I’ve been testing a 1UP-USA Equip-D Beta Hitch Rack for the last six months along with a couple of dozen other consumers and industry folks. I’ve been a 1 Up-USA Rack owner for quite a few years and I’ve been involved with fat-bike.com’s reviews of wide-format hitch racks in both a hands-on product tester and editorial role. So I’ve had a series of hitch racks bolted to the hitch of two different Toyota trucks over the last eight years and carried a huge variety of bicycle species over thousands of miles and hundreds of rides.
Let me start by saying that the best way to carry your precious fun machine (aka – your bicycle) is probably inside of your vehicle. That is especially true when it’s snowing and the salt trucks are out. Not everybody drives a vehicle that allows their bike to be protected from the elements so the next best option is a hitch rack. Roof racks are almost tied with the hitch rack but not if you drive a tall vehicle. I’ve tested racks from, Thule, Yakima, Saris, Kuat, Northshore & 1Up-USA over the years and when it came time to purchase a rack to carry the wide variety of high-end demo bikes that make their way through the test lab we chose 1Up USA. We figured, why trust racks with plastic parts that are held together with zinc-coated hardware (that’s going to rust out) with the task of safely carrying bicycles that range from 2k-7k? Well, the rack that we chose as the best hitch rack available just got better. The 1Up-USA Equip-D rack just made our favorite rack, even better.
Racks are expensive. I’ve been a consumer of thousands of dollars of Yakima and Thule roof rack products back in the last century and I could never understand why these manufacturers didn’t supply stainless steel hardware. The hardware on most racks is zinc-coated steel. In one winter it will rust in place and in a few winters will fail when you try to loosen it with a wrench. Anyone that’s had a rack on their vehicle through a great lakes winter can attest to this. One of the reasons that we choose 1Up is because they use all stainless hardware in their racks.
Do you have a carbon bike or a bike with a fancy paint job? Then you don’t want your rack to hold your bike by the frame or fork, where it can be marred or damaged. The 1Up system holds your bike securely without ever touching the frame or fork. It holds your wheels in place and the rack only contacts the bicycle on the tires.
All of the positive attributes that I’ve spotlighted above hold true for 1Up-USA’s classic line of racks. The Equip-D is an evolutionary upgrade that specifically addresses a couple of things that we mentioned in our Hitch Rack Shootout back in 2015.
The first improvement the Equip-D involves how it attaches to the vehicle’s hitch receiver. The Equip-D shares the wedge system that expands inside the hitch receiver and also has a locking pin that’s pretty standard fare on anything that you mount to a hitch receiver. They also made the wedge bolt area clear of the rack trays, so it’s much easier to use the wrench during installation.
The other big improvement is the new handle that releases the angle of the rack from verticle (storage position) to horizontal (for bicycle transport) and the lowered position (to drop the rack out of the way). 1Up’s classic design’s release bar was under the trays. The location of the new handle makes it a lot easier to raise and lower the rack.
The new ratcheted strip and arm release buttons are smoother and easier to use on the Equip-D than previous models. The 1Up USA rack system is the easiest rack that I’ve ever used for fat and plus-sized bikes. 1Up-USA is made in the USA right here in America’s Dairyland. We’ve toured their manufacturing facility and met the fine folks that make this product. We’ve also had years of experience with 1Up-USA racks and stand by their superior design and quality. The Equip-D takes the best rack and makes it even better. The Equip-D has an MSRP of $729.
For more information about 1Up-USA visit – https://www.1up-usa.com/