a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2010
Strengths: Easy Loading, Quick to switch from one vehicle to other.
Weaknesses: Red Knob- Loosens, Tray shears away from bolts.
I really like how easy the bikes load however. The
Red Knob loosens especially when you decline in altitude and the tire pressure lowers. I have three of them mounted on top of camper shell- On a recent trip to Moab we experience a strong cross wind and all three trays sheared off from the bolts. The bikes remain mounted to cross bars but trays jammed into the bikes causing minor scratching. Poor design on the trays.
Overall i like the system but a few design changes could go along way.
a Weekend Warrior
from Windsor ON, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2008
Strengths: From driver's seat to saddle (or vice versa) in under 5 minutes. Wheels stay on bike. Material quality and workmanship appear to be above par (typical for Yakima)
Weaknesses: Not a very solid setup, wobbly as described by another reviewer. NOT for agressive off-roading with bikes loaded, it says so in the manual! The tray seems a little flimsy in some respects. Poor straps for rear wheel, Velcro would work as well or better. Locking cables are inadequate. Locking clamp interferance with front wheel fender on bike. Relatively expensive MSRP.
Bought 2 of these used, half price on eBay. Installed them in the bed of my Dakota on 2x4s. Can load or unload both bikes in 5 minutes, without getting bent out of shape or scratching the paint. No problems with red knobs, just pull down on the front wheel a bit while snugging them up. The rear wheel straps are a little stripped, but work well once you get the 'knack' and don't over-tighten them. I don't use the locking cables because I don't have lock cores yet, but I do use a 6 ft '1200' Bike Guard cable which secures both bikes to the bed, quickly and visibly.
I'm very happy with these despite a few shortcomings.
I would be less happy if I paid $MSRP.
If you have a pickup truck, I suggest mounting these in, or preferably, above the box. Mine are about 1 ft off the bed on 2x4s, but I plan to raise them completely above the box so I can still use the tonneau for covered storage. With that setup, I could use the roof rack for a canoe, carry two bikes above the tonneau and loads of gear underneath. And still pull a trailer.
If I could afford gas, I would do this and go camping ;^)
Bike Setup: Considered putting these on my Yakima roof rack, but decided to install in the back of my pickup
a Weekend Warrior
from Missoula, Mt, USA
Date Reviewed: July 30, 2007
Strengths: I was sold on the fact it might be really durable and versatile but of course the guys at Rack Attack lied.
Weaknesses: Dont get me wrong it probably can hold lots of different bikes But I only have two. I used this thing 3 weekends in a row run and gun type riding. First the straps broke then I pulled the whole lock bar unit off the plastic broke right out. I wasn't even trying too. I had to fight to get it returned to Rack Attack. I later bought a sidearm from Backcountry racks.com I have only good things to say about them and that product.
If a product breaks stand by it and don't be a dick when someone trys to return a product you told them was durable and it breaks 3 weeks later.
Strengths: Holds my big freeride bike no problem, don't have to take the tire off, with a 20mm thru axle its a huge pain. A little wobbly but hilds the bike pretty well, I feel coinfident.With my suspension system I cannot use any of the hitch mount racks which I prefer.
Weaknesses: I have an 05 Pathfinder, getting my 40+ lb freeride bike on top of the car and into this rack is impossible. My car has deep scratches in it from failed attempts. Now I put my bike in the car if i'm alone, cause you need help getting the bike into the rack.
If you have a little car go for it, but with a large SUV good luck getting your bike on the roof without denting your car or yourself.
Strengths: Decent design, easy to use, holds big tired bikes
Weaknesses: Bad design where tray attaches to front wheel housing base. Typical overpriced Yakima junk
Review for King Cobra:
The issue is exactly the same as some of the other readers, the tray has sheared away from the 2 bolts that atttach the front of the tray to the wheel housing base. I've used maybe 5-6 times total. The design problem is that when you tighten down the red knob, it pulls the tray away from the 2 wing nutted bolts. But you have to tighten down the red knob in order for the bike to be held securily. The section of the tray needs to be made out of the same material as the wheel housing base (steel) in order for this not to happen. The aluminum cannot withstand the amount of pull that NEEDs to occur to hold your bike on. I have not dealt with Yakima on this issue yet but I will not replace this with the same $135 piece of junk. 2 Chilis for a good concept
Similar Products Used: Unisport Rack System - 11 years old still running strong, cheaper but much more well made then Yakima or Thule
Bike Setup: 40lb AM bike
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2006
Strengths: Fits all bikes, pretty solid, work well after a minor modification that should have been done by Yakima. Quick loading.
Weaknesses: Does need a lock washer installed on the red knob, take 5 minutes to do tops and your problems are fixed - easy to do before you use it. Rear wheel strap design could be better, takes a bit of practice to get the technique right. Aren't the greatest for vertically challenged people.
I have no problems with the racks, I have two - my friends also have a couple, after adding a lock washer. I have driven to Moab twice with these racks, 21 hours each way, North Van (12 hours each way) 5 times, lots of 6 hour weekends with NO loosening of the red knob. I use the lock washer and pull down on the front wheel when tightening to preload it. Simple. The design could use some imrovement, maybe a more fool proof system to replace the red knob, and a smoother rear wheel strap.
Similar Products Used: Lots of fork mounts, thules similarly designed rack that I can't remember name of.
Bike Setup: Fat Freeride bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from Bucks County PA
Date Reviewed: May 5, 2006
Strengths: Cool design, if I ever can get all the bugs out of the installation (and find a way to lift the damn bike 6 ft + without twisting my back apart)
Weaknesses: Manual sucks (don't they all), mighty mounts come loose, rear trim piece hard to get on.
Ok first of all the manual kind-of sucked. Wasn't the worse I've seen, but not very clear. Being a writer, and not mechanically inclined, this manual sucking thing is a pet peeve of mine. Most manuals rely almost exclusively on parts pictures and simply tell you the order to do things in but almost never spell how EXACTLY HOW to do them. This is why you can usually put a second gizmo together in a quarter of the time the first one took (once you have figured out the details on your own).
For those of us mounting the Cobra on a factory rack this manual had absolutely nothing-nada-zip about how to mount the rear Yakima mighty mount to the wheel tray. I ended up drilling my own hole, after lining it up on my factory rack.
See my Isuzu Vehicross SUV came stock with a nice Yakima rack, but not the round kind the standard little Yakima mounts fit on. I think it's one Yakima made just for the Vehicross. Anyway, I needed to buy a set of Yakima mighty mounts (4 although you only need 3 for the Cobra), which are basically half moon shaped clamps that mount on the bottom of the cobra and squeeze the wide flat rails of my factory Yakima rack, holding the Cobra to the truck. Well, not really HOLDING at all, and that is the problem.
I put the bike up and did a test run today, just around the neigborhood, and by the time I went around the block the mighty mount wheel-nuts went from so tight it hurt my fingers to turn em more ... to totally loosey goosey. These things don't come with any lock washers (like the infamous red knob).
Now I should mention, the Vehicross comes stock with a competition suspension that gives it the hardest/bumpiest ride I've ever driven in my life (my wife calls it the Isuzu Kangaroo) but still the knobs shouldn't work all the way loose after a few blocks. I'm going to try lock washers and maybe some locktight and report back. While I'm at it I'll get a lock washer for the red knob as well - just in cases.
I think there are some design problems here (with all these hand-tightened knobs), especially for an expensive rack. Basically if you have to use the might-mounts on a factory rack watch the hand-tightened wheel nuts that hold the clamps together. They work loose real fast, no matter how tight you get them. Also: you will have to drill your own hole to mount the rear clamp to the wheel tray (not mentioned in Cobra or Mighty-Mount manuals).
Oh and the plastic trim piece that goes on the back of the wheel tray was too tight, the plastic parts on either side of the metal wheel tray were just about touching. I had to pry the slot around it out with a big screw driver, so it would fit on the sheet metal, and bump it on with a mallet.
BTW - Does anyone have a trick for lifting the bike onto the roof of an SUV? I'm 5 ft seven, using a two ft step ladder and still having the damndest time lifting and twisting the bike from the ground to the roof, and especially back down again.
Bike Setup: Sette Frame, Older Shimano parts, blah blah
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, CA
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2006
Strengths: Holds bike securely to the rack. Don't have to worry about taking your front wheel off. King cobra is lockable (with a thin metal cord).
Weaknesses: Rear wheel strap strips too easily. I stripped it the first time I used it. Luckily it still held. Trying to heave your bike on top of the roof without hitting your car is a little difficult, but is expected with this type of rack.
Great roof rack! Yakima products are a little expensive, but worth it.
The red knob people complain about coming loose was not a problem driving an hour and a half, 75mph most the time. All you have to do is put some muscle into it and push down HARD on the front wheel and turn at the same time!
The rear wheel strap strips too easily. It's the type you see on cheap roller blades using a ratcheting mechanism. Maybe I was trying to tighten it too far. Who knows.
I haven't had any problems with any screws or bolts coming loose, but I take it REALLY easy around corners to prevent pulling too many G's.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you can use the faring with this bike rack without mounting the bike rack backwards, you just have to mount the bike rack in a certain position, and you have to take the faring off when mounting and unmounting your bike.
Similar Products Used: Putting bike in the backseat of 2 door Ford Focus.
Bike Setup: 2005 Specialized Enduro Comp.
from Torrance, CA
Date Reviewed: February 4, 2006
Strengths: I can load my 54 lb Downhill rig on this rack, no problem! The red knob is a non-issue, I have no clue what all the complaints are on here?
Weaknesses: The only weakness is the fact that I have a hard time putting my (heavy) bike up on the roof of my car after riding!
All you guys complaining about the red knob are total pansy asses. This rack is freakin' great! So what if you have to tighten the knob down a couple of turns? I have over 4 grand into my bike and I have no problem with this rack at all, I trust it 100%. I think the design is fantastic and I have NO PROBLEM turning the red knob a few times to secure my investment. I wish that I could give it more than 5 chilis!!!
Similar Products Used: None, this is my first roof mounted rack.
Bike Setup: '04 Iron Horse SGS Pro, '05 Shivers, Atomlab DHR rims, DT-Swiss hubs, MRP, Race face Diablous cranks, stem and bars. Blah blah blah...
from Monterey Park, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2005
Strengths: Very easy to load the bike. DOnt have to remove the front wheel so saves me lots of time and dont have to worry about forgetting the front wheel. Happens to my friends.
Weaknesses: None so far. I think the problem with the screws ripping off the bike mounts is because of the weight of the bike and the drivers pulling G's on the turns.
This is a good and fast simple bike rack to use. Loads bike fast and easy. The only draw back is that with the front wheel still on the bike, the bike will be sitting higher on your roof. I think the reason why the screws ripped off of the mount is because oh the higher center of gravity of the bike, so it will swing from side to side more easily. If you corner fast, the weight of the bike will make it lean and that will cause a lot of stress on the screws and mounts. After a while, pop, screw out. I have gone 100 mph with my 40 pound bike on top, but when it comes to turns and cornering, I slow down and try not to pull G's. So far, everything looks A-OK. Hope yours last too. As for the red hold down screw. I driven for 2 hours and its still tight like how I set it on.
a Weekend Warrior
from Sandwich, IL
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2005
Strengths: No more muddy wheels in the back seat.
Weaknesses: Infamous red knob. Backward mounting if you want to use a fairing.
I've used the rack for 4 trips now, all less than 50 miles each. The rack seems to mount the bike fairly solidly, but I generally don't do any off-roading. The red know does seem to loosen a bit, even with the lockwasher modification, but not enough to where the bike seems unstable. I think that the earlier mentioned problem of the tray pulling off of the mounting bolts may be because the rack bars on those particular cars are so close to each other that most of the weight of the bicycle is hanging out over the rear rack bar. This causes the tray to pull up at the front wheel loop assembly. My rack bars are fairly close (22", Scion tC) and when the bike is on the rack the bike's bottom bracket is past the rear rack bar. I drilled the tray for the inside mounting bolt and bent a fender washer to fit the inside of the tray. I then used a longer bolt to go through the tray. I also shimmed with washers the tray slot (where the original carriage bolt went). This may be overkill, but I'm not worried about the bolts pulling out now.
If you want to use a fairing with this rack, the instructions say you should mount the racks backwards. On my car this looks real dorky because the rack then extends about 2 feet over the windshield. I ended up modifying the fairing, but I won't go into that now.
Overall, this rack does seem to be fairly solid, but it is a bit pricey.
Similar Products Used: Trunk mount rack, bed mounted holders in pickup bed.
a Cross Country Rider
from Cola, SC
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2005
Strengths: Ease of use
Weaknesses: The fact that it snapped at the bolts in the exact way RIXTER above reviewed. Driving back from yellowstone I was a bit suprised when someoene pulled up next to me and pointed to my rack. When I stopped it had ripped right from the tray and my very light road bike was hardly holding on.
This rack is not very stable especially with a mtb. Not to mention its just down right ridiculous to pay this much for something and have it fall apart like a piece of garbage. This would be the final straw for yakima if they were the only freakin' pple who make decent racks. 1 chili is generous for the pain in the ass I've had.
a Weekend Warrior
from North Vancouver
Date Reviewed: July 12, 2005
Strengths: Compact size (relative to Thule Super-G), color
Weaknesses: This thing is junk! I went to Whistler and Sun Peaks, had the rack for a total 9 days and the bolts that connected the wheeltray to the wheelhoops assembly tore apart (bolts still connected but ripped from the aluminum tray)! Also the fact that you can't lock the rack to the roof bars, unless you buy the overpriced King Cobra is kinda dumb.
Before I bought it I read a number of folks warning of the red knob coming undone. I checked with Yakima and the local retailer and heard there was no problem. Yakima did say I needed to pre-load the front wheel to ensure a good fit. Regardless of preloading the knob came loose. About ever hour of driving I'd have to tighten it up again. When I got home from my trip the entire wheel tray had become separated. I'm just fortunate something didn't go flying off the roof. Interestingly, the fact that Yakima doesn't use a lock washer with the red-knob but does with the butterfly bolts that connect the wheeltray is strange. Why no lock washers everywhere!?
Similar Products Used: Thule Super-G were rock solid!
Bike Setup: Various DH bikes
a Cross Country Rider
from Overland Park, KS, USA
Date Reviewed: December 7, 2004
Strengths: Secure without having to remove the front wheel. It handles different wheels sizes easily.
Weaknesses: Rack is tall, compared to my viper. Clears my garage door by less than a 1/2 inch.
Good rack. I have not had any cases where the red knob has loosened and that is taking into account several long 4 to 5 hours trips. Holds the bike securly. Nice to have when the bike gets muddy and don't want to remove the front tire.