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RockyMounts DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mount Review

July 18, 2019

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RockyMounts DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mount Review

RockyMounts DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mounts
4.8

Summary

RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking bicycle mounts install just about anywhere you want, feature durable construction, unique designs, and quality components, and can be keyed alike for convenience.

Keep in mind that while the LoBall Locking’s price is competitive with third-party options, you’ll pay a premium for the DriveShaft HM. So, if budget is your number one consideration, it might be worthwhile to explore other thru-axle options before making a final decision.

  • Functionality / Ease of Use
  • Adaptability
  • Quality / Durability
  • Price
  • Overall Value

Pros

  • Durable
  • Super functional / easy to use
  • Adaptable (depending on your chosen setup, of course)
  • Proprietary designs
  • LoBall Locking comes with a very competitive price
  • Can mount to almost any surface of your choice
  • Secure locking
  • Cores can be keyed alike
  • Comes with mostly positive online customer feedback
  • Great firsthand experience

Cons

  • DriveShaft HM is expensive compared to some thru-axle competitors
  • DIY installation requires some design time and elbow grease on your part to achieve maximum value
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The DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts from RockyMounts boast unique designs and high-quality construction. After using them extensively during our travels, I’ll help you decide if they’re the right options for you.


About the RockyMounts DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mounts

The genius behind RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts is that you can attach them to the surface of your choice, whether in the bed of your truck, the back of your van or SUV, or on top of your rack or trailer.

Then, you can drop your bike’s fork into the mount, lock everything into place, and head out to your favorite riding destinations. RockyMounts can even key them alike for an added layer of security and convenience.

But, these mounts don’t come cheap. There are also several third-party brands available that could deliver similar results. Does this mean you should buy from RockyMounts, or continue looking?

Our family is currently traveling around the US in an RV while visiting some of the best biking destinations in the region. As a result, I’ve used the DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts to securely store five bikes, plus tools, in the bed of our Toyota Tundra.

Here, I’ll walk you through everything I’ve learned so you can decide whether or not they’ll work for your needs.

Taking a Closer Look at How the DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mounts Work

Before diving into my experience, let’s briefly discuss each mount’s key specifications.

RockyMounts DriveShaft HM

RockyMounts designed their DriveShaft HM mount to carry one bike that weighs up to 35 pounds with a 12x100mm, 15x100mm, Boost 15x110mm, or 20x110mm thru-axle fork.

Pro Tip: Based on this weight limit, it might not be ideal for fat bikes and e-bikes.

Related: Do Electric Bikes Need Different Tires?

At its base, the DriveShaft HM mount features two flanges that accommodate 0.25” and 6mm bolts (no hardware is included), which allow you to secure it to almost any surface in your truck, SUV, van, or trailer.

Your thru-axle (removed from your wheel but still installed in your fork) comfortably rests on top of the mount’s wide mouth opening, with a hinged door that closes over the top and secures into place using an adjustable t-bolt and a cam lever. Adjustments are made using a mechanism that works similar to a quick release.

If needed, RockyMounts includes snap-in nylon 15mm shims to help ensure a secure fit and prevent the axle from coming unscrewed, and you can purchase 12mm shims from the company if needed. Either way, according to the company, the thru-axle cannot be removed when locked.

The DriveShaft HM’s core and keys can be matched to other RockyMounts roof and hitch racks (each includes two keys). You can even enter the four-digit code for any of your existing RockyMounts products during checkout, and they can key your new order alike.

RockyMounts LoBall Locking

Like the DriveShaft HM, RockyMounts’ LoBall Locking mount carries one bike, comes with a 35-pound weight limit, is made from CNC machined 6061-t6 aluminum, features a base with two holes that accommodate 1/4” or 6mm bolts or screws for DIY installation, and comes with two keys.

Instead of an upside-down U-shape, though, the LoBall Locking mount features a lower profile, more of a triangular-shaped base, and a corrosion-resistant stainless steel skewer on top that accepts 9x100mm quick release forks.

At one end of the skewer is a black, UV-resistant plastic handle that bends 90 degrees to pull the central shaft tight and secures everything in place, and features a locking core.

Because of the LoBall’s large opening, RockyMounts advertises that you can also thread a cable-style lock through the mount for added theft deterrence.

Here’s a quick table comparing each mount’s specs:

DriveShaft HM vs. LoBall Locking
Model Dimensions Weight Weight Limit Compatibility
DriveShaft HM 8.8” x 5.8” x 2.3”   2 lbs 35 lbs Thru-axles (12x100mm, 15x100mm, Boost 15x110mm, 20x110mm)
LoBall Locking 2” x 6.6” x 6.7”   0.9 lbs 35 lbs 9mm quick-release skewers

My Experience Using RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mounts

Why I Chose RockyMounts

We’re an avid-cycling family of four currently traveling the western US and Canada via RV. As a result, I needed a way to carry our five bikes underneath the Leer cap over the bed of our Toyota Tundra.

The cap’s a double-edged sword, though. While it offers protection against theft and the elements, it also limits vertical space, which means that I can’t fit bikes underneath if I attach mounts to the rails built into the side of my bed.

This is where the DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking come in: their design allows me to mount my bikes low enough that all of our bikes fit underneath the cap, while also allowing me to adjust their spacing on the fly (more soon) and offering an added layer of security with their keyed locks.

DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Installation & Fitment

Instead of permanently attaching my three DriveShaft HMs and one LoBall Locking mount to my truck, I opted to screw them into 2×6’s placed at opposite ends of my bed, which are tightly wedged between each side.

My original plan was to carry my youngest’s bike on top of the cap’s rack, but I ultimately decided to place it inside at the last minute. Fortunately, even though everything was already measured and in place, making adjustments to accommodate the extra load was as easy as pulling up a few screws, moving the mounts back into place, and re-screwing into each 2×6.

To minimize the impact that each bike’s handlebar width had on available space, I also decided to stagger each mount’s placement: those on the outside edges secure bikes facing toward the front of the truck, while the two in the middle face bikes toward the rear.

Without an opportunity for much real-world testing before we headed out on our RV adventure, I was initially worried that each wood plank would move during transport. To help provide additional upward tension, I screwed an eyebolt into the end of each one, attached a dual eye turnbuckle affixed to an oval screw link, and then secured them to the bed’s tie-down anchors.

However, after a couple of months of testing, I’ve found that the planks remain in place just fine, so I’ve since removed these parts.

Overall, I’d rate the DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mount installation process as easy. Perhaps the trickiest part getting this system setup was shaving down one end of a 2×6 so that it fits underneath my UnderCover Swingcase, which obviously had nothing to do with the mounts themselves.

Functionality & Adaptability to Real-World Conditions

The DriveShaft HM is super easy to use. All I have to do is remove the front wheel of my bike, reinstall the thru-axle into the fork, place the thru-axle into the mount’s wide mouth opening, close the hinged door, put the t-bolt into place, and pull down on the lever.

Comparatively, the LoBall mount operates using a 9mm quick release system that fits between my bike’s fork (with the wheel removed) and locks into place using a 90-degree elbow. It’s equally as easy to use.

I originally purchased these mounts because of their locking capability, although with my cap in place, I haven’t felt the need to utilize this feature yet. I also haven’t needed to use the HM’s included shims.

Overall, it seems these mounts keep everything securely in place, as I haven’t noticed any movement when driving, even while traversing some reasonably rough roads and pulling our 29’ RV. I’ve also found that the front wheels don’t bounce around when lightly wedged between each bike’s frame.

Unfortunately, we had an incident where the Tundra needed to be put in the shop for a few days, and it was simple to move the mounting system to our rental truck. Although the planks were a bit wide, once properly wedged, everything remained entirely secure with no noticeable movement.

Since the rental didn’t have a cap and I didn’t want the planks to get wet, though, I had the opportunity to move them inside our Thule cargo carrier when they weren’t used, which fit easily.

My Overall Thoughts About the DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking Mounts

Bottom line? After some initial setup headaches regarding my overall system, I’ve found that RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts work flawlessly—even when put to the test during our full-time RV adventure.

They’re burly, made with quality parts and craftsmanship, easy to install, simple to use, competitively priced, and come with mostly positive online customer feedback.

But, they’re certainly not the only mounts on the market, which is what we’ll discuss next.

Are There Other Quick Release & Thru-Axle Bike Mounts Competing With RockyMounts?

Although they feature different overall designs, there are several bike mounts in the same marketplace as the DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking, which offer many of the same core features.

These include the ability to accommodate a single thru-axle and/or quick-release fork, construction from durable materials that can withstand the elements, weight limits that are high enough to accommodate most bikes (even lighter fat bikes), and the ability install in the back of your pickup, SUV, or trailer, or on top of your car’s roof.

Here are some of the top results on Amazon, along with how they compare:

Brand Dimensions Compatibility Notes
8.8” x 5.8” x 2.3”, 2 lbs Thru-axles (12x100mm, 15x100mm, 15x110mm, 20x110mm) Wide mouth opening and shims can accommodate all sizes in a single model, made from CNC machined aluminum, 35 lb limit
2” x 6.6” x 6.7”, 0.9 lbs 9mm quick release Made from CNC machined aluminum, 35 lb limit
3” x 7” x 11”, 1.5 lbs 9mm quick release Locking skewer, includes mounting hardware
10.2” x 5.2” x 3”, 1.4 lbs 9mm x 100m quick release SKS locking core at end of handle, made from anodized aluminum
5.9” x 5.9” x 1.6”, 9.6 oz Thru-axles (100mm, 110mm) or quick release (100mm, 135mm) Made from alloy
4 x 1.5 x 1.8, 13.8 oz 9mm quick release Features anti-rust treatment and powder-coat finish, patented 2-part mechanism accepts a variety of third-party locks

Of these options, you’ll find that RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM is the only one that features a wide mouth opening and adjustable cam, whereas their thru-axle competitors come with a “closed loop” design that might require a bit more time and effort when locking everything into place.

This design also means you can’t lock your thru-axle if security is at the top of your list.

If you can go without these features, though, it’s difficult to overlook the fact that Sunlite’s Bike Block offers 100mm and 110mm thru-axle compatibility and a mount-anywhere design, but at a meaningfully lower price than the DriveShaft HM. In fact, you can buy four Bike Blocks for the price of a single DriveShaft HM, with some gas money left over to help get you to the trailhead.

On the other hand, you’re flush with options if you need a quick-release mount, although Delta Cycle’s Bike Transport Pickup is the least expensive above at $29. It doesn’t come with a built-in core, however, so you’ll have to purchase a third-party lock. Make sure you factor this added cost into your budget.

Thule’s Locking Low Rider and Yakima’s Locking Blockhead mounts are the most expensive of the quick release bunch above, with the LoBall Locking coming in the second least expensive. However, these options also come with built-in cores, if this is important to you.

Pulling these details together, we can see that RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts feature unique designs, high-quality materials, and mostly positive online customer feedback.

Does this mean you should go ahead and place an order, though? Let’s wrap up.

My Bottom Line About RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM & LoBall Locking Mounts

Based on my brief—but trial-by-fire—experience using my homemade bike transport system, there aren’t many negative things I can say about RockyMounts’ DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts. In fact, other than the DriveShaft HM’s comparatively high price, they meet my needs so well I can’t cite any unfavorable aspects to them at all.

After some trial and error figuring out what needs to go where, they allow me to quickly access my family’s five bikes, which we ride several times per week. Granted, with my Leer cap in place, I haven’t felt the need to lock them yet, although I still think it’s worth paying extra for the added functionality and peace of mind provided by the locking cores.

Compared to purchasing an aftermarket setup, their price also delivers a ton of value for the money, while remaining flexible enough to adapt to a wide range of variables, conditions, and vehicles.

If you have the time and patience for a DIY project, so far, I can’t recommend the RockyMounts DriveShaft HM and LoBall Locking mounts highly enough.

Ready to buy? Consider clicking the link to the right. Why?

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>> Keep rolling: Cycling Sunscreen Buying Guide

Derek is an avid cyclist with more than two decades of experience in the sport, and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He enjoys all types, including road, MTB, cyclocross/gravel, commuting, and touring. When he's not writing reviews and guides related to bike accessories, parts, and gear for TreadBikely.com, he's riding, talking about cycling, or thinking about bikes he can't afford. #rolloutblissout
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