Yakima Roof Top Bike Racks
Over Labor Day I had the opportunity to try out three different bike racks from Yakima. I had already purchased the Low Rider towers and a set of 48" bars.
I borrowed four bike rack attachments from a couple friends. Here's what I found after spending a 4 day weekend with these racks:
1 Yakima Ankle Biter
- Both tires held in the tray by straps, and an arm locks onto the peddle crank of the bike. This was the easiest to load. The ratchets on the tire straps were a little tough to undo. Held the bike firmly, and would work with all our bikes. It's a pretty wide unit, so would only fit four on top. I liked this one the best. :29:
2 Yakima Lock Jaw
- Both tires are strapped into the tray, and the bottom tube of the bike is locked in by a triangle shaped arm. It was a little tough getting the clamps lined up and tightened on the bottom tube. After several uses, I finally got the hang of it. Nice rack. Holds the bikes very firmly. Won't work with bikes using oversized bottom tubes. I had to be careful not to pinch derailer cables running along the bottom tube. The front of the Lock Jaw is pretty wide, but I could fit up to four of them on top of the Pilot.
3 Yakima Steel Head
- Remove front wheel, and clamp the forks to the rack. The back tire is held in the tray by straps. . Very easy to load the bike into the rack. Had to store the front tire inside the Pilot. Not a big deal since I put my son's 20" Mongoose in this one. Bike felt solid in the rack. It's the lightest, simplest, narrowest rack of the three. You could most likely fit six of these up there with a little handlebar adjusting. I just didn't like removing the wheel.
Our Pilot drove just fine with four bikes up top. There was a definite feeling of increased resistance, but I was mostly able to keep at 75 mph consistently with minimal downshifts on the hills. Loading and unloading was pretty easy, but then again I'm 6'5"! I did feel a higher center of gravity, but not uncomfortably. Wind noise was minimal, even without a fairing. The bars did not "hum" like they do when they're empty. I prefer this up-top setup over the trailer hitch mounted rack. On our last trip I used our old Rhode Gear 4-bike hitch mounted rack, and felt it weighed down the back of the Pilot too much.
A note about the Low Rider towers: They hold the cross bars very low, not leaving much room to reach under the rack to tighten things.
At this point, I'm considering the Ankle Biter. You don't have to remove the front wheel, and it'll work with a very wide variety of bikes.
Has anyone else used these, and have any input?