Hauling bikes these days can be a tricky proposition. With all the funky frame designs, flashy paintjobs and carbon-fiber materials, some racks are preferable to others for various reasons. Some are purely aesthetic while others are truly functional. The new Yakima ForkLift rack should please both the vain and utilitarian cyclist.

Yakima Forklift Features:

  • Sleek split tray design
  • Locking, quick-adjust front skewer (SKS cores extra)
  • Quick ratcheting wheel strap
  • Universal mount (round, square, factory)
  • MSRP: $139

Yakima ForkLift Review

Like all of you, my first bike racks were of the fork-mount variety. These ubiquitous designs have been the mainstay of the bike-toting public for as long as I can remember. For me, however, the love affair started to wane by about 2002 when 20mm thru-axle forks and 2.7″ tires were all the rage (shakes head). The hassle of front wheel removal all but eliminated these standard trays from my mind.

I switched to the predecessor of the Yakima Raptor and then switched entirely over to hitch racks for a time. Now, with the advent of both the 15qr and 20mm Maxle Lite axle designs, removing the front wheel is no less difficult than a standard QR and Yakima is offering ForkUp adapters for all major axle options.

I’ve used the ForkLift now with both road and mountain bikes with much success. Of the 5 mountain bikes on my wall, three of them have 15qr axles, so I also tested the ForkLift with the 15qr adapter.

Starting with the Norco CRR 2 roadie and the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 (both feature standard axles), I was able to dial-in the front skewer in no-time at all. Lets dive in a bit more… this multi-function front skewer is beefy and easy-to-use. Twist the dial to quickly adjust the width as needed, then clamp that sucker down and lock it up. Quite honestly, nothing I’ve tested to date compares to the security and confidence of the ForkLift locking skewer.

Bikes stayed put and removed when needed without fuss. The rear wheel strap easily secures both road and mountain bikes. I did have to fiddle with the ratchet on the rear wheel strap on occasion as it seemed fickle in its release — pretty minor quibble.

Installation of the rack to my Thule Crossbars was a cinch and mounting them to factory crossbars was equally simple. I was able to install the rack in about 5 minutes without even reading a lick of the instruction manual.

I love the looks of these racks and the split tray is both stiffer and better-looking than standard gutter-style trays.

Using the 15mm adapter, everything continued just fine. I was a bit concerned at the lack of security once you go with an adapter, though. You’ll have to bring along an extra lock should you hang out in Compton for the day. One more thing about the fork adapters… while they are solid and perform well, I’d like to think that Yakima’s engineering team could figure out a way to accommodate 9mm, 15mm, 20mm, etc forks right out the gate without a funky adapter.

Good ForkLift

  • Easiest rack installation ever!
  • If you’re going this route, there’s nothing better on the market
  • Locking skewer lever is drop-dead simple
  • Easily adjusts to multiple bikes
  • Very sturdy design (wobble-free at freeway speeds or with crosswinds)
  • Works with square, round and most all factory crossbars
  • Love the split tray for stiffness and good looks

Bad ForkLift

  • Once you go with 15, 20, 24, 25mm, etc., you have to use the adapter
  • You must be extra-vigilant so as not to ram the bikes into the garage, etc.
  • Front wheel removal is not always ideal, in my opinion

Bottom Line: Yakima ForkLift Bike Rack

The easiest rack to install — ever. Combine that with good looks and solid function and that’s the Yakima Forklift in a nutshell. This is the new gold standard in fork-mounted bike racks.

Buy Now: Find Yakima Bike Racks at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Thanks for a good write up and recommendation. I’ve not been a fan on the roof racks but this looks like it would be well worth a look. Easy to get bike in and out of is the key, I think. Thanks for the good info on these.

Leave A Reply