Thursday, July 14, 2011

YAKIMA HighLite Hitch Mount Bike Rack

 When I heard about the new Yakima HighLite bike rack, I got very excited because at long last, there was a hitch mount bike rack that would be manageable for me.  The HighLite is a departure from the traditional hefty steel mounts, it's aluminum and very light weight, and I can lift it with one hand.  It's also extremely simple and easy to install. It will fit both 2 inch hitches and class two 1 1/4 inch hitches.

At first, when I lifted the box, I thought it was heavier than expected.  As I opened the box, the inside had a cheeky message for me, "Told you it was light,"  and sure enough, the main body was light, the part that was adding the weight to the box was the shank, which attaches to the hitch and you don't lift that part again after attaching it.  The HighLite body is so light even my six year old lifted it easily with one hand.  This is great if you want to take it off and store it for the winter or switch it to a different vehicle.  It's a piece of cake to attach and detach.

Getting the bikes on and off was the tricky part for me, having never used this type of mount before, but after doing it once, I had the hang of it.  I don't have a ton of upper body strength and I was able to get two bikes on and off the arms by myself just fine.  The hardest part for me was maneuvering the rubber straps which are very stiff at first.  The arms feature anti-sway cradles to keep bikes from scratching each other and provide stability, and there are straps to help secure your wheels and handlebars and keep everything nice and tight.  If your bike is odd shaped or lacks a top bar, you can get the Tubetop adapter which clamps right on.

There are two locks, one at the bottom so that someone can't detach your rack, and an integrated cable lock at the top to secure your bikes, both are simple to use and Yakima includes two keys.  The arm folds down when not in use, you just pull the trigger latch at the top and they come right down.  The whole rack also tilts by pulling a knob at the bottom so that you can get inside your hatch easily.  This works great and the rack is very low profile and out of the way when you need it to be.  We have a wagon which is quite long and I wondered if the carrier would make it harder for me to park and whatnot, but it poses no problem at all, I hardly notice it.  

The HighLite comes in a two and three bike version and is available in silver or white.  I love this rack, it makes me feel empowered and ready for adventure.  Yakima really tried to think of everything, you'll even find bottle openers on this carrier to hydrate after an invigorating ride.  Find it HERE.