Yakima Gets a Makeover for 2016

Feb 22, 2016
by Colin Meagher  
As I drove down I-84 towards Hood River, OR, I heard nothing. Nothing at all. Sure, the hum of my tires on the asphalt, but that was pretty much it. Which surprised me, considering I had a rack on the roof of my car and some accessories. Why is this a surprise? Let me turn on the way back machine to 28 years ago…

I got my first Yakima rack back in 1988. Those round crossbars across the roof were my portal to adventure. First came skiing. Then snowboarding. Then biking. All with these classic round Yakima bars and Yakima’s nifty accessories for carrying my various toys. Since that first rack, I’ve had a number of other cars and made use of a number of Yakima’s other racks and mounts to carrying my gear around: everything from roof racks and all the attachments to hatchback/trunk racks to trailer hitch mounted racks. You name the activity, and Yakima had something for getting my gear from the front door to the start of my next adventure. The matching lock cores, while not unique to Yakima, were sweet, too; one key to rule them all.

As seen in Death Valley an 80s something Porsche 911 with a Yakima roof rack with all the trimmings.
  As seen recently in Death Valley: an 80s something Porsche 911 with a Yakima roof rack with all the trimmings.

But the heart and soul of the system (less the trunk and trailer hitch racks) was always this simple round bar rack system with a variety of towers that would somehow attach to the roof of damn near any car - even an old Volkswagon bug with its rounded roof. And recently, as pictured above, I saw a Porsche 911 with a Yakima roof rack in Death Valley, CA. But here’s the catch: ease of attachment and versatility were great things, but lash that sucker to a roof and hit highway speed and the racks nearly always made a surprisingly loud amount of noise. But it was the type of noise one easily and automatically tunes out - like when you live next to a railway yard or near a highway: after a week or so, you sleep through that midnight express or the din of rush hour traffic. So after 28 years of rack noise, I never knew what I was missing until I experienced Yakima’s new JetStream bars, one of the new aero shaped roof rack cross bars Yakima is rolling out with their new StreamLine System. Golden, blessed silence reigns supreme as you get from A to B with them on the roof. It may not be complete and total silence, but it’s a noticeable improvement over the old round bars. And really only noticeable by its absence.

The new Whispbar is the top of the line cross bar in the Yakima line and it redefines a quiet riding sysem with a 70 reduction in wind noise. It comes with the new end cap design of tower as well as the Through Cap tower. The cut aways of the Whispbar show that it also has an internal rib to add rigidity and strength to its svelte aero shape.
  The Whispbar is the top of the line cross bar in the Yakima line, and it redefines a quiet riding system with a 70% reduction in wind noise. It comes with the new end cap design of tower as well as the Through Cap tower. The cutaways of the Whispbar show that it also has an internal rib/I-beam type of reinforcement to add rigidity and strength to its svelte, aero shape.

The new Air Stream bar and a simple cut away to show the internal I-beam reinforcement.
  The new JetStream bar is an extruded alloy bar; the cut-away shows the internal reinforcing of the bar. It may not be as svelte as the new Whispbar, but it's nearly as quiet when it comes to rocketing around the countryside with one on the roof.

The new Core Bar as the cut away shows the bar is a simple extruded steel bar with a coating to allow rack accessories a bit more bite ala the old round bars.
  The new CoreBar; as the cutaway shows, is a simple roll form steel aero bar with a coating to allow rack accessories a bit more bite ala the old round bars. It, too, is almost as quiet as the Whispbar, as well as being a lot easier on the wallet than the Whispbar system. It's also the first steel aero type cross bar on the market.

Jet Stream bars in both black and silver with the new Tee Slot mounting system visible. Certain rack accessories attach via the Tee Slot gutter in the middle of the bar. Any Tee Slot rack accessory will mount in the rubber center line and lock in with a simple twist of the Tee nut that gives the Tee Slot its name.
  The JetStream bars, seen here in both black and silver, and the new Whispbars both feature the Tee-Slot mounting system. Certain rack accessories attach via the Tee-Slot gutter in the middle of the bar (that black, rubber filled slit running the length of the new bars). Any Tee Slot rack accessory will mount in that rubber-lined center crack and lock in with a simple twist of the T-nut that gives the Tee-Slot its name.

Not all rack accessories are getting the new T-mount system in some cases Yakima has called it good with a simple clamp that will work with not only the new aero shaped bars but also with the old round bars too.
  Not all the new racks are Tee Slot compatible, so Yakima is utilizing updated clamps for various accessory racks that will work with not only the new aero-shaped bars but also with the old round bars, too.

This new crossbar shape is the face of a new rack system for Yakima and spearheads the largest makeover in the company’s history. On the one hand, Yakima is coming out swinging with the new bars and accessories designed for them, but Yakima overhauled and redesigned nearly every other rack in their line, too, from roof racks and accessories to trunk racks to spare tire mounts to nearly all of their trailer hitch racks.

The trunk racks get a nip and a tuck gone are the side straps that tended to make things a bit of a rats nest when it came time to mount that sucker up on the back of the car. Added now too are some simple labels that make setting the rack up a snap see again the rats nest that was the old system .
  For the back of the car, it's nowhere near as complete of a makeover as the top of the car. The new FullBack and HalfBack trunk racks, for example, merely get a nip and a tuck: gone are the side straps that tended to make things a bit of a rats nest when it came time to mount that sucker up on the back of the car. Added now, too, are some simple labels that make setting the rack up a snap (see again the rats nest that was the old system).

The back of the car bike accessories get a simple collagin injection of a make-over the Super Cush bike frame carrying system is used on all items from Trunk racks to spare tire racks to hitch racks like Litehouse 3 and the Ridgeback 4. This system gently cradles any bike vs the older clamp style that wasn t quite as well cush.
  Nearly every back of the vehicle bike carrying accessory from the trunk racks to the spare tire racks to the trailer hitch mounts such as the Literider three or the Ridgeback 4 gets a bit of a collagen injection by way of the addition of the Super Cush bike frame carrying system. This system gently cradles any bike vs the older clamp style that wasn't quite as, well, cush.

But if the bars are the face of the new StreamLine system, the manner in which one attaches those bars is the heart and soul of the new system. To accommodate them, Yakima had to completely re-design all their towers, making them stronger, more streamlined to fit in with the design philosophy of the new bars, more adaptable by building in pitch adjustments, and by creating a variety of foot pads and clips for various roof and rail attachments - the clip library for the new towers can now accommodate an astounding 95% of existing vehicles on the road today without any modifications. And if you've got the old round bars and all the accessories to go with them but just need a new set of towers and clips for your new rig, no problem: the new towers and clips will also work just fine with the old round bars, too; as Yakima’s Product manager put it at the roll out for the new racks, “We can party with everyone.

The new kids on the block from top left clockwise the new Yakima towers. The Timberline tower with the old round bar the Skyline tower with the new Core bar a simple and strong shaped steel cross bar the new Ridgeline tower with the Jeet Stream bar a lighter weight but just as strong alloy bar with internal I-beam type of reinforcing and finally the new Baseline tower with the black Jet Stream crossbar. These new towers up the ante by adding not only a more aero design but also more load carrying capacity. The old towers were rated for only 165 lbs these new ones allow for 220 lbs of load 75 vs 100kg of load .
  The new kids on the block: the new Yakima towers (from top left, clockwise). The Timberline tower with the old round bar; the Skyline tower with the new Core bar; the new Ridgeline tower with the JetStream bar; and finally, the new Baseline tower, also with the JetStream Bar. These new towers up the ante by adding not only the more aero design but also more load carrying capacity. The old towers were rated for only 165 lbs; these new ones allow for 220 lbs of load (75 vs 100kg of load).

And while the new racks stole the show, Yakima also debuted their new breed of cargo box: the Showcase. The main thing about the Showcase design is that it's meant to blend with the diminishing lines of today’s vehicles, so it's a lot easier on the eyes than, say, the original Rocketbox or even the more modern Skybox.

The new top of the line Showcase roof boxes feature a new streamlined look to go with modern vehicles. The boxes all feature one button opening vs the old handle that could sometimes be a cast iron bitch to lever open. Also new is the claw that clamps the boxes to the roof racks it s now a steel clamp that opens forwards instead of towards the rear like the old boxes used to. This design change is not only aesthetic but practical the old clamp was always strong enough to hold the box on the racks but in the event of a car wreck that box could suddenly change into missile. The new forward opening clamps mitigate that threat.
  The new top of the line ShowCase roof boxes are a definite improvement over the old cargo boxes. The two ShowCase boxes, the Showcase 15 and ShowCase 20, both feature one button opening vs the old handle that could sometimes be a cast iron bitch to lever open. They also feature a new, steel claw that clamps the boxes to the roof racks. Interestingly enough, this new clamp opens forwards instead of towards the rear ala the Skybox design. This design update makes for a safer cargo box as it prevents a loaded box from launching forward in the event of a fender bender.

The ShowCase was also designed to allow better hatch clearance - no more cracking your noggin on a partially open hatch back as you grab groceries, etc with a box on the roof. The push button opener makes one-handed entry into the box much, much easier, too. The only ding I can make on the new boxes are that they have 36 and 37 inch wide profiles respectively; this new shape takes up no small amount of space on the racks, so if you plan on carrying a SUP or a bike rack on the roof-top, plan accordingly with some wider bars vs something just wide enough for the roof-top.

The new Showcase roof boxes are different from what Yakima has historically produced in the sense that rather than being similar lengths but wider as one goes from the smaller and mid-sized boxes to the carry a side of beef size monster boxes the Showcase cargo boxes feature a similar width but feature shorter legths. Pictured here are the Showcase 15 left and the Showcase 20 right . They differ in width by only an inch 36 inches for the Showcase 15 vs. 37 inches for the Showcase 20 but the Showcase 20 has an additional 11 inches of length and stands 17 imches high compared to the 14.5 inch heigth of the Showcase 15. Not seen here is the Showcase 12 which also features a 367 inch width. This keeps the streamlined look for the line but is wide enough that it does claim a fair bit of real estate on the roof top vs some of the older cargo box designs. Certainly one can remove the box when it s not in use but my experience is that once a box goes on the roof most users are loath to remove it regardless of how much that box on the roof cuts down on fuel economy.
  The new Showcase roof boxes are different from what Yakima has historically produced in the sense that rather than being similar lengths but wider as one goes up in cargo capacity, the Showcase boxes feature nearly identical widths. Where they differ is in length and height, with the Showcase 15 measuring 80 inches long to the 91 inches long ShowCase 20, and 14.5 inches tall for the Showcase 15 vs. the 17 inches tall Showcase 20. The ShowCase 15 is on the left, the ShowCase 20 is on the right. This keeps a similar streamlined look for the line but as mentioned above, they claim a fair bit of real estate on the roof top vs some of the older cargo box designs, making it a bit more of a balancing act to have a box on the roof and a SUP rack or a Front Loader bike rack on the roof, too. Plus there is a bit of a hit to the mileage when you're pushing a box around with a cross section that large. Certainly, one can remove the box when it's not in use to both free up that real estate and improve fuel economy, but my experience is that once a box goes on the roof, most users are loath to remove it.

Overall, it’s a pretty sweet makeover. I had the use of a ShowCase 20 for a month and a bit, and that thing redefined the term black hole. It held nearly everything I could put into it and then some, making it even easier for me to get to where the fun starts.

More on Yakima's whole line-up at www.yakima.com

Words and photos by Colin Meagher.


MENTIONS: @meagerdude




81 Comments

  • 103 3
 A Porsche in a handycap spot...
  • 68 0
 Probably legit. I'd have back problems lifting that bike and cooler up to rack.
  • 18 2
 Fits perfect with a Porsche having a roof rack.
  • 55 0
 When I saw that I kind of had to laugh myself. Part of the reason I snapped the shot.
  • 29 1
 LOPES!!!
  • 13 1
 aerodynamic bars check, cooler fail
  • 12 0
 It's got a wheelchair on the roof.
  • 1 0
 @meagerdude - I saw that 911 parked in front of the Furnace Creek visitor's center too. We had to have been there at the same time. It had Maine plates on it, right?
  • 2 13
flag suspended-flesh (Feb 22, 2016 at 15:51) (Below Threshold)
 As long as people don't pronounce it "PORSH".


heheh
  • 3 0
 Marketing Fail.
  • 3 0
 Reminds me of the "Priorities" Klein ads--car and bike image flipped so bike appeared to carry a Porsche

www.pinterest.com/pin/422353271277008975
  • 4 5
 Typical Porsh driver attitude
  • 1 0
 Seen a dude up at Squamish several times with a burly home-made rack on his late 70's 911 SC.
  • 1 0
 Cooler needs aerodynamic fins to match the bars
  • 40 2
 Looks like what Thule has had for years... Also, that 911 is a 964 generation which was early 90's...maaaaybe a late '89, but hardly 80's.
  • 12 1
 Yakima's had the whispbar for years too. This is just wierd pb advertising hahah. What next? enduro glow sticks?
  • 1 0
 You are correct. Yakima has had the Whispbar as it's own entity. Now that tech is available as Yakima branded product, and they've taken the lessons learned by Whispbar and applied them to the make-over of the regular Yakima line.
  • 5 0
 It's an '89--'94 Carrera 2. (Type 964).
  • 4 0
 @makripper this one is shaped like a wing to generate lift and increase fuel mileage
  • 1 0
 Lol @ithomas as long as it's not a shmegman!
  • 1 0
 Looks very much like a Saris from the 90s
  • 20 2
 Ain't nobody got time for roof racks in 2016.
  • 20 12
 Relly sorry Pinkbike staff, but all i see its a a Porsche in a handycap spot..... Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....Porsche in a handycap spot.....
  • 23 0
 If you look closely, there is a handicap permit hanging from the Porsche's rearview mirror. Sometimes people with knee problems walk with lots of pain; however ride bikes as doctor recommended therapy.

www.livestrong.com/article/380447-bicycling-to-help-with-knee-pain
  • 3 4
 nice Porsche HermanF ????
  • 10 2
 I recently had a Yakima roof rack fail on the way to Moab, granted, it was old, but seeing my Covert tumble down the freeway at 85 mph was pretty heart breaking. Never again will I use a roof rack.
  • 6 1
 had a similar thing happen to mine, except it went sideways and slammed into my driver side window when i was doing 100. Tail gate racks are the way to go
  • 12 0
 Anybody have a 115mph rack failure story to keep the trend going? Kmp/h or mph, as long as it stays in sequence: 85, 100, 115, 130...
  • 3 0
 My wife dropped her brand new bike off the back of a Kuat NV hitch rack. The bike survived with minimal injuries. Nobody is safe..
  • 2 2
 Kuat is bad for MTBs. Yes, they're pretty but try shuttling forest roads with one. They're aluminum and thus bend very easily when coming in contact with the ground. A good rack but not for off-road/heavy use
  • 2 0
 Wait have you seen Kuat's breaking ?? I have 2 and have always thought they were much MUCH sturdier than the Thule / Yakima hitch mounted racks. The thule/yakima hitch racks are mostly plastic, and if you watch a bike on one of them it bounces ALLLL over the place ! I have a 2 1/2 in. receiver hitch on my toyota and it is very sturdy, the wife's car has the smaller receiver hitch and hers is a little bouncy but has been secure thus far..

I hope Kuat isn't as bad as you're saying ! I've had mine for almost a year and have taken it on some pretty serious offroading with out any problems yet.. I routinely took it over Ophir Pass from Ophir to Silverton CO this summer, not the most difficult road in the world but it is a 4wd mountain pass and is extremely bumpy/rocky.. As I was re-installing today, i found a big section of scarring on the metal from touching rocks, however it is straight and sturdy as ever... Better be for the price right !
  • 1 0
 No I have never seen one break but I saw one bend when it was being used to shuttle Hull Mountain which is a local spot. It was being used with the 2 bike extension and hit the ground after driving over a water bar. All I meant was there are certain downsides to using aluminum which is a softer metal. The good thing is they are light and will never rust if you live in a place where they salt the roads
  • 1 0
 yea.. thats understandable.. I can definitely see having the extension banging off the ground, it is pretty long and cramped
  • 1 0
 @forallhesgot you'll be fine. Kuat has solid customer service and it seems their products are improving. I have an NV Core, the "cheap" NV, and it looked terrible after 4 years. The finish turned flat and it was rusting from the inside out. They sent me a brand new one. My brother had the same issue with the front wheel tray on his NV where it rusted through. Again, they took care of him. All that said I have yakima and thule stuff that is 10 years old that looks and works very well.
  • 1 0
 My Kuat broke... I was so disappointed. Of course it DESTROYED the bumper of the car that rear ended me AND Kuat sent me all of the parts needed to fix it for FREE.
  • 1 0
 I give my Kuat NV hell. Off road driving loaded with bikes. They never even wiggle. It's on a 4wd suv so it's off the ground a good bit and never drags. By far the best rack imo. I had a Yakima hitch rack before the Kuat and it dropped a bike going over railroad tracks.
  • 9 0
 for the love of all that is holy, why are roof racks so ridiculously expensive? A yakima costs more than what I paid for my Freeride bike...
  • 6 0
 I know it's ridiculous.

In January, I bought a Yakima 2" hitch mount rack $500 USD ... while assembling, 2 bolts stripped-out, despite being careful. Returned that and bought a Thule (my first Thule). Drove from California to BC and both ratcheting arms failed (the rack was a week old). Thule replaced both arms, but I've yet to install them and honestly, I don't really trust them not to fail within a week.

A sturdy rack is essential for the safety of your gear and other vehicles/people on the roads, but they're all made like $hit (it would appear) and are definitely waaaaaay overpriced. Racks and associated accessories are one of those things I loathe paying for - it's about as much fun as paying a speeding ticket.

When I don't have to carry a few bikes or other gear, I toss my bike into a 2x4 rack that sits in my pick-up truck - cost me $8 to build and is zero hassle.
  • 2 0
 Dude! ???? That sux!
  • 4 0
 How come I can buy a hitch mount for a dirt bike that never moves no matter what the conditions. $250 Cr 250 on a Suburban. But my Yakima set up with 2 Highrollers, a wind deflector and locks for my Camry was $1000. I will add the 2 Nomads on my roof do seem to be solid as a rock but a grand, please.
  • 1 0
 Thule FTW, rigged my car with rack and two cycle carriers for £130 (used). No fancy aero bars here though..
  • 2 0
 Got one word for you - NORTHSHORE! Those racks are amazing. Although, if you put one on that Porsche it would act like a wheelie bar.
  • 5 0
 After going through a couple of different roof-top systems for whatever car I had at the time, I ended up buying a 4Runner just so I could have something to stick a North Shore Rack onto Smile . Hitting pot holes with four DH bikes on the back and not caring whatsoever = bliss
  • 3 0
 Whispbar was a New Zealand company that was bought out by Yakima last year. Whispbar have been making superb roof bars/roof bike carriers and kayak carriers for years down under.

The Whispbar Roof bike carriers are the best and easiest lock/removal I have seen.
  • 5 1
 Thanks for the write up. i didn't realize you could squeeze those racks on such small roofs... maybe i could get that late 90's 3000gt after all ...
  • 6 0
 Overpriced plastic shit with a little bit of metal.
  • 27 0
 to be fair, that's what this site is all about!
  • 1 0
 Haha! True :p
  • 8 0
 lol...a rename for Pinkbike... Overpricedplasticshitwithalittlebitofmetal.com!
  • 2 0
 Saris Superclamp for me. Experience with Thule Sidearm roof racks, Thule hitch rack (T2 can't remember name). And several cheap ones (Sportrack, department store).
Saris Superclamp performed amazingly over past two years, with no signs of issues going into year three and forward. Two DH bikes up and down eastern NA. Used on small sedan and SUV - both with zero issues over hwy to off road.
  • 1 0
 Whispbar was an overpriced installation nightmare. I had a Thule rack fail a few months ago which resulted in a new bike replacement. Good on Yakima for some updates, and a universal tower system. Easy sell for us vendors. I'm over trying to explain to the public why Yakima didn't have a branded aero bar
  • 1 0
 hey, they take us to the cleaners for bike racks...gloves...tires... you can get a decent moto tire for what you typically pay for a a dh tire that isn't on sale. less than half the material for the same price! i started shopping at motos stores for a few things.
  • 2 0
 After seeing my precious bike tumble down the highway from a thule roof rack that failed, I've gone to 1up rear rack. It may not be pretty but its built like a tank.
  • 1 0
 Thinking about getting a 1up single rack for my sedan. How do you like it? Any ground clearance issues? I also have a Thule roof rack and have never had a problem, but don't like using it on longer drives.
  • 1 0
 its the best I've ever owned. Uber sturdy...its just solid...Its the best thing I've done. You won't be disappointed..Now mind you, its not sleek and color coordinated but I don't care about that.
  • 1 0
 I got a 911 C4s and got the factory porsche rack. works the best with the car and got the thule bike racks that fit on it. From what I hear Thule makes the factory porsche racks
  • 1 0
 I've used my Thule 3 bike tow hitch rack for several road trips to the French alps as well as regular Wales visits. It might flex a bit but it survived at 120 with the missus driving so it's ok in my book!
  • 1 0
 Amazed that no one mentioned the ape hanger bars on the Giant on top of that Porsche 911. First thing that caught my eye. Race Face new prototype?
  • 5 1
 Did Lopes park the car?
  • 3 0
 All I see is a real nice Porshe
  • 1 0
 Hey Yakima! Make some racks that don't scratch the hell out of my 15' WRX. I live in Washington, and want to buy local, but come on!
  • 3 1
 Trunk-racks are terrible and cause damage to your car.
  • 23 2
 so do fat chicks with heals.
  • 3 4
 I'm a fan of trunk mount racks for double-diamond bike frames: reasonably priced, effective, and stowable. Never been too concerned with the nylon webbing or their little hooks damaging my trunk, but I could see that aspect keeping OCD clean freaks up at night...Is that what you're talmbout? I can't jam more than one modern mountain bike on one.

All roof racks get the bozack. As Miss Universe, I will advocate to eradicate. Along with mosquitoes and ranch dressing.

Tray hitch racks are for me.

Those vertical Northshore racks are a little too neck brace, but I'll allow them on your Monstergator.
  • 6 0
 I have no idea if you just actually said anything at all...
  • 3 0
 owl-X... you my friend are cooked.
  • 3 1
 I like the design,function and looks of my Thule set up much better.
  • 3 0
 Very Thule-esque........
  • 1 0
 screw the racks I want the 911! I mean if it came with racks Id still happily drive it, beggars can't be choosers after all.
  • 2 0
 I can't afford a Porshe and not because i'm handicapped.
  • 2 0
 nothing about the bike holders?
  • 2 0
 I know it's 2016 and all but.. Nice rack! ;-)
  • 2 1
 I want a Porsche as a bike rack too
  • 1 0
 Looks the same as the Sportrack Mondial rack I had in 1996.
  • 1 0
 that car is so retarded that you can fit an cooler (ski) anywhere
  • 1 0
 Buys 964. Has money leftover for only a Clunker.
  • 1 0
 how much downforce does it ad?
  • 1 0
 I know you guy are not Porsche guys but thats a early 90s 911.
  • 1 0
 A roof rack on a 911 Porsche is so painful to see.
  • 2 1
 Thule for life.
  • 1 0
 NORTH SHORE RACKS.

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