Review: Tyte Rack

Who:
From Tyte Rack’s website: Tyte Rack roof racks incorporate a unique design, that make them the best rack today to carry bicycles on a vehicle roof. In addition, this rack is very versatile and adapts to your other recreational and sporting activities, including but not limited to, skiing, kayaking, surfing to name a few.

Product Tested:
Tyte Rack

Website’s MSRP:
$ 99

Specs:
Tyte Rack roof racks incorporate a unique design, that make them the best rack today to carry bicycles on a vehicle roof. In addition, this rack is very versatile and adapts to your other recreational and sporting activities, including but not limited to, skiing, kayaking, surfing to name a few.
(1) Can easily attach to factory racks and will attach to the car without factory racks click here to learn how it will fit both of your cars.
(2) Universal bike attachment, click here to learn why this bicycle attachment is more stable.
(3) Bike frame security without the wheel removal and without the optional wheel holder.
(4) Reduced reach requirements for bike loading and unloading (approximately 12″ ).


Full Suspension bikes, no problem.

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Testing Grounds:
Streets of Southern California

First Impressions:
When I first saw the rack, I was pretty excited. There are a myriad of trails in Southern California so having a good rack is almost a necessity. This rack intrigued me on two issues: price & unique mounting. Although mounting a bike upside down is not the preferred method of mounting, I liked using the unique seatpost adaptor versus mounting via wheels which I’ll get to later.


Mounts easily with velcro straps.

Strengths:
The Tyte Rack difference is the ability to mount the bike via the seatpost and handlebars. This is different from other roof racks which mount via both wheels or fork and wheel. While either of these mounting options are fine, I find that I always run out of suitable contact points for lifting the bike onto the roof rack and lowering the bike from the roof rack. With the roof rack that mounts the bike via wheels you’re grabbing just the wheels which can rotate and jam your finger into the frame. Ouch.

With the Tyte Rack you get two non-moving points to grab: the top of the seat tube and the headtube/toptube junction. Because these points do not rotate or move, there is no chance of getting fingers jammed into the frame, which my fingers appreciate.


Two bikes are no problem for the Tyte Rack

The Tyte Rack is easy to install onto a car, although my first time installing the rack took about 30 minutes. After a few times of installing and uninstalling, I was down to 10 minutes. Now I easily finish in 5 minutes. I’ve mounted it on a few different cars and pretty much all of them have had no issues with mounting.

I have also not had any issues keeping my bike upside down while being mounted to the rack. On my First Impressions post many friends commented that I may have issues with namely: suspension oil dampers not liking the upside down position, handlebar, seattube stress… Over the course of this long review, I can confidently say that I did not have any issues. Although all of the comments were valid and I dutifully paid attention to them, I have not had any issues.

I still haven’t mentioned the price. The standard economical rack is $89, with a $10 discount, while the high-end rack is $99. Both are great choices, with the high-end rack being a little more durable. These racks are significantly cheaper than other roof mount options from big name manufacturers making the Tyte Rack an economical and simple light duty rack.


What makes the Tyte rack unique? The Seatpost Replacement Insert. Mounts bikes of all shapes easily and keeps your fingers from getting jammed into the frame.

Weakness:
Due to the design of the Tyte Rack, you have to take your seatpost out of the frame each time you mount your bike to the rack. This means I lose my favorite height for my seatpost. I tried different tactics to mark my seatpost so I would not lose my previous height but none of my tactics really worked. I ended up just remeasuring the height each time I reinstalled the post.

The area where the handlebars of the bike interface with the bar of the rack is metal to metal, metal from the handlebar to a metal rack. I’d prefer a softer material to interface with the handlebars especially if its a carbon bar. Because of this I drafted an old tube into service. I cut it and taped it onto the bar and this gave my handlebars a nicer softer place to rest during the ride to and from the trailhead.


Added an tube to the metal bar. Less metal to metal interface

One of the comments left on the First Impressions post was in regards to the longevity of the velcro straps. Lo and behold, on my last ride one of the velcro straps broke when mounting the bike. Since I like for the bike to be pretty tight to the bar, I usually torque the velcro straps pretty good. This time, it must have been over torqued as it just ripped apart. Thankfully, I was able to easily substitute the strap with a bungee cord but stronger straps would be appreciated.

Summary:
The Tyte rack is an inexpensive versatile light duty rack with a unique mounting system that keeps your fingers from being pinched. The simple seatpost replacement insert is a great idea as it easily accommodates most seatposts to carry many different mountain bikes. Designed for the recreational rider, the Tyte Rack combines the qualities of low price, versatility and roof mount in one simple package. Kudos to Tyte Rack for creating a sensible, low cost alternative to meet the needs of this particular market. By the way, the Tyte Rack works perfectly for road bikes too!

For more information, click here.


Economical, carries two, versatile.

Tyte Rack Update


Tyte Rack carrying the Kona Hei Hei test bike

I know that this rack has caused a bit of commotion here so I wanted to write a short update on how the rack is doing for me. I would like to think that I am objective since no money is changing hands. The full review will come after a couple more months of testing so there are just some quick thoughts after the first two weeks of testing.

The Tyte Rack is holding up nicely. I’ve used the rack for two different bikes on a variety of trips to our local trails. Some of the drives were as short as 15 minutes while others were as long as 45 minutes. Nothing really long yet but that will probably come in the next month or so.

Quick thoughts: Setup is getting easier and subsequently faster. From nothing on the roof of my car to totally setup and ready to drive away now takes less than 5 minutes. This is still a couple of minutes longer than installing a hitch mount to the rear of my other vehicle but it couldn’t be much if any longer than installing any other roof rack and putting the bike on. I’ve found that I do not have to remove the tapered seatpost so I do “cheat? a little, but this is real world use and in my real world testing this is how I go about storing it.

You have to pay attention to the front straps and how they velcro to the handlebars. If you don’t velcro them tight enough your bike will slide/move around on the front bar an inch or less. I’m sure if I was driving recklessly and taking turns at super high speeds the bars would move a bit more. But under normal driving circumstances, I have found it to be secure even when under tightened. I mount the straps between the shifter and the drop on the bikes riser bar. I’ve found that this is a good spot to get it tight and to keep it from moving around. I did worry that my handlebars would get nicked by the Tyte rack bar but they haven’t. I’ve carefully checked for damage on both my bikes handlebars before each ride and haven’t found any damage.


Straps mounted inside of the shifters but before the rise in the handlebars

I haven’t noticed any issues with my fork or brakes after using the rack. In fact I keep all of my bikes hung upside down in my garage. When I finally decided to hang them upside down I was worried about hydro brake problems but after checking with various mechanics, all of them agreed that the brakes would not be an issue. I have since had my hydro installed on my bike and that bike has been hanging upside down for the past 4 months with no issues. I did not think about the fork but I have hung a variety of air and coil forks upside down in my garage without experiencing any problems either.

Currently my main issue with the Tyte rack is having to reinstall the seatpost. When reinstalling the seatpost I never get it back to the sweet spot the first time I put the post back in. I always have to ride around a little before I can find the sweet spot again. It’s a minor quibble but I haven’t taken any steps to address this issue yet. I’m thinking either tape on the seatpost or using one of my children’s markers to mark my the sweet spot. Or maybe I’ll try both. I’ll make sure to let you know how it goes.

Click here for Tyte rack’s website.

First Impressions: Tyte Rack

Tyte Rack sent over their universal roof top bike rack to us for testing. Here is what Tyte Rack says about their rack:

Tyte Rack roof racks incorporate a unique design, that make them the best rack today to carry bicycles on a vehicle roof. In addition, this rack is very versatile and adapts to your other recreational and sporting activities, including but not limited to, skiing, kayaking, surfing to name a few.

(1) Can easily attach to factory racks and will attach to the car without factory racks click here to learn how it will fit both of your cars.
(2) Universal bike attachment, click here to learn why this bicycle attachment is more stable.
(3) Bike frame security without the wheel removal and without the optional wheel holder.
(4) Reduced reach requirements for bike loading and unloading (approximately 12″ ).


Tyte Rack mounted with Redline Mono 9

Impressions:
I’ve actually been driving around with just the rack on my car for a little over a week. I wanted to make sure that I could confidently carry my 29er on there without fear of having the rack fall off the roof of my car. After a week of driving it around Southern California including hitting the freeways and going umm… fast, the Tyte rack has shown to be stable. The hooks and straps have not budged and although there is some noise, the rack has proven secure.


Side view

On the first night, I spent about 30 minutes trying to understand the directions before I gave up. A day or two later I jumped on the website and saw some pictures and finally understood what to do. I always feel that a picture is worth a thousand words so we recommended Tyte Rack to provide more pictures on their instruction manual and their website. They took this suggestion and added a TON of pictures. I found this instruction page to be especially helpful, more so than the actual Instruction page. This page and the links on the left makes it much easier to understand how to mount the rack and bike.

All the materials are solid yet light weight. The bars going across the car’s roof are small and round but coated with a durable finish. The tapered seatpost attachment fits perfectly into my 27.2mm seatpost while the straps for the handlebar are strong. The only part that I had any problem with is the rubber boot on the bottom of the towers which had a tendency to fall off when it was not mounted onto the car. Just watch out for these and you’ll be ok.


Tapered seatpost installed into seatpost socket & frame of bike

Once I understood how the whole system worked, the Tyte Rack setup/tear down became VERY quick and was easy. Mount the rack, secure the straps and hooks, mount the bike and secure the handlebar and you’re all set. It takes probably about 10 minutes. Tear down was even faster.

It does seem to be universal. I mounted the rack to my Honda Accord and after fiddling with it a while, I can understand why Tyte Rack claims to be a universal rack. It has minor adjustments that can be made on the bar and the straps can be lengthened or shortened to fit many if not all cars.


Tower, rubber boot, hook and straps all secure

Since I’m still laid up (I think I’ll be riding again next week!!) I only got to drive the Tyte rack around the block a few times but I did choose to go over some speed bumps and I raised my speed all the way up to 40+mph, legally. I had my windows rolled down the whole time listening for any signs that the rack might be shifting but I heard none. Interestingly I didn’t hear any of the noise I had previously heard with just the rack on my car. I hope this bodes well for future trips.

This short first impressions could not be complete without mentioning the price. Tyte rack has aggressively priced their racks starting at $89. For a limited time though the standard rack has a $10 discount which makes it a very good value for any type of roof mount bike rack.


Handlebar straps. Two of them

We’ll be taking this rack out to the trail & back over the next couple of months to give it a good workout. Come back to check out the review.

For more information about the Tyte Rack, click here.


An “RL” shot: reflection of the Tyte rack on my Accord