Compare the updated Allen 4-Bike rack (left) to the version we tested (right).
While we didn't discern preciesely what has changed between the two (looks like minor tweaks and graphic updates), what we can be sure of is the price has dropped on this already inexpensive rack, from $150 to $120.
Hands-On Review of the Dexlue 4-Bike Hitch Carrier
This bike rack is an economical support arm style hitch mount rack that uses the frame as a primary attachment point.
Bikes with traditional frames such as road bikes are fairly easy to load on the Allen Deluxe 4.
Photo: Curtis Smith
Ease of Everyday Use
This model has a low loading height and does not require removal of wheels. Loading bikes with traditional front triangles is relatively easy, but loading small bikes, full suspension bikes, or other bikes with non-traditional front triangles is frustrating and in some cases impossible. The cradles are not adjustable on the horizontal supports, making spacing bikes difficult. The straps used to secure the bikes are nylon with plastic buckles and are impossible to get tight enough to prevent excessive movement. Allen recommends the use of a strap (not included) to secure the bikes to the bottom bracket to prevent movement. This is another step that decreases ease of use while increasing the contact points and the likelihood your bikes could be damaged in transport.
Ease of Removal and Storage
Once assembled, the rack easily slides into a 2" hitch receiver. This model is secured to the vehicle using a No Wobble hitch bolt that requires two ¾" wrenches to install. The No Wobble bolt is of limited use for preventing rack wobble in the receiver. No matter how tight we got the bolt, play existed on all of our test vehicles. An anti-sway or no wobble bolt is a great feature employed by the Editors' Choice Thule T2 Pro, but the one included with this particular model, the Deluxe 4, doesn't work.
The Deluxe 4 holds bikes on its support arms on small cradles that attach to the top tube of the frame limiting its versatility. Not as versatile as platform-style hitch mount racks like the Thule T2 Classic or the Kuat NV, it ranges from difficult to impossible to attach many full suspension frames or frames with unique front triangle configurations on the Allen Deluxe. Four sets of mounting cradles are attached to the horizontal support arms, but we were hard pressed to find any combination of four bikes that would fit on the rack without serious bike-to-bike contact that would cause damage to the vehicle in motion.
Ease of Assembly
The Deluxe 4 comes out of the box in three pieces and must be put together using the included bolts and nuts. You will need an adjustable wrench and a 14mm wrench to assemble the rack. Directions are clear, but we had difficulty getting some of the bolts to line up due to poor manufacturing tolerances, and a hammer and some manipulation were required.
This bike rack has no security features, no locks for bikes and no way to secure the rack to a vehicle.
We had issues during testing with the plastic buckles failing with bikes loaded. Other than that, there were no issues with the structural integrity of the rack. On Amazon, 7 out of 90 user reviews cite various structural failures, but it's difficult to determine whether a defect is to blame, or misuse by consumers.
This rack is best for those who use a bicycle rack a few times a year or very infrequently. It is not ideal for high-end bikes, as scratches and frame damage are likely.
At $120, the Allen Deluxe 4 is the cheapest hitch mount rack we tested, and it's sometimes priced at much less than that. It does present a good value for those who use racks infrequently and are not concerned with security or frame damage. If you use your rack on a daily basis, consider another option such as the Best Buy Rocky Mounts MonoRail.
The Allen Deluxe 4
is the cheapest hitch mount rack in the test and is anything but deluxe. With no security features and a design that limits its ability to carry most modern full suspension bikes, it is limited in functionality.