Swinging With An Existing Bike Rack

Several travelers (including me) have been searching for a way to open the back doors of their Roadtrek van with a hitch mounted bike rack installed. There have been several bike racks that try and solve this problem by dipping or swinging the rack out of the way but it doesn’t always work well with either the vehicle or the bikes being used.

The Kuat Pivot Swing-Away Extension has solved that challenge for me and it may just work for you. 

The Pivot is not another bike rack solution. Instead its called an extension because it is a hitch extender that is used to hold any two inch hitch bike rack. This extension works so that both the hitch and bike rack swings away allowing the back doors of the van to easily open.

The Kuat Pivot was installed onto our rig along with our existing Hollywood bike rack. That started our 3 month, 14,000 journey around North America carrying two bikes. It was jarred, shook and banged along the journey. The back of the rig was accessed several times each day without a mishap.

Parking was also easy. We were already comfortable finding parking where we backed in so our backend of the rig overhung on grass. All that was needed was a bit longer patch of grass when parking. No biggy.

With a 250 pound capacity, the Pivot claims to handle most situations including those heavy ebikes that are becoming popular. I read about examples of being able to handle four eBikes weighing 40 pounds each or two eBikes weighing up to 80 pounds each as long as the bike rack used was designed to handle those weight capacities. That’s impressive.

The Pivot can be bought directly from Rack Attack or Kuat Racks. I purchased it from REI that saved on delivery charges using local pickup. It is also available on Amazon.com.

The Kuat Pivot was very easy to assemble so I won’t go into detail. Once assembled it has three parts: The Kuat Pivot, a locking hitch pin and a safety pin. The locking hitch pin is great to prevent theft and it is threaded so that winching it down tight really eliminates most of the wobble seen with hitch mounted bike racks. The safety pin is used to lock the pivot closed or open at 90 degree. The Pivot has an adjustable toggle clamp that allows the Pivot to be further clamped down adding additional support to eliminate wobble while driving.

Once the Pivot is installed on the 2 inch hitch and locked into place, then any 2 inch bike rack can be installed onto the Pivot. I used my existing Hollywood recumbent bike rack to hold two bikes on our journey. The Hollywood rack used also has a locking hitch pin that screwed down to eliminate wobble.

With everything assembled and installed with bikes in place, it was time to test it out. Getting into the back doors of our Roadtrek was as simple as 1,2,3. 1) Remove the safety pin, 2) release the toggle clamp, 3) swing the rack out 90 degrees and reinsert the safety pin to keep it open. That takes about 5 seconds. At that point, there is full access available to the back RV doors.

The one gotcha I found was that if the inner bike petal wasn't in a certain position, the right back door would not fully lock open. By repositioning the bike pedal, the door could be fully opened. This likely varies per rack and bike used.

This setup has proven to be rock solid in our 14,000 miles of travel. Things do come loose over time, but the only maintenance this setup has needed was retightening of the two hitch pins and lubrication of the pivot bolt.

Check out the photo below showing how we used to roll using only the Hollywood bike rack. We couldn’t get into the back of our rig without either partially removing or fully removing the bikes and rack which typically took 15 minutes. It would take another 15 minutes putting it all back on. Imagine doing that daily over a summer-long trip in an old body that recently had its forth heart attack. Now that it takes about five seconds to get into the back of the rig. My wife no longer cringes when she asks me for something stored in the back. In fact, she typically gets it herself now. Priceless.

Old method without Pivot Swing. Door won't open.





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