PRODUCT TEST – WHISPBAR WB201 BIKE RACK
AVAILABLE FROM: www.whispbar.com.au RRP: $329 WE SAY: Easy installation, secure and built tough.
WHISPBAR has a wide range of roof bars for vehicles, as well as bike-carrying systems (and watercraft systems) to suit. The WB201 is Whispbar’s roof-mount bike carrier for those who don’t want to remove their bike’s wheels. It promises users the capability to hold most bike shapes/sizes – 26, 27.5, 29er, roadies, etc. – up to a weight of 20kg (so heavy downhill rigs are out) to the roof bars securely, and with zero impact on the bike’s more fragile components.
Fitting or removing the WB201 is very easy, especially when fitted to a compatible set of Whispbar’s Through Bar roof bars. This ease of operation is due to Whispbar’s “QuickDock” technology. The QuickDock clamp is a swivel-based system comprising two long arms underneath the bike carrier that have a metal tab that slides into the T-slot in the roof bars; it’s then swiveled closed to ensure secure attachment to the bars. The unit is quite light (5.1kg), so fitment and removal is a doddle for any adult.
Fitting a bike to the rack is a simple process of lifting it up, aligning the wheels in the (fully adjustable via sliding) wheel/tyre holders, then lifting up the centre lever so you can move the ‘SmartHold’ frame clamp to the desired position on the bike’s downtube. You then simply push the centre lever back down and, as it closes and locks, it applies the exact amount of pressure the clamp needs to enclose the bike’s downtube securely (rather than having to dial in the pressure via a hand dial as per some other bike carrier setups).
Then you can lock the centre lever and use the ratchet straps to secure the front and rear wheels, thus securing both the bike and the bike rack to the roof of your vehicle. This means no more lock cables threading around your bike’s frame and components. It is a clean-looking setup that works brilliantly.
This bike carrier has seen regular duty on a couple of our motor vehicles in the three years I have owned it; it is testament to the design of the carrier that it hasn’t been changed at all over that period of time – get it right once, I guess, and job’s done. The first few times I used the WB201 there were the obligatory nervous glances either through the vehicle’s sunroof or over at the shadow beside the road to check there was a bike still on top. Since those initial trips I worry no longer – the bike is always there, still attached, at the end of my journey.
The WB201 is very easy (and quick) to remove from the roof bars – thanks to the QuickDock system – and this has been great as I have moved from different vehicles. Nowadays, with my Discovery 2, I am running a spare-wheel mounted bike carrier but have kept the WB201.
Once I get roof rails fitted to the Disco, I will look to purchase some of Whispbar’s low-profile roof racks and re-install the WB201; I am happy with the Yakima SpareRide carrier on there (ironically, Yakima owns Whispbar), but the Disco’s offset spare wheel means the bike is pushed over to the side of oncoming traffic a bit too far for my liking. So the WB201 may be doing plenty of bike-carrying service for a few years yet.