Is Yakima a Good Bike Rack? – Let’s Find Out!

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Deciding on a brand is one of the most challenging things out there. All sorts of things like will you go with this one or that one— what if you choose the wrong brand start to fly around in your head.

The same thing happened to me as well. As a cycling enthusiast, I like to keep tabs not only on bicycle brands but also on bike rack brands. It’s imperative that you choose the right carrier because the quality of your bike rack will ensure the safety of your bicycle.

If you’ve been researching bike racks for a while, then you should have at least heard the name ‘Yakima.’ Now, the question is Yakima a good bike rack brand? Well, the straight and simple answer is ‘yes,’ but if you want to know more, then keep scrolling.

Where It All Started!

When Yakima Industries was first founded in 1973, it was just a small machine shop led by Otto and Jeanne Lagervall. It was located in Yakima, Washington; hence, the name, I believe. It was the invention of a foldable metal music stand that made Yakima famous at the beginning.

In 1979 Steve Cole and Don Banducci bought Yakima and made the industry what it is now. They saw and thought of a better future for the company. It is because of them; that Yakima Industries now produces equipment meant for hauling recreational sporting gears.

The headquarters of Yakima has changed several times. It was first situated in Yakima, Washington. Afterward, it was relocated to Arcata, California, and finally, it was shifted to Oregon.

In 2010, the Kemflo group of companies bought Yakima along with Prorack and Whispbar.

Today, Yakima has two sister companies, one situated in the USA and the other in Australia. They also collaborated with Toyota and are now an official sponsor of the outdoor event team of Toyota.

Yakima isn’t a small machine shop anymore. They are one of the leading marketers of bike racks, roof racks, hitch racks, car racks, truck racks, and other accessories.

Yakima Against Other Leading Brands

Is Yakima a Good Bike Rack

The best way to judge the quality of a brand is to compare it with other top-tier brands. Only then can you know if the bike racks of Yakima are good or worth the purchase. Therefore, I will compare Yakima with a few leading brands, which will make things a lot clear for you guys.

Yakima Versus Thule

Yakima Versus Thule

To this day, the notion of which one is better between Yakima and Thule is still being debated. Even I don’t have a proper answer to that; however, I can tell you where Yakima shines, but Thule doesn’t and vice versa.


If you want ultimate performance, then I must admit nothing can be compared to Thule, at least in terms of bike racks. Most of the carriers of Thule are extraordinary and made to perform like nothing else.

Apart from that, Thule produces different types of adapters. The best part is most of the Thule carriers accept these adapters, which can make the racks perform even better.

So, once you get hooked to Thule, there is no coming back.

If we look at high-end bicycles that cost around $800 to $1000 from each brand, like the Yakima FullSwing and Thule Apex XT Swing, you will see that the one from Thule offers more features or quality materials.

In the case of these two carriers, the former comes with zip trips, whereas the latter uses ratcheting straps to secure bicycles. So, you can see the materials used to make the Thule Apex XT Swing have more quality compared to the overall build of the FullSwing.


Yakima is a few steps ahead of Thule in terms of affordable bike racks with decent performance. Most Yakima carriers are budget-friendly, and you don’t need to buy an adapter separately to boost their functionality.

Furthermore, if you look at bike racks with the price range from Thule and Yakima, you’ll see that Yakima carriers are better and offer more features compared to Thule racks.

Thus, if you’re not willing or looking for bicycle carriers with an affordable price tag that comes with almost all the features you need to take your bike with you on your journeys, then you should stick to Yakima.

Let’s put the Yakima HighRoad against Thule UpRide; it should make things even clearer for you. Both of these racks are budget-friendly and will cost you around $200 only.

When it comes to budget bicycle carriers, Yakima offers much more than Thule. For instance, the HighRoad is able to carry thin and fat tire bikes, but the UpRide carrier isn’t capable of doing the same. If you want to carry fat tire bicycles with the UpRide, you’ll need to buy an adapter.

Hence, you end up spending more money.

Style and Design

Thule clearly holds the upper hand in terms of style and design. Most of the racks from Thule look outstanding, and it doesn’t matter whether they are high-end or low-end carriers.

However, it doesn’t mean that Yakima racks look crappy or something. Yakima tries to keep their carriers low-profile in order to make it more affordable for their users.

Nevertheless, if we compare both the brands, then I will have to side with Thule on this one.

Although Thule racks are more efficient and have a better overall design, people still prefer Yakima carriers more because of the price tag.

In short, if you don’t have a limited budget and plan on going all out, then you should look into Thule, and if you want a decent rack, which is affordable and at the same time has all the features you need for safe traveling, then Yakima is a good bike rack for you.

Yakima Versus Kuat

Yakima Versus kuat

Kuat is pretty much the opposite of Yakima. Yakima focuses on affordability, whereas Kuat’s primary concerns are performance, looks, and features. Basically, Kuat is similar to Apple in the bicycle rack industry.


Well, I’ve already mentioned that Kuat ensures incomparable performance. Most of their racks are premium and state of the art. So, if we are to talk about performance, then Kuat outshines Yakima without a sliver of doubt.

Let’s clear things up to you by comparing two of the same type of racks from both brands. For the comparison, I will use the Yakima Dr.Tray and Kuat NV 2.0. So, both carriers come with a hitch-mounted tray style.

If you compare both racks, you’ll see that the NV 2.0 carrier offers much more than Dr. Tray. The NV 2.0 can accommodate bikes with a wheel diameter of 25 to 29-inches without an adapter. However, Dr. Tray can hold bicycles with a wheel diameter of 26 to 29-inches.

Additionally, the maximum weight capacity of the NV 2.0 is 120lbs (60lbs for each bike) which is much less in the case of the other rack.

Dr. Tray can accommodate bikes with a maximum weight of 40lbs, which means the highest capacity of the carrier is only 80lbs, which is 40lbs lesser than the NV 2.0’s.

As you can see, the NV 2.0 allows you to carry heavy and light bicycles, which you can’t with Dr. Tray. Apart from that, the former comes with many state-of-the-art features that the latter doesn’t provide.


To figure out the pricing of these brands, we will again use Dr. Tray and the NV 2.0 bike rack. As you can see, the latter outperforms the former in many aspects; however, when we are talking about how much they cost, it’s a totally different thing.

Dr. Tray is around $400 to $600, and the NV 2.0 costs a whopping $800 to $1000. So, the difference between their prices is insane. So, it’s possible the NV.20 is impressive because of the high-end materials used to build the rack.

On the other hand, the Yakima Dr. Tray bicycle carrier is formidable, but it’s not like the NV 2.0. However, you must have to consider the price. It is much cheaper than the latter, which is why it can be suitable for customers with a limited budget.

In brief, Yakima racks are more affordable than Kuat carriers.

Style and Design

Again, I will compare the same racks to see who offers a better overall design between Yakima and Kuat.

Well, if you look at Dr. Tray and the NV 2.0 bicycle carriers, you’ll see that the latter looks far better than the former, and I’m not saying it just because the NV 2.0 costs more than Dr. Tray.

Let’s break it down for you. Dr. Tray comes with a matte black and red color, which is not bad, but the black metallic paint of the NV 2.0 is much better. Now, if you move over to the trays, you’ll see that the ones on NV 2.0 are thicker and look well-built compared to the ones on the former.

Even the hitch bar and knob of the latter look sharper compared to the ones on Dr. Tray. Overall, the design of the NV 2.0 is much more appreciable than the outlook of Dr. Tray.

As you can see, premium racks are not Yakima’s style; instead, they focus on affordability while maintaining quality. Kuat does the opposite and focuses on giving the best to its customers, but it comes with a greater price.

Yakima Versus RockyMounts

yakima vs RockyMounts

Now, RockyMounts isn’t like Thule or Kuat. They don’t keep their focus on premium racks only; instead, they have a wide range of low-end and high-end carriers. They are much like Yakima and try to make their racks affordable for everyone to enjoy them.


Although the RockyMounts racks are of great quality, they lack a little when compared to Yakima carriers. I will choose two bike racks from these brands to see how they stand out against each other. From Yakima, I will take the HoldUp EVO, and from RockyMounts, I will go with the SplitRail LS.

First things first, both these carriers are not super expensive, but they aren’t low-end either. They have almost the same price, and both of them feature a hitch-mounted tray style.

The SplitRail can hold up to two bikes without any adapter and has a maximum weight capacity of 120lbs (60lbs for each bicycle). The HoldUp EVO can also carry two bikes, but it can’t carry bikes that are heavier than 50lbs. The difference is small, so it doesn’t matter much.

On the other hand, the HoldUp EVO can accommodate bikes with tires up to 4.8-inches wide, but the SplitRail is suitable for tires with a maximum width of 3-inches. So, the former has a much more extensive range than the latter.

Even though the weight capacity is less on the Yakima, it still can carry almost thin or wide tire bikes. However, the list of bicycles the SplitRail can hold is very much limited. So, the point goes to Yakima.


Well, both brands offer budget-friendly bike racks for their customers. Yakima and RockyMounts prefer to keep it easy and simple for the users. So, both brands are equally budget-friendly, unlike Thule or Kuat.

Style and Design

Well, both these brands have their unique design. For instance, Yakima makes their bike racks black and red, whereas RockyMounts carriers are usually black and blue.

There isn’t much to discuss between their overall style and design, so it is actually up to an individual and his or her preference. So, it’s a draw.

If you compare Yakima to RockyMounts, you will see that the former has the upper hand in almost all aspects. Indeed, RockyMounts does an excellent job at providing affordable yet great quality bike racks, but Yakima does it better.

Yakima or Some Other Brand?

As you’ve seen, Yakima makes quality bike racks that are affordable, unlike Thule and Kuat. It doesn’t mean that Thule and Kuat don’t offer low-end carriers, but the budget-friendly bikes of Yakima are much better.So, if you have a limited budget or simply don’t want to spend a ton load of cash for a rack, then Yakima is agood bike rack (read: Perfect Brand) for you. Yakima is better or equally good as the leading bike rack marketers. It won’t fail you.

Also read:

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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