RockyMounts has quietly become one of the hottest rack makers on the market. And with the established players standing pat for awhile with their upright bike rack designs, it makes sense that RockyMounts would throw in a little disruption in the form of the rowdy BrassKnuckles bike rack.
RockyMounts BrassKnuckles Bike Rack Features:
- Beefy aluminum construction with low-profile tray
- Form-fitting mounting hardware fits all crossbars
- Ergonomic BrassKnuckles handle fits your hand like a glove
- No contact with your frame
- Fits all bikes 20″ – 29″ wheels (fender-free, of course)
- Optional locks (sold separately) lock rack to car, bike to rack
- Available in 3 color options: Black, Red (tested), and White
- Full lifetime warranty
- Price: $199.95
Be Tough and Pack Your BrassKnuckles
A ton of bike racks have passed through my garage over the years. Fork mounts, uprights, hitch racks and more. No matter the style of rack, one thing remains constant — I’m always a little nervous every time I put a $10,000 bike on the back or on top of the Subaru. When it’s on the back, I worry about someone rear-ending me and when it’s on top, I worry about running into my garage. And sometimes, I wonder if that wobbling bike is really going to stay put with the hurricane-force crosswind on the freeway.
While some of those issues won’t be solved by any roof rack, I have a ton of confidence in the BrassKnuckles’ ability to securely hold any bike in place without touching the frame. Introduced this summer, the function of the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles is not new. Yakima, Thule and others make one-arm upright bike racks. But, what makes the BrassKnuckles unique?
Let’s start with the construction. Unboxing the BrassKnuckles, I was immediately taken aback at just how sturdy this rack was. I mean, the aluminum tray alone is the most solid rack base I’ve ever seen. Most trays are wobbly at best, but this one is burly. I initially mounted it on my factory Subaru crossbars and then mounted it on a set of RockyMounts Ouray crossbars. Both options resulted in what is honestly the most secure rack-to-car connection I’ve ever had.
The front part of the tray mounts using rubberized steel straps that tighten with a single allen key and the rear clamps down with two allen bolts. This connection would seemingly last through WWIII if it had to — it’s that strong. The pivot arm rotated very smoothly for months, but has become more difficult over time. What hasn’t changed is the lever arm’s ability to lock down any bike with wiggle-free, vice-like force.
To lock the bike in place, RockyMounts designed the most ergonomic and leverage-friendly handle on the planet. Wrapping your hand around it and into the BrassKnuckles gives you more leverage than any other design I’ve used. It is almost silly how easy it is to ratchet down. And boy does it ratchet down!
Getting your bike to that point does require a couple more steps than with some racks and it helps having lightweight bikes. Here goes:
- Unclip both wheel straps
- Pivot the wheel chock upwards
- Extend the locking arm all the way out and then rotate it all the way forward
- Lift the bike and thread the wheel straps through the spokes
- Pivot the bike upwards and then backwards into the wheel chock
- With one arm holding the bike, pull the locking arm backwards onto the front wheel
- Yank on that burly handle
- Pull wheel straps tight
- Lock it
None of these steps are the end of the world, but it is a bit more involved than my typical hitch rack. The good news is it becomes old hat pretty quickly. And, it’s nice not to remove the front wheel. Obviously, if you have a taller roofline than my Subaru Outback, you’ll have more trouble getting the bike mounted.
Both road bikes and mountain bikes are held with equal confidence. Crosswinds have little effect as bikes are held more securely than I’ve seen with other upright racks.
Quibbles and Such
While the having a front wheel strap does certainly make for a sturdier rack, it is a little bit of a pain to have to thread both wheels when racking up a bike. My bikes are all relatively light, but I can only imagine how much more difficult that task would be with a 30+ lb. bike. Additionally, it can be difficult to release the arm via the blue trigger button, so not only does the handle come in handy to secure the bike, it also helps to release the arm by tugging on it while pushing the release button — works like a charm.
As I’ve used it over time, the arm can get a little snug and requires extra effort to move it upwards and in place atop the front wheel. Might be time to circle back with RockyMounts to see what they suggest to reduce that friction as the rack is exposed to road grime and Mother Nature.
- Most overbuilt bike rack I’ve used
- Lifetime guarantee adds confidence
- Secures to any crossbars like a vice
- Doesn’t touch the frame
- Ergonomic arm handle makes it easy to secure any bike
- Locks deter theft
- Can buy a fatbike adapter for only $20
- Can add a splash of color instead of black or silver
- Installation is a breeze
- Can be hard to thread both front and rear wheel straps on bike install — particularly with heavier bikes
- Strap ratchets could be a little heavier duty
- Lever arm has gotten more difficult to rotate over time
The Bottom Line: BrassKnuckles Bike Rack
If you’re carrying a bike on top, the BrassKnuckles is the best way to go. It is hands-down the burliest roof rack I’ve tested and inspires confidence when carrying your precious wheels to the trailhead. Installation is a breeze and it looks downright sexy to boot.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com