Yakima StreamLine and FrontLoader bike rack review

Testing the versatile system from Yakima

Loads the bike with front wheel on.

Loads the bike with front wheel on.

Lowdown: Yakima StreamLine and FrontLoader Bike Rack

We traveled to Hood River, OR to meet the Yakima crew and learn about their rack systems. We’ve reviewed their awesome Yakima HoldUp hitch rack before but we were here to learn about their rooftop solutions.

Many outfits can make hitch racks but very, very few companies can offer roof rack systems. There’s just too many variations of roofs and vehicles and it is a massive engineering project to offer safe racks for all cars.

An advantage of the roof rack system is it can host the Yakima Skybox.

An advantage of the roof rack system is it can host the Yakima Skybox and a host of mounts for different sports activities.

Why a roof rack?

This was our first question as we’ve noticed the trend towards ‘behind the car’ or hitch rack solutions in the last few years. And we’re aware that many have managed to damage their bikes by driving in to low garages while the bikes were still on the roof.

The main reason is multi-sport or flexible solutions offered by a roof rack systems. Aside from bikes, things like skis, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and cargo boxes can be transported on the roof. Heck there’s even companies that will house you on the roof with a rooftop tent sitting on a base roof rack. A roof rack is a novel, modular solution that allows one with a modest sized car to carry a lot more gear when needed. And when it’s time to commute to work, the vehicle can transform back into an efficient commuter.

Frontloader with the Nomad bike

FrontLoader with the Nomad bike.

Products Reviewed

A Yakima system has three basic parts, the towers, the rails and the bike carriers. Yakima has a ton of options in each part but in this episode, we’ll review the Timberline Towers, The StreamLine Rails and the FrontLoader bike carrier.

Stat Box
Capacity: Two bikes up to Plus bike Tower setup: Timberline which clamps to car rails
Rail system: StreamLine Aero rails MSRP: $400 (towers/rails) $189 (each bike carrier)
Mounting type: Full bike with front wheel Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 out of 5

  • Massive options for array of vehicles
  • Can get expensive
  • Can carry gear for many sports
  • FrontLoader adjustment for wheel variations
  • Can host cargo boxes for modular space
  • Front wheel only cradled on inside edge
  • Timberline Towers install easily and are quiet
    • StreamLine rail connection is solid
      • StreamLine rails are quiet

        Review: Yakima StreamLine and FrontLoader Bike Rack

        The old Q-Towers and round rails have been around for about 20 years and they’ve stood the test of time. They’ve proven Yakima’s engineering prowess and commitment to durability and safety. But vehicles have changed and needs by active consumers have changed. Folks want a roof rack system that is quiet, efficient and looks good. They want a roof rack that looks integrated into the car and doesn’t call attention to itself with noise or bad mileage. After all, for most folks, they’re part of the vehicle and the lifestyle and not an add-on during the occasional getaway.

        Mounted securely on the Streamline base system

        Mounted securely on the StreamLine base system.

        The Timberline towers are some of the best in the business when it comes to attaching to factory roof rails. It uses a metal reinforced rubber strap that wraps around the rail and is tightened by an allen bolt. A few turns of the bolt and the towers are secure.

        Continue to page 2 for more of our Yakima StreamLine and FrontLoader bike rack review ยป

        About the author: Francis Cebedo

        The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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