Sven and I took some time lapse video of the assembly and mounting bikes on the first contestant in our Fat Hitch Rack Shootout and all of our testers have chimed in with their impressions of how each rack performed. Of course, this is all leading up to Saturday, when we reveal how each of our 4 racks stacked up against one another in an old fashioned magazine shootout. So today, let’s take a look at the 1Up USA rack.
This is what Evan had to say about the 1Up –
Upon my arrival to Uncle Gomez’s forward command post, I noticed an object that resembled something that could belong to NASA. The sharp looking CNC machined aluminum pieces are fastened together using stainless steel nuts and bolts. The main mounts are attached using stylish tapered allen bolts for a very clean look that screams made in America. Asking Uncle G for a hand with the rack, he let out a slight chuckle, telling me to give it a lift. The weight comes in at 46lbs. which I felt was high for an all aluminum rack, but I easily installed the collapsed rack into my trailer hitch with a little help from a friend. There is no pin or threaded bolt to retain the rack, but an “expander bolt” that’s built into the rack itself. I secured it with a few turns from a tamper proof allen and boom, it’s attached! If you’re like me, who believes anything can fail, never fear! The folks from 1UP acquired a fantastic device that can keep your fancy new rack from falling of your ride. Yep, VELCRO!!! Now that you can travel stress free, let’s look at how the fun machines are loaded up.
Folding down the rack took a second, due to me not reading the instructions first, but after finding the release handle in the lower middle of the rack I set it to the loading position. Small, anodized, red handles need to be lifted in order to open the arms. Setting the bike onto the rack, I easily reached the first arm. While balancing the bike in place, I brought the arm up to the sweet sound of aluminum teeth clenching down letting me know that bike’s not going anywhere. The bike stayed in place with only one arm set and after lifting up the other arm it brought the bike and rack firmly together. When looking at the rack from the side, you can see the mounts are staggered which keeps the spacing tighter and also helps with the saddle and handlebars layout. (Some other racks have issues with this overlap.) I mounted up my CX, 4″, 5″FAT, 26″, 27.5″, 29″ and a few of my friend’s trail bikes without any problem. (I think one was even an enduro bike.) As with any rack setup, it takes a moment to figure out which direction each bike should be facing but once you know, you’re good to go. When securing the thinner wheel bikes I noticed that you could almost over-tighten the arm causing the tire to bulge out. Also, when traveling the CX bike tended to “wobble” around a lot more than any others. It didn’t fall out no matter how hard I shook the bike around, but seeing it shimmy whilst driving was unsettling.
When unloading, there is a teeny tiny learning curve. To release the bike, I found if you push on the arm a bit, it helps to release the locking mechanism before lifting the red handle. Also, only lower one arm all the way, release the second arm just enough to remove the bike. If you do lower it all the way you better have another person to catch your bike from falling off the rack or into your ride. Again, a small learning curve that is easily overcome.
Overall, I feel this rack is a fantastic tool that performs extremely well. I’d like the addition of a pin to go through the rack and hitch to keep my mind at ease but what’s a cyclist to do? The build is super clean and the rack looks sexy as hell, even when folded and stowed on my truck. Oh, did I mention it’s made in the U.S.A.? You say you don’t care about that stuff, well then take your commie ass back to China! The fact that you can add another section to make it a 4-bike rack is a great idea. I also appreciate the fold down capabilities to access the cargo area of my Tahoe. 1UP is a rack I would certainly recommend to anyone and I’d love to ditch my current setup held together with bungee cords for this one. Maybe someone (wink*wink*) will be good to me on Christmas this year because I couldn’t justify spending over $600 on a rack. If you can though, spend the money.
Next up, we have Julio’s thoughts on the 1Up. Apparently the 1 Up is called the Quik Rack……either that, or Julio just made that up…
1UpUSA Quik Rack
Right off the bat you can tell that the 1UP USA rack is well put together and all materials are top notch (No plastic! And made in the good old U S of A!). This is a good-looking rack in an industrial sort of way. This heavy-duty construction comes at a weight penalty, as the rack is pretty heavy and can be a bit cumbersome to carry. It also occupies a big footprint when storing and due to the nature of the rack, needs to lean against something to stay upright unless you lay it flat on the floor, which takes up even more space. Installation of the rack is pretty straightforward. Insert the rack into the receiver and tighten the tamperproof hex bolt to snug up the rack. However, this is also my biggest complaint with this rack. No hitch pin. Not even a place for a hitch pin. I was really surprised by this, especially on a rack this well thought out. All that is securing the rack to your vehicle is a “tamper” proof hex bit that tightens an expansion ball (oh, and a piece of Velcro they give you to act as a safety strap). I’m sure it wouldn’t take much for 1UP to drill a hole through the rack to allow for the use of a locking hitch pin. You can buy a locking pin from 1Up that blocks access to the tamper proof bit but this is not included in the rack. Speaking of security, the stock rack has no means to lock bikes to the rack so you’ll have to provide a cable lock or buy the wheel lock (or four) that 1Up sells separately.
The rack itself is very easy to use. There is small learning curve as to where to position the arms for the most secure placement/ease of loading as well as for hauling two bikes with no interference/rub. Once in place, the bike is pretty secure with just a little movement during transport. The ratchet arms have a very secure, reassuring action. However, I found skinnier tired bikes are not held as soundly and move quit a bit during transport. The bikes were secure, there’s just a lot of movement since the arms are so far away from the tire and there’s a much smaller contact patch with the tire itself on smaller sized tires. This is even more apparent with high PSI tires since the arms can’t compress onto the tire as well. With the low PSI of fat bike tires, this is not a problem. Once loaded, the rack drops down (although the release is in an odd to reach spot with the bikes loaded) to provide access to the rear of the vehicle. Overall, the 1Up USA rack is a well-built, well thought out rack that more than gets the job done with some made in the USA industrial style.
My time with the 1Up coincided with a long road trip from Wisconsin to Utah. I should probably start by saying that I really prefer to transport my bikes inside my truck. Hitch racks put your bike out in the weather and place them in the vehicle’s crumple zones. But I know that not everyone has a vehicle where that’s a possibility. All of my ratings are compared against just rolling my complete bike into the back of my truck vs. how easily a bike mounts on these racks and how the rack gets out of the way, so I can utilize the back gate of my truck. This was especially important, while I was camping and overlanding during my three week journey out west.
The 1Up is very well made. Very solid with the best fit and finish of all of the racks that we tested. Assembly was very easy and bike mounting was the easiest that I’ve ever encountered. The rack handled the widest tires mounted on 100 mm rims and held my 29+ Krampus, just as well. I get to ride a nice variety of bikes and the list of bikes that the 1 Up carried included a REEB Pinion equipped B’donk and an Advocate Cycles Watchman. I really liked the fact that the rack both folded flat against the back of my rear mounted spare tire and dropped down towards the ground that allowed me to fully open the rear door on my FJ to access camping gear, etc.
The only area of concern I have with the 1 Up is the lack of a hitch pin to secure the rack to the two inch receiver. The lack of a pin does allow the rack more fore and aft adjustment to accommodate things like rear mounted spare tires, but made all of our testers scratch their heads as to why they chose to omit that feature. I drove over 2500 miles with the 1 Up and it never budged and inch during that time and I also drove on lots of sketchy dirt roads all over Utah and Colorado, getting lost and eventually finding trailhead parking lots. That should make me a believer, but a pin still seems like such an easy insurance policy. The one up is perfect for Otis, and could accommodate my grand daughter’s fat strider! That’s amazing, because that tiny little bike can almost fit in the glove box 😉
The 1 Up performed great for me the entire trip. At $609 the 1 Up is the most expensive rack that we tested, but folks with high end bikes will love the fact that the rack holds the tires, with no metal parts touching the frame or fork. This is especially important to owners of carbon fiber frames.
For more information about 1Up USA visit – www.1up-usa.com