Access Racks

Ivor Allsop and his family have sought to make everyday tasks easier. Like all of our products, Softride Access Racks developed out of necessity.

Ivor's brainchild arose with the realization that his five-foot-tall wife, Betty, would never be able to lift her bike atop the family’s Suburban. Like he had been doing for nearly 25 years, Ivor sought to make this burdensome process easier by creating a hitch-mounted bike rack.

In one afternoon, Ivor and his two sons, Jim and Mike, sat down and brainstormed what was the first hitch-mounted bike rack. The men quickly went to work patenting their ingenious parallelogram design that allows individuals to lower their rack parallel to the ground. The parallelogram functionality is unsurpassed because it does not "dump" bikes onto the ground when the user lowers the rack. This allows the user to easily access the rear of their vehicle without having to remove their bikes from the rack.

Over two decades later, the Allsop family and the Softride team have maintained the same primary focus: solving consumer problems. Maintaining the "access" advantage over the years, Softride continues to update the features and aesthetics of their racks and expand the line to serve a large range of consumer needs.


Softride has long recognized the annoying “clank” that originates from the receiver when towing. To remedy this aggravating occurrence, Softride created a tightening hitch pin that retrofits inside a two-inch hollow ball mount. This clever device forces the receiver to the side, effectively eliminating the side-to-side motion that occurs during towing. The QuietRide™ system caught the attention of a leading auto manufacturer who was seeking a “clank” solution and a partnership was created.

The success of the Tightening Hitch Pin, realized in part by the OEM agreement, caused the wheels to turn at Softride, and the QuietRide™ Tightening Ball Mount was born.

Jim Allsop’s brainchild turned out to be so much more than just two dimensional tightening; it is the only product in the market that truly eliminates all sway in the receiver. The magic of this patented product occurs when the ball mount is drawn to the side of the receiver. As the ball mount is tightened, the “gold wedge” is actuated, forcing the ball mount down and effectively creating a secure contact on three sides of the receiver (side, top, bottom). This ensures that all gaps around the ball mount are absorbed, leaving the vehicle and equipment damage free and without the annoying “clank”.

Softride’s invaluable history of first-to-market and innovative products continues to this day.