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  1. #1
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    Draftmaster Bike Rack

    I am looking to get a new bike rack that better accomodates all the bikes (kid, mtn, road and tandem) including the tandem. The tandem adds a level of complexity that most (all) other non-roof racks don't accommodate. The Draftmaster seems to offer a lot of flexibility and ease all in 1 rack.

    How are others experience with the Draftmaster?
    Does a tandem that high in the air behind a mid-size SUV/crossover help much with gas mileage/bugs/wind noise as compared to putting on the roof?
    Do the 'trays' accommodate different types of bikes: 26" & 29" Mtn bikes with disc brakes, road bikes, kids bike (quick release) without additional accessories or significant adjustments to the trays?
    Can the tandem 'tray' be used for 1/2 (single) bikes with a simple tray adjustment when not being used by tandem?
    Does the front wheel 'holder' accommodate disc brake rotors?
    Is it relatively easy to store off the vehicle?

    Pros/Cons for me:

    Pros:

    1 Rack to carry up to 4 bikes (3 half bikes, 1 tandem) at once with front wheels outside car
    1 Rack to store and easy take off car when not using
    Don't have to put bikes on roof and all that entails
    Can easily access car with rack on the hitch
    Seems to be well made

    Cons:
    Expensive (but more comparable when considering separate 1/2 bike rack and tandem rack)
    Tandem sticking up high in-air looks crazy
    Have to take front wheels off bike

  2. #2
    Santana Couple
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    I have been using a Draft Master for 7 years and find it very easy to use. Installation and removal take about 3 minutes. We have traveled with the tandem and two singles a number of times and with just singles. Also ther is less bike up in thwe air than with a roof rack. I do use a Pygmy Pack on both chains because there is a lot of dust swirrling around behind a car.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    How are others experience with the Draftmaster?
    we love ours.

    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Does a tandem that high in the air behind a mid-size SUV/crossover help much with gas mileage/bugs/wind noise as compared to putting on the roof?
    Yes. On the roof, there's a noticeable loss of mileage, and wind noise. I'm sure there is some loss of mileage with the Draftmaster, but it's not enough to be noticeable, and I haven't tracked it to get a precise figure. Never noticed any wind noise with the darftmaster.


    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Do the 'trays' accommodate different types of bikes: 26" & 29" Mtn bikes with disc brakes, road bikes, kids bike (quick release) without additional accessories or significant adjustments to the trays?
    I've only used it for MTB's, both 26 and 29, and road bikes. Works fine with those, and no issue with disc brakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Can the tandem 'tray' be used for 1/2 (single) bikes with a simple tray adjustment when not being used by tandem?
    Yes. The easiest way would be to simply put another wheel tie down further up the tray. Otherwise you could slide the one wheel tie down back and forth as needed, but that would require a wrench.
    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Does the front wheel 'holder' accommodate disc brake rotors?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Is it relatively easy to store off the vehicle?
    Yes. We've got it standing up against the wall in the garage.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    Tandem sticking up high in-air looks crazy
    We prefer to think distinctive.


    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for replies. Apage4u - I am a little concerned about dirt/dust on rear rack, but don't plan to use too much off-road. Do you get than much dirt/dust on paved roads?

    Merlin - Thank you for the detailed replies, appreciate it. Reads like you enjoy the rack. In researching the options, I have seen that you have a Rocky Mount Tandem Roof Rack too. I suppose it depends on what car you are taking, but do you have rack preference and general setup between the two as it seems you apparently transport different bikes too.

    Yes, the Red 'accessory' for your tandem is distinctive.


    As far as wind-resistance and not being too technical, I wonder if the upward orientation for a tandem on the Draftmaster still gets to enjoy most of the slipstream benefits from a mid-size SUV.

  6. #6
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I prefer the Draft Master. If there was a hitch mount on the other car, I'd use it on both cars.

    The Rocky Mount is nice for a roof rack. It's solidly put together, looks good cosmetically, and bolts into factory roof racks. the last point was the reason we bought it.

    The rotating fork mount is a bit questionable, and in our application, you can't use it, due to the positioning of the Rocky mount on the roof rails. So if you need that feature, you might look at another rack, or at least determine whether it will work on your vehicle.

    So if you need the rotating mount, it might not be the best
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  7. #7
    Santana Couple
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    [QUOTE=HowellGC;14830970]Thanks for replies. Apage4u - I am a little concerned about dirt/dust on rear rack, but don't plan to use too much off-road. Do you get than much dirt/dust on paved roads?

    We travel to several out of state rides. When you catch rain the tandem can get dirty. I also use a Trasnport cover to keep bugs off the handlebars.

  8. #8
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    How accessible is the rear of the vehicle with the Draftmaster loaded with bikes including front wheels? Any issues?

    What are the straps seen in the photos for? Do they need to be adjusted often? If so, easy to do?

  9. #9
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    We've used a Draftmaster for the past 9 years on two vehicles to haul our Rans "Screamer" around, almost weekly. We use it on our Subaru Forester and a small Rv, Roadtrek. The latter for six trips to Florida from Canada and return. No problems. Easy access to both vehicles. I've also made a rig to carry my Catrike Expedition recumbent trike on the same Draftmaster platform without any major issues. Pricey, but only 10% of the cargo it's carrying. ATOC are great folks to deal with and the product is very well made. Mike

  10. #10
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    There are pros and cons to each setup. It would be helpful if you specified what vehicle(s) you drive. My racks have adjustable bar spreads up to 113" - your potential installation will vary.
    To me the Draftmaster is;
    heavy to lug around - 43 lbs
    quick to hook up
    easy to load the bikes on
    adds length to the vehicle, complicates parking and fitting in a garage
    sways side to side - many add straps to help stabilize it
    the receiver slide-in may need to be customized for some vehicles (raised and/or lengthened)

    The Yakima roof racks I use;
    short cars are easy to load, the taller the vehicle the more difficult to load
    howl in the wind, but this is an EASY FIX with a bungee cord
    have carried lumber, 16' siding, 22.5' tandem kayak, canoes, ladders, ski pod, and any combination of these
    many of the parts can be scrounged used
    most vehicles will fit in a garage with the Yakima Sidewinder (tandem carrier) installed
    the tandem carriers will hold a single as well as a tandem
    I can watch the bike through the sunroof

    I always use the roof racks, but I'm keeping the Draftmaster just in case.

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HowellGC View Post
    How accessible is the rear of the vehicle with the Draftmaster loaded with bikes including front wheels? Any issues?

    What are the straps seen in the photos for? Do they need to be adjusted often? If so, easy to do?
    You've got full access to the back; you just step on the piece that locks it and the rack swings down.



    The straps are to help stabilize the rack. I never adjust them. I don't think they make much difference.
    Last edited by merlinextraligh; 10-15-12 at 06:47 AM.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justcrankn View Post
    To me the Draftmaster is;
    heavy to lug around - 43 lbs
    True. It's really overbuilt, which makes it sturdy, but also heavy.
    Quote Originally Posted by justcrankn View Post
    adds length to the vehicle, complicates parking and fitting in a garage
    It does add length, particularly with bikes loaded on.

    As for fitting in the garage, we take the tandem tray off (which comes off with 2 QR skewers) and the Cayenne fits in the garage with the rest of the rack on.


    Quote Originally Posted by justcrankn View Post
    sways side to side - many add straps to help stabilize it
    I've found that almost all the play comes from the interface with the receiver hitch, and not the rack itself. We use a hitch tightener, and there's little movement of the bikes.



    The straps don't seem to make a lot of difference. I just use them because the instructions say youu're supposed to.

    Quote Originally Posted by justcrankn View Post
    the receiver slide-in may need to be customized for some vehicles (raised and/or lengthened)
    True. However, the whole system is configuarble to your vehicle and use. The fact that you can configure as you want is an advantage in my opinion. I originally ordered ours with the longer receiver arm assumming that would give us more room getting stuff in the car. Found out we didn't need it, and swapped out for the shorter receiver arm.

    I'd definitely agree that any method of carrying a tandem has its drawbacks. However, for the purpose of moving a tandem with an SUV that has a hitch mount, and price is not a primary concern, I think the Draftmaster is a great solution.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I use a tandem topper, but if I had a vehicle with a strong enough hitch (other than my 1 ton truck), I'd be very interested in a Draftmaster. My one concern would be dirt. I've ridden in the rain with the bike on top of the car - bike gets wet, but not really dirt. The back window of our small wagon gets absolutely filthy in those conditions, something about the air flow. I wouldn't want that junk getting on our tandem's drive train. It may be that the bike stands far enough off the back of the car so as not to be a problem.
    Rick T
    --------
    Volagi - Triple"ized" and Tubeless
    daVinci Joint Venture

  14. #14
    Senior Member LuckySailor's Avatar
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    Talk to Charlie at ATOC. He's the owner, and he would rather you make a good informed decision rather than buying the wrong product-even if you don't buy from him (Draftmaster). Not the least bit pushy.

  15. #15
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    I have been researching the Alpaca, ATOC, and HitchRider and all seem to be good solutions. I have used roof and trunk racks of high quality without incident yet I have never felt comfortable with bicycles transported on the outside of a vehicle.

    Why not just rent a U-Haul trailer when needed?
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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