Jumping onto your bike and hitting the trail is a great feeling. For a short, while it’s just you, your bike and the twists turn, and gradients ahead. In an increasingly stressful world getting away from it, all can be hard.
Once you’ve ridden hard you’ll be feeling pretty good; until it comes to heading home and you’ve got to take half your bike apart just to fit it in the car. That’s why bike racks have become so popular. The right bike rack for your vehicle and your needs will make it easy to start and finish any ride. In fact, if you choose the right rack you’ll be leaving the car park before anyone else has got their bike strapped on!
Yakima make an array of different car racks; whether you’re looking for a means to carry a kayak, surfboard, roof box or bike; they have something that will do the job. You can choose from conventional bike racks, the Yakima bike rack hitch, the Yakima roof bike rack or even just get some Yakima bike rack parts.
It doesn’t matter what you need, Yakima has it for you. They have been in business since 1979, built fairings for the race bikes in the Olympics and gave the web the acronym QTR. They are a company that is dedicated to providing you with the best possible equipment to keep the gear on your car and friends in your car.
Types Of Bike Rack
Before we review and rate each of these awesome Yakima bike racks it is important to know the differences in the styles of racks. Not all styles fit all vehicles; you should know which ones are designed for your vehicle as this will help you to narrow your choice and choose the very best rack possible.
Hitch Mounted (Eg. Yakima Ridgeback)
As the name suggests; this type of rack clips onto the hitch of your vehicle. Most of these style racks are designed to swing out of the way to allow access to the boot; even with the rack in place. This is a great idea if you are likely to need gear from the boot and don’t want to remove the rack.
It is worth noting that there are two types of hitch mounted rack. The first goes onto the ball of your hitch in the same way as a trailer would. The second actually clamps around the stem of the hitch. You’ll need a swan neck hitch to use this type of hitch mount. The main advantage of this style is that it doesn’t stop you using the hitch for something else. All you have to do is make sure your vehicle is capable of towing the weight.
This type of rack is a good choice if you have a large frame or different style of frame that doesn’t conform to the usual style. That’s because many hitch mounted racks use trays to support the wheels rather than bars to support the frames.
Roof Mounted (Eg. Yakima Frontloader)
You’ll have seen bikes whizzing along on the roof of a car. The roof mounted rack is bolted onto the cross bars of your vehicle. The rack itself consists of two clamps which lock around the wheels of your bike; securing it onto the stand.
Of course with this type of stand, you’ll be making your vehicle significantly taller and you’ll need to remember this while you are driving! The disadvantage of this type of rack is that it can be hard work to lift your bike on and off the roof of your vehicle.
Truck Bed Racks (Eg. Yakima Block Head)
If you have a truck then you may already throw your bike in the back. Of course, if you have a decent bike this will not be your preferred way of transporting it. This is why companies have invented the truck bed bike rack.
Truck bed bike racks are designed to be fitted without screws or the need to drill holes in your truck. They usually use compression fittings to secure them into the truck and then a clamp system to connect with your bike. The number of bikes you can fit into your truck will usually depend on the size of your truck bed.
Strap Mounted (Eg. Yakima Fullback 2)
Perhaps the cheapest type of bike rack is the strap-on version. This literally sits on your back window/tailgate. The rack is held into place via several straps. You’ll need to pick the right strap mounted bike rack for your style of vehicle. You won’t be able to open your trunk once this rack is in place. It is possible to get this style of bike rack with clamps that sit around the edge of your boot, making it easy to clip the rack into place. You’ll then be able to clip 3 or perhaps even 4 bikes onto the rack.
It should be noted that this type of rack is generally agreed to be the least stable but is the most cost-effective option. You can also get variations of this type of rack which will fit over your spare wheel; if you have one on the back of your vehicle.
It is also worth mentioning storage racks. These are racks that are designed to hold your bike at home. Some of them can also be used to hold your bike while you’re performing maintenance or repairs.
Storage racks can be portable or rigid. They are generally compact although there is a huge range to choose from. They are a must if you worry about where your bike is parked in your garage.
Below we have listed and reviewed the 10 best Yakima bike racks:
This stylish looking rack could be mistaken for an old-fashioned steering lock. In fact, it is a cleverly designed hitch mounted bike rack with enough space for 2 bikes. It can be clipped into position really easily as it has a tool-free locking speed knob. As soon as it’s engaged the rack is secured on your vehicle ready to be used. You’ll note the red triangle at the bottom of the rack which has an inbuilt lock; ensuring that the Yakima hitch bike rack can’t be removed by someone else.
There is also a lever at the top which acts allows you to tilt the rack away from your vehicle and gaining access to the trunk. It can be fitted to 1.25” receivers or even a 2” receiver; making it suitable for most vehicles. This lever can be used to fold the bike support bars downwards against the frame. This ensures the Yakima Ridgeback Hitch bike rack is as small as possible when not being used.
In fact, this is a useful feature if you leave the rack in situ and aren’t carrying the bikes. Folding it down can prevent you from accidentally damaging your rack when you’re reversing and forget it’s there! When unlocking the bar it is useful to know that there is an audible click; giving you reassurance that the rack is locked properly into position.
The rack itself is just 44 inches tall, 12 inches wide and has a depth of 16 inches, (without the bikes on). It weighs just 32 pounds making it light enough to carry anywhere and very easy to store when not in use.
Once in position, your bikes will slide straight onto the bars. There are 2 cradles on each bar; both with ZipStrips that will clip over your bike frame and secure it in place. All you need to do is push the release clip and then lift your bike into position. Once it’s sat comfortably simply slide the cable back into the clip and tighten around the frame of your bike. Although the cradles cannot be moved along the bar they can be turned all the way around. This means you can accommodate bikes without the traditional straight bar at the top.
The cradles are designed to be anti-sway, securely holding your bikes in position even when you’re traveling at higher speeds. However, you may think it’s a good idea to add a lower strap to ensure they can’t accidentally bang into your vehicle.
The Yakima bike rack hitch is designed to accommodate 80 pounds. Of course if one of your bikes is heavier than the other it is best to put this closer to the car. You may also be interested to note that you can purchase a 3 or even 4 bike version of this Yakima bike rack hitch.
The Yakima bike rack hitch is made from steel and powder coated with a chip-resistant finish. This should help the rack to last for many years. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty which will ensure the parts are replaced if they become defective through normal use.
This is a great bike rack but you should be aware that while the rack is locked to your hitch the bikes are not locked to the rack; you’ll need a separate cable lock to do this.
One final fun feature is the addition of a bottle opener at the end of each arm; you never know when you might need one!
If you lay this bike rack on its side it looks a little like a machine gun. This may not be a good thing but it will certainly amuse your children! The good news is that the rack actually arrives like this; ready to use.
This is actually a Yakima roof bike rack and a very good one. It is light enough to lift onto your roof and can be clipped into position in minutes. Of course, the downside, as with all roof mounted bike racks; is that you need to lift your bike up fairly high to get it into the rack and secure it properly. However, once your bike is in position it does look pretty cool!
This Yakima roof bike rack is designed to hold one bike but it is possible to fit more than one to the roof of your car; the exact number will depend on the size of your roof. One of the nicest features of this rack is the fact that it has been designed to fit onto square crossbars, round ones, factory fitted ones or even aerodynamic ones. In short, if you have roof bars and cross bars it should fit and can be transferred between cars; that makes it a great choice if you have more than one vehicle you carry your bike on.
For the front loader to be fitted your crossbars will need to be between 16 and 48 inches apart; That’s pretty generous but if your bars are further or less than this the Yakima Frontloader isn’t going to fit. It will accommodate bikes with wheels between 20” and 29”; whether they are mountain bikes or road bikes. This does rule out small children’s bikes and anything with fat tires. It is important to note that the crossbars may need to be moved to accommodate smaller bikes but you should only need to set them up once.
The clamping system is well designed to ensure there is no contact with the frame of your bike; even if your bike has discs, suspensions or through axles.
Fitting the rack to your crossbars is very simple. A clamp goes around the crossbars and then tightens into place. It has a locking system built into the front clamp to ensure the clamp cannot move or be removed.
Once in position simply lift your bike into the rack. The front wheel is held in a V clamp. This opens to allow you to slide the bike in place and then tightens around the wheel using the large red knob that is surprisingly easy to get to. Once you’ve tightened the V clamp onto the wheel you can lock the clamp into position; it’s the same key as the one used to lock the rack to your crossbar.
The rear wheel simply sits in the groove and has a zip clamp secured around it; preventing it from moving. In fact, your bike is surprisingly secure when driving. It is designed to support bikes up to 40 pounds in weight. You can add several bikes to your roof providing the roof of your car is also designed to take the weight of them.
Despite its name, this is actually another Yakima bike rack hitch option. It is stylish, well designed and has a low loading height; making it much easier to get your heavy mountain bike into position. In fact, Yakima describe this as their fastest and easiest bike loading system.
The Yakima Products can be lifted straight onto your hitch; regardless of whether you have a 1.25” hitch or a 2”. It weighs 49 pounds and can actually handle 120 pounds of weight; that’s 60pounds per bike! No assembly is required although you can add a hold up if you want to add an extra 2 bikes to the rack. That makes it very versatile, especially if you have a growing family. The Yakima bike rack hitch is 12” long, 64” wide and 34.5” tall.
As with most of the Yakima bike racks it has been designed to ensure there is no fame contact; reducing the risk of damage while in transit. In addition, the trays that support the bikes can actually slide; ensuring you have enough space between them without tangling them up. Because the bikes are simply sat into the trays it can accommodate virtually any type of bike.
However, it should be noted that the wheel clamps will struggle with anything smaller than20” or larger than 29”. In addition, it is not capable of taking bikes with fat tires.
Putting it onto the hitch is very simple. Slot the rack over the receiver and then tighten the threaded hitch pin. This prevents it from wobbling when in use. It should be noted that this is the one flaw in this rack. The locking pin needs to be tightened with a wench which is supplied. This is more cumbersome than the knob system that so many other racks use.
But, once it’s in place its very secure. The benefit of this wrench powered locking pin is that it’s very secure. You’ll need an angle grinder to get the rack of without the wrench. This doesn’t mean you can’t access the trunk of your car. There is a spring loaded pin near the hinge on your Yakima Hold Up; simply pull this and the rack will tilt up or down; allowing you access to the trunk.
Loading the bikes is actually very simple. Slide the wheel clamps outwards to accommodate your bike and then swing the bar to hold the wheel up and out of the way. You can then lift your bike into position. Once it’s sat in the tray pull the top bar back over the bike and push the button at the top to slide the clamp over your tire. There is a second button on the bar when you want to release the bar and get your bike off the rack. It is important to note that this bar is designed to go on the front wheel of your bike.
The rear wheel has a simple zip tie which you tighten over the wheel; preventing it from moving while in transit. The great thing about this design is that there is no need for any extra clamps; the bikes will not move while you’re driving.
However, it is worth noting that the Hold Up doesn’t lock the bikes to the rack. You’ll need to purchase a locking cable separately to accomplish this task; it’s worth it as you never know when you’ll leave your bike unattended.
This is the first offering on the list to be designed for 4 bikes and yet it still looks stylish, easy to use and barely big enough for 4 bikes! Of course, looks can be deceiving; this rack is actually 36 inches long, 44 inches high and has a width of 14 inches. If you try reverse parking with it on be careful! It does have a powder coated chip resistant finish to help protect it and ensure it lasts for years to come.
The Doubledown is designed to fit on to 1.25” receivers or 2” ones. It weighs a fairly impressive 31 pounds; making it relatively easy to install yourself in just a few moments. The rack itself arrives needing a small amount of installation. In fact, it is just 3 bolts and all the tools you need are included.
Fitting it to your vehicle is easy. If you have the smaller receiver you’ll need to undo the bolt to fit the right bushing inside. Then simply slot it into your hitch and make sure the hitch pin holes are lined up. Slide the hitch pin bolt into position; this can be done from either side. Then just tighten it up until its solid; the wrench is supplied with the rack.
There is also a safety clip that you can put in place; just in case something happens to the hitch pin. You’ll also note a red button at the bottom of the pole; pull this up and the rack will tilt backward to give you access to your trunk. You may need to be careful doing this if your rack is fully loaded; the bikes may touch the ground. This is also a good feature for loading if you’re struggling to lift your bikes onto the rack. A different red button at the top will allow you to fold the arm down for when the bikes aren’t loaded.
Once you’ve got the bike onto the rack you can slot it straight into the cradles which can be moved in all directions. These are raised slightly from the rack to ensure your cables do not get damaged while the bikes are in transit.
One side is anti-sway, it is best to put the front wheel on this cradle to help protect your bike and vehicle. The zip style clips will go over the frame of your bike and lock it into position. They are completely flexible allowing you to decide the most appropriate position depending on the style and size of your bike.
However, it should be noted that while this Yakima bike rack hitch style is a great way to carry your bikes it is only really effective for 3 bikes, 4 is usually a push too far. In addition, it won’t like anything that has too big a frame and children’s bikes is generally too small to fit.
It also lacks security; the hitch pin is secured with a wrench making it difficult to remove the rack without the right tool. However, there is nothing locking the bikes to the rack; you’ll need a cable lock.
This is the second offering from Yakima which is designed to accommodate 4 bikes and this rack really delivers. It’s a little bigger and bulkier than the Doubledown but still a good looking and compact rack.
The Full Swing measures 43 inches long, 17 inches tall and 26 inches wide. However, it is an impressive 56 pounds in weight; you may want assistance when mounting it to your vehicle. This is another Yakima bike rack hitch design which can be used on a 1.25” hitch or a 2” hitch. But this one has the added benefit of an automatic pin. It will position and secure the pin for you! All you do is slide the rack half onto your hitch and then press down on the grey button. This is the auto pin connector which will locate the pin for you.
Once it has been located a green tab will be visible next to the grey button. You can then tighten the red knob to ensure there is no wobble in the rack while driving. A great security feature is that the red knob is then removable; you’ll need the dedicated key to do this.
The rack is now on and ready to use but you can pull the lever at the top and allow the arms to fold down; if you’re not ready to use the rack straight away.
The Full Sing is made from powder-coated steel; giving it strength and protection from the elements. The arms that support your bikes are well padded to reduce the risk of damage and they incorporate Yakima’s new zip lock system. This means the clamp slides through a clip; securing it in place. You won’t be able to remove the clamp without pressing the release button.
The cradles for supporting your bikes are arranged in an alternating fashion; anti-sway versus standard. This allows you to lock the front wheel of your bike into the anti-sway cradle and still position the bikes in opposite directions; to maximize your use of the available space and get all 4 bikes on.
It is possible to slide the cables along the bars to get the position right for each of your bikes. However, you should note that the cradles do lock into position; don’t forget to do this! They also spin to ensure you can accommodate virtually any frame style. Once your bike is on the cradles you can slide the zip strips into position and lock the bike onto the rack. There simple but effective design means that they will fit over almost any bike frame. It is important to note that each bike should weigh no more than 40 pounds.
While the Full Swing is capable of carrying virtually any bike it will still struggle with small children’s bikes; they simply won’t fit onto the arms. But the good news is that it can carry bikes with fat tires!
There is a low-security locking feature incorporated into the rack. This may not give all-round protection but it will certainly stop the opportunist thief while you’re in the local store. If you don’t feel this is sufficient then you can add cable locks to secure the wheels to the rack.
Finally, you can swing (hence the name Full Swing), this rack away from your vehicle to give access to the trunk. Simply unthread the large plastic handle on the rear of the mast and then push the red button. It will lock open at 90°. Reverse this procedure to re-secure the rack.
This Yakima roof bike rack is another quality rack that can fit any type of crossbar. It doesn’t matter if you have factory bars, square, round or even aerodynamic; the Yakima Fork Lift will fit. Of course, you do need the crossbars as well as the roof bars.
The Fork Lift Yakima roof bike rack is designed to take just one bike but you can fit several of these to your roof; allowing you to use your tow hitch for a trailer or something even more important.
It measures 53.5” long by 7.25” wide and 2.5” high with a weight of just 7 pounds. That makes it really easy to lift onto your roof and secure into position.
The tray that holds your bike is adjustable; this means you can accommodate different sized bikes without needing to reposition the rack on your crossbars. In fact, this unique design means it should fit your crossbars without any modifications or adjustments. That makes it perfect for when you want a quick getaway!
You can use this to carry one bike up to 40 pounds in weight; that should be enough to cover most bikes although you will need to lift it onto your roof first. Securing it to your roof is very easy. The clamp has a large knob; turn this to position the clamp and then tighten it up to secure the rack in position. The front clamp works in the same way but has a built-in lock; effectively securing the rack to your crossbars and preventing anyone from walking off with it. The clamps have adjustable jaws to ensure they fit any style of crossbar.
It should be noted at this point that the Fork Lift Yakima roof bike rack secures the front of your bike in place using a locking axle pin. This means you’ll need to remove the front wheel. You can then lift your bike into position and side the lockable secure through the axle on your bike and screws tight. It has a built-in locking cylinder to ensure the axle pin cannot be removed unless you have the key.
The wheel tray actually slides; allowing you to get it in the right position for the size of your bike. It won’t move during transit as you tighten the tray into your desired position with the large knob in the center of your rack. You can then secure the back wheel with the Zip stripes. This will prevent it from moving and ensuring your bike is in the same position when you arrive as when you left.
You should be able to fit virtually any bike into this rack; even those with fat tires. Of course, you’ll have to verify the weight of the bike first. It is also worth noting that if you have a spread of over 16 inches you should be able to mount two Fork Lift carriers to your crossbars; just don’t forget they are on the roof of your car when driving!
It’s not surprising that another Yakima bike rack hitch design has made it into this list. In fact, hitch design bike racks are the most popular type of bike rack on the market. This is because they are generally easy to install, easy to use and still allow access to the trunk of your car.
The Two Timer is another great example of a Yakima bike rack hitch design. It is ready to use straight out of the box and will fit straight onto your 1.25” receiver or your 2” receiver. It measures 24” deep, 50” wide and has a height of 18”. As a bonus, it weighs just 39 pounds making it comparatively easy to fit on your vehicle by yourself.
The Yakima Two Timer will handle 2 bikes. Although the weight limit per bike is 40 pounds it is essential to note that this rack can carry any type and size of bike. T doesn’t matter if you have a road bike, mountain bike, fat tires or even fenders; they will easily fit onto this rack.
Fitting it to your vehicle is very simple. You simply bolt on or off the adapter plate to ensure you have the right size post for your hitch receiver. Then simply slide the hitch into position and use the supplied wrench to lock the hitch into place. This will ensure that no one can remove the rack when you’re not with the vehicle.
There is a button at the base of the main pole which allows you to fold the rack up into the car; keeping it neat and tidy when you’re not using it but don’t want to remove the rack completely.
Putting your bikes onto this 2 bike rack is very simple. Each of the trays that are designed to support the wheels has a small knob. Loosening this will allow you to slide the tray along the rack until it is in the right position for your bike. In this way, it can accommodate virtually any size or style of bike; even those with fat tires.
Once you’ve positioned the trays your bike wheels can be secured in place with the zip straps. These will prevent your bike from coming off the trays. There is also a clamp attached to the main post. All you need to do is push the red button at the base of the clamp and slide it upwards. Then slide it back down until it is snug against the frame of your bike. This will stop it from moving in any direction while you’re driving. This clever clamp design ensures the TwoTimer will handle any type of bike.
It is important to note that the top clamps have a built-in lock; you won’t be able to release them without the key. That’s a great security feature whether you’re stopping for lunch or at a hotel for the night.
If you’re looking for another stylish hitch type bike rack then Yakima definitely have something that will appeal. The Swing Daddy is designed to accommodate 4 bikes with a maximum weight of 150 pounds. The maximum weight for one bike should be 40 pounds; even if you’re only putting two bikes onto the rack.
It measures 39.5 inches deep with a width of 11” and a height of 44”. It’s also worth noting that it weighs 50 pounds; this is not something you’ll want to take on and off too often. But, it does come with the usual Yakima love it until you leave it warranty. In short, all defects are covered while you own it but the warranty is not transferrable to the second owner.
In contrast to the other Yakima bike rack hitch designs on this list, the Swing daddy is designed solely for the 2” receiver. This is due to the weight and functionality of the design. As its name suggests the whole rack can be swung away from your vehicle to allow access to the trunk; even when the bikes are attached. To do this you simply need to pull up the red ever in the middle and the rack will swing away from your vehicle. This is a very useful feature.
Fitting the Swing Daddy to your vehicle is straightforward although you may need to leave yourself 15 to 20 minutes to ensure you get it on right. Start by sliding the post into the receiver on your car; it should click into position. You’ll then need to tighten the red knob at the base of the rack. It can help to move the rack while doing this; it will ensure you get it fully tightened onto the hitch.
Once the knob is tight you can lock it, this will prevent anyone else from being able to undo it and removing your bike rack.
The two arms are designed to support the frame of your bikes. It should be noted that getting 4 bikes onto these arms means packing them very closely together; you’ll need to get your pedal placement right. You may prefer fewer bikes if you’re worried about scratching up your pride and joy.
The cradles should accommodate most bikes; providing they can both fit inside the frame of your bike. There are two clamps for each bike. These can be moved along the arms and spun in any direction; ensuring you have them in the best possible position to clamp your frame. They use the standard Yakima zip strips to secure your bikes into position. These cannot come undone by themselves and are very versatile; even with bikes that have large frames.
Once again you’ll note that there are anti-sway clamps situated in an alternating pattern. These should be used on the front of your bike and encourage you to alternate their positions; which is essential if you want to get all 4 bikes onto your rack. You may be surprised to discover that you actually get 2 spare clamps in the package but this doesn’t mean you should try to fit a 5th bike.
If you’re looking for something a little different then this Yakima bike rack mount could be just what you need. It won’t fit on the back of your vehicle but it is a great option for the back of a truck, in your trailer, on a boat or even in your garage to keep your bike safe.
The first thing to note is that this is small; it’s just 7 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches and weighs less than a pound. It’s made from aluminum which has been coated to ensure it is corrosion proof and it looks good.
The second thing to note is that this Yakima Blockhead bike fork mount clamps to the forks on your bike; you will need to remove your front wheel and store it somewhere else. However, the size of the mount means that it can be used on virtually any bike; even those with large front forks can be accommodated with spacers and the right slider.
To fit it you’ll need to choose a flat surface. Then simply drill your holes and bolt the Blockhead into position. It comes with Allen key style bolts. Of course, these can be removed by someone with the right tool so you may prefer to use security bolts or even add a locking system to it.
Once you’ve secured the Blockhead into position you can remove the front wheel of your bike and figure out where you are going to store it. Then simply lower the forks over the Blockhead Yakima bike rack and push the skewer through the axle and the mount. It has a large lever to enable you to tighten it up firmly.
However, it is not a locking skewer. You can purchase a locking skewer or simply use a chain lock to secure your bike to your vehicle. It is worth noting that the supplied skewer is long; making it easy to get into position and allowing you to secure larger framed bikes. Yakima do sell the Blockhead with a locking skewer and bolts; you’ll just have to pay a little more.
The Blockhead comes with the standard Yakima warranty; covering all defaults for as long as you own it. This won’t cover scratches to your bike as the mount has plenty of padding to protect your bike and the vehicle it’s mounted to.
As simple as this bike mount is it is still important to be aware that it will not completely stop your bike moving round; you do need to consider adding a strap to the rear wheel of your bike or even using a second clamp.
As mentioned this is not just a great way to transport your bikes. You can also use this Yakima bike mount to secure your bike in your garage or shed; this will make it much more difficult for someone to steal if they do decide to break in.
The final entry on the Yakima bike rack list is a strap style bike rack that will secure to the trunk of a variety of different vehicles. These include most hatchbacks, saloons and even estate cars. It won’t fit cars with spare wheels on the back or trucks. The Fullback is available in either a 2 bike version or a 3 bike version. They are both 25 inches wide and 22 inches tall. However, the 2 bike version is 32 inches deep and weighs 20 pounds while the 3 bike one is 28 inches deep and weighs 23 pounds.
This rack is designed to fit to your car with 4 straps; two go at the top of the car and two at the bottom; there are no side straps. Once it is in position you won’t be able to open the trunk on your vehicle. It has no side straps as these are not necessary.
You’ll be pleased to note there is plenty of padding on the Fullback; this is to protect your vehicle and to protect your bikes. The top straps have small clips on the end of them; these are designed to fit over the top of your trunk lid. You can then tighten the adjusters on them to ensure the rack is in the right position on your vehicle. The lower straps attach in the same way to the base of your trunk. Again these can be adjusted to ensure the rack is securely attached and can’t move when in transit.
It is potentially possible to open your trunk once this rack is in position although it is not advisable. The Fullback is not locked to your vehicle; anyone could remove it. As this is designed to be an occasional rack this should not be an issue. But, if you feel it may be an issue you can add the SKS locking kit which will secure the rack to your vehicle and the bikes to the rack.
Putting the bikes on is very easy. Simply remove the Zip strips to allow the bike to slide into its cradle. These cradles can be slid along the bar and rotated to ensure they have the best possible grip on your bike. Once in position simply tighten the zip strips and your bike is done. The lower bar is padded to prevent any damage to your vehicle or your bike if it swings in transit. It is a good idea to put an extra strap round this bar and the lower part of your bike; this will prevent any swinging which can make an annoying thudding noise as you drive.
It is important to note that each bike on this rack should weigh no more than 30 pounds. As with most Yakima products, you’ll find a bottle opener incorporated; you never know when it may be useful!
You should also be aware that if you don’t like the angle that your bike is hanging at it is possible to get an adaptor bar; this will ensure it hangs like a men’s mountain bike.
A Guide To Choosing The Best Yakima Bike Rack
There is no doubt that Yakima offers an impressive range of bike racks. Whether you want the Yakima bike rack hitch design, the Yakima roof bike rack or Yakima bike rack parts you will find what you need to carry your bikes safely between venues.
However, while some of these racks look fantastic it is important that you consider all the options and factors before you select the right Yakima bike rack.
Number Of Bikes
The most important thing to consider is how many bikes are you likely to carry. If you only have one then all the options are open to you. However, if you need to carry 4 you may find that you don’t have enough roof space to consider any of the Yakima roof bike rack systems.
It is also worth noting that some of the bike racks which state they take 4 bikes are working on the assumption that you are taking 4 very skinny bikes with carefully positioned handlebars and pedals. In general, it is best to choose a rack that can take one more bike than you think you’ll ever carry.
There aren’t many options for 5 bikes so if you are carrying 4 it’s worth measuring them all packed together before you choose the right rack. This is one time when bigger probably is better.
Some of the best bike racks can be in the hundreds while the cheapest, strap style racks can be had for less than $50.
You need to consider what you can afford and how often you’ll be using the bike rack. Occasional use means you’re probably better going with one of the cheaper options but if you ride all the time and your budget won’t stretch to the top end racks you may need to wait and save in order to get the right rack for your needs.
Choosing the right bike rack means knowing how much you can afford to spend and then sticking to that budget; no matter how important the bike rack is there is no point in getting yourself into debt when you can wait and save.
Type Of Rack
In part, the type of car you have will dictate the type of rack you have. For example, if you only need a bike rack for occasional use and don’t have a tow hitch on your car then it is not a good idea to look at the Yakima bike rack hitch designs; you’ll simply be wasting money.
As well as considering what vehicle you have you should consider if you are likely to change it in the next year or two and if so what you are likely to replace it with. You’ll want to choose a Yakima bike rack that will fit your current car and the one you hope to have in the future.
The strap mounted trunk bike rack is not generally as stable as a Yakima bike rack hitch design but that doesn’t mean you should rule it out. Even some of the hitch mounted versions are not sable if they are not fitted properly.
Your decision in this regard will need to be based on how often you use the rack, the distances you travel and the value of your bikes. Knowing what you actually need will help you to consider which rack is most stable and how stable you need it to be; in line with your bike type and budget.
Affect on Fuel Economy
The heavier the bike rack the more drag it is likely to cause on your vehicle; increasing your fuel consumption. This is why it is worth looking at the weight of a rack before you buy. Heavier racks are likely to handle more bikes and probably be more stable at speed.
Again, you’ll need to consider how much you use your bikes to establish how important its effect on fuel economy is. You should also think about how easy it is to install the bike rack; the harder it is the more likely it is that you’ll leave it in situ; increasing your fuel costs even when the bike isn’t with you.
Yakima is one of the best-established manufacturers and suppliers of bike racks; that’s why they can afford to give lifetime warranties away with their products. However, this doesn’t mean all the manufacturers of bike racks create their products to the same standards.
Before you select a bike rack it is important to consider who has made it and what it is made from. This will help you to decide if it will last for years or not. You should also speak to family and friends to see if they have any experience with a specific bike rack or manufacturer. It can also help to look on social media sites where you’ll find honest feedback regarding people’s experience with specific bike racks.
Of course, you’ll need to remember that not every customer can be satisfied; a few complaints or issues is fine; it’s when there are more complaints than happy customers you need to be really concerned.
Most manufacturers will also have websites where you can verify how long they have been in business. A young company can produce great products but you do need to check that it is likely that it will still be round in 30 years; when you need to use that warranty! The best way to check this is to look at the vision statement of the company and what their aims are.
Some of the Yakima bike racks come with security built into them. Others have extra packages which can be purchased to give you the security you need.
The first thing you need to consider is how important is security? If you only ever use your rack to take your bike from your home to the local trail then you probably don’t need to worry about locking your bike on the rack. However, if you are likely to leave it at any point during this time and your bike is of any value then you will need a means of locking it to your rack.
In general, it’s a good idea to lock your rack to your vehicle. You are certain to leave this unattended while you are riding and you may leave your rack on most of the time. To avoid it being stolen you need to choose one that has a locking mechanism or invest in a god locking cable system; just make sure it doesn’t clunk against your vehicle as you’re driving. If it does it will be annoying and could damage your car.
Many of the Yakima bike racks listed will obscure your registration plate. If the rack doesn’t then it will once the bikes are on. This isn’t true for Yakima roof bike racks but is definitely true if you’ve opted for the Yakima bike rack hitch design.
If this is the case you need to factor in the cost of a registration plate and lighting board; in most places, this is a legal requirement even if you’re driving in the daylight. You also need to consider how easy it is to fit these things to the bike rack. Some racks have specifically designed holes, slots or hooks; others do not. Take a look before you buy to ensure you can fix the registration and lighting board on easily when you need to.
Bike Attachment Point
Most of the modern bike racks use rubber clamps or the zip strip system like Yakima. This is an effective and safe way to secure your bike. However, this is not true of all bike racks. Some still clamp with a U bolt or other mechanism.
You need to consider how easy it is to secure your bike in the rack and whether the clamp will do any damage to your bike; if it is likely to then you may be better to choose a different bike rack. Once your bike is damaged it is very difficult to undo the damage. The right attachment system should be easy to use and prevent your bikes from swaying; minimizing the risk of damage in transit.
Finally, you need to consider how easy it is to fit the rack to your vehicle. This is directly connected to how often you’ll need to use the rack.
If you’re getting one to use once a year on your annual vacation then you should focus on one that is very easy to put on and take off. This will be beneficial as you probably won’t remember how it went on if you haven’t done it for a while.
Equally, if you are using your rack all the time then it may be preferable that it is difficult to put on and take off. This will discourage other people from trying and help to keep your rack safe. Providing it works as intended then leaving it on your vehicle should be no hardship.
However, if you are intending to leave your rack on then it is advisable to get a hitch mounted one; so that you can still access your trunk when you need to.
The Bottom Line
Your vehicle is ready and willing to carry your bike or bikes wherever you want them to go. All you have to do is choose the right Yakima bike rack for your needs and get it fitted to your car. As already mentioned some of the best options are undoubtedly the Yakima bike rack hitch design; these can retain trunk access while giving you an easy system to use. Providing you comply with the laws of the road you will find that it is a pleasure taking your bikes anywhere with you.
Personally, I believe the Yakima Ridgeback is the best hitch mounted design. It is durable, easy to use and looks good. However, if your budget is limited or you won’t be using the rack much then choose the Yakima Fullback; it’s still a good bike carrier even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of the other models have.
Equally, if you need something that can stay on your car permanently but you don’t have a tow hitch then you should consider the Yakima Frontloader. It’s a great system that, once attached, will barely be noticeable but will ensure you can take your bike anywhere at a moment’s notice. At the end of the day, that’s what you really need in a bike rack.