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  1. #1
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    Thule Sidearm vs Yakima Highroller

    It's time for a new bike rack and I want one that I can just load the bike on without taking the wheels off. I like the sidearm and highroller because they hold the wheel secure and not the frame. I like the design and ease of use that the side arm has but it looks ridiculous folded up, while the highroller is still pretty compact and aerodynamic when folded. Anybody recommend one over the other?

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    i have used the sidearm for a few years, and really think it is a more stable rack than the highroller.
    another benefit, and this may or may not pertain to your application, is that the wheel tray extends 16" from the front of the ratchet arm mechanism, making it "effectively" shorter. the highroller has a 52" wheel tray, which may cause rear door interference with some vehicles.

    there is a video out there of the 2 racks on a road test, and it shows the sidearm to be much more stable...you might want to google/you tube for that. i think it was done by bike magazine....or search for this thread on mtbr and i may have posted it a year or 2 ago.

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    I'm kind of in the same boat as you. Except not only do I have to get a rack for my car, I have to start thinking about maybe a ***** mount for my gfs small suv... ((

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    I just got two high rollers coming from the sprocket rocket. I too was tired of taking off the front wheels. I have 2 for both my 29ers and It holds pretty darn good, I really like the aesthetics of the rack, i generally like the look of yakima products better too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com View Post
    i have used the sidearm for a few years, and really think it is a more stable rack than the highroller.
    another benefit, and this may or may not pertain to your application, is that the wheel tray extends 16" from the front of the ratchet arm mechanism, making it "effectively" shorter. the highroller has a 52" wheel tray, which may cause rear door interference with some vehicles.

    there is a video out there of the 2 racks on a road test, and it shows the sidearm to be much more stable...you might want to google/you tube for that. i think it was done by bike magazine....or search for this thread on mtbr and i may have posted it a year or 2 ago.
    The video you mentioned, which features the Yakima HighRoller is dishonest.

    Dishonest in that the HighRoller snap around rack mounts were LOOSE and not properly tightened, and thus yielded the results shown in the video.

    See the video at the 1:45 to 1:49 mark for confirmation of the improperly installed bike rack
    (Note the loosely/improperly installed snap around mounts rotating around the cross bar).

    Proper installation of the Yakima HighRoller results in zero play, under load, at the rack and bar mount locations.

    Yakima's best roof bike carrier, the HighRoller, features a wide super strong wheel tray, with wide mounting points, and a maximum bike weight limit of 50 pounds.

    The Yakima HighRoller's wide and strong wheel tray, coupled with the double hoop arms and wheel grips anchor the bike and provide a very secure manner of transporting a bicycle.


    The video in question: BIKE Magazine TechTest Thule/Yakima. on Vimeo


    Note: It should be noted that at the end of the video, BIKE Magazine claims that the HighRoller mounting hardware loosened up during testing.

    Again, this is dishonest as it was more likely their initial failure to install, inspect, and ensure a proper installation.

    Had the HighRoller been properly installed, the mounting hardware would not have loosened up so quickly and easily, if at all. (Personal experience has shown zero loosening of the HighRoller mounting hardware over the past year+ with regular uses at California freeway speeds of 70 mph)

    While BIKE Magazine decided to publish this video test in it's final, as seen form, BIKE Magazine callously used footage of the improperly installed Yakima HighRoller rack.

    It is fair to assume that most who viewed the video may not have noticed that the HighRoller rack was installed improperly, and would have made a bike rack comparison decision based on the published dishonest video test.

    In the end, BIKE Magazine does make note that the swaying action viewed in the video was significantly reduced after tightening the mounting hardware, but fails to provide accurate video footage in the final video for the view to consider.
    Last edited by Bambi19; 10-14-2011 at 08:51 PM.

  6. #6
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    I have a Highroller tray (used to be trays). I like how it mounts the bike, it's easy to use and secure.

    What I don't like is are the following:

    1. The mount to the bar is not as secure as I would like it to be. There are two of those plastic around bar mounts that Yak uses in the front and one in the back. Even when tightened down hard, there is still wobble back and forth - it is not play, it's because there is only a single piece holding it at the back. It works fine, but it could be better.

    2. The bike is dependent on being held in place by a ratchet mechanism that cannot be inspected in that holds the aft most front bar/wheel holder. If that ratchet is damaged you cannot tell AND it can be damaged in such a way that it gives the appearance of being completely functional but will suddenly drop flat when a certain release force is hit.

    I ran my rack into an overhead piece (all my fault and not the racks) that caused it to force the aft most bar down without releasing the lock. This stripped the ratchet inside, or at least damaged it. Upon inspection, the rack appeared to be just fine, everything worked properly etc. But, if you tried to push the aft bar down, it would hold until a moderate (not high, but moderate) pressure was put on it and then it would suddenly and completely release. In comparison to a working one, you could put lots more pressure on it. This concerned me not because it was damaged (my fault) but that you could not inspect this all important mechanism to determine if it was ok or not.

    So, the issue is that the ratchet had stripped, it is not user accessible. This means that if you ever force the aft bar down, you need to pretty much throw the whole thing away because you have no way of ever figuring out if it is still in good enough shape to put your expensive bike on board.

    When I talked with Yak about this, they concurred. I also asked them what they think is their most stable and dependable rack. Their answer was the Sprocket Rocket. The Highroller is aimed at the market of big downhill bikes that may not fit well on a fork mount. There is still the issue of the wobble but that is probably not anything other than just a cosmetic thing and also the result of having a bike so high up on the car.

    If you want to see a really stable rack that doesn't require wheel removal, look at the 1UpUSA roof trays. They use the same trays as on their hitch racks but bar mounted. They also have a much, much lower aero profile than do the HighRollers or the Sidearm thing from Thule, both of which are horrible for aerodynamics.

    Roof Tray

    That all said, the Highroller is a decent mount.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmanco View Post
    I like the design and ease of use that the side arm has but it looks ridiculous folded up, while the highroller is still pretty compact and aerodynamic when folded. Anybody recommend one over the other?
    I can't suggest one over the other, but I recently got a sidearm and like it very much. Its a very sturdy rack and a bike mounts up in less than 30 sec. Every vid of the Yak that I've seen seems to show a mounted bike teetering from side to side once the car is in motion. Now THAT looks rediculous to me. LOL. See the beginning and the 3:33 mark of this vid, for example: Yakima FrontLoader Wheel Mount Bike Carrier Review Video | etrailer.com
    Whereas the Thule mounted bike remains rock solid.

    The look of it in the folded position never even occurred to me. I had no idea it looked ridiculous (but hey I ride a Lefty, too!). Its a roof rack. By definition, any rack kills a car's aero.


    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 11-11-2011 at 03:55 PM.

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    It isn't the best looking rack, that's for sure....

    J.

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    Whether ugly, beautiful or inbetween (it's all subjective after all), I just had no idea that roof rack aesthetics (when not in use) were important to people. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    In my eyes, form follows function. A good sturdy rack that also allows quick easy "touchless" wheel-on mounting is going to have some beef to it. That beefy aesthetic is much more pleasing to my eye than a bike teetering on one's roof via a minimalist rack that folds to a low profile when not in use.

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    I don't care for the Highroller either but that one takes the ugly prize. The idea behind "form follows function" is a simple look. That one doesn't meet that test. Sorry.

    I'm a BMW guy too (great car) - is that the x-drive version?

    J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    The idea behind "form follows function" is a simple look.

    I'm a BMW guy too (great car) - is that the x-drive version?

    J.
    I disagree.
    While "form follows function" aesthetic design CAN result in simplicity, it can also result in odd, assymetrical, avant garde, complex, complicated or even "ugly" shapes that stand-out, depending on the desired function. It simply means that the desired funcionality of the component dictates the form it will take - not that the form will be simple or pleasing to the eye in a traditional sense.

    A prime example would be some of the stranger-looking multi-link multi-pivot rear suspension designs on MTB's. Clearly a single pivot design is much simpler and perhaps more aesthetically pleasing for a bike frame design, but the desire for optimum suspension functionality often dictates a very different and much more complicated "uglier" look.


    Thanks re the wagon. Its an e39 540it, x-drive was not an option when it was built. I have a 4x4 for the nasties, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    I can't suggest one over the other, but I recently got a sidearm and like it very much. Its a very sturdy rack and a bike mounts up in less than 30 sec. Every vid of the Yak that I've seen seems to show a mounted bike teetering from side to side once the car is in motion. Now THAT looks rediculous to me. LOL. See the beginning and the 3:33 mark of this vid, for example: Yakima FrontLoader Wheel Mount Bike Carrier Review Video | etrailer.com
    Whereas the Thule mounted bike remains rock solid.

    The look of it in the folded position never even occurred to me. I had no idea it looked ridiculous (but hey I ride a Lefty, too!). Its a roof rack. By definition, any rack kills a car's aero.
    The etrailer.com video you posted is of the Yakima Frontloader, and not the Yakima HighRoller.

    For the sake of relevance, you should have linked etrailer.com's Yakima HighRoller video.

    The subject of this thread is the comparison of the best bike racks from Thule and Yakima. That said, the Frontloader is not Yakima's best roof bike rack.

    The HighRoller is Yakima's best roof bike rack.

    As Yakima's best roof rack, the HighRoller features a stronger and wider wheel tray and base plate, a more secure and wider rack mounting system, along with bicycle wheel grips featuring a superior and more secure wheel holding design.


    While etrailer.com site does have a HighRoller video, it's disappointing that their video shows that etrailer.com failed to properly install the HighRoller roof rack for their review.

    Yakima HighRoller Roof Mounted Bike Rack Review Video | etrailer.com

    Despite the improper installation of the mounting hardware, the HighRoller's strength and stability is evident and aptly demonstratedat the video's 2:30 minute mark.

    Given that etrailer.com failed to install the HighRoller rack per Yakima's installation instructions, and the improper installation evidenced in the flawed Bike Magazine HighRoller rack review, one wonders if the results shown in the video you posted of the Yakima Frontloader also suffered the same fate of a less than proper installation.


    Yakima and Thule both make roof racks of nice, secure designs.

    The Yakima HighRoller design successfully combines a safe, simple, and secure way to transport a bike, along with a clean aerodynamic, noise minimizing, and esthetically pleasing design.

    The Yakima HighRoller is an advanced roof rack design and is an superior and excellent example of the design principle known as "Form Follows Function".

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    I have 2 Thule side arms and they work great. I have 5 bikes of all wheels sizes and axles so fork mounts weren't an option.

    They hold rock solid and don't interfere with my wagon's rear hatch like some of the longer tray racks. The only downside is how bulky they are when not in use.

    The yakima ones looks very slick when not in use in comparison but I haven't personally used them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    I disagree.
    While "form follows function" aesthetic design CAN result in simplicity, it can also result in odd, assymetrical, avant garde, complex, complicated or even "ugly" shapes that stand-out, depending on the desired function. It simply means that the desired funcionality of the component dictates the form it will take - not that the form will be simple or pleasing to the eye in a traditional sense.

    A prime example would be some of the stranger-looking multi-link multi-pivot rear suspension designs on MTB's. Clearly a single pivot design is much simpler and perhaps more aesthetically pleasing for a bike frame design, but the desire for optimum suspension functionality often dictates a very different and much more complicated "uglier" look.


    Thanks re the wagon. Its an e39 540it, x-drive was not an option when it was built. I have a 4x4 for the nasties, though.

    Does the odd, asymmetrical, bulky, and non-aerodynamic shape and design of the Thule Side Arm generate a constantly loud and annoying wind noise when traveling at speed?

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    I don't hear any more wind increase because of them (even with my bike on). I usually travel around 70-75mph on the highway too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    The etrailer.com video you posted is of the Yakima Frontloader, and not the Yakima HighRoller.
    They are VERY similar racks in terms of design and functionality. Etrailer actually recomends the FrontLoader over the HighRoller: Yakima HighRoller vs FrontLloader Roof Mount Bike Rack Recommendation | etrailer.com

    I chose the FrontLoader video simply because it shows a car in motion w/ a mounted bike. The HighRoller video you posted does not (perhaps for good reason).

    Everybody has their own criteria for what makes a great rack. I weight functionality/reliability/durability MUCH higher than aesthetics when it comes to mounting my (sometimes wet and/or muddy) pride and joy on the roof of a car that will see 75mph. Honestly, when I shop racks, the only think about "the look" of a rack that would concern me is if it "looks" poorly designed or too spindly.

    The use of circular mounting clamps on a round bar as the basis for a rack's lateral support/stability is a less than optimal design, and this is illustrated by the mounted bike teetering back and forth and clamp hardware loosening w/ use. See the 1:45 mark of this video: BIKE Magazine TechTest Thule/Yakima. on Vimeo

    Thule employs large OD tubing and a large racheting mechanism for a reason. The big lateral support arm is anchored to the base plate via large semi-permanent hardware. The base plate is actually extruded around the arm creating the hinge. I suppose they could have streamlined/shrunk these components somewhat to make the rack look sleeker when not in use, but with a loss in functionality.
    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 10-20-2011 at 07:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Does the odd, asymmetrical, bulky, and non-aerodynamic shape and design of the Thule Side Arm generate a constantly loud and annoying wind noise when traveling at speed?
    No additional noise that I am aware of . . .

    Oh, and BTW, the little front wheel hoop on the sidearm folds down when not in use, if that matters to anyone. I just leave it up, because I dont care how it looks and its one less step when mounting the bike (which is only a 2 step process).
    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 10-20-2011 at 08:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    They are VERY similar racks in terms of design and functionality. Etrailer actually recomends the FrontLoader over the HighRoller: Yakima HighRoller vs FrontLloader Roof Mount Bike Rack Recommendation | etrailer.com

    I chose the FrontLoader video simply because it shows a car in motion w/ a mounted bike. The HighRoller video you posted does not (perhaps for good reason).

    Everybody has their own criteria for what makes a great rack. I weight functionality/reliability/durability MUCH higher than aesthetics when it comes to mounting my (sometimes wet and/or muddy) pride and joy on the roof of a car that will see 75mph. Honestly, when I shop racks, the only think about "the look" of a rack that would concern me is if it "looks" poorly designed or too spindly.

    The use of circular mounting clamps on a round bar as the basis for a rack's lateral support/stability is a less than optimal design, and this is illustrated by the mounted bike teetering back and forth and clamp hardware loosening w/ use. See the 1:45 mark of this video: BIKE Magazine TechTest Thule/Yakima. on Vimeo

    Thule employs large OD tubing and a large racheting mechanism for a reason. The big lateral support arm is anchored to the base plate via large semi-permanent hardware. The base plate is actually extruded around the arm creating the hinge. I suppose they could have streamlined/shrunk these components somewhat to make the rack look sleeker when not in use, but with a loss in functionality.

    The etrailer.com "recommendation" you posted does not unequivocally recommend the lessor Yakima Frontloader over the HighRoller. Your failure to recognize this fact calls into question your cognetive abilities or your desire to unduly persuade your stated position on the subject matter - or both.

    Rather, the etrailer "recommendation" you posted simply highlights the mounting versatility design of the Frontloader on automotive factory crossbars, and recognizes the HighRoller as having the "nicer hardware" of the two racks. The "recommendation" does not make any statements related to which rack would be better in terms of transporting a bike in a safe and stable manner, as that is the most important aspect of selecting a bike rack.

    Given that the Frontloader and HighRoller mounting systems are very different in design, posting a Frontloader video in place of the Thread subject was misleading on your part - nevermind that the makers of the video may not have properly installed said product.


    Referencing the BIKE Magazine Tech Test Thule/Yakima video to support your unfounded claims, shows you selectively give too much credit to what you see on internet video; and at the same time, fail to understand basic fundamental truths about the products featured.

    Selectively, in the sense that you fail to recognize that the bike mounted in the Thule Side Arm exhibits considerable side-to-side wobble at the video's 40, 50, and 58 second mark; while simultaneously choosing to use a video of different Yakima rack, The Frontloader, to question the stability of the Yakima HighRoller.

    Also, know that the rotation of the Yakima HighRoller wrap around shown in the BIKE Magazine video are due to improper installation. Proper installation results in zero movement of the mounting hardwear and proves false your contention that the Yakima round bar design is a less than optimal design, along with every other untruth you post.


    Yakima and Thule both make excellent roof bike racks. That said, don't deny others the truth by making false claims and summarily discounting the design of one over the other, especially when one's lack of hands-on experience and use is evident.

    Yakima HighRoller owners travel at high freeway speeds and twisty back roads knowing that their bike is safely secured - no differently than Thule Side Arm owners.


    Don't believe every "sales" video you see on the internet (especially from those who clearly show an improper use or installation); If you do, you may soon find yourself telling others to purchase a Shake Weight; as Shake Weight videos show it to be an excellent piece of exercise equipment.
    Last edited by Bambi19; 10-20-2011 at 01:37 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    The etrailer.com "recommendation" you posted does not unequivocally recommend the lessor Yakima Frontloader over the HighRoller.
    I never said it did.

    However, the mere fact that the retailer, when's asked to compare the two, would suggest the "lessor" and less expensive yak rack instead of the HighRoller "flagship" speaks volumes. Do you honestly expect the retailer to state on the Internet that the HighRoller has issues (more on this below)? Of cours not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bambi19 View Post
    Given that the Frontloader and HighRoller mounting systems are very different in design . . .
    Indeed they are. The FrontLoader lacks the dubious round clamping system of the HighRoller, and instead uses a much more reliable and stable "sandwich" clamping system - which is likely the REAL reason why etrailer rates it as the better rack than the HighRoller.

    It's also interesting to note that Yakima uses its "Strong Arm" technology (similar to Thule's Side Arm) as their flagship trailer hitch bike mount system (the "Hold Up") "for the ultimate in bike-transport peace of mind". Yakima Holdup 2 Bike Hitch Mounted Folding Rack with Wheel Mount Cradles for 2" Hitch Yakima Hitch Bike Racks Y02433 Yakima. Apparently, Yakima felt the Side Arm type mount was superior for such an application, which obviously stresses the bike laterally with every accel/decel of the vehicle. Clearly, Yakima felt its "HighRoller" type mount was not up to that task.
    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 10-20-2011 at 02:50 PM.

  20. #20
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    Does this Bambi character work for Yakima??
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    Actually, my understanding is that both Yak and Rhule use the sidearm arrangement with rear wheel strap because of a patent held by 1UpUSA. 1Up licenses their patent to Raxter I believe.

    I can't find the link right now. But there are other considerations other than what is the BEST way to do it.

    If you want a totally solid roof rack, use a 1Up tray. It works better than either Yak or Thule.

    I can attest that the Highroller works fine for thousands of miles, over bumps and at high speed. Any time you stand up a whole bike on a narrow tray you will get some wobble. It's sort of inherent in the whole design.

    J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Actually, my understanding is that both Yak and Rhule use the sidearm arrangement with rear wheel strap because of a patent held by 1UpUSA. 1Up licenses their patent to Raxter I believe.

    I can't find the link right now. But there are other considerations other than what is the BEST way to do it.

    If you want a totally solid roof rack, use a 1Up tray. It works better than either Yak or Thule.

    I can attest that the Highroller works fine for thousands of miles, over bumps and at high speed. Any time you stand up a whole bike on a narrow tray you will get some wobble. It's sort of inherent in the whole design.

    J.
    The 1up looks nice and seems to be the real deal. Its certainly neat and tidy for those who are concerned with that. I have no opinion on it vs a Thule Sidearm or Yakima Strongarm set-up. Why do you say it's "better"?

    I disagree that wobble is inherent in any stand-up design. The thing I like about the Sidearm is that the arm is VERY tightly pressed down into the front tire. On an MTB w/ 30 psi or so in the tires, the arm sinks deeply into the tire, compressing it into the tray with quite a bit of force. This, coupled with the rock solid base attachment results in zero wobble.

    Does the 1up create significant tire compression?

    Now wobble may not really matter in terms of ultimately losing a bike. I just do not like the aesthetic and insecure feeling of wobbly-mounted bikes.

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    I must say the highroller I have seems to have a lot of wobble. I intend to try adjusting the crossbars to see if I can minimize it. But I've also seen wobble in a friends rig, and he seems the type to install it all correctly given the bikes he's riding.

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    The 1up can create as much tire deformity as you want.

    Anytime you take a lever as long as a bike is high on as narrow of a base as a rack tray you are going to get some wobble.

    J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post

    Anytime you take a lever as long as a bike is high on as narrow of a base as a rack tray you are going to get some wobble.

    J.
    I totally agree.

    However, the Sidearm's base is a about 2x wider than the tray, and the arm's axle attaches directly to the base (pierces it and is welded to it, actually), not the tray.

    I'd imagin that with each of the 1up's slender levers attached to the extreme ends of the tray by a single small bolt, the bike wobbles as the tray, bolts and levers flex?

    I also do not understand how the 1up generates substantial tire compression, especially in a roof mount set-up (the user has no leverage), given the almost horizontal direction of the load applied by the levers on the tires. By contrast, the Sidearm applies direct vertical pressure on the tire, essentially in an amount equal to the user's body weight (as he is able to pull the ratcheting arm straight down on the tire with his entire body). W/ the 1up, it appears that the user simply pushes the levers horizontally to contact the tires. I can't imagine much pressure being generated that way with a bike mounted rooftop. Its more of a "cradle" than a "clamp", no?
    Last edited by Stumpjumpy; 10-21-2011 at 12:12 PM.

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