Way back when, maybe 10 years ago, I bought a cheap but easy Allen bike rack that mounted to the trunk of my old Honda Accord. I didn’t have to research it — it fit in trunk of basically any car. What I didn’t like is that it wasn’t all that great with multiple bikes. They’re all piled up on each other, etc. Not a big fan.
The kids are getting older, and now we potentially want to transport up to three bikes for short and long distances. I began looking at replacement bike racks last year. I’d like something that could hold three bikes, keep them from swaying or hitting each other, and some sort of locking mechanism would be a huge plus to prevent bike theft. I considered a fancy hitch-mounted rack for the Toyota Highlander last year before our Delaware trip last summer, but buying a new hitch and also getting a 2″ receiver was getting expensive. My grand plans were on hold.
Trunk-mounted, it is.
Thule 9002 Raceway 3
My first choice was the Thule 9002 Raceway 3. I like their products, and I settled on the Raceway 3. 3 bike slots, anti-sway cages, even a locking mechanism. I ordered it from Amazon, and it was here in two days. It arrived on Tuesday. I opened it up, and began reading the manual, including the Fit Guide. Reading the fitting for 2012 Nissan Maxima, there are no settings. Uh oh. I call up Thule customer service, and the very nice rep informs me that my new rack doesn’t fit my relatively new car. They couldn’t stop me from using it, but they weren’t responsible if it were to deform or damage my rear bumper. You had to be kidding me. How did I miss that?
Less than an hour later, I resealed the box, printed out return labels, and was on my way to the nearest UPS store to return it. Amazon would also deduct $25 for the return fee. That really sucked. Back to square one, and I had just wasted $25.
Saris Bones RS
Since that didn’t work out so well, I had to be more careful. I needed a good rack that wouldn’t deform or damage my car, or cost me an arm and a leg in returns. I looked at a few alternatives at Thule that would supposedly “fit” my car, but they all came with warnings that each could potentially damage my bumper! What the heck? Forget it. I also looked at Yakima and Saris. I narrowed the search down to either the Saris Bones 3-Bike or the Saris Bones RS. The Bones 3-Bike was more economical in the $150 price range and in various colors, while the Bones RS was about $260 with tightening ratchets and a locking mechanism. Still, $260 was a little more than my budget.
Both were supposedly a fit for my car. However, after getting burned by the Thule, I decided to call Saris customer service to verify. According to customer service, both would fit, but oh wait! There was an engineering note that while the Bones 3-Bike would fit my car, due to a “weak bumper”, the engineer recommended that customers only use two bikes on the Bones 3-Bike. Say what? That wasn’t even detailed on the website. The Bones RS, however, didn’t rest on the bumper, so that wouldn’t damage my bumper.
Sold. Two days later, here it is.