RockyMounts AfterParty Review

With the profusion of upright hanging racks on vehicles these days, it’s easy to forget that most riders don’t require the ability to carry 4 or 6 bikes at a time.

Tray type racks are generally easier to load, easier to live with when you’re not going riding and don’t weigh the equivalent of a small car.

We’ve been using RockyMounts AfterParty as our daily driver for a couple of months to see how this rack from the Grand Junction, Colorado brand stacks up.

Initial Impressions and Assembly

The rack arrived as a kit, but took just minutes to assemble. The instructions were clear and the rack was securely installed on the back of my car in well under half an hour.

The AfterParty is a hitch-type rack which fits into any 2” square-section tow bar mounting. If your vehicle doesn’t have this fitting then right now, unfortunately there’s no option for you. Those riders whose vehicles do have this fitting can however, take advantage of some really useful features that the AfterParty offers.

On your vehicle, the AfterParty is an impressive looking rack – sleek, modern, with all-metal parts and blue anodized accents on the aluminium levers. It’s designed to carry bikes with wheels between 20” and 29” and with tire widths from 19mm up to 3”. The minimum wheelbase is 838mm and the maximum is 1395mm, which should fit most users’ rides. Each tray can carry a bike weighing up to 27.2kgs, making it eMTB friendly and for those looking to transport 3 bikes, the 2” hitch version will accept an add-on (purchased separately) extension tray, which takes the maximum bike weight down to 20.5kgs per tray.

“…the AfterParty is an impressive looking rack – sleek, modern, with all-metal parts and blue anodized accents on the aluminium levers.”

Design & Construction

Many tray-style racks require contact with your bike’s fork, handlebars, or even sections of the frame, which can cause damage to your bike’s paint, or worse. The AfterParty’s most important benefit is that only makes contact with the tires while transporting your bikes securely. Bikes are loaded on the rack asymmetrically to prevent handlebar interference, and the trays are tiered keeping the bikes at slightly different heights so bars are less likely to be near the opposing bike’s seat or post.

The AfterParty is secured in the hitch with RockyMounts’ premium 3-axis anti wobble system to ensure the rack is stable on bumpy roads. This features a ball and cam with 2 parallel bolts rather than the usual single bolt and also includes a locking pod to prevent your rack from being stolen. The rack also has three positions: it folds upright against the vehicle when not carrying bikes; flat for carrying bikes; and tilts down at a 30-degree angle to allow access to the rear of your vehicle – with or without bikes installed. The AfterParty also features an integrated lock to secure the bikes to the rack which uses a very heavy-duty, wrapped 10mm square link chain. The end link of this chain drops into a lock integrated into the end of the rack which should give you some peace of mind that your bikes will still be there when you return from the pub.

Overall, the AfterParty’s all-metal construction looks to be super-durable with the neat, blue anodised levers adding to the feeling of solidity and quality.

“The AfterParty also features an integrated lock to secure the bikes to the rack which uses a very heavy-duty, wrapped 10mm square link chain. The end link of this chain drops into a lock integrated into the end of the rack”

Loading, Unloading and Driving

This rack is the easiest I’ve come across when it comes to loading and unloading your bikes. Simply lift the bike onto the tray and then raise the load arms until they cinch down tightly on the tires. A quick squeeze from either end and your bike is secure. Repeat with the second bike. The tiered trays do a great job of minimising handlebar/seat interference also means there’s no chance of the 2 bikes contacting one another.

To unload, you push in on the blue release levers to relieve the tension on the load arms. Once you’ve done that, the release levers click open to allow you to slide the load arm away from the bike tire. This system is really easy to use, works flawlessly and ensures that there’s no contact between your bike’s frame and fork and the rack itself. The latch mechanism is notably smooth, light-action and easy to use. This is great for people with small hands, riders with cold hands and anyone in a hurry. The simplicity of the loading/unloading process combined with the stability and security of the bikes on the rack meant I’ve never felt more confident about carrying a bike on my vehicle.

That confidence is reinforced when you look in the rear-view mirrors. Even at high speeds and on uneven surfaces, the rack is extremely stable and there’s very little flex in the system or movement of the bikes visible.

In use, the AfterParty is really easy to live with. In the upright position, it’s discrete and compact and won’t add too much length to a vehicle stored in a typical garage. Access to the tailgate is easy due to the feature which allows you to easily and smoothly lower the rack. Without bikes, when the rack is lowered it sits below a ute’s tailgate which means the number of times you might feel the need to remove the rack from your vehicle are fairly few. Off-road, the tiered trays ensure that there’s a comfortable degree of clearance too.

One really useful feature of the AfterParty is that the whole assembly can swing clear of the rear of the car giving unfettered access to your boot or tray. If you don’t need that feature, then RockyMounts also sell the GuideRail rack, which has all the same features as the rack we tested but without the swingarm. 

“One really useful feature of the AfterParty is that the whole assembly can swing clear of the rear of the car giving unfettered access to your boot or tray.”

Overall

This isn’t an inexpensive rack at $2,299.99. The GuideRail version is priced lower at $1,799.99 but lacks the swingarm feature. The quality of the construction of both racks is second to none. They’re very thoughtfully designed, secure in use, will ensure your pride and joy’s paint job is protected. Finally, the locking systems make it as theft-proof we’ve seen a rack so far. For riders who want to transport their ride safely, securely and with confidence, the AfterParty is one of the best racks we’ve tried to-date.

RockyMounts are available in New Zealand via www.rockymounts.nz or leading bike retailers.