Yakima Steelhead Bike Mount Bike Rack

3.81/5 (16 Reviews)
MSRP : $54.00


Product Description

Replacement Yakima SteelHead Body Assembly.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Scalped a Racer from Stillwater, MN

Date Reviewed: February 24, 2011

Strengths:    Works great when new and holds bike firmly.

Weaknesses:    Doesn't really lock and isn't truly secure. The biggest weaknesses I have been frustrated with are the design of the skewer which oxidizes and becomes difficult to adjust to different bikes, and worse yet, the red plastic locking tabs are complete junk. I have six of these racks and three are broken, three I don't dare remove from the crossbars as they are about to fail. Yakima support will gladly send me replacements for a mere $54 per rack. NO THANKS YAKIMA. Your choice of such a cheap plastic and unwillingness to replace at a reasonable cost has me shopping for Thule.

Bottom Line:   
They cut corners on a few critical parts. No problem if they would only stand behind them and at least sell parts somewhere in this stratosphere. One of the bike shops I used to frequent closed a couple years back, and the shop I use now didn't seem to be able to work things out with Yakima. Here's a quote from the e-mail response from Yakima regarding this issue after I told them I got nowhere with my LBS:

"We have replacements that can be order 8820041 - $54 each. But if you are looking for a warranty we should work through the dealer."

Maybe I'm expecting too much? I want to stick with a US product but this doesn't help.

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Favorite Trail:   CAMBA Trails in the Chequemegon Ntl Forest

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Various retailers

Similar Products Used:   I've always been a loyal Yakima user...

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Scalpel, SRAM XO, Mavic Crossmax SLRs and Cannondale SIX13, plus 10 other rides to be named at a later date.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kdq84 a Weekend Warrior from Buffalo, NY

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2008

Strengths:    Holds on to the bike very well, much better than upright bike mounts. It is the only rack that is able to clear the back hatch of my car while the rack is mounted the correct way (not backwards where I have to mount upright ones to be able to open the back hatch with rack on) When the bike is locked (properly) there is no chance the bike will come off the car without the key.

Weaknesses:    This rack cannot be used with bikes that have disc brakes. You need to find storage space for the front tire of the bike or buy the roof mount tire storage. The pin in the front part oxidized and forced me to replace the front part of the rack. (Needles to say this was after 3 years of use…Including one winter on the car…Need I say salt?) Improper closing of the front mechanism caused the bike to release while driving.

Bottom Line:   
I would defiantly buy this rack again if I were not switching to disc brakes on my bike. Make sure to take the rack off and periodically check the front pin to check structural integrity of it. If the rack if a few years old make sure that the front locking mechanism is sliding freely, mine stop sliding freely (for reasons I am not able to determine) which caused my bike to release. When this did happen Yakima customer service was extremely good offered me a new rack since it did some damage to my car. Thanks to their customer service I am going to go out and get another Viper rack.

MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE RACK OFTEN TO MAKE SURE IT IS LOCKING THE BIKE IN PROPERLY

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Favorite Trail:   Tryon Park

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   Gallians

Similar Products Used:   Upright Yakima racks, Hitch Yakima Racks, RockyMounts Noose

Bike Setup:   Up to now Trek 6000 bone stock, Building up a Kona Bear

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Greggar a Cross Country Rider from San Jose, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: June 21, 2006

Strengths:    Lots. I don't think anybody would argue that Yakima makes good quality products and backs them up.

Weaknesses:    Incompatible with some front shocks. Easily stolen.

Bottom Line:   
All it takes to remove this bike mount from the system rack is to open the red lever and unscrew the rear wheel holder. Granted, any thief would wind up with a stolen bike attached to a Yakima roof rack accessory, but still, you're bike is not really locked to the rack at all. Even worse is the "lock" itself. It's so big and so close to the rack bars that some front shocks leave nowhere to close the skewer because the lever to throw is so big. I found one fix to this issue and that's to get the $25 Yakima skewer which has a centimeter or two of offset. As near as I can figure, that makes a Steelhead a Copperhead, so I recommend buying that, instead. Don't get me wrong, this is still a better setup than Thule. That's not saying much, though.

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Favorite Trail:   Phil's Trail

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Can't Remember

Similar Products Used:   Various and sundry Thule and Yakima products.

Bike Setup:   A good smattering of everything from dirt to pavement, but no BMX.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mike a Weekend Warrior from Rancho Cordova Ca

Date Reviewed: November 21, 2005

Strengths:    Sturdy, reliable, cool looks, and good yakima product support, with security cores your bike is kinda secure at least if it is locked.

Weaknesses:    The red plastic degrades rather easily specially if you leave it on your vehicle all the time.This will prevent you to clamp the steelhead on the round bars. My Manitou Skareb fork had a difficult time to fit on the short skewer, hard to mount on top of the truck after a ride when your wiped out!!! Not a disc compatible fork...

Bottom Line:   
I was looking a bike rack that looks cool and very reliable.
Local bike shop suggested two, Yakima or Thule... I picked the former. Glad that I did coz I went off roading with my bikes on and still it kept from snapping off. I used it with 3 car set up already and have 3 of them. 2 are 10 years old. I broke the red plastic clamp lock 4 times and yakima sent me head replacements all the time. No questions asked. I wish they make it a little durable on this part.
My disc equipped bike was a problem, local bike shop in Sacto, suggested that I cut the top left side of the tray so the caliper wont hit it.It worked now I can place my Santa Cruz Blur. It's a good buy for anyone who has a bike for travel to bike trails... 4 for value coz you gotta find a good deal for this. 4 for overall coz its not disc compatible and my Skareb fork wont fit in the older versions. BTW my newer steelhead the 3rd on is 3 years old, with the Skareb fitting no problem.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All Auburn Trail

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $90.00

Purchased At:   Local Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher Tassajara 02, Trek 7600 FX 2000, Santa Cruz Blur 05

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Todd a Racer from Evansville, IN, USA

Date Reviewed: June 13, 2005

Strengths:    easy to install, holds bikes well at high speed & windy/rainy condition

Weaknesses:    The adjustment knob on the skewer is hard to turn somtimes so you have to use pliers. I've also had a problem with stripping this knob that threads onto the end of the skewers. It could be that I'm over tighting these things and causing it to fail, but there's only about 1cm of threads inside these nuts so it's not too hard to pull them out. Luckily I've never had these fail on the road and lose a bike and Yakima has been nice enough to send me 2 replacements for free. I'd just caution anyone using the Steelhead that the skewers don't need to be super tight to hold the bike.

Bottom Line:   
It's a little pricey, but a good product. I think they should do a little redesigning to the skewer.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   LBL

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   don't remember

Similar Products Used:   thule trunk mount

Bike Setup:   Merlin MTB, Jekyll MTB, DEAN road, Litespeed road, Spicer single speed

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave a Cross Country Rider from Denver

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2005

Strengths:    Everything about this rack is good! Solid, secure, great lock.

Weaknesses:    No complaints

Bottom Line:   
I used these racks for 10 years on the roof on my 4Runner. Drove thousands of miles with road bikes and mountain bikes, through all kinds of wind, snow, 4 wheel driving, you name it. The rack never flinched. Every bike, mine and friends fit on them. I sold the 4 Runner for a PU, so I was forced to switch systems - otherwise I would still be using the now 11 year old Steelhead. Worth its weight in gold!

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $80.00

Purchased At:   Car Dealer

Similar Products Used:   Very old Thule

Bike Setup:   FS Homegrown

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tim a Weekend Warrior from Lafayette

Date Reviewed: February 12, 2005

Strengths:    Very sturdy. Once installed, it's very easy for the user to unlock and remove the steelhead. This would allow easy switching rack configurations, for example, from bike carrier to canoe carrier without having to adjust your roundbars. Looks cool on the van.

Weaknesses:    It appears that, on the Steelhead, the skewer locking device is a bit wider at the point where it contacts the front fork than on the Viper. I imagine that this could cause interferrence on some front forks. I can see that one of my front forks nearly has an issue there. I've resigned myself to the fact that it will eventually wear the paint at that small spot. If you think that might be an issue, consider looking at the more expensive Viper. Also, I would not consider using this without installing the locking SKS cores. With the lock, the tray is secure (even without a bike on it). But without a lock in the skewer, it would only take 10-20 seconds for someone to steal the mount off your roundbars.

Bottom Line:   
Only used for one weekend so far. Like others say, Steelheads are very stable and sturdy. I found installation to be relatively easy and intuitive. Sliding on the rear wheel strap took some force, but once in the proper position, it is very easy to use. Putting my 28 pound bike on the roof of our van is not as hard as I thought it might be. With the sliding door open, using the van floor as a step, it only takes me about 30 seconds to get my bike mounted and secured. I like the steelhead.

NOTE: Get smart. Each time you load your bikes, put something in front of your garage to remind you you have bikes on top. I did and it has worked so far. Next check for tree branches hanging over your driveway. I didn't, and I got an early start on my annual pruning chores.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Backpacker in Baton Rouge

Similar Products Used:   Yakima Treadhead sparetire-mounted bike carrier.

Bike Setup:   Old Trek 990 hardtail

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eric a Cross Country Rider from Pasadena, CA

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2004

Strengths:    Strong, holds bikes well, easy to install, lock cores available.

Weaknesses:    Skewer action can be somewhat sticky.

Bottom Line:   
I've been using this rack for 5 years, on two different vehicles, and for thousands of miles of carrying bikes (including several cross country trips). I've not had skewer length problems with RS or Marzocchi forks, the bikes don't get scratched up (aren't trunk racks wonderful?), and the racks are stiff enough for any terrain - albeit I have never carried a DH rig. The only complaint I might have is some corrosion on the skewers - this creates some rough action when trying to clamp down on the fork. Of course, the rack has never been garaged, so I think this is acceptable for the number of years of environmental exposure. Sure, they are expensive, but so are the bikes... Nothing like the peace of mind knowing your bikes will still be there at the end of a trip.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   I have to choose only one?

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Various trunk racks, old style Thule.

Bike Setup:   Trek Fuel, Specialized M2 hardtail, various road bikes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alan a Weekend Warrior from CA,USA

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2003

Strengths:    Quality construction, easy to mount on yakima crossbar and also easy for the bike to mount on the rack. The bike is very secure on the rack. Never had any doubt.

Weaknesses:    i) Some surface on the skewer developed some surface rust within a week I put it on my car, but I guess it is only cosmetic since the mechanism is still working great after two years. ( I got it brand new off ebay ),
ii) The skewer is not long enough for some fork, but I have found a easy solution for it ( read below ).
iii) My version comes with a separate road bike tire adapter, making the rear rim thicker for the strap to hold on to. Of course I losted it like everyone else and there is no replacement. ( Called yakima and they say they don't ship those adapters anymore ).


Bottom Line:   
Overall I am very pleased with the steelhead, especially I got it brand new at a low price. The only problem I had so far is the skewer is not long enough for the Manitou Black Comp fork I had on my Jamis. I had done some reseach and found a few possible solutions.

i) If you also had a clearance problem, which I don't have, and $40, hurriance components made a product called forkup. You won't be able to lock your bike on the rack anymore though. However I heard that it is difficult to locate this product. Seems it is out of stock in many places.

ii) A cheaper solution is to replace the yakima locking skewer with a regular 9mm skewer, for around $10. You won't be able to lock the bike either. Customer service in Yakima also carries something like this, the product number is #8820123. It is not on the web but the guy over the phone told me about it.

iii) This is the work around I go with. You can still lock your bike on the rack. On the yakima skewer, screw the nut on the other end ( not the one with the latching and locking mechanism ) all the way in. You will see a lock ring there. This lock ring prevents someone removing the nut from the skewer. Removing this lock ring will give you a lot of extra turns when backing off the nut for a longer skewer. You can still lock your bike without the lock ring, but when your rack is empty, people can now unscrew the nut and remove the skewer.

Anyways, other than the little rust developed on the skewer, and the short skewer, this product is up to my expectation in every ways. I will definitely go again with yakima's products from my experience with them. Customer service is great too.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Still exploring

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $80.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Some kind of a trunk mounted bike rack, forgot the name. Never used it anymore once I had the steelhead.

Bike Setup:   Jamis Dakar Sport, Trek 4300...

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by HANS S a Weekend Warrior from BILLINGS, MT, USA

Date Reviewed: September 22, 2003

Strengths:    good security...no modifications needed on bike rack

Bottom Line:   
never used any other rack system untill i purchased yakima...great product...i have no regrets...easy to install..didnt need to use any tools...i have used it every weekend and i cant wait to use it the next weekend...the steelhead can be move on the cross bars without removing it from the cross bars...make sure to get a fairing it really helps to eliminate wind noise and drag...i drove 1200 miles in 30mph+ cross winds with 2 bikes on top at speeds of 90mph+ with no worrys whether our bikes would be there...so i recommend this product to beginner or advanced bikers...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $109.00

Purchased At:   rackwarehouse.com


Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by madboy a Weekend Warrior from San Francisco, CA

Date Reviewed: July 2, 2003

Strengths:    Sturdy rack, good clamping system, low profile rack.

Weaknesses:    Doesn't fit all MTB forks

Bottom Line:   
In need of a bike rack, I was going to purchase the SteelHeads off a friend, whom had to get a new rack when he bought a new car. I tested the rack with my bikes before buying it, as I had read & heard that the Steelheads didn't work with some forks and/or disc brake bikes.

Turns out it worked fine on one of my bikes with a Fox F80X.

The clamp wouldn't open large enough to lock onto my Manitou Scarab fork. While the fork would fit into the clamp, the clam wouldn't close.

I'm rather disappointed with Yakima on this design as it seems like a very trivial problem to correct, in having the clamp long enough to work with most MTB forks. Yakima uses the following marketing quote to describe the rack:

"Long throw 9 mm quick-release skewer grasps any size moutain or road bike fork".

Not really. Didn't work on my Scarab fork.
Bottom line ... seems like a good rack, but make sure it fits the fork on your bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Adrian a Cross Country Rider from Tijuana, Mexico.

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2003

Strengths:    Good design.
Easy set-up.
Holds bike secure, even off-road.


Weaknesses:    Won't fit some weird-design forks.

Bottom Line:   
If your usual rides do not require you driving though dirt trails, the Steelhead will probably seem "overqualified" for you. For paved road driving, go with a less expensive copperhead, boas, or even their upright mount-style racks.
I often have to drive off-road to get to the trails I ride, so I need the extra stiffness of the Steelhead. I've seen bikes fall off from other mounts, but I've had no problems with the Steelhead, even at moderate speed though bumpy dirt roads.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $80.00

Purchased At:   REI (20% off sale)

Similar Products Used:   Other Yakima racks.

Bike Setup:   Trek Fuel 98.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeff a Weekend Warrior from Longmont, CO

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2002

Strengths:    Bombproof construction, quality materials and proven design.

Weaknesses:    Steelhead locking skewers won't adjust far enough for some front shocks (especially disc setups)

Bottom Line:   
Yak makes awesome racks, period. Years of abuse including storing it on a damp basement floor, leaving it on the roof over the winter, desert grit, car washes etc and not a spot of rust. The stainless locking head is secure, no need to worry about your cargo falling off unless you drive into the garage with it on the roof. Holds my road and mountain bikes like a vise, only lately with my disc setup the skewer won't open enough to hold my new fork. A longer skewer retro-fit ought to cure that.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $100.00

Similar Products Used:   bargain basement no-name jobs.

Bike Setup:   Specialized Rockhopper FS, Trek Carbon Pro, Schwinn Rocket 88 Stage-4

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Rick a Cross Country Rider from Buena Vista

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2002

Strengths:    Stable mount holds solid even in heavy crosswind

Weaknesses:    Doesn't fit all mtb front shock drop outs. I just purchased a brand new Trek fuel 90 for my wife and the skewer on the Steelhead will not adjust out far enough to accomodate the front fork drop out. The skewer adjusts out far enough to handle the Rock Shock Duke on my Stumpy, but it makes the locks useless. There is a pin that slides into the head of the Steelhead as you adjust the skewer down for the proper tension to hold the front fork. The pin locks down the front lever which holds the rack onto the bar. You have to have the skewer adjusted out so far that the pin does not protrude into the head. You think you have your bike locked on but it would be easy to just remove the bike and the bike rack right off of the cross bars.

Bottom Line:   
Good mount for road bikes - stay away from it if you are transporting MTB's with a front shock! I called Yakima about the problem and they referred me to an aftermarket company to purchase a longer skewer. That would be great but I still can't lock the bike rack onto the crossbars. Back to the drawing board Yakima!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   any single track

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $98.00

Bike Setup:   Specialized FSR XC with Rock Shock Duke and Trek fuel 90 wsd with Manitou Black Diva shock.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kevin a Cross Country Rider from Cary, NC

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2002

Strengths:    Build Quality. Long throw skewer.

Weaknesses:    None so far

Bottom Line:   
Great product. Easy to install. Easy to use. Beefy Skewer. SKS System. I like this much better than the Thule products I used in the past.

I bought one of the trays at THE CLEAN MACHINE in Carborro, NC. REI only had one in stock and I needed two. STEER CLEAR of The Clean Machine in Carborro, NC. I bought a few things there in the past and thought it was a good shop. Then when I bought my wife a bike they wanted extra money to swap out the stem for a longer one. Same brand and everything, just 10mm longer. I was dropping close to a grand on a bike and they wanted another 30 for a longer stem. I've never heard of a bike shop doing this. So if you want to get hosed on a bike go see Scott Smith at the Clean Machine in Carborro, NC. Scott Smith and his partners also own two other bike shops in the area: Franklin Street Cycles in Chapel Hill & The Cycle Center in Durham. Shop here if you like taking it in the ass from your local bike shop. Just be sure to bring some SynLube...but don't buy it there.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $99.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Thule


Reviews 1 - 15 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Yakima - Viper vs SteelHead bike mount??

I'm thinking of getting a Yakima bike rack for my Jetta to haul around my GF HiFi - rather than putting it the trunk, and also allow brining a friend's bike along. Debating between the Viper vs the SteelHead bike mount. What are major differences? Is the Viper worth the extra if just using wit ... Read More »

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