RockyMounts Backstage Swing-Away Platform Hitch Bike Rack Review

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Our verdict: A premium hitch-mounted bike rack which is capable of swing-away and tilt-away while carrying road tires up to 5.0”, making it ideal for fat bikes and electric bikes. Backstage sets a new benchmark in bike carriers due to its innovative features and strong materials.

Pros:

  • Durable swing and tilt lever mechanism
  • 180-degree twist and 30-degree tilt
  • Sturdy, little or no wobbling
  • Folds up flat against the car when not in use
  • Super easy to get the bikes on and off
  • Highly durable materials
  • Fantastic design

Cons:

  • Limited tray clearance
  • Quite heavy

 

The RockyMounts Backstage is the first hitch rack built with the ability to swing away in order to allow for complete cargo access. This carrier is an ideal hitch platform rack that requires nothing more than proper assembly for the fitting of no more than 2 bikes. 

The most distinguishing feature of the Backstage is the “Swing-Away” ability, and also the ability to do carry out this function with the two bikes fixed on it. This also is a lightweight rack weighing only 62.4lbs. The carrier accommodates wheels ranging from 20-29” that are up to 5” wide (with the included extension straps), making it ideal for fat bikes. The two trays are spaced 12” apart and include 3” of lateral adjustment to help clear bars and seats. It also possesses a cantilever arm of about 41” for use with all cars and trucks.

The Backstage bring your bikes about 6” closer to your bumper. The handle at the end of the rack can be used in stowed and folded positions. There’s also a possibility for side to side adjustment for easy loading and spacing between the bikes. It also possesses a hitch lock pin that is durable and corrosion-resistant.

Versatility

The versatility of the Rocky Mounts Backstage is enhanced by the swing mechanism combined with the tilt mechanism. The wheel rack allows for tires up to 5” wide and a capacity of two bikes, holding them with zero frame contact. The Backstage will clear 42″ from the center of the hitch so it should fit most vehicles, but the positioning is something to consider say if you have an awning attached to your vehicle and don’t want the bikes to interfere. Most likely it won’t be an issue, but it is something to consider. Therefore, this neatly constructed platform hitch-mounted carrier is ideal for fat bikes and electric bikes. 

Ease of assembly

The RockyMounts Backstage is a bit cumbersome. It is shipped in several pieces. You must first unthread the blue handle at the base of the rack completely to unlock it. This is definitely a bit more time consuming than the Pivot latch, but feels a bit more secure once tight. Even after the handle is completely disengaged, the rack still won’t pivot freely, however. As an additional fail-safe, there is a spring-loaded release button just behind the lever. Once you pop the release, the rack is free to swing away. This time though, the rack is free to pivot independently of the arm. Once the arm is opened 180°, a middle locking pin snaps into place preventing the arm from accidentally closing. Then, once the rack is in place the first safety release snaps into place locking the rack in place. All of this is meant to keep the rack from folding in on you if you’re parked on a slope. The RockyMounts Backstage offers complete access to the back of your vehicle while the rack is loaded or unloaded.

Security

The Backstage hitch carrier comes with a nice, long, noose-style cable lock that locks to a post on the main frame of the rack. To lock up your belongings, the Backstage includes a lock for the hitch pin, as well as a second lock for the “hitch pin” on the rack arm itself. This allows you to loop the includes lock cable around the bikes, back through itself, and then lock it to the pin. It’s not the highest security measure but it should keep your bikes safe for quick trips into the store, and it’s very easy to use. You’ll have to keep the cable inside your vehicle when you’re not using it since it’s not integrated into the rack, but it’s almost easier to use that way since you don’t have to thread a cable back into a rack arm after each use.

Durability

The vast majority of the rack is made of metal, other than the plastic wheel trays, and rear-wheel straps. The black finish held up well during testing and proved to be resistant to scratches. All of the pivot points on the swingarm are appropriately burly, and the central threaded handle that holds the pivot arm in the closed position is more than stout enough for the job.

The full range of features

  • The industry’s first 180 degree swing away platform hitch carrier
  • Carries 2 bikes, up to 60 lbs.
  • No contact with frame, secures bicycle by front wheel
  • Carries road tires up to 5.0” fat bike tires, and diameters from 20” to 29”
  • Compatible with bicycles’ wheelbases from 34” and 49”
  • Folds flat against the vehicle, and tilts down 30 degrees to allow for hatch access
  • Only available for 2″ hitches. Uses RockyMounts premium 3-axis anti-wobble system
  • Includes locking hitch pin and cable lock, keyed alike
  • Not for use with fender equipped bicycles

 

Conclusions

With its swing-away feature, the Backstage is a game-changer. Once you start using this feature you can’t go back. The clearance you will get on the rear doors is what you need. Although the weight of the rack makes it difficult to install and remove, it is an excellent choice for those looking for a decent hitch mount tray style to carry even fat bikes or electric bikes safely to destination.