The Saris Bones 2 isn't just the best looking bike carrier, it's also one of the best at actually doing the job.
The Saris Bones design has been around for a wee while now but the design has stood the test of time: this is a proper classic. It's the kind of rack that braces on the back of your car and secures with a strap and hook arrangement. They always look slightly precarious, to my mind, and can't be locked, so they're no use if you want something that can be left unattended for any length of time, say a half hour break at the services on the M5, and you'll also have to take it off once you've unloaded. That's not a criticism of this particular rack, just an observation: you need to decide what kind of rack you need before dropping the cash. As a rack for transportation to events or holidays, it's ideal. I've been using it (coupled with a brace of Thule 591 roof mounted racks) for audax transport and it's served me and my friends very well. The folding design also means that it stores easily between uses.
Fitting the rack is dead easy. I managed it within a couple of minutes of opening the box and with barely a glance at the instructions. Simply set the arms to fit your car (outer two brace their sturdy rubber feet on the bumper, middle arm braces on the rear window or boot lid) hook the straps onto the edge of the boot and tighten up. The hooks have a good thick rubberised coating and are stamped with their placings, so they won't scratch the paintwork and you can't put them in the wrong position. Tension fittings like this always look alarmingly flimsy, but once set you can haul away on the struts and all that happens is that the car wobbles.
Once fitted you just drop your bike onto the struts and secure it with a couple of straps over the top tube. A third strap goes round the seat tube and prevents the bike from swaying back and forth. All of the straps and cups are thick rubber, so they won't mark your frame, although if you were really concerned about scratching your paintjob you could always wrap some rags round your frame. There's enough spare strapping to keep front wheels from flapping about too.
The instructions say not to exceed 60mph, so be careful on motorways. Anyway, keeping to 60 will help offset some of the extra fuel you'll burn through the aerodynamic drag, although having bikes dangling off the rear of the car is less draggy than putting them on the roof. One disadvantage, and again, it's not just this rack, is that dangling bikes can obscure your licence plate, so watch out. Saris claim a 35lb (15.8kg) bike limit, which does mean that you'll have to be a little cautious when transporting sturdier specimens. Instinct says that Saris have set the limit cautiously, only sensible really, but I'd be wary of pushing it too far. I certainly wouldn't want to risk my old post bike (48lb of Pashley steel) on it.
I really liked using this rack, not something I ever expected to find myself saying. It's very simple to use, works well and looks great.
Innovative design looks cool and works brilliantly.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Saris Bones 2
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Lots of weapons-grade marketing guff here - "There is a place where function and form collide. Where practical becomes practically gallery–worthy. And this is the place where the Bones rack was conceived by Saris and famed designer Fabio Pedrini."
I wouldn't go as far as to hang it on the wall, but it looks damn good.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Injection–molded arms and legs are the strongest on the market.
Built with 100% recyclable, non–rusting materials.
Ratcheting anti–sway straps secure and stabilize bikes.
Arc–based design fits over most spoilers and separates bikes on different levels.
Patents issued and pending.
Available in grey, purple, pink, blue, red, yellow, and green.
There's nothing fiddly or delicate that might break and everything feels solid.
Dead easy to use and works superbly.
Not cheap - there are other racks that work on similar principles that cost less, but this is a pleasure to use and won't make your car look like you've accidentally hooked some scaffolding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Looks, ease of use, brilliantly thought out design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A design classic that works superbly well.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides