Loaded

The first rack I ever had was a Yakima roof rack. Mounted up on my old aqua Honda Accord! (Also my first car…) You know the kind: Trays, towers, clips to adapt to your car. I was working at Nestor’s Full Cycle bike shop in 1998-99 in Quakertown, PA. Every year, they had their annual swap meet where they’d sell leftovers and such from the previous season. They allowed employees to sell their ski/snowboard gear during the weekend. Conditions in PA were getting atrocious during the winters and I decided it was time to let go of my Ride board, bindings, and boots along with all my gear. Thing is, Nestor’s then allowed you to use those sales for in-store purchases at your employee discount. Anything in the store. Pay wasn’t all that great but the perks were really sweet! So at the end of the weekend, sure enough, everything sold and I had just enough to get towers, clips, windscreen, load bars and one tray with locks. In all, it only cost me .50 cents! That rack went from my first car then onto my short-lived Audi A4 (I was a shoe designer at Reebok and Converse) and then finally onto my Honda Civic which went to 290k+. When it came time to get an all-wheeled drive car, I settled on a Subaru Crosstrek and opted to get a hitch-mounted rack. That rack was a Kuat. What always bothered me was just how much that rack wobbled and the bikes racked back and forth. Some times, it was disconcerting to see the bikes out back move that much… I never lost a bike but when I redesigned my mountain bikes 2 seasons ago, that elongated the wheelbase by a good margin, making the wobble more acute and now the bikes were practically dragging on the ground. Enough was enough and that meant I needed a serious upgrade. Two clients had raved about their 1UP Quik Racks so I decided to look into them. Didn’t take me long to appreciate the simple robust construction. So I invested in a 1.25″ Quik Rack with their Add-on to bring me to 2 bike capacity. In short, I could not be happier with my purchase. I’ve been using mine since 2018 so it’s seen all kinds of weather including a long NH Winter. So let’s take a closer look.

1 UP Rack

Two heavy boxes arrived a week or two later. They were heavy… That’s when I knew I was in for a treat. Heavy packages mean there’s business inside! And 1Up’s construction did not disappoint. They came folded up so there was a bit of assembly and parts to bolt together between the rack and add-on. Pretty simple stuff. What’s cool about this rack is when removed, you can flip a set of blue levers and the whole rack folds up to take up less footprint white stored. (EDITOR’S NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS – this is just to show how the rack folds):

Don't do this

What I was really looking for in a rack was a more solid connection, easy on/off, ability to lock the bikes, trays that accommodate longer wheelbases (the Quik Rack fits up to a 54″ wheelbase), I can fit my road bike, mountain bikes and fat bikes (thanks to their 5″ conversion parts!), had some reflectivity since the rack is now on the back of my car and the rack minimizes sway/wobble. All boxes checked on the Quik Rack. Including the reflective part! What’s nice about the trays is they are staggered vertically. In an oversight on my part, when I purchased my hitch mount for my car, I wanted to use the stealth/hidden hitch but that only came in a 2″ receiver. I wanted to get the hidden hitch because it maintained the Crosstrek’s tall ground clearance. My wife’s car has a 1.25″ hitch on it and we wanted maximum versatility. So I got the 1.25″ Quik Rack. So I’m using a 2″ to 1.25″ reducer. When she replaces her car, we’ll get her a 2″ hitch and speaking with 1Up, they assured me I could purchase a few parts to make the change. So that problem is solved down the road! But you can see how the ground clearance is retained and the entire assembly folds up to a vertical position:

Folded

Note the locking mechanism on a spring. This also is the actuator for the release mechanism. The only gripe I have with the entire rack is the way this mechanism actuates. You have to lift up on the rack slightly and then pull towards you in the middle of the lever. If you’re not centered, it pulls off-center and binds. It’s a bit tricky. In the winter, when salt/grit get in there, it gets even stickier so I tend to leave the rack down most days. This is the only part of the rack that needs some attention – I’ve been actually pondering a workaround I machine myself. But when up, or down, that large knob can be turned to lock it in place. Too tight and it needs a wrench to get it loose. So be careful not to go gorilla tight! Just finger tight. hHere’s a close up of locking mechanism in the locked position:

Locking Bar

1UP also sells locking bars for the tongue and racks. Just know that if/when you do order your keyed locks, best to get all the locks at once as they won’t re-key additional locks at a later date. So get them all at once! The rack, however, does not have a traditional receiver pin which worried me. It only has a velcro strap. But my receiver’s hidden hitch has no way of attaching a line like that, only a pin. On my first long trip (Philly Bike Expo!) I tightened the rack down and off I went. The 450-mile trip was a no wobble adventure. However, on the way home when I stopped in NY State, I check the rack and noted it was wobbling. The drawbar of the receiver had loosened up and the rack had begun to back out. So I loosened everything up and this time I tightened things up really good and tight. I have not had a problem since. I check it every now and again and will loosen/retighten the mechanism up but each and every time it’s all the way in the receiver and the lock is still really good and tight. So I must not have tightened it enough that first time. Lesson learned.

To access the trunk, you can put the rack all the way down but you have to watch what you’re doing and it takes some finesse:

1 UP!

Tilted

The rack is a heavy piece of equipment and with two bikes on it, it’s even heavier. So if you’re not paying attention and don’t have a hand on your bikes or the rack they can come at you like a freight train. So just be mindful when accessing the trunk. One nice feature is when the rack is folded all the way up without bikes, you can simply fold it halfway down and still access the trunk. Pretty cool feature.

Trunk Access Tilt

Let’s take a closer look at the mechanisms that hold the tires and adjust to the bikes to hold them in place:

Tire Bar

Release

The spacer kit picture is for up to 3″ tires. I have their extension kit that adapts a tray to 5″ fat bike tires. Relatively quick swap in the fall. The release mechanism is a ratchet. To open it, you pull up on the red lever and while holding it up, you open up the arms. To close it, you simply push on the arms. Over time especially in the winter, I’ve noticed the arms getting stiffer to close. At one point, I couldn’t close one. A quick search on 1UP’s FAQ and you just need to adjust the bolt torque occasionally as it can tighten up. I’ll also lube all the parts as they have gotten grit in them after a winters use. But snow and ice didn’t seem to matter so long as I was cleaning them off after a snowstorm. Sand/salt/grit did work its way into the mechanisms and I had one of the bolts on the extension kit freeze on me due to smut from the aluminum parts/stainless bolts. Drilled out the head and all was back together in the spring but I’d recommend you add some waterproof grease (Phil Wood or Nix Frix Shun Race Grease) to the threads of the bolts. This just makes it easier to remove the bolts and prevents them from binding. It’s a great trick with SPD clear bolts too.

Lock thru-hole

One additional feature is the ability to lock the whole assembly to the vehicles hitch. The bolt is tamper-resistant but the through-hole in the rack makes it impossible to access. You could purchase a lock/s from 1Up or get a simple U-lock from Masterlock that is keyed and they come in different length U’s which would do the exact same thing. I plan on investing in my locks for the trays and the above soon.

All in all, I could not be happier with my purchase from 1Up. I was looking for a robust, Made in the USA rack that held my bikes super solid and didn’t mar any of the finishes. With a lot of adjustability and easy access on/off my car when at the trailhead or loading up to head out for a ride, I really have come to love a hitch-mounted rack. It’s so convenient to arrive at the trailhead, pop the lever and remove my bike. No more putting on the front wheel and lifting the bike above my head onto a tray! Plus it’s decidedly better on gas mileage having the bikes behind the car inside the car’s airfoil. I’ve also noticed that my bikes are not covered in insects either now on long drives. Once installed, the 1Up Quik Rack is totally bomber. So if you’re in the market for a new rack, that is super stable, relatively simple to use and it’s made in the USA, look no further than 1Up!

*Editor’s Note: I was not asked to do this review by 1Up. I reached out to them when I was looking at racks to see if they offered OEM programs which they granted me an OE discount on my rack since I’m an OEM. I liked the rack so much and they were so generous with their OE discount and were super helpful with all my questions, I decided to return the favor in-kind and write a long term review of my rack. Just want to be honest with all of you who are reading this!