Yakima OnRamp e-bike carrier: Tested

Need to lug those awesome (but heavy) e-bikes to the trails? We find out if the Yakima OnRamp is the answer.
By Mark Watson December 22, 2021 Reading Time: 4 Minutes Print this page

Okay, so you’ve spent the big bucks on a new e-MTB to blitz those whipper-snapper groms at your local trails when you notice your old bike carrier bending like Beckham never could. Not only is your bike carrier straining, but your soon-to-be lactic muscles are doing the same as you realize the 10kg ‘naturally aspirated’ mountain bike of yesteryear has morphed into a supercharged lithium-powered 25kg monster. If you’d rather not see your new-found pride and joy exploding in bits in your rearview mirror, it’s best you get yourself an e-bike carrier quick smart. Fortunately, the Yakima OnRamp offers an affordable hitch-mounted e-bike carrier for those who prefer not to spend a further kilo on carrying their kilos.


Design

Yakima has been strapping toys to vehicles for more than 50 years and know how to deliver user-friendly options for getting your buddies, yourself, and your kit to wherever the fun might be. The Yakima OnRamp is no exception. At 20kg the rack is no lightweight but comparable to most other dual e-bike set-ups on the market. However, its ability to accept two hefty 30kg bikes nudges it ahead of some of the competition in this area. The off-road load rating reduces individual bike capacity to 18kg each, but this is to be expected, and only relevant for those venturing beyond-the-gravel to secret trails. When not in use the OnRamp tilts up neatly, protruding a comfortable 400mm from your tailgate. With the pull of a spring-loaded pin the tray folds into horizontal position extending 800mm from the tailgate.

The real win with the OnRamp is it comes with an integrated 1300mm long slot-in ramp that allows for easy loading and unloading of heavy e-bikes. When not in use, it attaches to the OnRamp via a simple threaded knob (we’d love to see a quick release mechanism for speedy stowage, but we’re being picky). If you are a shorter rider then the loading/unloading process can still be a struggle, especially if you own an SUV or 4WD.

The OnRamp accepts bikes up to 1270mm in length with tyres up to 3.25”, however you can purchase a fat-tyre bracket for tyres up to 4.5”. Our e-bikes had 2.6” rubber and once loaded were fine, but we struggled to stay in the channels when loading/unloading. If you have wider tyres it will take some getting used to. A slightly wider ramp and bike tray profile might ease loading and unloading. 


In the field

One of our favourite features of the Yakima OnRamp is the tool-free adjustability of where each bike sits in relation to one another with a twist of a couple of threaded bike-tray knobs.Once loaded, bikes attach to a sturdy hinged upright arm via a cradle and ratchet straps. The central arm locks ‘down’ for stowage and ‘up’ when in use, and the cradles slide on the central arm to allow for different bike sizes and shapes.

The tray used to assist wheeling the bikes up on to the OnRamp clicks securely into place when in use and is then attached to the main carrier when not needed.

Once loaded, the bikes sit secure, however the cradle and strap system can be finicky whilst balancing a heavy bike with your free hand. The straps are adequate for most bikes but weren’t long enough to fit the downtube of our e-bikes with integrated batteries, and so we had to reposition to fit to the top tube. Fortunately, repositioning is just a twist of a knob.

Fully loaded, the rack can be tilted away from the car to open the tailgate. This is activated by the simple pull of a locking pin, but if loaded with 60kg of bikes you best ask your riding buddy to help. 


The final word on the Yakima OnRamp

We found the Yakima OnRamp well designed to load, unload and secure heavy bikes of any sort. Annoying nuances were predominantly associated with handling a heavy bike, but in saying that there are a few tweaks that might help make this rack even more user-friendly. Importantly, the OnRamp is half the price of some competitive e-bike carriers whilst offering many of the same bells and whistles, so we reckon it’s well worth a look if you’re in the market.

RRP: $799 See Yakima Australia for more info on this and its other bike carrying solutions.