This is my review of the Totem Pole Bike Rack – a bike rack that can carry the bikes of the whole family! This bike rack will hold up to six bikes, so it should meet all the needs of most families. Here is a video that introduces the Totem Pole Bike Rack.
As you can see, the Totem Bike rack will transport up to 6 bikes of any design, including kid’s bikes.
Special Offer for Average Joe Cyclist Readers – 10% off a New Totem Pole Bike Rack
Totem has kindly offered our readers a 10% discount off the price of a new Totem Pole Bike Rack for 6 bikes. Bike racks are shipped for free in the USA. (They can be shipped to Canada, but there is a price for that, and it’s not cheap.) Just use the discount code AVERAGEJOE. Click here to claim your discount!
The Totem Bike Rack can be purchased with an additional steel piece that turns the bike rack into a stand for bikes! As we live in a condo, storing our bikes is an ongoing challenge. (I could leave them downstairs in the parking garage, but I love them too much for that.)
Rated for up to 200 Pounds
The Totem Pole Bike Rack is the world’s first hitch mount rack that can transport up to 6 bikes. It is fairly easy to install the first time, taking about 20 minutes. The vertical design keeps it compact. Note however that you have to have a two-inch hitch to mount this rack. The large size is to support all six bikes safely. The rack is rated for up to 200 pounds. That translates into 6 average bikes, or 4 e-bikes weighing about 40 pounds each, or 4 full-suspension mountain bikes weighing about 40 pounds each. It should suffice for the needs of most families.
The Totem Pole Bike Rack Doubles as a Bike Stand
The Totem Pole Bike Stand can be plugged into the optional three-legged bike stand, making it a neat and tidy way to store your bikes in smaller spaces. This is a massive benefit, in my opinion. We constantly struggle with bike storage options, ever since the kids grew up and we downsized to a condo. The only thing I miss about our big house is the huge garage!
In the video below, Maggie shows what it is like to assemble the Totem as a bike rack. This video will be helpful whether you are planning to use it as a bike rack or as a stand, as almost all the steps are the same. We had to assemble it in our home because our hitch is not big enough for this rack (it needs a 2 inch hitch). Later, we were able to borrow a car to try it on. Although this initial assembly takes about 20 minutes, it is much quicker to put on your car after that.
Transporting the Totem Pole Bike Rack
When not in use, you can keep this bike rack in the trunk of your car in the handy carry bag (unless of course you are using the rack as a bike stand).
How does the Totem Pole Bike Rack Work?
The answer is: really well. As it is rated for 200 pounds, we tested it with two e-bikes weighing about 50 pounds each, and three regular bikes, each weighing about 24 pounds. It worked just fine. I was surprised at how little rattle there was, and almost no movement of the bikes, even over the ridiculously rough roads of the city I live in (which I often compare unfavorably to cattle tracks in the country I come from, which is Africa). I am a little bit anxious when it comes to bike racks, and tend to watch the bikes obsessively, so if I am relaxed, that is very high praise.
If you have ever used any bike rack, you will probably be worried about the bikes damaging each other because of their close proximity. However, the design of this rack quite cleverly mitigates that possibility. The bikes hang from their respective front tires, so that only the tires tend to be touching, and of course, tires offer some protection. Of course, the handlebars alternate to minimize the space taken up. You do need to keep an eye out to make sure that no sensitive surfaces are touching when you load them up.
Best Bike Rack for Families
I am sure some owners of $5,000 bikes would not want their bikes hanging from their carbon front wheels and mixing it up in such close proximity with five other bikes. Well, I honestly don’t think this bike rack is intended for those bike owners. To me, its natural fit is with a mix of family bikes, whose prices might range from $100 to $1,000 at most. And whose owners could not care less if their bikes get the occasional scratch – they are more concerned about the fun of cycling with family members. It would also be great for picking up a few of your child’s friends and taking them all to the park with their bikes.
In fact, the inventor of this bike has stated explicitly that he invented the Totem Pole Bike rack so that he could go biking with his wife and their four small children. Of course, you could also buy a trailer for all those bikes – but this is a much cheaper and simpler option, and is surprisingly effective for its purpose. (And you don’t have to figure out where to store the trailer.) I have researched this bike rack, and I have found many families who are extremely happy with their Totem Bike Rack.
That said, we always use bungee cords and other sensible measures to augment our bike racks and keep our bikes as safe as possible. The rack is supplied with a strap to keep all the bikes together, and the rear wheels are stabilized at the bottom by a rod. Also, each individual bike is stabilized with its own strap. You can see that in the video above.
I should add that both Maggie and I care very little about the cosmetics of our bikes (or our car, for that matter). To us they are functional steel devices, and we don’t really care about the odd tiny scratches. To be honest, I am not the best car-parker in the world, so we have learned to live with the odd huge scratch as well. If it doesn’t impact functionality – and scratches never do – we just do not care. I know that some people care a lot, and those people would not be suited to this rack. And really, if your bike costs $5,000 and looks drop-dead beautiful, I don’t blame you for being fussy. In that case, get a Thule platform rack made for two bikes, and use it to transport that one perfect bike in stately splendor.
If on the other hand you want to go biking with your family, this Totem Bike Rack is an excellent idea. If you want to buy one of these versatile bike racks, check out the Totem Pole Bike Rack web site. And you can use the discount code AVERAGEJOE to get a 10% discount off what is already an excellent price. Get this bike rack and get started on one of the most fun things you can do – cycling expeditions with the whole family!
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