My Review of Yakima SpareTime 2-Bike Carrier

Originally submitted at REI

The Yakima SpareTime bike carrier mounts right to your spare tire and carries 2 bikes—never leave your spare tire at home again.

Great Idea, Imperfect Execution

By bikish heather from Portland, OR on 5/7/2011

 

3out of 5

Pros: Durable, Easy to Use, Easy to Install

Cons: Unstable

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

Was this a gift?: No

In less than a week, I was heading to Missoula to do a summer internship at a bike advocacy organization, and needed to get my dog, my bikes, and my stuff there safely in a 1999 Honda CRV. I bought the SpareTime as a solution for my bikes, which includes one $4000+ custom bike—precious cargo.

When I installed the SpareTime, it was able to rotate about 1-2 degrees in either direction, which made me nervous. On the front page of the instruction manual Yakima says that any play the unit has will be exacerbated by road vibration, wind, etc., so get things as tight as you can. I tried calling the Yakima customer service line and in addition to a couple of tips they gave (which proved fruitless), they suggested I return to the REI I bought it at and ask their advice.

When I returned to REI, two separate employees came out and tried to tighten the unit further. It was then we deduced that the fit of the rack unit onto the tongue is not as snug as it should be. So the problem is with the design itself, not my installation.

I ended up exchanging for the Thule equivalent of this product, which is much more solid and centers my bikes more than the Yakima did. I was sad to not patronize a company that was local to me, but I’m not going to risk poor performance when it comes to my special bike!

(legalese)

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