Keen to carry a whole lot of bikes without a whole lot of fuss? The Yakima HangOver 6 delivers.
Photos: Matt Rousu
If the rider won’t go to the North Shore, then the North Shore will go to the rider, or so the saying goes I think, and it seems so does Yakima. The new Yakima HangOver 6 Bike Rack is now available on Australian shores and with it, comes the first iteration from a major player into the vertical mounting style pioneered from the North Shore of Canada. These vertical tow bar mounted racks, if you haven’t seen them, allow a much more compact and efficient style of carting multiple bikes around than any other style of carrier, with many options now out there what does Yakima bring to the table?
Here's the facts
Who it suits?
Anyone wanting carry lots of bikes, easy really, and who doesn’t want to do that?
Who it doesn’t suit?
Short people, that might sound harsh but loading bikes vertically is always going to be tricky for the vertically challenged.
Okay let’s dig a little deeper into what makes this rack tick.
First up it is heavy, we associate heavy with strength, so a good sign straight out of the box. I’ve got the rack laid out in flat pack form behind an old Rover, ignoring the instructions I get stuck in and start to put the hitch in place, except it doesn’t fit on the Rover, hmmm better read the instructions, okay take two, still doesn’t fit. It turns out the hitch part is too long and doesn’t allow the pin to lock it into place, fair enough it’s an old Rover, I’ll build it up on a new Ford Ranger. Take 3, same problem, not a good start.
After some fiddling around we get it to fit but I must say that was a very frustrating start. The rest of build goes together very smoothly, some of the tools they provide for assembly in the flat pack leave a little bit to be desired, but let’s be honest, you’re buying a bike rack, not a set of tools.
What stands out between this rack and others is the mounting system, Yakima have chosen to mount the bikes using the fork crown, not the front wheel, which in terms of bike racks is a big move to make.
Wheels are subject to the most abuse on a mountain bike, they are already covered in scratches and dings from impacts out on the trail, so when it comes to owners securing their bike to a car, generally no one has a problem strapping the wheels down. Will anyone have thoughts about hanging the bike from their forks? I think so, I know I did, and it does make it harder to load the bike as you can’t use the front wheel to help guide the bike into place when loading.
Once you have the bike in place, which does become second nature after only a couple of loads, this tie down strap wraps over the top of the fork and locks the top part of the bike in place. Another tiny frustration appears, the strap is sitting directly over my adjustment dials on my enduro bike, a DH bike will have no worries, but when I pulled down the strap it added 2 clicks of compression dampening on my fork, which was nice of it, but I didn’t need those extra clicks. Now if you have a 3-position dial on your fork, or a lock out mechanism, these would not have been designed to have a constant side load which is what this strap applies to hold your bike in place, and if you plan on transporting a road bike along with your MTB’s on your next family holiday, it might be best to mount that another way.
The rear wheel is locked down with a much better ratchet, which can be slid horizontally and locked into place to help avoid any unwanted contact between bikes or flipped upside down if you have small bikes, this comes in very handy on big family trips with multiple kids bikes.
Hauling with the Yakima HangOver 6
The rack itself was quite sturdy out on the road, there wasn’t too much sway or movement which can come from these styles of racks, which was a big plus. There was an included strap to help secure the rack if you are going more off road, which I would use on occasion, I think. Removing the rack on and off considering the size and weight was considerably easier than I thought it would be, with a well thought out handle location at the top right next to a couple of built in bottle openers - a bit of a Yakima trademark.
You have to wonder if a couple of small executions could have been handled better, instead of worrying about bottle openers, maybe look into the tie down strap sitting over the suspension dials, but it’s a step in the right direction for Yakima, the design looks great and it’s a well-built piece of kit.