There are so many times I bought a bike rack only to find out that a slightly better one had come out. This is why one of the most important things to do is to do thorough research. If you’re choosing between two nearly identical options, a comparison guide will come in handy.
In my case, I had to choose between Rocky Mounts Split Rail and Mono Rail racks. That’s when I began reading hundreds of reviews, having a lot of fun testing out various aspects and putting in my own experiences with these racks. To my surprise, I didn’t have a guide to compare both of these racks side-by-side.
The two racks did not appeal to me in any way, so I decided to write one myself. Hence, this article. Here you’ll find myself documenting my experience with both racks, comparing different features and benefits of each product, and charting the most important details as we go.
I am looking forward to getting to the bottom of this, so let’s get started.
SplitRail vs MonoRail Comparison Table – RockyMounts
Let’s take a moment to take a look at the differences between each of the products side-by-side before we move on to a more detailed comparison. This will help users decide what to buy and when and allow them to make a more informed decision. Let’s move on, shall we?
Taking a look at both products and reviewing them
I am not sure what I would like to know about each product, but I’d certainly like to know what the product has to offer. I don’t think it’s a good idea to run blind, only to throw the tower in the air. Therefore, I am going to review these racks and explain their advantages before comparing them to one another. Let’s get started, shall we?
RockyMounts Monorail Platform Bike Rack
There is no doubt that this is one of the best two-bike hitch racks on the market today. It is durable, easy to install, and versatile, and it fits quite well with hitches that are 1.25 to 2 inches in diameter.
As far as getting started with it is concerned, you won’t have to deal with juggling, twisting, turning, or picking apart anything to get going. Just make contact with the bike and you’ll be good to go.
During the preparation of this review, I rigorously tested this bike rack. In my experience, it is easily capable of towing around two 60lb bikes in both directions. It also accommodates commuters and fat bikes. I am referring to tires that are 5 inches wide.
There are diameters that range from 20 to 29 inches, while wheelbases can range between 34 inches and 49 inches in terms of how long they can be.
There are numerous reasons why the product is so strong, but one of them is that it is made of carbon steel the lower frame of the product is made out of. The E-Coat and Powder Coating give it the weather resistance that we need.
I was able to install it relatively easy. I had to put a 2 inch hole in the bike rack and bolt it tight. Monorail is secure. It holds two bikes tightly in place. Want to extend the capacity of the bike rack? You can! Buy an add-on and carry an additional bike.
There is no doubt that the bike is safe, and I can vouch for it with my eyes closed. I was able to load the bikes up rather quickly, and the frame doesn’t make contact with the frame of each bike. However, I had to deal with the reduced weight capacity of each bike. I could handle three bikes of 45 pounds instead of two.
I found that Rocky Mounts Monorail is equipped with wheel caps that serve as a lock for the front wheels of our bikes. The wheel caps are made of engineered nylon, which is a durable material.
During the course of making the wheel mounts for the rear wheels, I had to deal with a folding clamp which was elevated and ratcheted down. This clamp secures the rear tire with an over-arched design, while the rear wheel is secured with a belt just to top it off.
If you have multiple bikes, don’t worry, you won’t run the risk of them colliding and scratching each other since there is a 2 inch gap between each one of them.
Those aren’t the end of things though, I got a 10mm cable lock that can wrap around wheels when needed. I used it to secure two of my fat bikes using the hitch bolt on the back.
I can access the rear hatch of my car without breaking a sweat since RockyMounts Monorail has a 30-degree tilt function which allows me to get to the hatch without getting tangled up in the bikes. When I am not using it, the Monorail can be folded flat against the SUV when not in use.
RockyMounts SplitRail Bike Rack
The SplitRail version of the bike rack is usually looked at after the MonoRail version. There’s not much of a difference between the two. However, the SplitRail version is much more versatile, able to carry 3 – 4 bikes weighing up to 60lbs. with ease. Obviously, with added accessories.
The SplitRail can be assembled from scratch by bikers if they wish to. I could do it in a short time if I wanted to. Trust me, it is deceiving. SplitRail comes in a little box with everything packed inside.
Thankfully, I was able to pick up some competent, decent tools from the store, which aided me in installing the bike rack. I spent about 20 minutes doing it myself, and the result was a sturdy bike rack that will last a lifetime. It is made up of aluminum and chrome steel.
Obviously, the hitch rack will not be the lightest in the market. It will be heavy, but it’s performance speaks for itself. The rear part can be accessed by tilting the rack to 30 degrees, as with Monorail, while when it is not in use, SplitRail folds up for easy storage.
If we are talking about commuter bikes and road bikes, then SplitRail can handle tires as large as 3 inches (in terms of their diameter), while mountain bikes can accommodate tires up to 29 inches in diameter. Yes, SplitRail is capable of handling bikes as large as kids’ and adult bikes.
The thing can accommodate wheelbases that range from 34 inches up to 50 inches, just so you’re aware.
In terms of RockyMountSplitRail, there’s no gimmick. It can be used in a number of ways. As an example, you get the arm ready, and then you secure the front wheel by using the trays that come with it. Then, you get the arm over the wheel, and you get it paired with the hook on the other side of the wheel. You’ll hear a loud click.
As far as I’m concerned, this rack is leagues ahead of the Thule T2, the arms are better. This rack is leagues ahead in terms of performance. Those front and rear wheels will have to be strapped in place at the very end.
This rack will make loading your bikes much easier. The makers of the rack have used a nub as a way to prevent straps from getting tangled when you try to place your bikes on it. As a result, straps will not get tangled around your shoes during loading. You also get cable locks (similar to Monorail).
It is true that the cable locks are secure, and I agree with you on this. However, there is a catch! Ideally, the locks would come down from the top of the arms. In this case, there are two locks for each arm. These locks tend to get stuck. I had to spend some time unsticking them.
There will be a need to tighten your hitch to the receiver. That’s not the real issue here. The issue lies with the “Release Trigger” of the product. It is overly stiff, so if you push it too hard, it will tighten the hook even further before it releases. This can be a challenge for a newbie.
Comparing RockyMounts Monorail and SplitRail Bike Racks
Getting down to business, I found subtle and glaring differences in the security, carrying capacity, handling, as well as overall build of these two bike racks. In short, I am going to compare different aspects between the two in order to determine which one performs better. Let’s get started, shall we?
Expanding the Capacity Has Limits in MonoRail
In general, both bike racks can carry the same weight when it comes to bikes (60 lbs. ), however, the capacity cannot be expanded to your liking. For instance, the MonoRail 2-inch model is capable of carrying three bikes at a time. SplitRail can carry three or four bikes, as a result of a few small design tweaks.
There’s no big deal if you’re going on a short trip with a friend, but MonoRail isn’t suited to families. It is not feasible to go on a full-fledged trip or a bike trek with a party of three or more with a MonoRail. MonoRail isn’t built that way. Yes, I have seen people try to fit an extra bike in there.
There is no doubt that MonoRail would collapse under the weight, space, and security demands of additional bikes.
MonoRail Wins When Tire Base is Your Concern
When locking in place, Monorail is capable of accommodating any tire (up to 5 inches wide). No matter if you’re riding race bikes, mountain bikes, or fat bikes, you won’t have any problems. The locking mechanism is secure as well. Your bikes won’t move. Despite its name, SplitRail is lost to Monorail.
There is a limit to the width of tires that can be hooked up to the bike rack. In other words, you will not be able to take some bikes with you on tours as you cannot hook up bikes with wider tires. This is a bummer, no doubt. However, people can always find roof racks as well. That is if they want bikes with bigger tires.
SplitRail Wins When It Comes to Tray Flexibility
I have to admit, to be brutally honest with you, that I was unable to take MonoRail to the extreme when it came to adjusting trays. Don’t get me wrong, a 2-inch adjustment is excellent when you’re dealing with two or three bikes, but a 2-inch adjustment side-to-side is hardly enough if you’re a newbie.
In spite of the fact that they promised more, SplitRail delivered more than I expected! I was able to adjust the tray for up to 4 inches.
You can even set the straps aside when you open up the back hatch when you open the rear hatch of your SUV or car to allow for more space between bikes. Four inches of adjustment allows for cable locks, clamp movement, and straps to be used.
Wheel Base and Size Makes SplitRail the Winner as Well
Neither of these bikes can carry wheels that are anything bigger than 20 inches as far as size is concerned. However, as far as the wheelbase is concerned, MonoRail can fit wheels with a 34 to 49-inch base. But SplitRail goes a bit further. It can carry wheels that are up to 50 inches wide.
You need an extra inch just so your wheels do not catch on abrasion or scratch damage. Keeping an extra inch in mind when taking into account the different terrains, will ensure your wheels do not catch on abrasion or scratch damages. However, both racks come with a no-contact system to guarantee your wheels will not catch on damage.
This is quite a different locking system: SplitRail takes the cake when it comes to locking mechanisms
With MonoRail, you do not need to worry about the bike falling off the rack because the hitch pin locks the bike to the rack securely. The problem with MonoRail is that it moves back and forth while keeping the bike immobile. SplitRail has a three-axis system, which makes it more flexible.
There is a difference in terms of security between SplitRail and MonoRail Bick Rack: SplitRail comes with integrated cable locks which are held in the upper clamp of the object. The MonoRail Bick Rack has a separate cable lock. It is hard to manage. Combine the two security measures together, and you’ll see SplitRail comes out on top.
What are the differences between RockyMountsSplitRail and MonoRail? Are there any similarities between them?
As much as the two bike racks differ, you’ll find that they share a bunch of similarities that make them very similar. It’s not always a RockyMountsMonoRail vs SplitRail battle. Sometimes you have to make room for the similarities that make these products great buys for bikes.
- Regardless of what your bike weighs or how many bikes you are going to tow, neither of these racks has a difference when it comes to the weight capacity, so you will not have to worry about buying either of these products based on your bike’s weight.
- There is one thing that they both have in common: they both come with a cable lock-based security system. To secure your bike, you wrap the cable over the tires. The location of the cable lock is the only thing that differs between them.
- The SplitRail and Monorail racks do not make contact with your bike’s frame. Both racks lock bikes on the wheels, which is why you have to measure the tire width and wheelbase before ordering a rack. You will get a tray for you to set your bike’s tires on (the front tires).
- These racks can be easily set up with the same set of tools. There is no need to purchase anything extra or aftermarket tools in order to install these racks. Everything that you need comes within the box that is delivered to you.
- There are two bike racks on the vehicle that are foldable when not in use. This makes it relatively easy to gain access to the rear section of your SUV or car without having to unload your bikes. One of the racks is even equipped with a cable management system to make things even more convenient.
- The MonoRail and SplitRail from RockyMounts are both made of high-carbon steel with black powder coatings and electrically conductive coatings to make them resistant to bad weather conditions.
- As a cons, there is no 180-degree swing-away feature included with these racks. This is a bummer since you must tilt the racks rather than push them away to be able to access the hatch.
Here are my final two cents on the matter.
The truth is that I am splitting hairs when it comes to comparing RockyMountsSplitRail and MonoRail bike racks. A layman will not see any difference between these two products, unless he takes a deep dive and focuses on specific features of each rack.
You should purchase a SplitRail rack if you want to carry different bikes. MonoRail is better when you want to carry similar bikes, but only need a small amount of space. It is also versatile.
There are various hitches that can be used with MonoRail (1.25 to 2 inches). SplitRail also works with a variety of wheelbases and is ideal for people who are concerned about bikes wobbling and rattling. SplitRail comes with a 3-axis anti-wobble system that reduces riding stability and rattling.
I would recommend you to consider your budget as well while buying. SplitRail is more expensive than MonoRail. Also, you can check Thule T2 Pro XT and XTR hitch racks for the best alternative option.
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