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While there is nothing wrong with settling for a more affordable hitch rack if it gets the job done, sometimes it is worth splashing out a little bit more to get a top quality product. The Yakima Ridgeback 4-Bike Hitch Rack is one such product. Although this rack can easily set you back three times more than a cheaper rack from Allen Sports, it is definitely not money wasted. I was happy to test out this rack and after using it for a while it will be hard to go back to using anything else. Check out my thoughts on this hitch rack below.
The Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack takes convenience to a whole new level as it ships completely assembled and ready to install. In fact, you don’t even need any tools in order to get the rack set up correctly. The rack is compatible with 1-1/4” as well as 2” and uses three Allen bolts to attach the hitch adapter. Installing the rack is as easy as sliding the tongue of the rack into the hitch receiver and then inserting the red safety pin. A “SpeedKnob” is located on the front end of the tongue and to tightening it requires only turning.
The SpeedKnob has a lock core at the bottom which, when locked, will cause the knob to spin in places without loosening. This is a great anti-theft mechanism and also means that the rack is very stable. Overall I would say that this is one of the easiest racks that I have ever had the pleasure of installing and the only thing that could be slightly problematic is its heavy weight. The sturdiness of the rack does mean it is able to handle loads of up to 150 lbs, which should be adequate for most bikes.
The Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack is able to accommodate most bikes and frame styles and features a nice ratcheting strap system to secure everything in place. Attaching the bikes using the straps is a very straightforward process and each rack also has an anti-sway clamp to prevent the bikes from rocking or bumping into each other. Compared to the amount of sway you’ll find on cheaper bike racks this is a great feature, especially if you have expensive bikes. The plastic straps used feature a grooved design which makes them easy to pull tight. The straps are quite durable, but replacements can also be bought from Yakima if they are lost or broken.
Another feature that I really like about this frame is that it has a slight curve to its mast. This keeps the pedals, sprockets and other parts of the bike away from the frame where they can do damage. The rack is also rust and corrosion resist, with my only complaint being that the Yakima decal is prone to peeling if exposed to the elements for too long. It is a minor issue, but considering the price of the rack I would have liked to see it printed directly on the frame instead of being stuck on.
The rack can conveniently fold away from the car if needed and you can also reduce its profile by lowering the arms. The levers to perform both these tasks are conveniently located on the front of the rack, so no bending down or searching around to find them. The rack is a little heavier than what I would have liked and I can definitely see it adding a bit of drag to the vehicle when you are driving. However, it is very solid and I never felt nervous about the safety of my bikes while using it.
Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack Pros & Cons
This rack requires a sizeable investment, but if you are serious about riding your bike or have a couple of very expensive ones to transport it is a good choice. It is not only very sturdy and safe, but should last you quite a while as well thanks to its durable construction.
Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack Pros
- No tools are required to assemble or install this hitch rack.
- Very durable steel construction
- Compatible with 1-1/4” and 2” hitch receivers.
- The SpeedKnob not only keeps the rack very stable, but can also be locked to prevent tampering.
- This rack ships fully assembled.
- Anit-sway clamps keep the bikes stable during transit and prevents rocking.
- Easy to use ratcheting strap system is used for attaching bikes.
- Innovative curve shaped design for the rack mast decreases risk of damage to bikes.
- The rack can be tilted for easy trunk access.
- The carry arms can be folded down to reduce the profile of the rack.
- The levers to tilt the rack and fold down the arms are conveniently located on the front of the rack.
Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack Cons
- The steel construction of this rack makes it very heavy.
- The price tag is quite steep.
- The sticker on the rack is prone to peeling.
- The weight of the bike can add drag to the vehicle when it is in motion.
I really liked this rack and it definitely lives up to the Yakima brand name. Its price means that it is probably not suited for casual use, but anyone who is serious about the safety of their bikes can do far worse than the Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack.