YAKIMA CRASHPAD

Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - WORDS: MIKE BLEWITT IMAGES: TIM BARDSLEY-SMITH

Ear­lier this year we were lucky to be loaned a big Isuzu D-Max for a cou­ple of weeks while we worked on some bike tests and photo shoots on the trails in South-East Queens­land. With rid­ers car­ried in the cab up front, and room for bikes in the tray, the ob­vi­ous thing that was miss­ing was a way to make sure the bikes were trans­ported safely. That’s where the Yakima Crashpad comes in. Pull in to any trail­head carpark and you’ll see peo­ple us­ing a whole range of meth­ods for car­ry­ing their bikes to the trail. There are roof racks with the front wheel on, or off. Or the tetris op­tion of fit­ting bikes and gear in the back of the car – some­times this game is more com­plex with smaller cars and more rid­ers. There are hitch mount racks, older style top-tube clamp­ing racks, and of course the ques­tion­able occy strap to plain old roof bars. Don’t laugh, it gets seen more of­ten than you’d think. But with a whole tray to use, one of the eas­i­est op­tions is to just lob your bike in with both wheels on. Prod­ucts like the Yakima Crashpad fit se­curely over the back of the tray, pad­ding both the bike and your tail­gate from dam­age.

FIT­TING THE CRASHPAD

This was easy. With a few straps the high-den­sity foam of the Yakima Crashpad wraps over just about any tail­gate, and the bal­lis­tic ny­lon means the foam will last for a long time too. There’s a flap to get to the latch, and the fit is se­cure. It would be good if it was a lit­tle eas­ier to take off and re­fit, as not ev­ery­one will want to show their moun­tain bike pride with their ute the whole time.

LOCK AND LOAD – SORT OF

All that’s left to do once the Crashpad is fit­ted is load your bikes in. The tail­gate fits neatly be­tween the fork and down­tube, with the bars

HITS

- Sim­ple to use - Good value - Pro­tects your car and your bike

MISSES

- Not easy on/easy off - No tie down op­tion

RRP: FROM:

$150 yakima.com.au turned 90 de­grees. It’s a re­ally solid fit. And you should be able to get three or maybe four bikes in. There is a lit­tle bit of rub on the bikes, and it’s more likely to be be­tween the bikes - which you can avoid by plac­ing some old camp­ing mats in be­tween them. Just tie them in so they don’t fly away! One down­side is the in­abil­ity to strap the bikes into place. This is mostly for peace of mind as the bikes didn’t shift once we put them down. Other prod­ucts do have tie-down straps, and we felt they would be a good ad­di­tion here. Our only other con­cern was with clos­ing the tail­gate. This was a one-off, but some part of the Crashpad in­ter­fered with the latch, and it re­sulted in a tan­gle of fac­tory Yetis slid­ing down the road at about 80km/h. User er­ror was to blame, but it does high­light the fact that mount­ing the bikes safely in the tray and mak­ing sure the tail­gate it­self is closed se­curely is up to you – as it’s an in­te­gral part of the se­cu­rity of the car­ry­ing sys­tem, and of pro­tect­ing other mo­torists. That’s re­gard­less of whether you have bikes on the tail­gate or any­thing else in the tray!

A NEAT SO­LU­TION

Yakima claim the Crashpad is a ‘has­sle free’ way to load bikes into the tray of a ute. And I agree whole­heart­edly. We put hard­tails, all-moun­tain bikes, cross-coun­try bikes, and even road and cy­clocross bikes over the tray with no is­sues with mount­ing or sta­bil­ity. It re­ally is a has­sle free way to take your bike to the trails. But for long trips or on rougher roads, the peace of mind of be­ing able to strap the down­tube to the pad would be a nice ad­di­tion.

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