Update September 24:  Picture of fully loaded JackKnife added below the break.

One of several new racks introduced at Interbike this year, Swagman’s Jackknife rack takes hitch rack convention and turns it on its side.  The new rack’s vertical orientation allows for tighter bike spacing and a stronger, lighter structure.  The bikes (two as shown, four are possible) alternate sides and the slightly twisted front wheel keeps handlebars from interfering.  Go behind the bumper for more photos and details.

Shown here folded nearly flat, the Jackknife isn’t particularly deep, keeping vehicle length to a minimum.  This configuration also maximizes ground clearance (though bikes could sit a bit high on smaller cars).  Finally, Swagman claim that the four-bike Jackknife is a full 20lb lighter than the next non-frame-contact four-bike rack.  At $600 for the two bike version, the Swagman is an interesting alternative that we’d love to see in action.

Fully loaded Jackknife 2 courtesy of Swagman



  1. @blantonator: the point of this is to carry bikes with your car.
    @HWNSBS: if your brakes loose their fluid when your bike is vertical, there is something very wrong with your brakes.
    Marc; have any pics with 2 bikes on the rack? I would like to see how they sit. It’s hard to tell in the pics exactly how the rack works.

  2. HWNSNBS — if you have a bike that would leak fluid THAT easily, you need a new hydro system.

    As a design, though, I really don’t see an advantage….

    Like Lucero said- if your brakes leak when hung from the wheel, there are larger issues. We regularly hang bikes from their wheels (as do most bike shops) without issue.

    Swagan only had the one bike on hand- and I couldn’t find any 2-bike pics on their website. I’ll ping them and update the post if they have studio pics.

  4. First off to Marc–learn to hold a camera straight, these & the Briko photos are making me sea-sick. Second, my point about leakage is not while your precious bikes are hanging silently from a static ceiling it was about while they are being tossed around while be transported up/down a nasty fire/dirt/logging road on the back of some beat-up shuttle rig.

  5. @HWNSNBS: Just because several people *answered your question* and pointed out that your concern isn’t valid is no reason to get cranky and lash out at the dude’s photography skills or his ‘precious’ bikes.

    The reason that your concern would be indicative of bigger problems is that modern hydraulic brake systems are sealed. The expansion chambers that allow for fluid expansion are as well. In no orientation and with no amount of shaking should they leak. If they would, aftermarket brakes would make the long jiggly trip from China with their orientation carefully controlled (or would leak on the way over).

    Not to defend the rack too much without trying it, the most that brake issues would expose would be a crap bleed or a leaking system- both of which would probably be best discovered *before* the ride. Don’t be a troll. People don’t like it.

  6. One of the main benefits of the Jackknife bike rack is the spacing between the bikes while racked. If you compare the spacing on a conventional tray style rack to the spacing on the Jackknife you will notice that it is nearly 30% less. This results in the rack not extending as far off the back of the vehicle, thus reducing the stress exerted on the bikes being carried and the rack itself. While not a major issue on the two bike version, it is a major benefit on the Jackknife 4. Also this rack adjusts to accomodate multiple wheels sizes, does not contact the frame, doesn’t matter if you have thru axle or traditional quick release as the bike is held by the tires, not the quick release. It also folds up super compact for ease of removal and storage when not in use. The 4 bike folds up nearly as compact as the 2 bike version and is considerably lighter than any other “no from contact” 4 bike hitch mount rack. Further information and pictures will be posted soon on http://www.swagman.net
    Sales Director at Swagman

  7. I think there is a good potential on the design but what scares me is the $600 price tag, worse for the Jackknife 4. Price point, I might go with the Northshore NSR 4 for only $550.

What do you think?