May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

Open Roads, Summer 1998


Sport Racks
By John Lehrer

When it comes to toting gear, roof racks are the most versatile. One of the best is Yakima's Q Towers System ($195), which clamps onto your car's roof with a quick-release tensioning system. Add on the new AnkleBiter bike-mount kit ($100), which conveniently grabs your bike by the crank arm instead of the down tube. Another worthy contender is the Thule Aero Foot 400 ($183); new water-sports accessories for 1998 include H2GO saddles ($99) for kayaks, rowing shells, and sailboards and the Outrigger ($40), a spring-loaded extension bar that lets one person easily load a kayak or canoe onto the rack. For a bike, use the Velo Vise ($89).

Hoisting gear onto the roof of an SUV or minivan can be inconvenient or impossible; you might want to go with a hitch-mount rack. The Softride Access 400 Sports Rack ($250) carries four bikes; simply press a foot pedal and the rack smoothly lowers the bikes to ground level, enabling access to the rear of your vehicle. The massive new Rhode Gear 4-Bike Receiver Hitch Shuttle Rack ($250) also tilts away for vehicle access, but it lacks a spring assist. The rack arms conveniently tilt down when not in use, however.

If your gear needs extra protection or you're carrying small items, try a cargo box. The Kanga Co. makes a variety of soft-sided containers; the Hurricane RoofPouch ($174, 13.5 cubic feet) is 100 percent weatherproof. For more security, Packasport makes a line of aerodynamic fiberglass cargo boxes ($660-$925, 10.5-30 cubic feet) that feature refinements such as gas shocks and stainless steel hardware.

Copyright 1998, Outside magazine

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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