Saris Bones 2-Bike Strap-On Rack - Review

Jan 30, 2018 at 15:34
by Mike Levy  
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test


You know what's somehow even less exciting than another Ask PB article where we talk about 1x drivetrains and tire choices? A review of a bike rack. The thing is, not only do many of us require a rack to go mountain biking, but we also task them with carrying thousands and thousands of our dollars at triple-digit speeds. So yeah, racks might not be too exciting but, for some of us, they might also be the most important piece of gear besides the actual bike.

Saris' $154.99 USD Bones 2-Bike is a strap-on rack designed to fit pretty much every type of car out there. The entire frame is constructed from injection-molded plastic that (obviously) won't rust. Saris says that the Bones rack will haul up to two 35lb bikes - sorry, @paulaston and other e-riderz. The rack itself weighs just 9 pounds and folds flat-ish, making it easy to stash in the trunk or on a backseat.

Saris Bones 2-Bike Details

• Strap-on rack for vehicles w/o hitch
• Carries two bikes (three-bike option)
• Weight limit: 35lb per bike
• Adjustable straps w/ vinyl-coated hooks
• Adjustable arms and legs
• Injection molded plastic frame
• Fits most cars, over most spoilers
• Built with 100% recyclable materials
• Colors: black or grey
• Lifetime warranty
• Weight: 9lb
• MSRP: $154.99 USD
www.saris.com

Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
The Bones should be able to fit onto the back of most cars or SUVs due to its mega-adjustable design.


Design

The Bones' curvy, folding design not only sets it apart from the industrial look of the competition, but it's also key in allowing it to fit onto the majority of cars on the road. The arc to the injection molded plastic arms lets them clear most spoilers (unless you have a dinner table bolted to the back of your ricer) and Saris has attached giant, pivoting rubber hooves to the end of the upper and lower arms that should find traction without leaving a trace on your car's paint job. The plastic arms won't leave a trace on your two-wheeled ride, either.

Most of these strap-on racks fold - that's one of their main selling points - but Saris tackled it a bit differently. All five of the Bones' arms pivot around a central plastic barrel, with interlocking ribs and dial-down clamps letting you secure them in place at any angle you require.

To change their position, all you need to do is back off the finger-tight clamp, slide the arm off the ribbed barrel and clock it to where it belongs, then slide the arm back over the ribs and lock it down. Pretty clever. This design allows you to mold the Bones to the back of essentially any car, and it also lets you angle the two bike-holding arms independently of one another.
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
All five arms (two for your bike, three for support) pivot over this central barrel. You lock them into place by sliding them over the ribs and tightening the finger dials.

So, if you have a bike with a swoopy-shaped frame, like a Devinci Wilson or the latest Demo, you can angle one arm way down while raising the other so that your bike hangs level on the rack. That might not sound like a big deal but, having worked in a shop for ages, I can tell you this: You'd be surprised at how many people end up dragging one of their wheels on the pavement for countless miles.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
To adjust the position of the arms, you slide them off the ribs and onto the smooth section, then slide them back over the ribs once they're angled correctly.


Three long straps run through the center barrel, and you'll find matching vinyl-coated hooks at the ends of each one. If you traced your way back from the hook at the top of the right-side upper strap, you'd end up finding the hook at the top of the left-side upper strap, and this also applies to both the side and lower straps, too. So many hooks and straps.

There are also locking buckles on each end; they're not ratcheting buckles, as Saris claims on their website. You simply pull the straps tight by hand instead.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Three long straps with vinyl-coated hooks on each end run through the central barrel.


The final detail is the rubberized, plastic straps that clamp down onto your bike. There are two of these on top of each arm for obvious reasons (if you got this far, I'd assume you know), but you might have also spotted one on the bottom of each arm as well. These are there to grab onto your bike's seat tube, or anything, really, to keep it from swaying back and forth while you're doing burnouts. Or when you just pull away from a stoplight. Pinkbike does not condone burnouts, but we don't not condone them.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Rubber-coated plastic straps grab your bike, while large rubber hooves rest against your car.



Performance

Strap-on racks have always scared the bejesus out of me. I think my distrust is - or was - rooted in those tiny hooks, the ones keeping my bike from being roadkill, which hold onto my car's rain gutters for dear life like fingertips gripping the edge of a cliff that's traveling at 100kph. And the straps... sure, they make it (sorta) easy to put the rack on or take it off, but they're also subject to human error, much more so than a bigass, 2'' receiver that screams ''I CAN TOW A BOAT'' with its steely girth.

Instead, I depend on fabric straps that, in turn, depend on me to be mounted correctly. My concern is mostly the human error bit, and mostly because I know that if there's something I'm professional at, it's erroring.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Yes, the bike is a few feet wider than the car.


But then I bought a near-useless car and needed a rack to haul bikes. No problem, right? Just get someone with a welding rig, maybe even an actual welder, to slap a hitch on the bottom of my original-style Mini and be done with it. But 'Lil Blue's pop-can undercarriage laughed at that plan more than once, so instead of the proper-yet-impossible way to carry a bike, I picked up Saris' Bones rack as a short-term solution. Let's be honest, too, 'Lil Blue suits a strap-on anyway.

Getting the Bones onto your car isn't difficult, but the straps can tangle easily when it's not mounted, so pulling the Saris out from your trunk can be a bit like pulling the rat's nest that is your headphones out of your pocket. The solution is to wrap the three straps around the rack after you fold it up, of course; that way you're not left undoing knots in the rain when you're already late for a ride. After you've done that and the straps are hanging freely, fold out the single upper arm and angle it so the rack fits closely to the back of your car, and with the two lower rubber hooves taking most of the load by resting on top of your bumper. The ribbed interface between the arms and the center barrel keeps things in position, and don't forget to tighten down the clamps, too.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
The Bones' adaptability comes in handy. I had to angle one arm much higher than the other to keep the bike from hitting the ground, and the rubber hooves can conform a bit to whatever they end up resting against.


The straps are pretty self-explanatory: they're labeled (upper, lower, side) so there shouldn't be any confusion as to where they go. Start by attaching the upper hooks into either your rain gutter or the panel gap between the trunk and rear window, then do both ends of the lower strap to the underside of the bumper (if it's not one of those flexy plastic ones that so many new cars are mandated to have) or to a secure point underneath the car. The side strap goes into the panel gap and you're nearly done. Snug the upper strap evenly (there's a buckle on each side), then do the same to the lower strap before checking the hooks to make sure they're secure, and then tighten the side strap as well.

The buckles seem to grasp the straps pretty firmly, but I was still scared of them backing off, so I tied a not in the strap just below the buckle to keep them from slipping. Again, they never once slipped on me without the knots, but the extra insurance made me a bit less nervous. You also need to check to make sure the straps aren't tugging on the hooks at a funny angle; they might be doing exactly that if the gap between the trunk and the rear quarter panels is at a big angle that could let the hooks slide up and release the tension on the strap.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
The tight confines of the Zerode frame means that I couldn't hang it from the inboard mounts. This could be trouble if you have more than one bike like the Taniwha.


A lot of bikes won't have any issue with the rubberized attachment straps and cradles that hold the frame, but the size of the cradles won't play nice with all bikes. My Zerode Taniwha test rig, for example, doesn't have much room between the Cane Creek shock and the top tube, which keeps the bike from being hung from the inside location because the cradle can't squeeze between the top tube and the shock. This will likely be the case with some other bikes, too, and can probably be solved by some clever angling of the frame and arms. I'm not clever, though, so I just always hung the bike on the outboard cradles - good thing there aren't two Taniwha's in my riding crew.

The cradles and straps do a good job of keeping bikes from sliding or swinging around, although they might not be long enough for some strangely-shaped frame tubes. There has also been exactly zero scuffing from them.


Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
Saris Bones 2-Bike rack review test
I wrapped the anti-swing strap around the Cane Creek shock's air can - it looks messy but it works well. Knots tied up against the buckles gave me peace of mind.


So it turns out that I was nervous for no reason; the Bones never once loosened its grip on any bike, and while the straps going everywhere looks a bit ghetto compared to a nice tray-style rack, the Saris setup proved to be reliable and I eventually went from looking in my rearview mirror every 17 seconds to just once every minute or so. I joke, but let's remember that I'm using a $154.99 USD rack to carry a $9,500 USD test bike. Not only did the straps refuse to back off, but the rack is also very solid-feeling once everything is tightened down - I can actually shake my little car pretty good by wrenching back and forth on the Bones, but the rack itself refuses to budge. I probably wouldn't pretend to be a WRC racer while my bike is perched on the Bones, but it turns out that my concerns were all for naught and this particular strap-on rack is up to snuff.

What don't I like? Strap-on racks are relatively inexpensive compared to tray-style setups, and they make a lot of sense for a casual rider who can't or won't go with a tray rack, but their design also means that you won't be getting into your trunk while it's on your car. And it's not exactly theft-proof, either, so you probably shouldn't be leaving it attached to your vehicle 24/7 unless you live in a town with Whoville-like crime statistics. Lock your bike? Lock your rack? Walk or hike if you not, and you deserve a smack! Lastly, both bike support arms rock on the central barrel, no matter how snug the fingers dials are done up. They won't slide or shift, but the tolerances between the ribs and the arms allows them to wiggle a bit.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesOkay, as good as the Bones rack turned out to be, I'll always choose an (admittedly much pricier) tray-style setup if one will mount on my vehicle. But when that's not possible (in my case, because I bought a stupid, useless car), I'd say that the Bones rack is a darn good solution to getting your bikes to the mountain and back. Plus, it's not prohibitively expensive. Mike Levy






Must Read This Week

236 Comments

  • + 220
 Can we get a 'Car Check' article on that mini?
  • + 9
 Uncle Jerry, you're making me uncomfortable.... haha RIP Big Black
  • + 9
 That little car is Sick!
  • + 19
 love the side pipes on a mini
  • + 6
 That's Levy's MINI it has side pipe exhaust too wide rims and fender flairs. It's teal inside-out and Mike is happy to own it Big Grin
  • - 4
flag DaMilkyBarKid (Feb 6, 2018 at 12:17) (Below Threshold)
 Always love a good Mini, had enough of them myself!

Two things that stand out that's wrong with that one though:

Side exit exhaust? Why!! It's not a Corvette, it's a teeny city car. Best exhaust option I've seen was a twin setup that came out the back but each pipe went to the edges of the rear bumper and came out behind the rear tyres.

Those rims are too wide, you've got to be compromising the suspension to stop them hitting the arches.

Apart from that a sweet little ride. Oh and those straps are going to destroy the spot welds in the seams so watch out for rust bubbling through! You can get a towbar for a Mini!! Guess how I know each of those...
  • + 9
 @DaMilkyBarKid: wrong is a matter of opinion
  • + 6
 @DaMilkyBarKid: Mini's should have twin straight pipes!
  • + 8
 Bike worth more then car - check Car is braggadocios and has to be in every pre ride photo - check Car doesn't meet needs of recreational activity, but you prove the sales guy wrong - check
  • - 1
 @DaMilkyBarK I agree with the exhaust, didn't mean to neg prop
  • + 21
 @DaMilkyBarKid: Love 'em. So much fun to drive. The exhaust is a side pipe without a muffler and it's way too loud because that's what all exhausts should do. It sounds like I'm going 200kph but I'm tapped out at 20kph, and I can't hear what my passenger is saying... in other words, it's perfect.

The tires actually don't hit the arches but it is too close. I have some extensive bodywork planned for the near future and part of it will sort this out. Noted on the strap attached to the seams - I'll keep an eye on it. I'd like to de-seam it but they have to stay because it'll be a bare steel body soon and it'll look like ass if they're gone. The rear seam will be going away for sure, though.

I've searched and searched for a towbar but had no luck Frown
  • + 9
 @KiwiXC: Always. That's a single straight pipe on the side of mine. So loud, so annoying, and so perfect.
  • + 1
 @DaMilkyBarKid: well i thiknk those are the two best things about the mini! those are the fender flares were the first things i saw!
  • + 1
 double post
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: How often do you burn yourself on the pipes?
  • + 13
 @src248: Never because it's on the passenger side Wink
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: You know, the Mini is so narrow, you could have a side-rack and side pipe \m/ I have had a couple of Mini's myself, and the last restoration I did(at the body shop I work at) was a '76 Mini pickup, now that is the perfect vehicle, as it is easy to bolt racks to the bed. You may have to leave the tailgate down, but oh well
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: I like your stupid useless car. The’re the best kind.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: thats one quick shopping cart you got there. Genuinley jealous.
  • + 3
 @SKI-R: You're clearly a lot smarter than I am. Nice find!
  • + 2
 @Dont-hit-trees: Thanks! Fun > practical.
  • + 2
 @BobbyLite: So slow in a straight line but so damn scary fast in the corners where it counts.
  • + 6
 @mikelevy: " I have some extensive bodywork planned for the near future"
Just do a few simple mods, starting with this easy how to
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGSOZAHg1yQHU1tc_3Y5MTQg1qjtxA_nq
  • + 3
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: I want you to know that now I have to stay awake all night watching those. Dammit.
  • + 1
 That bike rack review is just an excuse to do photo shoot of the mini. Love it
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: paddy hopkirk for the tow bar
  • + 1
 more interested in the car
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: Project Binky is like crack. One hit, and you carry on going back for more. And when you're done, and need more, and there's none there, it crushes your soul. It's a work of art that isn't yet finished. And I hate them for my incessant need to check youtube updates every day.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: ah, so you have plans for it then. You're forgiven... ????
  • + 1
 @DaMilkyBarKid: Not many Mini fans will forgive me when I'm done.
  • + 3
 @cptmayhem: I'm on episode 12... those guys are 50% geniuses and 50% artists. Unreal.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Welcome to the club. Circa 2011 www.pinkbike.com/photo/6480574
  • + 135
 Mike, have you considered getting a rack for your bike so you can take your car with you to the trailhead?
  • + 14
 Excellent idea.
  • + 5
 most underrated comment
  • + 61
 Strap-ons scare me.
  • + 55
 yes - but this one is five sided so at least you wont be alone.
  • + 4
 @dtax: haha. Awesome.
  • + 8
 Rubber Hooves
  • + 5
 @h82crash where's your sense of adventure my man???
  • + 6
 Ribbed.
  • + 6
 @mnorris122 - They seem unstable but maybe it depends who's driving.
  • + 4
 @h82crash - Just remember to tighten the nuts. I don't know what sliding them over the ribs does, though.
  • + 7
 It will give a whole new meaning when @mikelevy says he's "pegging it" to get to the trails.....
  • + 23
 I'd love to see this car with a fricking Nicolai Geometron strapped to the back of it... other drivers would not appreciate you blocking two lanes on a highway...
  • + 13
 Doesn't matter what vehicle it's attached to - the Nicolai won't get any wider.
  • + 4
 @husstler: thank you Dr Obvioussimus, you may continue to realize your evil plans
  • + 1
 I've actually done this with my old Yaris and my G16... It's f*cking terrifying! I did it once before I reverted back to taking the front wheel out and stuffing it in the back (and partly the front) of my car
  • + 1
 @TinyTim10: do you need a harvester license to carry a Geometron on a towbar rack? Do you need a 3 person sea classed canoe on the roof to transport it facing forward? Big Grin
  • + 20
 I've been using one for about a year. I found it a mediocre solution and would only recommend it if you have no other options. Thule makes strap-on racks with trays where you put the bike wheels (or at least it used to, I bought my Thule rack in 2009) that are much, much better than this. The ergonomics of Saris is poor and it really gets exposed when trying to carry two (or, god forbid three) bikes. It probably works for hard-tails, but full suspension designs don't mesh well with it. We used one of these racks on a bike trip through BC and it was a pain. We had two bikes - a HT and a fully, and most of the times it felt like playing a crazy jigsaw puzzle trying to put both on the rack. Even then, the fully never seemed to quite fit securely and did not inspire a lot of confidence. We also broke one of the attachment points. We sometimes just ended up stuffing the fully into the back of our wagon. Bottom line - it kind of works (for one bike and/or hardtails) if you have not other option. I've since switched the vehicle and will be returning my Saris.
Just my two cents.

P.S.
A note @mikelevy - we ended up doing a similar thing and put one strap around our Cane Creek. About half way into the trip the shock developed a leak. We are not sure if that was just a failure that would have happened on its own, but we had a suspicion that strapping the bike by the shock and the consequential vibration travelling from the car via the rack to the shock might've had something to do with it.
  • + 2
 I've had a few years experience for this rack, and can back up this comment 100%. There's plenty of mounts you can use to get creative with a FS bike, but it still will typically contact your frame at multiple points and end up scratching it up a fair bit, no matter how careful you are.
If you have the option of a hitch rack, don't even hesitate to bypass purchasing this rack. Odds are, you'll save more than enough in resale value for your steed not looking like a rape victim to make it worth purchasing the hitch rack.
  • + 4
 Had one for a few years. It's a decent trunk rack and more adjustable than most on the market. Put helicopter tape on your car where those hooks attach. Otherwise, no matter much you tighten the straps, the vibrations eventually wear down your car's paint job.
  • + 2
 agree with all the above posts. the main factor in my purchase was the price. I hate spending tons on a bike carrier, and for the price I'd say it worked well for what I needed.
Agreed, you have to be a bit creative with FS frames, my DH bike straps in one direction and my AM bike goes the other direction using the same straps. And I really dont' think I could carry them both at the same time.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15115461
  • - 2
 That term shouldn’t be used casually@CALEBTNORMAN:
  • + 1
 @preach: The police in the US don't care if your license plate is covered by the bike?
  • + 1
 @IluvRIDING: possibly... but I’ve never had one ever say anything to me about it. I’m sure if I was speeding or ran a stop sign they would also tack on the plate thing but as long as you’re obeying the main law I don’t think they care
  • + 6
 @IluvRIDING: I've been pulled over in the US for a bike rack obscuring my plate. No ticket, just a warning. So many stupid rules for everything in life.
  • + 1
 @DONKEY-FELTCHER: you're in the PB comment section, idk what else you expected. Honestly, it does scratch up frames something nasty in the long term, definitely wouldn't buy again.
  • + 3
 @DONKEY-FELTCHER: your username implies animal rape.
  • + 1
 Totally agree! I remember trying to get an HD3 and a Stumpjumper on this rack. After 30 minutes of bike origami and extra bungies and pads, we were able to get something that "kinda" worked. Note to self: take a picture of the final install before you take the bikes off!

One plus I guess is that if you're flying somewhere with your bike, this rack could fit in your luggage and you wouldn't have to rent a big vehicle.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: That's how I save money going over the bridge in Van.
  • + 8
 @mikelevy: A friend of mine and I were once pulled over in his Tacoma with our DH bikes hanging over the tailgate covering the plate. On our way to Windrock, TN. We just got done burning one too. The Cops were all over us and I was so high that I handed the Cop my credit card rather than my drivers license. They searched the vehicle and didn't find anything. The joke was on them as the stash was in the fuse box under the hood. We ended up having a blast shuttling that day and finished with a beer and a doobie at the top of the mountain before one final Windmill trail run. Good times and too good not to share. Cheers!
  • + 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: If it was specialized you could have put it in the SWAT door. "you can put your weed in there" Smile We burn every ride too
  • + 1
 @Biocoug1: Actually mine was a 2012 Specialized Demo. Haha. Well before the SWAT door though and I'm not sure that they do that on DH bikes.
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: Lucky no driving impaired citation.
  • + 1
 @PNdubRider: There was no suspicion of driving while intoxicated. I wasn't driving. Got pulled over for covering the license plate and they were looking for a large amount of drugs. They told us that specifically.
  • + 5
 Trunk racks like this actually do work. As @mikelevy pointed out, tray racks are obviously preferable, but not always possible.

A few notes - on the vast majority of cars, the bottom hooks should go on the bottom edge of the trunk lid / hatch, not the bumper.

The biggest issue with trunk racks is, as pointed out here, that full suspension mountain bikes just don't fit that well on them. You've adjusted the arms to suit the angle of your frame, but that means that it is pretty much impossible to mount a second bike in the other position.

Having said that, I have my parents' Graber trunk rack from the 80s, a couple years before I was born, that still works great for road bikes, cross bikes, and hardtails.
  • + 3
 I had this saris rack for 2 years and just switched to a hitch rack after getting a new car. Like you said I couldn't get my full suspension bike onto the back slot at all. Made me nervous sometimes suspending the weight only out the outer slot but it never failed and worked great aside from that.
  • + 1
 @drawingup: Just pull out the hacksaw and cut the lower mounts off. Thats what I did and it has worked mint for the last 2 years. I have the triple bike version and have regularly had 2 Mountain bikes and one roadbike on it no issues.
  • + 4
 There is an adapter bar you can get that attaches from your stem to your seatpost. Makes life so much easier. I have the bones rack that holds 3 bikes. Maybe if they were skinny road bikes. I can get 2 bikes on there. On mine, the tube the arms attach to is aluminum and there are 4 arms. It works pretty well and installs in less than 2 minutes. I got mine because it would be too costly to install a trailer hitch and then get a trailer mounted rack.
  • + 1
 I was thinking of doing that with mine, but I worried my bike would drag on the ground, as it really lowers your whole bike pretty far. Do you have that issue?
  • + 1
 @colemanb: I have the same bar and no I don't. Mine doesn't lower far at all.
  • + 1
 @colemanb: not an issue as you just raise the arches. I got poor aerodynamics if i did not use the top tube adapter bar...as the rear wheel was too high into the wind. Found an adapter on kijijij for $20. My only issue after 30 000+ km was the straps can loosen over long distances at high speed, and the feet scratch the cars paint everso lightly. You can also get extreme oscillations in cross winds if straps loosen. I’m talking more than 600km drives. I loved that it was cheap, and installed in under two minutes. If i leave anything else on my car outside overnight folks steal bits of it, be it straps, hooks, rails or whatever. Don’t get me started about the crappy locks on high end racks. Removing a hitch rack is such a pain. The Saris is my first pick for single bike portages to trailheads.
  • + 2
 @colemanb: I haven't had that issue. Only becomes a problem if you go up or down a steep driveway.
  • + 4
 Cool mini. The rack has some really good ideas going for it. The adjustablity via splines is genius. However, I can't see it being useful for more than one bike at a time unless there are two bikes with identical frame dimensions.
  • + 1
 "Stupid useless car..." Shoot, I'd love to have your Mini, MIG a hitch to it, slap a single tray One-up rack.. Oh and by the way I'll take your Zerode while I'm at it.
  • + 7
 @diggerandrider: How to wheelie a mini
  • + 1
 i have a bones 3, had a 2012 stumpjumper, 2012 intense ss2 and a 08 kona coiler on there, took 20 minutes and lots of tetris experience but we managed, though when i had the fat bike on there it took up both outer positions being wider hubs and crank. also, mines about 5 years old and is an extruded aluminium tube in the middle and 4 arms not 3. dunno how much difference it makes.
  • + 3
 Stupid useless cars are the best for bikes! You get to see how you can possibly fit a bike in. My 95 Mustang can fit a bike in the trunk with the back seats down and the front wheel off. You get the best looks from guys in big trucks at the trailhead.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: I was like... how are you supposed to drive with the wheels in the drivers sea..... oh. right.
  • + 2
 @colemanb: I get some looks when I roll around like that.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: so where's the Porsche 917?
My dad's got a right hand drive 2cv... in France. People look at it like they just got a baguette rammed up them.
  • + 2
 @BenPea: I looked at a few 914s but they were all pretty rusty and gross over here on the west coast - it rains so much here, and there's a lot of salt on the roads. All of them were too much work for me, and even those were also too costly for the shape they were in. 914s are cool now, which adds $$$$
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: not the prettiest Porsche ever... Stick with the mini. More practical!
  • + 3
 @MikeLevy
Hey, honest question, the bolt on roof racks that mount to the gutters are stronger than you think. Have you considered buying a bolt on fork mount, mount it to a 2"x6" board (or for extra steeze, an old downhill ski) with carriage bolts, and mount the board to your roof rack with u bolts? Use an old toe strap to secure the rear wheel to the board.
Here's a link to the bolt on fork mount. for $30 you have a discrete and usable way to transport a bike. There's more expensive mounts with adapters to match different axles.

www.mec.ca/en/product/5048-205/Fork-Truck-Mount

And to think, Issigonnis designed the Mini as family car for 4. My have times changed, people now need a half ton truck to drop off their kid at kindergarten.
  • + 4
 That's certainly a smart way to do it. I park underground and have the memory of a 197-year-old, though, so I'm nervous about doing you know what. Might be a neat project to do anyway. When I first got the car it felt crazy small, but now it's normal to me. Then I get in something like a Civic or more normal car and it feels like I'm taking up three lanes.
  • + 3
 first time commentor, of course because it’s a small useless car & trunk rack review which i can relate to.

my $0.02 is to find an old yakima king joe 3 or thule equivalent off craigslist from when they made racks with wider than 16” spacing for the arms. i just picked one up for $60 and it will probably last me another 10 years to replace the one i had been running for many years (car is 2005 model scion xA so a little more practical than an old but cool mini).

i bought a new trunk rack a few years ago from REI and with those narrow arms, my FS bike only fit at a ridiculous angle/fit and that was a huge pain so it got returned. those top tube adapters cost $$ and it’s just another thing to forget/lose. with the older wide arm racks, i can fit 3 FS bikes on my rack... just keep an eye on those straps for wear!
  • + 3
 I've this rack for years and don't enjoy using it at all, but have to admit, it does work. I typically take a wheel or two off depending on the frames being mounted on are sitting as full-suspension frames can be tricky. Worst thing are the swinging straps when you are setting it up a can bash your paint. The ends are covered in rubber, but it's thin coating that is not that effective. The boots rubbing can scratch paint too. But, beggars can't really be choosers.

Pros: kinda cheap, easy to store, holds 1 to 2 bikes no problem
Cons: kind of annoying to set up, not a good option if you value the paint on your car. Kinda scary with more than one bike.
  • + 2
 Have owned two of these racks and love them. Cut off the bottom third strap of each bike holder. Now your FS frame fits. Also for multiple bikes they need to face the same direction not opposite. Some of you people need to play more puzzles if you can’t figure this out. I have literally travelled thousands of Kim’s with multiple bikes on our bones 3s. My wife is 5’4” so always ride small bikes and daughter is now on 20” (we used to use the racks for her 16”we as well).
  • + 2
 *kms* autocorrect.
  • + 7
 Never go full strap-on
  • + 3
 You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." — Inigo Montoya
  • + 2
 The rack works fine for a single bike, is a bit of pain with multiple bikes if they aren't similar design. Perfect for my father in-law that needs a bike rack maybe twice a year.

Could someone please show Kazimer the proper knot to keep the straps from slipping?
  • + 2
 I rocked one of these for a few years, due to the type of vehicle I drove. Below are some recommendations:
- Some curvy or busy top tubes will not fit. Feel free to use the down tube to attach your bike, and put up with some additional vehicle drag, as your bike rides up a bit higher.
- After cinching the straps, tie them off so they can't slip. They can work themselves loose over time.
- Over the first year of use, the plastic notches that interface with the extruded alum center tube tend to wear out of shape. You can use large cable straps to tie the upper/lower arms together, and that makes the whole unit more rigid for another year or so.
- If you care about your paint job, use a rag between the tube on your bike and the cradle/straps. Any dirt in there, and it scratches the sh*t out of the paint.
- Go easy on the plastic screws that secure the arms to the alum center tube. They strip easily. See my cable strap tip above, for additional securing.

Otherwise, a good purchase. It did last pretty well for the price, with some simple fixes.
  • + 2
 Oh yeah, and also:

- If you have two bikes on there, strap the wheel of the inside bike to the lower arm of the rack. That way they don't swing around with braking/accelerating.
  • + 2
 On the license plate? Really? That seems very bad with the added weight and bouncing of the bikes on the back of a car. Damage surely will occur to the paint of the car in this situation. Why would they not be wider than a license plate?
  • + 2
 Bouncing? The rack is strapped down tight and I make sure to avoid jumping my car over 50ft when there's a bike on the back of it. If I was concerned, the arms can be moved.
  • + 1
 Bought a Hollywood Baja 2 5 years ago and over 300 trips carrying two bikes, have not had a single problem. When I bought a fully, Hollywood sells an adapter that allows the bike to sit level and not mess with any strapping around the shock. A litte bit on the beefy side but gives ease of mind climbing those rocky dirt fireroads to get to the trailhead.
  • + 1
 I don’t care if my car is $500 I’m gonna spend the money on a hitch rack. If the rack is too expensive buy a $200 car and still get the hitch.
I had one of these racks and used it my Mini. It was a pain. If time is money, I should have coughed up the cash (company called Mini-Do-More makes hitches for Minis) and just bought a hitch and a Thule X2 (and skipped the cheap Yakima I initially bought.)
  • + 5
 Unfortunately, those guys only make hitches for the new, BMW-owned Minis, not the original body style. If I could get a hitch installed, that's what'd I'd do regardless of price. The rear underside of the older Minis have more in common with a pop can than a car, and no trailer shop or local welder will touch it due to liability concerns. Could I make it happen? Of course, but at this point, I'm satisfied with the strap-on rack, which is a surprise to me.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: “...pop can...” haha!
Yah, didn’t know that; I had a 2010. Roof racks are terrible for MPG and in your case, the Saris is a star!
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Might be worth a phone call or a drive down to Broadway Welding Shop in Vancouver. They seem up to most jobs. Call them and see for yourself...good luck!
  • + 1
 @a-m-c: Will do. Thanks!
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Great article, really enjoyed reading that! I'm surprised you didn't consider a roof rack instead of this strap-on. I never had issues with a roof rack and that the rack already mounted to the mini seems like a suitable base. The curvature might mean that you can only mount a single bike (in the middle so that the bike is vertical) but you're getting something that can lock (bike to rack and rack to roof-rack) and should make you worried about the bike colliding with anything (unless you drive underneath something low like into a car park). Great that you did test this option but I think the roof mounted rack deserves a consideration too.
  • + 3
 For sure, a roof rack would be the better way to go. That said, I park in an underground complex and often can't remember what I ate for lunch, let alone if there are bikes on the roof of my car. I still might go that route with a Sea Sucker setup, though. The flexible bases can bend to the profile of the Mini's roof, and they can be installed and removed in seconds. We'll see.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Can't you just lay it flat on that rack and just strap it like that? If you're only going to put one single bike on your roof anyway, this may be the easiest way to go with what you have already without adding much height. Just get some straps, tie wraps and pipe insulation (or those 80's BMX top tube and handlebar cushions if you need to preserve the cool style of your car) to protect the frame where it touches the rack and you should be good. Yes you have one wheel hanging over the front and the other over the rear but at least you can access the trunk for your bbq, crate of post-ride beer, canoe, portable workstand and whatever fits the excess storage room you have there.
  • + 1
 You guys are lucky you can import cars that aren't super old like the ones we'd get in the USA. I bet that car is super fun to drive. On another note, I used to have that rack. Those mounting feet on the bottom that hold all of the weight..........they'll rub your paint. I had to stick some terry cloth rags on mine so they'd stop scratching up my paint job.
  • + 1
 I previously owned a Bones 2 rack. With a bit of maneuvering I was able to fit a Trek Fuel EX and Santa Cruz Bronson on it. Instead of purchasing the anti-swing strap I used bungee cords to secure the tires from spinning. Nice rack but I needed a different means to transport my carbon bike.
  • + 1
 I have been using the Bones 2 for approximately 4 years.
Have run it for more than 5.000km with most of them being on the highway with speeds up to 130km/h.

Very easy to install, very stable, very easy to store - overall excellent bike rack.

Also excellent customer service and support from Saris. When the rack came in, there was a minor flaw at the plastic strap of one arm. I sent photos to Saris and within a few days they sent me a whole replacement arm along with the strap fitted - no questions asked.

One major issue is the bike frame compatibility though.
My Nomad is a pain in the ass to fit on the rack and I remember we almost cancelled a ride with a friend since we were so frustrated trying to fit the Nomad and a Banshee rune on the rack.

For the above reason, alone, I just switched to Thule a few days ago.

If Saris came out with a new model with the exact same features but with straight and thinner arms I would definitely go for it.
  • + 2
 That was one of the best reviews I've read in a while. I wish my boss would appreciate humor in my writing. But instead, it causes panic and fear if I write that I'm good at erroring.
  • + 3
 Causing panic and fear can be fun.
  • + 1
 i personally rock one of these www.peruzzosrl.com/it/portabici/posteriore/padova-alu.php since 3 years, never had a problem. the lack of rails on the Saris really scares me, i guess something made of ALU instead of plastic gives me more confidence. did 150 kph a couple of times (forgot i was carrying the bike :/ ) and had no problems afterward
  • + 1
 I hated this rack. Before I got my truck I had one of these and was not impressed. The straps always slipped. I did however really like the trunk models that saris makes that have actual rachet straps. Those are Rock solid. I had a bones RS and it was at the time and in my opinion the best trunk rack on the market.
  • + 4
 hey beavis,is it really called a strap-on rack...uh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huhhuh-huh-huh-huh-?
  • + 1
 You tuck those straps in the pipe of rack and it looks ten times better and definitely get a top tube adapter. Top tube adapter will make it so straps make no contacts with bike. To a guy who uses ever dollar on the bike and can't see spending $600 on a rack when that could be a new fork or wheelset, this has been my rack. Not pretty but fully functional.
  • + 1
 Have the original version of this, pretty annoying rack TBH. 1) the arms are too fat, so if your bike has a linkage or shock in the way ts hard to get it to fit, 2) the arms are tapered which makes previous issue worse, since ideally you want your bike as close to the car as possible. 3) the straps are in a fixed position, again making it hard to slide a bike on and position just where you want 4) easy to over tighten and dent your car. OK this last one is user error but still annoying.
  • + 5
 Out of the three things in this article you picked the rack to talk about?
  • + 1
 Fair point.
  • + 2
 That looks like an interesting one to try.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: definitely. I was able to install a hitch on my hatchback, but if I hadn't been able to, I probably would have gone with one of these.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: I think the only issue you might run into is ground clearance.
  • + 3
 I had this rack and it worked great. Had it strapped to the back of my 91 honda civic hatch for a couple of summers. I did put my DH bike on it regularly and I think its one of the best out there. folded up nice when not in use and was pretty rock solid and loaded up in under a minute. If I didn't have a new car and want to get a proper hitch rack. I'd still rock that thing for sure.
  • + 1
 I had a Saris Sentinal rack on a hatchback I used to own. After the straps failed and watching my bike flapping in the breeze on the motorway with only the front wheel still attached I swore to never use one again. Props to CRC though, they gave me full refund after a year and change of countries.....
  • + 4
 There is just something deeply wrong with hauling your carbon beauty on a rack like this.
  • + 2
 Wouldnt want two 35lb bikes tugging on the gutter rail of a 40 odd year old car. In the panel gap between bootlid and roof line on a normal hatch maybe. But a gutter rail! Get it on roof bars fast!
  • + 1
 My mini was "only" 20yrs old when i got it, and no f*cking way would i have trusted the gutters to hold a bike up Smile
  • + 2
 All good so far, but I definitely take a hard look at the gutter every few days.
  • + 1
 Is that Zerode actually lighter than 35 lbs? I wonder if my hardtail (with no gearbox) is actually that light. It is going to be tight though.

Not sure about the cars it is going to fit. Is it going to fit a sedan type of car? A pick up truck? My previous car was actually a hatchback (Peugeot 107, similar to a Toyota Aygo or Citroen C1) and you can't attach a rack like that as the rear hatch is glass plate without frame which is not certified to be pulled out of plane.

Personally I still prefer to have my bike on the roof. My car is not particularly high so I'm not concerned about hitting anything. I'd be more concerned about hitting something with one of these when my bike is longer than the width of my car.

Either way, I'm not too concerned about the how well it holds the bike. In the picture it still seems to hold the bike just fine despite the skid mark you just drew.
  • + 5
 The Zerode is 34lb and change, so it's close.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: can you notice the added weight and drag mounting your bike off the back like this ????
  • + 1
 @dwojo: Nope.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: That's surprising, the bike weighs as much as your car
  • + 1
 A great product for its intended user: Someone that invests in cycling, but doesn't sacrifice eating for a new set of hubs. My GF has this rack and she rides a $1k bike and drives a $30k car. I have a Kuat, ride a $6k bike, and drive a $3k soob.
Saris is an excellent company though. I have had much experience with them as an industry guy- always impressed.
  • + 1
 I had to buy one of these after moving to Europe and realizing no one was going to be willing to make me a receiver for my nice Kuat rack. It worked surprisingly well though, and was miuch easier to put on and take off than I expected. I found that one I had it installed, I could roll up the extra strap length and use wire ties to secure them in a roll. Made it much easier to put on, and I didn;t have to worry about a bunch of long straps flapping behind my car.
  • + 1
 I have used a Saris bones for years (since 2010) on various cars, including a BMW Z3. It's sturdy and reliable, never had an issue... the super-adjustable arms are fantastic, besides they may be a bit clumsy for small frames (i.e. I had to remove the vertical strap in order to fit it into a full-suspended XC small frame).

Other remarks: It's being mostly made of plastic, so it doesn't suffer rain, snow, mud... it's foldable and can be easily stored in the trunk or in your garage without taking space.

Now I have also a bigger Thule because I needed a 3-bikes rack (my family did grow up in the meanwhile) but I didn't sell it, because when I'm alone on short-range travelling I am still using it.
  • + 1
 Mine survived a speeding honda jazz trying to drift in the snow came round a corner just missed the car and hit the bikes, out come was 2 bent back wheels (had 3 bikes on the rack) and the bike rack still solid as a rock!
  • + 1
 Just picked up a 2nd hand older model, not sure which version. Wonder if I can swap the V style cradles for these newer round ones? Seemed like the best option for me and my Prelude.
  • + 1
 is the worst bike rack i´ve ever had, i got it broke in less than 2 month, parts are expensive, the bike bounces all the time while traveling, don´t recommend it to anyone (warranty never responded my case)
  • + 2
 The bike definitely shouldn't be bouncing. My car has practically zero suspension travel and the ride is quite rough, but the bike never bounces or moves. How and where did it break?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: the legs of the rack are very flexible, it does bounce when you move on rough terrain, i got it broke arriving to my home passing on a bump in the street, the spot where the braces are set on came apart, i can´t put the braces back and since it doesn´t have the "rails" where the braces go.
  • + 1
 @mae-fr: Dang, I'll have to keep an eye on that and update the review if something happens. That said, I'm not hitting any rough roads to hard.
  • + 1
 These racks have been around for ages, and unless you have a car/bike you don't love then I wouldn't bother, had one on my mk5 golf for a while, sold it after a couple of months and bought a Thule roof rack and carriers
  • + 3
 I only clicked for the Mini. Sorry Mr. Levy, but not interested in the rack. That Mini sure looks fun though.
  • + 4
 Saw strap on and hoped for the best
  • + 1
 It’s a terrible rack unless you are hauling adult road bikes or hard tails. I have used one for a couple years to haul kids bikes (that barely fit cuz of large plastic members) and put my bike inside the vehicle.
  • + 3
 never mind the rack, i WANT that Mini! i mean, look at that sidepipe, it can hold a bike by itself
  • + 1
 We could get three bikes and three people into my 76 Datsun 260Z, as long as someone was happy to sit on the gear stick.... No one was ever happy after sitting on the gear stick...
  • + 0
 Loving the car!! Get some wider arches though and ditch the side exit exhaust for a proper one! For bike carrying a roof mounted rack would be loads safer. Or you could mount a tow bar to the subframe and make a mini trailer out of half a mini and carry them that way......
  • + 6
 All proper exhausts exit at the side and don't have a muffler.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: ok ok!! I'll leave the exhaust alone! Still stick by some wider flares though and a half mini trailer set up would be a rad why for carrying bikes! What motor you running? 998 or 1275?
  • + 1
 Is it bad that i clicked on this for the car and not the bike rack. Although i have one of these racks and once you set it up for your car and bike the first time its pretty handy
  • + 1
 Cool bike, cooler car! I'd totally forget that the Mini was much wider with the bike and go for a gap before hearing the crunch.
  • + 1
 Love the car! the rack is a good concept and does fit multiple types of cars. However, I used to own the 3 bike one and it was a pain in the ass to load any bike
  • + 1
 Oh man, it'd be a brain teaser with three bikes. No thank you.
  • + 2
 You wont have to worry about your car being impregnated, it's got large rubber hooves!
  • + 2
 Not bones about it, it's a great rack. I love to strap my one on everytime I ride..
  • + 1
 When I first started mountain biking all I had was an early 80's Mini...got some funny looks driving down the motorway with two bikes crammed in the backseat :-)
  • + 3
 I want this Mini soooo baaad Smile
  • + 2
 Enough about the rack, when are we getting the first article in the series of reviews and comparisons on the Zerode?
  • + 5
 Iiiiiiiiiiits coming. The weather has been pretty shitty up here and an injury has delayed me a bit. Soon Smile
  • + 2
 you should attach some ramps to the bumpers, so you and the car could result undamaged in case a truck crashes into you Smile
  • + 1
 I have a Saris rack like this. Great for my Hard tail. Absolute dog shit for my Devinci FS. I use bungee cords to ensure the straps don't break.
  • + 1
 Good rack, but i found the rubber feet and the straps can scratch the paint work on your car, if you care about things like that ;-)
  • + 3
 @mikelevy you are and always will be, my hero
  • + 1
 Smile
  • + 1
 Just need a tail board then cos your bike is obscuring the lights and number plate,oh and something to plug the tail board into.
  • + 1
 I don't think you are allowed to block your license plate and rear lights with such a rack, so this solution might be illegal on many cars.
  • + 5
 Dude, it's Canada!
  • + 2
 Illegal? Yup.
Enforced? Nope.
You can pretty much get away with any traffic violation here in BC (apart from speeding in places where it shouldn't matter-Duffy lakes rd, etc.)
  • + 1
 @woofer2609: It all depends if the cops need to hit their ticket writing quota!

I got busted in Vancouver on New Year's Eve for having my rack cover the plate. Guess he needed to pad his year end.
  • + 1
 Make no bones about it.....Strap on racks are super whack. And a strap on the tube...Not on my bike dude.
  • + 1
 A Mini with a side exit exhaust and a Zerode Taniwha in the same pictures... I feel like a pervert
  • + 1
 Can you guys please review a Helm coil fork and an MRP ribbon coil fork? K Thanks.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer has the new coil-sprung Ribbon and there will be a review down the road.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Sweet! I miss the feel of my old Marzocchi coil sprung forks & thinking about one of these, thanks!
  • + 1
 I had a saris rack snap and drop my world cup build onto the highway just after the second narrows bridge (-: p.o.s.
  • + 2
 Gotta love a strap on in the rear
  • + 1
 When u see the picture there is quite the contrasting philosophy of statement car vs jack of all trades trail bike
  • + 3
 I'd argue that the Zerode, while awesome in its own interesting way, is pretty far from being "jack of all trades trail bike." Review soon.
  • + 1
 Stuff the plastic tat on the back, I'm interested in the mini. Car check article please pinkbike...
  • + 2
 It's blue, slow in a straight line, and too loud. Done!
  • + 1
 If you drive your car like that here the fine is way more expensive than the bike
  • + 3
 That’s a dope mini
  • + 2
 the mini has a side exit exhaust! :O
  • + 1
 Dont buy one if you have a new design Demo 8 as you cannot fix it to the bike rack
  • + 1
 these are the worst bike racks ever. total skip bait. especially if you own a yeti. (which sadly i dont , )
Jet
  • + 1
 Nice car, expensive bike, shitty bike rack....I see all the time, I don't get that?
  • + 2
 I always love a good strap on.
  • + 1
 That mini is cool - and I'm guessing chicks totally dig what appears to be an unmuffled sidepipe.
  • + 6
 No one digs the unmuffled side pipe. That means it's perfect.
  • + 1
 If you don’t care about your cars paint then this is the rack for you ! Saris rack wreaked havoc on my paint
  • + 1
 Has anybody touched the “bone” and “strap on” joke potential yet
  • + 1
 I really wanted to but I had to pretend to be grown up.
  • + 1
 Just needs some 6inch fender flares and it'll be fine
  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/15590886

got it! 5 year ago thing!
  • + 1
 or this www.pinkbike.com/photo/15590898

I tend to use saris solo for a short trip more, very light and packs very easily but I don't feel it for long milage trips...
  • + 2
 Dude, cute car.
  • + 1
 sick car but it looks almost tippy with the weight of a bike
  • + 2
 Thanks... I think?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: yea I'm dead serious that car is badass
  • + 1
 Did the front wheels still touch ground when the zerode came on?
  • + 1
 I'd rather see a Cooper Check please!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns Sorry, but this rack has a 35 pound per bike weight limit
  • + 1
 What's the top speed on that go-kart??
  • + 3
 18 kph but it's a fun 18 kph.
  • + 2
 sweet mini
  • + 1
 how many of those Minis you think you can buy with that Zerode?
  • + 4
 Minis ain't cheap.
  • + 1
 Not even one Frown
  • + 1
 Wagons FTW no racks required
  • + 1
 a review of a 20 year old bicycle rack? hahahaha
  • + 1
 dank
  • + 1
 Thank
  • + 1
 Popcorn time.
  • - 3
 Organic or GMO?
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: penis shaped
  • + 0
 @BenPea: I can see how this discussion could go South... all the way to the wall. Only to crawl over it...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I mean look at the 9th photo down...
  • + 2
 This is how you do marketing SRAM.
  • + 1
 Nice rack
  • + 1
 That car is sick!
  • + 1
 I like the car.
  • + 1
 Can't hold 4-up?

Pass.
  • + 1
 Italian job car
  • + 1
 Mr Bean.
  • - 1
 Slot cars of the 21st century rejoice
  • - 2
 #mybikecostsmorethanmycar
  • + 3
 i don't know about America / Canada but in the UK classic Minis are worth a small fortune so maybe not.
  • - 1
 Removed, Managed to double post the something
  • + 3
 @maglor: Yeah, you pay a bit of premium for something different over here. I used to have a Delica that should have cost around $7k but, because it's a Delica, cost me $11k. The Mini was a few thousand too much in my opinion, but yolo.

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