Whether it’s going on holiday or taking your bike to a park across town, we’ve all been at that point where we want to move our bike from A to B without cycling the route.
Bike racks help you do just that.
Yakima is one of the premier bicycle rack designers in the world. and today I’ll examine the Yakima Highroller vs Front Loader.
If don't have time to read the guide I would go for a HighRoller. It's the better option. (If you don't mind going through the hassle of installing a Yakima designed crossbar).
Product Comparison Table
Weight limit (kg)
Yakima is a company that loves to connect cyclists to each other and to the outside world.
They have partnered with initiatives such as peopleforbikes.com but their main focus is a promise.
A promise that they will get you, your friends and whatever gear you want to bring with you, to your final destination.
The company is over 30 years old and has excelled in its commitments. The HighRoller is one of their latest designs which lets cyclists take their bikes with them wherever they go.
A HighRoller aims to work specifically with other Yakima products, unlike its counterpart the Yakima FrontLoader. This may be a problem if you only have standard crossbars.
Having said that, a HighRoller is made of sturdier material and is better at keeping your bikes still and preventing them from rocking side to side. The FrontLoader may struggle in this department.
A HighRoller also comes with a quick release mechanism which the FrontLoader is missing. This makes it much easier to lower the wheels of your ride and release it from being attached to the bicycle rack.
- Solid with no side to side movement
- Structurally sound
- No cycle rack lock included
What did reviewers think?
Heather clarifies what the product claims, this is a cycle rack which is easy to use.
She almost seems to take that for granted, and this might be because she has used Yakima products a lot before and expects this of them. All of this is a good sign!
The downside, which is mentioned by many other reviewers, is that the racks don't come with locks to lock them to your crossbars. Her concern is that there's no guarantee they won't get stolen.
Yakima obviously wants you to buy their locks as well, but it would be a nice gesture to include the locks in with the purchase.
Another concern with this product is how long it takes to install on the roof of your vehicle. After a little practice you'll get faster at this, but it's something to keep in mind at the beginning.
Another item that comes with a guarantee that if you don’t like it, or something goes wrong with it, Yakima will replace it.
Of course, if it breaks in an accident the warranty is void, but if it has issues while you’re driving down the road, they’ll replace the parts or the entire rack.
It’s always a good sign when the company believes in their product enough to offer this service.
The FrontLoader is not quite as sturdy as a HighRoller, and is made of plastic.
If you live in a place with high salt content, such as a coastal city, then plastic will be more durable than the metal counter part. It doesn't corrode like the HighRoller alternative.
Unfortunately for the FrontLoader, the front of it is not adjustable, so it has to sit in the same place on your car roof regardless of the shape of the car.
This can cause issues if the car isn't long enough. It's also a bit of a pain to get the bike up on to the roof since the cycle rack accommodates the full bike.
Personally, I'm willing to overlook that inconvenience in return for not taking my bicycle apart.
- Quick installation onto vehicle
- Quick installation of bike onto the rack.
- Front of the FrontLoader is not adjustable, which can cause issues depending on the size of the vehicle
- Once again, locks aren't included.
What did reviewers think?
Here’s another review by another Heather. She begins by agreeing that the installation is easy.
This is a major plus as no one wants to buy a product and then struggle to install it.
Another plus quickly follows as she hasn't noticed any noise after it has been installed. No extra whistling or squeaking.
Here's another big deal. Heather is happy that she doesn't need to have an axel adapter for her mountain bike. This is because the FrontLoader takes the entire wheel (As does the HighRoller).
Not having to remove the wheel is a plus, as is the minor hindrance of then needing a universal axel adapter to make the mountain bike fit. Yakima solves these problems.
Obviously, if you’re not intending to travel with your bike then there’s no need to buy or install either the HighRoller or FrontLoader. If you are going to buy one, be sure to investigate which vehicles they fit on.
If you don’t mind going through the hassle of installing a Yakima designed crossbar then the HighRoller may be the better buy.
Some Things To Look Out For
Carries Your Complete Bike
I mentioned this slightly in the review section. One of the key components of both these designs is the ability to load the entire bike 'as is' onto the vehicle.
Many cyclists get into the rhythm of removing their front wheel and it just becomes a fact of life. Beginners may find it a hassle. Old timers may be happy for the change.
Of course, loading the entire bike onto the rack means you have to get the bike on to the top of the car. This comes with its own hassles, and you, the buyer, should decide which is easier for you to handle.
Fits Factory Crossbars
The FrontLoader is designed to fit multiple crossbars. This is a great feature and I think shows a lot of respect for the customer.
While it’s understandable that Yakima may want you to buy their products, having the ability to keep your factory installed crossbars without buying an additional mount will save you a lot of time and money.
Doesn't Touch The Bike Frame
A concern cyclists have with bike racks are whether it touches the frame. Loading the entire bike onto a rack means there may be the potential of multiple points of contact.
This increases the potential for scratches and more damaging knocks.
The fact that both the HighRoller and FrontLoader allow the bike to be attached to the rack with no points of contact to the cycle rack frame itself is huge.
I would not recommend this product if this were not the case. An added benefit is that the less the bike moves the more predictable the speed of your car and the quieter the drive.
For another opinion on the HighRoller or Front Loader debate check out the video below by Kevin Hill
Don’t Travel With A Rack
There’s the obvious solution, which looks particularly rosy to single people, of cycling the entire trip and not needing a rack at all.
If you’re going on a long and extended cross state or cross country tour with a hybrid or touring bicycle then there’s no reason why you can’t do this. For families with younger kids this probably isn’t an option.
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
For families, this may be a better option. The Yakima products don’t accommodate a larger group and this does.
It's perfect for loading up an SUV for a day trip and taking everyone out on one big adventure they can all share together. It may not be as sturdy but it's also not as pricey as the Yakima racks.
If you’ve been thinking of traveling, or visiting that park across town with the legendary bike trails, then you don't need to wait any longer.
All of the bicycle racks mentioned here are solid, and the options can fit the needs of individuals or families. Bike racks can change the way you travel and vacation, you won’t truly appreciate the flexibility they bring until you try it.
When you consider the cost of traveling it’s not a lot of extra cost to add in a bike rack to the equation. I’d therefore invest in the HighRoller and pay for the additional Yakima products to secure it.