Monday, March 15, 2010

Need a Bike Rack?

My family members will tell you that I am a trifle reactive when it comes to poor customer service. OK, maybe a rather large trifle. Our latest venture has been the purchase of a new family cellphone plan from a national provider. The vendor at Costco was helpful in hooking us up with a plan and in selling us phones, but there was never any mention of exactly how much we would end up paying each month. The basic plan price is in writing, but the surcharges, fees, and taxes aren't detailed until you get that first bill. Ouch.

Well, given my consistent contact with companies that seem interested in making a buck as quickly as possible, I must tell you about my bike rack experience.

We bought a really nice bike rack the summer before last. It's a Softride Dura 4, which fits on the trailer hitch, and swings down to allow us access through the rear hatch of the Subaru Forester. It carries four adult bikes, and is really well designed and solidly built.

I broke it.

I was in a hurry this morning. As I pushed one of the rack arms into the unit, the pin that was supposed to lock the arm in place instead jammed, resulting in the housing breaking. I didn't figure that out until this afternoon when I was fixing a flat.

Anyway, I can still use the rack, but only by securing that arm with a nut and bolt, which makes the rack less versatile. So I emailed the manufacturer to see if I could obtain a replacement part. Rich from Softride called me, asked what was going on, and then took my address. He said he'd ship a top plate to me. I protested that it was not a flaw in the part, and that I had broken it, but he insisted that he'd send the replacement without charge.

What a great company. Since they won't take my money, all I can do is tell everyone I know to buy their products. You can see their line of bike racks at You probably need a good bike rack anyway. If you don't ride a bike, you probably should. And if you don't ever plan on biking, buy a Softride rack anyway. You can use it to dry clothes.


  1. question: do the bikes swing much while you drive? I've got a bell bike ride for my trailer hitch, and I do not like it. It was cheap, and that is it's only +. We drove down to Iowa with our bikes, and my bike took a big gouge out of Matt's bike. We had to pad our bikes on the way back. I'm looking for a rack that doesn't let the bikes slide around at all. In any case, I'll definitely take a look at these racks :-)

  2. No, once they're strapped on they are pretty secure. The rack is pricey, but we've been very happy with it. Took four bikes to Corvallis and did no damage at all, though if two bikes are touching, the vibration will lead to wear. They didn't swing around however.