In a world were it seems like everything is getting more expensive, it's noteworthy when you find something that does the job for a reasonable price tag. Take Swagman's Sitkka 2 bike rack. It's not as refined as some of the major players, but it does the job of hauling bikes very well.
Swagman Sitkka 2 assembly
The Sitkka 2 arrives in a box and like Swedish furniture, some assembly is required. It was more or less straightforward except for lining up some bolt holes. I got it to work and honestly would take tight fitments over loose, sloppy junctions any day.
All bikes aboard!
With the almost endless variety of bikes available today, a rack needs to be versatile to handle all the wheel and tire sizes. Luckily the Sitkka 2 is ready and willing. The mega-wide wheel trays are shaped to work well with narrow road tires on up to 5-inch wide fatty rubber.
Having separated wheel trays made the Sitkka 2 easy to load since you could walk into the rack to load the inner bike. Typically, loading the first bike requires outstretched arms to clear the outer bike trays.
Like virtually all other racks, saddle to bar contact was present when loading certain bikes. It takes a bit of finagling to arrange seat heights just so.
The wheel straps are super long (44.5cm) and feature a removable rubber spacer to ratchet down snugly even on low profile road rims. Plus, the wheel straps can be positioned on the trays to accommodate short or long wheelbases. A nice touch.
The hitch receiver and folding mechanism stayed solid throughout testing but there was a bit of wobble on the outermost bike due to the two-piece nature of the rack. The second bike attachment slides into the first bike base and secures with two bolts on either side.
The wheel trays are a somewhat thin plastic and have a lightweight air about them. With that said, though, I had zero problems with them. The bike wobble wasn't really much but it was a bit more than other much more expensive racks.
Release button hard to push
Throughout testing, the ratcheting arms stayed secure on the bike's front wheel. Maybe a bit too secure as I found it difficult to press the release button. I eventually found the magic touch of firm, but not forceful, pressure. Again, like the build up, I'd rather have an extra secure release button to one that lets go too easily.
Each arm has a lock on it to prevent the ratcheting arm from being released. It's not enough, though — I'd like to see an added lockable cable to prevent any thievery, but that'd likely raise the price.
Swagman Sitkka 2 bike rack bottom line
Are there better hitch-mounted racks out there? Yeah, sure, there are and they cost twice as much or more. Did the Sitkka 2 handle every bike I needed, stay tight, and remain easy to fold up and down? Yes, it did. Is your bike rack a fashion accessory or is it a tool to do a job? Answer that question and you'll know if the Swagman is right for you.