Merlin Ti Build, Trek Y-50, Bianchi Titanium Build, Custom Cuevas Road bike
Saris Bones 3 Review
I bought this rack just to get me through a local trip to Annapolis - the bike had to be out of the back seat. Dick's had one left in their Woodbridge NJ store for about $120. It took about a half hour to mount on the rear of the Impala and about 10 min to fine tune. This rack is impressive. You can open the trunk with the bike attached (keep in mind I've got a very light Ti bike) and access the trunk.
I was pretty nervous driving with this thing in back, but it was rock solid, even at 80-85 mph. You do have to make sure you have a deep enough bumper to support it; the Impala has about a 3-1/2 in deep one.
After the first 50 miles, I checked the tension in the straps - everything still tight.
Probably the only criticism is that you need to get some type of long cable lock that will loop through the Saris's tube, through the bike fram and through the trunk structure. This is 'cause people will just think they can rip this right off your car, which I suppose they could if they cut every strap...
I've got this rack as well. Had it for about a year now. I've transported my bikes ~1300 miles or so with it at this point and really love it.
It does have some of the same drawbacks as any trunk rack: You need a top tube adapter to use it with bikes that lack a normal top tube, it it hard to secure it to the car so that it can't be removed by a thief, and it is hard to lock bikes to it.
The design is excellent however and keeps the bikes separate from each other nicely, unlike other trunk racks I've used. It's rock solid with the bikes on it, though I think I've only carried 2 at a time on it so far. With a top tube adapter I've even carried bikes that weigh 50lbs or so plus my bike (~30-35lbs) and it handled it fine. It also works fine with the spoiler on my 2002 Altima (after getting the adjustment right) and I've used it on a hatchback (Scion xA) as well.
The only drawbacks unique to the Bones that I've found are that the excess from the straps needs to be secured to avoid them getting beat up at high speeds and since there is nothing provided to do this it means you have to find something to do it with yourself and that it is a bit on the bulky side to store in your trunk when not in use without folding it up, in which case you have to set it back up for your car every time.
IF you fold the Saris Bones up for storage, just take a sharpie & mark on the "tube" where the arrow on the "arm" is. IF you move more than one set of "arms",use 2 different color sharpie's!
I have a Bones 3 myself, & the ONLY complaint is that when I carry 2 of my buddies bikes that are F.S., they are a PAIN to put on it! But it works & we get to the trail & back. I never have had any compliants with 2 hardtails on it though.
& you can even open the trunk with 2 hardtails as well, but it is kinda tuff!
As for the straps, I wrap them around the arms & tie them off. I also use one of the straps to keep the front wheel from moving when I have only my bike on the rack!
I have three Saris bike stands, the ones with the double arches which are adj. for wheel width's. I hate them. They are cheap, not structually sound and the arches bend to the point of extreme bike lean. Plastic pieces of sh%#..........Yet I hear the auto racks like you guy's have are really good, yet I'm hesitant to buy one due to the bad taste I have for their stands.