It's much easier to throw a bike on a hitch rack than it is to lift it up and onto a roof rack. But there are usually drawbacks to that loading ease and convenience: hitch mount racks can block rear doors and hatches from opening and road shock can beat up bikes by causing them to bang against each other. Thule's new Apex hitch racks, which they are unveiling to the rest of the world today, seeks to eliminate these traditional cons.The arced mast and arms mean more clearance from the car and between bikes. And there's no more crawlng around under the car lining up holes: the Apex clicks into place with a push botton like the sections of a hiking pole. Once the rack is clicked into place, it has full contact on all four sides, so it won't rattle in your hitch receiver like older racks. When it's time to take your rack off your car, the Apex has handles to reduce the awkwardness and strain of carrying it.
We were the first non-Thule employees to see the new Thule Apex, and we're looking forward to taking it to the road as soon as the first units come off the production line. Thule is introducing both swing away and tilt away versions for 4-5 bikes. Available December 2011, $400-$500, thule.com.