Way back in February of this year, Sven and I attended Frostbike up at the QBP Mother-ship in MPLS and it was there that we came up with the idea for a hitch rack shootout. We saw some new racks at Frostbike from very familiar brand names. Saris and Yakima entered the fat-rack market and Kuat introduced the new Transfer (less expensive) rack to add to their NV rack. Our original plan was to test 4 racks. Each of the racks are 2″ reciever, two bike capacity.
Sven and I assembled and tested the loading of fat and plus bikes and right out of the box, one of the racks failed to accommodate our fat or 29+ test rides. The Kuat Transfer 2’s arms were not long enough to allow the arm to clear the big tires. Kuat later sent us a new set of arms, that solved the problem, but it was too late to make the test. So we substituted a Kuat NV rack that is our Long time amigo and BBR Test Pilot, Julio dot com’s personal rack.
Let me re-introduce you to our contestants in alphabetical Order
1Up USA – We reviewed a roof rack application of this rack way back in 2012. The 1Up rack is made in the USA (Wisconsin) and MSRP is $609
Kuat NV – We also have done a review of this rack in the past. This rack is the stand in for the Kuat Transfer as explained above. The rack we re-tested is nearly 4 years old, so it has a bit more wear and tear on it right away. But we do have the advantage of knowing what 4 years of regular use did to the NV – more on that in the review. MSPR $549
Saris – Freedom Superclamp 2 – We featured a video about the rack from Saris during our Frostbike coverage earlier this year. Saris is another Wisconsin Company and the Feedom Superclamp is a new product in the Saris line. MSRP $430
Yakima – Two Timer – This rack is also new to the market and comes from a venerable rack maker. With an MSRP of only $299 this is the least expensive of all 4 racks tested. This rack also used a unique top tube hook to hold the frame in place.
We have 4 racks in the shootout and each of those 4 racks were evaluated by four of our Black Ribbon Test Pilots. Let’s introduce our hitch rack, test crew.
Evan Larsson – Evan is new to the test crew. Evan is mates with our next test Pilot
Julio Dot Com – Julio was good enough to let us use his Kuat NV for our shootout and has been a Test Pilot since the unit was created back in 2011.
Scott Peterson – Scott is a long time mountain biker and also rides, restores and rat rods old Schwinn cruisers.
Gomez – I threw every kind of bike that we’ve had come through our test program over the last six months at all four of these racks. I took lots of road trips and even drove all the way out to Ogden Utah with one of the racks during July this summer.
All of the testers were supplied with an evaluation card with instructions to rate each rack from 1-10 on things like stability, security, bike loading and overall ease of use. For the next four days, we’ll review each rack individually (one per day) and then on Saturday we’ll post the results of the shootout and crown a winner. So we’re calling this RackWeek here at fat dash bike dot com. Tune in all week for our team of rack tester’s user impressions about the 4 fat-bike hitch racks that are available right now.
Don’t forget the North Shore racks. 2, 4, and 6 bike versions. I have the 4, and can easily fit 4 fatbikes on it. Easy to install and remove–both the rack and the bikes.
I’ve had one for 4+ years now, easily fits any/every wheel and tire size that I own.
I use a nashbar rack with the wheel holders upside down. For $125 with shipping it can’t be beat. It looks just like that Yakima rack you show above.l for 1/3 the cost.
Mike, I just saw a North Shore 4 rack up close and personal for the first time a few days ago. The owner said he has issues with mounting road bikes on it, especially one with fancy carbon forks. I can’t remember if it was more of an issue of it not fitting, or the rack scratching up his bike.
Have you tried road bikes on your rack, and is it an issue?
Great stuff so far. However, why not test the Thule T2 instead of the Two Timer? All of the other racks employ tire restraint tech. Wouldn’t a better apple to apple comparison be a review of the T2?
We launched this plan at frostbike and we made arrangements to test the new racks that were there at that show. But then we ran into some issues with the Kuat Transfer that echo the Thule rack’s initial issues. The two timer was a great comparison to the transfer. They share the same price point, although they differ in the way that they attach to the bike. So that’s the journey that led us to be testing these 4 particular racks. We’ll still review the transfer, but it didn’t make this test. We should update our Thule review, because they are a major player in the rack biz. Thanks for the comment!