Review: Raxter Bike Rack

Raxter Rack

Who:
From Raxter Racks website:

Introducing RAXTER – The new standard for value in a wheel mount hitch rack. RAXTER is lightweight, it’s EASY to install, EASY to load, EASY to store!
The innovative design of RAXTER gives you the ability to move bikes forward or backward during loading and is independent of wheelbase. This provides unequalled flexibility to load any combination of bike styles or sizes.
We subscribe to the design credo “Keep it light, keep it simple?. Simple yet effective, marine grade Velcro straps are perfectly suited for providing absolute security for your bikes. Moving parts are minimized. There are no small, intricate parts to rust or become gunked up from road debris. RAXTER’s simplicity makes it reliable.

Product Tested:
Raxter Folding Rack, 2 Bike for 2 inch hitch

Website’s MSRP:
$329.99

About Me:
6’0? 210lbs, 27 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the 29er wheels.

Raxter Rack Swing Arm
Swing Arm holding 29er wheel/tire

Testing Grounds:
All over Southern California + a road trip to Colorado (2,000+ miles)

First Impression:
The Raxter Rack came to us in two separate boxes. The first one was a long box that held the trays and the non-folding arm. The second box was a much smaller box that held the folding arm.

It took me 10 minutes to attach the trays onto the non-folding arm.
It took me another 5 minutes of trying to FOLD the arm before I realized that I attached the wheel trays to the NON-folding arm.
It took me another ten minutes to remove the trays off the NON-folding arm and to attach them to the folding arm.

Although off to an inauspicious start the Raxter Rack has performed beyond expectations.

Raxter Rack
Holds my 2.1 inch Maxxis Ignitors with a ton of room to spare

Strengths:
I’ve been using the Raxter Rack exclusively, except when I take more than 2 bikes, since we received it a few months ago and to put it simply, I am very impressed. First off, the rack is very easy to use. After you open up the wheel arms, you place the bike in the wheel trays. You close the wheel arms over the tires and velcro in four places per bike. Just looking at it, you know exactly what you need to do.

The rack is very quick to use. Stick the bike on the wheel tray, velcro in 4 places and your done. I have tried securing a bike with just 3 velcros and, when I’m really lazy, with just two (what!? I was testing the abilities of the rack). Thankfully, it is still very secure.

The velcro straps do have a small learning curve. Actually, it’s more of a remembering curve as in you have to remember which way the strap should go. Basically, the straps should go around the frame or tire first then around the wheel or arm tray. Going the opposite way means you won’t have any velcro to work with, doh!

Raxter Rack
Securely holding the Mono9 (with 29″ tires)

The Raxter rack is secure. When you strap your bike in the correct way, the bike stays on. In fact, Moe took his brand new Trek Remedy on a 2,000+ mile round trip journey to Colorado without any problems.

An optional feature that came with our rack is the hitch that uses a folding arm. This is a great feature because it is sturdy and easy to use. You push a button and rotate the wheel trays and the button snaps into place at the next hole. This great feature is especially convenient when storing the rack as it reduces the size of the rack significantly. I stand the Raxter Rack along the wall of my garage between a tall cabinet and some shelving. There is plenty of space for the rack in this space, but if I didn’t have the folding arm part of the rack would probably stick out and catch anything going by like my car.

The Raxter Rack held a variety of different sized bikes during the testing period and it never had a problem with holding any of them. I’ve had tires up to 2.35 inches in the tray all the way down to thin road bikes. The rack could have easily accommodated larger tires in the wheel trays while still securely keeping the bike in place.

Raxter Rack Wheel Tray
Straps can be slid along the wheel tray to reposition bike

The design of the wheel trays are such that one bike’s cranks can be easily situated to not touch another bike. Occasionally I had to lower one’s saddle to accommodate the handlebars, but this wasn’t a common occurrence because the wheel trays allowed me to slide a bike farther apart to accommodate each other.

The Raxter Rack worked perfectly for my rear facing exhaust. A previous rack we tested did not have an upward bend for the rack trays. This meant that rear facing exhaust systems would tend to warm up the wheel tray and the tire in the tray. The Raxter rack improved upon this by having an upward bend in the arm that avoided the hot exhaust fumes. This worked perfectly for my vehicle and kept the wheel tray from heating up.

Weaknesses:
After a couple of weeks of use one of the straps unraveled a bit. Because of the way the straps & velcro are sewn together it’s highly doubtful the strap would have ever completely unraveled. However, before the unraveling strap could become an issue I consulted our resident thread man Randy for some advice. He suggested applying a flame, preferably from a lighter, to stop the nylon strap from unraveling. I did this to the first strap and liked the results so much that I applied the flame to all the straps (I was also having so much fun I didn’t want to stop playing with the fire). No more straps unraveling.

Raxter Rack
Velcro strap has been flamed!

The Raxter Rack does not angle or rotate down out of the way of the rear hatch/door. If there was one thing I’d like for the Raxter Rack to do is to angle downwards so that you can access the rear hatch of an SUV without having to remove any bikes. It’s a small weakness but it’d be a nice bonus if this was an available feature.

Summary:
The Raxter Rack is a well designed rack that does not make you feel like you have to constantly scan your rear view mirror to make sure the bike is still there! It does what it is supposed to do: transport your bike(s) to the trailhead, safely and securely.

Raxter Rack
Folding Arm: Push button, rotate arm from horizontal to vertical, button reappears in other hole

The folding arm provides a bit of security by rotating the rack upwards when not in use and the heavy duty velcro straps are an easy, simple and fool proof system for safely holding your bikes.

The Raxter Rack simply inspires confidence knowing that, when properly used (and sometimes even when not properly used), your bike(s) will get to the trailhead with you. I would highly recommend this rack to any hitch mount user.

For more info about the Raxter Racks, click here.

650B, 27.5 INCHES

If you haven’t heard there is a new wheel size coming out of the woodwork and no, it’s not the 29er. This new wheel size splits the difference between the 26″ and the 29er wheels with a 27.5 inch wheel. Seriously.

Also known as the 650b, the proponents say the advantages of this wheel size is that it removes some of the 29er disadvantages (toe overlap problems & geometry issues on FS 29ers) for shorter riders while also keeping advantages of the 29er (rollover ability, longer contact patch, momentum) but in a smaller way.

Currently there are only a few players on board such as White Brothers which is making a 650b specific fork and Haro coming out with a bike, maybe at Interbike. But it is slowly gaining momentum. Tim Grahl has speculated that fear and jealousy is going to cause the 650b to grow while Graham from Go Clipless is hoping the 650b is killed before it starts. haha.

Me? I’m still on the fence especially since I’ve never been on one. I do agree that this new tire size is going to cause a lot of confusion for customers. If you think about it you currently have three same wheel size bikes, the 26″, 29er and 650b. Now add in three mixed wheel size bikes, the 69er/96er (29 front + 26 rear), a 650b front + 26 inch rear and a 29er front + 650b rear. That’s 6 totally different bikes with different geometry issues right there. If you’re not lost, I am.

Now I’m not one for posting speculations as to if this new tire size will have the legs to grow in popularity to the level of the 29er, let alone the 26 inch mountain bike. But who knows? It could gain that sort of widespread acceptance and maybe the 26″ wheel will go away entirely, although I highly doubt that. In the meantime, though we�ll will be watching this trend closely.

Vassago’s Bandersnatch!

Vassago Cycles Frame

We’re slowly getting the parts together for the MtnBikeRiders.com Ultimate 29er build up. The next piece that came in this week is the frame. For this we contacted Vassago Cycles, a boutique frame manufacturer in south Orange County. Vassago Cycles is a relatively young company in the mountain biking world but they’ve taken a totally different approach to building 29ers. Oh, and they only build 29ers!

Vassago Cycles decided that instead of taking a 26″ frame and converting it into a 29er (the easy way out), they would start from scratch. This led to a lot of research and development with the culmination of their hard work being the Wet Cat geometry.

Vassago Bandersnatch Frame

For our buildup, Vassago sent us the frumious Bandersnatch. The Bandersnatch, of Lewis Carroll fame, is a beautiful steel grey geared frame. Here is what Vassago has to say:

The legendary beast that travels the land at incredible speed, devouring everything in it’s path. If you didn’t pay attention in school, have no fear. It doesn’t really matter.

What you really need to know it the Bandersnatch is a gear-specific, 29er, with all the fixins at a price the wife will never even notice.

* Vassago 29er specific Rtech tubing
* Rtech, rust inhibitor treated tubing
* Gusseted headtube for extra strength
* Brazed vertical dropouts for extra strength
* Removable CNC V-brake mounts
* ISO standard disc brake mounts
* Vassago Wet Cat Geometry
* Portion of proceed donated to IMBA to fight trail closures

Check out some of the pictures below:

Vassago Bandersnatch Head tube/Top tube/Down tube juncture
Head tube/Top tube/Down tube juncture

Vassago Bandersnatch Bottom Bracket Shell
Bottom Bracket’s 68mm shell

Vassago Bandersnatch Standard ISO Brake Tab
Standard ISO Brake Tab

Vassago Bandersnatch Vertical Brazed Dropouts
Vertical Brazed Dropouts

For more info on Vassago Cycles, click here.

For more info on the Bandersnatch, click here.