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RockyMounts SwitchHitter Review

A versatile fork mount roof rack that comes equipped to handle a variety of axle standards
RockyMounts SwitchHitter
Photo: rockymounts.com
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Price:  $190 List | Check Price at Backcountry
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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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 23
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 7
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Security - 20% 8
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

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 thru-axle forks and quick release forks. If you love the low profile look of a fork mount rack, then the SwitchHitter is a versatile option to consider that can handle most bikes.

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Pros Versatile, low loading height, good crossbar compatibilityReasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locksSecure hold, easy rack installation/removal, no bike frame contactNo front wheel removal, holds any axle type, easy installVery inexpensive, no assembly required, lightweight, folds small for storage
Cons No locks includedSits slightly closer to vehicle than some, some assembly requiredWorks best on lower vehicles, harder to load bike, lock cores not included for integrated lockNo locks included, difficult to load, not fat bike compatibleNot adjustable, support arms may not work with all frame shapes/styles, no security features
Bottom Line A versatile fork mount roof rack that comes equipped to handle a variety of axle standardsA versatile hitch-mount rack that provides a high price to performance ratioA quality roof-mount bike rack that is particularly easy to install and remove and works best with lower vehicles and lighter-weight bikesA favorite for sedans and other vehicles with low roof heightsA very affordable, bare-bones trunk rack for the infrequent rack user on a tight budget
Rating Categories RockyMounts SwitchH... RockyMounts MonoRail Yakima HighRoad Yakima Front Loader Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Ease Of EveryDay Use (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease Of Removal And Storage (20%)
5.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Versatility (20%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Security (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
2.0
Ease Of Assembly (10%)
6.0
6.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs RockyMounts SwitchH... RockyMounts MonoRail Yakima HighRoad Yakima Front Loader Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Style Roof Hitch (tray) Roof Roof Trunk
Bike Capacity 1 2 1 1 2
Lock? Yes Yes Available but not included Yes, sold separately No
Weight 9 lbs 2 oz 44 lbs 2 oz 18 lbs 13 lbs 7 lbs 9 oz
Other Sizes Available? No Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately No No Yes, 3 and 4 bike versions
Cross Bar Compatibility Fits all styles N/A T-slot compatibility with additional SmarT-Slot Kit Fits Yakima round, square, factory or aerodynamic crossbars N/A

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 thru-axle 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...
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter holds nearly any bike regardless of axle type.
Photo: Curtis Smtih

Ease of Everyday Use


Fork mount roof racks have the distinct benefit of a lower loading height compared to roof racks that hold the bike by the front wheel. It does add the extra step of removing the front wheel every time, but with it removed, the bike doesn't need to be lifted as high to fit into the rack. The main difference we found that impacts ease of use is the axle 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 RockyMounts Switch Hitter with the face plate exposed to access...
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter with the face plate exposed to access the bolts that hold the axle tube adapter in place.
Photo: Curtis Smtih

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 crossbars, with a rubber-coated stainless steel strap that wraps around the crossbar and is tensioned by turning a hex bolt. The Trio uses two U-bolts that cover the crossbar 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 rack, the SwitchHitter uses an offset plate with a U-style clamp that attaches to the crossbar. 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 a minimal amount of space for storage.

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

Versatility


The SwitchHitter outscores 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 that don't. The SwitchHitter is also more functional on taller vehicles than racks like the Yakima FrontLoader due to its lower loading height.

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

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 crossbars that your vehicle is equipped with. Swapping out the front crossbar 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; a quick and easy process.

The RockyMounts Switch Hitter
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter
Photo: Curtis Smtih

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. RockyMounts sells lock cores for the SwitchHitter, but the base model doesn't come with them. 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...
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter features a long cable lock that deploys from the back of the rack, but lock cores are not included.
Photo: Curtis Smtih

Durability


The SwitchHitter and the Trio are both made predominantly of aluminum. We like aluminum for its corrosion resistance and lightweight. The lack of moving parts enhances the long-term durability of fork mount racks compared to racks like the Yakima FrontLoader which has more moving parts. The SwitchHitter scores lower than the Trio due to the flimsy plastic cover that houses the front crossbar 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.

Value


We feel that the price of the SwitchHitter is in line with comparable models and represents a good value. The lack of locks adds on some additional cost, but it does come with a Boost adapter.

Conclusion


The Kuat Trio was once the only option for a fork mount rack with the capability of handling through axle equipped bikes. That is no longer the case, with the RockyMounts SwitchHitter in the mix. 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...
The RockyMounts Switch Hitter is a solid option for the rider who wants a fork mount rack that can carry any bike with ease.
Photo: Curtis Smtih

Curtis Smith