RockyMounts SplitRail LS

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An amazing mix of modern design and high-performing functionality, the Rockymounts SplitRail is a great option for families

RATING: Exceptional

BEST FOR: Those needing a rack with adaptable capacity

CAPACITY: 2, 3 or 4 bikes with up to 3" wide tires

HITCH SIZE: 2" only

EXPANSION KIT: Single trays for 2" hitch only

0

$549.95

Capacity

2, 3 or 4

Hitch Size

2"

Max Tire Width

3"

Weight

76 lb.

Fits 20" Bikes

Yes

Expansion Kit

Single for 2" Only

Pros & Cons

PROS:
  • 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
CONS:
  • Does not hold tires wider than 3"
  • Very heavy

 

Full Review

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.

RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack - loaded with 4 bikes on the back of a Landcruiser

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.

RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack - 2 bike and 4 bike capacity side by side comparison while folded up on the carThe 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.

RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack shepherd's hook secured down on the front tire

Wheel Size

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.

 

Tire Size

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.

 

Bike Spacing

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″.

RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack has wider spacing between bikes than the Saris SuperClamp EX bike rack

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.
RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack - bike trays can be adjusted left or right to adjust for handlebars hitting each other

Folding

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, making it the most difficult to fold of the three.

Folding lever is in the middle of the 4-capacity RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack, while it's at the end of the Thule T2 Pro.

Profile

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.

RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack folded up against back of car. Side shot to show sleek profile.

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.
Side by side comparison of RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack and Thule T2 Pro with 26" kid's bike loaded up. The RockyMounts sits much lower.
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.

Folding axle of the RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack and the Thule T2 Pro XT

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.RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike car rack tilted down for rear hatch access

Locking Mechanisms

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.

RockyMounts SplitRail locking mechanism in use on 20" kid's bike and 29er.

Installation

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

RockyMounts Anit-Wobble Hitch System in motion

 

Comparison

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 Comparison

FeaturesRockymounts SplitrailThule T2 ClassicSaris Superclamp EXThule T2 Pro
Saris SuperClam EX 4 bike car rack without bikes loaded
Rockymounts SplitrailThule T2 ClassicSaris Superclamp EXThule T2 Pro XT
MSRP (4-bike Capacity)$1,040$830$899$1,030
Add-On KitSingle2-bikeN/A2-bike
Fits 20" BikesYesYesNoYes
Max Tire Width3"5"4"5"
Total Weight76 lb.85 lb.63 lb.96 lb.
Capacity Options2, 3 or 42 or 42 or 42 or 4
Space Between Bikes11.5" and 9.25"11"9.5" and 8.25"12"

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.

 

 

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however, the reviewed product was supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

 

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