Words & pics: Jordan Cheyne
At first glance, the new Saris Solo Glow rack could be dismissed as a bit of a novelty item. The Solo Glow is a single-bike phosphorescent bike rack and it glows in the dark like all of those cool toys you had as a kid. That could be the end of this review but Saris’ latest offering has a lot more going for it than a bit of photoluminescent zinc sulfide. In terms of value, functionality and simplicity the Solo Glow rack is a standout product in a crowded market.
Saris Solo Glow rack has the perfect position for your bike.
Looks good from either side.
The Saris Solo rack series, also available without “the glow”, is fairly unique in the fact that it is a rear mounted, one bike rack. A quick peruse through the catalogues of rack manufacturers like Yakima, Thule and MEC found only solo roof racks or multi bike rear racks, but nothing quite like the Solo. For a racer or enthusiast carting a single bike the Solo’s unique features are very appealing. The Solo is an easy way to safely secure your bike and free up valuable trunk space without synching a clunky mess of straps and aluminum to your vehicle. And unlike many bulkier rear racks, the Solo’s compact setup allows easy opening and closing of your hatch or trunk even with a bike mounted and while a single bike roof rack can be an equally easy and slick, the cost in fuel economy can be upwards of 30%. With these factors considered, the Solo rack may be the ideal way to transport a single bike.
Safe and secure.
The rack also looks after your car.
Installation proved a very easy task thanks to the Solo’s one-piece design. Instead of a fold out aluminum frame, the Solo is constructed from one piece of very sturdy plastic with rubber grippers at its 4 contact points. After following the instructions provided for my specific vehicle type (a hatchback), the rack settled itself naturally below the rear window, secured by four heavy-duty straps. The bike is then easily affixed using 2 fully adjustable clamps on the top tube and a strap on the seat tube to prevent sway. The only qualm I had with this installation was that the straps loosened slightly (not dangerously) following the rack’s maiden voyage. Perhaps just needed to settle into its optimal position but I would recommend keeping an eye on this early on. After a quick retightening the rack stayed rock solid for a 1200 km round trip to a stateside stage race.
Through out my time using the Solo Glow over 3 weeks, the rack really shone in its ability to come on and off with ease. While other racks involve buttons, notches and folding, the Solo comes off as is and occupies the same space as a small travel bag. And while many two bike rear racks weigh upwards of 20 pounds the Saris weighs a scant 2, meaning that you can easily pass it to your child/soigneur to hold in the packing/unpacking process.
Low enough to see well out of the rear window.
Coming in at only $69 (or $59 for the less luminous standard model) including a lifetime warranty, the Solo Glow is hard to beat in terms of value. Even the most bare bones, off-brand aluminum rear racks will come in around $100 with far less utility than the Solo. I personally purchased Saris’s “Bike Porter” rack for around $150 several years ago and I by far prefer the Solo for half the price.
The rack that Glow’s above the rest.
Looks good in daylight too.
Finally, let’s talk about the Glow in Solo Glow. Sure it is a bit of a gimmick but it is a pretty cool one at that. Even in broad day light, the phosphorescent colour drew stares and inquiry in the race parking lot. “It just looks different” was the common appraisal from fellow racers. But the Solo Glow really drew attention as the sun went down when the rack started to emit a powerful green glow. The rack kept on glowing for the 6-hour drive home as well which is a lot more than my glow-in-the-dark action figures. Throughout the drive I kept looking in my mirror, seeing the Glow and congratulating myself for having such a hip sense of bike-rack style. If that sense of “Glow” related self satisfaction isn’t worth the purchase price, I don’t know what is. And for 10 extra dollars the Solo Glow begs the question: Why not?
If you can’t think of a good reason, the Solo Glow is available from local dealers for a limited time only. Based on my extended experience; I don’t think you will be disappointed.
You can find more information on the full Saris product range, including the Solo Glow here.