Yakima Frontloader Bike Rack Review
- Carry any bike: Fits virtually any type of bike, including disc brakes, thru axles, and...
- Easy loading: Load your bike fully assembled on this wheel-on mount; FrontLoader holds...
Over the past few years, the rise in the popularity of mountain biking has only seen an upward trend. This trend has come with a budding need to transport bikes to trailheads via cars and hence, the demand for universal bike racks has soared in the market. After all, shoving your MTB at the back of your vehicle is not a sensible way to carry your bike to the desired location.
The good news is that you have a lot of options available in the market to choose the perfect bike rack for your car – from hitch racks to roof and trunk-mount racks, there’s indeed a vast range of racks types to pick from. But if you want something more versatile, the Yakima Frontloader should be your go-to choice.
And since the rack doesn’t even touch the frame, you can stop worrying about having the bike’s paint scratched.
The Frontloader fastens the back wheel and cradles the front wheel to lock it with the rack. The cradle on the front wheel can be adjusted according to the wheel size, no matter how big or large it is. To secure the bike on the rack, all you need to do is strap the back wheel and tighten the cradle using its knob until the wheel at the front side is secure and the bike can no longer move within the rack. You don’t even need to remove the wheels to load it in the rack and with a bit of practice, the entire loading process can be done in under 30 seconds. Also, since the rack doesn’t even touch the frame, you can stop worrying about having the bike’s paint scratched.
Another great thing about the Yakima Frontloader is that it can be used both as a roof rack or a pickup truck bed rack. For use on the roof, the Frontloader requires a rack which has rails already integrated in it but if that’s not the case, you can invest in adapters and integrate crossbars that go over the roof in the setup. For use in a pickup truck, you will need the Bedhead clamp or the Landing Pads bolt. We used the later ones but the choice is entirely yours. Even after installing the crossbars, you will have most of the bed available for hauling the gear but if you need to fully utilize the bed, all you need to do is to unlock the mounts on the bed and remove it entirely as a single piece.
To avoid having your beloved bike and its rack stolen, do buy lock cores that can be used to interlock each part of the rack. These lock cores use the same key, allowing you to latch the rack mounts with the car, the crossbars with the mounts, the racks with the crossbars and so on. However, the cable lock isn’t really thick and sturdy so you should consider using additional cable locks if you need to leave the bike unattended in a bad neighborhood for a while.
Having used Yakima Frontloader on both a car roof and truck bed, we can confidently say that the rack system does a satisfying job. It's also quite simple to get your bike over the rack as long as the car isn't too tall or the bike's not too heavy. Keep in mind that it might be difficult to access the middle racks if you plan to mount multiple racks on the roof. But in case of a truck bed, using additional racks is super simple. In fact, you can handle up to 5 on a single truck depending on the size and by using elongated crossbars, carry even more bikes towards the external frame of the truck is possible. If all the bikes are staggered in the same direction, you may want to slacken off the bars to have some clearance for the rear window. Or better, stack a few bikes in the opposite direction. Moreover, if you’re using hatchback on the roof technique, ensure that the hatch opens while the bikes are placed on the rack.
Compared to other racks on the market, the Frontloader is amazing at keeping your bike stable over speed breakers and sharp turns so you can drive fast down curvy roads without worrying about getting your bike damaged.
The price for the setup will vary according to the configuration you opt for, but the entire setup is generally a bit expensive. The racks can cost somewhere between $150 to $180, based on the place where you buy them from while the price of the crossbars varies with respect to the chosen length, costing anywhere between $80-90 per pair. If you need the Bedhead clamps or the Landing Pads, you will need to spend an additional $60 and $40 respectively.