It seems like I have been in a perpetual quest for the ideal bike rack since I started riding 17 years ago. Trunk mounts, hitch mounts and roof mounts have all made their rounds with promises of being the perfect rack. My recent review of the Yakima Ridgeback 5 is just one story of many in this line of failures. After experimenting with the rack systems I knew I wanted a hitch mounted design, but needed ground clearance on a compact sedan. Not a easy task apparently. Scouring the web I found two companies making a possible solution, one of those being 1UP USA. If you hang around enough bike geeks they are bound to come up in conversation, but few of those people actually own one. I contacted the company to see if they thought it might solve my issues. After quite a few informative and responsive emails, I purchased their Quick Rack model with three add-ons. Fast forward a few months and I have been using the rack weekly to find out if it was worth the hype.
How did it Work?- The 1UP Rack is superior to every other rack I have tried in the past. To start off the the thing is built like a tank. Nearly all of the components are aluminum or steel. There is very little plastic or rubber on the rack. This is ideal for climates like Phoenix where the sun is brutal to plastics and rubbers that sit in the sun. The arms that hold the bike in place are built solid and secure the bike on rough roads. The arms lock down on the tires providing some 'give' rather then transferring the abuse to the frame like other racks. Although there is some play with the bike when it is in the rack, it is minimal and doesn't seem to effect the connection point at the hitch. Speaking of the connection, it is easy.....really easy to install. Insert, spin the mechanism using the tool and the rack is secure. No wobble, shimmy,or shake when it is tightened down. The mechanism uses a specially cut tool to make removal difficult. Additionally a lock can be slid into place to further complicate removal and hopefully send the 'would be thief' packing (empty handed of course).
The rack's design allows you to easy carry up to three bikes but there is an additional model that allows carry of four bikes (with a 2" receiver). When carrying bike of similar size it was necessary to stagger the bikes to ensure that there was no contact. The retaining arms allow you to offset the bikes a few inches in each direction creating just the right amount of room. With extra wide bars the bikes were in the way of the trunk opening on my Corolla. Luckily the rack tilts allowing access. The release bar is located in a awkward place when the bikes are in place, but it can be done. Most times I can just push out on my bike bars and squeeze the trunk by. If it were really a concern I could set the rack up in the receiver further out allowing for more clearance. When the rack is not in use I usually just keep the single rack on the vehicle and quickly add the Add-Ons if necessary. The rack system has only made contact with the ground once. It was on some excessively high speed bumps. When I further inspected the rack it turned out the contact was actually to the lock I added (it hangs down a inch lower). Because of the upturned design the rack avoids ground contact impressively well.
Final Verdict- If you are tired of searching for a bike rack that securing carries your bikes, doesn't have ground clearance issues and will out last your next seven bikes; then the 1Up Quick Rack is the way to go. Although there are more visually appealing options on the market, there are none that I have seen that out perform the 1UP system. The aluminum construction makes a strong rack that weighs little. The designers spend time to develop one of the easiest install methods I have seen, yet still provide a secure and stable ride. Cough up the money for a rack system that will perform to same level you expect your bikes to and you won't be disappointed. You can check out the 1UP Quick Rack or their other systems at their website.
*This lightly used rack was purchased through 1UPUSA at a discount in exchange for an agreement to produce a unbiased review.