Product Review Shingleback Offroad Lite vertical bike rack

It seems like so long ago that we saw the first vertical bike rack appear from Shingleback Offroad. The Australian owned and manufactured company have certainly put a stamp on the mountain bike scene in Australia with their amazing range of bike racks that offer a huge range with tons of accessories to suit whatever application you have to transport and store your bikes. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Classic when they first landed and have watched those racks survive for so long. They're still around of course and now the Shingleback Lite refines a craft that has worked so well for so long and added some timely features.
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The rack is built from Duragal steel, it has a rust prevention added to it as well. The bottom bar that your rear wheels sit on is an alloy section that keeps the weight of the rack down. By looking at the rack, you wouldn't know the mix materials by sight as it has the same finish all over. You won't see many welds on this rack either. It's bolted together. Why? Bolt up means the rack parts can be manufactured and put in a much smaller box to reduce the potentially huge cost of freight. Add to that that is also reduces the labour requirement for the assembly and you've hundreds of dollars. This also allows the Shingleback team to meet the demands and build more racks & accessories.
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The rack arrives with a very informative guide to assemble the rack. Forget the misinformed guides you get with furniture assembly; this guide is absolutely spot on and the parts provided match exactly what is shown. Now, I'm a fussy guy that appreciates good build quality. During the process of assembly, I was so impressed at how well the bolt holes lined up and equally impressed at the small tolerance in the mounting. There's no jiggling bolts to get them to line up wrecking the threads, there's no need to hammer anything together and although it'd be easier with two people, you can do this by yourself. It is that easy and doesn't require any special tools to be bought. I recommend starting as shown with the hitch parts and working your way up the assembly to the top of the rack. All of a sudden, your rack is finished and bolted to the car. Slide the tow hitch stabiliser into place, tighten it up. Now? Go ride!
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The two things that stand out for me are the cradles for your wheels and the hinging system operated by the foot latch. The wheel cradles bolt to the top bar of the rack and have a staggered set of holes allowing you to move them around when needed to make sure your bike doesn't touch the bike next to it. The cradles are also built to sit higher up on your wheel for extra security in transit. Even though the cradles are higher than other assemblies, they aren't bulky at all. I have been putting bikes on and off this rack and have not once had anything except the tyre touch the cradles. They are amazing, a stroke of genius even!
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The foot latch is combined with the hinging mechanism on the base of the rack to allow you to lower the rack to access the back of your car. Yep, you can leave the bikes on it while you do that too. Obviously the weight will increase of the rack is full but the bungee cord straps keep the bikes on and in place so well. The latch is not clunky, not in any way awkward and has a firm up & down action. If you're in & out of the back of your car you can lay the empty rack horizontal to the ground and still stand the bikes in it securely. Time to load up? You can even load the bikes into this rack with it tilted down. I'm tall and have no trouble lifting bikes onto any rack but the idea that you can roll your bike into the rack, secure it with the bungee cords and raise the rack into place is neat. It's a good time to mention that the cradles are rated to carry a 35kg bike. Where was this rack in the 90's when our downhill bikes seemed to weigh nearly 30kg? Nowadays, an bike on the heavier end isn't anywhere near 30kg. With all that known, this rack is perfect for your ebikes (and 1990's downhill bikes).
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Picture this; you've saved for so long to get that dream bike. You get along to shuttle day and line up for an hour only to see the people loading their bikes battling to get them on, cables tangling all over the handlebars, brake levers scraping along your bike. Me? I'd turn around and walk off. It is not acceptable to put a bike on a rack that will damage it in any way. Thankfully, the Shingleback Lite won't mean you're walking up the hill to avoid your bike getting wrecked. The spacing was nothing touches the next bike and refining the bike position with the adjustable cradles is neat. During my testing of this rack, I tested how much things will move on a pretty bumpy bunch of dirt roads. No contact, no scratches, no bikes fell off, no drama. Thats come from a good few years of craftsmanship from Shingleback Offroad and I appreciate it. If my bike is getting scratched, its because I crashed it having fun.
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As mentioned, this rack is packed with functionality and doesn't just end with what is in the box. Jump onto www.shinglebackoffroad.com.au and look at the accessories you can get to suit the bikes in your household. BMX bikes have an easy mount accessory to fit and so do road bikes. There's additional parts you can buy to replace anything on the rack and you can also look through the huge range of options for not only the Lite rack which can carry up to six bikes but you can look at the amazing Boost and Sport racks offering more options to carry your gear.
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When choosing the right rack for you, get in touch with the Shingleback crew to get some advice on the right things for you. I'm so happy to say I've had nothing but great conversations with the team and have complete confidence in their products. They're Australian owned and manufactured offering a ten year guarantee. Honestly, that's almost unheard of and really backs the quality of these racks. While there is so many variations of how many bikes you can carry, what bikes you can put on it and what style of rack, the best part for me is these racks do the most important three things: The rack is built very well and isn't effected by being outdoors. The bikes are completely secure on those amazing cradles. And the big bit for me? y bikes don't get wrecked on the rack. Can't lose really, it's that good. Clearly I'm fussy with what I carry my bike on and I cannot believe some of the under built plastic piles of junk that are motoring around carrying bikes that are worth more money than a house deposit. I've seen those overpriced racks fail and break and piles of bikes end up on the road or bouncing into the front of oncoming traffic. I'm so glad Australia has some of the best built racks in the world. Treat yourself and look into this range of racks, they are that good.
Thanks to the great team at Shingleback Offroad for offering us another fantastic product. Check out the full video on this link.
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