Yakima Frontloader

Yakima FrontLoader Bike Rack Review

Yakima is one of the most respected manufacturers in the car racks industry. The Yakima Frontloader is among the manufacturer’s most popular products. But is the product’s popularity based on real-world value? The Frontloader addresses one of the most pressing questions bikers have. It offers a design with no frame contact which places the rack among the leading choices on the market. The more expensive the bike, the more sense it makes to use the Frontloader for transportation.

But it’s not only about the design. The Frontloader also comes with a Yakima standard of quality. The robustness, the finishes and the weight of the rack are all features which bike owners see as important.

Features of the Yakima Frontloader

It must be said that the Frontloader is installed on the roof of the car. With added wind resistance, drivers need to have extra attention while on the road and can even expect higher fuel consumption. Coming with sturdy construction, the Frontloader is up to the task, even when driving long distances.

Since the main anchoring point is at the front wheel of the bike, there is no direct contact with the bike’s frame. It is easy to transport a carbon bike or even a custom bike, which often need extra attention. With a security strap on the back wheel, there is plenty of space to fit any type of bike on the rack.

Yakima Frontloader Front Anchor
Front Anchor

One of the features of the rack is that it comes with an extensive design. With a length of 56”, it is one of the longest racks in its class. So while it is not compact by any standards, it allows the front wheel to remain on the bike, which is appealing to many enthusiasts.

Yakima names the Frontloader as the most versatile and aerodynamic bike rack it makes. Of course, it has its own limitations as well. For example, it only fits a single bike. Those who are out cycling with their partners will need to purchase a second bike rack. The good news is that up to two bike racks can be installed on typical crossbars. However, since the rack is mainly made for quality bikes, there should still be enough clearance between these two bikes on the roof of the car to avoid small or large damages.

Yakima also knows that anti-theft mechanisms are important. The Frontloader doesn’t include such a system out of the box. It is why bike owners need to purchase the famous SKS lock separately. They should look at the best ways to lock the bike to the rack at all times, especially if leaving the car unattended.

SKS lock
Yakima SKS Lock Keys and Core

But the rack is impressive in construction and durability. It comes with a weight of just 13lbs. This makes it a bit lighter than Thule’s UpRide with its 16lbs. It also means that one-person installation is possible. Yakima aims to simplify the way in which its racks are installed in order to draw in even beginners who have never used a bike rack before.

Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Downhill Bikes, and the Yakima Frontloader

There are different types of bike. Typical bikes sold in supermarkets can vary between city bikes and road bikes. Regardless of the size of the bike and even on the width of the tires, they can be fitted on the Yakima Frontloader. Even fat bikes can be fitted on the rack. Fans of carbon road bikes also need to know their bikes fit on the rack very well. Those considering a two bike rack on the roof of the car might want to ensure the pedals can stay on the bikes as well. Some users report that they need to remove the pedals when trying to transport two bikes on the car.

Is it complicated to install the Yakima Frontloader?

The Frontloader comes with a no-tool installation process. It stands out when it comes to improved simplicity with its simple installation. It can fit flat, round and square roof bars. Yakima fans might even use the rack in combination with the brand’s roof racks such as the Fatcat 6 or the Fatcat 4. So as long as the bike is not heavier than 40lbs, it will fit the Yakima Frontloader well.

Yakima Frontloader Folded

There is a simple folding mechanism on the bike rack. It allows some cars to be parked in the garage. With enough overhead clearance, it might stay on the roof of the car a bit longer than other bike roof racks. With such simplicity based on simple strap lockdown, bike owners can decide to leave the rack on the car or remove it in minutes.

Final Considerations

The Yakima Frontloader might not be as affordable as its rivals. But it certainly makes up in terms of practicality and durability. Bike owners coming from other brands are mostly intrigued how Yakima offers a lifetime warranty for the Frontloader. Together with Thule, the manufacturer makes an impact on the premium bike racks market.

So is the Yakima Frontloader worth the investment? The bike rack can be a good investment for any type of bike. But it becomes a clear solution for those with quality bikes. Simply placing a carbon bike frame on a poorly-made roof rack might not seem the best idea. Given that some of these bikes can cost thousands of dollars, it makes sense to properly protected them during transportation.

It is also true that cycling fans love the outdoors. In these conditions, it makes sense to use Yakima’s products as many of them can work very well together, such as the SKS locks. But the bike rack will even fit older roof racks made with square bars in times where aerodynamics was not as important.

The Yakima Frontloader works with many bikes. Custom designs, disc brake bikes, road bike, triathlon bikes, and even downhill bikes can be fitted on the rack. But maybe the biggest asset comes with the no-frame contact design the Frontloader offers. If keeping the bike in a mint condition as well as having a safe transportation method is of value to the cyclist, the Frontloader is among the leading choices for most types of bikes.

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