Thursday, June 17, 2004
Before you can ride that killer trail, you have to get there with your bike. It's a simple concept and there's no shortage of options for toting your steed, but without a doubt there's one rack that outshines all others.
It's been a while since a product has really knocked my socks off, but the Sportworks Bob Ratchet is simply the best rack ever made. From ease-of-use to durable construction, this rack delivers like no other.
Look Ma, both wheels! Ok, it's nothing new to have a roof rack that allows you to mount the bike without removing any wheels. But the Bob Ratchet's design is unique in how it holds your bike. The Bob's innovative design holds you bike by the front tire rather than the frame. This means it can hold any bike no matter how imaginative frame designers get. By grabbing the wheel instead of the frame, you also have no risk of scratching your pride and joy.
Because the rack doesn't require you to remove the front wheel, it will work with any fork design as well. If you have a Lefty or a 20mm thu axle then you know a fork mount rack isn't much of an option. Disc brakes also limit your fork mount options but with the Bob Ratchet you're good to go.
The design has been tested in quite possibly the most brutal testing grounds they available. 30% of the city busses in the U.S. are using a very similar rack. Sportworks has won these contracts because the rack is simple enough that transit passengers can mount their bikes in seconds without ever having used the racks before. After years of testing on the tough inner-city streets they brought the rack to the public.
Sportworks has focused on what they do best. They build the racks, but don't bother with the bars or roof mounting hardware. Instead they designed their rack to work with either round or square bars which means the rack will work with any other rack system out there.
As good as this rack is, there is still some room for improvement though. The biggest gap is security. The manual suggests that you can use any cable lock to lock your bike to the bars of your roof rack. While some cable locks can be effective deterrents to thieves, I would definitely prefer an integrated security option. Sportworks is working on this though.
If you're one of the millions driving an SUV then you may not want a roof rack. Sometimes that roof is just too high to be practical. I tested this rack on an SUV and found it quite easy. But if you're vertically challenged, you're in luck. SportWorks also has a hitch-mount rack that can hold up to four bikes. So roof or rear, you're covered.
So, if you're in the market for a rack, go find the best deal on the bars you can find then get the best rack available. Get a Sportworks rack.
Who's it for:
Anyone with both a car and a bike.
Who isn't it for
People who like doing things the hard way.