RockyMounts Brass Knuckles upright rooftop bike mount - first look

New complete roof rack systems previewed, too

With several fork mount racks under its belt already, Boulder, Colorado-based car rack specialist RockyMounts has now launched its first-ever upright-style rooftop bicycle carrier called BrassKnuckles. While the name may seem a bit odd, its bold appearance and intriguing feature set are anything but – and soon you'll be able to mount it on a complete RockyMounts-branded roof rack system, too.

Meet the Brass Knuckles

The concept behind the BrassKnuckles is similar to many other upright-style carriers on the market. There's a cradle to support the front wheel, a pivoting arm with a telescoping hook to lock it in place, and a full-length tray with a ratcheting plastic strap to secure the back wheel. It's the details, however, that look to set this one apart from the rest – which perhaps should come as no surprise given that RockyMounts is also a third-party reseller of Thule, Yakima, and Küat products and has gotten to dissect all of the competition before venturing out on its own.

The heart of the BrassKnuckles is a burly cast aluminum block that serves as the base for the pivoting arm and wheel tray, and anchors the mount to the crossbars. Flexible rubber-coated steel straps are hidden beneath a flush cover in the center and allow the BrassKnuckles to sleekly secure to any crossbar shape with no exposed hardware. Rubber pads can be added to either side of the block as needed, too, to account for curved crossbars.

The pivoting aluminum arm rotates on bushings for a tight fit and the hook is overmolded with a thick layer of rubber. The hook's sliding base is quite ergonomic, too, with aluminum finger holds that give the BrassKnuckles mount its name. According to company owner and founder Bobby Noyes, reinforcing aluminum collars at either end of the sliding hook base also allow for a smaller overall diameter as compared to all-plastic construction to make it easier to grip.

The BrassKnuckles is fully lockable, with one core on the main block cover to guard the mounting straps and another on the sliding front wheel hook.

The full-length wheel tray uses a stiff four-cavity aluminum extrusion that will accommodate tires up to 29x2.5in wide. In other words, most typical mountain bike rubber will fit but the BrassKnuckles won't be fatbike-friendly.

When not in the use, the small front wheel chock folds down into the base and the hook nests inline with the tray for a low-profile look and to reduce wind noise.

RockyMounts will sell the BrassKnuckles for $199 starting in May. Multiple colors will be available but the exact shades are still to be determined.

New roof rack systems in development, too

RockyMounts also previewed its upcoming complete roof rack systems, built with aero-profile extruded aluminum crossbars. Coming around March will be clamp-on towers for raised factory rails, which use rubber-coated flexible steel straps similar to what's used on the new Brass Knuckles mount for a low-profile look and easy installation.

Traditional towers will come at some point later in 2014, featuring sleek shapes to reduce wind noise and dual articulating rubber-coated feet for a better fit on modern vehicles.

Pricing for the new roof rack systems is still to be determined.

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