1 Up 2″ Heavy Duty Double Bike Rack Review
Review by Erin Machan
Over the last 9 years, I have tried almost every brand of hitch-mounted bike rack out there and for the majority of them, they look cool, have great features but do a few things very poorly. The biggest issue I find is security. Even when a bike rack comes with built-in locks they are usually easy to cut or rub on the frame of the bike meaning you have to lock and unlock them every time you stop.
The other big issue is adjustability and fit. Somehow every time I put my bikes on the rack I end up playing bike Tetris; turning bars and taking off saddles. If you’re like me you’re hauling mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, and all different sizes and most racks just don’t support those riders like you and me that need one rack to do it all.
So I finally decided it was worth checking out the 1-UP rack made in the USA. I was reluctant at first because the cost is slightly more than your standard rack from REI but I had to know what the hype was all about because I was seeing them everywhere. The rack isn’t as glamorous looking as a Kuat or Thule and looks like it was made in a garage, and it was! Its rugged design may not be appealing to everyone but the rack absolutely lives up to the hype. I won’t ever go back.
The 1-Up comes almost completely assembled. Not like the tedious task of building Ikea furniture like most racks. No big mess of small parts and instructions. If you’re like me then you love being able to skip the instructions and jump right into getting it built and ready to use. I don’t think I even opened the 1-Up instructions.
Putting the rack on my hitch was easy. I use a standard 2” hitch and my worst nightmare is a rattling bike rack or worse, having to use a shim to keep it steady. With the 1-UP you use a standard 8mm Allen-key (included) to tighten the rack into the hitch and it barely moves. I’ve driven 10+ hours straight with the rack on and it never loosens.
I love that the arms fold down on the tires, not the frame or fork. This ensures there is no damage done to any part or your bike! The arms are also replaceable parts and can be changed to accommodate fat bikes or kids bikes. The rack is so easy to adjust with a standard allen-key set so swapping parts is not daunting at all.
The way the system works allows the arms to collapse onto the tire securely at an angle. This means that your bikes can sit anywhere on the tray and be secured in place. This is my absolute favorite part! No need for grabbing the tools to move the trays around so the two bikes on your rack don’t touch. You can adjust on the fly to accommodate any size or type of bikes.
The rack is also sold as a 1 bike, 2 bike, 3 bike or 4 bike option so you aren’t stuck with trays you don’t need and you can add or remove as needed. I went with the standard 2-bike rack because I know I almost always want two bikes available. But many people go with the 1 bike option and add trays as needed. There are so many options.
You do need two hands to open the arms because you have to pull up on a lever and open the arm at the same time. However, that only applies to opening them, closing them down is easy because the latch doesn’t need to be released. That’s the only thing that could be viewed as an obstacle. I am used to it at this point and because I love the way the system works it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s added security as well.
The rack does not come with a built-in lock like other racks and many people choose to use their preferred lock brand but I went with the custom locks specific for the rack. It’s such a great add-on. They are made to go through the arms and secure between the spokes. They are really thick and could not be cut with cable cutters. They also don’t touch the frame or bike at all so I put them on right when I hit the road then I don’t have to stress about remembering to lock the bikes when running into a store or stopping for dinner. People always ask if I’m worried someone could just remove the frame from the wheels but that would take a lot of effort and would not be a simple task, so I don’t worry too much about it. I also don’t leave them on the rack unattended overnight or for long periods of time. But my theory is that if a thief wants to steal a bike they will, so the harder you can make it, the less likely it’ll happen to you! The 1-Up locking system is the best I’ve found on any rack so far.
The rack looks tough and is tough! At one point I thought one of the hinges on the arm was bent or broken. I emailed 1-up right away asking for a warranty part and turns out I just had to loosen the bolt. No part needed! That’s the ONLY maintenance I’ve had to do on the rack in almost 3 years. Every once and awhile I loosen the bolt and the arm moves smooth again. These bikes are literally engineered, designed and distributed out of someone’s garage. You can tell they are built for the rugged outdoors but I was surprised by how light it is. It’s super easy for me to take on and off whenever I need which is a big deal for us solo adventurers.
I would recommend the 1-Up racks to anyone in the market for a new bike rack or looking for an upgrade. It solves problems you didn’t even know you had and has the best features compared to the top brands in the market, especially if you like to nerd out on technical features like I do. Check it out at https://www.1up-usa.com/product/2in-heavy-duty-double-bike-rack/
About Erin Machan
Erin Machan was California born and Alabama raised. When she isn’t talking shit about SEC college football (WAR EAGLE) she’s probably riding her mountain bike, talking about mountain bikes or teaching about mountain bikes. She learned how to ride a horse before she could walk and eventually became obsessed with competitive horse show jumping. When she wasn’t competing in show jumping, she was probably snowboarding, doing yoga or traveling the world looking for the next best horse.
Eventually, life changed as it always does and her Olympic dreams were behind her, so she was on the hunt for something new to be completely obsessed with, and that’s when she found bikes. It started with a used Trek on craigslist for $250 and soon escalated to a full-blown addiction. She’s since completed the Arizona Ironman, too many half Ironman’s to count, 3x 24-hour MTB races, 3x Leadville MTB finisher, and a handful of big races ahead including the Breck Epic! Erin is also the Co-Founder of Project Bike Love, an organization committed to empowering impoverished women and changing their lives with the gift of a bicycle.
She lives and breathes bikes, but when she’s not riding, she’s planning her next Rock or Ice Climbing adventure, learning how to Split Board and chasing adventure. You’ll most likely find her anywhere in Colorado, Moab, Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, Pisgah National Forest, or recharging at her family’s Lake House near Auburn, AL. If you’re lucky enough to catch her, she’ll definitely talk your ear off about what gear she’s using. This girl is a gear junkie through and through. She’s spent over 6 years in the cycling industry and loves getting people stoked on the best gear the industry has to offer!