Mont Blanc Roof Rack Review
|Time to setup :||1hr|
|Quality :||Very Good|
A few weeks back, Mont Blanc sent cycle-route.com some shiny new bike roof carriers, along with a bike boot rack to be given the full test of a cycling weekend away.
The breakdown of the individual items as follows :
- 1 Mont Blanc Scott Roof Mount Carrier
- 1 Mont Blanc Barracuda Roof Mount Carrier
- 1 Set of 2007 126cm Alumi Roof Bars
- 1 Set of Alumi Roof Bar Feet (3703 Roof Kit)
The test car was an Audi A3 Sportsback with standard roof rails included.
The first test we performed was how quick and easy it would be to assemble the items on the roof. In order to test how intuituve the setup was, we refused to look at the instructions until necessary. The roofbars were assembled onto the car with minimal work. The feet slide into either end of the rail and then tighten over the roof rails. There are 2 predefined holes on the roof rails which they seemlessly slot into. The controls on the feet allow you to very easily adjust the tightness over the rail.
One point worth noting here, it's better having help on hand for this part. As the rails can be used on many different cars theres a bit of adjustment in them, and trying to get them centered on the car, can take a fair bit of time on your own constantly checking to see if its even at both ends.
The feet pack supplied, comes with a key to allow you to lock them. This will prevent anyone trying to pinch your bars in a car park, so it's a great security feature.
Once the bars are on, you need to mount the bike carriers. The roof mounted bike carriers are supplied with what can be described as a clamp device, to allow you to attach them to any standard square tubing roof bar. Alternatively with the Aluminum Bars, Mont Blanc supply you with a different bolt to slot along the middle channel of the bar. These bolts make the fitting much quicker, more secure and pleasing to the eye.
The bike carriers go on fairly quickly, using a quick release style tightener, allowing fine adjustment quickly. What is quite interesting about the cheaper Scott Mont Blanc bike rack is that it includes a metal plate which you can use to lock the carrier to the roof bars. This is ideal as once again, saves anyone pinching them when you leave you car. The Barracuda model uses a more sophisticated method of locking, which isn't at first obvious. The arm mechanism when in place, locks the quick release levers. However you need to make sure that the arm is always locked to the bike, or locked to the carrier itself, otherwise the rack could still be easily removed.
Both bike carriers have a lock for when your bike is in place. The Scott model had a simple pincer like clamp that once again, using quick release levers allowed you to get the width set up correctly, then simply lock.
The bikes being tested on the carriers were a Santa Cruz Heckler and Trek Y Series. It's interesting to note that due to the height of the 'Y' frame in the trek, the Scott carrier could not clamp the bike as the bike rack arm was not long enough.
The Barracuda had a similar pincer device, but much more beefier. The device slides up and down a metal arm allowing the most refinement and options for all types of bikes. This extra refinement was ideal for the Trek frame, giving a little bit more height and direction to grip the frame. The Barracuda rack looks sleek, aero dynamic, and stylish. It has a moulded tyre support at the front, along with 2 plastic cable clips to secure the wheels to the frame. These were better than the Scott model's fabric fasteners with a metal clip as you don't risk chipping the paint work on your car with the plastic materials.
What makes roof carriers so much better than a rear mounted boot carrier is the fact you don't need to remove the bikes every time you access your boot. This is a major plus.
So now we were ready to go. There's always a slight concern when carrying items on your roof for the first time, have I tightened everything enough? will it be secure? what was that noise?... However, there was no issues at all. Once the bikes were on and the frames were secure, you were lulled into a false sense of security, as if they weren't even there. It may be worth noting at this point, that you always need to remember that when you have bikes on your roof, your car height has almost doubled, and hence that car park with the restrictive height entry, you can no longer get into without taking the bikes off your car first.
All in all, cycle-route.com was very impressed with the equipment. The build quality was very good, and the racks simple and straight forward to erect. The Aluminum roof bars look very nice and much more stylish than the square tubing alternatives. If style and quality are what you are after, these are a must.
For more information about Mont Blanc cycle carriers, including a simple guide to find what carrier is right for you, please check out their website