Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - WORDS: MIKE BLEWITT IM­AGES: MIKE BLEWITT

For nearly five years I have opted to trans­port my bikes on the top of my car, af­ter hold­ing out for a very long time and al­ways mak­ing them fit in the back of the car. The trou­ble with putting bikes in­side when you’re a moun­tain biker is all the trail grime and dirt or mud that comes with them. And while I still don’t own a car worth more than my bikes, I do ap­pre­ci­ate not hav­ing chain­ring marks on the roof of my, and dried mud caked into the in­te­rior. Af­ter some solid ser­vice, I up­graded the Yakima Fron­tLoader racks on top of my Subaru Forester, which re­ally won me over as a se­cure op­tion for just about any bike. The clamp the front wheel and se­cure the rear, so there is no clamp­ing of a light­weight frame, no is­sue with fork stan­dards or frame shapes, and no dirty front wheel to store in the car. While the Fron­tLoader is by no means out of date, the new Yakima HighRoad im­proves on the that model a lit­tle. The best bits re­main, such as ver­sa­til­ity for car­ry­ing just about any from a 26” wheeled bike up to a 29 Plus bike, in­te­grated locks, and bombproof con­struc­tion. The HighRoad gains tool-free at­tach­ment which makes fit­ting and re­mov­ing the rack a cinch if you’re not a fre­quent user of the roof rack sys­tem. The at­tach­ment sys­tem re­lies on straps that op­er­ate on a cam to achieve the right hold, and once tight they don’t budge. But if you need to ad­just the rack in or out a lit­tle to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent bikes and han­dle­bar width, it’s not even a 30 sec­ond job. For me, the best change is the re­ten­tion sys­tem. With the HighRoad you don’t need to ad­just the front sec­tion if you change wheel sizes. While this was never a huge is­sue, if you’ve got a mix of bikes be­tween you and your part­ner or mates, it’s nice to know that the rack is just good to go. The Torque-Right ad­just­ment knob is also a lot bet­ter than the ad­just­ment on the Fron­tLoader. It’s pre­cise, and winds up eas­ily and re­leases eas­ily. The sprung re­lease on the pre­vi­ous model never truly worked for me, but this new sys­tem is fault­less. Yakima have also moved the SKS lock equipped ca­ble into the tray of the rack. So it doesn’t flap around and get caught on the big chain­ring of a cy­clocross or road bike like the pre­vi­ous model, while still of­fer­ing the se­cu­rity you need when leav­ing your bikes unat­tended for a post ride burger. I’m sold on putting bikes on the roof, and I truly pre­fer the roof rack op­tions that keep the front wheel on. I have also been us­ing the new Yakima HighSpeed, which clamps your fork’s through-axle, by­pass­ing any is­sues of 12mm, 15mm, 20mm or Boost spac­ing. And while it means a front wheel comes in­side, you do end up with a lighter bike to lift onto the roof and you don’t need to lift as far – which can make a dif­fer­ence on many cars – you can find our review of the HighSpeed on Yakima have im­proved on their pre­mium roof rack of­fer­ing, mak­ing it eas­ier to use and a lit­tle more sleek at the same time. Given the trou­ble-free use I’ve had from the Fron­tLoader, I’m look­ing for­ward to more years of the same with the HighRoad.


- Tool free at­tach­ment - No clamp­ing of the frame - No wheels in the car - Su­per sta­ble, and lock­able


- The to­tal sys­tem cost adds up if you don’t have roof­bars - Re­mem­ber the car­port or garage



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