Reportage

Used, Abused and Still Clicking: 1-Up USA’s New Equip-D Double Bike Rack

Four wheelin’ and cycling are not exactly a common pairing yet this merging of two hobbies for me creates all kinds of interesting problems to solve. For instance, finding a bike rack that lives up to the same standards as my truck’s other accessories. From the roof top tent’s aluminum structure, to the steel bumpers and other body armor. I need a rack that can take a few hits and keep on tickin’… or in this case, clickin’. That’s where 1-Up USA’s newest model, the Equip-D double bike rack comes into play.

Building off their successful Quik Rack – my personal all-time favorite bike rack up until using this new Equip-D model – 1-Up USA looked at how they could tweak a few details to make a new model, while keeping the Quik Rack in their catalog. The Equip-D rack utilizes a few new features, addressing some user concerns with the Quik Rack’s ergonomics and sacrificing a few other successful details of the Quik Rack.

Equip-D

Like the Quik Rack, the Equip-D is made in the USA at 1-Up’s facilities in Dickeyville, Wisconsin. It features the same bullet-proof, all-metal construction, with many parts available at your local hardware store and replacement parts always for sale at 1-Up’s webshop. The Equip-D, while not rated for extreme off-roading like the Quik Rack Heavy Duty, is a very robust rack, providing ample stability for everything from lightweight road bikes to heavy-duty touring bikes. It’s a fixed, 2-bike system. Unlike the Quik Rack, the Equip-D’s second tray cannot be removed, although you can add on additional trays, up to 4 bikes total can be carried on the Equip-D’s chassis. Utilizing the new rack arms, the Equip-D makes it easy to carry bikes with 16” – 29” wheels, with up to 5.0” tires. So you can really carry your entire family’s bikes with you on a road trip. With ease.

As it ships from 1-Up’s warehouse, it’ll clear a 4.5″ tire and if you want to go wider, they include spacers to go up to 5″. These new arms also accommodate up to a 56” wheelbase. Downhill or long-ass touring bikes are no problem here! Like the Quik Rack, the arms of the Equip-D close to secure the tires without touching the frame. These wider trays are one of my favorite features of the Equip-D, as you never know when you’ll have to take a fatbike on a snow or desert trip or carry one for a friend. They’re also powder-coated, making them much more durable to wear and tear, whereas the rest of the rack is anodized.

One detail that differs from the Quik Rack is the newly-designed hitch bar. This bar is thinner, at only a couple of inches wide, whereas the Quik Rack utilized a much wider platform. This new hitch bar has a built-in anti-wobble mechanism. Another major improvement is the rapid tilt and folding handle mechanism, located at the rear of the rack, creating a much simpler, one-handed tilting operation. Users of the Quik Rack on smaller sedans will rejoice at the ease of folding the rack up. Before you had to reach all the way to the back of the hitch. This handle also has a much smaller footprint.

Another well thought out detail is the new latch ratchet system. Instead of being an exposed mechanism, this new ratchet block – the thing with the red 1-Up decal on it – allows you to open and close the arms with the touch of a lever. The ratchet bar is now inverted too, keeping the teeth from coming in contact with your arm or hands. While this ratchet does operate smoothly, if you spend a lot of time on dusty roads, be sure to hit it with an air blast or water hose to clean it out. I found after a very muddy time in Sedona, the ratchet did stick a bit. One hit with the pressure washer at the car wash and it cleaned right up again.

Exit clearance is where 1-Up dominates all other hitch-mounted racks. The trays are staggered vertically, so when you add more trays, the rack sits even higher at the back. For a 4×4 vehicle, this is crucial when going up and down big rock ledges and steps. On my truck, the rack is mounted to a swingout, atop the bumper, so it means the rack is even higher than it if was to be mounted to the standard hitch. Here’s the truck, in a v-notch step down, showing how even the 3′ ledge doesn’t come close to the rack, or the bikes.

Major Differences

At first glance, the Equip-D’s pricepoint of $729.00 versus the $649.00 price of the 2-tray black Super Duty (Quik Rack) might lead you to believe the Equip-D is better than its predecessor. Hold tight. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. While I like both racks, I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. They’re just different racks. In fact, the Equip-D has the DNA of the 1-Up rack design, but it feels like a much lighter duty rack. For instance, the trays have a much narrower mounting position on the Equip-D. It’s about a 4″ platform for the trays to mount to, versus the Quik Rack’s 12″ platform. This, as you might expect, causes the rack to move a lot more than its predecessor.

It only took a few road trips for me to get used to this behavior. I’m used to seeing the Quik Rack hardly move at all. Even on dirt roads and 4×4 trails. Yet the Equip-D definitely dances around a lot more. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. Some people argue that things are less likely to break or rattle loose if they’re allowed to move around a bit. This springboard behavior is the only real negative attribute to the Equip-D’s design.

The ease of opening the arms, of pivoting the trays, and the wider trays make the Equip-D a much-needed update to 1-Up’s catalog, yet the solid fixture that is the Quik Rack will keep those with a more anxious demeanor at ease.

 
This is the gatekeeper on Broken Arrow trail, above this ledge is overflow parking for the MTB trails in Sedona. Don’t mind the scrapes, this sandstone is filled with marks from people scraping going up this rock to drive the 4×4 trail that is maintained by the Pink Jeep Tours in conjunction with the National Forest. As on two wheels, we observe the Leave No Trace Principles while traveling on four wheels.

Take Away

A made in the USA, all-metal bike rack is what 1-Up is known for. While the Equip-D is a “lighter use” rack, I have abused the shit out of mine, taking on numerous intermediate to difficult 4×4 trails while towing two bikes on the back. I’ve smacked, scraped, and hit the rack on rocks over and over again, even backing up into a boulder once, barely scratching the blue anodizing off the handle. Other racks would not and have not held up to the abuse I can dish out on 4×4 trips, yet 1-Up’s racks have always held on tightly and operated smoothly.

The bikes are nice and secure. Also, this road was super silty, Cari is not driving fast, please be respectful on dirt roads!  ;-)

The beauty of the Quik Rack and Equip-D’s designs is you can always loosen the bolts, clean the hardware, lube them up and reassemble with ease. All it takes is a SAE wrench set and SAE Allen keys. You can lock these racks to your car’s hitch with a security axle, fold the rack up out of the way for inner-city driving, and never worry about your bikes flying off on rough roads.

The Equip-D is available now from 1-Up USA and ships in a reusable storage box.  Do you have any questions or comments? Drop them below!

Full disclosure: While I purchased my original 1-Up Quik Rack and extra trays, I did not pay for this Equip-D, rather I was chosen along with dozens of other individuals to test out the rack and offer valuable PR&D over six months. 1-Up did not request a review, nor encourage it, in fact, all they wanted was my opinion in a series of surveys. I’m keeping this rack and have donated my Quik Rack to a friend in the industry.