Raxter Tarsus Hitch Rack - Review

Apr 22, 2014
by Jordan Carr  
Excluding a pickup truck with a tailgate pad, using a hitch rack has to be the easiest, most efficient way to travel with a quiver of bikes. Raxter is a Oklahoma-based company that has set out to design simple a straightforward racks that work well regardless of what type of bike you are looking to transport, and it is their Tarsus model that we review here. It's sold as a two-bike system, but we opted to use the additional two-bike add-on in order to up the capacity.

Raxter Hitch Rack Review


The solid looking Tarsus rack utilizes square steel tubing that's finished off with gloss black paint, and all of its hard has been coated to keep corrosion at bay in the long run. Nylon composite arms and adjustable plastic trays keep the weight of the system down, and simple Velcro straps are used to hold the bikes in place yet still offer plenty of adjustability. Flipping the rack to its upright position can be done by pressing a spring loaded actuation button, and it also replaces the traditional hitch pin in order to make installation and removal quick. Each of the four trays sit closely together to minimize the rack's presence behind your vehicle, and Raxter has built-in the ability to position each bike in an offset location to keep handlebars and seat posts from mingling. Wheelbases from the smallest kids bikes up to extra long DH bikes can be accommodated, and the rack's dimensions measure 61" wide, 25" long (from hitch pin hole), 8" between trays, and each tray is 3" wide. Weight: 65lbs (four bike configuration), 36lbs (two bike configuration). MSRP: $648 USD as tested ($359 - two bike, $289 - additional two bike extension) www.raxterracks.com

Raxter Hitch Rack Review

The adjustable wheel straps work surprisingly well at keeping bikes stable on rough roads.


Raxter Hitch Rack Review


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes The Tarsus was straightforward to assembled, with two bolts for each tray that added up to only a few minutes of our time before it was up and running. Once on the vehicle it sits at a decent height off the ground that worked well for us, even when crossing over abrupt terrain changes like deep water bars or steep climbs, and there should be plenty of clearance for all but the most rowdy of 4x4 roads. Installing bikes on the rack was pretty simple, but we did note that they sit close enough together that it was near impossible to take one out from the middle of the pack. How often did we need to do that? Pretty much never, and we don't expect most other people will either. We tried fitting a variety of bikes to the Tarsus, and all went on without trouble so long as each was offset to its neighbour correctly, and they seemed to be held as sturdy as when on any other tray rack. Any issues? It doesn't fold down to allow access to a vehicle's rear hatch, which you might find inconvenient if that's where you keep your gear, although it tilts up nice and close against the back of your car for great clearance when not in use. We're fans of the Tarsus' simplicity, but we're curious how the rack's bolt together construction, as well as some of the smaller items such as the wheel supports, will hold up over time. Having said that, we came across no reliability issues to complain about, and it seems like the Tarsus could be a good choice if you're looking to branch out from the larger brands that are more commonly seen at the trail head. - Jordan Carr



69 Comments

  • + 57
 God, I'd get nervous no matter what rack I'm using when my cargo is worth more than my car.
  • + 3
 I trust my rack (Kuat NV), but I understand your nervousness and get paranoid myself. For long trips, or when I know the road will be rough, I further fasten my wheels with 1ft rafting straps from NRS. Cheap peace of mind. Only a complete catastrophic failure, like my tow hitch falling off my truck frame, will let my bike bounce down the freeway...
  • + 5
 The way people drive now days, your bike is safer inside the pick up bed...
  • + 20
 I'm still waiting for the 10K carbon bike racks to hit the market
  • + 4
 Bus racks the sketchiest for downhill bikes literally sit on top of the rack and are just held by the pull over bar.
  • + 1
 I'd get nervous advertising my bike on the back of my car again. Getting followed home and having my bike stolen shortly after. I love these type of racks. But I keep it in the car when I go to further trails these days.
  • + 2
 @hdcoiler A dog goes a long ways Smile or an alarm or just put some machine gun rounds on a table by your bike sure if someone tried robbing you and seen those they'd think twice. lol
  • + 1
 @whathousaid enduro specific and only for 27.5" bikes?
  • + 1
 Or you can just buy a used truck/van for 1k which isn't a whole lot more than the 4 bike rack and you get a vehicle you can get dirty and not care.


Run on sentences ftw!
  • + 24
 I have owned this rack (2 bike version) for about a year now. All velcro straps are holding up well. A bit of rust on 2 of the bolts is my only complaint at this time (and I could fix it with a spray can in about 2 minutes, just haven't gotten around to it yet). It does live on the car 90% of the time and I park outside so that isn't helping the small amount of rust.

It is incredibly simple to use, and the thought required behind putting your bikes on it is minimal, even when compared to the 1upUSA rack my friends have. They are constantly having to figure out which bike goes on first, and always end up needing to drop seats or drop their dropper posts. The Tarsus makes bikes fit more by staggering them, because the trays are a bit longer. Works out nicely.

The fold down part of things was annoying at first (rack before was the Thule T2), but now I have just trained myself to position my gear behind the drivers side seat, so I never need to get into the rear hatch on my wagon.

This thing is LIGHT when compared to other options, which is one of the reasons I bought it. When I do need to take it off, you can carry it with one arm. Wrestling the T2 was a difficult task. I did end up ordering an anti-wobble hitch pin, because while the default "quick release" is amazingly fast, it didn't inspire confidence when I had the DH bikes on the rack (wobble party).

Overall, I would buy it again. My favorite moment with this rack is when my electric scooter that I use to ride to work died, and due to how this rack is designed I could even fit it (with 20in wheels) with some creativity. No other rack coulda pulled that off.

Look around for sales/deals. I ended up paying right under $300 (shipped) for mine.
  • + 13
 One other note...bumper clearance on this rack is amazing. With my car (Jetta TDI wagon), I really only had 3 options of racks that would not interfere with the bumper when folded up. This thing is so compact I can open my wagon hatch even with the rack in the folded up "store" position. Huge win there.
  • + 32
 You just wrote a more helpful review than what we have in the article above. Thank you.
  • + 3
 I too have had this rack for about a year. Mine has about half of the Velcro straps missing and it has quite a bit of rust which is odd in Colorado. It seems to work well with 29ers and kids bikes, but it does wobble a lot. I purchased a "hitch stabilizer" which is basically a u bolt that pins the top of the rack to the top of the hitch which seems to help. I actually got this rack for $30 brand new at a bike swap so I'm not complaining. Even at MSRP its a great rack for the money, but the best bike rack I have used has to be the North Shore rack, definitely worth the extra money.
  • + 2
 This rack does look a bit more versatile than the 1upUSA because of the way the tire holders can rotate to allow different wheel sizes and positions. I own a 1upUSA and am very satisfied with it, but it is quite heavy to carry around even in the one bike mode
  • + 18
 Just get a van, easy and secure! end of Wink
  • + 9
 Kuat NV hitch rack FTW...integrated locks for bikes and hitch, integrated work stand, bomber construction...if on a budget...Yakima or Thule....
  • + 2
 Agreed, My friend has one and I am very jealous!
  • + 3
 If you don't have the money for an NV, my Kuat Sherpa does the trick for sure! Same design, with just a few less bells & whistles. Plus their pricing is pretty darn reasonable! Check them out: kuatracks.com/en
  • + 3
 I LOVE my NV. I had my first one for three years, then I gave it to my dad because I got a great deal on a new one. The original is still going strong with all original straps and parts working just fine. No rust, just some sun fading.
After I got the second one I got rear ended. Fortunately I wasn't carrying any bikes, but it damaged some parts of the rack. I sent a picture to Kuat and they sent me all of the parts to fix it, nearly everything but the hitch insert/pivoting part, completely free! It is a little heavy, but only because it is an awkward size to carry around. And i'm guessing that weight saved me from needing some bodywork on my car.
  • + 2
 NV is awesome. I've taken mine on multiple trips across the US with no issues.
  • + 9
 Haha, and here l am taking off front wheels, folding down back seats, and contorting bikes into the back of my Impreza
  • + 8
 I hear you- who knew you could get 2 full suspension bikes in the trunk/back seat of a Jetta!
  • + 2
 haha you guys are lucky when compared to me, I could barely fit my V10 inside my Evo 6. I had to remove both wheels to actually fit barely inside
  • + 2
 What ever works man. Rockin a 19 yr old chevy car. BIke fits in the back seat with front wheel off just fine.
  • + 6
 Ford Cmax - look like a grandpa but don't even have to take out a wheel. It effortlessly slides into her backdoor ;-)
  • + 5
 Beautifully placed enuendo. ^^^^ well done.
  • + 1
 The key is a hatchback, with a sedan both wheels need to come off
  • + 2
 I don't get it... you're willing to invest thousands into an awesome mountain bike, but not a couple hundred bucks to make it easy to haul around? Whatever floats your boat I guess, but a good rack is well worth the $$$.
  • + 3
 The issue is everytime we get some free money it goes into the bike. We don't mean for it to happen, it just does. Its not that we aren't willing. Smile
  • + 1
 That's me. Both wheels out to fit in STI.
  • + 3
 I have the NSR 6... It is fully loaded all summer.. Kids bikes, downhill bikes, dj, and xc... My only beef is that it won't take my wife's cervelo... Best rack we've ever used, no more scraping across gas station entrances like with the four bike rear hitch munts... Nope North Shore Racks are the best...
  • + 1
 hear,hear!! love them.
  • + 2
 @theflu we love our NSR 6 too! And for the wife's cervelo, with a bit of creativity they got road bikes too. Hook the handlebar between the prongs with the wheels facing out (not into the car). Doesn't look pretty, but works a treat! Just be careful not to tighten at the bottom too much if the frame doesn't want to go that way. As the wheels stick out a bit behind u, u may just want to put a bit of ribbon or something so the driver behind doesn't not see them and come too close!
  • + 1
 Nice, that sounds like a good idea.. I'll have to try that... although that means I won't be able to bring both my bikes with me when we go to kelowna and vernon.... dam road bikes... (tongue firmly planted in cheek)
  • + 3
 +1 on light weight factor and simplistic setup
-1 on velcro straps, and no locking feature
-1 the time it takes to load and unload bikes

There is something to be said to have a control arm sit right in front of your fork to secure your bike to rack. Also to have the front wheel mounted securely instead of two flat trays. Seriously...4 velcro straps per bike? Should we just start using zip ties and duct tape for max security?

For the price point there are much better options. I have owned Thule T2 (hitch and roof), Kuat NV, and currently Kuat Sherpa.
  • + 7
 1up usa is the best rack i have used so far!!!
  • + 2
 Agreed! After 2 years, I haven't found a single weak spot. Why buy stamped steel when there is a rack built like 1upUSA?
  • + 1
 I love being able to run a one bike only rack most of the time, then when it comes time to shuttle, 2 mins later I have a 2 or 3 bike rack.
  • + 1
 For $229 Nz dollars you can get this four bike version that mounts on standard towbar. I have one and it's awesome usually have three large heavy dh bikes on and no stress damage or worries. Each is seperared by a Padded hoop bar. Here's the link.

www.torpedo7.co.nz/products/T7CATN04B/title/torpedo7-towball-mount-4-bike-channel-rack

Also have smaller versions also.
  • + 1
 Had the Raxter stinger rack which is similar. Good simple inexpensive rack, easy to get bikes on, take off and store in garage. My only complaint is the lower trays use Velcro straps. Well my car the exhaust was directly in line with the lower tray and I melted a few straps while using this rack, would have been nice if it used the plastic ratchet type straps like everyone else. Switched to a Kuat NV and never looked back.
  • + 3
 Personally I like my Thule T2 the best since I wouldn't trust Velcro straps to hold my bike. It's worth the extra money for a solid rack.
  • + 1
 Thule Sidearm 594xt on top of my Subaru Legacy GT, fits wheels as small as 20" up to 29" and has no velcro. I have two racks up on top to accommodate anything from my kids bike to a 29er without reconfiguring anything other than the rear wheel buckle which you can simply slide back or forth on the track. Zero movement, zero rust, and lock cores are available separately for a little piece of mind. Personally I disagree with rear mounted carriers because of the potential rearend collision ruining your day and your bikes.
  • + 1
 Meh. This rack looks like not only a complete pain in the ass to load bikes on.... But it also looks not very secure. I'll take a Thule T2 or a Swagman Semi 2 any day over this.
  • + 2
 It's no different from the Thule racks . Using this rack with the four bike option is a pain in the ass. Meh... I'm staying with my Ratrack.
  • + 2
 Golden tip: Get a good bike rack. Friend and I got our forks scratched deeply because the axle-nuts were bouncing against the lower legs..
  • + 1
 Always good to see more options but this one looks like a hassle to use. Too many straps to mess with rather than a ratcheting bar.
  • + 3
 K√ľat NV Core, all day long!
  • + 0
 There's a brand in Australia (that sponsers the SE QLD race series, dunno if its anywhere else in the world) called Yakima, which makes awesome racks like this, and to a higher quality as well.
  • + 10
 Hahah. Yakima you say? Gonna have to look them up
  • + 2
 The Holdup 2 i believe, can take up to four bikes.
  • + 2
 Yakima is a great company with many excellent products, could not recommend them more highly, the name BTW comes from Yakima, Washington. I recommend them for the simple reason that I had a Ski Box (Rocket Box) that was over five years old and long out of warranty that had cracked around the bottom mounting latches due to over loading and frankly "some abuse". They replaced it no questions asked with the latest updated model even though the older version was still available....let's see Thule do that.
  • + 2
 I have had my Yakima Hold Up for 5 years, not once have i regretted the purchase, works as well as the day I bought it.
  • + 2
 If u have a truck just get a truck pad its so easy!
  • + 3
 Phwoooar.... nice rack.
  • + 2
 1up > *
  • + 1
 and it only weighs 150lbs
  • + 1
 truck bed and bungee cords haven't let me down yet..
  • + 2
 Pickup truck is my rack
  • + 1
 But is it Enduro?
  • + 1
 It's not enduro, you must pedal uphill to bomb down, pedal to trail head and....pedal to the metal. No racks required.
  • + 1
 lame rack same as all the rest with less features North Shore Racks kicks the sorry ass off all hitch racks I just drove from santa cruz to Haines, AK with 4 bikes after a 3 month bike vacation Exit angle and taillights unobstructed, no marks on bikes. 10 second mount dismount each bike. full fold down immediate trunk access and no impact on fuel economy. With soo many racks out there you guys are gonna hafta do alot better then this. Ewe. Velco, I mean, really. The only thing noteworthy about this rack is how lame it is. Copy crap.
  • + 1
 meh - NSR all the way!
  • + 0
 Its also 650b compatible.
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