Roof racks as a whole are pretty annoying. They hold a bike sturdy but the racks themselves are quite difficult to mount and end up becoming a full-time fixture on your cross bars. What’s worse, it’s pretty awkward to lift a bike above your head and put it on your roof — especially if you’re not as tall as Stijn Vandenbergh.
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The Upside Rack has turned the idea of the roof rack on its head, literally. Instead of grabbing your bike by its wheels or fork, the bike attaches to the rack by its handlebars and saddle — carrying the bike upside down.
The rack is fixed to the bike while it’s still on the ground and once attached the bike gets flipped upside down and lifted on to the cross bars of the car’s roof. The rack is then locked on with opposing hooks cinched down with a torque limited dial.
The Aussie startup says the rack can be installed and removed in under one minute and is compatible with all bike types, and requires no pre-assembly or tool.
With the easy on / easy off design there’s no need to leave the rack attached to your cross bars when not in use, saving you from the wind noise and decreased fuel economy that’s caused by standard roof racks. If funded, we’d guess the Upside Rack will go gangbusters with car rental companies because of its non-permanent design, especially in areas where bike tourism is popular.
Not relying on a wheel or fork connection, the Upside Rack also eliminates any compatibility issues caused by ever-changing wheel, tire, and axle standards. That said, Upside Rack says its design won’t work with TT bars just yet and there’s a weight limit of 25kg / 55lbs.
The Upside Rack is made from an anodised aluminium frame and a mix of glass filled nylon, acetal, and SEBS rubber components. Weighing just 1.8kg / 4lbs the rack folds down to 61cmx14cmx14cm / 24inx5.5inx5.5in, will fit bars with outer edges of between 550-930mm and a cross rail thickness of less than 35mm.
While the design is clever, we do foresee problems with broken and bent seat posts — a component that already fails semi-regularly. If a bike is mounted in this fashion and hit with a cross wind, the force may prove to be too much for a lightweight carbon post or extended dropper. That said, it is one of only a few car racks that can claim zero frame contact.
Launched on Kickstarter this week the Upside rack has already raised more than AU$13,500 at the time of writing and is well on its way to hitting its AU$25,000 goal.
For more info or to become a backer check out the Upside Rack’s Kickstarter campaign.