The Bike List

Saris Bones 3 Bike Rack £140

Tested by Jonathan Manning, tester for The Bike List

Here's a salutary lesson not to judge a book by its cover. A first glance at the Saris Bones 3 creates the impression of a cheap, plasticky, rather unsatisfying bike carrier. Pick it up though and such prejudice immediately evaporates. The Bones has a reassuring weight to it, a solid feel and an impressively engineered build - so why it's a garish yellow is hard to fathom, although other, more sober colours are available.

It's a simple design, distributing the weight of your bikes between two straps and four broad rubber feet. It claims to fit any car design, and certainly works on both estate cars and people carriers, although depending on the design of your vehicle you may well find the bikes obscure the licence plate. Beware that this is a motoring offence, so be prepared to invest in an illuminated board and new plate for use when the bikes are on the back.

The better news is that changing the angle of the legs is straightforward and satisfyingly precise as the legs slip off and back on to an aluminium core.

Be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes making the initial fine adjustments to ensure a secure fit of the carrier. The upper feet rest on the rear window of a people carrier or estate while the lower feet sit on the bumper (beware grit in the feet that could scratch your car's paintwork). The upper feet are then likely to need readjustment when the weight of bikes are added, to make sure they are in contact with the vehicle.

The three broad rubber ties that secure the bikes to the carrier are comfortingly robust and close fitting, although mountain bikes with unorthodox geometry may be tricky to fit (longer ties are available if required).

Additional horizontal and lower straps further lash the carrier to the car, anchoring it with formidable solidity. Even so, it's definitely worth stopping a handful of miles into your journey to check everything is still fitting snugly - initially we frequently found the upper feet would lose their purchase on the car, and the higher straps would have to be tightened before the load was fully prepared for a long journey. The official instructions recommend a maximum speed of about 60mph, but we drove three road bikes down to the South of France on the autoroute at a steady 80mph without any drama. The extra weight of three mountain bikes seemed to apply significantly more pressure and leverage to the carrier, but the straps and mounting remained firm.

Overall, then, this is a carrier that belies its plasticky looks to offer a secure platform for your precious two-wheeled cargo.

Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com

At a glance

Verdict A secure, robust bike carrier that belies its plasticky looks.
Value
Performance

Saris says:

There is a place where function and form collide. Where practical becomes practically gallery–worthy. And this is the place where the Bones rack was conceived by Saris and famed designer Fabio Pedrini.

  • Arc-based design fits over most spoilers and separates bikes on different levels.
  • Injection-molded arms and legs are the strongest on the market.
  • Built with 100% recyclable, non-rusting materials.
  • Ratcheting anti–sway straps secure and stabilize bikes.
  • Available in grey, purple, pink, blue, red, yellow, and green.
  • Accommodate 3 bikes (35lbs/bike).

To watch the installation video click here and to find out more visit www.saris.com