I installed a hitch on my vehicle to use a hitch-mounted bike rack. I have had multiple roof-mounted bike carriers on my cars but didn't want to put my bike on the high roof of my SUV. While looking for bike racks I came across the Yakima StageTwo and a video of the rack that RA put on YouTube which answered many of the questions I had about the rack itself.
The rack is very well-built and sturdy, it's a little heavy but not overly so. I liked the security features of the hitch as well as the security features for bikes. The tilt feature which allows you to access your trunk with bikes mounted is nice as well. I found the assembly of the bike rack pretty simple and would recommend following the instructions that came with the rack. I also found the use of security bolts throughout the system very impressive.
I decided to give the rack 5 stars but almost did not. The reason was because of the instructions, not the rack. After reading some reviews of the rack I saw that I encountered the same problems that others have during assembly. The instructions could probably use some updating by Yakima. I quickly figured out what was happening and maybe I missed something but I don't believe that I did. Others based on reviews did not figure out what was happening as easily and were unhappy believing they had defective racks. I bet the racks were not defective at all and here is why.
During assembly, the bike carrier/trays must be mounted to the spine of the system. The trays are two pieces that slide together. The male half has threaded bolts welded to it and enters the female half. Once connected and while mounting them to the spine the holes in the female half may not line up with the bolts in the male half due to some wiggle room. Nothing is wrong with the rack but you may have to lightly lift or push down on the male half to line up the bolts. Very simple solution but not written in the directions.
This seems to have been the point of frustration for some users and I understand although now I see that the solution was very simple having assembled my rack. The only other thing that would be nice is having a socket included for proper torquing of bolts during assembly. I believe this is a solid bike rack system and have owned multiple bike carriers by both Thule and Yakima. I would recommend this bike rack.