This is the last thing you want to see before you reach your destination, and I assure you that this is the last thing you want to see.
There is a reason why I never settle for second-grade carriers. I always make sure that the rack I buy can protect the bottom of my bike, which is one of the most important jobs it has to do.
As a result of numerous recommendations, I decided to go for the Yakima HighRoad rack. After using the rack for some time and being impressed with its performance, I decided to purchase the Yakima FrontLoader. Because I have had the opportunity to see and use both racks firsthand, I thought it would be helpful to point out the differences and similarities between these racks to many people.
So today, I am going to talk to you guys about Yakima HighRoad vs. FrontLoader. I am going to show you guys how they both work and what makes them different from one another.
There is no need to worry if you guys are having a hard time deciding which is the better option, as the answers to all your questions can be found right here.
An Overview of The Two Roof-Mounted Racks
I would like to take a moment to describe my experience with both carriers before I discuss the similarities and differences. In spite of the fact that you may think that this section is not essential, the more you understand about the racks, the better you will be able to understand the minor details of the products.
I decided that it was time to explore some other brands after having my way with Thule’s UpRide and ProRide roof-mounted racks and a few other carriers for a while, so I decided to try a few others.
My choice of a rack was never easy because I loved and still love my bikes, and I wasn’t about to push them to their demise with a sloppy, second-grade rack like a lot of people do.
Luckily, I had a friend who had done the research already, so I didn’t have to spend hours researching a new brand and its products. He was kind enough to share his findings and experience since he had already done the research before.
In order to follow his suggestion, I made a purchase of the Yakima HighRoad Rack. I must admit, even though the Yakima HighRoad Rack is a standard roof-mounted rack, it was nothing like the carriers I had owned previously.
I found that most of the racks on the market could only support bikes with tires whose width was no more than three inches, including those mounted on the forks like Thule’s TopRide and FastRide.
Yakima HighRoad rack, on the other hand, excels in this particular aspect as it can carry bikes that have tires as wide as 23mm or 0.9-inches to 4 inches, making it the best rack for bike riders with tires as wide as 23mm.
It goes without saying that the rack is capable of holding almost any type of bicycle, so it doesn’t matter if you’re riding a mountain bike with thin tires or a road bike with fat tires.
As far as tire width goes, the carrier has a very large range; on the other hand, it can only support bikes with a wheel diameter between 26 and 29 inches, so it is not suitable for bicycles with smaller wheels.
Additionally, the carrier only weighs 18 pounds, and it has a maximum weight capacity of 44 pounds. As an example, I took along a 29-inch wheel Yeti SB130 for my first ride. The Yeti SB130 weighs about 29 pounds and has a 29-inch wheel. There were no problems with the rack during the loading process, and it handled the load effortlessly.
In the following picture, you can see the Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 Remixte. It is an e-bike that weighs 35 lbs and weighs about 35 inches in height. At first, I was a little nervous about it, but after driving for half an hour without noticing any wobbling, I was confident that the bike would not fall off of the rack.
In answer to that question, let’s take a closer look at the design of the Yakima HighRoad bike rack. The front portion features two arms, and the rear portion has a wheel strap. The Yakima HighRoad also offers TorqueRight tightening knobs for securing your bikes securely to the rack.
It works as follows: you lift the bike and place the front wheel between the arms. Once you have the front wheel in place, you use the knob to tighten the arms, and your bike is securely mounted on the rack before you know it. It was a bit hard to mount my bike at first, but I was able to do it after a few attempts.
It was pretty easy for me to install the rack itself, and I didn’t use any tools to do it. You can also make the carrier T-slot compatible with almost any type of crossbars that are spread between 18 and 35 inches wide. However, you will need to purchase a conversion kit in order to make it compatible with the T-slot.
There was a bit of a concern on my part about keeping my bikes safe up there, so in order to improve the overall security of the rack, I decided to get the SKS locks. However, they are not included with the rack; therefore, I had to get them separately.
Things I Liked About the HighRoad
- Although the rack weighs only 18lbs, it can carry a bike with a maximum weight of 44lbs.
- The TorqueRight knob made the task of clamping the bicycles easier
- I was able to mount bikes with thin and fat tires
- The arms only attach to the wheels, so there was no frame connection
- Installing the rack was a piece of cake
Things That Need Improving
- I couldn’t load a bike with mudguards on the front wheel
There is no doubt that I am here to discuss two racks and not just one. As you can probably guess, I’m going to compare the Yakima HighRoad with the Yakima FrontLoader, a second carrier. To help you better understand the differences, let me describe to you what my experience with the rack is like.
As a starting point, I would like to clarify that the rack weighs only 14.30lbs; as a result, lifting it up onto a sedan or SUV is not a challenge. In fact, it is practically the same weight as your weekly grocery bags. I had no problem carrying, moving, or even setting up the rack on my vehicle.
Taking the rack out of the crossbar or attaching it to it was no problem at all. I did not need to use any tools, nor did I need to read the instruction manual. Although my crossbar was not made by Yakima, the carrier is compatible with all Yakima crossbars. I soon learned, however, that it is also compatible with almost any crossbars ranging between 16-inches and 48-inches in diameter.
It is easy to carry almost any type of bike with the Yakima FrontLoader, which makes it a great choice for cyclists.
If you thought the HighRoad was capable of accommodating a wide range of bikes, then you are in for a big surprise. The Yakima FrontLoader can accommodate bicycles with wheel diameters ranging from 20 to 29 inches. Therefore, the rack is suitable not only for big boy bikes, but also for small bikes.
Although the bike carrier excels in accommodating a wide range of wheels, there is one drawback to it: it cannot carry bikes that have tires wider than 3 inches, despite the fact that it is capable of accommodating a wide range of bike wheels.
There is no problem with mounting a bicycle on the rack. All you have to do is pull the second arm of the rack down, and place the bike’s front wheel inside the first arm of the rack.
The Yakima FrontLoader does not come with a TorqueRight knob, so when you tighten the arms you don’t want to squeeze them too hard, or you may damage the front wheel, so use the knob to tighten the arms after it has been put together.
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes, even if you’re a beginner. Once you know your way, it only takes about a minute or two, once you’ve got the hang of it. Afterwards, you will have to attach the strap through the rear wheel and you’re good to go.
This rack does not come with a lock integrated into it, so if you want to keep your bikes safe, then you’ll have to purchase an SKS lock pack separately. This lock pack will not come along with the purchase, so you’ll need to purchase it separately.
Things I Liked About the FrontLoader
- The rack can carry almost any type of small or big bikes
- It is compatible with almost all the standard crossbars out there
- The front arms do not come in contact with the frame, so I didn’t have to worry about ruining the custom paint job of my bicycle
- It is extremely lightweight; hence moving or lifting the rack is practically effortless
- The carrier came fully assembled from the factory
Things That Need Improving
Without a TorqueRight knob, it was a little difficult to know if the front wheel was secured properly
The Similarities Between the Two Roof-Mounted Racks
Now that you have a better understanding of how the carriers work and which features they offer, it’s time for me to tell you how they are similar and how they are different. If you take a closer look at the things they have in common, it will be easier for you to determine which carrier is better for your needs.
From the pictures you can see that both of them are roof-mounted racks. They are also quite similar in terms of the design. Both of them have two arms at the front and a strap at the back, which means that the mounting process is also quite similar.
After pulling down the rear arm, you must place the bicycle on the rack. Once the rear wheel is on the rack, you must attach the strap. Next, you need to attach the front wheel. Both carriers come with a knob that can be used to tighten the arms. Turn the knob to clamp down the arms around the wheels and then you’re ready to go.
As well as that, both carriers are tool-free, and come with an array of accessories already included, so it makes the process of assembling the racks a lot easier. You don’t need a screwdriver or wrench to assemble them, so you can attach them directly from the box.
Furthermore, some of the features I found to be similar between the two racks are that both of them have a tail whip cable. However, none of the carriers have a lock core, which means that if you want to lock your bike to the rack, you will have to purchase an SKS lock pack.
As a result, it is not included with the racks and must be purchased separately.
It is important to note that both carriers are meant to carry only one bicycle, so if you are looking for something that can carry more than one bicycle, then these racks may not be something you want to purchase. However, they are compact, so they can easily be installed on the roof of your vehicle.
The Key Differences Between the Yakima HighRoad and FrontLoader
As soon as we have cleared up everything, it is time for me to talk about the differences between the two roof-mounted racks. While the two carriers appear almost the same from the outside, there are a number of differences between them that make them differ from the inside. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the racks without wasting any more time.
Weight and Capacity
Don’t worry- even if you haven’t read the previous sections, you probably already know how much the racks weigh and how much they can hold. It doesn’t matter if you don’t and if you don’t remember, I am here to refresh your memory.
Compared to the Yakima HighRoad, the Yakima FrontLoader has a weight of 18 lbs as compared to the Yakima HighRoad that weighs 14.30 lbs, which is about 3.5 lbs less than the Yakima HighRoad. This difference is caused by the wheel mount material that is used on both.
There is an alloy steel wheel mount on the HighRoad rack, while the carbon fiber wheel mount is on the FrontLoader rack. As a result of the different materials used in these two racks, the overall weight differs between them. As steel is heavier than carbon fiber, it naturally weighs more than the FrontLoader.
Furthermore, the maximum weight capacity of these two racks is also different. The former can carry bikes that weigh as much as 44 pounds, whereas the latter can lift bikes that weigh up to 39 pounds.
Due to this, you would be able to carry heavier bicycles with the HighRoad than you would with the FrontLoader.
Wheel and Tire Size
Both carriers are designed to be very versatile. They can be used to transport a wide range of bicycles, but there is a slight difference between the types and sizes of bicycles that they can transport.
Firstly, we will look at the HighRoad rack. It can withstand large bikes that have a wheel diameter of 26 to 29-inches. However, when it comes to the width of the tires, it can handle bicycles with a thin tire of 0.9-inches or even a fat one of 4 inches without any adjustments being necessary.
With the FrontLoader, on the other hand, the wheel diameter range is much bigger, and it is capable of accommodating bikes with a wheel size of 20 to 29 inches. In other words, you will be able to carry both your bike as well as your child’s bike with the same rack.
It should be noted that the maximum tire width the carrier can support is 3 inches. This means that if the tire width of your bike is wider than 3 inches, it will not fit on the carrier. So, you should know this information before choosing either of the racks.
In addition to this, the knob on the HighRoad is different from the one on the FrontLoader. The HighRoad features a TorqueRight tightening knob, which is not included on the FrontLoader.
There is a unique knob on the former that allows the former to securely clamp the front arms with a clicking sound. What are the benefits of this knob? Well, it eliminates the risk of overtightening the arms to the wheels.
You can now stop rotating the knob once you hear the sound, so you will not need to be concerned that your bike will not be secured on the rack once you hear the sound.
It should be noted that the FrontLoader does not include the TorqueRight knob. Therefore, you must manually check to see whether the arms have been overtightened or if they are loose. The TorqueRight knob is designed for people who are not familiar with racks and are using them for the first time.
A skilled veteran is not going to be bothered by this issue in the long run as long as he is skilled.
There is a catch to both roof-mounted racks, and both are compatible with any Yakima crossbar, as well as most aerodynamic and factory crossbars.
With the HighRoad loader, you can take advantage of crossbars that are spread between 18 inches and 35 inches, while with the FrontLoader, you can take advantage of crossbars that are spread between 16 inches and 48 inches.
So, if you already have a crossbar on your vehicle, make sure that it meets the requirements of these racks if you already have one on your vehicle.
Yakima’s HighRoad has one more feature that its FrontLoader lacks, and that is the ability to be converted into a T-slot on a crossbar. This is a feature that the HighRoad offers that the FrontLoader does not.
In order to mount the HighRoad to a T-slot, you will need a SmarT-slot Kit 1 which is not included with the rack and need to be purchased separately. If you choose to convert the HighRoad to be compatible with a T-slot, you will need to purchase the SmarT-slot Kit 1.
I was never bothered by the fact that you can’t do it with the FrontLoader, but it wasn’t a problem for me at all.
Time To Decide
Yakima HighRoad and FrontLoader are very similar to each other, but they differ significantly from one another, unlike the Thule XT and XTR. They may look the same, but they are designed to work with different bikes and crossbars.
This is not an easy decision to make between the Yakima HighRoad vs. FrontLoader racks. They are both unique in their own way. The former is suitable for more extensive and heavier bikes, while the latter is more versatile and is able to fit small to large sized bicycles. In my opinion, it is up to you to decide which bike rack will meet your needs. If you check your bike and crossbar, consider the extra features, and then make your decision, I believe that would be the best way to go.
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