A quick trip to the Yakima booth and I was able to see an array of new products and some refinements to existing products already in the line. The hitch-mount bike rack market is heating up and Yakima is stoked to bring some refinements to their already-stellar lineup of hitch racks in 2008. As they continue to build out their product line with their updated design language, it’s not just the looks that are being updated, but functionality, ergonomics and burliness all at the same time. Add on top of all these features a Lifetime Warranty, and you’ve got the makings of the best roof and hitch racks, boxes and carriers on the market.
Lets talk about hitch racks. I’ve long been an advocate of using hitch-mounted bike racks. They are easy to use, getting to be lighter weight and sturdy enough to carry whatever you toss on them. That said, hitch racks basically come in two flavors. I’ll call them forklift and wheel-attached. First lets talk forklift.
Yakima SwingDaddy Hitch Rack
The SwingDaddy is the evolution of the Fullswing 4 rack. Believe me, the 2008 SwingDaddy addresses all the pain you may have experienced with the Fullswing or other racks for that matter. Gone are the rubber straps that slowly slide together during the roadtrip, resulting in frame-on-frame contact–with painted metal, that’s not a good thing.
To combat the rubber strap creep, they developed a series of rubberized stopping points on the top of the bars and a strap that slides back and forth on a track, then locks in place where desired. Talk about sweet, this rack has it all. Oh yeah, it also swings full-on out of the way so you can access the back of your rig. I asked if there are any concerns with 4 heavy DH rigs on the back when fully swung out to the side. I was told that more than likely, the hitch on the vehicle would fail before the rack would. Pretty confident, I’d say.
One of the great design elements they are carrying throughout the entire bike and ski lineup is that any adjustment knobs or anything that requires human intervention is red. Why red, you might ask? Well, you’re red-blooded, so think of everything you touch on the rack to be red, or maybe you can think of it as Yakima’s colors… that’s your choice. The SwingDaddy does tip the scales on the expensive side at $439, but if you need the best forklift rack that money can buy, this one is it.
This one is the replacement for the current Hookup bike rack. The Holdup is pretty much the Hookup on a diet, which was well needed. Having used the Hookup, the biggest issue I’ve got with it is its weight and girth… yeah, girth. The thing is huge and heavy, but it holds bikes with vice-like tenacity, so I put up with it.
The 2008 Holdup is lighter and more compact than the previous version, yet it looks to be even sturdier. The locking arms are curved for better wheel placement location and the pin that holds the rack in the down or folded position looks to be replaced with a spring-loaded knob–a huge improvement. And… a new development for this rack is the integrated Yakima LockDown locking system. A great theft deterrent for those quick Slurpee trips. The 2″ version has a $399 pricetag.