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RockyMount SwitchHitter Review

The SwitchHitter joins the Kuat Trio in providing a solution for fork mount racks with through axel bikes.
RockyMount SwitchHitter
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Price:  $190 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Versatile, low loading height, good crossbar compatibility
Cons:  No locks included
Manufacturer:   RockyMount
By Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 31, 2017
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 23
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 8
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 6
  • Security - 20% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8

The Skinny

The RockyMounts SwitchHitter is a fork mount roof rack that can carry nearly any type of bike right out of the box. Adapters are included for most common through axle forks and quick release forks. If you love the low profile look of a fork mount rack, then the SwitchHitter is more versatile than a standard fork mount.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The SwitchHitter is RockyMounts answer to the Kuat Trio. The design of these two contenders is very similar. Both come with tube adapters that slide into the rack to accommodate different through axel sizes and quick release forks. After testing both side by side, our testers preferred the Kuat by a narrow margin, mainly due to the ease of swapping axle adapters compared to the SwitchHitter. The SwitchHitter is a great rack, just not quite as easy to use, but it does have some advantages over the Trio that we discuss below.

Performance Comparison


The RockyMounts Switch Hitter holds nearly any bike regardless of axle type.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter holds nearly any bike regardless of axle type.

Ease of Everyday Use


Fork mount roof racks have the distinct benefit of a lower loading height compared to roof racks like the Yakima Front Loader that hold the front wheel. With the front wheel removed, loading bikes is easier because they do not have to be lifted as high to fit into the rack. Loading height is equal between the Kuat Trio and the SwitchHitter. The main difference we found that impacts ease of use is the axel tube design. Both racks rely on hex bolts to clamp the axle tube in place. The SwitchHitter has two bolts that are accessed by removing the top plate cover. The Trio has only one bolt, and the access hole is located on the front of the rack and does not require the rack to be taken apart to access. The design of the Trio is easier to use than the SwitchHitter.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter with the face plate exposed to access the bolts that hold the axle tube adapter in place.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter with the face plate exposed to access the bolts that hold the axle tube adapter in place.

Ease of Removal and Storage


Roof racks, in general, are not designed for nor intended to be frequently removed from your vehicle. The SwitchHitter attaches to all non-slotted cross bars, with a rubber coated stainless steel strap that wraps around the cross bar and is tensioned by turning a hex bolt. The Trio uses two U-bolts that cover the cross bar and pass up through the main body of the rack. The SwitchHitter has a slight advantage here and is marginally easier to attach than the Trio.

On the back end of the model, the SwitchHitter uses an offset plate with a U-style clamp that attaches to the cross bar. The Trio also uses a U-bolt style clamp, but it sits inline and is adjusted with wing nuts. We prefer the set up of the Trio, as it is easier to manipulate. Overall, the two racks receive the same score. Neither is very easy to remove and both take up the same amount of space for storage.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter uses a stainless steel strap wrapped in rubber to securely clamp most cross bars.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter uses a stainless steel strap wrapped in rubber to securely clamp most cross bars.

Versatility


The SwitchHitter out scores the Trio here due to the inclusion of a 15mm Boost axle tube with the rack. Kuat does sell a Boost adapter separately. We feel that this should be standard equipment, considering that most new mountain bikes come with boost spacing. The SwitchHitter can handle nearly any axle standard right out of the box giving it a big advantage over racks like the Jetline that require a $40 adapter to carry a bike with through axles. The SwitchHitter is also more functional on tall vehicles than racks like the Yakima FrontLoader due to its lower loading height.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter comes setup with the clamping strap in place  but hardware is also included for slotted cross bars.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter comes setup with the clamping strap in place, but hardware is also included for slotted cross bars.

Ease of Assembly


The SwitchHitter is mostly assembled out of the box. The only assembly required is selecting the mounting hardware for the type of cross bars that your vehicle is equipped with. Swapping out the front cross bar clamp for slotted inserts is relatively easy should your vehicle have slotted bars. The rack does not come with lock cores so if you choose to purchase these, they need to be installed.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter

Security


This rack comes with a nice long cable lock that extends from the rear of the rack. The Kuat Trio has the same system, but the Trio comes with lock cores installed, and the SwitchHitter does not. RockMounts sells lock cores for the SwitchHitter, but the base model does not come with any locks. Due to this the SwitchHitter scores lower than many other roof racks we tested for security.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter features a long cable lock that deploys from the back of the rack  but lock cores are not included.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter features a long cable lock that deploys from the back of the rack, but lock cores are not included.

Durability


The SwitchHitter and the Trio are both made predominantly of aluminum. We like aluminum for its corrosion resistance and light weight. The lack of moving parts enhances the long-term durability of fork mount racks compared to racks like the Yakima FrontLoader which has lots of moving parts. The SwitchHitter scores lower than the Trio due to the flimsy plastic cover that houses the front cross bar clamp and axle tube retention bolts. The Trio is a single piece of aluminum, and the u-bolt clamp design is less prone to damage and sun degradation.

Best Applications


This model is best suited to those who have vehicles with a higher roof, that would make loading bikes in an upright rack like the Yakima FrontLoaderdifficult. It is also ideal for riders with multiple bikes that have differing front axle standards.

Value


The SwitchHitter retails for $190, roughly the same price as the Kuat Trio. The lack of locks adds on some additional cost, but it does come with a Boost adapter, and the Trio does not. We feel that the price of the SwitchHitter is in line with comparable models and represents a good value.

Conclusion


The Kuat Trio was once the loan option for a fork mount rack with the capability of handling through axel equipped bikes. That is no longer the case, with the release of the RockyMounts SwitchHitter. The SwitchHitter was narrowly outscored by the Trio in testing, but it is a solid, versatile rack that we have no problem recommending to a friend.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter is a solid option for the rider who wants a fork mount rack that can carry any bike with ease.
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter is a solid option for the rider who wants a fork mount rack that can carry any bike with ease.


Curtis Smith