Yakima SpareRide Bike Carrier Review

When you need to transport your bike by car, there’s no doubt a car mounted carrier is your best option. Car mounted bike carriers come in all types and makes. They’re convenient, versatile, and usually easy to setup. They’re also pretty safe but you still need to take extra measures to ensure your bike is not stolen. The Yakima SpareRide Bike carrier is a great option if you want to transport your bike by car without messing with hitches. Simply mount the rack on your spare tire and you’re good to go. Its sturdy steel construction allows for up to 2 bikes to be transported.

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Overview

Many car mounted carriers use hitches that allow them to be mounted directly onto a car’s trunk. This setup is especially great if you need to carry multiple bikes but it usually requires delicate installation to work properly. If you just want to carry a single bike without installing a hitch, consider the Yakima SpareRide bike carrier.

With a hassle-free setup, this is one of the easiest bike carrying racks to use. It comes with nifty features to firmly secure your bike to the rack, protect it from scratches, and allow for a smooth ride.

Features & Setup

The Yakima SpareRide bike carrier is built to be easy to use so there’s not a great deal of features. Everything on this rack is carefully designed to ensure smooth usability on the road. Out of the box, you get a pair of folding carry arms, zip strips, cradles, and the main steel tube with a locking knob. You also get a bonus accessory in form of a signature Yakima bottle opener.

According to the official description, this rack fits nearly any spare size, including big truck tires. However, based on user reviews we glanced through, it seems like the ideal fit for this rack is spare widths ranging from 7.5 to 12.5 inches wide. Also, official claims from Yakima state that it only takes 30 minutes to set up the carrier on your spare tire but based on average times from various user reviews, we concur that setup time averages 40-60 minutes.

Admittedly, it’s an easier setup compared to hitch mounted racks but when you factor in the cleanup plus the time it takes to get the spare off and back on, you’ll be well into 50 minutes. That’s not to say it’s a difficult process. Moreover, once you get the rack setup properly, you’ll hardly need to touch it again until you decide that it’s not needed anymore.

Once you’ve got the installation right, the Yakima SpareRide rack does a pretty solid job on the road. It keeps your bike stable with minimal shakes and rubbing, thanks to the anti-sway cradles that feature cushioning to prevent the bikes from rubbing against each other. The supplied zip strips secure the bikes firmly onto the rack. They’re also cushioned with padding to protect the bike’s frame from vibrations. When not in use you can completely remove them.

The locking knob attaches the rack to your spare’s mounting plate, complete with a locking cable that rules out any chance for theft. The locking cable uses the same key as the knob. Only 2 keys are supplied with your purchase so be sure to keep the spare somewhere safe. You can carry a single bike on this rack but two are a nice fit too. They never touch and rub against each other and stay secure even on the bumpiest of roads.

The bikes sit on the dual folding arms, secured firmly by the zip strips. The arms fold down when not in use, for compact storage. You’ll need this little extra space when parking in your garage or in a close quarter parking spot. Ground clearance is sufficient so there’s no need to ever worry about your bike touching the road.

And if you ever need to use your spare, simply remove the bikes, unlock the knob and the rack slides off smoothly. You’ll then have full access to your spare without all the work required to mount the carrier.

Pros

  • Very simple, sturdy design ensures a solid, reliable setup for your bike.
  • Very easy to install and once properly set up, no more tinkering is needed. Bikes are easy to mount as well.
  • The tube and folding arms are made from steel, ensuring durability and strength.
  • The whole setup is firm and guarantees smooth rides no matter the terrain.
  • The SpareRide is easy to store. The dual carry arms can easily fold when not in use to create a compact rack that can fit into your car’s trunk.
  • There’s virtually no chance that your car’s paint will get damaged.
  • It’s easier to secure the bikes in place.
  • Can also carry skis and cargo holders provided it’s properly adapted.

Cons

  • Limited carrying capacity. Carries up to 2 bikes maximum so it’s definitely not ideal if you have many bikes to transport.
  • Odd-framed bikes may not be easy to fit on the rack.
  • While the SpareRide has cushioned anti-sway cradles, swaying is still very likely to happen.
  • Contrary to manufacturer’s claims, the rack may not fit with every tire size.

Conclusion

If you’re going to be mostly carrying a single bike, there’s hardly a better option than the Yakima SpareRide carrier. It also perfectly handles 2 bikes without a hitch. The Yakima SpareRide offers exceptional stability on the road, much more than hitch mounted racks.

It offers excellent protection features for your bike. It also provides ample cushioning to protect your bike’s frame from scratches. It’s definitely not a heavy duty rack as it’s designed for a very specific market. However, it does a very solid job especially if the most you’re going to carry is 2 bikes.

Overall, the Yakima SpareRide is a great carrier for very specific use. If you’re single bike owner that needs superb and reliable transportation with minimal hassle, this is it.

Summary
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Yakima SpareRide Bike Carrier
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