Allen Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Carrier Review
Cons: Not adjustable, support arms may not work with all frame shapes/styles, no security features
Manufacturer: Allen Sports
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Allen Sports makes a variety of affordable bike racks, and the Deluxe 2 is a no-frills trunk mount model with a 2-bike capacity. This rack is very, very inexpensive when compared to any other rack we've tested, and that low price is reflected in its very basic design. This rack is about as simple as they come, with limited adjustability and no security features to speak of. That said, it works well enough that it's hard not to recommend to the infrequent user who is on the tightest of budgets.
Ease of Everyday Use
Loading bicycles on this competitor is relatively easy, and the loading height is low. Front-wheel removal is not required. Bikes are placed on the plastic cradles and secured using nylon straps with plastic buckles. Threading and tightening the plastic buckles is not as fast and straightforward as the rubber straps or the ladder straps used on the more expensive competition.
We did find that the straps that secure the bikes had a tendency to loosen over time, and they required attention and retightening on longer drives. This wasn't an issue, however, on shorter trips. The support arms on the Deluxe 2-Bike measure 12.5-inches wide, and we found them to work best with bikes that had more traditional frame shapes. This rack quickly became more cumbersome to use when oddly shaped mountain bike frames and rear suspension designs came into play.
Ease of Removal and Storage
Finding the optimal attachment points for the nylon straps is an exercise of trial and error. The directions give only generic instructions with no specifics for different vehicles, which is in contrast to the extremely versatile and easy-to-use fit systems found on some of the more expensive trunk mount racks. Removing the Allen Deluxe 2 is quite easy. Simply loosen the top, side, and lower straps, unhook them from the trunk edges and lift the rack off the vehicle.
The rack is impressively lightweight at just 7 lbs and 9 oz, and it folds up very small for storage. You do need to unhook the two silver support stays to fold it into its smallest size which we measured at 22.5" L x 13.5 W x 4". With such a light weight and collapsed size, the Allen takes up virtually no room in your trunk or storage space when not in use.
This model is secured to the vehicle trunk or hatch by nylon straps in a similar manner to other trunk-mount racks we tested. Metal support arms wrapped in soft foam contact the vehicle. Allen has printed a list of compatible vehicles on the back of the box, and they have a fit compatibility feature on their website. It is claimed to work with a surprisingly large number of sedans, station wagons, and SUVs. That said, this is the only trunk-mount rack we tested that has no adjustability to allow an optimal fit for different vehicles. The metal support arms are fixed in place, so they cannot be adjusted for stability or to avoid contact with latches, lights, or areas that may not be suited to supporting the weight. Access to the rear vehicle compartment is not possible when the rack is mounted to the vehicle, but this is the case with all of the trunk-mount racks we tested.
The Deluxe 2 can hold 2 bikes with a max weight limit of 70 lbs. It holds bikes by making direct contact with the frame and works best with more traditional frame shapes. It isn't ideal for carrying full-suspension bikes or bikes with funky frame shapes. When carrying two bikes, they are prone to making contact with each other, so those with expensive bikes should keep that in mind.
Ease of Assembly
This bike rack comes out of the box already assembled. Two attached wire struts must be inserted into pre-drilled holes on the upper support arm, and then the model is ready for use.
This model has no security features to secure the rack to the vehicle or the bicycles on the rack. One could lock the bikes to the rack with a cable lock, but that would do very little to deter a determined bike thief.
The overall construction does not feel as robust as on other trunk racks we tested. Nylon straps are prone to damage from the sun, and the foam bumpers that contact the vehicle will eventually become brittle with age. We did not experience any failure of the plastic buckles used to secure the bikes, but they seem susceptible to damage if used carelessly.
Despite the lack of versatility, the Allen Deluxe 2 is a good value, so long as the buyer is aware of its shortcomings. For those that plan to use a rack on a regular basis or who have expensive bikes, we feel there are better options.
The Allen Deluxe 2-Bike is one of the least expensive trunk racks on the market. It can fit on a wide range of sedans, station wagons, and SUVs, and provides a serviceable performance. The trunk mount design with fixed bike support arms limits its ability to carry full suspension bikes. That said, we feel this is a decent option for the infrequent bike rack user working on a tight budget.
— Curtis Smith, Jeremy Benson