Inflight Bike Systems: 2 Fold Hatch Bike Rack review from Spoke issue 32

The 2 Fold Hatch has three features that set it apart from most products available in New Zealand. To begin with, a hinge point allows you to lower the rack (even when loaded) to access the rear of your wagon or hatch. This feature proved very useful on a two-week trip around the East Cape, which involved a lot of packing and unpacking, and has continued to be convenient on shorter excursions closer to home.

Secondly, pivots at the ends of the support arms allow you to fold them away when not in use. This means you can leave the rack on the car without worrying that you might impale someone in the supermarket car park or pierce two holes in the wall of your garage. For four months the rack has been permanently on the back of my car, with no injury to person or property.

These folding features are undeniably great concepts. However the engineering of them has resulted in a product that is very heavy. This may be an issue if you plan to be carrying three or four bikes and have a tow bar with a relatively light tongue loading. Inflight has recognised this and can now provide a strap to transfer load to the top of the hatch of the car.

The final unique feature is the fastening system, which uses a combination of bungees and plastic ‘multicleat’ fastening blocks. The bungees can be left permanently attached to the rack, which saves you from fossicking around in the back seat when they get lost. Initially this system seemed well thought out and easy to use, but I soon started to have difficulty threading the bungees. The weight of my bike distorted the protective foam to the point where it was blocking the hole through which you thread the bungee. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re standing in the cold rain for five minutes struggling to tie your bike down it’s a real pain. Four months of regular use has proven that this issue is not unique to frame type or user.

Mountain bikers are generally a rough bunch. The products we use need to be able to handle some abuse. This rack is proudly made in New Zealand and the construction is generally very good. However a couple of items let it down. The protective foam seems to be less durable than some other products, and the powdercoat finish is more easily damaged than I would expect. Leif Roy

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