Interbike 2010: Yakima’s New Racks

Yes, still more from Interbike if you can believe it. This installment features a few new, or redesigned racks from the famous equipment transport giant, Yakima. The first rack to get some plastic surgery (couldn’t help myself) is the very popular King Joe Strap Rack. The King Joe has remained mostly unchanged since the revisions that spurred the name change from Mighty Joe to King Joe as it is known today.

While the rack on display is still a prototype, the newest version of the rack gets a complete update on the frame changing from the round steel of the previous King to the new flat oval tube shape. The base pads now stretch across the entire rack which should distribute the pressure more evenly. The ratchet mechanism at the hub has also been revised, and the new QuickTrigger system is supposed to be even easier to use, with no question whether it’s open or closed.

The arms of the King Joe won’t go unnoticed as they come in slightly narrower than its predecessor, and feature the new Stable Cradles which won’t migrate along the arms. The King Joe will still be available in a 2 bike and 3 bike rack with an MSRP of $145 and $165 respectively.

Check out the new Super Joe, and get the details on the finally available Yakima HighLite after the break!

The Super Joe is not left out from the party and gets all of the improvements the King Joe receives! New stable cradles, oval steel frame, enlarged bumpers, and the new QuickTrigger system. The only difference between the two racks remains the fact that the King Joe is made of 3 moving frame pieces where as the Super Joe is only two. Quite simply it means that the Super Joe doesn’t open as flat as the King Joe which means it won’t fit as many vehicles, especially ones with flat rear surfaces like vans or SUVs. The Super Joe will also be available in a 2 and 3 bike version with an MRSP of $105 and $125 respectively.

After being unveiled last year at Interbike 2009, it seems that the Yakima HighLite will finally be available next month. What makes the HighLite different? Well, the HighLite is a member of the newest family of hitch rack styles, the super lights. To Me, a super light rack has to be under 20 pounds and must retain all the functionality of a regular rack. There are a lot of riders out there that would prefer the simplicity of a hitch rack to a strap rack, but simply do not have the strength to wrestle a 40+ pound rack onto the back of their car. While not the cheapest rack, the HighLite addresses this aspect and should allow more people to get out and ride.

The HighLite will be available in 2 premium finishes to best match your ride and set you apart from the herd. In addition to being pretty light (19 lbs), the HighLite also has a few other features to make transporting your bikes as easy as possible.

Instead of having to fumble with a cheesy stamped wrench, or a combination of tools to tighten your rack down to keep it from swaying, the HighLite simply has a twist knob. Slide the rack into the receiver, twist the knob until tight, and even lock it in place to keep it from coming loose, or being stolen. All of this from the convenience of the very front of the rack, not hidden somewhere under your bumper.

In addition to being super light, and easy to install, the HighLite features all of the quick release hinges you have come to expect and love from Yakima. Both the arms and the main mast will swing down with the flip of a switch or pull of a knob. Also in the name of making things as easy as possible, the security cable is conveniently located at the top of the rack tucked into a storage chute. Simply pull out the cable, loop it around the bike frames, and lock to the front of the arms, done.

Obviously, Yakima isn’t the only company with a super light rack on the market, so how does it compare? While the outright lightest rack award clearly goes to the 14 pound Kuat Alpha, the HighLite comes in with the most features at the lowest price. You’ll have to decide whether that 5 pounds will make the difference.

Comments

leven - 11/28/10 - 11:36am

How come Yakima doesn’t compare the HighLite to the T-Bones? Are they skerred?

Ben - 11/29/10 - 12:33pm

Yakima truly missed the boat on that comparison. My T-Bones 3 bike rack weighs 8.5 lbs. You have to leave the hitch adapter installed though.

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