Top

Hitch Rack Shootout – Yakima TwoTimer

Sven and I shot this I-Phone video of the assembly and mounting bikes on the second test subject, in our Fat Hitch Rack Shootout, All of our testers have chimed in with their impressions of how each rack performed. Of course, this is all leading up to Saturday, when we reveal how each of our 4 racks stacked up against one another in an old fashioned magazine shootout. So today, let’s take a look at the Yakima Two Timer!

Here’s What our Test Pilot, Scott Peterson, Said about the Two Timer.

IMG_0833

Yakima Two Timer rack review

The Yakima Two Timer rack is a little more conventional in form than the other racks in the test. The center mounted hook system is designed to grip the bike near the middle of the top tube. The instructions do point out that these hooks can also be positioned on the top tube, the down tube, or even at the bottom of a ladies bike frame. You do have to remember to install the bike with the lowest top tube on the side of the rack closest to the car, since that hook has to go down first. One of the challenges of loading bikes on most racks is interference between seats and handlebars. This was easily overcome on the Yakima rack because the wheel holders can all move independently . By moving one pair farther left or right, I was easily able to get all of the bikes I tried to fit , without having to pull off a seat or put extra padding between bikes. The wheel holders have a well designed strap which easily fit both 4 and 5″ fat bike tires securely. There is a special lever on the strap that allows you to really tighten them down, similar to bike shoe buckles.

IMG_0834

The rack folds up close to the rear of my car. This makes parking easier on days when I don’t have bikes with me. The beam with the hooks also folded down easily for storage. This rack is good for bikes with fenders, because the centrally mounted hooks avoid the fender area. I do think there is a more chance of scratching expensive bicycles, because many have the cables routed over the top tube. I always used a piece of pipe insulation to prevent this from happening. The weight, of the rack is at 39 lbs, which is right about the middle of the group here . Overall this rack seems like a good value, considering that the wheel cups could accommodate fat and regular bike tires and the very reasonable MSRP of $299 (plus $20 for the fat straps to accommodate fat-bike tires)

Next up is Julio Dot Com

IMG_0835

Yakima TwoTimer

The construction of the TwoTimer is a combo of mostly metal and some plastic. The rack is a fairly simplistic and lacks some of the more advanced features found on other racks. Since the rack is minimal, its footprint is fairly small, which helps with storage.  Installation was simple with my only gripe that you need to thread in the hitch pin.  While this provided a little more secure interface, it makes quick installation a bit of a pain as well as the fact that you have to carry the appropriate size wrench.  This hitch pin comes with a lock so this also helps to provide some extra security. The minimal construction also makes for a very light rack, which is nice for maneuvering in and out of the garage.  Loading just one bike (especially in the outboard position) is pretty straightforward and quick. Loading two bikes can be a little cumbersome but once you get the hang of it, things get easier.  While a close fit, once you get the wheel trays adjusted for two bikes, there was no contact between bikes.  Additionally, the ratchet straps were long enough to accommodate bigger wheels.  I was able to load 4” to 1” tire bikes without issue and they were held securely.  I only had a one real issue with the Yakima rack and that was with the main ratchet arm that holds the bike in place. Since it holds it down by the top tube, if you have a fancy paint job/carbon frame you may want to be aware that there may be some rub.  I didn’t have a problem with this during the test period but over the long term I can see the foam on this arm deteriorating and starting to cause rub (or if your bike is covered in grit). One feature that is almost a necessity with a hitch rack is that it can fold down with bikes loaded to gain access to the rear of your vehicle (depending on how your hatch/tailgate opens). The Yakima achieves this via easy to access spring-loaded pin and while not the smoothest action, it works as it should.  Overall, the Yakima is a solid rack that while basic, gets the job done.

Evan Larsson had these words about his experience with the Yakima.

IMG_0836

Yakima Rack review – by Evan LarSSon

Upon receiving the Yakima TwoTimer, I immediately noticed, and was quite surprised, to feel that it was lighter than any other rack tested in this series. Seven pounds lighter to be specific. At thirty nine pounds, I easily swung the rack around to my ride. There is an adapter to accommodate my 2″ receiver which looks a bit janky but if it does the job, who cares. I do appreciate the threaded pin to set my mind at ease when installing. A small lock can be affixed to the end of the pin to keep everything from walking away.

The rack has the ability to fold up when not in use. There is a small red knob that when pulled, releases the rack arm and folds everything down. An extra safety pin is attached to the rack by a braided wire that cut my finger when I accidentally grabbed it. After supergluing the hole in my finger shut, I moved to loading the bike in the rear section of the rack. It takes a little finesse if you don’t want to bonk your vehicle with the bars or rear wheel. It also, as with other racks, takes a minute to figure out which way you want to load the bike. I won’t lie, for the two weeks I had this rack, I was still screwing up when it came time to load more than one bike. Once Grimace is up, a foam wrapped hook is dropped down onto the top tube. To release it, a red button is pushed but the mechanism’s inside casing feels flimsy. Like a China made squirt gun, I felt like I was going to break it if too much muscle was used. With the frame secure, I moved on. The plastic wheel (piece) cradles that come with the rack (longer straps require a separate purchase for faties) can easily accommodate the smaller and larger sizes up to four and a half inches. The smaller wheel sizes fit into a groove that’s part of the cradle. A five inch tire sits on top, but is still securable by the plastic ratchet strap that holds the wheel to the cradle. Each cradle can be moved around independently to help accommodate different sizes and styles of bikes. What I really like about the Yakrack is on rainy days or cruise nights I can use my fenderful machines with worrying about possible damage from “arms” that hold from the wheels. At the very center of the rack is the trademark bottle opener for your “after ride” libations. I would rather have some kind of small storage box for packable tools, but I’m not a bottle person. Unloading the bike is a snap. Just remember to release the wheels first or you’ll look awfully silly trying to remove your tangled self from the rack. And I know what you’re thinking but NO, nobody saw me do that and I DON’T have a picture for you but it can happen!

Overall, my experience with the Yak was great. Yes, I had some issues but the bikes stayed in place no matter how poorly I was driving. The rack didn’t sway as much as I thought it would. No, it doesn’t look like it came from the space program, and yes, some parts felt cheap (and even fell off) but if you don’t animal the thing around, the value of this rack is considerable. What other hitch mount rack can hold ALL your different styles of bikes and cost under $300? If you find it, let me know, I don’t get to keep any of these…

On the way to SSUSA 29r SS & Otis

On the way to SSUSA – 29r SS & Otis

My experience with the Yakima left me with an impression of a rack that did it’s job in a rather blue collar, utilitarian style.  The question with this rack is,  are you are squeamish about the paint or finish of your top tube. If I owned a carbon fat-bike, I don’t know if I would like the top tube hook of the two timer pushing down and rubbing on my expen$ive carbon frame. In the few weeks of using the two timer, the raw aluminum finish on my Fatback beame polished by the pad on the hook, while in transport. The same type of thing that a frame bag does over the long haul to an unfinished aluminum frame. That’s not a big deal in my life, but YMMV.

The wheel straps on the two timer were just like the straps on every Yakima Rack that I’ve owned since the 1980’s (though much longer). They ratchet quite securely, but when it comes to releasing them, they stick and hang up, especially when dealing with 4.8″ tires. The large plastic wheel cups collect soil samples in the groove molded into the bottom, that is designed to cradle 29 minus tires. Dirt and sand from road spray have no place to escape, but now I’m just nit-picking. The Yakima is a good basic rack that hits a pretty nice price point. The only issue that I could see, is the rack touching your bike at the top tube. If you can live with that, this rack will carry two fat (or any other type of bikes) to the trailhead for years to come.

For more information about Yakima visit – www.yakima.com

, , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.