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07 Forester XT
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6,759 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been an avid biker for years, one of the reasons I bought the Forester was for its ability to just swallow the bikes into the hatch. With the birth of our son, along came the baby seat so no more bikes in the hatch. The time came for me to finally pony up and buy a bike rack. I didn't want to get a roof rack as neither of us are by any means tall + there's always the risk of scratching the paint if something goes wrong. That narrowed the search down to hitch mounted rack system.

Basically there are 3 types of hitch racks

- Those that dangle the bike from the frame
- Those that hold the bike from under the wheels and clamp down on the frame
- Those that hold the bike from under the wheels and clamp down on the top of the wheel

After doign my research and watching a few demo videos I decided to go with option #2. I chose the Yakima over the others (like Thule, Sportrack..) because it seems to offer the flexible mounting options and seems more solid. All of them feature a center post that has two "upsidedown J" clamps to hold down the bikes. Yakima was the only one to offer a double post, while the rest are singles. The benefit of this: It allows independant clamping heights. In other words, where the single post top clamp height is dictated by the position of the lower clamp, with a double post you can set both of them low or both high.

I ordered mine online through ORS Direct, they had a great price , free shipping plus if you look online there's coupon codes for another 10%off. Shipping was quick and the Yak box (Thule as well) was well protected in the factory box.

Install was pretty easy. Most of it comes pre-assembled so there's only a few screws to bolt on. Yakima is great in that they include two large flat wrenches that fit all the bolts so you don't even need to own tools to install it. You could literally open the box and install it on the spot.

Fit and finish as expected is excellent. Everything is painted in durable looking paint, all the hardware looks like it will last an easy 10+ years. I have the OEM hitch and it fits into it perfectly. Now I've only used it twice and I can say its incredibly easy to use. One of the wheel trays for each bike is adjustable laterally so you can increase/decrease the distance. Set that, load the bike, clamp down on the frame, then lock one wheel down using the racheting strap and you're done.

The rack is advertised as folding up and down. The center post folds down flat then the entire rack can be folded up against the back of the hatch so its out of the way for use in parking lots. Now the "folding down" option is a pet peeve of mine. I have a friend with a simular and cheaper SportRack, his folds down all the way to the ground so you can get access to the hatch. I spoke with both Yakima and ORS before my purchase to verify the Stickup would fold down. Perhaps I wasn't super clear, I wanted full hatch access with the bikes on the rack. Turns out, the fold down feature is very limited. I would say it only moves about 5 degrees. Speaking to Yakima about it again this week the tech lady did admit its vehicle/hitch design dependant. Well I'll say right now , on the Forester even with it folded down , the hatch hits the pedals on the bike right away so you can barely reach your hand in the hatch. So, as far as the Forester & OEM hitch go, the fold-down feature is redundant if you have bikes mounted on it. With the rack empty however, just fold down the center post and the hatch easily clears without any need to fold the rack downwards.

That aside, I think the rack is great. I've decided to live with it and see this summer if there's any times where I feel I need this feature. For now, when we go biking I'll be pulling my son along with a bike trailer (will post seperate review thread & link) so the hatch will be pretty full to begin with.

I did a youtube search to see if there were any user reviews, besides a couple of vendor videos there's nothing there so I made my own consumer review of the product in glorious 1080p HD with a wide angle lens.












 
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