RockyMounts SwitchHitter Review
Cons: No locks included
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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.
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 bike by 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 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 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.
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 the same amount of space for storage.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
— Curtis Smith