Yakima FullBack 2 trunk rack review

An easy-to-install option for hauling road bikes, but not advised for modern MTBs

BikeRadar score3/5

Yakima's FullBack 2 is a trunk-mounted two-bike rack. Unlike roof-mounted bike trays, or hitch-mounted rear racks, strap-on trunk racks typically cost less, are much easier to install, remove and store, and can leave your car unfettered of any semi-permanent pieces.

Yakima FullBack 2 installation and first impressions

Unboxing the FullBack 2 and putting it on a vehicle is pretty straightforward. It's surprising though that the straps require threading through the mounting hooks; which seems like it should be done at the factory.

A beer opener has become a Yakima trademark on its racks
A beer opener has become a Yakima trademark on its racks

Interestingly, the rack attaches to the vehicle with only two upper and two lower straps, with nothing on the sides. Despite having two fewer straps to other trunk racks, it feels snug and secure. The straps are plenty long and smartly Yakima includes little loops to manage the excess strap length. 

The integrated lock is pretty cool. It is somewhat tight to pull out of its little recess though, but can be locked without the key, which is a nice feature.

Yakima FullBack 2 in use

I live on a gravel road, which meant plenty of bumps, dust and rattles to try to upset the FullBack. Once on the highway the roads are a non-stop series of corners and lateral forces. In spite of these challenges, the rack worked without complaint on two different vehicles. 

Once loaded the bikes remained secure and wobble free. The rack never shifted or loosened, and the bike cradles held their snugness until I released the ratchets. 

The ratcheting straps held the bikes tight by the top tube and seat tube and didn't loosen
The ratcheting straps held the bikes tight by the top tube and seat tube and didn't loosen

After tucking the excess straps into the little loops it remained quiet throughout testing, with and without bikes on board. 

The arms adjusted easily to accommodate both vehicles I used it with and folded down straight when not in use for a more streamlined appearance. 

Built for drop-bar road bikes, mostly

The FullBack struggles with full-suspension mountain bikes. This didn't come as a surprise as Yakima offers a fake top tube bar designed for use with any bike that strays from the classic diamond frame shape.

Mountain bikes in general, particularly those with wide handlebars, show signs of being the FullBack's kryptonite. Placed on the inner spot, the wide bars hit my car on one side and got tangled with the second bike's rear wheel on the other. 

There are a few compromises depending on what type of bikes you need to haul
There are a few compromises depending on what type of bikes you need to haul

Drop-bar bikes have no issue.

The ratcheting straps, Yakima calls them ZipStrips, hold the bikes well despite feeling a bit like overly rigid plastic. They're removable too, which is handy when trying to wiggle a bike onto the innermost spot. 

Placing a small framed bike, or a bike with a large water bottle in the main frame, onto the inner cradle takes a bit of patience or loads of finesse. Even with the bottle removed and just a bottle cage on the inside of the bike frame adds a bit of challenge.

Yakima FullBack 2 bottom line

This rack has some limitations in what bikes it can haul. If you only ride road bikes, or a hardtail mountain bike with narrow bars, the FullBack should be perfectly acceptable. Of course, an optional fake top tube opens up a lot more options, but it's another thing to buy, store and fuss with. 

In use, the FullBack 2 proved to be secure, quiet and consistent. If you need a bike rack to haul a road bike occasionally, it's a very good choice. If you regularly haul all sorts of bikes and the rack rarely ever leaves your vehicle, there are better, albeit more expensive, options available. 

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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