Vibration effect on hard points while carrying the bike, Yakima Hangover, LOLO racks, and other vertical bike racks.
In my past life I was an aerospace engineer, and got to spend couple of years working with the border patrol folks, and many other locations across the globe. This time the goal was to cram even more electronics in their vehicles. The challenge was the amount of stress they put on their vehicles. These guys, go everywhere. In the desert, one can go from the typical jeep road to semi improved roads, to no roads at all in matter of minutes. The hardest scenario on equipment we found out was the high frequency vibration of washboard roads. It will just destroy anything that is no tied down correctly. Washboard surfaces are not just in the desert, you find them on regular roads as well, and even on highways. You can notice them if you have a heavy-duty suspension and the rear bounce is the tell tell sign. These kinds of surfaces create a resonance frequency that travels thru the entire vehicle and anything that is attached to that vehicle. It breaks bolts, and bends thick steel. It destroys plastic.
We took this as a major requirement when we started designing our rack. How do we secure the bikes without having any contact to the frame? How do we place the bike in such way, that gravity is not the single force on the bike? What is the correct lean on the front wheel to ensure the least amount of pressure on that hub? How do transfer the vibration thru the bikes and back to the vehicle? These are tough problems to solve, and we have solved them.
You will see a lot of other companies that will come out or already have produced racks that carry the bikes using the body of the bikes. They hang it from the handle bars, fork crown, stem, and even from inside of the rim.
The latest is the Yakima HangOver. I think they are regretting the name already. This is from their own website “This HangOver isn’t about regret or lying comatose on the couch.” If you have to explain it, the point has been missed. The bikes are hung from the fork crown on one side. We will skip over the fact that you can’t carry kid bikes and non-suspension bikes. We will focus on the vibration and point of contact to the fork crown. The suspension fork does not have a function that allows for horizontal movement, in simple words. It is made to go up and down. Using the fork crown to hang your bike, basically puts the entire weight of the bike on the stem and the front suspension sideways. See our other blogs for more detail.
LOLO racks, uses the handle bars to hang bikes. Long term this can cause stress fractures in the handlebars, that are carbon. Many companies have taken this(handle bar hanging) approach since SoftRide company was unable to patent this technology in the early 2000s. They still had to put their entire CAD drawings on the patent page for the public. They ended with a patent for the lower bar pivot function. However, this exposed their remainder of the design and opened it for others. This is the dirty secrets of the patent world.
The vertical bike rack revolution is here as Yakima states. Just like any other products that are produced the early companies can take the easy and the cheap route and gain some market share. As the bikes continue to get more expensive and more sensitive to racks, we will see many of these vertical hitch racks fail and damage the bikes that they are carrying.
Basket development and manufacturing is very expensive and time consuming. The ability to manufacture with consistency and quality it takes engineering from the ground up, it also takes the ability to understand manufacturing, and how to create longevity. At ALTA racks we got this covered. We focus on engineering first. We design and build our products with almost no plastic parts, and we make no contact with the bike frame. Our racks are design to last a life time, and all the parts are replaceable. The value of the product is higher than the price and we will ensure that for the lifetime you own our products. We make the best bike racks in the market. Our goal is to show thru objective analysis why our products our superior to any other out there.