Yakima Hookup

If anybody?s been shopping for bicycle racks lately, it can be pretty confusing. Not only do you have to decide whether you want a top, trunk or hitch-mounted rack, but there are tons of options within each of those categories. And, if you own a pickup truck, you?ve got multiple options for a bed mount as well.

While the tried-and-true roof rack may look the coolest, I?m not sure it?s the most practical for larger SUVs and minivans. For one, the roof height on these larger vehicles can make it somewhat challenging for anybody under 6-foot tall to comfortably place their bicycle on the roof.

And with gasoline prices already hovering at three bucks a gallon, who wants to waste any more fuel by placing more wind drag on top of their vehicle?

It?s with these thoughts in mind that we decided to take a look at Yakima?s Hookup, an aptly named hitch-mounted rack that can get you ?hooked up? within seconds of deciding to tote your two-wheeled accessories.

What I truly liked about the hookup is its ease of installation. I don?t know about you, but I can?t stand being forced to read a complex set of directions to do anything. Give me the product and if I can figure out the assembly without having to read a 30-minute manual, I?m a happy camper.

With the hookup, I quickly scanned the completed diagram and it was so obvious how to put this puppy together that I quickly bolted the two bicycle rails to the main hitch unit and had the whole thing ready to accept my first bike in less than 10 minutes from opening the box.

Now that?s what I call convenience.

Loading bikes was a snap

Loading two bicycles was truly a snap. There?s no need to take any wheels off your bike. You only need to have adequate tire pressure in each tire, especially the front one since that?s where the arm will hold your bicycle. Amazingly, no piece of this rack touches any part of your frame or fork.

To secure your bike, simply rest the bike onto the rail, lift the hookup arm over the front tire and push the locking unit onto the front tire so it rests about an inch in front of the front brake. Then you just push the sliding locking mechanism onto the tire till the bike is held tightly. Best part is you can push down on the arm and hear it click into place each time you push it further so you can get more micro-adjustments of tightness.

Once your front wheel is secure, you?ll find the bike won?t move but you?ll still want to secure it completely by hooking the rear strap over the rim of your back wheel which secures the entire bicycle very well. These are the same kinds of straps you find on standard roof racks to hold the rear wheel down after securing front forks. It also bears noting that, with all these straps, one must be careful to thread the strap into the narrow receiving slot. I accidentally just pushed the strap in once, missing the correct slot and found that, while the strap would tighten this way, it was a bear to get undone.

I also found, quite to my surprise, that I didn?t need to wrestle with holding the bicycle in place before I got the locking arm onto the front tire. It would just rest there, held by the grooves around both tires. Very nice.

To release the bike, just squeeze the red release button on the arm and the locking mechanism is free to slide up and release the front wheel. Undo the rear strap and your bike is off the rack in less than 10 seconds, literally. Actually, I bet I could do it in five seconds if somebody challenged me.

And putting the bicycle back on the Hookup is just as quick and easy.

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