Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack

    One of the little wallet draining oopsie’s I discovered after I blew the wad on my new RM Thunderbolt 750 was that it would not fit the clamps on my trusty, cheap, 2 year old Sport Rack rooftop carrier. I like a roof rack on my van because I often tow a trailer AND I like keeping the bike out of highway sludge or gravel road dust-cake. Since I’d already fancied one of the popular brand racks that grabbed the front tire, I didn’t really mind this setback, especially if I could avoid scratching the paint on my nice new bike But as I got serious about a purchase, there were comments gleaned on this forum that caused me concerns. One of the Yakima model’s had the ratchet knob thingie strip. The RockyMounts Brass Knuckle had “iffy” thin metal straps holding the rack to the car racks. I’d always thought that the Thule’s required a custom roof rack, but was delighted to find out in a bike shop that they now fit the car’s stock rack. But the rack was a little pricey, and then there was the CAD $50.00 for a pair of locks on top of that! I'd seen online shops offering a "new" Rockymounts Tomahawk. I noticed that it was less costly than the Brass Knuckles and that it was also fat-bike ready out of the box. No extra expense needed to make that happen. Every place I checked in Canada was out of stock. I sent an email to Rockymounts to inquire if the mounts to the roof rack had been improved over the Brass Knuckles. I got a quick reply to the affirmative and they said that I should be able to get them from Rack Attack up here. I phoned Rack Attack even though their web site showed no stock and they said they had two in the Toronto location. I ordered Saturday for CAD $256.90 pre-tax including two lock cores and free UPS ground shipping. Long journey notwithstanding, it arrived in Lake Louise on Thursday. I was quite impressed with the sturdy quality of this rack as I assembled it and decided mid-assembly to make a mini-review pictorial for this forum. I hadn’t found any info on it yet.....

    The rack arrived safe and sound after travelling from Colorado to Ontario and back again to the Rockies in Canada where I live. The box was sturdy and there were the two major parts plus another sturdy box containing all the other parts. I told my wife that it is confidence inspiring to see glossy color instructions on good paper. Please note that the instructions explicitly state that it is not for use with pennyfarthings The assembly is pretty straightforward Of note was how once the wheel tray slides into the back portion of the wheel well, the pre-started set screws merely need to be tightened up. They are pre-installed to just the right depth. Nice touch.

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-instructionsa.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-instructionsb.jpg

    The new car rack clamps are pretty beefy and easy to install:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-clamps.jpg

    I pried off the end cap to get a photo of the very strong multi-channel extrusion and chipped the finish:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-extrusion.jpg

    Once completed, the rack is compact and easy to store:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-complete.jpg

    A trial fit reveals a rack worth of my new steed:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-trial-fit.jpg

    The tire strap is of heavy duty construction. Included is add-on straps to grasp the fattest of tires:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-straps.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-two-straps.jpg

    Wheel tray and cage are large enough for a fat bike tire:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-wheel-profile.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-wheel-cage.jpg

    Ratchet arm photos:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-ratchet-arm.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-clamping-tire.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-ratchet-armb.jpg

    Lockable cover fits well and securely covers mounting hardware:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-lockable-cover.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-cover-installed.jpg

    Installed photos:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-profile.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-installedb.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-installed.jpg

    Conclusion: I am very pleased with the sturdy construction, easy install, and reasonable price. I will post road test and usage followups and perhaps some better photos.

    Glen

  2. #2
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    test flight

    Yesterday I did about 300 km at highway speeds, about 125 kph (80 mph), through horrible headwind/side wind gusts, estimating 60-80 kph. Side winds were sometimes were hitting the car like a hammer, so it was good test. Serious torture. Other vehicles were being pushed over 4 or 5 feet at times.

    Once I got to actually strapping down the bike as I was preparing to leave, I discovered a little problem. I had been happy to see that the rear mount and strap attachments could slide past or over each other, but when inserting the rear strap I realized it would hit the car's rack if their positions coincided:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-strap-interfere.jpg

    The straps are beefy and stiff and don't like this. I drove it that way for the day, but will move the car's crossbar back 2 inches to coordinate/fit the next mounting hole in my other rack.

    One trivial issue is that the straps are so long/substantial and stiff in the cold that they hit the roof when strapping 2.2" tires and are a bit harder to pull tight when this happens. With the fit on my rack system, the front strap bears down on the van roof and pretensions the sheet metal to the point that when the rack sways the tiny amount that it does, it causes the metal to pop, right over my head. The easy fix was to realized that I didn't need the strap to be super tight and back it off one notch. Otherwise, one could trim the strap.

    I have subsequently moved the rack maybe 4 - 5 inches towards center of the car. Then I raised the clamp arm vertical and yanked side to side on it as hard as I could. There was very minimal movement.

    I am quite happy with the rack and feel it was the best choice for me. It is a way easier to put the bike in the rack without having to mess with the down tube clamps. The lower price than others of similar design was a bonus!

    BTW, I use a little two-step stool for putting the bike on the van roof. I am 64 y/o and have no issues with pressing the bike overhead in a relaxed position and scampering up the stool. Oh yeah, I don't have a garage or ever deal with parking garages

    Here's a few more photos:

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-side.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-front2.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-closeup.jpg

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-cage.jpg

    Cheers!
    Glen
    Last edited by gpeden; 04-04-2016 at 10:22 AM.

  3. #3
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    Great review, I've always had great luck with Rocky Mounts stuff.

  4. #4
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    Hi,

    I clarified the comments about the metal popping sound from the roof in my previous post.

    I've done a few more high speed long distance trips using this rack and I couldn't be happier with it!

    Glen

  5. #5
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    Months later...

    Hi, I thought I would post an update....

    I am really surprised that this nice carrier isn't discussed more! Mainly because it is fat bike ready out of the box. And it costs less than the others before factoring in the cost of the extras they require to handle a fat bike.

    I liked mine so much and it is such a joy to use that I just received my second one. It was worth it to not have to mess with the cumbersome clamping rack that I was going to keep using for my wife's bikes' very occasional trips. Besides, I am shopping for a fat bike It is very quick and easy to secure the bike in the rack and it feels rock solid secure.

    It took a month, but I eventually noticed a design feature that helps hold the wheel straps out of the way while loading the bike. Leaving the straps bowed like that imparts a slightly curved shape to them, which fixes the minor issue of the straps poking into the roof when strapping down the wheels. The two photos below show these hooks for the strap.

    Early impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-img_3075.jpgEarly impressions of RockyMounts TomaHawk roof rack-img_3074.jpg

    Cheers!
    Glen

  6. #6
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    Man. I have the tomahawk and it doesn't have that handy little hook for the strap.

  7. #7
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    Hi, sorry to hear that. If my second one came without them, I would have been all over RM to replace or sell me the newer parts. They are handy!

    Glen

  8. #8
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    Hey Glen,

    Great review, I just happened across this and you have me very intrigued. I currently have 2 Yakima Highrollers with one of them dead and the other getting close. As I am having a small issue finding the receipt I may not be able to get them replaced under warranty. I have had 4yrs of good use out of them so they don't really owe me much but if I have to purchase again I'll consider others.

    I have a friend with the Thule and it has some idiosyncrasies (so it is out), and have read some reviews on the Tomahawk but one of them was not so positive in that the reviewer commented that the arm that clamps down and holds the front tire in place being made out of aluminum is prone to bending and being wobbly (side to side). Your initial review said you were in some crazy winds, did you or have you noticed any such side to side movement/play?

    Thanks
    Dennis
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    Hey Glen,
    Your initial review said you were in some crazy winds, did you or have you noticed any such side to side movement/play?

    Thanks
    Dennis
    Hi Dennis,

    At first I thought the rack had a bit of flex, but it turned out to be the van's stock roof rack to which the Tomahawk is fastened. Just a little, no big deal. If the sliding part was loose on the post, which it isn't, having the usual tension agains the tire would tighten it up. I have noticed no such issues with mine and I am the type who would notice this I really, really like my two Tomahawks! So quick and easy to use.

    Compared to the other name brand racks, which I have examined, but not used, mine seems to be significantly sturdier. The two beefy clamps that are the pivot point for the swing arm were a little tight on my first rack, so I loosened them off a bit recently.

    My new fat bike's 4.8 " tires overhang the edges of the tray, but the straps keep them quite secure and the clamp arm swallows the big tire no problem.

    The only drawback with a roof rack for me is the wintertime snow and I have removed them for the season. My van is usually empty in the winter, and I like having the bike inside it for the winter anyway.

    Cheers!
    Glen
    2016 RMB Thunderbolt 750
    2016 RMB Blizzard 30

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeden View Post
    Hi Dennis,

    At first I thought the rack had a bit of flex, but it turned out to be the van's stock roof rack to which the Tomahawk is fastened. Just a little, no big deal. If the sliding part was loose on the post, which it isn't, having the usual tension agains the tire would tighten it up. I have noticed no such issues with mine and I am the type who would notice this I really, really like my two Tomahawks! So quick and easy to use.

    Compared to the other name brand racks, which I have examined, but not used, mine seems to be significantly sturdier. The two beefy clamps that are the pivot point for the swing arm were a little tight on my first rack, so I loosened them off a bit recently.

    My new fat bike's 4.8 " tires overhang the edges of the tray, but the straps keep them quite secure and the clamp arm swallows the big tire no problem.

    The only drawback with a roof rack for me is the wintertime snow and I have removed them for the season. My van is usually empty in the winter, and I like having the bike inside it for the winter anyway.

    Cheers!
    Glen
    Hey Glen,

    Thanks for the extra info - in poking around a little more last night I think it must have been the Brass knuckle version that I read that about. I think if we do have to purchase again we'll go with the Tomahawk for sure. We also have 29+ bikes (3" width) and I'm not about to shell out extra to make them fit on the other rack either.

    Dennis
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  11. #11
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    Does anybody else fine these locks laughable in terms of security on these tire clamping racks? I just bought the tomahawk and like it, but I was looking at it with the bike on and all you would have to do is pop out the front axle and both the bike and wheel would roll free even while "locked". Am i missing something? It might be going back for this reason.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by COBenG View Post
    Does anybody else fine these locks laughable in terms of security on these tire clamping racks? I just bought the tomahawk and like it, but I was looking at it with the bike on and all you would have to do is pop out the front axle and both the bike and wheel would roll free even while "locked". Am i missing something? It might be going back for this reason.
    Load the bike backwards, and put the front wheel hook on the frame at the junction of the top tube and seat mast. Not only is this more secure and clamps better, but provides the added security when you need it. Or, add a cable.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

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