Vertical bike racks are becoming more popular and the latest brand to hit the mountain bike market is VelociRAX. What makes offerings from VelociRAX stand out is each unit’s damper assisted hinge. The dampers allow the rack, without bikes or fully loaded, to gently descend to a level where the bikes can be removed or set into the rack. As of this writing, models vary in price from $699.00 [3 bikes] – $895.00 [7 bikes] USD. Models that transport four, five, and six bikes are also available.
We tested a 4x model and from the get-go it stood out as a sturdy, durable rack. Like all vertical bike racks, there is a mast that extends from the center of the vehicle hitch at a 90º angle and there are 2 crossbars parallel to the ground. The higher bar has baskets where the front wheels of each bike are secured. A bike’s rear wheel is fastened to the lower bar. Strong but pliable rubber straps are used to affix a bike’s wheels to the rack with studs attached to each bar.
The rack’s c-hoops or baskets are designed very well and only the front tires were making contact with the baskets – not the wheels’ rims. As opposed to hitch tray racks, we did not have to arrange our bikes in a certain order to prevent the brake levers from contacting another bike’s saddle, frame or rear wheel. This is one of the most appealing features of owning a vertically oriented bike rack. The bikes will not touch each other and therefore, bike’s can’t strike each other while being transported and cause damage.
To lower and raise the rack, you have to press a lever on the mast. An empty rack requires a bit of effort to get it it lowered because it is not weighted with bikes. Bikes are intended to be loaded when the rack is in its lowered position because you won’t have to lift them and this will help you access and affix the straps to the c-hoops for the front wheels, and crossbar for the rear wheels. Note that you have to load bikes from left-to-right so the wheels and bars “stack” at the proper slanted angle.
Another great feature we like with the VelociRAX is the anti-rattle bolt. This prevents the rack from clunking around in the hitch. Simply use a 17mm socket to tighten the bolt at the bottom of the hitch assembly and the rack will not bounce around. We’ve done a little traveling on dirt roads and everything remained tight and in-place. An additional benefit of the anti-rattle bolt is that a pin [with a lock] is used to attach the main assembly to your vehicle’s 2-inch hitch. The rack also features a loop on the mast so you can thread a cable lock or chain lock for protection against theft.
When it comes to loading and unloading bikes, the VelociRAX outshines all the other brands on the market. You really can just wheel the bikes in and out of the rack. Once the bikes are secured to the crossbars, you simply push the rack into its upright position by applying pressure to where the top tube of a bike meets the stem and walk forward. Just think about it – your gangly kids can finally assist with loading and unloading bikes, And, they’ll probably like it.
Originally we thought that the rack was on the heavy side, but when we spoke with one of the VelociRAX owners, he told us that the racks are rated to carry up to 55 lbs. of bike per slot. Although VelociRAX recommends removing each bike’s battery during transportation, this means your e-Bikes can be easily and safely transported via a beautifully designed rack. Below, you can see the additional safety bolt that should be used when driving. It will ensure the mast stays in place during highway and off-road travel.
All of the bikes in our family range from 27.5 inch to 29 inch wheel sizes, but VelociRAX boasts that their racks will accommodate wheel sizes as small as 20 inch. There’s a great FAQ/Info page that we strongly suggest you read on the VelociRAX website. It should answer all of your questions.
The rack even pivots so the mast will lower all the way to the ground and be completely out of the way. This was especially useful during our test period because we went camping and wanted to access the entire rear cargo area of our van. The baskets will make contact with the ground when the rack is in this position, so if you don’t want to scratch them, throw down a blanket or jackets to protect them.
We’re very impressed with the VelociRAX vertical bike rack. In our opinion, the company did their research and came up with a unique solution for making the chore of loading and unloading bikes easier. The dampers allow the rack to smoothly lower and raise, eliminating the need for one to lift a bike to a height so it’s crown can be set in a mount or its front wheel placed in a basket. It’s priced right, too. Compare it against other vertical racks – and you’ll see that a durable, easy-to-use rack that can carry up to 7 bikes costs a lot less than what you may expect.