Yakima LockNLoad Platform vs Rhino Pioneer Platform

Posted on Friday, 28 July 2017   |  Viewed: 14235

Yakima LockNLoad Platform vs Rhino Pioneer Platform 

We have been fielding questions lately regarding the differences between the class leaders in flat platform racks, the Yakima LocknLoad Platform and Rhino's Pioneer Platform. So we decided to do a comparison for customer educational purposes, to help customers choose the rack that will suit them best. We can understand the confusion, they have many similarities at first glance, however, when one looks at the two closely there are many differences that will suit different customer needs. One needs to look at all aspects to decide which will be better for their specific needs.

Both are flat-bed roof mounted utilitarian designs, made for general purpose hauling, they're a favourite design for tradesmen and outdoors enthusiasts alike. Perfect for 4x4's and utes.

The first aspect to compare is materials, Rhino use a reinforced nylon and aluminium combination while Yakima use steel and aluminium, both are powder coated for better longevity. Yakima has used additional steel in the corners of the rack to make sure that there is less flex with uneven and heavy loading.  Rhino and Yakima rigorously test their products in all conditions. The Pioneer is backed by a 5 year warranty and the LockNLoad Platform is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

These types of racks are a platform only, a versatile and utilitarian base for all needs, both the Yakima and Rhino platforms fulfil this design brief, with both providing a strong, flat platform for carrying loads. The fact is though that it doesn't end there for users, who nowadays will need to carry all kinds of specific items, from bikes to kayaks, and jacks, even a spare wheel. The two brands approach this need for versatility in different ways. Yakima's LockNLoad rail system allows the user to attach most other manufacturer's accessories using the t-slot system, found on all perimeter and horizontal bars, which are already east/west oriented. This makes it arguably easier and more versatile than Rhino's system of adding horizontal adapter bars as an added accessory in itself to mount bikes, kayaks, boxes and others.

Rhino however, has a great array of extras made by them which will fit, with additional basket rails or front and back rails available as well as tire holders, high lift jack holder, shovel holder, jerry can holder, even awning attachments. The Yakima platform doesn't have nearly as many optional extras specifically for this rack, relying more on the versatility of the LockNLoad system. So it does depend on one's needs and personal opinion in this aspect, they both solve the problem, just in different ways. On a side note, Yakima have listened to feedback and are currently developing more optional extras specifically for the LocknLoad Platform. Yakima does have a few basics available already, examples are a high lift jack attachment and a spare wheel holder attachment, specifically for the platform.

Wind noise is another consideration for some buyers, and again the two systems differ in their solutions for this issue, with Yakima arguably paying more attention to it than Rhino. The Yakima platform uses ultra low profile mountings, aerodynamic design of the bars, plus rubber dampers and a wind deflector that all bring noise right down. Rhino is relying on a well designed aerodynamic profile only to solve the problem. To some this is a big issue and may lean them towards the Yakima, to others it won't matter.

Price is also a consideration, with differing budgets for every user. In this aspect Yakima is slightly ahead, although they both fall into the same price category. The difference in purchase price is neglible, so it depends on whether you have accessories from other manufacturers or not, and whether you will need east/west mounting bars. If you do have that need, and/or accessories from Thule or other makers, it will be again cheaper with the Yakima platform, allowing you more inbuilt flexibility, rather than needing to buy extra east/west adapter bars to carry specific items.

All things considered the two platforms both perform very well for what they are designed for, which one you choose will depend on your specific needs.