The Bottom Line
We think the Allen Sports S-102 Premier Trunk Bike Carrier is a great choice for expanding your biking world out into the great wide open. If you want to get into nature and experience it all from the vantage point of your bike, this rack can help you get to where you want to be. Let’s get to the details.
At a Glance
70 lbs per bike
23″x 13″x 4″
Been thinking about getting a bike rack? Has your love of biking – perhaps bordering on obsession – come to that? Well, let’s see: You really have been getting into biking a lot these days. At work you find yourself poking around biking websites looking at accessories, or mentally plotting your strategy for taking on your nemesis: that massive, imposing hill that you just can’t quite master.
You ride every weekend. Pedaling along the local trails, taking the bike lanes in your city, circling the lake in the park. But lately, these places just aren’t satisfying anymore. You want something bigger, challenging, more scenic and dramatic – mountains, riding along the sea. Somewhere distant and far from the familiar. It’s time for a bike trip. Yes, a bike rack is what you need.
A carrier for your bike saves you the trouble of folding down the seats in your car for loading or having to disassemble your bike. It also keeps the car seats available for your family and friends and the trunk ready to hold luggage. You get more from your car with very little effort by simply adding a bike rack – almost like getting something for nothing.
There won’t be strain or stress of any kind to getting started with this rack. Anyone can handle it – the rack weighs a mere 11.2 lbs. So, you can save your strength for those long climbs. And the bike rack comes fully assembled right out of the box. You just fold out the top foot / carry-arm assembly and the bottom foot assembly and it’s ready to install.
Wide snap-on feet provide a large surface area contacting your vehicle to evenly distribute the load, providing stability. The company says that these contact points are padded to avoid damaging the finish on your car. How well this works in practice over time will depend on your car, and how and where you drive.
The rack attaches easily to your car with fabric tie-downs and hooks that you slide under the metal edges of your trunk lid or other vehicle body feature. There are two side straps to provide lateral stability for the rack on your vehicle. Tighten the straps, and that’s it. No tools are needed. Very simple. Very quick.
Depending on the type of vehicle you have, it can take literally less than a minute to set up. This video shows the basics of rack installation and of attaching bikes:
(Despite the simplicity of setup in this video, we feel the process of actually installing this rack, attaching your bikes, and making everything completely secure will require some time and care. To get a better idea of what it takes, have a look at the product manual.)
Attaching Your Bikes
You attach your bikes to the rack with tough UV-resistant rubber cradle straps that gently hold your bike in place. The company suggests threading the rack tie-down straps through the bike wheels and tying them, or using additional straps to add stability and to help secure your bicycles.
The narrow set, 11.5-in.-long carry arms can accommodate a wide variety of bicycles frames and sizes. Most traditional bicycle sizes – both for adults and children – can be loaded in without a problem. The company specifies that this rack should not be used with tandems, mopeds, or recumbent bikes.
The Allen Sports S-102 Premier Two Bike Carrier would be a great carrier for the weekend bike tripper. It’s made to install and uninstall quickly – it’s not meant to be a permanent fixture. The rack folds into a compact shape, and its lightweight and small size let you stash it away unobtrusively when you’re not out in the wild. You can take two bikes and your favorite person anywhere with very little effort or expense. The price for the Allen Sport S-102 at this writing was $109.99 on Amazon.com.
We wonder a bit about the service life of this product, though. A lot of weight is resting on those attaching clips and of course, the rubber cradle straps have a pretty great responsibility. Also, there is a bit of concern about the point where these clips come in contact with the paint. It might be a good idea to add some protection there. This might not be the best rack for rugged trails or months-long journeys into the biking unknown. But, hey, not everything needs to be built for storming the outback. And not everyone wants a bike rack permanently installed in the car.
So, stop dreaming about streaking along those coastal highways or climbing along mountain trails. Especially if you’re at work. Get out your bikes, load them up on your car, and take off for those open roads and scenic. Enjoy your weekend.
There are a lot of great bike racks out there. The more you know, the better choice you can make.