Where there was but one single-bike hitch rack available last year, now there are several. As someone with a weird work schedule and inclined to ride solo, I am a perfect candidate for a one-bike hauler. When it came time to select a model to test, the low weight, compact size, and tool-free installation of the new Yakima SingleSpeed caught my attention.
Built with many of the same features as Yakima’s Holdup, it accommodates everything from 20-inch BMX bikes to 5-inch fatbikes. Like most riders, I do not abide a rack touching my frame and the SingleSpeed only contacts the front tire and rear rim. Most importantly, it holds my bike firmly unlike the hang-and-dangle style racks I refuse to use.
As we have seen in the last few years, most newer racks offer tool-free installation. The SingleSpeed’s locking SpeedKnob quickly secures the rack to a 1.25- or 2-inch hitch with just a few turns. A wedged quill inside the receiver expands to eliminate any side to side movement. For added safety a small pin ensures the rack stays put if not tightened properly. Practiced hands complete installation in less than 60 seconds.
Mounting a bike to the rack takes half that time. Just rest the front wheel in the hooped tire spoon and slide the ratcheting StrongArm clamp in place against the wheel and fork. A strap secures the rear wheel. Start to finish I can install the rack and mount a bike in less than two minutes. But there is more to the SingleSpeed than swift and easy setup.
Although it won’t stop a determined crook, an integrated cable lock offers enough security to keep thieves of opportunity looking elsewhere. The kit includes two Yakima SKS locks, one for the cable and another to disable the SpeedKnob to secure the rack itself to your vehicle.
Who Needs a One-bike Rack?
The SingleSpeed is likely to appeal to weekday riders who regularly squeeze in a pre- or post-work ride. Although it doesn’t fold in the upward position like other systems, the small size allows me to leave it on my car permanently. It only protrudes off the rear bumper by 17-inches. In that position it doesn’t interfere with the rear hatch and it’s easy to walk around.
One of the best attributes of the Singlespeed is the use of aluminum for the bigger components. That keeps the weight to just 20-pounds. The front wheel brace folds to reduce the length to just 38-inches. For people with storage limitations, the SingleSpeed takes up minimal space in a closet or trunk. It’s an excellent option for the latest crop of sub-compact cars. My wife uses it regularly on her Fiat Abarth. Given its light construction, I expected the SingleSpeed to wiggle in transit, but it is surprisingly solid. There is some movement, but it’s negligible.
The SingleSpeed and My SingleComplaint
After several weeks of regular use, I have but one quibble. I wish Yakima offered an option to expand the system for two bikes. Yes, it’s odd to knock a one-bike rack for not toting two, but that type of flexibility would solve most of my bike-toting challenges. It would be nice to add a second bike mount on weekends when riding with pals rather than swap to a different rack altogether.
Overall, I think Yakima did a great job with their new lone wolf rack. If you have a small car, limited storage space, or a solitary lifestyle, the Singlespeed might be the perfect solution. At $259 it is one of the least expensive racks in the category.
Minor Recall Notice: Although I’m inclined to dismiss it as a minor hiccup, there is a recall on one small snap-bolt on the rear wheel tray. The replacement bolt is easy to get and takes all of 60-seconds to install.