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  1. #1
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    New question here. Roof rack? - King Cobra vs Super G vs Bob Ratchet

    I currently have a Yakima tower/bar set (previous generation of what became LowRider towers + 48" bars) on my '03 Outback wagon, on which I have 2 bike racks (previous generation of what became Raptor). Since my current racks are getting old (swaying more nowadays per the swing arms rivet holes getting ovalized? - good thing I don't drive fast), I'm looking for a new one (another on-roof / tire-on type) that I'll be using with a bike (34lbs) with Kenda BG 2.35 tires. Also, I'd like to have a locking option because occasionally I have to bring my bike to work & leave it in the parking lot during the day, etc. And I'm about 5' 8", if that makes any difference.

    My choices are the following three. Though I've read their reviews, it is still difficult for me to decide, since each has different pro's/con's. So, I'd like to ask for some more input/feedback...


    Yakima King Cobra
    + one-piece unit (simpler mount/dismount per season)
    + bike lock option available (same key for me, personally)
    + rack lock option available (SKS Accessory Lock)
    - weak locking device design (just a wire around downtube)
    - obtrusive frontwheel base design (wind noise), when mounted pointing forward (I plan to mount it forward-facing, personally) & sitting at the rest position without bike


    Thule Super G
    + one-piece unit (simpler mount/dismount per season)
    + bike lock option available
    + no obtrusive front wheel hoop design (more aerodynamic, less wind noise)
    - weak locking device design (just a wire around downtube)
    - extra ratchet strap for behind front wheel (extra step)
    - separate bike lock key (different key for me, personally)
    - rack lock option not available (yes/no?)


    Sportsworks Bob Ratchet
    + absolutely the best & preferred arm unit/loading design
    + no obtrusive front wheel hoop design (more aerodynamic, less wind noise)
    - two-piece unit (more pieces to keep track of when dismounted)
    - size (too wide, yet can't run the arm on outside the tower while the tray on inside the tower = really a bummer)
    - no bike lock option available (maybe run a lock/cable manually = extra step)
    - no rack lock option available (though simply can use Yakima SKS Accessory Lock?)
    - arm unit can over-swing to hit the roof
    - outdated rear wheel strap design (though simply can be swapped with Yakima ratchet?)


    Did I forget to think of anything else?

    For the ease of use, I most prefer the Bob Ratchet (excellent arm design by far), having seen/used my friend's hitch-mount version. But for all practical purposes, I may have to settle with the King Cobra...

    Thanks for your feedback in advance,
    - PiroChu

    PS.
    I see that Sportsworks items are now listed on Thule website? (Did they merge?)
    Last edited by PiroChu; 06-09-2005 at 01:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have two king cobras. I considered the super g, but it was not available yet when I was buying my first rack and I was impatient. I think I looked at a Bob Ratchet when I was getting the second one and liked the looks of it, but it was during the time thule was buying them out, so again, it was not available and I was impatient. Plus it is nice that I can use the same key for both racks.

    I am quite happy with them. The lock is kind of flimsey--like a medium duty cable lock really. My BF calls them mere suggestions to not steal a bike. When I leave it for any period of time out of my sight, I back up that lock with heavy chains in extreme situations, or a u-lock and additional cable lock when I am feeling less insecure. But I would do that with the super g or bob ratchet too.

    I like that the rack can hold both my road bike and my mountain bike. It is pretty easy to load. The super g requires more height or you will have to stand in the door to do up that strap on the back side of the front wheel. I am kind of short, so that would have been a pain for me. I don't really notice wind noise. I have a fairing, so maybe that is why. I also don't drive with the windows open much. There is a bit of a dip in gas mileage, but no more than it was with my thule big mouth, and the fairing helps with that, too. . Just don't mount the rack facing backwards as they recommend with the fairing because if you drive into a parking garage with the front piece up, it will get crunched. If it is facing forward, it will just get knocked down.

    The bob ratchet, btw, is now sold by thule.

  3. #3
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    I have a super G and a big mouth

    I am very happy with both - I prefer the super G as there is no contact with the frame. I am 5.11" and can easily stand on the floor to mount the bike (car is a sedan though). The super G would work best with a 2.3 or 2.5 front tire as although you lock the wheel in place around the rim and tire at the back it just rests in a "slot" at the front. The fatter the tire the less play at the front. I got the big mouth as it is much easier to transport road bikes whereas a road bike on a super G would be an issue.

  4. #4
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    I am happy w/ my king cobra--no probs whatsoever.
    Never tried anything on the roof but Yak stuff.

  5. #5
    Just roll it......
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    I've got two king cobras.

    I agree that the locks are flimsy and more of a deterent than anything. The rack works well and even holds my DH bike up nice and straight. One thing I noticed on a big road trip recently was that the red knob that helps tighten it down was coming loose so I had to check it every few hours and retighten it, but that was going 80 on the freeway for periods of 4-5 hours.

    I personally think the sportsworks system is easier to get the bikes up into the system - especially with heavier bikes. My buddy has 4 of them on his car and I can put my big bike up in the center without a problem, but it can be a pain in the butt with the King Cobras. Based on the time with the King Cobras and dealing with the Sportsworks system, I'd vote for the Sportsworks system.

    EB

  6. #6
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    New question here. Red knob on King Cobra

    Thanks you all for your feedback.

    Again, for all practical purposes, I'm leaning towards a King Cobra..., except that the red knob issue (also noted in Reviews & other places) sounds sketchy. (I've read some saying that pushing down the tire while loading could avoid this problem...?)

    Anybody came up with something else, home-made? Maybe I can use the red knob of Raptor (also lockable), or the red QR lever (also lockable) from my what-became-Raptor rack (Was it called LockJaw, maybe?) instead...?

    I read this in one of the reviews, but can't visualize it quite yet. Can anyone help me?

      ... remove the retaining clip and add a stainless steel split lock washer sandwiched between two flat washers situated above the red knob. With this addition, I can now have the bikes face in either direction and the red knob stays fairly tight.

    Unlike LockJaw's pre-tensioned QR lever (if it's always the same bike being loaded), turning & turning & turning of the King Cobra red knob doesn't sound so fun. (For the same reason, I've not bought the newer LockJaw-replacing Raptor rack, whose red knob you have to turn & turn & turn each time.)

    What happens if the red knob completely comes unhooked/undone while still driving? Will that drop the bike off completely onto the highway? Or, with a help of the rear ratchet strap being secured, will the bike (& the front-wheel hoop) at least stay in place (though with more swaying) to make it to the destination in one piece???

    I've also read swaying issue with King Cobra. Well, the swaying issue is what I already got with my current LockJaw racks that I'm trying to do away with in the first place. I know King Cobra will be more swaying than a fork-mount rack, of course, but I hope it's less than my LockJaw swaying at least.

    Not yet 100% convinced myself.... Hummm...
    - PiroChu
    Last edited by PiroChu; 06-09-2005 at 11:43 PM.

  7. #7
    aka dan51
    Reputation: d-bug's Avatar
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    I've got two of the BobRachets. They are the easiest thing to use. I wouldn't worry about the rear wheel strap. I find it much easier to use than the Yakima strap on my other two racks. My only complaint about the BR is how the arm mounts and it's width where it mounts. I found that putting the arm on the INSIDE of the bike tray works best. This way I can pull the tray as wide as possible to increase the space between my two bikes (I can put a third rack in the middle because of this). It also makes putting the bike on easier since I don't have to reach in as far. It's actually not very inconvenient either. My girlfriend has no problems putting her bike on the car with no assistance. When teh arm was on the outside, she wasn't able to get the bike in the tray without feeling like she was going to break her back.
    I have mine mounted on a set of Yakima bars.
    This is what I am using:
    http://www.racknroad.com/products/ra...250150_49.html

    Hope that helps

    BTW, last time I looked the BR was less expensive than the Thule and Yakimas, but things might be different now.

    Dan
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...People thought they were getting a good fork because it was a "fox".

  8. #8
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    i've got the king cobra and its awesome. works flawlessly. just make sure everything is good and tight each time you use it

  9. #9
    sadly, like the element
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    How about road bikes on the Bob Sportworks tray? I'd be worried about destroying a cf fork by being dumb one morning. I have a King Cobra and that knob is a constant worry of mine even if it's still tight after a 2 hour drive I can't stop worrying about the damn thing and the potential for it to loosen. I'll MacGyver something to prevent it from turning one of these days to stop my worrying.

  10. #10
    Bodhisattva
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    I have 2 King Cobras. Work great.
    Preloading the red knob by pulling down on the tire when tightening works like a charm.
    If the knob were to come undone I highly doubt anything would happen. The front wheel gets securely cradles from below and sandwhiched from above and the rear tire strap would keep the bike from moving.
    I've had no problems over the past year.
    ôLife is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.ö

    ― Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    aka dan51
    Reputation: d-bug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadghost
    How about road bikes on the Bob Sportworks tray?
    I rarely use it for our roadbikes, but when I do it's fine. Since the tires on those things aren't very pliable, it makes it a little difficult to get it tightly mounted. MTB bike tires just squish when things are tightened down, giving a more secure feeling. I can see why roadies either by trunk racks, or fork mounted roof racks.

    I've never used either of the other two racks, but I guess they may have the same problem with roadbikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...People thought they were getting a good fork because it was a "fox".

  12. #12
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    Thule Criterium

    check this carrier. Its not listed on the reviews page, but IMHO best carrier there ( I owe 2 o them)
    Hold anything from kiddie bike and 1 weel trailers to the most of DH monsters. Due to wide range of tubes you can hook it in.

    Locking for both rack and bike and nice aero for the front.

    From the downsides I only suspect possible tension cable failure (it's inside steel tube) over time and there is no way to observe the cable condition. So just as matter of preventive care, I swipe crank over the tube.

  13. #13
    Just roll it......
    Reputation: ebxtreme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiroChu
    Thanks you all for your feedback.

    Again, for all practical purposes, I'm leaning towards a King Cobra..., except that the red knob issue (also noted in Reviews & other places) sounds sketchy. (I've read some saying that pushing down the tire while loading could avoid this problem...?)


    What happens if the red knob completely comes unhooked/undone while still driving? Will that drop the bike off completely onto the highway? Or, with a help of the rear ratchet strap being secured, will the bike (& the front-wheel hoop) at least stay in place (though with more swaying) to make it to the destination in one piece???

    I've also read swaying issue with King Cobra. Well, the swaying issue is what I already got with my current LockJaw racks that I'm trying to do away with in the first place. I know King Cobra will be more swaying than a fork-mount rack, of course, but I hope it's less than my LockJaw swaying at least.

    - PiroChu
    PiroChu,

    I can tell you the King Cobra won't sway nearly as bad as the Lock Jaws. The red knob issue is minor and you can preload the front wheel to get it tight. One thing is that if the bike is facing backwards, the knob might have a tendency to loosen up a little. Again, this only happend driving to Moab/Fruita from Washington at 80 mph and I hadn't checked it for several stops when I noticed that it was all the way loose. With that said, it was still secure in the tray when it was loose since the wheel is cradled on the front and back and the rear wheel strap keeps it from moving too.

    For anyone that also has a 45+ lb. dh bike like me, I'd recommend the Sportsworks due to the ease of getting the bikes situated on the rack - not because of the general functionality. I have no issues whatsoever getting my 33 lb. XC bike on the car.

    Cheers,
    EB

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Just want to also say that the red knob issue on the cobra is not too big a deal. Pull on the wheel when you are tighteing it, and it will stay secure. Since I learned that trick, it has never loosened on me.

  15. #15
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    Idea! Solution for the infamous red knob on King Cobra / Cobra !!

    Last night I reluctantly picked up a King Cobra and installed it on top of my car, even though I still wasn't fully convinced, especially with the infamous red knob. I desparately wanted to use something else, so I've been thinking...

    Now I got an idea that seems to actually work!


    SUMMARY
    With an additional cost (~$35), I essentially replaced the "red knob" with Yakima's SKS Lock Housing. Though not quite a quick-release lever, the SKS Housing serves a similar QR-like function by sliding up along the bolt to tighten the tension upon locking/engaging.

    So, no more "turn & turn & turn forever" like with the default "red knob". Just pre-set the SKS Housing once, and lock it when loading. The ledge of SKS Housing will hook at the ledge of King Cobra base plate. And this new "SKS knob" will not turn or come loose, once engaged/locked.


    PARTS

    (A) generic 5/16" washers from local hardware store = $0.08 x3
    NOTE: Stacking 3 of them is just slightly thicker than the length of the protruding ledge of the King Cobra base plate. These will simply be used as the spacer/stopper to be bottomed out against SKS Housing upon locking, instead of SKS Housing bottoming out against the ledge of the King Cobra base plate.


    (B) Yakima SKS Accessory Lock Housing = $10 x1
    NOTE: This will serve as the new "knob". (There's no need for the accompanying hex nut and rubber ring.)


    (C) Yakima SKS Lock Cores (Package of 2) = $23 x1
    NOTE: This needs to be installed inside the SKS Housing first. (Too bad they don't offer a single pack.)



    INSTALLATION
    #1 - Install the SKS Lock Cores into the SKS Housing.
    #2 - Take out the E-clip that's stopping the defualt red knob. (Keep the E-clip handy, as you'll need it shortly.)
    #3 - Take out the red knob.
    #4 - Put the 3 washers through the bolt, then install the SKS Housing on the bolt.
    #5 - Put back the E-clip at the end of the bolt, so that SKS Housing doesn't slip off at the end of the bolt.
    (see Picture #1 below)


    LOADING
    * Load the bike the same way as with the default "red knob" by pulling out the bolt and swinging it into slot. Then secure the new "SKS knob" by locking/engaging it with a key.
    (see Picture #2 below)

    NOTE: When pre-setting the new "SKS knob" on the bolt for the right tension, be sure to push/pull against the smaller hoop (touching the back of front tire) to push down the tire against the larger hoop (touching the front of front tire). When actually turning the key to lock/engage, be sure to push/pull the smaller hoop again so that you can squeeze in the last bit to tightly engage.


    UNLOADING
    * When not in use, retract the bolt into the King Cobra base unit (the same way as with the default "red knob"). Then turn the "SKS knob" 180-degrees around so that it sits in the King Cobra base unit, all nicely tucked in.
    (see Picture #3 below)


    So, what do you guys think???

    I'll go test this thru some twisty roads tomorrow,
    - PiroChu
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by PiroChu; 06-10-2005 at 10:38 PM.

  16. #16
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    What a great idea! Let us know how test drive worked out -- I may very well make this conversion. Just want to hear from you if you are confident you're able to get everything tight enough.

  17. #17
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    Good job! Success!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    What a great idea! Let us know how test drive worked out -- I may very well make this conversion. Just want to hear from you if you are confident you're able to get everything tight enough.
    Hi Nate,

    Thanks for asking.

    Today I drove up to Demo thru twisty/bumpy roads, and there was no problem whatsoever. I tried it with my 34lbs Saber (w/ Kenda BG 2.35) one way, and tried it with my friend's 40lbs Bullit (w/ Kenda BG 2.70) the other way, and nothing moved at all.

    Actually, once the lock is engaged so that the ledges are properly interlocking (as seen in the above pic), the "SKS knob" just physically can't turn/spin to come loose.

    It is important to make sure that, while locking/engaging with the key in one hand, you push forward the smaller hoop with the other hand to squeeze out any last bit of play. The turning of the key should feel slightly harder with tension (a good sure sign) while pressuring the smaller hoop with the other hand. If not, then you should give the "SKS knob" another turn to make it a tighter fit. (ie. preventing any accidental "popping free" during a bumpy ride)

    Essentially, this modification is to simply prevent a "knob" (any knob) from turning loose while transporting a bike. The proper tightening of the knob tension by the user is to be already assumed, of course.

    Let me know what you think,
    - PiroChu
    Last edited by PiroChu; 06-12-2005 at 04:02 PM.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    i think this is a bad idea. these roof racks are tested like crazy, and modding them like this probably undermines its structural integrity somehow. i don't see what's so horribe about this red knob anyway. pull down on the front wheel while tightening the knob. thats it. it won't come loose, ever. its not particle physics here.

  19. #19
    sadly, like the element
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    It's smooth plastic against a painted metal surface, surface coefficient of friction is rather low imo and ime. I've thought about marking where the red knob touches the metal base plate and sanding/cutting it down so that it has two teeth sticking up that get pulled up into the groove keeping it from turning once it's tightened down.

  20. #20
    On MTBR hiatus :(
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekFan
    i think this is a bad idea. these roof racks are tested like crazy, and modding them like this probably undermines its structural integrity somehow. i don't see what's so horribe about this red knob anyway. pull down on the front wheel while tightening the knob. thats it. it won't come loose, ever. its not particle physics here.
    I gotta disagree -- if that red knob were tested thoroughly and Yakima actually gave a sh!t, it'd have never made it to production. Sure, it works OK (I still very much like my Cobra racks), but its engineering is garbage.

    Properly tightened, I've had mine work itself loose on longer drives. I installed a spring washer sandwich to keep that problem at bay.

    Yak could have taken the easy way out and provided a safety -- a serrated washer, a velcro "anti-spin" strap, a safety wire -- whatever.

    But not only is the red knob time consuming and uninspired, it twists the threaded 'T' rod as it turns, causing the 'T' to become cockeyed in the slot and 45┬░ away from aligning with the slot and slipping through.

    I'd prefer a simple cam-style quick release. As it is, the red knob needs to be cranked far tighter than is necessary to securely hold the bike in place -- all that extra tightening is only to keep the knob from spinning loose.

    My only concern with PiroChu's SKS solution is thread engagement & holding ability -- the last thing I'd want is this lock popping free during a drive. But as it is, this is almost exactly the application this lock housing is designed for.

  21. #21
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! A couple of things to be emphasized...

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    My only concern with PiroChu's SKS solution is thread engagement & holding ability -- the last thing I'd want is this lock popping free during a drive. But as it is, this is almost exactly the application this lock housing is designed for.
    Hi Nate,

    Thanks for the feedback. I totally understand your concern, as the same thought initially crossed my mind as well.

    A couple of things to be emphasized...

    (A) Be sure to use 3 washers, assuming that you'd pick up the same generic 5/16" washers (from HomeDepot, etc) as I have. Stacking 2 of them will let only the base-plate ledge bottom out against SKS Housing (bad). Stacking of 4 will still let the base-plate and SKS ledges interlock with each other, but the interlocking surface/length (about 4mm) is less sufficient (bad). Stacking of 3 seems to provide an optimal interlocking surface/length (about 6mm of interlocking length, or almost all of SKS ledge length which is about 7mm, about 1mm of which is the "L"-shape curve portion).

    (B) Proper tensioning of the knob while locking is extremely important. As noted above, it should feel tight/stiff (not smooth/easy) to turn the key, especially towards the end of keying rotation, even with the simultaneous aid of the other hand pushing the smaller hoop. Using both hands/arms, you need to do both simultaneously; pushing the smaller hoop with one hand while turning the key with the other. You definitely want to feel this tension while turning the key, as this indicates a proper/sufficient tension, preventing the accidentally popping out of the ledges.

    It's certainly true that, if not properly tensioned, a "knob" (any, "red" or "SKS") can come loose or pop out over the base-plate ledge. However, if the interlocking surface/length of 6mm can be popped off during a twisty/bumpy ride, there's a good chance that the user didn't properly tighten the knob when loading. As you can imagine it (and try it), after already loading a bike with a "proper" tension (with no play, which you've already squeezed out when properly tightening), trying to hand-push the smaller hoop against the front wheel to achieve an additional 6mm+ of play along the bolt to pop out the knob over the base-plate ledge is quite difficult (I couldn't produce this problem while testing it myself), even with a front tire that has big cushy/forgiving "soft-compound" knobbies. (...unless some punk aired out your tire during your pit stop without your knowledge, etc.)

    Also, as another benefit, when tightening/engaging with this "SKS knob", I don't seem to encounter the "'T' becoming cockeyed in the slot at 45-degree angle" problem, either, while I did observe the "T" turned crooked when tightening with the default "red knob".

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    - PiroChu
    Last edited by PiroChu; 06-12-2005 at 06:31 PM.

  22. #22
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    Sportworks...fo shizzle....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
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    After 9yrs of use, this just happened. But all I had to do was to flip the tray front-to-back, and it's as good as new (for another 9yrs, lol!)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Roof rack? - King Cobra vs Super G vs Bob Ratchet-20140701_164445.jpg  

    Last edited by PiroChu; 07-05-2014 at 10:13 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Re: Roof rack? - King Cobra vs Super G vs Bob Ratchet

    Where in God's name did all these members go?

    Edit : nm, most still active.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiroChu View Post
    Last night I reluctantly picked up a King Cobra and installed it on top of my car, even though I still wasn't fully convinced, especially with the infamous red knob. I desparately wanted to use something else, so I've been thinking...

    Now I got an idea that seems to actually work!


    SUMMARY
    With an additional cost (~$35), I essentially replaced the "red knob" with Yakima's SKS Lock Housing. Though not quite a quick-release lever, the SKS Housing serves a similar QR-like function by sliding up along the bolt to tighten the tension upon locking/engaging.

    So, no more "turn & turn & turn forever" like with the default "red knob". Just pre-set the SKS Housing once, and lock it when loading. The ledge of SKS Housing will hook at the ledge of King Cobra base plate. And this new "SKS knob" will not turn or come loose, once engaged/locked.


    PARTS

    (A) generic 5/16" washers from local hardware store = $0.08 x3
    NOTE: Stacking 3 of them is just slightly thicker than the length of the protruding ledge of the King Cobra base plate. These will simply be used as the spacer/stopper to be bottomed out against SKS Housing upon locking, instead of SKS Housing bottoming out against the ledge of the King Cobra base plate.


    (B) Yakima SKS Accessory Lock Housing = $10 x1
    NOTE: This will serve as the new "knob". (There's no need for the accompanying hex nut and rubber ring.)


    (C) Yakima SKS Lock Cores (Package of 2) = $23 x1
    NOTE: This needs to be installed inside the SKS Housing first. (Too bad they don't offer a single pack.)



    INSTALLATION
    #1 - Install the SKS Lock Cores into the SKS Housing.
    #2 - Take out the E-clip that's stopping the defualt red knob. (Keep the E-clip handy, as you'll need it shortly.)
    #3 - Take out the red knob.
    #4 - Put the 3 washers through the bolt, then install the SKS Housing on the bolt.
    #5 - Put back the E-clip at the end of the bolt, so that SKS Housing doesn't slip off at the end of the bolt.
    (see Picture #1 below)


    LOADING
    * Load the bike the same way as with the default "red knob" by pulling out the bolt and swinging it into slot. Then secure the new "SKS knob" by locking/engaging it with a key.
    (see Picture #2 below)

    NOTE: When pre-setting the new "SKS knob" on the bolt for the right tension, be sure to push/pull against the smaller hoop (touching the back of front tire) to push down the tire against the larger hoop (touching the front of front tire). When actually turning the key to lock/engage, be sure to push/pull the smaller hoop again so that you can squeeze in the last bit to tightly engage.


    UNLOADING
    * When not in use, retract the bolt into the King Cobra base unit (the same way as with the default "red knob"). Then turn the "SKS knob" 180-degrees around so that it sits in the King Cobra base unit, all nicely tucked in.
    (see Picture #3 below)


    So, what do you guys think???

    I'll go test this thru some twisty roads tomorrow,
    - PiroChu
    Red knob fix was completely unnecessary, been using King Cobra longer than this thread been around, and never had a red knob come loose. If you follow the instructions and pre load by pulling down on the tire as you tighten the red knob it will never come loose. BTW, i have ridden mine in santa anna winds, through canyons, with tires underinfkated or flat, and also with forgetting to tighten the red knob at all and never had the wheel come out.

    I recently installed a 1UpUSA rack on my outback, what a rack. It is amazing, it evokes the same response as a dropper post, "i won't go back to my old style rack again" but in this case my King Cobra is on a 16 year old Camry and I aint putting a hitch on that car now, its days are numbered...

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