on November 28, 2005
I bought this at Wal-Mart for the same price as Amazon. Its horribly easy to install and it worked great. I went on a 500 mile round trip without any problems. I would suggest pushing up each of the mounting bars so that you can get the fit very tight. Otherwise you might have a problem with the bike bouncing around. Considering how much the other bike mounts are, this is the best for the money.
on June 3, 2007
This is my first bike carrier, so I didn't have an overview of how to put one together--thus the instructions were a little disorienting at first. Once I got the hang of it, the assembly and installation went okay.
There are three detractors to this carrier: (1) It is a gravity carrier, so your bike(s) will swing free unless you can bungee them somehow; (2) The hold-downs slipped around some while I was driving; (3) There are no pads on the hooks.
Here are a couple of pointers to help you out when using this carrier: (1) Cut pads for the trunk hooks. I cut some 2"x3" rectangles from an old rubber mousepad; (2) Buy a piece of foam pipe insulation from a home store. Cut two pieces roughly 8" and place them on the carrier arms between the hold-downs. This will keep the hold-downs from sliding around.
on September 23, 2005
i recently purchased this bike rack and i am pleased with my purchase thus far. i used the rack to hold my 19 lb racing bike on my drive from buffalo to new york city ( about 350 miles ) and was able to drive in excess of 75-80 miles per hour on the highway with no trouble, no scratches on my 2004 dodge stratus trunk lid, no dents on the trunk, and no scratches or chips on the bike. The rack has thick rubber bumpers and plastic clips to avoid scratching the cars paint. the bike mounted securely and did not shift or vibrate during the trip. my only complaint and the reason i rate it 4 stars and not 5 is that the product was not assembled correctly from the factory and when i took it out of the box it took a little time and a few bad words to realize this. the problem was that the lower bar ( the one used at the bottom of the deck lid ) was backwards, i easily switched this and the rack mounted perfectly. also the instructions for this product are terrible. A great bike rack once it is mounted properly.
on August 7, 2006
I bought this rack about four months ago, and have used it at least 15 times so far. It isn't the most sturdy bike rack out there -- you can definitely find more solid ones if you're willing to pay $80-100 or more. But for the price, it's a great value. If you're going to be carrying bikes shorter distances (I'm thinking <10 miles), I think this rack works fine.
I have no trouble getting two Trek hybrid bikes loaded onto it. You can see the bars lower slightly under the weight when the second bike is put on, but it still seems pretty sturdy. Straps haven't been a problem -- they've stayed secure on all my drives.
It's simple to put on. It only takes about two minutes to get the rack itself on the car, and an additional minute for each bike, once you figure out the best way to position your bikes. It might take a little playing around with the first couple times, but once you find a pattern, it seems to load quickly.
If I start wanting to go longer distances with the bikes on my car, I'll probably upgrade to a nicer rack. But for simple trips and as an economy choice, I think this Bell rack works pretty well.
on April 4, 2008
Upon receiving the product, proceed as follows:
STEP 1. Open the box and remove the carrier and the instruction booklet. You may throw out the box at this point; you'll eventually be quite happy with the carrier.
STEP 2. Set the carrier aside and pick up the instruction booklet. CAUTION: DO NOT OPEN THE INSTRUCTION BOOKLET UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Instead, immediately throw it in the wastebasket. Purists may wish to shred it. In any case, do not open it; and please, if it happens to fall open of its own accord, do not read it! Get it into the wastebasket or the shredder as soon as possible! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!! I find nothing whatsoever of value in the instruction booklet. Even the illustrations are confusing. DO NOT LOOK AT THEM. This should not be construed as advice; rather, this is a warning. Reading the instructions or looking at the illustrations will most certainly delay the installation of this carrier. (Note to Bell: technical writing is a skill; a fine technical writer is relatively rare and commands a good salary. Bell, if you are listening: hire one.)
STEP 3. Having unpacked the carrier and thrown out the instructions without looking at them, take the carrier in hand and proceed to your vehicle.
STEP 4. Visualize; experiment; try various configurations. It took me three tries to find the correct positioning of the carrier on my vehicle. There are several options, as will become apparent once you begin experimenting. Once I found the correct orientation for my vehicle, everything fell into place perfectly.
STEP 5. Having discovered the correct orientation of the carrier in relation to your vehicle, loosely snug up the straps; do not fully tighten them.
STEP 6. Visually inspect the carrier in relation to your vehicle. Will any part of the carrier (other than the padded components) contact your vehicle if you tighten the straps further? Will your bike(s) be positioned a sufficient distance from the rear bumper so as not to come in contact with it? If one or both of these conditions is not satisfied, continue experimenting. Once you have found the correct position for the carrier, proceed to Step 7.
STEP 7. Position the straps. The upper straps are not a concern; they will attach intuitively and easily. NB: the lower straps should travel *inside* the carrier frame, then attach to the vehicle.
STEP 8. Having positioned the straps, proceed with tightening the straps as follows: snug up the upper left, lower right, upper right, then lower left. Having snugged them up, next fully tighten them, in same order (i.e., upper left, lower right, upper right, and lower left). It may be helpful or even necessary to push the top bar forward, towards the rear window of the vehicle, as you tighten the upper straps. In a similar vein, it may be necessary to push the lower bar downward as you tighten the lower straps. Have first snugged the straps, then tightened them, attempt to tighten them once more. If you cannot, you are done.
Having installed the carrier as described, I can grab hold of it and rock the entire vehicle back and forth. It feels like it is a part of the vehicle. There is no play whatsoever.
Rating: four stars. (One star deducted to encourage Bell to hire a skilled technical writer.) The apparatus is solid as a rock when installed correctly. Again, to do so, DO NOT LOOK AT THE INSTRUCTION BOOKLET. Do not be tempted. Use your own common sense, and you will be quite satisfied. Reading the instructions may cause you to attempt to follow them, and this will only delay the installation of the carrier.
on June 17, 2007
I'm new to the sport of biking so I didn't want an expensive rack if I didn't stick with it. This one was great for an entry-level user on mostly local trips.
-easily takes my bike to work and back, and to the local trails
-Successfully transported my single bike 4 hrs. straight on highway and country roads. (and another 4 hrs. on the return trip)
-easy to use and install
-seems to not damage my car
-the straps are LONG. Recommend either cutting or tying them back upon themselves. It takes practice to figure out the best configuration.
-Need extra ties/bungees on the bike to keep the front wheel from turning (I tie it with the long straps, but then I have the rubber tire flush against my bumper. Some of you might not be ok with that.)
-The red bike holders slide. My front wheel ends up tight against the car while the back wheel slides out as far away from the car as possible adding to the drag. See the review from GreenEggsnHam to fix this. He's brilliant because I hadn't figured out how to fix this problem yet, but I agree it is an issue.
One more note:
-Female bikes and many mountain bikes need an adapter bar to sit straight on the rack. These are sold separately. Without the bar, my ladies bike BARELY fits even canted, and I have to position the rack off-center on the car so the bike isn't too wide. So far this has not been a problem, but it's a little awkward. Not a fault of this product, just something to think about depending on the type of bike you have.
on May 10, 2007
I read several of the reviews on this rack and they are correct. I bought this rack and like it very much. I also carry a very high end custom built carbon fiber road bike using it.
This rack works like a champ IF and I say IF you set it up properly. I bought rubber coating material at Ace hardware and added 2 additional coats on the 4 trunk hooks -- that way your trunk does not get dinged. I put padding on the 2 metal bars. The bike hangs - yes -- but I use plastic bungies or string to hold the bike to the rack frame so it does not flap around - that would never do.
IMPORTANT FACTOR - Now -- my bike weighs 17 pounds -- therefore it does not do damage to the trunk of my miata from hook pulling or pushing down on trunk. I only carry 1 bike - mine on my '02 Miata. Works fine. Absolutely perfect for cross town carry. Highway works too - went to Texas and it covered 1200 miles each way. But you need to check things and make sure its fastened. I rolled along at 70 no problem
I would not use this for heavy mountain bikes -- but thats me. Light weight bikes work. To me, heavy bikes -- adding weight of 25 pounds and up would make this rack unstable and cause possible damage.
All in all - its a perfect rack for light weight bikes and cross town trips. More than that -- consider a more heavy duty rack system.
on January 29, 2007
I was taking my bike back to school with me and the bike rack came unlatched and my bike was flying behind the car only attached to the trunk on one side. the rack isn't as secure as I would have liked but it definitely works for short drives, not necessarily the interstate.
on July 21, 2013
I returned two other brands of bike racks before I found this one. To have a love affair with this rack, you have to get the whammy on it. I needed a rack I could put on & take off super fast, get a bike or two mounted onto quickly, fit easily inside a small trunk, & use on 5 different cars. This rack will do all that IF you know the tricks and are willing to take about 40 minutes to accommodate its personality.
First of all, don’t buy it unless you know the rack will fit your model of car, and the distance between arms on the rack will fit your bike frame...(like duh). Ask first, if you are unsure. (Initially we thought it wouldn’t fit on 2 of the cars because we were attaching it incorrectly.)
Second, it won’t scratch your car if your car is clean where it sits. The directions tell you that. Again duh. If you have dirt & fine sand on your car, and then put a vibrating soft rubber pad on the paint, the car will get scratched. But how could paint get scratched with a rubber pad if the paint and pads are clean?
Third, it is true the rubber slots for the velcro are delicate. But it is much faster and easier to use bungees, as long as the metal hooks don’t touch the paint on your car or the paint on your bicycle. Always check bikes every hour on a long drive. Do the yank test.
Forth, the extra length of strapping gets in the way. So simply chain it, like making a chain to crochet or as electricians will do with the fat long extension cords. If you switch cars, just tug it to full length. I prefer to slip the end of the strap through the last loop so it doesn’t unravel until I need to do so.
Fifth, I didn’t want to worry about scratching my bike against the rack. So, on the lower braces, wherever the bike might possible touch the rack, I ran a fat vertical line of hot glue on the rack. It works perfectly.
Sixth, I got tired of untangling the straps every time I pulled it out of the trunk. Remember, I move really quickly. I hot glued little round powerful magnets on the top side of each of the hooks being careful not to cover up the “upper” and “lower” labels. When not in use, I twirl each pair of straps around their respective arms leaving just enough excess length to magnet to their other half.
Seventh, only on one of the cars could a pedal reach the car paint. I put an old sock over the pedal - end of problem. Use common sense, if your bike touches the car some where, knot a strip of rag around it (or sock), & if needed, secure the wrap with wall paper tape or string. Again, the car must be clean where the rag touches.
In conclusion, if this sounds like a lot of trouble. It is, to start with, but with the above completed, I can pull the rack out of the trunk and load a bike or two in 2 - 4 minutes. With that kind of timing, what’s not to love?
on March 12, 2013
The most common complaint I see in regards to these universal mounts in general seems to be related to straps coming loose. Also common for these types is the price; sub $100 and ripe to be reinforced with a set of ratchet tie downs from a discount tool joint such as harbor freight. I got my rack for 50 and spent less than $10 on a set of 4 ratchet straps.
Mounting on a 2011 kia sportage ( you might ask why not roof Mount for an SUV; I'd answer more expensive, and add shortness and bad back and legs for some potential disaster), the top straps are mostly there to provide stability as they pull over the rear spoiler. However the side and bottom straps are one piece and therefore benefit immensely from additional torque. Mount at all three points with as much tension as you can manually apply. Then attach each ratchet to excess strap and loop its hook to the opposite lower bend of the frame. The bends have a smaller diameter as such will accommodate smaller universal hooks while preventing slippage to the larger unbent tube section. Repeat for the other side evenly and you will have cross tension giving you some serious lateral stability. The upper straps can also be further stabilized with ratchets however not without risk of damaging the spoiler/light fixture on a SUV hatch like mine, I only ratchet enough to prevent vertical slippage rather than increased tension.
Once bikes are mounted, check straps one more time to maximize tension as the foam cushions will compress. Most significant downside is that there is small chance of three adult bikes fitting. I have one adult huffy with baby seat, one child huffy and one adult mongoose and they just barely fit in that order with some serious wiggling and Lego fitting to make them all sit together. Semi benefit is that theyre so packed together you might be able to get away without using a bungee strap or two. Maybe not even a bike chain as it would take some time for a thief to offload your frankenbike rack.