The great thing about roof racks is how versatile they are. There are setups that’ll accommodate needs ranging from canoes, to bikes, and everything in between. But if you don’t want to dedicate the entire roof to a cage nor want to sacrifice gear storage for bikes the Mini Skinny from Kuat may be the solution. It’s a half cage that offers plenty of room for bags and equipment while also accommodating a bike. Plus, because it’s half the size of a standard basket there’s more room on the bars for other gear mounts.
Introducing the Mini Skinny
The Mini Skinny comes ready to go out of the box with 4 mount covers (2 of which lock), a fork mount, 4 cage feet, 4 threaded U brackets, a wheel tie, and a fairing. It’s built to hold up to a 50lb bike with its integrated 9mm skewer mount, or up to 160lbs of gear. And it measures in at 68″L x 23″W x 7″H.
The 4 ‘U’ brackets loop around both square or aero bars (up to 4.5″wide x 1.75″H), and it rests on hard plastic feet. The ‘U’ brackets have a plastic dipped bottom to prevent scuffing the crossbars though the hard plastic feet may dig into the rubber ‘T’ channel strip atop the bar if over tightened. Capping them off are the 4 covers, again 2 of which lock.
The $340 cage weighs in just shy of 29.5lbs which is important to remember when packing so you don’t overload your rack’s weight limit. For instance, the towers used on our Honda Fit have a weight limit of 165lbs which means the rack is about 18% of our capacity.
Shorter wheelbase bikes like my road bike and gravel rig fit well inside the cage while more aggressive all-mountain bikes may sit further back – note these are all 58cm & Large bikes. The included rear tire strap is long enough to loop around a few bars and the frame effortlessly.
Up front, its 9mm skewer holds bikes well – as expected – and throwing a thru axle converter into the mix gives you more carrying options.
So, how is it?
Ultimately, we’ve used this throughout the spring for road and mountain bike trips and it’s been a great solution for keeping gross gear out of the interior of the car. Wet and muddy shoes are especially easy by simply running their ratchet strap around a bar. Even dirty front wheels can be thrown up and bungeed down (or you could use the extra space on the rack for a wheel mount). It should also serve well in the summer as a camp, bike, and climbing gear location for when the crew loads up for long weekends and the car is smelly enough.
There’s not much to complain about if you’re looking for a partial roof setup like this. Really, the biggest advantage is the versatility. There are better bike specific mounts out there, but for something that can haul bags of gear as well as a bike, it’s hard to beat. I have noticed the threads on the U brackets have begun to corrode adding some resistance when installing/removing the wing nuts. But some grease or lube may prevent this becoming a major problem. Overall, the Mini Skinny from Kuat could be the go-to for those who’s adventure doesn’t consist of just bikes.