The MonoRail may be the RockyMounts lower-tiered platform hitch rack, but the way I see it, why pay for a bunch of extra functionality if you don’t need it. This rack is perfect for that user who prefers a lightweight, simple platform rack and won’t be carrying the entire neighborhood’s bikes to the park and back. It packs all the right necessities that an everyday user would want and no more.
The rack is available in both 1 ¼ and 2 inch options, though only the 2 inch option will allow you to carry the MonoRail add-on ($170) for a total capacity of three bikes. The T-shaped handle sits under the rack, which allows the platform to be easily raised and lowered without the add-on installed. This is a great feature and much easier to use than racks that use a release pin near the hitch. However, once the add-on is installed, there is no way to extend the handle further back like you can in the Thule Pro XT. I found it cumbersome having to reach under and to the front of the add-on in order to engage the handle, and particularly difficult when all three bikes were loaded up.
The racks trays should have you as close to future-proof as one can be within the bike industry, having the ability to fit bikes with 20 to 29-inch wheels and widths from a 23 millimeter road tire all the way up to a 5-inch fat bike tire. In order to accommodate the larger wheel widths, you will need to utilize the strap adapter on the rear wheel, which is included. I like the hook clamp on the front wheel; it’s simple and intuitive. Although, I have noticed that the internal ratchet mechanism is prone to freezing in cold temperatures, making it difficult or impossible to engage the mechanism. This is something I have noticed both on this design and on other brands as well.
The bikes are spaced 13 inches apart, which is a ½ inch more than the Thule Pro XT and Classic. Each tray can be adjusted 3 inches laterally, but it involves loosening and tightening four bolts. I found it easier to just adjust the seatpost on one of the bikes rather than monkey with the side to side adjustments, which is something I had to do often with a size small 29er and large 29er. A simpler option is using the third bike tray and keeping the center tray empty. The rack includes a cable that can then be secured near the hitch via the included lock, although it is not anything worth writing home about, and I chose to use my own cable and bike lock system whenever I wished to “secure” bikes.
Aesthetically the rack is clean looking with minimal branding; there is only one spot where there is a brand sticker, which can only be seen when the rack is up and not in use. This is a bit of a conundrum for me though; I want clean aesthetics, but I also want visibility so that other drivers are aware of the extension of my car. I placed orange ribbon on the rack to attract attention, but it probably would not hurt to pick up some reflective stickers as well. The threaded hitch pin and lock prevents any wobble and keeps the rack solid and secure within the hitch, even with the add-on in use.
This is one of the cheapest and lightest platform hitch racks on the market from a reputable brand that also allows an add-on. From what I can find, the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 is the most comparable rack based on weight and general function. The Kuat is 7 pounds lighter, offers an extra inch of spacing between bikes, is maxed out with two bikes and costs an extra $119. For the person who really only needs to be able carry one to three bikes, RockyMounts MonoRail is an incredible buy at $370 plus $170 for the add-on. However, If you need to be able to carry four bikes, RockyMounts offers the SplitRail ($500) that can accommodate two single-bike add-ons ($220 ea.) as an option as well.
MonoRail Single Bike Add-On: $170
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