Dirt Rag Magazine

Review: Yakima SkyBox Pro 16

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Mountain biking requires a lot of gear, particularly if you’re, say, going on a multi-day road trip where you plan to camp and ride. When faced with the decision of which automobile to buy to haul around said gear, choices run the gamut from small and efficient to large and inefficient. Years ago, I bought a small, two-door hatchback that was efficient and great in the city. But, when packing for a camping and riding road trip for two, I simply didn’t have as much room as I’d like. Enter Yakima’s Skybox Pro 16 with, you guessed it, 16 cubic feet of storage.

According to Yakima’s online fit guide, the Skybox 16 was the largest cargo box that would fit my little hatchback. Yakima’s offerings range from 12 to 21 cubic feet of space, so I was excited to be able to fit such a large box on a little car. For perspective, my car offered 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats up, 35.7 cubic feet when folded down. So, an additional 16 cubic feet is a substantial addition.

Yakima does a good job of relating what sort of things will fit in each of its boxes. This 16 model is said to haul enough camping gear for three people, which seems pretty spot on to me. It’ll also haul skis and snowboards up to 180cm. I greatly appreciated keeping my skis out of the salty, corrosive elements.

Installing the Skybox is a breeze thanks to the four quick-release mounts, which will accommodate round, square, factory, and Whispbar cross bars. I was able to install and remove this box by myself, though its 47 lbs can be awkward due to size. Speaking of weight, be sure to factor in your vehicle’s maximum recommended rooftop capacity if you’re the kind of person who follows recommendations. Our Honda’s recommended maximum rooftop capacity was just 100 lbs, leaving less than 50 lbs (factoring in the rack as well) for cargo, which is easy to exceed with this much space.

Yakima’s dual SuperLatch closure mechanisms lock the Skybox closed with included SKS lock cores. The SuperLatches are slick; offering quick access from either side of your vehicle. Because the quick-release mounting levers are located inside the bottom of the box, closing the lid also locks the box to your rack.

The only downside I can find in the Skybox is the subsequent decrease in gas mileage. Our mileage dropped three to five miles per gallon depending on prevailing winds and travel speed. Though, compared to having a larger, less efficient vehicle, it was awfully nice to be able to take the box off and see your mileage go back up.

This Pro version of the Skybox 16 will set you back $599, while a base-model Skybox is available for $479. The difference between the Pro and base model lies in the raw materials used for construction. The Pro model offers a smoother, higher quality finish that better matches your car’s aesthetic, while the base model is a little less polished, looking like black plastic. Functionally, both models are the same. I know this seems like a big investment, but it’s sure a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a larger vehicle. Nicely done, Yakima, nicely done.

 

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