Strengths: Wheel Mount, Folds out of the way, easy loading and unloading
Weaknesses: Plastic bits
I bought this on recommendation from a guy at the shop where I purchased it. They carry Yakima, Thule, and some other, way more expensive brand, but he said this would be the best bang for the buck. It was very reasonably priced, and looked pretty sturdy. Now after owning it for over a year, I can say it is not as sturdy as I hoped. I've broken 2 of the little plastic bits that couple the bottom tubes together (within 3 months of each other). The rack still seemed to work fine, but the bike swayed a bit more. When I called up after I broke the first one they said they were discontinuing this model and were no longer making the parts, so they supposedly sent me the last two the had in the shop. He literally said they were the last two in the world. Now that I've used both of them, I emailed them again for spares and they sound like they have more in stock. The rack is great to use, but I'm not cool with having to replace broken plastic bits every few months. I don't think that is an acceptable design, and when they do finally discontinue it and stop making those parts I'm going to be screwed. For the record, my bike is a 27lb SC Superlight, it's not some behemoth DH bike that weighs 45 lbs, though this should be able to carry that without breaking as well according to their specs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Manchester, NH
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2011
Strengths: Does everything it cliams to do, the way it claims to do it.
Weaknesses: The tile release lever rattled a lot when first installed. This was fixed with a thick rubber washer.
I'm very glad I bought this rack. It does exactly what I need it to do without hassles.
I have been using it on a 2011 Chevy Equinox with a 2” receiver (I chose a 2” receiver over a 1.25” because of this rack – more on that later).
First off, the rack holds bikes very securely no matter what the driving conditions. When I first mounted up my bike I was a little skeptical because I was able to wiggle the bike around somewhat in the rack, however, on the road it wiggled far less than I was making it do parked in the driveway (on the road, all forces enter the bike via the tires whereas I was pushing on the handlebars where I had far more leverage over the bike). As another reviewer pointed out, you need to get the arms adjusted as far inward as possible so that the tires snap into the hoops - it should take a little bit of a downward push to get them to snap in – if your rear wheel just falls down into the rack after the front is in, the arms are too far apart). The bikes should NOT lean at all regardless of the vehicle speed. The hoops do all the work of holding the bike in the rack: the rubber straps are only a safety measure.
Whether loaded or unloaded, I never even notice this rack is on my car while driving. No rattles, no wobbles, and no scraping while loaded, despite the steep approach to my driveway.
The arms are a little tough to extend sometimes. I have not attempted to lubricate these yet, but I’m confident a dab of silicone paste on each arm will get them sliding smoothly. Do note that if you ever have trouble pushing the arms inward, you can sit on the ground and push with the arm your foot.
The only negative things I can list are fairly minor. My Versa shipped with two locking bolts for the 1.25” receiver and none for the 2” receiver. Fortunately, if you don’t require locking, you can pick up a bolt at any hardware outlet. One call to Softride was all it took to get them to send me the correct size locking bolt at no charge, which arrived in a few business days (and they didn’t make me send the extra one back to them).
The only other minor problem was the way the tilt lever attaches to the rack. Assembled with the factory parts, the lever was loose and would rattle between the two tabs that the pivot bolt fits through. I simply took a 1/8” thick piece of rubber and made a washer out of it to sandwich the lever between the tabs – no more rattle and the lever functions perfectly. Since I can't rate in half chilis, I'm still giving this rack a 5.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2008
Strengths: Well made. Compact when folded up. Holds bikes with low rider pannier racks. Includes anti-rattle hitch lock and cable.
Weaknesses: Instructions are poor, but you probably won't need them.
I did a lot of research to find a hitch mount rack that would carry touring and mountain bikes, was reasonably lightweight, and allowed easy access to the liftgate on my Escape. This rack does the job with a few reservations.
Soft Ride tells me that the rack is going through a minor redesign, so if you can, wait until February '09 to get the new one.
The Soft Ride website shows the rack with two bikes lowered to the ground to provide rear access to the SUV. I quickly found out that you really can't do that. There's nothing but the bikes to hold onto when lowering or raising the rack, and that doesn't work well. I couldn't raise the loaded rack back into position just by lifting on a bike, and no part of the rack is accessible to lift on.
Similar Products Used: Yakima roof and hitch mount racks
Bike Setup: various mtn and road bikes.
a Weekend Warrior
from St Joseph,MI US
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2008
Strengths: Nice solid construction, light weight, very noce and compact, even clears my spare tire on the FJ.
Weaknesses: Would have liked to see a better straping system. But my guess is it will do the job
All in all very happy with the rack.I must say for the money much better quality than expected! I only wish they made it in a 4 up. Hoops seem to hold the bikes very well and I have not notice much of any movement as soom have stated. If your looking for a 2 up rack don't pass this one up!!
Strengths: Very compact when folded up. High quality construction. Fits my Ex-Large 29er with 2.35 tires. Easy to swing up or down with the large release handle
Weaknesses: Rubber straps not trustworthy
I borrowed my buddy's t-2 and to my surprise the Sultan would not fit, the arm that holds the front tire was too short. I saw a review in Bike and had my local dealer order one sight unseen, I am very pleased with the quality of the materials and hardware. I use a strap over the top tube for added security. For peace of mind the rubbber straps that hold the wheels have been replaced with motorcycle type tie-downs.
Similar Products Used: Thule T2 Thule roof mount Thule top tube mount Hollywood wheel mount
Bike Setup: Turner Xl Sultan Turner RFX Titus Switchblade
a Weekend Warrior
from Sebastopol, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 18, 2008
Strengths: Incredibly light and strong for its construciton. Absolutely quiet when on the car, takes up no space behind the car and hitch distance can be modified if you wish. Just drove 1,000 miles with two bikes in high winds, excellent design details.
Weaknesses: I use a safety line that reduces the windload so that bikes do not lean back at high speed. Only for two bikes.
I have used almost every major bike rack over the last 30 years and even have another standard Softride Dura which is excellent. However, for mountain bikes and especially carbon frames, this rack is excellent. I have a Honda Hybrid Civic and modified the rack mounting with a 2"x4' tube piece and have 16" of vertical clearance even with my Honda and the rack is only 4" from the car when in the stored position. I was expecting a product that was not well made when I got the rack having read one negative review a few years ago. However, I was amazingly suprised to find a high quality product that virtually disappears on the back of my car rather than sticking up like an eyesore. On long trips to reduce the windload on the bikes and for safety I use a strap that I run over the top of my trunk and out the bottom to locate the bike's top tube. This keeps the bike from moving completely. Also, the best thing is the bikes just don't bounce on the freeway. There is little or no movement over some very rough surfaces. Another little piece is that with my other Softride Dura after a year I had a small broken piece and wrote Softride. Within a few days they send me an entire assembly. I was impressed. If two bikes is all you need, then this is the rack.
Similar Products Used: Thule and Yakima, Allsop (now Softride)
Bike Setup: Specialized Stumpjumper Pro Carbon, stock setup. Lemond Buenos Aires, stock.
from Southern Pines, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2008
Strengths: Rock Solid Construction, ease of assembly. Compact when raised and folded. The tilt lever is an AWESOME touch, whereas on my old T-2 I had to reach way down to tilt the rack.
Weaknesses: Despite Bikes being secured per instructions, bikes seem to wobble...a LOT. I'm sure it's normal, but it is still unsettling as I am a new the this rack (less than 2 weeks). Also, the instructions omitted details on assembly of the 1-1/4" yoke...it wasn't in there. A quick call to SOFTRIDE, and the guy told me they accidentally left that out when they went to print, but he was totally cool about it, and had me squared away quickly.
Owned less than 2 weeks, and I am impressed with the stoutness, workmanship, and overall ease of use. I'm hoping to get over my "wobble-phobia" with this rack. I'm sure I'll change my ratings after some more use and getting used to it.
Similar Products Used: Had a THULE T-2, but backed it into a ditch last year. When I bought a new car this month, I decided to buy a new rack.
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2008
Strengths: Rock solid construction. Bikes do not move when mounted in the rack. The rack cannot damage the frame of your bike as it only contacts the tires. The rack tilts down for easy trunk or liftgate access and aids in mounting and removing bikes. Rack folds up when not in use. I imaging other drivers appreciate the safety reflector at night. Rest assured that no one will steal your rack due to the hitch lock, which is included. Bicycles can also be chained to the rack for added security.
Weaknesses: A few of the screws are showing corrosion. I will order replacements and change them once a year. The rack only carries two bikes and is not expandable to carry more. This is not the rack for you if you need to carry 3 or more bikes.
I got lucky on this one and could not be happier with my buying decision. I did not do any research prior to purchasing. My main concern was to get a rack that could accommodate the unique frame design of the Randy Ross Stepper, with its fat Hoggy-G tires. The Softride Access Versa can accommodate any bike. There are cheaper racks available but none better.