Thule Apex vs Yakima SwingDaddy


If you’re looking for a great bike rack for your car that can carry up to four bikes, it’s all boil down to Thule Apex and Yakima SwingDaddy. Both are big brands when it comes to a decent bike rack for cars. Choosing which one between the two can be difficult and tricky since their differences can’t be seen with just a glance or two, you need to look deeper. Getting the right bike rack for your car can be the best investment you can make for your outdoor activities.
If you can’t decide between the two, don’t worry about it. We’re going to help you decide which bike rack is the best for you. We’ll start review of both items and come up with a verdict. Let’s get right into it.

Thule Apex Review

Thule Apex is priced at $399 and at first glance it looks really strong. Thule Apex features premium hanging hitch that can handle up to 4 bikes with no problem, superior bike stability and fit complete with anti-sway cradles, there is a locking knob and cradle strap that secure your bike well. The bike arms can fold down when not in use and the rack can tilt down for rear of vehicle access. It’s ideal for a wide variety of bike sizes.

Thule Apex is an arm-style hitch-mounted rack and compatible with 1.25 and 2-inch receivers. When using Thule Apex, front wheel removal and overhead lifting are not necessary. Thanks to its unique design, it allows the rack to swing out away from the vehicle, even when it’s fully loaded.

During our testing, the bikes are really well-secured to the top tube by cradles with the rubber straps. Thule Apex really stands out from other competitors with its unique swing away feature that enables unrestricted access to rear vehicle compartments, even when it’s fully loaded.

Thule ApexYakima SwingDaddy
Item Weight35 pounds50.8 pounds
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Loading Thule Apex with bikes is very easy on your back thanks to the low loading height, and like we said, you don’t need to remove the front wheel. Also, with the RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away, Thule Apex allows fully unrestricted access to rear vehicle compartments, no matter whether it’s fully loaded or not.

The arm can be locked in place to prevent the rack from swinging around in the back. The bikes can rest on the cradles by their top tubes, and the rubber straps will stretch over to the top tube. The anti-sway cradles that come with Thule Apex can prevent the bikes from moving around when the car is moving. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to adjust the cradles and the cradles are only useful for some certain bike designs.

Thule recommends consumers to use the nylon straps that are included to secure the bikes even further to each other and to the main mast. Just like most bike racks, Thule Apex isn’t versatile enough, there is a potential that some frame damage can happen due to lack of stability on rough roads. You should slow your car down to a crawl to prevent damages. See also: Park Tool PCS 9 vs PCS 10.

Thule Apex can handle bikes up to 140 pounds. Attaching and removing bikes are really simple and easy. Thule Apex weights at 48.88 pounds, it’s one of the heaviest bike racks on the market. Assembling Thule Apex can take a lot of time despite all the necessary tools and directions are included and easy to follow.

Yakima SwingDaddy Review

Yakima SwingDaddy is priced at $399, exactly the same as Thule Apex. Yakima SwingDaddy can carry up to 4 bikes and a total of 150 pounds of weight, fits 2-inch receiver, easy access even with the bikes on, Zero-hassle ZipStrips secure the bikes to the rack, and has easy installation and removal.

Now we know that Yakima SwingDaddy is less versatile compared to Thule Apex, since it’s compatible with 2-inch receiver. Yakima SwingDaddy has an easy to use single-bolt assembly, making the installation process very quick and simple as long as you can carry the weight for the initial process.

Probably one of the best features that Yakima SwingDaddy has is the ZipStrips. ZipStrips is a new feature that replaced Chainstraps. The dual sided ratchet straps easily attach nearly any kind of bike to the anti-sway cradles and really well-secured since to remove the bike you need to press the release button. No more short-lived rubber straps that can be a pain to get on and off. Zipstrips are very easy to install and remove and glove-friendly.

Yakima SwingDaddy uses one anti-sway cradle and one standard cradle. Both cradles can be easily repositioned along with the fully padded rack arms by either folding up the anti-sway cradle or by flipping the grey locking tab on the standard cradle.

As for the lock on the anti-sway cradle, it’s pretty much impossible to forget about it since positioning it along the seat tube will lock it into position automatically.

You need to be careful when driving on rough terrains because even with the cradles are properly locked into position, the bikes might move on their own and may cause some damages, especially when you’re carrying fat bikes.

Yakima SwingDaddy has Fullswing, it’s the feature that enables the rack to be completely swung away from the vehicle to allow easy access to the back compartment. Carrying a lot of bikes won’t be a problem at all, since the rack can be moved pretty easily.

You can move it up to 90 degrees from its original position. To put it back you need to pull the red pin and push the red latch in the center and then swing it back.

Thule Apex vs Yakima SwingDaddy

- Premium hanging hitch bike rack for 4 bikes
- Superior bike stability and fit with anti-sway cradles
- Bike safe and secure (locking knob secures rack to vehicle)
- CARRY UP TO 4 BIKES: Maximum bike weight 40 lbs. each (total weight, 150 lbs.); Fits 2" receiver
- EASY ACCESS, EVEN WITH THE BIKES ON: Swing away design feature allows you to access your car's trunk or hatch with the bikes loaded
- PROTECT YOUR GEAR: Zero-hassle ZipStrips secure the bikes to the rack; Arms fold down when not in use; Add an extra layer of protection with the SKS HandCuff bike lock (sold separately)


This is a very close battle between the two, both products are almost identical in both features and disadvantages, even the price tag is the same. But we have to with the Thule Apex this time. Thule Apex offers better versatility, security, and durability than Yakima SwingDaddy though not by much, but an advantage is still an advantage.

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