LATCHIT RACK REVIEW
Review by Nic “U-Turn” Hall
Latchit Rack first reached out to us via Instagram and asked if we would be interested in testing a product that would help increase the capacity of our pickup trucks while helping increase the size of our bed while maintaining use of a “tailgate” pad. The Latchit Rack bike rack is relatively light at roughly 15lbs and clicks into your tailgate via the factory installed tailgate latches and points. Since we have got some testers who have toolboxes, or CVT Tents mounted on bed racks, the idea of having a tailgate pad that was 18-24 inches beyond where the tailgate normally sits really excited us. We could put dirt bikes in the back with more room for bikes, load up our mountain bikes easily with the tent above and enjoy extra space for more gear bags. Read on to see how the Latchit faired after some eMTB test days.
Latchit Rack system shares some familiar features when compared to other tailgate pads, while adding a few more. For starters, the Latchit Rack is available in 3 different sizes and capable of hauling up to six non-e bikes, depending on rack size. The rack also offers gear storage in the end pockets. That is where the similarities end.
The Latchit Rack does not drape over the tailgate, instead it utilizes a set of mounts that fasten to the tailgate latches. This design in return adds more usable bed space while hauling bikes, and doubles as a bed extender when not on the way to the trailhead. The unique Latchit Rack design prevents any rubbing on the tailgate, as well as unwanted rubbing on the bike’s stanchions and paint scratching/wear on the downtube and has a cool integrated locking system to buy you some time at the burrito stand. The Latchit Rack accepts bikes with wheel sizes ranging from 29ers all the way down to grom bikes with 12” wheels. Ingenuity comes at a cost; however, the Latchit Racks have an M.S.R.P of $399, double what most tailgate pads retail for these days.
Over the past few summers, we have been camping in roof top tents mounted over our truck bed. Even at the highest setting, room under the tent is minimal and difficult to fit a bike on a traditional tailgate pad. When towing a boat or trailer, the bed is the only feasible way to bring bikes on adventures. This is where we see the Latchit Rack becoming useful, extending bed space when towing or camping.
Setup is simple, the main arms attach to the tailgate latches and the frame sits on the tailgate. The Latchit Rack is lightweight, which allows for easy install but also a downfall as the weight limit of the system makes their six bikes claim a real issue if you are packing bikes that weigh more than 33lbs. After putting 4 eMTBs on the rack and taco-ing the support arm we reached out to Latchit and found they had a new mid-bar support post available and should help boost stiffness at the weakest point. With the center bar installed, the 200lb weight limit is still easily reached if you have got DH bikes or eMTBs and should be considered if you are packing a truck full of bikes for your road trip.
Fit and finish looks pretty good with integrated ski strap style lock down straps for the bike and a cleverly integrated cable lock. Padding on the main bar that supports the bikes is a bit thin honestly, and we worry it will be an issue for those on rough roads or who leave their Latchit Rack in the sun.
As the Latchit Rack website says, “Built for the big boys, allowing up to 6 bikes to fit,” but finding an official weight limit anywhere on the site proved challenging. We thought 4 ebikes would be reasonable with such a claim. We quickly found we may have overloaded the rack a bit as it folded nearly in half over a speed bump and caused all four eBikes to slide to the center of the rail. After talking with Latchit Rack, we found that we nearly doubled the allowable weight. We must question a $399 rack that is supposed to double as tailgate pad but cannot support 6 standard acoustic bikes without additional support bars. Latchit Quickly shipped us their new support bar and we teamed up to pry and pull the bent bar straight before setting out for some more testing. Since then, we have not overloaded the rack, although that has also limited our load outs as we regularly head out with 5 eMTBs, which would put us 40-50lbs overweight. A real bummer in our opinion as the growth of ebiking is only going to continue and we love the concept of having more storage space and a larger usable bed.
Extended bed storage is something we could all use with modern trucks coming with shorter and shorter beds, and the Latchit Rack can deliver if you are careful to stay under the weight limit. We can tell the guys over at Lachit Rack have thought through the product with integrated locks and solid securing options and we look forward to future generations getting a bit more dialed in. We really like that we can load all our gear bags in the bed with bikes. We also love being able to slide the bike in while the rack mounted tent takes up bed space or having the ability to put our dirt bikes in the bed and still have tons of space for mountain bikes. But, as it sits right now, at $399 with a weight limit that we foresee limiting lots of riders, it is not something we can wholeheartedly recommend. We would like to see thicker padding and the weight limit issue are a lot to swallow on top of the price tag. We hope that Latchit can keep the cool features they have already developed, ease of use and increase the weight capacity and quality of the bike pad itself without raising the price too much. If they can, this will be an awesome accessory.
The folks at Latchit happily sent us a replacement top bar along with their new center support bar. It is sure to address the sagging issue we developed when charging hard over speed bumps with a truck bed full of eMTBs. The center support bar goes from the tailgate up to the cross bar that holds the bikes up and offers critical support.