1up USA Bike Rack Review


There exists a bike rack out there with a cult-like following. We took a look at the user reviews on Mtbr and it exhibited a staggering 4.8/5 stars with 96 reviews.

We looked at their site and were not that impressed as the photos don’t do it any justice. But we’ve used a couple of these racks now in the last month and we’re ready to join the army of fans.

The rack is a design and construction marvel as it will impress you with its layout and versatility. When you get beyond that, the materials and construction will wow you like a CNC’d bike component. It’s like those Zero Gravity brakes back in the day.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

Furthermore, it plays on both ends of the spectrum. It can be the smallest, incognito rack available. Or it can be a massive four bike carrier ready for biggest road trip you can outline on Google Maps. In both configurations, it uses all the same trays. It’s a modular system so you just add trays on to the base carrier.

For our road trip from San Jose, CA to Bend, Oregon, we recruited one of these four-bike behemoths and were surprised to see our friend deliver the rack to us inside his Toyota Prius. “What,” I asked?? Did he forget to bring all the trays? It turns out the rack collapses into a very compact unit in a transformation that would make any Transformers fan happy. Bend your knees when you lift it though as this configuration weighs close to 100 lbs. It is all aluminum but with beefy trays to handle such a load.

For a bike rack, a hitch mount unit is the best solution. It is out of harm’s way from low garage roofs and overhangs. It is much more quiet than a roof rack since it doesn’t whistle or roar with the wind. And most important, it doesn’t degrade your fuel mileage. A roof rack will degrade your gas mileage by about 1-2 mpg when empty and a staggering 4-5 mph when bikes are mounted. These numbers get worse too if you drive over 70 mph. Over the life of the car, that is just a lot of money wasted on gas.

We wish all autos came with hitch mounts as it is the perfect bike carrying solution. But alas, it is always assumed that you want to tow something big when you want a vehicle with a hitch so very few cars offer it as an option from the factory. But it is not difficult to get a hitch installed in your car from outfits like U-Haul or Etrailer.com

What you want from a hitch rack is that it’s out of the way when you don’t need it but versatile when you do. You want to be able to load the bike easily and remove the bikes without much drama. And when you’re driving, you don’t want to be bothered by the rack. It should be quiet, secure and wobble free with the bikes not damaging each other.

So this is where the 1upUsa shines. Mounting the bike cannot be easier as you open the tray arms, load the bike and close the tray arms. It really is that simple. Small bike, big bike, road bike, fat bike, 29er, etc. When unloading the bike, you have to lift up a lever then you can open up the arms. This is done one at the time and the pro move is just to open one arm and roll the bike out. To open the second arm requires three hands as the bike will be unsupported and will want to fall sideways unless you support it.

The bike can be mounted on the center of the rack or it can be moved almost a foot back or forward as the arms will lock it in its final position. This movement is key as it allows you mount two bikes on adjacent racks with minimal contact. There’s always interference between handlebars, seats or pedals so flexibility in positioning the bikes is key. With this flexibility, 1upusa was able to place the trays very close to each other. This means the bikes take less room and there is less weight away from the car that can produce leverage stress on the rack.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a lugged commuter, ultralight carbon road steed, singlespeed or trail bike. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. This obsessive personality has also turned him into a bit of an addict when it comes to high quality coffee and IPAs.

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  • Juddly says:

    To avoid “3-handing”, I open the front wheel first, then while holding the top tube/seat post with one hand, release the rear lever and roll the bike backwards to push the arm away. Roll bike forward again and remove bike. :)

    • Robert says:

      Do you even need to do that much? Just open the front wheel, and then pick the front end of the bike up and pull it out.

  • francois says:

    Great advice Juddly!!!!

  • Mike says:

    A weakness is not blocking the license plate if you live in a state with speed or red light cameras. It is perfectly legal to have a hitch mounted bike rack, have it folded up, and “inadvertantly” blocking the license plate. Catch my point?

  • Lance says:

    Just used mine for the first time this last week… there are none better!!! it’s the only rack I’d feel safe off-roading with, the bikes are rock solid on it, and as you can see from my picture they are two big fatbacks! My Thule’s that I’ve owned over the last 20 years are junk in comparison.

  • Allen says:

    Awesome rack and it’s made in the USA. I highly recommend it and would purchase another without hesitation.

  • geotrouvetout says:

    Could not be happier with my 1UP USA rack, I think it outperforms any other rack on the market without even being the most expensive of all. The quality is outstanding and worth the cost (especially when hauling pricey bikes), plus it’s made in the US.

    One thing lacking is an add-on for remote tail lights since it partially blocks them with the 2, 3 and 4 bikes configurations, especially with bikes on, hoping 1UP comes up with a solution for that at some point.

  • Joe W. says:

    I had a Thule T2 and returned it to REI, then bought a 1-UP USA Quik-Rack (single bike plus an add-on for another bike).

    1. I usually only need to carry one bike. The 1-UP one is AWESOME that I can have a small, light rack for one bike but quickly and easily add another bike when I need… or a third if I buy another add-on.

    2. I never leave my bike rack mounted when not in use. I’m a big guy, but the Thule T2 is just heavy and awkward to mount / dismount. The 1-UP is light and super quick to mount / dismount.

    3. The 1-UP is made in the USA. Enough said.

    4. The 1-UP is all aluminum… no cheap plastic here or silly bike locks that can be cut with simple wire cutter pliers.

    5. The Thule T2 blocked my rear camera when folded up, the 1-UP does not.

    6. The Thule T2 was a real PITA to assemble (and disassemble to return it), but the 1-UP arrives fully assembled. OK, this wasn’t so much a reason why I returned it… but something you should know… when I say PITA, I mean *PITA*.

    7. The Thule T2 is black and non-reflective… I always worried that someone would back into my vehicle at night and destroy it (and damage my vehicle in the process)… the 1-UP one is all metallic silver (aluminum) and comes with reflective tape installed.

    8. The 1-UP guys are very “accessible”. Give them a call and they’ll talk to you and answer anything you need. I tried to reach Thule to chat and it was impossible to get anyone besides the equivalent of trained and scripted monkeys.

    9. My T2 rattled a bit… the 1-UP is just absolutely solid.

    The *ONLY* thing I liked about the T2– the additional straps that hold the rear wheel to the bottom of the rack were very nice. Unneeded on the 1-UP, but I feel if it had them I would rest even easier on bumpy off-roads.

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