Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier Review
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The Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier is an ultra-lightweight and compact trunk-mounted bike carrier. It is engineered to fit an incredible breadth of cars, vans and SUVs.
The rack is a serviceable solution when a more permanent bike rack isn’t an option. It also makes sense for dual-car couples who need a bike rack to accommodate more than one vehicle in the fleet. With its low weight, ease of use and compact storage profile, the rack offers a lot of utility in a small package.
Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier Design & Materials
The rack weighs about 3.5 pounds, can support up to 70 pounds, and folds down to roughly the size of a shoebox. It can be slid onto a bookshelf and forgotten about when not in use. It’s really that small.
The bike rack is forged of aluminum dyed in a ruby sheen. The metal looks rich and sporty, and complements most car paint colors nicely.
In addition to the aluminum body, high-strength plastic is used for the bike cradles and “spine” of the assembly. The T-shaped spine is meant to form a protective barrier between the car and bike frames.
The overall design of the rack is a tour de force of engineering creativity. Think IKEA meets origami master. Except, unlike IKEA, the compact and lightweight profile that helps with shipping and storage does not result in a setup penalty.
Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier Setup
The rack can be set up in a matter of minutes. Included instructions, with clear step-by-step assistance, are useful for first-time deployment. Following the first usage, however, there is no need for help because assembly is so intuitive.
Setup is single-person simple. And, because of the use of lightweight aluminum, attaching the rack to your car isn’t a workout. The setup could be done after a long bike ride if need be.
The rack makes good use of telescoping rods that snap into place with spring-loaded metal pins. This keeps the space requirements for storage slim and it results in snappy deployment.
Fabric straps connect the aluminum body to the car. These straps are tightened through buckles that allow for snug attachment.
Anchoring the straps are painted or coated metal “hooks.” The hooks tuck in at the trunk or rear hatch.
For all the thoughtfulness of design incorporated into the bike rack, I was a little disappointed that the metal hooks are not finished in a material more friendly to my car’s paint job. I am not familiar with the compound make up of the paint or coating, so I can’t speak to its durability. Although my car did not experience any nicks or scratches with use of the bike rack, I remain nervous that extensive use of the rack will wear on the car’s paint. I am sure that Allen Sports could (and should) find an inexpensive remedy or look at other options.
Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier In Action
Once on the car, the bike rack’s aluminum finish really shines. The look is on the sporty end of the sports-utility continuum. The rack, if tightened properly with the straps, feels confidently secure on the car. Because of the extensive use of fabric, I anticipated more wiggle. but there was none to be found. From my very first try of the rack, the fit on my car was quite stable.
I loaded my old mountain bike first, chain facing away from the car as instructed. Threading the bike onto the rack was relatively easy. Plastic cradles support the bike’s weight and distribute it evenly on the assembly. Fabric straps buckle the bike down and hold it to the rack.
Stability of the bike when loaded is very good. However, my bike’s pedal nearest the car and the front tire make contact with the rear of the car. The front tire is not so worrisome, but the metal on my bike’s footplate could obviously do some damage on the car’s paintwork.
For peace of mind, after my initial use, I began wrapping the pedal in an old towel and using a bit of twine to keep the pedals from rotating while on the rack. My mountain bike is neither an unusual size nor style, so this pedal problem is something to be aware of.
Adding my wife’s mountain bike as the second cycle on the carrier was a bit more challenging because of the geometry of the bike’s frame. The bike rack’s cradles, however, can cleverly rotate to accommodate a tight fit.
Once both bikes were added, the back of the car looked a bit haphazard. Nevertheless, the bike rack’s stability remained intact, and the bikes felt secure.
I was a little concerned while driving about the lateral overhang on either side of the vehicle. Some additional driving caution is warranted so as to not inadvertently clip something (or someone) with the added width of the bikes.
Rear window visibility was somewhat compromised by the bikes. But driving around town on surface roads proved just fine. On the basis of my testing, I consider the bike rack a good solution for short travels to the trails. I would be uncomfortable driving with a loaded rack on the freeway for long distances.
One note of caution to new users of the rack: The bottom fabric strap features elastic that is meant to enable a more secure fitting of the rack to your car. This is a smart feature. However, during my first use of the bike rack, I did not secure the bottom strap tightly enough and it came loose during my outing. The rack remained stable regardless, but I didn’t know the strap had come undone until I arrived at my destination. Pull that strap very tight and really expand the elastic for security.
Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier Other Comments
On my sedan, the bike rack mounts in such a way that it partially covers the rear license plate. I suspect it would take more than that to elicit the attention of the local authorities as a practical matter. However, as a technical matter, I understand that in many states there is no exception for bike racks when it comes to unlawful obstruction of a license plate. A check with your state driving authority is suggested prior to purchase.
Allen Sports Aluminum Compact Two Bike Trunk Carrier Is For
The bike rack makes sense for bikers who don’t need or want a permanent-mount bike rack on their vehicles. It also makes good sense for dual-car couples that require a rack to fit more than one vehicle.
The two-bike design limits usefulness of the rack if there are more than two bikers in the family. My testing suggests the rack is most useful for shorter trips across town. The ease of setup and compact, lightweight design are great benefits for those who don’t want a ton of hassle or don’t have space to store larger equipment.
For more information, visit allensportsusa.com.