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Tree Frog Bike Rack test: This frog is not that frog!

SeaSucker, which revolutionised the way we look on bike racks. It could be installed on almost any motor vehicle, be it a sports car or a bus, but unfortunately its exclusivity was also reflected in the price tag. This is not good news in our weak economy. Now we have the TreeFrog entering the Hungarian market, which basically functions the same way as the original product, but is attainable for many more Hungarian cyclist.

The novel principle of attaching bikes to cars with suction cups draws a certain amount of uncertainty for many. I often met with some concern when discussing the merits of each type of bike racks available: What happens if the suction cups let go? Most people associate the suction cup technology with the mobile telephone holder attached to the windscreen, which sooner or later inevitable detach themselves, causing damage to the fragile device.

The biggest difference between the two suction cup technologies is the utilisation of vacuum force. In case of the Tree Frog bike rack a pump is used to achieve the necessary retaining force, while a simple suction disc merely pushes the air out from the cup. In this case we have a visual feedback on the pressure level, displayed on back of the cups. The two technologies are worlds apart, the Tree Frog products meet all the strict EU bike rack safety standards. If we truly want to draw a parallel, lets look at how large and heavy glass sheets are moved in the industry! Yes, the same principle of vacuum suction cups are employed, so holding a 10-20 kg bike should pose no problems!

There are several different type of Tree Frog bike carrier products on the market, depending on whether you want to transport one two or three bikes on the vehicle. The top of the line is the Tree Frog Pro, which can be utilised for 1-3 bikes with the out-most convenience. With most of these racks, the front wheel has to be removed, since the bike is attached by the front fork dropout. This has the advantage of lowering air resistance, hence improving aerodynamics. On the backside, we have to find space for the wheel or wheels inside the vehicle. It’s also a good idea to purchase wheel bags for this purpose, in order to keep the luggage and the car interior clean. On the other hand the Tree Frog L offers a front wheel mount, hence there is no need to put these inside the car.

The installation of the Tree Frog is very simple. Place it in the desired position, then gently press it and finally suck the air from the cups using the vacuum pump. Since there are 3-5 large cups holding the front of the bike, the attachment is more than adequate, actually the car could be lifted by the bike, if it could handle the force. So the worry of secure attachment is completely unfounded. The Tree Frog can be mounted to the roof, on the back door, or to any surface that is strong enough and is convenient. This is the main reason why sport car drives prefer this type of bike rack: on these vehicles it could be more or less impossible to attach a conventional roof or rear door rack, and towing hook is also out of question.

By looking at the price tag alone, one could think it’s still excessive. But if you read our article about bike rack systems and solutions, the cost of two spreaders and the rack for each bike can add up, and cost might be even higher than for a Tree Frog. Moreover, the former are generally car specific, so if you decide to sell your car, you will probably spend even more on the new spreaders. The Tree Frog system can be installed in seconds, when removed, they take very little space in the home. The Tree Frog bike rack is a long term purchase, you can use for whatever type of vehicle you own.

We received a Tree Frog bike rack for review, so in a short time we will be tell you how they actually perform.

Caption: If it holds it in place like this, than it will work anywhere…

Now it’s time to update our article on this innovative bike rack! We can vouch for the bikes being safe during transport, they are survived highway speeds, pothole and even dirt roads. Whenever we arrived at a destination, people were surprised that the bikes stayed in place – but they should not have been! The vacuum cups showed no loss of pressure, in rain or shine, loaded by any type of bike.

We made a video about the Tree Frogs’s ease of installation. We used the product in rain, with the speed of over 160 km/h (on German closed highway, of course), and our bikes were never more safe than with this carrier. Cleaning and lubrication of the vacuum pumps took no more than 5 minutes for all four: it’s a piece of cake!

The Hungarian distributor’s website is now up and running (https://treefrogracks.eu), there you will find the pricing as well. The TreeFrog Pro1 we tested costs 270 Euros, but there is the more simple and economical Elite1 model for 195 Euro. The top of the line Pro3 sets you back 495 Euros. The distributor is looking for interest form bike shops nationwide.

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