Why You Want: You want an inexpensive way to transport your bikes around that won't have them swinging by their top tubes.
Pros: Adjustments make it easy to fit most bike frames and types - with a weight limit of 35lbs each. Three ratcheting straps keep the bike secure in addition to adjustable arms that can either cradle the frame or hold it down. Fits a 1 ¼" receiver natively, but does include an adapter to fit 2" hitches as well.
Cons: Ratcheting straps can be tricky to disengage, especially in colder weather, and also could harm a bikes finish over time. No locking mechanism for bikes or rack, though a locking hitch tite is available aftermarket.
RoadBikeReview Take: The Saris Freedom Hitch offers those on a budget the 'freedom' to take a pair of bikes just about anywhere without worrying about their bikes swinging back and forth. The rack requires very little assembly; it can be put together in less than 10 minutes. The completed rack weighed in at just 21.04 lbs on our scale, pretty light in terms of hitch racks.
The Freedom uses two small cradles and an arm to support your bike with three ratcheting straps to secure your bike. The straps can be a little finicky, but with time become easier to manage. The 4 cradles are adjustable, sliding left and right, and make it fairly easy to mount your bikes onto the rack; a strap at each of the cradles locks your bike into place.
The upright arm of the rack also carries two hold down straps for a third point of contact to secure your bike to the rack, this is where it becomes slightly tricky, because you'll have to adjust the hold down strap and arm to work with your bikes frame. Sliding the wheel tray cradles back and forth until you find the perfect combination that works for your bike. It's advised that you start with the heavier of your two bikes and mount it closest to your car, and then repeat with the second bike on the other set of cradles. Once you have this set, you won't have to fuss with this again.
The Freedom rack's receiver bar fits into 1 ¼" hitch receiver natively, but if you have a 2" hitch, Saris does include an adapter. We have a 1 ¼" hitch setup, so we didn't make use of the adapter. With the 1 ¼" setup, the rack interface was solid, no movement whatsoever. When the bikes were mounted, we had every bit of confidence they were secure and not going to wiggle or bounce around. A relief from the hang and swing options we've tried in the past. The hitch arm is a good length, leaving plenty of room between the bikes and the rear of the car. When not in use, the Freedom's arm can be released and lowered to allow easy access to the rear of your car. While down, the rack looks neat and out of the way, so much so, we figured it might be a better idea to leave it up so cars behind us would see the rack and not get too close and potentially hit the low key rack.
If you're looking for a solid rack without too many frills that will get the job done, the Saris Freedom should be at the top of your list. It's manufactured and assembled in the USA, and comes with a lifetime warranty. We'll followup with a longer term report later this season, but so far, we're impressed.
Price: $239 MSRP
More Info: www.saris.com
Saris Assembly and Installation Videos are available on Page 2