Established back in 1973 in Washington, USA, Yakima racks have a long history of producing storage solutions to take outdoors gear with you on a car trip away from the city. While initially specialising in carrying canoes and kayaks, Yakima quickly moved into cycling racks and has been producing innovative products ever since. Yakima actually has a substantial connection with the Australian market, which kicked off when its parent company bought the Hubco brand back in 2009. Hubco is responsible for the Prorack and Whispbar brands, the latter which is claimed as the worlds quietest and most efficient roof rack system on the market. Yakima’s Australian arm was established back in 2012, and they’ve been pushing against the Thule onslaught ever since.
Being based in the North American market, of course Yakima offers a ‘pickup pad’. However, these style of carrier systems are rapidly gaining popularity in the Australian market, primarily because we own so many utes, and not everyone can utilise a roof rack system. The Yakima ‘Crash Pad’ uses a burly Nylon construction, heavy duty foam inner to protect your frame from the cars tailgate, and at $129, it trumps most other brands for value for money.
Their roof racks are likely what most people will be familiar with, including the ‘Frontloader’ rack pictured here. The whole concept with this system is to avoid any clamping of the frame of the bike, which is ideal for superlight road bikes that can actually have their carbon tubes crushed by a downtube clamping system. The Frontloader retails for $249 and is designed to accommodate anything from a 20″ kids bike to a 29″ mountain bike.
Yakima also produce a burlier version of the Frontloader, which is aptly called the ‘Highroller’. It features a wider tray and more substantial tyre cups to better secure a heavier duty bike. This is the one we’d recommend for most mountain bikes and particularly if you have a bigger travel bike with fatter tyres. The front wheel clamp simply tightens down against the top of the tyre, forcing the front wheel between the upper clamp and the lower cup.
Once your rear tyre is tied down with the adjustable strap, that bike ain’t going nowhere!
Because so many mountain bikes are utilising funky frame designs these days, a downtube mounted rack can be a royal pain in the arse, and especially if you have a bottle cage on their too. The Highroller rack is simple, built tough and it retails for $299. Don’t want roof racks? You can also get a hitch mounted version too (pictured).
While the Bike Buller booth was looking pretty quiet by the time we stopped past on Friday afternoon (the Bright Brewery was handing out free beer at this point…) we had a squiz at some of the promotions they’re running in time for this years summer season.
The big news is that almost all of the trail network is open for this year, with snow clearing from the alpine area.
“Our amazing trail crew (and some legendary volunteers) have been hard at work clearing and buffing the XC trail network, resulting in us being able to open the entire network aside from Stonefly and the Village Family Trail (which still have snow on them) from this Saturday 1 November. That’s Gang Gangs, Picnic Trail, Silk Lane, Misty Twist, River Spur, Delatite River Trail, Corn Hill, Copperhead, Snowgums and Splitrock all ready for you to enjoy. Have you booked your accom yet?” – Bike Buller
While there is an already excellent network of trails up at Buller, the plan is ever-growing thanks to more funding and more publicity. The Bike Buller festival is proving to be a great focal point for the area, and last years award of IMBA status is only raising the profile. There are also more services opening up for knobby tyre enthusiasts, with accommodation, skills clinics and bike hire on offer for those heading up for a sneaky long weekend or a week-long riding epic. With so much riding on offer at Buller and surrounding alpine resorts – have you booked your trip yet?
Well that’s the end of our coverage from this years AusBike expo, though we thought we’d leave you with a few shots of both the inside of the beautiful Royal Exhibition Centre, as well as the vintage bike display with the many weird and wonderful contraptions developed over a hundred years ago. Enjoy!