Review: Saris SuperClamp EX
Words by Caitlin Dumas
There’s a process you go through as you prepare for a ride, and after awhile, it becomes a rhythm. A series of steps you take to leading up to putting your foot on the pedal and feeling the air go past your face. Sometimes the process can start 20 minutes before or days before, depending on what’s going on.
As you start to establish your own rhythm, you find pieces you want to improve, add to, or change. Something as simple as remembering to put your heart rate monitor on before you entirely zip up your jersey (I can never remember this) to the purchase and selection of a bike rack. Choosing the right products can make or break your rhythm, your system.
My process for a bike trip starts days in advance. It begins with the packing list and checking everything off, and ends with Ben and I working like a well-oiled machine getting everything into the car the way it should. Last on the list - putting the bikes on the bike rack.
For awhile Ben and I had this hatch-back-strap-hand-me-down of a rack. We would take turns with who’s bike would have to suffer the risk of being on the rack while the other was laid down comfortably in the backend. We quickly realized the right bike rack made a big difference, and saved us headaches and time preparing for a ride.
Now, I’ve recently had the chance to assemble, install, use, add to my process, and review the Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike Rack. It’s currently retailing for $469.99. Full disclaimer: the rack was sent to me to review, but I promise to share my honest opinions, always. As a product reviewer, I want to make sure you get the ins and outs of everything I try.
First, I love that the rack is only 35 lbs entirely built. Yes, that’s right, 35 lbs. Meaning that little ole’ me, who generally bangs up the shins while I carry large, heavy items, had zero problems carrying and installing the rack on my car. I can also take it on and off as needed, easily.
Saris built this rack with versatility in mind. The weight capacity of 60 lbs per bike means I can put my skin-min road bikes on there, but also the fatties we use from time to time. The wheel wells included can accommodate up to 4” wide tires, so smaller fat bike tires do fit. If you want to tote around your 5” wide fat tire bikes, they have Fat Tire Wheel Holders for only $49.99.
It’s a no frame contact rack and getting the wheel-clamping hooks to cinch into the perfect spot is incredibly easy. All it takes is a simple push on the hooks and your bikes aren’t going anywhere with the combination of the wheel straps.
The rack is also fully integrated - meaning I can lock up my bike whenever needed. The straps aren’t overly long, so there’s minimal slack if you want to leave them locked up while driving. However, it did take me a second to figure out the best system for locking up our two bikes with the shorter lock cords.
Lastly, the tilt option. So, you pull the lever, which is easy to reach, on the rack to “unlock” it out of its position, and it tilts down for you to be able to get access to all the stuff in your truck. This feature is extremely handy when you have two squirrely dogs in the back seat of your car and you forget something in the trunk and you don’t want to upset the peace by climbing into the backseat. Once you’re done accessing the trunk, all you have to do is push back up, and it locks into place.
Okay, so a lot of love for this rack. It fit pretty seamlessly into my preparation rhythm - it’s a product that added to the ease of getting ready for a ride. However, there are a few things that don’t get the same amount of love.
The wheel well straps are extremely long, and they fall out of the slots easily if you detach one side. The length makes them difficult to handle when you’re sticking your hand in between two bikes attached to a rack. I know they’re there for larger wheels, but I would have loved the option to use smaller straps for those of us who aren’t toting around mountain bikes frequently.
Getting it set up to fit your size of bikes does take a little bit. In all fairness, every rack I’ve used takes a bit of work to get them fit my small bikes, so this isn’t necessarily a con, but more of a heads up. If you want to assemble, install and use Saris SuperClamp EX in a short period of time, you might be running late for a ride. Yes, I tried to do this, and it was about 4:30 am when Ben and I realized we had to finish up a bit of configuring.
The bar connecting the rack to the hitch is long, longer than I’m used to. Again, I understand this was created for versatility. The length makes your heart drop the first time you see your bikes swaying back and forth in your rearview mirror if you’re not expecting it. Please don’t take this as me saying your bikes aren’t perfectly secure on this rack, because they are. We never had to readjust or were concerned about our bikes when using this rack. The movement just spooked us the first time. Also, after using the rack for some time, with a variety of bikes, it’s clear the length of this arm is no issue to the stability of the rack.
The rack was extremely versatile, which is a huge pro, but overall there were some cons associated with the versatility. Such as, the straps being too long and trying to balance two bikes on the rack at once while latching them in. For someone who has a variety in their bike lineup, a shop owner, or someone who transports a variety of bikes, this rack would be absolutely perfect.
But, all in all, the Saris SuperClamp EX made a great addition to our pre-ride rhythm when we needed to transport our bikes. If you’re looking for a high-end rack that you can haul just about any bike on, whether you’re shredding it down the mountain or hitting high speeds during a crit, I would recommend the Saris SuperClamp EX. Here are the detailed specs:
- Platform style hitch rack
- Carries 2 bikes, up to 60 lb/each.
- Two shepherd's hooks hold bike by top of both wheels -- does not touch the frame of the bike.
- Sleek, compact and lightweight design transports two bikes on a single bar.
- Adjustable arms and wheel trays fit almost any type of bicycle, including those with fenders, mountain bikes and ebikes; bike spacing accommodates widest combination of bicycles.
- Integrated locking cable secures bikes to the rack.
- Locking hitch pin secures rack to the car
- Tilting feature allows access to rear of vehicle, even when fully loaded, and folds up when not in use.
- Ratcheting arms pivot on case hardened brackets for superior strength.
- Reflectors on outside wheel trays ensure extra visibility in low light.
- Bottle opener integrated into tilt handle.
- Built and tested to outlive the elements.
- Universal hitch works with 1¼” and 2” hitch receivers.
- Rack weight: 35 lb
- This rack fits a wheelbase of up to 48”.
- Universal wheel trays accommodate a wide variety of bikes and wheel sizes (up to 4” tires).
- Wheel straps are provided for the rear wheel if needed for kids bikes, e-bikes and bikes with fenders.
- For use with tires wider than 4”, add the Fat Tire Wheel Holders.