I’d rather haul myself around by bike than haul the bike around by car, however, at times needs must. It’s times like these you want to be getting your bike on and off your car as efficiently as possible to optimize your time on the bike. Having a rack on the rear of your vehicle can help, and for the past few months we’ve had the new Yakima FoldClick 3 Tow Ball Bike Rack on the back of the NZ Cycling Journal wagon.
First up, fitting the rack onto the tow ball wasn’t overly straightforward. A few attempts at it had me scrolling my phone and searching my noggin’ for solutions. It turns out I hadn’t removed the pesky plastic cap that surrounds the tow ball to save your shins from getting swiped. Once the cap was off, the rack fit straight on. Phew, I wasn’t that daft after all. Next, I just pulled the rack down towards me and it clicked into position. That’s it, I was almost ready to hit the road.
Loading the bikes onto the rack is a fairly simple affair. The FoldClick has tyre carriers that fold out, and once you place the wheels into them there’s reception buckles that go over your rims. Then there’s a removable ‘grip arm’ that’s placed around the bike’s frame. The best part is that you can place it wherever you see fit. I’ve used it on several different bikes, from road to MTB, right through to eBikes. I reckon it’s best to think about where the points of contact will be before you load the bike onto the tray. Trust me, the first bike will be straightforward but if you haven’t thought about where the grip arms will be placed on the other bikes, you’ll be in trouble and will be fussing with the bike whilst your partner waits in the passenger seat. Having the flexibility of placing the ‘grip arm’ in the best position on the frame is a well thought out function. There’s also an integrated Lock System which is built into each arm to ensure no toe rags make a dash with your bike. The locks can be a little tricky to work out, but after a few goes you soon get the hang of it.
Once the bikes are on the rack, they feel super secure... but I needed to get into the boot to pack more of my riding clothes and the chilly bin for after-ride beers. Plus, we needed to bundle our new puppy into the boot too. Simple: there’s a very good tilting function with this rack. Just tilt it down and then you can get in and out of the boot. Now, this makes life easy! Click the rack back into position and off you go. The bikes are super secure on the rack when travelling, but you do have to be conscious about the width, which differs between vehicles. My wagon has parking sensors and reversing makes them go crazy. It pays to turn these sensors off when you have the rack on.
I like the ease of use with a rear tray versus a roof-mounted bike rack, because after a long ride I don’t always have the upper body strength to throw my bike on the roof. Plus, if you plan on getting your bike a little dirty, it saves your roof from getting covered with grit. The rack is light and compact and folds down when not in use. It takes up no space in the garage and is perfect for those not wanting to leave a rack on their car full-time. Having it fold down also means I can throw it into the boot when it’s not in use - which is handy if you’re away and don’t need it all the time.
Distributed by Worralls
Reviewed by Liam Friary