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Posted August 11, 2017 @ 1:13am | by Hurl


This SuperClamp is a Champ

Let’s get this out of the way: I do occasionally drive a car, typically a loaner or a rental. And when I do, it usually involves a road trip and bikes. Ergo, car racks. Seem pretty straight forward, right? But first, an aside.

A few summers ago while working at a local shop I installed a car rack on the back of a customer’s sedan. I forget the brand or model of rack, but what I do recall distinctly is that there were two longish side straps which I just assumed were extra tie downs for the bikes. Turns out they were side-load stabilizer straps. Customer found this out the hard way as she accelerated onto the freeway. The rack, along with her Cannondale, went skidding down the interstate, and I had to explain to her stoic boyfriend that not only was I terribly sorry, but that I was also a buffoon that hadn’t installed the rack properly. My job would have been much easier if the Saris SuperClamp EX had existed then. 

The Saris SuperClamp EX 2 is a hitch-mounted rack that holds two bikes firmly and securely. Frames are untouched and unscathed, thanks to two stout ratcheting hooks that come down on top of the bikes’ tires. It’s quick and it’s easy. Loud, audible clicks tell you that these ratchets mean business, and push-button release levers make unloading just as simple. 


Fourth of July weekend I crammed all my cargo inside the back of a Honda Pilot, including my Breadwinner B-Road, an unassembled Surly Krampus, and the SuperClamp still in its box, and drove back to BIsmarck from Minneapolis. The typically six hour drive extended to about 9 hours thanks to holiday traffic and construction. Back in Bismarck I built the Krampus with the help of Larson’s Cyclery and shredded some local trails. When it came time to go home, I pulled the SuperClamp out of its box and made quick work of the assembly, -there are a total of maybe six parts– and I appreciate that all necessary tools are included. The rack mounted easily to the Pilot’s 2” receiver; the universal hitch will also work on 1 1/4” receivers by simply removing a built-in adaptor. The included locking hitch pin is solid, too. The rack itself weighs 35lbs, with a bike weight limit of 60lbs each side, but come on, if you’re riding any bike approaching 60lbs? Oof.

Neither bike pushed the limits of the stock wheel trays, which fit tires up to 4”. The B-Road has 700 x 38c tires, the Krampus 29 x 2.4. And we’ve since had 29+ x 3.0 tires on it with no problems. Fat Tire Wheel Holders are available if you’re haulin’ fat bikes with tires bigger than 4”. The rack features built in cable locks which are a nice touch, though definitely not high security. I would not leave my bikes unattended for long periods of time. 

Back on the road, the return traffic was much lighter, and I burned home in the usual six hours. The SuperClamp was a champ the entire way. No noise, no swaying motion, no bouncing bikes, totally stable. And the real treat, the thing that makes the SuperClamp a champ? Even when loaded with two bikes in place, the rack tilts out of the way far enough that I could open the back gate of the Pilot. This is accomplished by a sturdy latch on the rear of the rack. In my experience I had to give it a solid yank to release. In theory I suppose that’s a good thing, though perhaps through repeated use it will break in for a smoother operation. And a rack like this is bound to see a lot of use, year-round even. So I asked Saris Cycling Marketing Communications Manager Ryan Birkicht if the rack is weatherproof, i.e. is the hardware treated? how will it handle constant exposure to rain/moisture, winter conditions, or salt/coastal regions? He assured me that the racks are designed to be used all year and in all conditions: “the bolts use a special automotive grade finish and are tested to an ASTM salt spray standard. The finish we use will prevent rust over 5 times longer than a typical zinc finish. All the main painted components have a double finishing operation which results in approximately four times the life of the paint, especially on the wear items.” But, much like the bikes we ride, especially in our northern climate, common sense holds that “rack life is maximized if it is cleaned after use in corrosive environments (salty roads, either winter or coastal).”

I’m looking forward to my next road trip with the SuperClamp EX 2, to the Dakota 50 Race-Ride-Tour in Spearfish over Labor Day weekend.

The Saris SuperClamp EX is made entirely in the USA, at Saris Cycling’s Madison, Wisconsin facility. (a SuperClamp EX 4-bike version is also offered)

MSRP $469.99 




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