The need to upgrade from our Yakima RidgeBack bike rack presented itself this year when we both purchased new bikes: I bought a Scott Scale 940; Stella bought a Trek Dual Sport 3 (Women’s). We were looking for a more convenient way to load and unload our kayak from the roof of the Tahoe, while keeping the bikes on the rack. In the years past, we have been able to do this, but a new rack system would certainly make the process easier. Plus, I wanted something that provided a more secure fit for our new bikes, in addition to being able to transport a fat-tire bike in the future.
The solution to all of these things, but most importantly with regards to the kayak, is a monorail platform rack with the ability to swing-away from the back end of the Tahoe. I looked at Kuat, Yakima and Thule, all of which require an additional purchase/part to add the swing-away feature that I wanted. One afternoon, I happened to stumble upon the RockyMounts BackStage, which offers exactly what I was looking for without the need to make an additional purchase. It is one solid piece. And from a structural integrity standpoint, one piece is better than two. Plus it swings-away a full 180 degrees, allowing complete access to the rear of the Tahoe and the kayak on the roof.
The installation was fairly quick and not overly complex. RockyMounts provides all of the necessary tools. I took me about an hour, from unboxing to completed setup, including a minor technical error when I was installing the MonoRails. I had the RockyMounts logo upside down, which I could have left as is; however, I wanted it to be perfect.
There are two main steps to install the frame of the rack:
1) Attach the swing-arm to the receiver hitch. I was curious to learn how the two would come together to form a solid bond, as the Yakima RidgeBack uses a SpeedKnob to secure the rack to the hitch snuggly. RockyMounts uses a hitch pin with their proprietary 3-axis anti wobble system. After tightening the swing-arm to the receiver hitch, click the hitch to lock it into place. I yanked on the swing-arm to see just how snug the connection was to the hitch. I can say, with confidence, that it is very securely attached.
2) From here you attach the Spine Assembly and mount the MonoRails. This might be a little over simplified but in essence the assembly of RockyMounts BackStage is fairly easy.
- 180 Degree Swing-Away Platform: allows access to the rear of the Tahoe and the kayak on the roof.
- Adjustability: folds flat when not in use, and tilts down 30 degrees to allow access to the rear hatch on the Tahoe.
- MonoRail system: compatible with road bikes and fat tire bikes. And, provides a very tight, secure way to transport them.
- Integrated Cable Lock: this comes in handy to secure the bike directly to the rack with little to no effort.
- Loading/unloading bikes: fast and simple (Stella was amazed and overjoyed by this. as she gets impatient when she is ready to go).
The only drawback is that this rack is limited to two bikes, and there is no option to add to the platform. But since it is only Stella and I, that is not an issue. We have had the RockyMounts BackStage for about a month now and have used it many times, including traveling long-distances with it. Even while driving in extremely windy conditions, our bikes have remained very secure – more secure than with the Yakima Ridgeback.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The RockyMounts BackStage is super easy to use, with the added benefit of being able to access the kayak on the roof more easily; no more twisting and doing the two-step when loading/unloading the kayak or accessing the back of the Tahoe. Additionally, RockyMounts is a local Colorado company, and it is awesome to have the opportunity to purchase locally made products! I highly recommend the RockyMounts Backstage bike rack.
Overall: Excellent Purchase
Price Paid: $699.95 plus tax
Place Purchased: Rack Attack ~ Golden, CO
Link to RockMounts Website: RockyMounts
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