The Saris Freedom 2-Bike rack is an entry-level rack that works reasonably well for its intended purpose. Its simple design and lightweight frame make it easy to load on and off a vehicle as well as store when not being used. I do have concerns about its long term robustness, however, and the straps are frustrating to use. That said, it’s not very expensive and is manufactured in the USA.
Holds bikes securely
Fits on multiple receivers
Not very robust
Tedious ratchet straps
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The Saris Freedom 2-Bike is an entry level bike rack. Its simple design and lightweight frame make it easy to load on and off a vehicle as well as store when not being used.
It uses a combination of dual wheel hold down straps with a central fixture point to ensure that the bike has no room to wiggle around. And because the wheels are attached from below, this design works with bikes with fenders attached. We take a look at how this lower priced option stacks up against the best bike racks across all price points.
Saris Freedom 2-Bike: construction
The Saris Freedom is compact and lightweight. Out of the box it requires securing three bolts with a hex key (included) and a crescent wrench (not included). The rack is mounted onto the hitch receiver with a single bolt, which works well enough to stay put but doesn’t expand into the hitch to negate any play there might be between the rack and hitch receiver. The fit was adequate on my test rack, but the rack did wobble more than I would like when loaded with bikes. Saris sells a hitch tightener separately to solve this problem. Also available for sale is a hitch lock, but it isn’t included with the rack.
The rack uses a t-shaped beam design to hold bicycles, with a single vertical stabilizing arm and sliding cradles for the wheels. This allows for a reasonable range of adaptability in terms of carrying different styles and sizes of bicycles. The central pillar can fold down for storage, but doesn’t pivot at all when bikes are attached, meaning that it is necessary to move the sliding cradles into exactly the right places in order for the main arm to line up with the frame in a spot that provides a secure attachment point. This can be tricky to get right, and doubly so with two bikes as they can interfere with one another when in close proximity.
The Freedom 2-Bike is very lightweight, which makes it very easy to take on and off a vehicle, but also gives the impression that it isn’t very robust. It’s hard to say how well it will hold up over time, but Saris claims it can hold 60 lbs per bike slot. Also of note: Saris manufactures its products in the USA in Madison, Wisconsin.
Saris Freedom 2-Bike: on the road
In testing the Freedom 2-Bike with several different bicycles, I was able to secure all of them satisfactorily, though some were much easier than others. Putting one bike on and off was straightforward, but I found that with two bikes (and keep in mind this rack is also available in a four bike version), it was very hard to get the bikes to play nicely together without hitting each other. The issue is that the wheel trays and vertical arm don’t have much space between them, so the bikes end up very close together. This meant a lot of trial and error was required each time in order to get the bikes secured. Adding to this difficulty was the fact that the ratchet straps don’t work smoothly—they jam easily and the buttons to release the straps are difficult to depress. And there are a lot of straps; this design could use some refinement.
Because the central arm contacts the bicycle’s frame, it could, over a long time, cause issues to paint or, more significantly, the frame material itself. To combat this, Saris has developed a sort of accordioned rubber membrane that wraps around the ratchet straps. It is a little bit awkward to move it around on the straps, but it seems to work well to avoid any friction-caused issues.
Once the bikes are in place, they are held securely. The combination of dual wheel hold down straps with a central fixture point means that the bike has no room to wiggle around. And because the wheels are attached from below, this design works well with bikes with fenders mounted.
Saris Freedom 2-Bike: value and conclusion
As a hitch-mounted rack option on the more entry-level end of the market with its price tag of $379.99, this rack performs without any major issues. It is relatively inexpensive, and does the job well enough, though it doesn’t have the refinement seen in more expensive options.
It would be great to see it beefed up a little bit to improve its long-term durability, and including a mechanism to secure it more tightly into the hitch receiver would help keep everything shipshape while loaded up.
Saris Freedom 2-Bike: specs
- Cost: $379.99
- Weight: 20 lbs
- Number of bikes: 2
- Maximum tire size: 2.25”
- Capacity: 60 lbs, per bike
- Receiver size: 1 ¼ or 2”
- Warranty, if applicable: Limited lifetime
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