Saris was at Crankworx Whistler this year with a brand new hitch-mounted tray rack they seem pretty excited about. The MTR (or Modular Tray Rack) is a high-end carrier that will be available as a 2019 product, and it boasts a unique design with trays that swing outwards and nest together. The MTR racks accept extensions, so you can keep things compact when you’re moving one or two bikes and add capacity for up to four bikes when required.
The MTR will be sold as either a one or two bike base unit, both of which can accept one or two bike add-ons/extensions: Thus, the one bike unit can carry up to three bikes and the two bike unit can max out at four. The one bike base unit comes with either a 1-1/4” or 2” hitch, where the two bike model comes in 2” only. Saris was keen to point out that the MTR rack (with an extension) allows people with smaller cars to carry three bikes on a 1-1/4” hitch.
Adding an extension requires the removal/replacement of several allen bolts, so it’s not a tool-free process but it’s hardly rocket science. The extension bolts into the end of the rack’s main tube, and the tilt-release handle gets reinstalled at the end of the extension.
Perhaps the most significant feature of the MTR Rack is how the trays can swing out and nest with each other. These rotating trays make loading bikes easier- Swinging out one side of the trays allows you to lift one wheel of a bike onto the innermost tray, then hoist the other wheel up and roll it into position.
If you have a typical hitch rack and you’re parked in a tight spot, you may have to heave the first bike up over the outside trays, which could be pretty difficult with heavy E-Bikes or DH rigs. The swinging trays allow users to walk right up to the tray, providing a more ergonomic body position to lift the bike and making it easier to load bikes with limited space beside your vehicle. Rotating the trays in and out is a tool-free job, as they’re held in position with spring-loaded ‘Jimmy Pins’.
When you’re driving around with no bikes, the nested trays keep the rack looking neat and compact. Folded or unfolded dimensions of the MTR are not yet available, but Saris says it’s comparable to similar racks on the market.
The MTR’s tire brackets will accommodate a wide range of bikes, fitting anything from 29ers with up to 3” treads, 27.5×5” fatbikes, and all other sizes down to 20” wheels. Length wise the rack can handle an impressive 52” wheelbase (4″ longer than the Freedom SuperClamp), so 29” DH bikes and extra large enduro bikes should be no problem.
If your bike has fenders you can position the brackets’ wheel blocks lower, leave the bracket in a more leaned-out position (think 10:00 or 2:00 o’clock) with the block just beyond the fender, then add a tire strap to hold the rim securely to the tray. The wheel blocks can be repositioned to fit various tire sizes, but you’ll have to remove and replace a few allen bolts.
Since you’ll need one, an allen key comes clipped into the end plug of the rack’s main tube. The same allen key fits the wheel block bolts and all the bolts necessary to add/remove extensions.
The MTR rack comes with an included hitch pin which is threaded, but screws in by hand. Once threaded in, an internal mechanism expands to tighten the pin into the receiver. The pin includes a lock so the rack can be secured to your vehicle.
Each bike tray also has its own retracting cable lock. The same key works for all the locks, and when you purchase an extension you can submit a code found on your original rack’s packaging so all your new locks match up to your existing key.
As for weight limits, in positions one and two (closest to the vehicle) the MTR can carry bikes weighing up to 50lbs each, but positions three and four are limited to 35lbs per bike.
The MTR rack’s main tube and trays are made from aluminum, and the receiver tube and tilt bracket are steel. The reflective decals seen in the pics will stay, but the rack’s final color is yet to be determined. Pricing and availability info weren’t determined yet, so watch Saris’ website for updates.