I ordered and took delivery of this rack from Gripsport in Melbourne back in June, and this last weekend was the first opportunity I have had to really test it out.
The guys at Gripsport were really good to communicate with and I decided on this rack because it is locally built, would fit the fattie and was guaranteed to be up to the job.
I used the rack for the 1,500km trip from Perth – Esperance return. The rack is easy to load and is carried up high so there is no chance of hot exhaust gases melting my expensive fat tyres, or of the bikes scraping the ground in the case of a rough, steep four wheel drive track. I had absolutely zero worries about the bikes on the back even over many many kilometres at 110 kilometres per hour. The bikes that I carried were the Giant STP and my 9:zero:7 custom fat bike.
I am so glad the bikes came with us as we got a chance to do the coastal ride, where the Shire of Esperance has provided an awesome bike track totally separated from the road with beautiful views of the numerous picturesque bays. There was also a really cool little Mountain Bike park just 15 kilometres out of town – it is rated easy to medium and we had a ball riding it even though some of the tight twisty parts were a bit of a handful on the fattie.
The rack is very quick and easy to fit to the car. There is a part that stays on the tow bar at all times so to put the rack on, you just slide it into place, drop the bolt through the hole and secure it with a pin. You then fold the vertical bar up, slide on the hoops and position them according to the bikes you are carrying. It is very easy to load with bikes as you only have to lift them waist height instead of on to the roof of the vehicle. It seems versatile enough to fit most types of bikes and has no ‘clamps’ that could damage carbon fibre tubing. The hooks that come into contact with the bike frame are well padded with thick rubber.
By the end of the trip the bikes were clean, not splattered with bugs like they would have been on the road.
The only disadvantage of this rack is that it doesn’t have the ability to ’tilt downwards’ to allow access to the tailgate of the vehicle. I read that the tilting racks aren’t all they are cracked up to be as you still have to step around the bikes whilst trying to get things in and out of the back of the car.
Gripsport also make a ‘light bar’ which works with their rack so that the vehicle has supplementary tail lights and numberplate lights to ensure the legality of carrying bikes in such a manner. As you can see from the photograph the numberplate on the back of my car is completely obscured. At the moment WA licensing does not seem to offer an option for bike racks being used in this way by having a supplementary licences plate. As soon as they are offered I will definitely be getting one as this rack is now my preferred way of transporting them.
With this rack I am never leaving the bikes at home again!