FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Softride Warranty

What is covered by the Softride 1-year limited warranty

All of our Softride products carry a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. If your product is not functioning properly or you believe there is a manufacturer defect, please contact us at info@softride.com.

Please see our full warranty description below for more details:

Softride warrants to the first consumer purchaser that this product shipped in its original container, will be free from defective workmanship and materials and agrees that it will, at its option, either repair the defect or replace the defective product or part thereof at no charge to the purchaser for parts or labor. This warranty does not apply to any excluded item(s) set forth below nor to any product which has been damaged or defaced, which has been subjected to misuse, abnormal service or handling, which has been altered or modified in design or construction. This warranty applies to consumer use only, and is void when the product is used in a commercial or institutional setting. The limited warranty described herein is in addition to law. Softride reserves the right to inspect any product subject to a warranty claim to determine, at its sole discretion, whether the claimed defect is related to defective workmanship and materials or otherwise.

ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR USE, ARE LIMITED TO THE PERIOD FROM THE DATE OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE SET FORTH BELOW. Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you. Neither the sales personnel of the seller nor any other person is authorized to make any warranties other than those described herein or to extend the duration of any warranties beyond the time period described herein on the behalf of Softride. The warranties described herein shall be the sole and exclusive warranties granted by Softride and shall be the sole and exclusive remedy available to the purchaser for the correction of defects, in the manner and for the period of time described herein, shall constitute complete fulfillment of all liabilities and responsibilities of Softride to the purchaser with respect to the product and shall constitute full satisfaction of all claims, whether based on contract negligence, strict liability or otherwise. In no event shall Softride be liable or in any way responsible for any incidental of consequential economic or property damage. Softride shall not be liable for—nor remedy—incidental or consequential damages for breach of warranty, express or implied, breach of contract, or otherwise, including (but not limited to): loss of vehicle use, loss of time, towing or vehicle rental, property damage, emotional damage, and travel expenses. Softride also excludes incidental or consequential damages for any reasonable delay in performance under this, or any, warranty. Alterations to or misuse of the Product will void the warranty. For example, overloading or exceeding an automobile or trailer manufacturers’ weight ratings, or maneuvering motor vehicles equipped with Products at improper rate of speed, shall void the warranty on any of the Products. Failure to properly maintain and regularly inspect the Product shall also void the warranty. Some states do not allow the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages, so the above exclusion may not apply to you.

THIS WARRANTY GIVES YOU SPECIFIC LEGAL RIGHTS. YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER RIGHTS, WHICH VARY FROM STATE TO STATE.

Tailgate Pads

What size tailgate pad will fit my truck?

Specifications:
• Large (61″) fits most full-size trucks
• Med (54″) fits most mid-size
trucks
• Small (25″) fits most
trucks

What type of bikes can be used with a tailgate pad?

Compatible with most bicycle styles (road, MTB, cyclocross)

Can I use the tailgate pad for surfboards / padleboards?

Versatile and Compatible
Carry all kinds of active lifestyle gear! SUP, surfboards, beach cruisers, mountain bikes, whitewater kayaks – load and go!

Protect your pickup

Haul construction materials, lumber, ladders, tools, or whatever you’re bringing home from the hardware store.

Softwrap EDC Hook and Loop Straps

What is the size of the loop for the Softwrap straps?

A single 16-inch strap makes a 8-inch loop.
Combine two 16-inch straps together to make a 16 inch loop.

Tightening Hitch Pin

Do you have replacement keys available?

Yes, please contact our customer support team for assistance. info@softride.com

Bikes

Do you still manufacture and sell the Softride Bikes or Softride Stems?

No. Unfortunately, we no longer manufacture, sell, stock or support bicycles or bike parts, as of 8 or 9 years ago, nor do we know of any retailers that stock Softride bikes or bike parts. You are welcome to view all the products we currently offer here on our website. Thank you for your loyalty and interest in Softride.

Bike Racks

Softride no longer produces Bike Racks. Some parts and keys may still be available for purchase.

Are there replacement parts available for Softride bike racks?

Some replacement parts are available while supplies last for select models. You may source those directly on Amazon

Do you have replacement keys available?

Yes, please contact our customer support team for assistance.

Archived Bike Rack FAQ's

Racks/Accessories
What advantages and benefits do Softride racks provide?
• Patented parallelogram design allows for easy rear vehicle access even when bikes are loaded
• Parallelogram action lowers away, keeping bikes level to ground while loaded on rack
• QuietRide tightening eliminates wobble
• Rugged powder-coated steel
• Spring-loaded pull-pin release at chest level
• Anti-sway cradles (included on most)
• Brass Hitch Lock (included on most)
• Cable Lock (included on most)
• Safety reflectors
• Limited lifetime warranty

Can the rack be locked to the vehicle?
Yes. All our hitch-mounted racks come standard with our QuietRide tightening anti-rattle hitch bolt and lock (except the Element and Hang2 racks, where our standard hitch lock is optional and sold separately).

How should I care for and store my rack?
To extend the life of rack parts, protect it as much as possible from the elements; e.g. rubber straps will age more quickly if exposed constantly to the sun. Remove arms from the rack when not transporting bikes, to protect the arms and parts. Another protective strategy for a rack that is never used in winter is to remove it from the vehicle and store it indoors. One storage solution offering year-round storage convenience is our Garage Storage Station.

What is the difference between the Dura 4 and Element 4 bike racks?
Both carry four bicycles, and both feature Softride’s distinctive parallelogram design, which allows bikes to be lowered away from the vehicle with bikes loaded and level. Differences include:
• Weight capacity:
The Dura Rack has a higher weight capacity, able to carry four 40-pound bikes (or 160 pounds total), while the Element can carry four 30-pound bikes (or 120 pounds total).
• Arm style:
The Dura rack arms insert horizontally into a top plate; arms do not fold down, but instead lock into place and remove via thumb triggers, and are fixed in width at 7 inches apart. The Element arms are held in place via a PTO pin, and have multiple positions (folded down for stowage, fully removed, and adjustable in width between 7 and 9 inches apart).
• Accessories:
The Dura rack comes with a hitch lock, cable lock, and anti sway cradles. The Element rack does not include these accessories (reflected in the lower price point), but those may be purchased as individual parts to upgrade the rack as desired.

How do I know if my bikes will fit on your rack?
If this is not certain, probably the best action is visiting a local dealer to see a rack in person to determine if your specific bike(s) will fit.

Which of your racks will carry my tandem/recumbent/other unusual bike?
Softride bike racks were not designed to carry recumbent bikes or tandem bikes. One idea to try is carrying the recumbent bike upside-down, to distribute the weight differently. If you’re looking to purchase a rack and there is a concern about a specific bike, it’s best to visit a local dealer to see the product.

How should I use the soft straps that came with my rack?
The SoftWraps that ship with many bike rack products can be used in numerous ways beyond securing bike tires during transport. See the SoftWraps page for a few suggestions on how to use these “hook and loop” straps.

If the rack arms feel stiff or tight in the top plate, should I use some kind of lubrication on them?
We do not generally recommend using a penetrating product like WD-40 on our rack arms. This would likely damage the powder coating that protects the steel or break down the plastic parts. Generally the issue can be resolved a different way (for example, adjusting bolt tightness). If you have a question about a specific issue or product, please feel free to contact us and ask.

Can I mount your racks on the back of my trailer or RV?
We do not recommend using our racks on the backs of trailers or RVs; this (or similar) violates the instructions and therefore voids the warranty.

What’s the best way to load four bikes on a Softride two-arm-style rack?
Alternate the orientation of each adjacent bike, so each faces in the opposite direction as the one next to it.

If I have a spare tire on the back of my car, what are my options for a bike rack?
You may need to purchase our Extended Hitch Bar which will replace the hitch bar that comes with our racks, to provide additional clearance beyond your rear-mounted spare tire.

What kind of hitch receiver do I need for your hitch-mounted racks?
A Class 2 or higher hitch should be used, and not a Class 1 hitch, for all Softride racks. Many of our racks may be used with either a 1.25” or a 2” hitch, but to be sure, refer to the rack’s specifications (found on the individual product’s page), as well as the specifications for your vehicle and hitch.

Can I carry road bikes on the hanging-style racks (the Hang2 and Hang5), or only mountain bikes?
Yes. The Hang2 can carry two road bikes, and the Hang5 can carry three road bikes (or four with some reconfiguration).

What do I need to know about getting my rack’s hitch bar into the receiver hitch and tightening the hitch bolt?
Place the lock washer on the hitch bolt and hand-thread it into the nut in the hitch bar. Tighten to 60 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Note, the bolt is not intended to go through the other side of the hitch bar or receiver hitch. Tip: This is where the torque wrench is useful until you have a good feel as to what 60 foot-pounds is with your ratcheting box wrench.

Once the hitch bolt is hand tightened, gently wiggle the hitch bar in the receiver hitch and retighten to 60 foot-pounds if necessary. Tip: A 7/8” ratcheting box wrench will speed up install and un-install process and is easy to stow in the car so it is always near the bike rack. This is easier and more cost effective than using a deep socket set in most cases. 

What is the difference between the Dura 4 and Alumina 3 bike racks?
There are three main differences between these two racks:

The first is weight: with all-steel construction, the Dura weighs 39 pounds, while the Alumina has an aluminum body and is lighter at 25 pounds (base weight of only 10 pounds with arms removed). This weight difference will make installing and uninstalling the Alumina rack much easier.

The second is carrying capacity: the Alumina carries up to three 30-lb bikes, while the Dura can carry up to four 40-lb bikes.

The third difference is how the arms attach to the rack base. The Dura rack arms insert horizontally into a top plate; arms do not fold down, but instead lock into place and remove via thumb triggers, and are fixed in width at 7 inches apart. The Alumina rack arms are held in place via a PTO pin, and have multiple positions (folded down for stowage, fully removed, and adjustable in width between 7 and 9 inches apart).

Both racks include anti-sway cradles, cable lock, and anti-rattle hitch lock, and both feature Softride’s distinctive parallelogram design which allows bikes to be lowered away from the vehicle with bikes loaded and level.

How do I load a women’s bike or a step-through frame or child’s bike or other bike with an alternative frame (slanted frame) onto the arms of a Softride rack?
To carry ladies’ bikes (woman-specific frames), children’s bikes, or other alternative-frame bicycles on our two-arm bike carriers, you may purchase and use our Softride Top Tube Adapter. One end of the adapter grips the bike just below the handle bars, and the other end grips it just below the seat. This allows the rack to carry the bike more level and creates better ground clearance. This accessory is also helpful to carry full-suspension mountain bikes or cruiser bikes or kids’ bikes or bikes with a small front triangle. The Softride Top Tube Adapter may also be used on other brands of bicycle racks. Another option that does not require this accessory is to load the bike onto the rack arms with wheels facing up rather than down.

Why aren’t the bike rack arms level with the ground?
That slight upward angle is intentional. It’s designed that way to keep the last bike loaded farther from touching on the ground. When it’s loaded, the upright will pull closer to vertical, and will flatten out a little, but the end goal is that the outermost bike be slightly higher than the bikes closest to the vehicle. The angle also adds some natural security to the bikes, making it more difficult to lose a bike that isn’t strapped down.

The cable lock on my new rack appears to be missing – where is it?
It may have remained in the upright tube while the top plate was installed. To locate it, remove the top plate again (by taking off the four carriage bolts of the top plate), and look down the larger tube. Pull it up and out then reinstall the top plate per the instructions. If you do not see the cable lock within the upright tube (the vertical part of the parallelogram), then contact Softride.

My bike rack’s hitch bar only has a hole for the bolt on one side – do I need to drill another hole on the other side so the bolt can go through?
No, it’s intentional that the bolt only goes into one side of the hitch bar to secure it into the hitch receiver. Softride’s anti-rattle design holds the bolt securely in place, with the nut located within the hitch bar, rather than on the outside. Please do not drill or cut any part of your Softride rack without speaking to our service team first. Cutting, drilling, or modifying the rack in this way voids the warranty and may affect safety.

Why won’t the Dura Assist stay lowered when it is empty of bikes?
The hydraulic assist feature works primarily to pull the rack back up to vertical, which is most helpful when lowering and raising a rack fully loaded with bikes. When lowering and raising a rack that is empty (or with only one or two light bikes loaded), you may find it more helpful to have the hydraulic disengaged. To use the rack without hydraulic assist, while the rack is in the upright position, release the lever on back of main upright. See instruction manual for more about this option.

I just got a new Softride bike rack and the hitch bolt is missing. Where is the hitch bolt for my new rack?
Check the parts bag in the package to see if the hitch bolt for a two inch receiver is already attached to the lock set, which it often is prior to shipping. Locate the lock, and if the bolt is attached simply turn the key to release the bolt. Also ensure the corresponding lock washer for the bolt is located and always used with the bolt.

What is the difference between the Alumina 3 and the Element 4 bike racks?
There are three main differences between these two racks:

The first is weight: With all-steel construction, the Element 4 weighs 35 pounds, while the Alumina 3 has an aluminum body and is lighter at 25 pounds (base weight of only 10 pounds with arms removed). This weight difference will make installing and uninstalling the Alumina rack much easier.

The second is carrying capacity: The Alumina 3 carries up to three 30-lb bikes (or 90 pounds total), while the Element 4 can carry up to four 30-lb bikes (or 120 pounds total). (See how that model name/number thing works?)

The third is what accessories are included: The Alumina rack comes with a hitch lock, cable lock, and anti sway cradles. The Element rack does not include these accessories, but those may be purchased as individual parts to upgrade the rack as desired..

Both racks feature Softride’s distinctive parallelogram design, which allows bikes to be lowered away from the vehicle with bikes loaded and level. Both racks feature arms that attach to the base in multiple positions (folded down for stowage, fully removed, and adjustable in width between 7 and 9 inches apart). Both include anti-rattle hitch bolts, and parts compatible to mount on either a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver.