A perfect blend of modern design and high-performing functionality, the Rockymounts SplitRail LS is a solid car rack for carrying 3 or 4 bikes. Read our full review below for all the details!
RockyMounts Splitrail LS Review
BEST FOR: Garage with minimal floor space. Suitable for all bike sizes, but younger kids will not be able to use the bike hoist themselves.
CAPACITY: 2, 3 or 4 bikes with up to 3″ wide tires
HITCH SIZE: 2″ only
EXPANSION KIT: Single trays for 2″ hitch only
- Can be used as a 2, 3 or 4 bike capacity
- Ample spacing between bikes
- Trays can be offset left to right to prevent handlebars from rubbing together
- Sits lower on the hitch than other racks
- Low profile when folded up
- Individual locking cables with each bike
- Does not hold tires wider than 3″
- Very heavy
RockyMounts Splitrail LS Review: Results of our Tests
Clean, sleek, and easy to use, the RockyMounts SplitRail LS is an amazing rack for the price. Compatible with bikes 20″ wheel size and up, the SplitRail is a perfect option for families, but is also a solid contender for those without kids.
For a lower price than similarly designed racks, the RockyMounts SplitRail offers the same functionality and quality as most higher-end brands.
Featuring tilt down rear hatch access, adaptability to fit 2, 3 or 4 bikes, several tray positions to offset bikes, as well as the ability to fit tires up to 3″ wide, the SplitRail offers all the features you really need. While the T2 Pro XT is slightly easier to use, the SplitRail keeps costs down by forgoing some minor points of finesse.
What makes it stand out?
We put the RockyMounts SplitRail in a head-to-head test against the Thule T2 Pro XT and the Thule T2 Classic. While all three racks worked great and had their standout features, the RockyMounts SplitRail certainly held its own against the higher-priced Thule racks.
The RockyMounts system is essentially identical to Thule’s (more details below), but its main differentiator is its ability to be used as a 2, 3 or 4 capacity bike rack holder. We only used the RockyMounts as a 2 and a 4, but since the expansion packs are sold as singles, instead of just a double like its competitors, it is the only rack that can be used as a 3-capacity.
The overall quality of the SplitRail was also impressive. We found no noticeable differences in quality between the RockyMounts SplitRail and the Thule T2 Pro XT. The two racks are very similar in design and overall quality, while the T2 Pro XT is slightly more refined than the RockyMounts (outlined below).
Who is the SplitRail best for?
- Those looking for a lighter weight quality rack with capacity up to 4 bikes (RockyMounts 4-tray weighs 20 lb. or more less than either of the Thule T2 models as well as the Kuat)
- Families who want a tray-based rack that is suitable for 20″ bikes
- People who need the flexibility of easily swapping between 2, 3 and 4 capacity
- Mountain bikers who need to offset trays to accommodate longer handlebars
- Those who need a rack that folds up flush against the car
Who is the SplitRail not the best fit for?
- Fat bike riders (anyone with tires wider than 3″)
- Individuals with short arms who plan on using the SplitRail as a four tray (the blue folding lever shown above can be hard to reach for those with short arms)
- Those looking for a lightweight rack to easily take on and off
How it Works
The RockyMounts SplitRail uses the standard tray and shepherd’s hook system also found on the Thule racks and the Kuat. A shepherd’s hook holds the front tire in place while the rear tire is held in place with an adjustable strap.
The shepherd’s hook ratchets down onto the front tire to create a sturdy, secure hold. Each bike has its own tray, shepherd’s hook and wheel straps. To release the bike, the strap on the rear tire is undone and the shepherds’ hook on the front tire is easily released by pushing on the blue button.
We had no problems mounting bikes with 20″ wheels or larger on the SplitRail. No adapters were needed to fit the 20″ and 24″ kids’ bikes on the rack.
While the fit on the 20″ bike wasn’t as precise as the other sizes of bikes, its fit was secure and was not concerning. Due to the differences in bike tray design (the tray the wheels sit on), the 20″ did fit slightly more secure on the Thule T2 Classic and Pro XT, but not enough to be a distinguishing difference between the Thule T2s and the RockyMounts SplitRail.
The SplitRail holds tires up to 3″ wide, so it’s not suitable for fat bikes. Due to the tray design of the SplitRail, an adapter cannot be mounted to allow for fat bikes. Both the Thule racks are suitable for fat bikes up to 5″ wide. The Saris SuperClamp EX, another rack we recommend for families, can hold tires up to 4″ wide, and also has optional Fat Tire adapter trays.
Whether you need extra width for wide handlebars or simply want plenty of breathing room between your bikes, the SplitRail has got you covered. Measured center of tire to center of tire, the first two bikes on the SplitRail has an impressive 11.5″ of space!
As a three tray setup, the space between the 2nd and 3rd is also 11.5″. As a four tray, the last two trays are placed closer together, but they still have 9.5″ of space.
As a comparison, the spacious T2 Pro XT and Classic have 12″ of space between all trays. The more compact Saris SuperClamp EX spacing ranges between 8.5″ and 9.25″.
To make even more space, the SplitRail trays have multiple mounting points to allow you to offset the trays as needed. The trays are already in opposite directions (so the bikes mount in opposite directions), but shifting the trays left to right helps prevent handlebars, shifters, and brakes between bikes from rubbing together while on the rack. (For example, bikes 1 and 3 on the rack above are facing the same direction.)
Shifting the trays does require removing four Allen bolts, sliding the tray over and then replacing the bolts.
When not in use, the RockyMounts folds up and out of the way. With a very narrow profile, the SplitRail looks sleek and clean.
To fold up the rack, you simply pull up on a blue lever on the bottom of the rack. As a 2-bike setup, the blue lever is very easy to reach as it is located just below the end of the rack.
With the 3 or 4 tray set up, however, the extension bar that holds the third and fourth trays is added to the end of the 2-bike rack. As a result, the blue fold up lever is no longer at the end of the rack, but rather placed halfway down the rack on the bottom side. To fold the rack, you now have to reach quite a ways beneath the rack to reach the lever.
While not hard, pulling the release lever certainly isn’t convenient this way, especially compared to the T2 Pro XT which has a lever that’s right at the end of the rack. The Thule gets around this by moving their fold up lever to the end of the expansion bar. Due to the shift in the folding lever, the Thule T2 Pro XT is slightly harder to convert back to a 2-tray as compared to the RockyMounts.
This difference in folding is the main reason why (if cost isn’t a major concern) we recommend the T2 Pro XT over the RockyMounts SplitRail. On the other hand, the T2 Classic’s folding lever is actually on the base of the rack near the hitch (the Yakima HoldUp EVO is also this way), making it the most difficult to fold of the three.
Another great feature of the SplitRail is its low, sleek profile. The shepherd’s arms easily lay down flat to allow the rack to fold up cleanly and neatly.
Hitch Size and Height
The SplitRail is only available for 2″ receivers.
While in use, the SplitRail sits much lower on the hitch than the T2 Pro XT.
While the placement of the receiver on the car certainly makes a difference, the hinge that allows the T2 to fold is much taller than the hinge on the RockyMounts, which makes it sit much higher on the receiver. Due to its lower position, the RockyMounts was much easier for shorter adults (and taller kids) to load and unload.
On the flip side, the lower-set RockyMounts interfered with the backup camera on the car more than the higher-set Thule T2 Pro XT. Camera and rack interference certainly won’t be consistent from car to car, but if you plan on leaving your rack on your car while folded up, the high or low set position of the rack is certainly worth taking into consideration.
Rear Hatch Access
The SplitRail easily tilts down to allow for rear hatch access. When tilted down, the rack does not “lock” into place so you don’t have to reach underneath to fold it back up, you simply just lift it back into place.
Each shepherd’s hook includes an internal cable that can be pulled out to lock the bike. This locking system is almost identical to the system found on the T2 Pro XT and Classic. The SplitRail locks, however, come installed, while the Pro does not (you have the install them yourself – but it’s quick and easy).
The SplitRail’s cables also seem to be slightly shorter than the Thule’s, but we were able to lock the frames of a large-framed 26″ mountain bike and a 20″ kid’s bike without a problem. Based on our experience, reaching the frame on a taller 29er may be an issue with the SplitRail cable lock. The Thule T2 Classic has the same system, but the locks need to be purchased separately.
Like any tray rack, the SplitRail certainly takes some time to install. From boxes to complete installation, the process took about an hour. One of the great things about the SplitRail is that it can easily be converted back to a 2 or a 3 tray system.
Removing the expansion kits only required removing 4 Allen bolts, so it’s pretty quick and painless. Although we rarely ride without kids these days and so we usually need all four trays, we can see the ability to easily remove the expansions kits as being a great asset to those who frequently ride without their whole pack.
Another great feature of the SplitRail its “3-axis anti-wobble system” which helps to keep the rack nice and stiff during use. The system consists of a solid metal ball that pushes up against the car’s receiver as you tighten the hitch pin.
This ball pushes the arm of the rack against the receiver arm to eliminate any play in the connection. A similar system is found on the T2 Pro XT, but not on the T2 Classic. We’ve found the racks with an anti-wobble system really do wobble less than those without one!
For security, the SplitRails also comes with a locking hitch pin.
RockyMounts Anit-Wobble Hitch System
Of the four racks we mention in this review, each has its strengths and weaknesses, but having used all four, we can say they are all great racks. To get a full rundown all of the four racks we mentioned in this article, be sure to check out our 9 Great Car Racks for Families article.
|Rockymounts Splitrail||Thule T2 Classic||Saris Superclamp EX||Thule T2 Pro XT|
|MSRP (4-bike Capacity)||$980||$950||$999||$1,350|
|Fits 20" Bikes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Max Tire Width||3"||5"||4"||5"|
|Total Weight||76 lb.||85 lb.||63 lb.||96 lb.|
|Capacity Options||2, 3 or 4||2 or 4||2 or 4||2 or 4|
|Space Between Bikes||11.5" and 9.25"||11"||9.5" and 8.25"||12"|
RockyMounts Splitrail Rack Bottom Line
Full-featured and reasonably priced, the RockyMounts SplitRail is a great option for families as well as those without kids. With its slim, low-profile build, great spacing, ability to offset trays, and its ease of switching between 2, 3 and 4 bike-capacity, the RockMounts SplitRail is a winner in our book.