Blog, Buying Guide, Product Reviews

Yakima FrontLoader Vs HighRoad

2nd December 2020

Wherever you’re headed, having a quick and easy way to take your bike along with you is an absolute must, but if you’re pulling a trailer or need clear access to your boot or hatch, carrying your bike up-top is the way to go.

While there are a few bike roof mount systems on the market, you’ll generally have the option between the more affordable but less convenient fork-mount systems and the slightly more expensive but more convenient wheel-on mount systems.

If you want to keep it simple by opting for a wheel-on system, Yakima gives you the choice between the FrontLoader and HighRoad. If you’re not sure what the differences are and how each mount system compares, here’s a quick run-down to help you work out which will work best for you.

How they work

The FrontLoader and the HighRoad are very similar mounting systems as they both:

  • Hold your bikes upright without needing to detach the front wheel.
  • Feature universal design that can easily attach to almost any crossbars whether they’re round, square or factory (with the exception of square bars with a depth of more than 38mm).
  • Comfortably carry a range of types of bikes, from mountain to cyclocross, freeride and road bikes.
  • Ensure zero contact between the rack and frame to keep your bike in good nick.

You’ll need to have a base rack system for either model, but their universal mounting system means you won’t need to use any special adaptors. 

Both models come fully assembled and are relatively quick and easy to install too—the HighRoad might be slightly more complicated to install than the FrontLoader, but it’s still pretty straightforward if you watch the how-to installation video first. 

Like all roof-mount systems, either model is only designed to carry a single bike, but you can always install two mounts side-by-side to carry an extra bike. 

Neither option is lockable as standard, but you can always buy an SKS lock pack which is easy to install in the integrated TailWhip cable. SKS locks are also sold separately, so you can buy as many as you need at once. 

highroad bike rack

Yakima FrontLoader Vs HighRoad: How does each model differ?

While both models are very similar, there are a few key differences that set them apart:

  • The HighRoad and the FrontLoader are built to be versatile in carrying the many different styles of bikes we see these days. While the FrontLoader can carry bikes with 20" to 29" wheels with widths up to 3", the HighRoad can carry bikes with wheels between 26" to 29" up to 4" width without having to make any adjustments. The rear wheel cradle can also be adjusted to hold bikes of different lengths.
  • The HighRoad includes a new TorqueRight™ tightening knob - When tightening your front wheel to the rack, you’ll hear a clicking sound that tells you it’s secure so you don’t accidentally over tighten the strap.
  • The HighRoad can carry slightly more weight - While the FrontLoader can carry bikes up to 18kgs (at a minimum of 46 cm crossbar spread or 13.6kgs at a minimum of 41 cm crossbar spread), the HighRoad can comfortably carry bikes weighing up to 20kgs.
  • The HighRoad weighs slightly more - The FrontLoader weighs in at 5.9kgs while the HighRoad comes in at 8.2kgs. This is largely because the HighRoad includes a steel wheel mount, while the FrontLoader wheel mount is aluminium.
  • The HighRoad can easily integrate with T-Slot crossbars - You can purchase a SmarT-Slot Kit 1 to mount the system directly into a T-slot channel on your crossbars.

While both options will do a great job of holding your bike tight, safe and secure, it ultimately comes down to what’s most important to you. While you will get some valuable extra functionality when you opt for the HighRoad, if you’re just after the basics, the FrontLoader will still do a great job.

View the full Yakima bike roof rack range

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