Saris Bones RS trunk rack as a long term transport solution
I'm still debating on a long term transport solution for my Yeti ASR-5 on my BMW 335i. I'm currently using a cheap Yakima Big Joe trunk rack but it's not viable for long term use. It's fine for the 20 minute drives to my local trails. But with summer here, I often want to take my bike to work to ride the trails on that side of town in the evening. Unfortunately, work is 70 miles, one way, on Atlanta freeways.
I also want to take some day trips in to Western NC to ride some of the epics up there. Those will be 2.5 hour drives and I just don't think the Yakima is the right tool for the job. I have four options:
1. Keep using the Big Joe and just ensure it's secure each time I ride.
Advantages: Rack can be completely removed when not being used.
Disdvantages: Seems relatively unsecure for long distances. Must use a Bike Bar (mock top tube).
2. Replace the Big Joe with a Saris Bones RS. This looks like a very secure trunk rack.
Advantages: Looks secure, can be removed when not in use.
Disadvantages: Still must use Bike Bar. Still a trunk rack and may not be secure over long distances.
3. Roof rack. I'd go with a Yakima Wispbar system and a fork mount tray.
Advantages: More secure. Can be removed when not in use
Disadvantages: Difficult to remove after use, expensive
4. Hitch and rack. I'd go with a 1-Up
Advantages: Most secure? Rack itself can be easily removed.
Disadvantages: Hitch is relatively permanent. Hitch extends below exhaust pipes and will probably hit when driving up my steeeeeeep driveway. Heavy. Ugly when not in use.
IF the Saris Bones RS is highly secure at high speeds and long distances, I'll probably go with that. I hate having to use that bike bar but I doubt that's the highest probably failure point and it doesn't appear to be doing any damage to my seatpost or stem.
Personally I would have no problems using the Saris Bones rack. The RS model is supposed to be very secure and I wish u had chosen that when I had my VW Golf (rabbit), which I did not have a roof rack for.
Originally Posted by KevinGT
I travelled for a couple if hundred miles with a basic, but sturdy strap on rack made in the UK. The strap system was not lockable like the Bones RS, so I am sure that would be a good option.
I have gone to a roof system now (Thule bars an a pro ride rack set up). It is secure, but it whistles a lot on too of my BMW 320d (touring model). Very convenient as you can drive fast with them, but definitely affects fuel economy.
Another option might be he seasick et range of products. Very impressive, but not sure if I am a bit old school for those.
I briefly considered the Seasucker but the lack of a mechanical connection to the car bothered me. I don't doubt they hold up well...I've seen the video of people sitting on bikes that were hanging off the car on a Seasucker. But the engineer in me knows that the vacuum seal is an all-or-nothing kind of thing. Any break in the seal, even due to something incredibly minor, like a temperature change, is a total failure of that suction cup.
I like the Saris design from a mechanical standpoint. The only catastrophic failure I can see is a simultaneous failure of each ratchet mechanism. Possible, but not probable.
I have a Bones RS. On the plus side, its the best trunk rack I've ever had, and I've owned several. The ratcheting system makes it more secure, and it is a solid piece of equipment overall.
With that said, I would go with the hitch rack, even if it means some extra cost and effort. I use my Bones RS only when absolutely necessary, for several reasons. First, I too have to use a top tube adapter, and doing so makes the bike swing around when driving over about 50 MPH. If I take the front wheel off its a little less apt to move, but not much. The top tube adapter also scratches the headset a bit, and I'm not happy about how it sits on my adjustable seatpost.
Also, the RS itself scratches my trunk, both on top and at the corners where the straps attach. And the bike has swung around and scratched the back of my car as well.
Just my $.02
I had a Bones 3, just the regular one, and had to use a top tube adapter. It scratched the heck out of the stem and headset, even with a sock on the adapter. It also ruined the seatpost a bit, and the bike, no matter how secure I thought it was, would sway at highway speeds, sometimes knocking into another bike, or the rack itself. The straps ruined the paint on my now ex wife's SUV, and the feet, even with rags on them, left marks on the bumper.
Currently using a Seasucker Talon now, and have had no issues with any loss on any of the cups. Even in a torrential downpour, at 80-85mph on the highway.
I found a Bones RS on eBay for $140 and the seller was just down the road from me. Bought it and picked it up without having to pay shipping. I've been using it for a few weeks so here are my observations.
- Incredibly solid attachment to the car. This rack isn't going anywhere. I think I could either lift the car up by the rack or tear the trunk completely off before the rack let go.
- No nylon straps to mess with. No buckles. No cinching, no knotting, no trying to keep tension with one hand while pulling on a buckle with the other.
- Limited contact with the trunk. The four plastic cups don't appear to be marking the paint at all.
- The arms can be easily folded down when not in use. Helps when I don't pull my car far enough into the garage.
- It locks. No, it's not Ft. Knox but it would take more work to get it off the trunk than a Yakima Big Joe or similar rack.
- Incredibly stable at ridiculous freeway speeds. Again, this thing isn't going ANYWHERE.
- I didn't like the bike attachments at first but they are growing on me. I like the stabilizer straps on the bottom. The bike seems very securely attached to the rack even using the mock top-tube bar.
- Well made with quality materials. Everything feels solid.
- Clunky to install. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it by my Yak just sat on the trunk while I tightened the straps. The Saris requires me to hook the bottom while holding the rack against the car. All while trying to prevent the upper hooks from banging on the trunk.
- Pain in the butt to get the bike onto the deepest of the three bike positions because the straps for the outer and middle positions are very stiff plastic and don't move out of the way well.
- The recommended setup position for my car was WAY off of where it should have been. It recommended position 9 and I had to put it up to 13 before it got close to fitting.
- The bike-to-rack attachment isn't as solid as some racks. It's basically two plastic straps. My Yakima had a molded plastic "cradle" that the frame (top tube and seat tube) nestled into that kept the bike very firmly fixed to the rack...even without straps!
Overall, it's a good solution for a tough car to use to tote a bike around. I'm glad I didn't go with something permanent (hitch) or semi-permanent (roof rack).
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