Frequently Asked Questions

Sprinter, and all double door Vans. What setup do I need for my double door van?

The number of bikes you would like to carry and whether full rear door swing is required will determine which ALTA RACKS product is best for you. Our E quattro, Lefty, or three pack rack is designed to clear the right door when leaned back, but the left door may contact the bottom bar. For the four, five, and six pack racks, the doors will not clear the rack even when leaned back. To clear the doors, the setup requires the rack, ALTA SIX extender, and our retractable straps. Another way if you dont want to use an extender and do not have moajor box system and spare tires on the rear door is the XL hitch with a six inch kick out, this set up will clear your doors when leaned back and it is the closes t the rack can be to the rear of the vehicle lowering the lever forces. For instructions on how to set this up, please see our video on the ALTA SIX extender shop page. check out our youtube page for more details

Please note that the Dodge ProMaster may not achieve full door opening, as we have had two reports of this issue out of many that have worked. The factory ProMaster receivers also seem to be poorly built and tie to the bumper, which creates a lot of flex. A class 3 receiver with a 500-pound tongue weight rating is required for all receivers.

Our tie-down system is designed to sync the rack to the frame of the vehicle, rather than relying on a single point connection via the receiver. This removes any jerk movement or unwanted vertical acceleration caused by rough roads, potholes, and other rough surfaces. The longer vans with stiff rear suspensions can benefit from our straps, which help reduce bounce and ensure a smooth ride for your bikes.

Are your racks RV rated?

This is one of the hardest platforms to carry bikes on, and most companies will void your warranty. Our superior line racks have been designed and tested to meet RV standards. However, it is important to note that a Class three two inch receiver with 500 pound tongue is still required to ensure proper installation. We strongly advise against using an extender, swinger, or other plugin devices to extend your receiver, as the leverage can be difficult to control. Instead, we recommend moving the receiver itself. If you need additional horizontal extension, the XL hitch is RV approved and provides an extra 3 inches.

Proper tie-down of the rack is crucial for safe and secure transport of your bikes, and is required for RV use. We recommend tying down the rack low and wide, creating a right-side triangle on each side from the top bar to the body of your RV, trailer, or bus. Make sure to engage the brakes on your bikes, and refer to our assembly video for more detailed instructions. going back tothe receiver chain loops does nothing and you will not have a good time with that setup. Fifth wheels over 30 feet seem to not work well with our racks due to bouncing and lack of support for the receiver. Tie down points can not be emphesized enough. Its a difference between working or failure. It is best to test this setup before you take off on a long trip, drive locally with bikes and have someone take a video.

It is important to pay close attention to the construction of your receiver. Some RVs extend the receiver tube without any support at the bumper, which can cause significant flex in the receiver when bikes are loaded. We suggest testing your receiver prior to embarking on a long trip, and running a dry run with your rack and bikes to ensure proper installation.

Please note that it is your responsibility to identify that your receiver is a Class three receiver with a minimum tongue weight of 500 pounds. Our warranty does not cover platform inefficiencies, insufficient rating of your receiver, or assemblies that did not follow our directions.

 

What is the difference between the regular hitch, the XL hitch and the ALTA SIX extender?

To ensure access to a wide range of vehicles, we’ve designed a few parts that allow our operators to configure their system based on their specific needs.

Our regular hitch is ideal for most SUVs, Honda minivans, and small to mid-sized wagons. If you need extra clearance for your truck tailgate or have a longer rear hatch door, such as with Mercedes wagons, Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition, or Toyota Sienna, our XL hitch extends horizontally by 2 inches to accommodate these vehicles. Please note that the Volkswagen Euro van is not compatible with this rack even with an XL hitch, the long door contacts the hitch.

For those with rear double door vans who require full access to the back of their vehicle with the rack leaned back, our ALTA SIX extender is the perfect solution. It’s also useful for truck campers that do not extend beyond the tailgate. To ensure proper installation, this setup requires strapping the rack low and wide to the vehicle. Check out our video on the ALTA SIX extender page for more information. For double door vans, using an XL hitch with a six inch kick out product will aso gie most vans full rear door clearance when the rack is leaned back.

We also produce a short hitch that lowers the rack and it is primarly used with our SWINGER set up. you may need the kick out adapter to compensate for lowered bikes. This setup works amazing with small SUVs. CRVs, and outbacks will really get the mot benfits fro mthe short hitch combined wit ha six inch kick out.

What is the right basket size for my bikes?

All of our baskets are designed to accommodate different tire widths, rather than wheel sizes. However, all of our current baskets can fit the same wheel sizes, ranging from 20-inch BMX bikes (although the GROM/Mid-GROM baskets are best suited for this size) to 29ers plus.

We offer four different basket options:

  • General basket: Fits tire widths from road bikes up to 2.8 inches
  • Mid-Fat basket: Fits tire widths from 2.9 to 3.8 inches
  • Fat basket: Fits tire widths from 3.9 to 5.8 inches
  • GROM basket: Fits bikes up to 2.8 inches wide, and is intended for 18- and 20-inch wheel kid bikes only.
  • Mid-GROM basket:  Fits bikes up to 3.8 inches wide, and is intended for 18- and 20-inch wheel kid bikes only.
    • Please note, for the GROM and Mid-GROM, that depending on bike length, the bike may not reach the bottom bar without a 34-inch axle to axle measurement, or strapping of the lower wheel to the center post. This basket is perfect for BMX bikes. Some 20-inch bikes may fit in the general basket, although not all will. General question we get: Can I fit my 20 inch or 18 inch bike in the general basket and make it work? In most cases you can; however, if you are fitting a lot of bikes on the rack the exact fit baskets will only help in manging bike spacing. With smaller bikes in larger baskets there will always be a little more play and the lean angle may be affected.

Regarding tire width, we offer three width options: up to 2.8 inches wide for the General and GROM baskets, 2.9 to 3.8 inches wide for the Mid-Fat and Mid-GROM baskets, and 3.9 to 5.8 inches wide for the Fat baskets. When choosing your basket, select the combination that best suits your needs. You can always purchase other basket sizes at a later time. If your tire width falls at the upper end of the measurement, we recommend ordering the next size up. For example, 2.9- and 3.0-inch-wide tires will fit better in the Midfat baskets.

For 24- and 26-inch wheels, we recommend using the wheel choke to achieve an exact fit. The wheel choke reduces the length of the basket and positions the front wheel of the bike correctly. Wheel chokes are available for all of our baskets. For example, if you have a 24-inch wheel bike with a 3-inch wide tire, we recommend purchasing the Mid-Fat basket and Mid-Fat wheel choke.

For road bikes, we recommend using the General basket and using a pool noodle for protection. To do this, take a hollow pool noodle and slice it lengthwise. Sandwich the front wheel into it, then place it in the basket and use the tire strap to secure it.

Can I put your rack on a swing out?

The ALTA Swinger is designed specifically for our racks, providing a safe and stable interface for swinging away racks. Our racks are designed with an extension that creates a lever force, which quickly exposes deficiencies in other swing products. To answer your question simply, the ALTA racks are not compatible with any other brand of swing racks. We have not found another swing that offers the necessary stabilization to prevent movement or flex, which can create significant vertical acceleration and moment forces due to the design of our racks. This can result in a dangerous whip effect with a hammer head. We obsess over stabilization to ensure our racks remain safe and secure.

 

Can I hang your rack off of the wall for storage and store bikes on it?

We don’t recommend hanging our bike racks from the wall, we find that solution border line dangerous. If not properly secure, or if the studs are not strong enough the weight of the rack and bikes can cause the rack to come loose and damage bikes and racks, worst case scenario they can hurt someone. We don’t want to have to live with something like that. We believe in engineering solutions that are tested and approved, anything else is a hack. if you need to store the rack flush against the wall with some hooks, remove the baskets and use the hooks that are secured in to a 2×4 studs to secure the rack. The rack should be resting on the ground. The best way to store our rack is the mobile floor stand.

Are the retractable straps or tying down required for the rack?

Under normal driving conditions, there is typically no need to tie down the rack. However, using the tie-down feature can synchronize the rack with the vehicle frame rather than relying on a single point with the receiver, allowing the rack to move in tandem with the vehicle. If you notice your receiver flexing and moving or if the weight of the rack and bikes adversely affects your suspension, it is generally a good idea to tie down the rack. The rack comes with tie-down end caps for the top bar, and any ratcheting strap can be used to secure the rack to the vehicle. Our retractable straps are a nice feature because they remain on the rack and are self-contained. For added peace of mind, we recommend using tie-downs. Wide and low is the ideal tie-down method, but tying the rack to roof racks on SUVs is also a good option for smaller vehicles, minivans, and small SUVs.

 

What is the difference between the four, five and six pack racks?

The ALTA SIX GPR (General Purpose Rack) features a uniform body structure across all three rack configurations. As your needs change, the rack can be effortlessly upgraded to a higher capacity by adding baskets. To purchase additional baskets for your existing rack, please send an email to sales@altaracks.com and make a request. Please note that we only sell baskets to current rack owners who are registered in our system. If the rack was not purchased directly from us, proof of purchase will be required.

How do I upgrade my rack to increase capacity?

You want to make that four pack a five pack or just go for the full six or seven pack.The rack price differences do not reflect the cost of the upgrades between racks, depending on the basket request price increase will be greater than the difference between rack prices. It is more economical to purchase the higher quantity rack, than order a basket in the future.

In order to purchase additional baskets, please send an email to sales@altaracks.com  with quantity of desired basekts and sizes as well as your full shipping address. **PLEASE NOTE – We only sell baskets to existing customers**

In order to upgrade your rack to a SUPERIOR or to switch to a smaller carry, please click on this link and follow the steps.

Can I modify your rack, or can you build me something just a little different?

Any modification made to the rack will void the warranty. We have invested a significant amount of time and money into designing, testing, and supporting our current products. Therefore, we do not recommend making any modifications to the rack. While changing a part may seem harmless, it can have a detrimental effect on the entire system. We use software modeling to better understand the behavior and performance of our racks, and we have created a design that meets the needs of most of our customers within a specified operating window.

 

Will I be able to open my side-swing rear door with the rack leaned back? (Lexus GX470, Older CRVs)

The side swing doors pose a challenge with the rack installed. While you will get some access to the rear door, it will not be able to open fully. However, with the rack leaned back, you will still be able to reach in and let pets in and out, although the door will not open more than 25 percent. The XL hitch option may offer a slight improvement, but the ultimate solution is the ALTA SWINGER.

How do I upgrade the Three pack Lefty to the full-size rack and what is the cost?

In the “Rack” section of our website’s shop, you will find an option for upgrades. There, you can find every part that you need to convert your rack, except for the baskets. Baskets are not sold on the website, but you can obtain extras by sending an email to sales@altaracks.com, specifying which baskets you want and how many of each.

Why is your rack more expensive than other racks?

At first glance, things may appear the same, but upon closer inspection, you’ll discover major differences. Our rack has the furthest extension in the market, providing access to the area between the rack and the vehicle. This feature allows for better operational use when strapping and managing bikes, accessing rear flip-up windows, and dropping tailgates without lowering the rack. It’s a feature unmatched by any other company out there. We also offer removable and adjustable baskets that allow for creating the perfect distance between the bikes to avoid damage from neighboring bikes, which is also unmatched.

Our rack rises out of the receiver to create instant height for clearing dips in roads, steep driveways, and providing perfect clearance for vehicles such as minivans and low receiver locations. Our lifetime warranty covers any manufacturing defects for the original owner of the rack. The capability to convert the rack to winter carry, along with its features and accessories, are unique in the industry.

We build our product in the USA, pay living wages, and utilize local resources to reduce our footprint. We use recycled material and up-cycle used tire tubes for our brake engagers that come with every rack. Our product offers value beyond any other on the market, and if you consider overall features, warranty, and capability, you are getting a killer deal. Our rack weight is one of the lightest on the market, just like your bike. The lighter it is, the more expensive it gets, but it also provides longer life and better performance.

When you purchase US-made products, you are supporting local economies and our way of life. This is not a gimmick. As a nation, it is important that we stay self-sufficient.

 

How do I select the colors for the rack?

When customizing your rack on the webiste, you will have the option to select the color of the main beam right after you select what kind of rack you want. The rest of the rack comes in black by default. If you desire to have other parts of the rack custom colored, you can place a note in the customer note section during check out. Simply specify the color you want and which parts you want to be custom colored. Please note that custom coloring for all parts of the rack, excluding the main beam, with have an additional cost.

 

How do I carry road bikes with your rack and how many drop bars can I get on the rack?

Road bikes, being lighter and more fragile, may require additional care. Our general basket is suitable for road bikes, but the rim may come into contact with the metal on the basket, which we find unacceptable. To address this issue, we use a long piece of hollow pool noodle, slice it lengthwise on one side, and stuff it into the basket. Then, place the front wheel of the bike into the pool noodle and strap it down. This will absorb vibration and create a much better fit for the road bike. You can cut the noodle to the size of the basket and zip tie the ends to the top of the basket on both the front and back. The maximum number of drop bar bikes that can be carried on an ALTA SIX GPR is five. The first and last positions also work great when using a mixture of bikes.

 

I have a cruiser or bike with long fenders, will it work with your rack?

It’s important to note that the fenders may come in contact with the basket, which can cause dings or damage to the fenders. To prevent this, some people choose to remove the fenders when using the basket. Others opt to place a soft padding between the fender and the basket to avoid any damage to the fenders.

What is your return policy?

We want you to be completely satisfied with your rack. However, we do ask that you research our rack to ensure that it is the correct setup for you before purchasing it. If you need to return the rack, please note that if it is unboxed, you will need to pay for return shipping and any non-refundable credit card fees (usually around 3%). If you assemble the rack and then decide to return it, we will need to re-powder coat the rack, which costs $150 or more. This fee will be deducted from your refund once we inspect the returned rack. If you have used the rack and then want to return it, you will be responsible for return shipping, credit card fees, the powder coat charge, and any replacement parts or labor that are needed to make the rack new again.

However, our return rate is extremely low, and you may be able to sell the rack locally and get your money back. If you do decide to sell the rack, please send us an email with the new owner’s name and email so that we can transfer ownership to them. This will allow the new owner to purchase parts and upgrades easily.

At our business, we believe in treating our customers fairly, respectfully, and with empathy. We are a family-owned business, not a corporate giant. If you have a special circumstance or need assistance, please give us a call.

 

I am not mechanically inclined is your rack the correct rack for me?

Our personal belief is that no one is born with inherent capabilities, and as humans, we learn trades and skills to better navigate life. With that said, we encourage you to watch our assembly videos and determine for yourself whether the assembly process is within your comfort level. Like any other mechanical product, our racks will require occasional maintenance. They are built to last a lifetime, but this can only be achieved if you take care of the product and follow our pre-season checklist.

I want to get a two-inch hitch installed on my vehicle, any recommendations?

There are usually a few options available for every vehicle when it comes to installing a hitch. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Do it yourself: Order a class 3 rated 2-inch receiver for your specific vehicle. We recommend checking out etrailer for the best selection, but be sure to shop around. Avoid purchasing anything that is recessed or hidden, as this may limit your clearance for many products and restrict what you can plug in. The receiver face should be in line with your bumper or further out. Round tube receivers have much better torsional tolerances than square tube receivers and also have a higher tongue weight rating. Lastly, be sure to use Loctite when installing the receiver and check the bolts annually.

  2. Have it installed: Do an online search for hitch installation in your area and request the product mentioned above. If you have a truck or a solid frame vehicle, we recommend having the receiver welded onto the frame for added security.

Will you ever stop updating the products?

No, we are constantly pursuing perfection and are obsessive about details. We maintain a baseline system that is compatible with most of our products and accessories, ensuring that new features can be seamlessly integrated into your rack. Most of our efforts are focused on improving the manufacturing process and maintaining the high quality that is expected of ALTA. Ensuring quality is of the utmost importance to us, as we understand that you place your trust in us to safely transport your equipment. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Can I pick up locally to save on shipping cost?

Absolutely. We are located in Murray, Utah, and offer a local pickup option once you add the product to your cart. Please note that all local pickups are subject to Utah sales tax. In most cases, shipping and taxes for racks are about the same. Additionally, we offer local pickup with assembly for an additional $50 fee. We operate on an appointment-only basis, which allows us to offer a personalized, no-rush experience to every customer.

What are the rack dimensions for height and offset?

Dimension Sheet

rack leaned back 300x256 1

More dimensions

dimensions

Do I need two hitch parts when I order the Swinger?

As a new owner of the Swinger rack, you have two hitch options to choose from. The hitch is the part of the rack that inserts into the vehicle’s receiver and all our racks come with one.

If you only plan on using the Swinger with the rack, there is no need for the original hitch that comes with it. This is because the Swinger includes a short hitch. If you purchase the Swinger and rack together, simply add a note requesting only the short hitch and we will refund the cost of the regular hitch.

However, if you plan on using the rack without the Swinger, you will need a regular hitch as the short hitch used by itself may obstruct access to the vehicle’s tailgate or rear doors.

Basket and Rack Warranty

Our product warranty covers any manufacturing defects, such as broken welds, and other issues that may arise during production. In case of any warranty items, we offer free shipping for one-year post-purchase. We rigorously test our product to find its limits, and we use our own products on a daily basis.
Our baskets are designed to be lightweight, which reduces the creation of moment forces on the rack’s high point. A heavier basket can cause a whipping effect on the rack, leading to unnecessary forces on the bikes and racks. Additionally, our baskets are designed to collapse in case of significant forces being applied to them, protecting the wheels in case of an accident. The low bar on our racks is also designed to save wheels by collapsing and pushing the rear wheel towards the vehicle in case of a catch.
There are several reasons why baskets can bend, including the weight of the bike and acceleration creating significant forces. To minimize movement, we engage the brakes on the bikes and use wheel chokes for a perfect fit. We also recommend E-Bike straps for any bikes over 40+ to relieve some weight on the basket and put it on the top bar, which prevents bending. Loose connections at the receiver or pivot point of the rack can also cause movement and a whipping effect. Uni-body vehicles may experience flexing of the frame, which translates to whipping motions as well.
To reduce such movements, we recommend utilizing our retractable straps low and wide or high and wide. For Uni-body frame vehicles, tying to the roof rack or high up and wide yields the best results, while low and wide works best for other vehicles. For vans, we recommend tying to the door hinges using a paracord loop to create a soft strap point. We have videos demonstrating these setups on our YouTube channel.
It is important that any movement in the rack is eliminated prior to use, as the rack is designed to produce very little movement. Bent baskets will not be covered under our warranty.

Carrying E Bikes

When carrying e-bikes on our racks, we recommend removing the batteries whenever possible to reduce the change in center of gravity. To properly secure the bikes, ensure that the bike brakes are engaged, as this eliminates any movement in the hub. Engage the e-bike straps to pull the bike towards the vehicle and completely remove any force from the rear of the basket where it may be bent. Additionally, tie down the rack to the vehicle body independently of the receiver to eliminate any play in the rack that can create forces and shift the bikes, potentially bending the baskets. Our baskets are engineered to collapse in the case of an accident to protect your wheels, but they may bend if the above guidelines are not followed.