Both the Yakima Highroller and the Yakima Frontloader are attractive options when considering installing a bike rack to your car’s roofing system, but the differences between the two may make one option more attractive than the other.
Namely, the installation and ease of mounting your bikes.
In this review we put the Highroller and the Frontloader head to head so that you can determine which one is best for you. So if you’re short on time and want a simple solution, keep reading to see which bike rack system we recommend for you.
|Product||Wheel Sizes||Max Capacities||Built In Lock||Easy To Install|
|#1. Yakima Highroller|
|Fits 20" kids' wheels all the way up to 29" mountain and 700c road wheel||50lbs||No||No|
|20" to 29" wheels, mountain and road bike wheels||40lbs||No||Yes|
How Easy Is Installation?
Installing the Highroller is a complicated and fairly detailed/time consuming process. There’s alot of parts that are required for everything to be installed properly (all included) and only then will it fit round or square bars.
Installation requires dropping nuts and bolts down through the holes of a mounting plate and then adjusting the bolts so they’re tight.
But to top it off, you’ll have to do it in reverse; so starting from the back and then working towards the front otherwise everything won’t line up properly.
It’s worth mentioning that there is a risk that you could scratch the paint on your vehicle’s roof while adjusting these bolts, so take that into consideration.
The Front Loader fits onto your car’s rack system and then lock the pin in place by sliding it forward and then tightening the bolts (front and back) on the bike mount system.
By contrast, the Front Loader is ready to install out of the box and compatible with round, square, or aerodynamic bars.
Best of all, you won’t have to watch a few YouTube videos or study the instruction manual too intensely.
We can’t guarantee the same for the Highroller.
The rear ratchet strap can be secured from both the outside and the inside of the rails. What we mean is you can pop the ratchet system off (after removing the end cap) and flip it around so that you’re able to unlock it from the outside instead of having to stand on your tip toes and fight with the strap when installed on the inside.
Just pop the end back on and you’re good to go.
The differences between mounting the bikes are outlined in the Differences section below.
What’s Security Like?
The Highroller technically locks into place on the vehicle, but to get to the actual “locking” mechanism (which is just screws and bolts) to work, you have to remove the plastic caps on the ends. Then it’s just a matter of using a screwdriver to loosen the bolts and so on which makes theft complicated but possible.
The Frontloader doesn’t come equipped with a key or lock, so you’ll need to purchase a separate core lock to secure the rack to the car and the bike to the rack itself (2 total).
It seems pretty sturdy other than one minor quibble which I’ve outlined in the Complaints section.
The Highroller is no better when it comes to the lock issue.
Expect to pay extra for 2 separate locks.
Differences We Noticed
The Highroller has a bright orange button (you can’t miss it) that you can push to raise or lower the locking arms.
The Frontloader relies on a bolt that you have to adjust to either raise or lower the locking arms, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s a matter of convenience.
And then there’s installation which we mentioned up above.
The Highroller makes a fair bit of sound (because of the drag) when you get up to higher speeds and the locking mechanism could have been positioned more strategically. It’s placed in the front with no protection from the elements, bugs, dirt and other debris (so it can corrode or ruin the lock).
The Frontloader can’t be secured to your car unless you purchase a separate core lock. If you want to secure the bike to the rack as well, that’s another core lock. So expect to pay extra for two separate cores.
Likewise for the Highroller.
As far as noise goes with the Frontloader, expect some sound when you get up to higher speeds (50 mph +). The Front Loader wasn’t any better in the same conditions.
It just comes with the territory.
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If you’re okay with installing the bike rack and leaving it alone, then the Highroller might pique your interests. It’s also more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a matter of how much time you want to spend on installation or if you’ll be removing the rack often.
If you intend to take the bike rack down when not in use or for storage purposes, then the Frontloader might be your best choice. Installation is a breeze, and you don’t need to equip yourself with various tools to get it mounted on your vehicle.
Stability wise, we feel that the Highroller offers more in terms of keeping a bike from moving and jostling about.