Dirt Rag Magazine

Review: Hollywood Racks Sport Rider 4 Hitch Rack and Cargo Carrier Add-On Kit


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Hollywood Racks sprang from humble beginnings in 1973 when it began making trunk racks in a Hollywood, California–based bike shop. Eventually, the shop was shuttered so Hollywood could focus on its booming rack business.

Sport Rider 4

Hollywood’s $444 Sport Rider 4 is a two-plus-two arrangement, meaning there’s a two-bike base rack for 2-inch hitches and a two-bike extension that can be added or removed as necessary. The rack will accommodate bikes up to 45 pounds with a 60-inch wheelbase and 3-inch-wide tires. Wheel holders for fat bikes (up to 5 inches) and 72-inch wheelbase kits are available separately. An 8-foot cable lock and locking hitch pin are key-matched and included with the rack.

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The Sport Rider rack has a central upright with a sliding mechanism that grabs bikes by the top tube, while some other racks secure bikes by the front wheel. Both of these solutions have their upsides and downsides. While the wheel-mounted system is a little more convenient to use, it does not play well with full-coverage fenders. The Hollywood system works great with fenders, but takes a little more thought about how you place each bike. It took me a couple of attempts to figure out how to best load bikes of various sizes. The frame hooks are staggered in two different lengths, so you have to get the hooks correctly coordinated with each bike. Once you have a system figured out for your specific bikes, the rack is easy to use.

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In addition to the sliding top-tube hook, each wheel tray offers a hook and loop strap to further secure the bike. Another Hollywood owner I spoke with stopped using their wheel straps entirely.

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Sport Rider racks utilize Hollywood’s patented no-wobble, no-tools hitch-tightening system. After securing the pin in the hitch, you tighten a threaded lever to tension the system in toward the hitch. Even with four bikes on a bumpy road, this rack is very stable.

With bikes installed, the rack can swing down for better access to your lift gate, but ease of use will vary greatly depending on your vehicle. The 74-pound rack loaded with bikes requires a strong back. When not in use, the rack can be folded up flat against the rear of the vehicle, but it does block most rearward access when folded.

Cargo Carrier

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New for 2015 is Hollywood’s Cargo Carrier Add-On Kit. This $220 cargo basket replaces the two-bike extension to offer additional cargo space for your expedition. The carrier offers some nice touches, such as a well thought out shape to accommodate bike pedals and a matching stretch cargo net. The Cargo Carrier is rated to 90 lbs of gear when used in conjunction with the bike rack, but can be use separately with the supplied adapter with loads up to 300 lbs.

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On my Honda Element, the height of the Cargo Carrier is ample when mounted in conjunction with the rack, due to the rack’s extra rise. When mounted alone, the basket is pretty low to the ground and will scrape on steep transitions. Also, because the basket accommodates bike pedals, it’s just a touch too narrow for some full-size coolers. All told, the Cargo Carrier offers a lot of additional utility for the asking price.

Conclusion

Hollywood’s construction quality is good, but the fit and finish doesn’t quite compare to some of the more expensive racks on the market, but that’s certain understandable at this price point. Overall, this rack strikes a good balance of convenience and affordability. Spare and replacement parts can be ordered directly from Hollywood’s website if they aren’t covered under Hollywood’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.

 

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