Got a new ride so need to transfer my old unit over to it. I own 2 of these racks from 2013. One had alot of rust so replace it with this 2019/2020 frontloader. The adjustments improved for more modern mtb bikes. I got a long strap in back so 27.5 x 3.0 fit and 29 x 3.0 fits (I used a strap on 2013 model). The settings even say 29er up 3.0 and 27.5 tires (old one was more 26 and 700c wheels). My wheel base on bike is 1240m long so as bike get longer I can see yakama making an improvement on this unit (yes some gravel bikes are going 500m long chainstay).
This is a big bag for a road bike but keep in mind it's not a dedicated road bike bag. It's 58 in. long and 33 in. tall. My 54cm tarmac fits with 11 in. to spare behind the frame. Kind of wasted space... Without the seat on the bike you may be able to smash the bag to 30-31" tall to put in a large suv vertical. Lots of handles outside the bag to assist with moving the bag around. Hard cases tend to have no where to grip.
The wheels help to protect the bike, mainly the rear triangle. But the axle of the wheels placed in the wheel compartments is pretty close to putting direct pressure on the seat stays of my 54 cm road bike. Larger and longer wheelbase bikes may not have this issue. Luckily there is a heavy piece of plastic that has some padding between the wheel compartment and the interior to protect and spread the point load from damaging the bike. My wheels came with wheel bags that add 2.5 lbs to my travel weight so that will help add some protection from the seat stays. Not sure I would spend the money for them vs adding additional padding. The brake rotors are to easy to bend and I will take them off to fly even though there is protection.
Many complain the fiberglass reeds are too long and do not fit. They are really hard to slide into the fabric channels on the end of the bag and the problem comes that they need to insert about an inch into the plastic part at the bottom of the bag. If the bag is not pulled tight there will be a slight fold in the fabric at the bottom of the bag where it meets the plastic and you wont be able to fully insert the reed. Also when the reeds bottom out into the plastic it makes the end of the bag extra sturdy. This soft side bag will hold it's shape and stand on it's own once all the reeds are in. This provides extra strength and stability around the fork too.
Haven't flown with the bag yet but it looks like a great option if you have multiple types of bikes. Empty it weighed 22lbs. With bike, helmet, shoes, and zipp wheel bags it weighed 43.5 lbs. Haven't tired a mtb in the bag yet.
Verse the competition contoured soft bag for road bikes I feel this bag adds additional protection from the delicate parts like forks, and rear seat stays that contouring along those parts doesn't. Contouring of the bag does make for a smaller bag but is it worth it???
Purchased three of these for one gravel bike and two townies. They are solidly built and have some adjustability regarding the direction and resistance of the hinge. All in all they work pretty well, but depending on the bike/rider they may not be the easiest thing to use as you need to lift your bike up vertically while stabilizing the wheel/fork to get them hooked up. My wifeï¿½s townie is pretty heavy and has full fenders (prevents pulling into a wheelie) so she struggles with it. I suspect kids would also have difficulty. All that said, they do what they said they would some Iï¿½m good with it.
I bought this rack to support transporting expensive bikes on family vacations. Knowing that a vacation is ruined if the rack breaks cost was not a factor in decision. That said this rack is amazing! Fast to load, easy to use, sturdy, looks great, and most important, securely hold the prized bikes you love. In 5 months we've driven from Wisconsin to Michigan 4x, Colorado 1x, & Florida 2x. Never an issue or concern. It's a heavy rack to lift by yourself, but that helps with solid feel/stability. I must say that it looks better in person than online. I am much happier than I thought I would be with the look/quality. Other racks are masses of plastic and this has a more purposeful thought through appearance. I also like the receiver tensioner to take out the wiggle caused by tolerances in truck receivers. Would buy again in a heartbeat!!!