The Yakima StageTwo is a very well-designed two bike rack system. Its tiered trays are an absolute standout of this design for a few reasons. It allows for the bikes to be in tiered positions, this aids in preventing contact between the bikes when loaded. Additionally, the tiered trays mean a steeper approach/decent angle. Simply put, it slopes up as it comes further away from the vehicle. By using the easy-to-use remote tilt lever it is extremely convenient to access the hatch with bikes loaded or fold the rack up when bikes aren’t present. The rack itself weighs 66lbs and is RV tested and approved. The tray capacity is rated for 70lbs per tray, and drops down to 42lbs per tray off-road.
We see a bunch of improved features on this design from Yakima. The tool-free Speed Knob makes for the most convenient tool-free mounting. In short, it’s simple and quick! Simply use your key to lock and unlock the knob allowing you to tighten or loosen it in place within the hitch. Strong Arm hooks adapt from 29″-20″ wheel sizes and will even accommodate fat tires. These arms have a very padded hook limiting the paint wear or any other damage you may expect to see from rubbing.
Each of the Strong Arm hooks has a built-in cable lock to provide some security when you need it. If you’re looking for a more dependable locking option there is a welded loop on the main assembly allowing for your own personal lock to secure the bikes to the rack. Lastly, the major feature we see is the ratchet straps. This design allows for the strap to fold out of the way entirely without rebounding back under your tire, a familiar occurrence I’m sure. Additionally, this mechanism is mounted to its own assembly that allows it to slide back and forth to be located in the proper position for your bike. Each tray allows for up to 52″ wheelbase.
Yakima has really boosted the add-on options of the StageTwo rack. The +2 Add-On for $549.99, is a two bike extension allowing for transformation to a four bike rack system. Although when using this extension your per tray load capacity will decrease, overall, we think there are better solutions for more than 2 bikes and that it makes for a very long vehicle driving experience. The RampUp ramp kit ($99) is a very cool add-on that we use constantly. It is a two-piece ramp that attaches to the end of the trays making loading those heavier bikes much easier. It really shined on the taller vehicles that lifting the bike onto the rack directly was difficult regardless of strength or bike weight. The SafetyMate lighting and plate kit is a very cool add-on that make us wish it were built in to the main package. This kit includes two LED taillight bars that attach the the end of the rack near the tilt release handle. They plug into your vehicle trailer light plug and allow for your lights to be seen without interference while your vehicle lights are likely hidden behind tires. Equally this kit relocates your license plate for the same purpose. Some states are really cracking down on plate visability and this is a great solution.
Overall the Yakima StageTwo has climbed its way up our list of racks to be one of our favorites. With multiple cross country trips under our belt this year it has continued to work perfectly. As far as performance, all those miles and all sorts of weather, everything functions as it should and the bikes stay safe and secure. The Speed Knob threw us a curveball when we first got it, however after all the miles and use it hasn’t shown any signs of compromise. We opted to stick to the two bike setup as the extension felt too long for us, in its place we are big fans of the SafetyMate. Knowing our lights are visible in all conditions is a great feeling while driving and when we fold the rack up we can adjust the lights 90° so they are still effective.
Although this rack may not be for everyone, despite its price tag it is one we continue to recommend. Bikes are a major investment today and transporting them safely and securely matters, whether it be your house to the local trail, or half way across the country. Top dollar? Perhaps. It does accommodate to a wide range of bikes, it has a 60lb tray capacity, provides locks in the hooks, tool-free installation, and with the add-ons simple loading/unloading and a brilliant light kit. We really do think this is a great rack and ours will sure continue to get plenty of more use.
Colors: 2 different colors
Hitch Sizes: 2″ and 1.25″