It’s not by accident that we’re starting to see a lot of riffs on the original bike rack design from 1up. As RockyMounts tells us, their patent expired about four years ago, which means there are a lot of companies trying to create their own racks that mimic the twin-upright, tire-only contact style.
A style that still has a lot of room for improvement over the original as shown by the first sample of the new GuideRail on display at Sea Otter.
On the surface, the RockyMounts GuideRail looks a lot like a 1up rack, and it functions in the same way – vertical uprights press against each tire, holding the bike in place on the tray without any frame contact. Those trays can hold bikes with tires up to 3″ wide, and with wheelbases up to 55″. Weight per bike is capped at 60lbs for the two-bike rack, or 45lbs each if you add the 1-bike add-on kit for a 3-bike maximum set up.
The details are where things start to get interesting. For starters, all the pivot points have brass bushings to prevent any aluminum-on-aluminum contact. That will keep the rack functioning smoothly over the long run, regardless of conditions.
Along those same lines, while most of the rack is made from metal, the ratcheting mechanism is actually made from plastic. While that sounds counterintuitive, RockyMounts found that the reinforced plastic was actually stronger and lasts longer while maintaining proper function of the ratchet system.
The ratchet mechanism works in two ways – you can hold down the lever at the ratchet and open the uprights, or you can flip the lever open which allows you to move the uprights without holding it down. So you can open the lever, easily swing open the uprights, then flip the lever back down to engage the mechanism and squeeze the uprights shut on the bike.
All of the touchpoints have been anodized blue to make the process as simple as possible. Each upright has an adjustable wheel cradle for different sizes, but they do require the use of tools.
The tilt mechanism is easy to reach and operate with one hand, and allows the rack to be stored up, horizontal, or down 30º for loading/access to the tailgate.
My favorite feature of the rack is the integrated lock which is far more robust than many integrated locking systems. Instead of an easily-cut cable, the RockyMounts racks will use an included 10mm square link chain that’s included with the rack. That chain is a lasso style that’s long enough to fit around both bikes, and the end locks into the rack with a hidden lock core that makes it harder to break free. Like all locks, there’s probably a way to defeat it, but this should offer more peace of mind than the typical bike rack lock, and seems easier to use than adding your own chain lock and trying to figure out how to attach it to the rack.
The GuideRail is shown above, and there will also be a rack with the same tray-style but with an integrated swing-away feature called the AfterParty coming later. Expected to be available early Summer, the GuideRail will start at $849 for the two-bike rack with a 2″ hitch, with an 1 1/4″ version, 1-bike add-on, and AfterParty coming later.
Fork Mounts for Vans, Trucks, and Vehicles
RockyMounts has also been updating their fork mount adapters which have increased in popularity thanks to more people using them to store bikes inside vehicles. Products like the 24″ VanTrack can be used on the floor with the mounts upright, or on the wall of a van using the other mounting point on the adapter to tilt the handlebar of each bike to store multiple bikes in a tight space.
The newest update to the line is the DropTop which uses a TPU overmolded shim which eliminates the need to switch out any parts to fit 12mm or 15mm thru-axles. The locking clamp also prevents the axle from turning, so you can’t simply remove the front axle to steal the bike. The DropTop sells for $89.95 with lock core, keys, and mounting hardware included.