Rocky Mounts Split Rail LS Platform Rack Review
Words & Photos by Rob Dunnet
The Rocky Mounts Split Rail LS Platform rack is a hitch mount rack that works with a two-inch receiver and will carry two bikes of almost any size. We’ve been using the Split Rail daily on a couple of different vehicles for the past several months. Our goal was to see how the Rocky Mounts rack stacks up against the other major players in the hitch-mounted rack business.
The RockyMounts SplitRail Lab
The Split Rail LS can carry two bikes up to 60-lbs each and is expandable to hold up to three or four bikes, with add-ons. Rocky Mount’s Split Rail can accommodate tires up to 3.0 inches wide and wheelbases from 34- to 50 inches. There are several different mounting holes for the trays so that owners can offset the mounting to avoid any contact between bikes.
We carried everything from 20” kids bikes to extra large downhill bikes with this rack and didn’t have any contact between bikes. We mounted both racks in the center mounting position and the only time that bikes came close to hitting each other was with a road bike and a downhill bike. Having the option to offset the bikes is a nice option and we would suggest trying the racks in a couple of different positions in your driveway before driving with the rack.
Packing It In: RockyMounts SplitRail LS
The RockyMounts SplitRail LS bike rack can be folded flat against the vehicle when it’s not in use and it can also tilt down 30 degrees to allow access to the back of your vehicle. There is a large blue lever that needs to be pulled to tilt the rack up and down. The tilt up version is pretty standard on hitch mount racks and we found that even at 44 lbs the rack was easy to stow up with one hand. The 30-degree down tilt provided enough clearance between the rack and a motorcycle ramp making it easy to get dirt bikes in and out of a truck. On several occasions the tilted down rack was used as a stepladder while loading dirt bikes; probably not recommended by Rocky Mounts, but we enjoyed the added benefit!
Tire Fastening: RockyMounts SplitRail LS
The front and rear tire fasteners that RockyMounts uses are similar to what the other major rack companies are using. The rear tires are held in place with a simple strap that slides down the tray for better placement. Front tires are held in place by the rail, a wheel chock and an arm that locks the front tire in place. The arm can pivot 180 degrees and should be placed as close to the fork arch as possible when locking the wheel in place. There is a warning of this right on the rack and if not followed the bike may rock back and forth a little bit while driving. The arms also have an integrated bike lock located on the top and comes in handy when running errands or getting a post-ride meal.
Because of it’s heavy duty construction and intended load, the Split Rail LS is only compatible with 2-inch hitches. Rocky Mounts does have other solutions for smaller receiver sizes, pickup beds or vans.
The SplitRails LS was easy to install and all of the tools necessary for installation were included along with detailed instructions. We used a wide variety of bikes on this rack during our several months of testing. Loading and securing bikes is pretty straightforward and user friendly.
RockyMounts suggests that tires be inflated properly, that arms should be as close to the fork arch as possible and that the racks shouldn’t be used on bikes with fenders. Of course for scientific reasons we tested all of these suggestions and we found that front tire flats are not the best situation for the rack because the arm doesn’t clamp down as well. Rear tire flats did not seem to be an issue. When the arm isn’t close to the fork arch bikes tend to roll back and forth in the tray and we had to pull over on a couple of forest service roads to adjust the front tire arms. The arms do work with Marsh Guard style front fenders but they do bend them out of shape. So if you don’t mind bending your fender a little bit the rack will work. With larger fenders there will be issues with clamping the front tire down.
On the roads we didn’t have any issues with the bikes shaking around a lot on the trays. Off road there is some rack sway and bike shake but we found that it didn’t affect the bike’s security. Our bikes didn’t show any signs of wear from the bike rack.
After months of use the rack still feels tight and there isn’t any slop in the hitch mounting point. All of the moving parts of the rack still work like new. Most importantly our bikes don’t show any wear or damage from making contact with the rack or other bikes. Despite plenty of washboard roads and drifty dirt corners.
The Wolf’s Last Word
After running the RockyMounts SplitRail LS for the last couple of months we would like to try it with the extra weight of the two bike add on to see if the extra leverage would negatively affect the operation of the rack or if Rocky Mounts 3-axis anti wobble system will be strong enough to handle an even heavier load.
The Split Rail LS is a great option for anyone looking to purchase a new hitch mount rack. It securely holds bikes and looks good while doing it. We haven’t had any issues with it and the only thing that we could complain about is that with the rack folded up, bikes can’t be hung over the tailgate. If other bike rack brands have let you down, you may want to check out the Split Rail LS because it hasn’t let us down yet.
Easy to Install
Easy to Mount Bikes
Can be Stored on a Wall Hook
Built in Bike Locks
Blocks License Plate When Up (We Haven’t Been Pulled Over Yet)
Bike Locks Hard to Pull Out/Put Back In
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