Under new management and from its new headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, Yakima is setting the stage for the future with new designs and company direction. The already successful company is ready to make some big moves that will set the tone for the car rack and ear storage industry for years to come.
For 2006, Yakima is introducing a brand new line of rooftop bike racks with sexy lines and radically different design philosophy to years past and to every other standard rooftop bike rack in the industry. Gone are the standard aluminum trays that have been on bike racks for decades and instead, they’re replaced with sleek new one-piece designs worthy of sitting on top of an Audi A8 luxury sedan.
Another new product and new product category that Yakima is addressing is what they call “Integrated Gear Management.” This modular home rack system is built to help you get ready for your next adventure and help you get back from your last one by providing a centralized gear storage rack capable of holding a massive 1000 lbs. Lets look into these products in detail.
The new premium fork-mount rooftop bike rack from Yakima is truly a work of art. This new rack is slated to have an MSRP of $149.00, but with good looks and features not found on any other rack design. The metallic grey powder-coated tray is worthy to sit atop any vehicle, but most importantly, it’s fully integrated with the front bar clamp and skewer system for added stiffness and ease of use. Gone are the days of piecing together your bike rack from a steel plate, fork mount and aluminum tray. The new Yakima Sprocket Rocket is built to handle any bike design (with standard front quick release) from road to bmx to mountain bike with disc brakes. I’m told that the wheel tray slides fore and aft to carry long or short bikes without tools or disassembly. The rear wheel attachment strap can drop into a channel to fit skinny road tires and up to 3.0 mountain bike tires without adapters.
Other key improvements to the tray design makes for three times the resistance to torsional flex and double the vertical strength. Of course, the locking skewer is SKS compatible to take a standard Yakima lock core as a theft deterrent.
The prototype that was shown at Outdoor Retailer did appear to be compatible with both round and square crossbars so as to play nice with the competition. We’ll see how the production models come out to know for sure if it will be compatible with other rack designs. Look for the SprocketRocket in Spring 2006.
Built from the same mounting design as the current King Cobra upright bike rack, the all-new Yakima HighRoller upright bike rack is hands-down the sexiest looking bike rack on the market today. High on the bling doesn’t mean that this bike rack is built just for looks. I’d say it looks to be the sturdiest upright rack on the market and it also happens to be the best looking upright bike rack on the market. With a MSRP of $169.00, the HighRoller is definitely not cheap. But, it is sheik.
Using the same basic tray design as the SprocketRocket, the HighRoller benefits from increased torsional and vertical strength. The HighRoller is bound to be the new favorite among upright bike racks. If our thoughts on the Yakima King Cobra have any bearing on the functionality of the HighRoller, it will be the market leader in both stability and good looks. Look for the HighRoller in Spring 2006. The new premium fork-mount rooftop bike rack from Yakima is truly
Yakima Integrated Gear Management System
The beauty of the IGM is that it’s completely modular. It’s anodized aluminum tubes are built such that any number of gear attachments can be used to hang gear on the front side or back side of the rack system. Anything from bikes to kayaks to skis and anything in between can all be hung or stacked with the IGM system. Got a gear corner? Use the optional Corner Kit to make the corner of your garage the gear haven. Live in an apartment? Use the IGM system to store all your gear in one location with minimal impact on the wall structure (just four screws).
Honestly, I’ve been looking for good gear management systems for my garage for years. Once I come back from skiing or mountain biking, I don’t have a centralized place to hang my hydration pack, or dry out my sopping wet jacket. I’ve also rigged a cargo box hanger for my Yakima Platinum Pro 16s box, but could very well have used the Water/Cargo Support Arms to story my box.
The list of attachments currently includes: Utility Hook, Double Utility Hook, Bike Holder (Vertical & Horizontal), Water/Cargo Supports, Ski/Snowboard Holder and the Hanging Gear Basket.
This is an awesome solution to keep all your gear in one, central location. I’m stoked to get two of these babies in my garage and one in my basement.
Buy Now: Search for Yakima Racks at Backcountry.com
Just a quick comment on the Highroller… it’s a nifty design and looks much sexier than the King Cobra, but it lacks some of the basic functionality that makes the King Cobra so sweet. Most notably… It’s a two-handed operation all the time until the bike is secured to the rack. You can’t slide the bike in place and expect the rack to hold it there while you ratchet things down.
I was a bit disappointed. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I still prefer the function of the King Cobra over the Highroller. It’s uglier, but it works better.