When my enthusiasm for cycling was rekindled at the start of the pandemic in 2020, it was only a matter of time before I felt I had to figure out a way to transport my bicycle using our family’s car, a subcompact-sedan. We travel whenever we can, and being into cycling more now than I ever was, I knew I had to take my bicycle along. In my search for hauling options, I stumbled upon the Colibri trunk rack by Taiwanese bike rack manufacturer BuzzRack.
The Colibri’s design is pretty straightforward. The rack, which carries one bike, attaches to the boot of a car, as opposed to being fixed to the vehicle via a tow hitch receiver like other car racks for bikes. It is fastened to the car using four straps, one attached to each of the four corners of the rack. The bike is secured to the rack by having its top tube strapped to the two cradles at the upper part of the assembly. With a design like this, you can imagine the rack acting like a backpack, in a sense.
BuzzRack Colibri features
The BuzzRack Coilbri’s attractive features made it a shoo-in among the bike racks for cars I was looking at. Since it doesn’t require a tow hitch receiver, it’s comparatively cost-effective; I got it for P3,599 via Lazada. It also features a minimalist design, having room for just one bike and no unnecessary adornments. (It’s reasonable to think, as I did, that a rack that can carry more than just one bike will have a better carrying capacity than the Colibri and hence offer better security when you’re carrying just one bike. But then you’d have more slots for bikes on your boot rack than you have use for.)
Most importantly, BuzzRack has been in the game since 2005, which has presumably allowed them to keep improving their manufacturing processes. For a moment I considered buying a much cheaper trunk rack that didn’t go by any brand name as far as I can remember. But getting a trunk rack for my bike instead of one that attaches to a tow-hitch receiver was already a gamble, and I decided that was all the risk I was willing to take.
The Colibri has a geometry that makes it easy to install on your car. I’m no engineer, but from my observations, the lower arm of the rack appears to act as its load-bearing component, with the upper arm as well as the straps assisting in this function while holding the entire assembly in place. I asked my peers who know more about physics than I do and this was their opinion too.
You don’t need any tools to install the trunk rack, and neither do its arms require adjustment to reach a desired angle. You only have to tighten the two knobs on its arms to fix them in place.
The frame of the Colibri is made mostly of steel. Any cycling enthusiast knows that while heavier, steel is generally stronger than aluminum. The rest of the frame is made of plastic, which BuzzRack describes as “impact-resistant.”
Straps and hooks
The BuzzRack Colibri is fixed to a car using straps and hooks. The straps feel heavy-duty, while the hooks, according to the company, feature a protective coating to keep them from damaging your car’s paint. The two hooks that attach to the lower part of your car also have rubber padding to enhance the rack’s stability.
An additional strap is provided for fastening your bike’s fork and handlebar, as is padding on the rack’s arms for ensuring no steel parts will scratch your bike.
Using the BuzzRack Colibri on long drives
Although I had thought about getting the BuzzRack Colibri for quite a while, I did so only recently. I’ve used it on just one round trip so far. We traveled from our place of residence in Laguna to Olongapo, Zambales and then back; the majority of the 450-kilometer-or-so round trip was on expressways.
As one might expect, I was apprehensive about what was effectively an experiment. My bicycle, a Marin Nicasio RC, is a little heavy at roughly 13 kilograms, what with its chromoly steel frame. Although the BuzzRack Colibri, which weighs 3.3 kilograms, has a weight limit of 25 kilograms, all the reviews I’ve seen of it featured bikes with aluminum frames.
On our way to Olongapo, there wasn’t a couple of minutes that I didn’t look in the rear-view mirror to check if my bike was still there. It appeared to be catapulted from the back of the car along with the rack when we hit bumps and drove on potholes. I inspected the Buzzrack Colibri and the bike as soon as we arrived in Olongapo and they didn’t appear to have budged from their position. The straps also seemed to be as tight as they were when departed from Laguna.
It was the same affair on our trip back to Laguna a few days later. We got home without incident. There was no anomaly. Or so I thought.
The morning after we got back, I discovered that the rear wheel of my bike had come loose. I hadn’t noticed the wheel axle being freed from the fork end when I removed the bike from the rack almost immediately after we arrived. The wheel would have come off if it was. I didn’t ride my bike after the trip or even touch it except to park it in its usual spot in the house.
My theory is that the wheel’s nuts were already loose after the trip but were just tight enough to precariously keep it in place until I moved the bike the next day. I’m chalking the wheel’s coming loose to the vibrations that the bike and the BuzzRack Colibri were subjected to while hanging from the back of the car during the trip. I’m basing this on the fact that my bike’s center stand, which I knew to have a slightly loose screw, came off and dropped to the ground as soon as I lifted the bike off of the rack when we arrived in Olongapo. The screw had further loosened. The same thing must have happened to the axle’s nuts on the trip back. Luckily, we reached our destination before the wheel could fall off completely.
Conclusion: Is the BuzzRack Colibri worth buying?
All things considered, I say the BuzzRack Colibri trunk rack does a nice enough job of carrying your bike. It has a robust construction and enough safety features to keep your bike safe. However, it would be best to periodically inspect your bike while traveling to ensure that no part is compromised. It’s also good practice under any circumstance to see to it that all parts of your bike are secured and in good working order.