Swagman Current | Fat Bike Carrier


Wouldn't it be great if we could all hop on our fat bikes and hit the trails from our back yard. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the majority of fat bikers and we have to transport our bikes to the trail head.

The folks at Swagman have been in the bike business for almost 30 years, designing and building bike carrying gear and accessories. One of their most recent fat bike inspired racks is called the Current and they sent one to Fatbike Republic for review.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland


THE RACK

The Current is one of the newer fatbike friendly hitch mounted dual bike carriers from Swagman. Details on the Current include:
  • Designed to fit just about all styles of bikes
  • Fat tire compatible up to 5” wide
  • Fits 1 ¼” and 2” receivers
  • Locking threaded hitch pin and cable
  • Adjustable locking ratchet hooks secure bike frame to rack
  • Tire ratchet straps holds bikes and secures wheels
  • Folds up against vehicle when not in use
  • Folds away from the vehicle when bikes are loaded 
  • Max weight capacity per bike is 60lbs
  • Rack weight is 59lbs
What makes the Current especially interesting is that it has been designed to carry e-bikes which are generally heavier in nature due to the motors, batteries and electrics.

ASSEMBLY & INSTALLATION

The Current arrived in a 40" x 20" x 9" (approx) box with each piece secured by cardboard packaging.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Unboxing all the parts and fasteners I quickly read through the assembly instructions and grabbed a ½ wrench and socket and a Phillips screwdriver.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

About 45 minutes later the rack was assembled and I had two parts left over. Thinking that was rather odd, I reread the instructions more carefully and noticed that I had overlooked/missed the step to install brackets on the cross bars. Three minutes later I had them installed.  Lesson learned once again . . . read instructions thoroughly.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

The rack came with the 2” adapter plates installed so installation involved slipping it into the 2” receiver on my vehicle, threading in the locking hitch pin, and securing the hitch pin with a lock. Removing the plates would allow the rack to be mounted to an 1 1/4 hitch receiver.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Check out the unboxing, assembly and installation video for additional details.


USING THE CURRENT

The supplied instructions (link) also provide details on how to set up the Current for proper use.

As the trays are movable they can be adjusted horizontally to customize the fit for your fat bike. According to Swagman, adjusting the trays so that they press on the inside of the tires will minimize side to side movement. Be sure to tighten the knobs to secure the tray locations.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

If carrying your fattie in the inside position (closest to the vehicle) you will want to have the ratchet arm in the horizontal position when loading up the bike and securing the tires in the trays.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Due to the width of the fat bike’s front wheel/fork, when using the inside position, the bike will have to be tilted slightly towards the vehicle for the ratchet arm to clear the fork.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

While it was not evident in the instructions, when carrying in the inside position, the hold down hooks need to be removed from the ratchet arm before it is moved and locked in the vertical position. This is accomplished by pressing on the hook’s release button and sliding it off.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

Once the ratchet arm is locked in place, the hooks can be slid back on the arm to secure the bike to the rack.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

With the ratchet arm in the vertical position another bike can be secured to outside wheel trays without the fuss of removing the hooks or tilting the bike.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

IN USE

Over the course of several months I visited quite a few trail heads with the Current easily carrying one or two fat bikes.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

While removing the hooks and tilting the bike - for inside mounting - slows down the loading and unloading process, I had no worries with the bikes jumping ship when travelling down the highway at 100 kph for several hours.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

There was some slight rocking when driving down uneven gravel roads, but that is to be expected with any bike rack with moving parts.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

The tire trays had no issues fitting wide Johnny 5s (26") to narrow Vee Crown Gem (27.5"). I would also venture to guess that the trays would fit a Snowshoe 2XL.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

I did notice that the more I used the Current the quicker I got in mounting up fatties.  And I also found the rack's tilting function quite handy when trying to get access to stuff inside the vehicle.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

When heading out bikepacking with two fat bikes, I found I needed some padding - in the form of a pool noodle - to put between the bikes because of the extra width caused by the bikepacking gear.


When not in use the rack itself folded up snug against the vehicle. 

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

And when in use, I found that the rack and bike did not have a significant impact on the view from the back-up camera.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

The locks on the hooks, when combined with the security cable connected to the hitch pin, did provide a level of security when I had to quickly run into a store on the way home. It is quite convenient that the same key is used for both locks.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

The Current also provides a great place to lean your fat bike when putting on your riding gear. Gingerly leaning your bike on the body panel of your vehicle could have disastrous results for your vehicle’s paint.

Fatbike Republic Swagman Current Hitch Mount Fat Bike Rack E-Bike Newfoundland

And when I had to use my utility trailer when picking up some lumber, removing and reinstalling the Current was a breeze - remove the lock, back out the hitch pin and pull out the rack.

FINAL THOUGHTS

At no time during the testing did any part of the rack fail to perform. The trays held the tires, the tire straps snugged the rims, the padded hooks grabbed the top tubes, and the rack folded up and down with and without bikes. 

I did add some reflective tape to the underside of the rack to increase its visibility during low light conditions when folded up against my vehicle. And while removing the hooks and tilting the bike was an initial inconvenience, it became second nature when mounting up the bikes.

So if you are looking for a hitch mounted fat bike rack, that is e-bike friendly and is not going to break the bank, be sure to check out the Current by Swagman.


RIDE FAT !





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