Yakima KingJoe 2 Review
Cons: No security features, limits access to rear vehicle compartments, uses the frame as the primary attachment point
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Yakima KingJoe 2 is a trunk mount rack that will fit a wide range of vehicles. Setup is simple, and a 60lb max capacity is enough to handle most road and cross-country mountain bikes. Like the other trunk racks we tested, it uses the frame as the primary point of attachment.
The adjustable arms of this rack accommodate a wide range of vehicles, and it comes with a detailed fit guide to make this process simple. Versatility is equal to our Top Pick trunk mount rack, the Kuat Trio. The KingJoe 2 has a capacity of two bikes with a weight limit of 60 lbs, 10 lbs less than the Thule Raceway 2. It holds bikes by clamping the top tube, making direct contact with the bicycle frame. This model is not well suited to transporting full suspension bikes, or bikes with unique front triangle shapes, but this is the case for all racks we tested that use the frame as a primary point of attachment.
Ease of Assembly and Attachment
This rack comes pre-assembled except for the rubber straps, which are easily attached to the frame cradles by hand. No tools are required and the included instructions are excellent. Like the Thule Raceway, the KingJoe 2 comes with a Fit Sheet that specifies support arm settings and includes fit advice for a wide range of vehicles based on make, model and year. Once the support arms are set to the proper distance apart for your vehicle, attachment is made via six nylon straps with rubber-coated hooks. The KingJoe 2 also comes with Glass Hatch Hooks for vehicles that do not have metal edges for attachment or have a glass rear hatch.
Ergonomics/Ease of Use
Loading bikes on this particular rack is easy due to the low loading height. No front wheel removal is required. Once a bike is positioned on the cradles, rubber straps are used to secure the frame to the cradles. Loading small bikes, full suspension bikes, and bikes with unique front triangle shapes can be difficult, and it is sometimes impossible to make a secure connection. This is a weakness of all racks that use the frame as a primary point of attachment. Bike-to-bike contact can also be an issue with the KingJoe 2, requiring creative strapping with the included nylon straps to prevent bikes from swinging into each other when the vehicle is in motion. As with all trunk racks we tested, access to the rear of the vehicle is not possible with the rack installed.
The KingJoe 2 is well built, but lacks the level of durability displayed by our Top Pick choice, the Kuat Trio. The Raceway 2 uses steel cables rather than nylon straps, making it less susceptible to damage from the sun. The only issue we had during testing of the KingJoe was deterioration of the foam on the Glass Hatch Hooks, following extensive sun exposure. The cradle straps are rubber, and will deteriorate over time with repeated use and exposure to the elements, but they are replaceable and readily available from Yakima.
This contender has no security features, making both the rack and bikes vulnerable to theft.
This rack is best suited for transporting road and mountain bikes with traditional front triangle shapes; ideal for the user who is making short trips and is not concerned with security.
With a retail price of $139, the Yakima KingJoe 2 is an excellent value. It lacks the security features and durability of our Top Pick trunk rack, but is nearly 50 percent cheaper. The KingJoe 2 is easier to use and less expensive than the Saris Bones 2-Bike, also a trunk mount rack, which retails for $149.
Yakima also offers a three-bike version, the KingJoe 3 for $155.
— Curtis Smith