akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Friday, 27 August 2010

Cool Solo

I went to the LBS in Johor Jaya a couple of days ago for an (ehm ehm) 'upgrade' to the RTW Machine. Okay, Johor Jaya is not really that 'local' to Seri Alam. The shop owner, a young Kennt Ho brings in quite a good array of quality products. Among others: Trek (bikes and helmets), Gary Fisher, Kali, Topeak, Camelbak, Saris. I admire his tool board, too - a spread of Park Tools. My kind of stuff.
I saw this small plastic thing with straps perched atop a cabinet in the small shop - it's a Saris Solo. I've seen its siblings Bones 2-Bike and 3-Bike on the rears of a few Singaporean cars and in KL too, but that's the first time I've seen the Solo. And held it in my hands.
Designed for a single bike mounted on the car rear (max 35 lbs or 15.9 kg) , it appears 'questionable' due to being lightweight (close to 1 kg), largely because of its material. To quote from Saris' website: "100% recyclable, non-rusting materials". Basically it's plastic, some rubber material for the car/rack interface and nylon straps. It is small in size, too. Well, I don't have its exact size and footprint, but it's handy compared to my Cap Ayam steel rear rack.
I'm a bit skeptical on it's ability to hold the bike. Well, lightweight and sturdiness may not come together, unless the design is really optimised and engineered well. Plus, it's a rear mount rack, and that doesn't aid in gaining the confidence, for me at least. Also, it has only top and bottom secure straps. No straps for lateral security, and that worries me a bit especially for when the car is taking a corner. However, it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. It warrants to the original consumer to be free from defects in materials and workmanship. Well, at least it offers some warranty compared to a Cap Ayam one.
Kennt told me that it is suitable for a short trip with car speed of around 80 to 90 km/h. Well, looks like it fits my criteria. Small size and lightweight. No moving parts - easily stowed in my small storeroom and quick mount on the car too. Looks simple, elegant and cool. Has lifetime warranty. Has no moving parts, except for the straps need to be tightened.
I use my Cap Ayam rack on the rear of a Proton Saga BLM, only occasionally because I usually would pedal to the RV point for weekend offroad rides. Most of the time it sits idle in the storeroom, or on a short loan to a friend. This might be suitable for me, on short trips around JB but definitely not on PLUS highway.
The price? RM200 at Kennt's shop. It is more expensive than the Cap Ayam ones (circa RM150), being able to carry only 1 instead of 2 or 3. It's an inexpensive solution compared to a Thule roof rack system which would cost me 10 times more. Anyway, that's not a really fair comparison with Thule for it's a different system altogether. What I'm saying is that it would work for me, but perhaps with a tweak with the lateral secure strap hacked from the Cap Ayam rack.
Will I get it? Hmm... not sure yet. The reviews on it are not so strong.
Anybody else has experience with it?
More reviews here:
images taken from Saris and REI websites


vince said...

Hi Hizam,

Just wondering have you bought the Saris Solo? As I am thinking to get one too. If you are using it now, can you share your experience on it?


akmalhizam said...

Have not gotten it, at least not yet. Thinking of asking Kennt for a unit for review.
If I do get it, I'll use it and post a review later on insyaAllah.