for third party bike trays created for other roof systems. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised when the SplitRail arrived. Here was a rack that was absolutely first-rate in packaging, design, and construction. Find out more in our full review below.

Check out the SplitRail in action to see if it’s right for you.

Stat Box
Weight: 44 pounds Capacity: 2 bikes standard, expandable to 4
Tire capacity: Up to 3.2” Material: Chromoly and aluminum
Weight limit: 60 pounds per bike MSRP: $520
Wheelbase limit: Up to 48” Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 out of 5
Color options: Matte black, blue/green (tested), orange/yellow

Pluses
Minuses
  • Pivot system is very secure
  • 48” wheelbase limit
  • Light weight
  • Massive rail size
  • Pivot lever location and action
  • Front wheel only cradled on inside edge
  • Install/remove with no tools
    • Hitch and bike locks included

    Review: RockyMounts SplitRail Hitch Rack

    The most important feature of a bike rack is how easy it allows you to get a bike on and off. In this arena, the new RockyMounts SplitRail gets a prefect score. The bike falls into place with the rear wheel (up to 3.2”) slotted in the rails. The arm is then very easy to swivel, and the locking hook freely moves to press on the front tire. Just note that since the tire is cradled from the inside only, attention has to be taken to press the tire against it and press the arm against the tire close to the fork.

    It is shown here with two 27.5 bikes mounted.

    Here’s the rack with two 27.5 bikes mounted.

    We also liked the strap for the rear wheel, which has a novel design where it can hook onto itself in the open position to get it out the way during bike mounting. No longer does one have to play the bike wheel limbo, trying to pry open the wheel strap while holding the bike.

    RockyMounts SplitRail release lever has light action for ease of use.

    The RockyMounts SplitRail release lever has light action for ease of use.

    Ease of Use

    This rack’s swivel feature is another major plus, especially if you keep the rack on your car all the time. The lever is well placed at the outer edge of the rack’s main beam. With just a little effort the rack folds up and flat. And when there are bikes on the rack and one needs to access the hatch, the rack will swivel close to the ground.

    Both the rack and swivel point are sturdy, and there is no play or binding. On rough roads, fully loaded, the rack and the bikes hardly move.

    Continue to page 2 for more of our RockyMounts SplitRail hitch rack review »
    About the author: Francis Cebedo

    The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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    • Matt says:

      I love that someone has built in a system to take up the slack in the hitch mount and address the main point of wobble.

      3.2″ max tire width? It doesn’t look like those trays can be modified to accept fat bikes, as the frame itself determines the width of the wheel tray.

      • Colin says:

        1upUSA figured that out years ago in terms of a wobble free installation.

        • Dane says:

          At this price point, it’s kind of a no-brainer to go with 1Up. It’s $9 more but is arguably faster to mount bikes and definitely more secure. The SplitRail seems to be a bit burlier (at least in terms of claimed weight per bike) but not enough to change my mind.

          • Kirk says:

            1Up does have heavy duty and super heavy duty models that allow heavier bike ratings: 3 bikes at 75lbs or 4 bikes at up to 50lbs each.

      • mark says:

        I agree, on the slack in the hitch mount..when i see those things wobbling around it makes me cringe

    • Jeff says:

      Is it expandable to 4 bikes? And is there fore/aft adjustability so that wide handlebars won’t interfere?

      • Francis Cebedo says:

        >> Is it expandable to 4 bikes? And is there fore/aft adjustability so that wide handlebars won’t interfere?

        It is expandable to 3 bikes. Fore and aft is adjustable by about 6 inches with other mounting holes available.

    • rwm says:

      1up USA beats this hands down.

    • Duder says:

      Only place this beats the 1Up is in the release location. Other than that, yeah, the !Up is still the bar which to be measured by, and comments like this sound like marketing:

      “The most important feature of a bike rack is how easy it allows you to get a bike on and off. In this arena, the new RockyMounts SplitRail gets a prefect score”

      No way its easier/Faster than 1Up, thus no perfect score.

    • Curtlo-Dork says:

      1up is a beautiful rack, but I just bought the Splitrail plus two of the 1-bike addons, for $629 shipped out the door. For me to get the equivelant, which I almost did, would be about $1100.00. I was going to get the 2-bike in black, with two black addons, and the necessary locks that are needed with the 1up. So, not quite 1/2 the price. The 1up never goes on sale. So over $500 difference? Yeah, I’ll take the RockyMounts. I’d love it if RockyMounts made a 2″ thing to mount just one of the add-on trays like 1up. I really like the idea of using just one tray on a 2nd car, then mount up all 4 for the family vacations. Maybe I’ll email RockyMounts now and suggest they do that. Can’t be that hard? Anyway, I look forward to my Split Rail system any day now.

      • Don says:

        @Curtlo-Dork I’d bet you could have a welder make up an adapter to fit one of those add-on trays as a single-bike solution. Look for someone who does custom trailer hitches. They’d probably have all the necessary materials on-hand.

    • clewttu@gmail.com says:

      MSRP on a Splitrail and 2 add ons is $960, 1UP is $1,107 for black and $927 for silver…if you got all that stuff for $629 then you got a crazy deal.

      • Don says:

        And that’s the point. You can find deals and sales on Rocky Mounts, Thule, Yakima, etc. Who buys stuff at MSRP? You can almost always find at least 20% off the above brands, so comparing MSRP is sort of silly.

        I wish this fit fat bikes though…. Neither does my Yakima Hold-up 2 (with 2 bike extension) which I got for around $600 also. I tried to justify the 1UP, but for over $500 more, I just couldn’t do it. Enjoying the Yak so far, except for the lack of fat bike capability, and it maxes out at about 29×2.5, the bar barely gets over a DHF at that size, so no 29+ either, unless you deflate the tire a bit, I guess…

    • alias says:

      Wow. look at the pic with the two bikes mounted! Hard to believe thats legal, cant see the plates, can barely see the lights. I suppose when you get rear-ended at 45mph you shouldn’t be suprised!

      I would never use that…theThule easy fold 931 is superior in every way.

      • chukko says:

        @elias Right – bummer for missing lights and plate holder (and ball attachment). But Thule is not ideal either – you cannot move bikes sideways – which is a showstopper for me. Also the frame holders are quite fiddly as well. Also it is quite easy to force remove bike from locked holder. Atera has better frame clamps. Unfortunately there seems to be no single rack producer addressing all the issues.

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