An Ode to the 1-Up Rack

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An Ode to the 1-Up Rack

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While not everyone needs a bike rack, or even a car, plenty of people out there rely on their automobiles to transport their bicycle or bicycles to a cycling destination. Here in California, it’s easy to hop in your car and be transported to a completely different environment within a few hours, sometimes even fast enough to get in a good pedal before sundown.

Over the years, I’ve used just about every mainstream market bike rack. While they all do the job, only one excels. The 1-Up Rack is hands down the best bicycle rack on the market and the fact that it’s made in the USA is an added bonus. I’ve been using mine for over a year now and while it pinched my pockets upon purchasing, I have no regrets.

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Form and Function

The key to the 1-Up Rack’s success is in its simplicity. While it looks like an erector set on the back of your car, the design allows for bicycles to be staggered, avoiding handlebar and saddle interference. It’s easier to do with mountain bikes that have dropper posts, but really comes in handy with road bikes, where moving the saddle, or removing the seat post can be a real pain in the ass, much less impossible with some integrated seat posts.

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Stability

Once your bikes are locked into the trays, by the independently-moving arms, they aren’t going anywhere. The 1-Up Rack is as stable as your trailer hitch. If the rack is moving, it’s because the chassis of your vehicle is moving.

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Installation

When your box comes in, there’s absolutely nothing to assemble. No cotter pins, no brackets. Nothing. Simply unfold the rack and lock it into place. To install a 1-Up rack on your hitch, all you need is the provided, specially-engineered hollow point hex key. There’s an expanding wedge ball on the inside that, upon tightening the bolt, expands, creating a secure connection. I’ve driven thousands of miles on rough and rugged roads without having it loosen either.

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Storage

Why remove the rack when it folds up nicely against the rear of your car? There are three settings to store the rack: flat, 45º and 90º. You can even unhinge the rack to access your vehicle’s back hatch.

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Add-On

I began with a two-bike rack on my Tacoma, but since buying the Land Cruiser, I’ve added an additional tray. Now I can carry three bikes and three people with ease. You can add on as many as your vehicle will allow thanks to the staggered offset of the rack. The more you add on, the higher they’ll be off the ground. Keep in mind, the further out you go, the more your brake lights will be obscured, thus requiring (by law in many states) to have trailer lights on your rack, as well as displaying an extra license plate – which 1-up also makes a holder for.

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Why is it So Expensive?

To say the 1-Up rack is expensive because it’s US made isn’t entirely accurate. My machinist friends have priced out the stock and hardware needed to make their own rack, similar to the 1-Up design and they’ve all said the same thing: the materials are why these racks are expensive. Even the other brands that boast about their design’s prowess use a lot of plastic. The 1-Up is all metal and repairable. I’ve destroyed a few other racks, when their plastic knuckles go bad and it’s always an ordeal to get a replacement mailed over. The 1-Up rack customer service reps can get you your replacement part and instructions for how to install in as little as a week’s time.

1-Up’s racks begin at $299 for the Quick Rack Single and go up to $639 for the Super Duty Double. They also make roof rack trays for $189 and even tandem trays for $369. Their accessories include fat bike tire expansion sets, wheel locks, rack locks, license plate holders and even fender kits to keep your fenders scratch-free.

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Take Away

If your lifestyle includes driving places to ride your bike, or you find yourself in a lot of off-road environments with your bikes in tow, you should really look into the 1-Up Racks. Their durability and dependability will impress, long after you recover financially from the upfront cost… Head to 1-Up USA to drool over their products and ask any questions you might have in the comments.