I just returned home from a 2 week camping trip where I got a chance to try out my new Yakima EXO system which included the Doubleup bike rack and the Gear Locker. The system was easy to use and the SwingBase and pivoting Topshelf worked as expected. The bike rack is easy to use, fits any bike with no adjustments needed, and it has individual cable locks for each bike. The gear locker fits lots equipment, including my 5 lb propane tank (what a great acquisition- I filled it for $5 before I left and it lasted me 12 days - replacing 6-$8 1lb green canisters. It almost paid for itself on this one trip). Unfortunately I need 3 different SKS keys to operate all the different locks!
The system is heavy! The Yakama SwingBase is 68.5 lbs, the Gear Locker is 27.8 lbs, the Topshelf is 33.5 lbs, and the bike rack is 37.5 lbs. Thats more than 167 lbs without bikes or gear. The EXO system is all tongue weight. According to p. 315 of my owners manual and this discussion https://www.metrisforum.com/threads/max-hitch-weight-via-hitch-rack.9797/
the maximum permissible nose weight is 500 lbs, which is the recommended 0.1 of the towing rating of 5000 lbs.
Loaded with 2 bikes that each weigh about 30 lbs, and with a charcoal grill, charcoal, a tarp, 2 folding chairs, a shower tent, a 5 lb propane tank, and a lantern and some other camping gear in the Gear Locker I noticed no change in the Metris’ handling. My gas mileage over my 1000 mile trip was maybe 0.1 mpg less than the 23.1 mpg I have been getting. I did scrape one extra-tall speed bump at the beginning of the trip, but otherwise had no problems with clearance.
What I did notice is that when we hit those highway dips before and after some bridges, I could see in my rear view mirror the bikes bouncing up and down what seemed to be about 6 inches. It was a little disconcerting to see that but I figured that both Yakima and Mercedes know what they are doing so I tried to ignore it. Also, you may be able to see in the side photo that there is quite a bit of extra clearance over the front wheel than in the back. It looks like the front is being slightly raised by the weight at the rear. Maybe I’ll need to look into getting some heavier duty shocks/stabilizers and perhaps a 1.5 to 2” lift (one thing always leads to another!).
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