1Up USA is famous for their bike trainers so we were excited at the opportunity to try their bike racks. At first glance, it looks like a science project as the whole unit looks CNC’d and the bike retention mechanism looks unlike any we’ve seen before. But as we used it extensively, we learned about the logic behind the design. We took a look at the user reviews on Mtbr and it exhibited a staggering 4.8/5 stars with 96 reviews.
This is a unit of the highest quality and it folds up in to such a small package when shipped or stored. It can get work with one tray or be expanded like a Lego system in to a versatile multi-bike rack.
Furthermore, it plays on both ends of the spectrum. It can be the smallest, incognito rack available. Or it can be a massive four bike carrier ready for biggest road trip you can outline on Google Maps. In both configurations, it uses all the same trays. It’s a modular system so you just add trays on to the base carrier.
For our road trip from San Jose, CA to Bend, Oregon, we recruited one of these four-bike behemoths and were surprised to see our friend deliver the rack to us inside his Toyota Prius. “What,” I asked?? Did he forget to bring all the trays? It turns out the rack collapses into a very compact unit in a transformation that would make any Transformers fan happy. Bend your knees when you lift it though as this configuration weighs close to 100 lbs. It is all aluminum but with beefy trays to handle such a load.
For a bike rack, a hitch mount unit is the best solution. It is out of harm’s way from low garage roofs and overhangs. It is much more quiet than a roof rack since it doesn’t whistle or roar with the wind. And most important, it doesn’t degrade your fuel mileage. A roof rack will degrade your gas mileage by about 1-2 mpg when empty and a staggering 4-5 mph when bikes are mounted. These numbers get worse too if you drive over 70 mph. Over the life of the car, that is just a lot of money wasted on gas.
We wish all autos came with hitch mounts as it is the perfect bike carrying solution. But alas, it is always assumed that you want to tow something big when you want a vehicle with a hitch so very few cars offer it as an option from the factory. But it is not difficult to get a hitch installed in your car from outfits like U-Haul or Etrailer.com
What you want from a hitch rack is that it’s out of the way when you don’t need it but versatile when you do. You want to be able to load the bike easily and remove the bikes without much drama. And when you’re driving, you don’t want to be bothered by the rack. It should be quiet, secure and wobble free with the bikes not damaging each other.
So this is where the 1upUsa shines. Mounting the bike cannot be easier as you open the tray arms, load the bike and close the tray arms. It really is that simple. Small bike, big bike, road bike, fat bike, 29er, etc. When unloading the bike, you have to lift up a lever then you can open up the arms. This is done one at the time and the pro move is just to open one arm and roll the bike out. To open the second arm requires three hands as the bike will be unsupported and will want to fall sideways unless you support it.
The bike can be mounted on the center of the rack or it can be moved almost a foot back or forward as the arms will lock it in its final position. This movement is key as it allows you mount two bikes on adjacent racks with minimal contact. There’s always interference between handlebars, seats or pedals so flexibility in positioning the bikes is key. With this flexibility, 1upusa was able to place the trays very close to each other. This means the bikes take less room and there is less weight away from the car that can produce leverage stress on the rack.