YAKIMA STAGETWO BIKE RACK REVIEW
PREMIUM FEATURE FULL TRAY EBIKE-RATED RACK
Review by Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen
Available in two colors, the Yakima StageTwo (Stage 2) Bike Rack is ready to hit the road to wherever your bike riding destination may be. And hit the road we did. Over the course of our 8-month test period we used this 2” hitch receiver bike rack in the standard two-bike option and also added the two—bike extension for a total of four bikes. Our testing involved everything from shuttle runs with our enduro bikes down logging roads to a 3,000-mile road trip transporting heavy eBikes from Bend, Oregon to Bentonville, Arkansas for the bike festival. We’ve got a lot of good things to say about this rack, and a couple criticisms, but first let’s get into the details.
Available in Anthracite or Vapor colors, this two-bike tray rack is RV-rated and packs a 70-pound weight limit for each tray. Impressive for sure. If you’re off-roading with the rack, the weight limit drops to 42lbs per tray and if you add on the 2-bike extension to make it a 4-bike rack, the weight also drops from that 70-pound per tray number. Yakima also offers a 1.25” hitch option for those with smaller receivers.
Something we imagine customers will love about the Yakima StageTwo bike rack is the versatility and customization options. It accommodates bike wheels from 20” up to 29” and tires up to 3.25 inches wide. If you purchase a Fat Bike Kit, you can there carry bikes with up to 5-inch wide tires. The bike rack will fit bikes with wheelbases up to 52 inches and has offset trays to help keep bikes safely separated. Another nice feature to protect both the bikes and rack is the tiered layout. This keeps the bike at different heights and also helps with ground clearance of the vehicle as the farther out from the vehicle it gets, the higher it goes too.
Other accessories include an LED safety light kit, which we used and loved. This gives drivers behind you a much better chance of seeing your brake lights and turn signals as you realize you need to make a last-minute turn to that trailhead you’ve been searching for. Yakima also sells a license plate relocation bracket if you’re planning on leaving your rack on the car or you just want to make sure the government can track you as easily as possible.
Some of our favorite parts of the rack, beyond the cool looks is the Same Key System (SKS) and SpeedKnob, tool-free installation feature. No wrenches needed, simply turn the SpeedKnob and the rack is snugged up inside the hitch and remains wiggle-free. The SKS system allows you to use the integrated cable locks as well as lock the rack to your vehicle with one simple key. The locking cables aren’t quite thick enough for us to feel comfortable leaving them for any significant amount of time, but for quick bites, gas station stops and the like, it’s a great feature to have integrated into the rack and one we used all the time.
With just two bikes on the StageTwo bike rack, it works well, tilts down and away to allow access to the rear of the vehicle and folds up and away when not in use very easily. No matter if I was transporting 50+ pound ebikes across the country or shuttling enduro bikes up rough and bumpy roads, the rack never once came loose and kept the bikes safe and secure.
If you are looking for a bike rack that will carry eBikes, has a loading ramp to help get bikes up onto the tray, looks good and has a laundry list of features and accessories, the Yakima StageTwo could be for you. It’s one of my favorite high-end, full-featured racks in recent memory. If I’m wanting to carry more than two bikes though, I don’t personally think I’d opt for this and would instead look at a vertical rack option as they hold the bikes closer to the vehicle. I am aware many people will not want to buy two different racks depending on how many people they are going out with, so for those people, I’d suggest looking closely at how long this rack is with four bikes on it and what percent of their time will be spent with more than two bikes on the back? If a majority of your time will be with two bikes and you want an adaptable rack that can handle four bikes for special occasions, then maybe it’s better to not have a big burly vertical rack. For RV folks, this may be one of the better bike rack options as the LED lights, loading ramp and approval are major pluses.
The Wolf’s Last Word
I really like this rack. I like the black glossy look, I like the LED taillights, the integrated safety locks, and how well it kept the bikes secured. I rarely used it with four bikes as it was just so long, and I’d prefer to use a vertical hanging rack for transporting four or more bikes. Vertical racks keep the bikes closer and is a better option in my opinion. If you have a shorter vehicle, than perhaps it won’t seem like such a monstrosity, but I still think vertical is the way to go, especially if you’re going to be transporting four heavy duty bikes.
If the above isn’t an issue for you, then I’d say this is easily one of my favorite racks on the market right now and one I’d easily recommend. It’s got a high-end look, to match the high price tag, but you get what you pay for with the Yakima StageTwo Bike Rack. Two thumbs up.
Bike Rack Weight: 67lbs
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