Yakima SpareTime bike rack

By Justin Walker 3 April 2014
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Ensure that your bike makes it to the trail intact with this Yakima rack.

Transporting your mountain bike to and from events can be a frightening experience without the proper bike rack to ensure your rig arrives in one piece and ready to race. Yakima is a US-based company that specialises in carry systems for outdoor equipment, including kayaks, canoes and bikes.

The Yakima SpareTime is a spare-wheel-mounted bike carrier that can carry two bikes. As I was driving sister publication 4X4 Australia’s Jeep Wrangler to the recent Mont 24-hour race near Queanbeyan, the SpareTime was the perfect fit for carrying my BMC Speedfox.

Fitting the SpareTime is straightforward; it weighs only 9.5kg, which allows you to manhandle it easily into position. Firstly, remove the spare then fit the mounting plate to the spare wheel mount. Yakima supplies three different-length mount bracket tongues with the SpareTime; you may need to fit one of the longer ones depending on the width of your spare tyre. It is all very easy after that: refit your spare over the mounting plate, then fit the SpareTime over that, tightening it via a central (lockable) mounting knob. It took me 15 minutes from start to finish.

The SpareTime has anti-sway cradles (soft-padded for frame protection) that, combined with the beefy mount straps, did seem to minimise sway on my first, shorter test drive. On the longer drive to the Mont 24 – at faster freeway speeds and with a massive crosswind – the bike did move about, but not alarmingly so.

Yakima supplies a locking cable for bike security and you can also lock the rack mount knob itself – a nice touch that adds extra peace of mind when you stop for food and your vehicle and bike are out of sight. The SpareTime’s bike arms fold down easily when the bike is not mounted, allowing you to keep the rack on at all times.

As for durability, I only had the SpareTime for a short period but, based on close inspection – and years of experience lugging MTBs to and from trails and races – I would say the powder-coated steel frame certainly looks tough enough for years of use and abuse.

The robust construction, ease of fitment, amount of additional kit (the three bracket tongues and the optional offset feature) and keen price – not to mention the two integrated bottle openers – make this new entry into the bike-carrier market an enticing one.

RRP $279 www.yakima.com.au