Finally–an easy and inexpensive solution to mounting a single bike on a car or truck with a factory roof rack. The Yakima Raptor Aero comes with mounts for small and large factory crossbars, Yakima round bars and Thule rectangular bars. The multiple mounting solutions makes this rack tray an easy commitment – it will mount to most crossbars if you change vehicles or rack systems.
The tray removes from the cross bars with three easy-to-use thumb screws — that’s it. To me, this is both the best and the worst part of the tray. I can easily remove it from the rack of my Subaru Outback, so I can carry our canoe up top; but if I park in a bad part of town it is not locked to the car and can be easily removed. The initial installation took about 45 minutes – taking extra time to play with where the jaw clamped on a few different bikes. The factory crossbars on the Outback are on the slim side – I used the smallest Aero shaped clamps that came with the rack. As a side note, the crossbars on an Outback are arched, rather than flat, so if you set the tray close to one side the bike leans outboard about 5 degrees. You can correct the lean by moving the rear crossbar clamp left or right until the lean is gone – Cool.
Securing a bike in the tray is a two-handed affair: you hold the bike in place with one hand (usually by the chainstay or crank arm for me) and attach the jaw to the bike frame with the other. The jaw opens very wide and has no trouble getting around the oversized and ovalized down tube on my full suspension bike. Skinny tubed steel road bikes fit well too, but the wheel straps are not as tight on the smaller tires. The jaws on the rack are a soft rubber that won’t damage the finish of your bike, but if you put it up there with a muddy downtube the grit will slowly sand away the paint in that area. A sturdy ratcheting strap secures each wheel. Underway with a bike mounted there is some added wind noise – but honestly, an Outback already has so much wind noise I barely noticed. Bikes ride very securely even at 80mph (or so I’m told ).
Lock Cores to lock the bike in the tray are available, but since the tray is not locked to the car I opted for a cable lock strung through both wheels, the frame and a crossbar.
The Yakima Raptor Aero is an ideal add-on tray to an existing roof rack system or a simple way to carry a bike on a car or SUV with a factory rack. It is easy to mount and remove, making it perfect for vehicles that serve multiple functions for busy families. The tray construction is typical of Yakima quality – stainless hardware and well-finished aluminum parts throughout.
Suggested retail price for the Yakima Raptor Aero rack is $139.95 – on sale now at JensonUSA for $119.