VelociRAX Bike Rack Review
Last year, our youngest graduated from a strider bike to a full-fledged pedal bike. Finally, our family was ready to hit the trails!
But getting to the trails with all our bikes and all our family members proved to be more challenging than a college math course.
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Here are few of the problems posed by our former bike rack:
An Arithmetic Problem: What do you get if you add 13 bikes plus 5 people plus one 4-bike car rack?
Answer: A headache.
A Geometry Problem: How do you fit four bikes of different sizes onto a rack designed only for adult bikes?
Answer: Very carefully.
By adjusting the bikes’ positions and angles, we managed to prevent the pedals of our bikes from damaging the wheels on another bike. The smaller bikes had to put on last and upside down because they did not fit the other direction.
Calculating Time: If it takes two minutes to load one bike onto the four-bike rack, how long does it take to load four?
Answer: 20-30 minutes. While these bike racks are inexpensive and fairly easy to operate when you are loading only one bike, it takes much longer to load multiple bikes.
A Measurement Problem: How much bungee cord do you need to attach a fifth bike to the top of the other four?
Answer: Trick question! Don’t put the bike on top of the others! A better choice is placing the smallest bike in the car with the kids.
Obviously, our family needed a better solution. After some careful research, we decided to purchase the VelociRAX 7 bike rack. One year and many epic rides later, we still love it!
About VelociRAX Bike Racks
VelociRAX was created by two brothers, an engineer and an MBA, who both loved mountain biking with their families. The two had spent hundreds of hours driving their kids to bike races and mountain biking themselves.
In the process, they encountered the same problems our family did. None of the bike racks securely held their fleet of cycles. None were easy to load and unload.
Finally, they decided to design their own rack. The brothers envisioned a rugged rack that could haul their family’s bikes but could be loaded by their kids.
In 2018, the brother built several prototypes. They spent hours analyzing safety constraints, calculating load limits, and tweaking their design. Once they had a successful prototype, they immediately tried to destroy it. They hitched up their prototype to their truck and went off-roading.
Despite hitting every pothole and hairpin corner they could find, the brothers could not induce a catastrophic failure on their prototype. They knew they had a solid prototype.
From this prototype was born the VelociRAX, a rack designed by and for people who are passionate bikers and who might want to take more than three bikes with them on a trip.
Why We Love Our VelociRAX
After one year of using the VelociRAX, our family still loves this functional and sturdy rack. Thanks to this awesome rack, we are spending less time loading the bikes and more time riding them.
The VelociRAX Can Haul Our Fleet of Cycles
Our VelociRAX 7 holds seven bikes! My husband and I can each pack our road bikes, mountain bikes, and all of the kids’ rides. Alternatively, we can bring some friends to ride with us.
If you have a smaller family, VelociRAX carries racks designed to hold three, four, five, or six bikes. The seven-rack version is as wide as our Toyota Highlander, but many of the smaller racks are more narrow.
The VelociRAX Protects Our Bikes
We have chosen to invest in high-quality bikes because they offer both greater safety and fun. High-quality bikes can be expensive, some costing more than a used car. Our rack must protect our investments, not damage them. Fortunately, several features of the VelociRAX serve to protect bikes.
The VelociRAX suspends the bikes by their tires, not the forks. When bikes hang from their tires, the tires can cushion some of the bumps that happen during transport.
Additionally, none of the bikes touch one another once they are loaded. Even a small amount of rubbing during short trips can wear away the paint, creating opportunities for rust. Mud and dirt exasperate the rubbing and increase damage to the bike. With the wide spacing of the VelociRAX, our bike investments are protected.
The VelociRAX can accommodate a huge range of bike sizes
The rack is designed to handle a range of bike sizes. Specifically, it’s designed for 700cc road bike tires through 3-inch mountain bike tires. It can handle tires with rim sizes from 24 inches to 29 inches. This means that we can pack my slender road bike, my youngest’s small bike, and my husband’s beefy mountain bike on the same rack.
Racks that suspend bikes by their forks can only accommodate mountain, fat tire, and possibly gravel bikes. The wide suspension forks on these types of bikes allow them to fit into the fork basket.
But not all children’s bikes have suspension forks. If they do, the suspension fork is usually too small to fit into the basket. Road bikes do not have forks at all. Our varied collection of cycles needed a more universal mount than a fork mount.
The VelociRAX’s tire hoop allows us to travel with our road bikes and smaller kids’ bikes.
To fit a road bike, we cushion its narrow tire with an old towel. If your road bike, gravel bike, or cross bike has a drop bar, you may want to consider VelociRAX 5X. The wider spacing between these tire hoops is designed to accommodate drop bars.
Although smaller bikes do not touch the bottom bar, they can be suspended from the tire hoop and then secured with a tie-down strap to the other bikes or the bar.
If your tire is less than 20 inches, as in the case of some BMX bikes, your front fork may rub against the tire hoop. VelociRAX recommends protecting the front fork with 1/2 inch pipe insulation.
Fat tire bikes require a fat tire bracket and longer tie-downs, both of with can be purchased at VelociRAX.
The VelociRAX is easy to use
The biggest selling point for us was how easy the VelociRAX is to operate, especially after it has been mounted to the hitch.
Mounting the VelociRAX takes some strength and possibly a friend, but it’s a straightforward process. Lift the rack and line the hitch adaptor with the hitch of your car. The rack is heavy, so you may need some help lifting it. Slide the hitch adaptor into your hitch and secure it with a pin lock.
A bolt runs the length of the hitch adaptor and helps the rack sit more securely in the hitch. After the rack is seated on the hitch, tighten the bolt at the front of the rack to ensure that it fits snugly. You may need to lift the rack slightly to tighten it further.
Once the rack is in place, you are ready to load.
The bikes load and unload quickly and simply.
Loading is so easy that my 10-year-old can load most of our bikes for us.
How to load the VelociRAX
To load, pull the damper-assisted hinge and lower the rack. The damper-assisted hinge makes it easy to lower the bikes without damaging the bikes or the rack.
Once the rack is lowered, pop your bike up as if you were doing a wheely. The easiest way to do this is to stand with your feet behind the bike, grasping the handlebars. Squeeze the brakes while dragging the bike backward, towards you. The bike’s front wheel should pop into the air.
With the front wheel up, steer the bike onto the rack and roll it up and into the tire hoop. Secure the bike with rubber tie-downs provided.
We have found that it works best to load from left to right, starting with the largest bike.
Once all the bikes are loaded, lift the rack into position, and GO!
How to unload the VelociRAX
First, lower the rack and un-attach the rubber tie-downs on the bicycle’s rear wheel. Then grasp the bike by its handlebars and gently lift it until it can roll over the rack’s tire hoop. It’s time to ride!
The VelociRAX Keeps Our Garage Tidy
Even when off duty, the VelociRAX earns its keep. One of the coolest features of the VelociRAX is its garage mounting kit. This kit consists of a bar with hooks designed to be mounted to the wall of your garage. The hooks hold the VelociRAX upright, transforming it into bicycle storage!
This vertical bike storage takes less garage real estate than horizontal storage. Many of our bikes don’t have kick stands. The VelociRAX keeps them off the ground and gives them a place to live in the garage. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t train your kids to put their bikes away.)
The VelociRAX is well-built
The VelociRAX is constructed from steel and has been rigorously tested. With no plastic parts, it’s unlikely to break down as quickly as some other bike racks.
Over time, the rubber tie-downs might wear out, but we have used similar tie-downs with many other racks and have yet to see them fail.
A few drawbacks of the VelociRAX
Starting at $775 for the smallest version, the VelociRAX is not cheap. But if you and your family love to mountain bike, the VelociRAX is a wise investment. A quality mountain bike can easily cost more than a cheap car. Why wouldn’t you want to protect that?
The steel-constructed frame is durable but not lightweight. The VelociRAX 5 weighs approximately 85 pounds, and the VelociRAX 7 weighs 102 pounds. I would need to spend more time in the gym before I could lift the rack alone.
It Interferes with barndoor style back doors
The VelociRAX tilts down, allowing easy access to the trunk of most cars even if the rack is loaded with bikes. A tailgate-style or hatch-style backdoor can also be operated with the VelociRAX attached because the VelociRAX tilts far enough to avoid interfering with the upward swing of the hatch.
But the rack partially blocks barndoors. Barndoors, which have two adjacent doors that swing like house doors, are common in SUVs and larger vans. These doors will bump the rack if you try to open them with the rack attached. Yes, you can partially open the door and access the back but it does limit your access to the trunk. Ideally, the rack would have an additional pivot to allow it to swing away from the vehicle.
If you want to fully access your barndoor without unhitching the rack, you can unload the rack and fully lower the rack. The tire hoops will rest on the ground and you can open your trunk.
Our campervan has a barndoor style backdoor, but we plan to still use our VelociRAX with the van. The ease of transporting bikes with this rack outweighs the minor annoyance of having access to the back of the van limited.
The VelociRAX solved our transport troubles
Since owning the VelociRAX, we have been able to explore more trails and ride more often. We find it easy to roll our bikes onto the rack and love knowing that we aren’t damaging our bikes driving to our destination. With its seven-bike capacity, we can bring a friend or two to thrash the trails with my kids. The rack even helps organize our garage. What more can you ask from a bike rack?
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