Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Gear Tests - RRP$449 TESTED BY Justin Walker

THE ALL-NEW Yakima Full­Back 3 is what is termed a strap rack, in that you use a num­ber of straps (four) to se­cure the car­rier to your ve­hi­cle. The Full­Back 3 (the num­ber ob­vi­ously in­di­cat­ing the num­ber of bikes car­ried) works with both sedans and hatch­backs, thanks to that sim­ple but clever ratchet strap sys­tem. The Full­Back 3 is – as with all Yakima gear – built tough. The steel frame fea­tures CNC-bent tub­ing that elim­i­nates the need for welds, thus up­ping the strength fac­tor. Steel does mean ex­tra weight (the unit weighs in at 10.4kg; folded di­men­sions 63.5cm high and 76.2cm wide) but we’d take the ad­di­tional strength and en­hanced fa­tigue lev­els over alu­minium any day for some­thing like this.

Other fea­tures are new Zip Strips that in­clude a padded sec­tion at the frame con­tact point. These are sim­ple to fit as well; push them through from above to the clips un­der­neath un­til it ratch­ets tight enough to hold your frame and you’re done. Su­perCush anti-sway cra­dles do just that – min­imise the sway­ing of loaded bikes in the car­rier when you’re on the road. The two rollers on the top sec­tion of the rack – and cor­re­spond­ing pad­ding at its base (both top and bot­tom are marked clearly) en­sure your ve­hi­cle’s paint­work won’t be marked – as do the rub­ber coated hooks for the four straps.

Fit­ting the Full­Back 3 to your ve­hi­cle is dead­easy; an in­ter­lock­ing hub setup en­sures you can open up the rack to a suit­able an­gle for the rear of your ve­hi­cle, whether it’s a sedan or hatch­back. The dial hub for this ad­just­ment is in the cen­tre of the pivot sec­tion of the car­rier and just needs you to push up with your thumb to un­lock it, then you sim­ply open it to the de­sired an­gle and then let the dial move back to its orig­i­nal po­si­tion to lock the frame in place. Then you feed the top and bot­tom strap hooks through the hatch/boot lid, tighten them (and use the sup­plied bands to se­cure any ex­cess strap length) and it’s on. The two car­rier arms also fea­ture the unique in­ter­lock­ing hub setup and op­er­ate the same way when it comes to po­si­tion­ing them at the cor­rect an­gle (slightly up­ward). Once you’ve got the arms out in po­si­tion, it’s just a mat­ter of plac­ing your bikes on the padded cra­dles, se­cur­ing the Zip Strips and anti-sway cra­dles and you’re all good to go. The anti-sway cra­dles are more than a gim­mick; dur­ing test­ing we com­pared the bike move­ment with and with­out these cra­dles se­cured and they do make a marked dif­fer­ence when it comes to min­imis­ing sway. (One last im­pres­sive fea­ture is the lock­ing setup, with a ca­ble lead­ing back through your hatch/boot lid, en­sur­ing the rack can­not just be lifted off the ve­hi­cle.)

In the past, I have al­ways been slightly du­bi­ous as to how se­cure and func­tional strap racks are; my pre­ferred method of bike trans­port has al­ways been ei­ther a hitch-based so­lu­tion for mul­ti­ple bikes, or a roof-based one for a sin­gle rig. How­ever, this Full­Back 3 has more than con­vinced me of its vi­a­bil­ity as an op­tion for bike trans­port. The fact that it is very quick to set up and take off your ve­hi­cle, is ver­sa­tile to fit ei­ther a sedan or hatch, doesn’t need roof-racks or a hitch for use, is built tough, and it packs down com­pact for stor­age in your garage, sees the Yakima Full­Back 3 present a pos­i­tive case for pur­chase.

The Yakima Full­back 3 is easy to fit to ei­ther a sedan or hatch­back, and holds three bikes se­curely.

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