YAKIMA SWINGDADDY BIKE RACK
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
November 15, 2014
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.yakima.com
MSRP: US $ 399.00
Listed Weight: 50.60 lb (23 kg)
Measured Weight: 53 lb (24 kg)
Measured and Verified Dimensions: L 39.50" X W 11.00" X H 44.00" (75 x 28 x 112 cm)
Other details: From Manufacturer's website and instructions
* Swings away with bikes loaded for complete access to vehicle.
* ZipStrips™ to secure bikes to the rack .
* Tool-free SpeedKnob™ tightens and locks the rack to car.
* Anti-sway cradles eliminate bike-to-bike contact.
* Comes pre-assembled out of the box
* Comes with integrated bottle opener
* Carries up to 4 bikes with a maximum of 40 lb (18 kg) each
* 2" (5 cm) hitch receiver only.
* Covered by Yakima's "Love It Til You Leave It" Limited Lifetime Warranty
|Pictures Courtesy of Yakima|
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
Last summer, my family and I were sitting around the campfire musing about how having our bikes at our base camp would be useful and fun. Not having a car rack for the bikes made those thoughts simply wishful thinking.
When Christmas time came around, I had the brilliant idea to gift the family with a bike rack for the car. After much research, I settled on the Yakima SwingDaddy, a car carrier for 4 bikes.
Christmas morning the BIG package was the center of attention and was a bigger hit when the wrapping paper was torn off and SwingDaddy was revealed. Once the festivities died down a bit, my son, Shawn, and I took the SwingDaddy outside to see how it would fit on his JEEP which is equipped with the required 2" (5 cm) hitch. (I found out that the leasing company would not allow a hitch on our leased Subaru Forrester. Dang!)
Quite frankly, I found the SwingDaddy to be a bit unwieldy and heavy to work with, so I let my son do the initial installation. Once installed however, I found I can easily attach and detach the bikes as well as remove the rack from the car if I have to. However, with a "kid" around to do it, I generally delegate such physical chores. Besides for the sake of pictures, someone (me) had to work the camera and Shawn is more photogenic anyway!
Since a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, I thought I'd save 10,000 written ones with the following pictures from the initial installation Christmas 2013 afternoon.
|Step to any project - Read Directions!|| |
|Base with SpeedKnob is attached to hitch|
|Vertical rack bar is attached to SpeedKnob|| |
|Horizontal bike rack is attached|
|Almost ready for bikes|| |
|First bike going on SwingDaddy|
|Second bike on SwingDaddy|| |
|Tightening it all up|
|SwingDaddy opened for cargo access|| |
|Cargo is fully accessable with SwingDaddy installed|
The installation went fairly quickly - about 20 minutes even though the directions were sort of cryptic at times. And once the SwingDaddy was completely installed and tightened up, we checked out the "swing" open and close function of the SwingDaddy and were really pleased with the ease of operation. It was particularly exciting to see that we had full access to the complete cargo space of the JEEP. There is no need to have to squirm into a small opening and squish gear under or around the SwingDaddy.
Oh yeah, the very last frame of the installation direction pictorials shows the location of the bottle openers! Cheers! The SwingDaddy is ready to go!
|SwingDaddy rewards job well done with bottle opener|
|Getting bikes ready for action in Superstition Mountains, AZ||Since the SwingDaddy was installed, it's been on the car about 25% of the time. We use it often for close-in biking destinations, and day trips. Multi-day trips included a 5-day base camp in the Superstition Mountain near Phoenix, Arizona and a 4-day base camp in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in south central Colorado. Temperatures ranged from freezing to over 100 F (38 C) |
Roads traveled on ranged from rural dirt roads to interstate highways with probably the farthest distances covered on interstates where the speed limits exceed 65 mph (105 kph), but a good portion of the miles/kilometers during this time period being on roads with lower speed limits averaging 45-50 mph (72-81 kph). As advised by Yakima, we never took the SwingDaddy off-road and when on bumpy dirt roads, we drive slowly, 5-10 mph (8-16 kph) max.
How the SwingDaddy Performed on the Road
In a word "GREAT!" Oh, I need to explain? Sure!
On our first outing, we mounted all four bikes - son Shawn's, his wife Julia's, mine and then granddaughter Jillian's with the heaviest, largest bike loaded on first - to the SwingDaddy. Checked and re-checked all tightened parts and slowly backed out of the driveway all the while looking back at the bikes crowding the rear window. One block away from the house, we were pulling over to re-check everything as the bikes seem to really be wobbling. All looked good so we were off trying not to constantly think about bikes scattered on the interstate and the ensuing insurance claims!
Well, we really didn't need to worry, everything was just fine (the next 5-6 times we checked) and after that first trip, we never looked back - literally! The bikes wobble, but they don't fall down (name that toy! - Weebles, for the under-30 set). A pleasant surprise was that there isn't any "whistling" noise from the rack, either.
It's so simple to move the SwingDaddy out of the way when we need to get our gear out of the rear cargo area of the JEEP. It's just a simple "twist, pull, then click" and the whole kit and caboodle swings to the right. So nice!
The only downside of the SwingDaddy Bike Rack - and this has been addressed with the latest model - is the need for aftermarket accessories to insure total security of the four bikes. As our SwingDaddy was installed, while no one could remove one bike easily, they could, theoretically, remove the whole danged vertical bar with the rack and the four bikes by simply pulling out a connector pin. Since that would involve lifting up roughly 200 lb (91 kg) of unwieldy metal and carrying it away, I'm not too worried about that possibility!
1.) Fairly easy to assemble right out of the box.
2.) Holds our 4 various-sized bikes securely.
3.) Gives us complete and easy access to the rear contents of our vehicle
4.) Allows us to take our bikes anywhere!
1.) Security of the bikes on the rack is lacking without after market purchases. (This has been addressed in the newest model though.)
The Yakima SwingDaddy Bike Rack is one Christmas gift that will be around for many Christmases to come! It has really opened up a whole new world of adventures when we travel to a base camp. Quick to install and easy to use, we've gotten quite fond of the SwingDaddy. And when we are not needing it for an extended period of time, the SwingDaddy stores neatly and compactly in the garage. I only wish it would support 5 bikes!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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