1up USA is a relatively small company that manufactures their bike racks, as well as cargo carriers, trainers, and rollers, in their Wisconsin headquarters. Unlike the very large majority of tray-stay racks out there that employ a single adjustable arm that cinches down over your bike's front wheel, their Quik Rack makes use of two arms, one at each end, that fold down over each wheel. The arms only contact the tires - there is zero metal-on-metal touching – and the rack folds both up and down to allow access to your trunk.
1up USA sells single-bike (1 1/4'' and 2'') and two-bike (2'' only) racks, as well as add-ons and burly 'Super Duty' models, but it's their standard two-bike, $529 USD Quik Rack that's reviewed below.
Quik Rack Details
• Contact w/ only your bike's tires • Carries two bikes (+2 add-on available) • 2'' hitch bar • Aluminum construction • Expanding wobble-free hitch system • Anti-theft expander bolt • Compatible w/ 16'' to 29'' wheels, up to a 52'' wheelbase • Compatible w/ up to 3.125'' tires • Weight: 48lbs • Made in the U.S.A. • MSRP: $529 USD • www.1upusa.com
Ratcheting arms close down over both the front and rear wheels.
The arms come down over the wheels, and the coupler squeezes down onto the tires.
Construction and Design
A normal tray-style rack features one adjustable arm that grabs your bike's front tire up against the fork, as well as a wheel strap to hold the back-end on the tray. Sure, some companies do this a bit differently, but Thule, Yakima, Küat, et al. pretty much follow a similar recipe. 1up USA does not, however. Instead, the Quik Rack employs symmetrical arms at the end of the trays that both go down over each wheel. They don't need to be up against, or even close to, your frame or fork, with the support coming from the arms encompassing about half of each wheel.
The arms also have a cross-section coupler that can be repositioned to better fit different wheel sizes, although this does require some tools to do, and a set of snap-on adapters grip pinner road bike tires as well. The rack can carry everything from kids bikes with 16'' wheels to rigs with massive 29+ rubber.
Lift up on this red lever to re-position the arm.
The linkage locks down onto these teeth to hold the arm in place.
A ratcheting linkage is used to re-position each arm and hold it in place, so the Quik Rack's arms actually lock into position whereas the single arms on other tray-style racks are held in place by them ratcheting down onto your bike's tire. To open the arms, you pull up on the anodized red lever that frees each arm to fold out; the bike goes onto the tray, and then both the left and right arms can be lowered down over the wheels (without needing to pull on the release levers) evenly. The arms can't open unless you pull the release lever, but you can cinch them down over the wheels more as required.
1up USA's choice to use two ratcheting arms rather than a single arm per bike, as well as having a slight height differential between the inner and outer trays, allows for one very important fact: you can easily keep multiple bikes from making contact with each other, without needing to lower seats or rotate handlebars or brake levers to prevent one bike from trying to beat the shit out of the one next to it like they're angry siblings strapped into the backseat during a long road trip.
Instead, it's as easy as using the dual arms to have one bike sit a little more to the left or right relative to its neighbor.
The height differential between the trays, and the ability to stagger the bikes side to side, means that the Quik Rack only sticks out 24.5'' from the back of my hitch receiver when folded down.
This also means that 1up USA isn't forced to have a ton of room in between each tray, letting the two-bike version protrude a reasonable 24.5'' from the receiver (this will vary a bit depending on how deep the hitch bar is loaded into the receiver) when folded down, and just 9'' when folded up.
It sure looks sturdy.
The Quik Rack's aluminum frame consists of a bunch of different pieces all bolted together and attached to a burly looking hitch bar with a built-in expanding edge to hold it into your vehicle's receiver. The wedge is tightened by turning a monster-sized, theft-resistant hex bolt with the supplied hex key. It's not a lock, but the chances of a POS scumbag having a recessed hex key is slim to none, and the access to it is nearly completely hidden inside of the hitch bar. If you're really concerned (and it doesn't hurt to be), you can pick up 1up USA's locking hitch pin, as well as their separate wheel locks that run through the arm and between the spokes, both of which sell for a reasonable $19 USD. My test rack came with the latter but not the locking hitch pin, which is probably the setup that I'd recommend.
It sticks out 24.5'' when folded down.
And just 9'' when folded up.
Pulling up on the spring-loaded black bar allows the rack to be folded up and down.
1up USA uses a security hex bolt to tighten the rack into the receiver with an expanding wedge.
The Quik Rack folds up vertically, so it's out of the way when it isn't carrying your baby, down flat when it's loaded up, and also tipped down to allow access to your trunk or hatchback. A simple spring-loaded bar locks the rack into each position, and you only need to pull it up to let the rack rotate up or down.
The Quik Rack comes completely assembled – you just need to slide it into your car's receiver and fold it down – so there was zero chance for me to lose any bolts or tiny washers before I got everything set up. It cinches down with that aforementioned expanding wedge and security hex bolt/key, which takes all of thirty seconds, and 1up USA also includes a Velcro safety strap that you run over the rack and through the loop in your receiver assembly. The strap feels kinda hokey, especially given the entire package's sturdy construction, but it's probably a better fallback than nothing at all.
You can easily carry two bikes (or four if you have the bolt-on addition) on the Quik Rack without them making any contact whatsoever.
Here's a list of tasks that are more difficult than loading two bikes onto the Quik Rack: tying your shoes, making microwaveable oatmeal for dinner, putting on a pair of pants. You get it the idea. Lift the red levers to let the arms be folded out like wings, then put the bike on the tray and snug each arm down over the tire. If the bike is in the middle of the rack and the arms are brought down an equal distance, the bike will sit dead center behind your car.
If you want to stagger the bike to the left or right to prevent contact with its neighbor, which seems to be the bane of so many other designs on the market, you simply don't fold out one arm as much as the other so that the bike sits off-center. I've had at least six different types of bikes on the rack and had zero issues with any of them touching so long as I used the arms to stagger them off-center, regardless of frame size or bike type.
When you get to the mountain, lifting up on just one of the red levers to let a single arm rotate out of the way – you don't need to back both of them off to get your bike – and it's free. You do need to hold the release lever up throughout the entirety of the arm's travel.
Keeping the bikes from touching is pointless if they fall off the rack on the way to the mountain, but I don't think that could ever happen when it comes to the Quik Rack. I mean, you'd have to really mess up the loading; like, actually forget to clamp one of the wheels with an arm, to have a bike eject at any point. And the bikes also feel pretty solid once they're on the rack due to the arms holding both the front and rear wheels, whereas a more traditional rack only grabs the front wheel.
The expanding hitch did back off a bit just once after about a month of use, but I suspect that this was everything settling in – it never happened again.
The Quik Rack has been completely trouble-free while I've had it attached to the back of my derelict van that's probably worth less than the rack. I'll be honest, though: with so many separate pieces and so much hardware holding it all together, I expected something or other to rattle loose, or maybe the aluminum teeth on the ratcheting system to wear down to nubs and not hold the arms in place. None of that has happened yet, though, despite months and months of use during what has to be the worst winter that I can remember. This thing looks like it'll last forever.
A single-bike add-on for the Quik Rack costs a hefty $199, although the two-bike add-on for the T2 Pro is $399.95, so they're both the same. The two-bike extension for the NV 2.0 is $429.00, again making the Küat the more expensive setup overall.
Both the NV 2.0 and the T2 Pro feature integrated cable locks that extend out from the rack itself, whereas the Quik Rack makes use of standalone locks that have to be purchased separately from 1up USA for $19 each and run through the folding arms to lock only the wheel or wheels to the rack. Best to pick up a cable lock for the Quik Rack.
The NV 2.0 is expensive, but it includes a built-in repair stand.
All three racks do the same job, sure, but there's a clear winner in my mind.
The T2 Pro is a high-end unit, but the ratcheting arm (pictured to the right) that I used most often felt loose and rattle-y after awhile, and you're likely going to have some handlebar-to-seat contact if you don't slide the trays laterally to create more clearance between the bikes. A good rack, but not trouble-free, then. Kazimer clearly liked the NV 2.0 a lot and had no real issues with it but, at least to me, it doesn't appear to be as bomb-proof as the Quik Rack, and it costs $100 USD more.
If I'm buying one of those three, it's going to be the Quik Rack.
The T2 Pro's ratcheting arm became loose and rattle-y after awhile.
The Quik Rack is probably the most secure and easiest to use rack that I've ever had, with one somewhat annoying exception. The spring-loaded release bar that needs to be depressed to fold the rack up or down is kinda of a pain in the ass to use, especially because the rack's pivots are still quite stiff despite months and months of use throughout a whole lot of terrible weather. That in itself is a good thing – I'd rather it be stiff than loose and full of rattles – but having to reach up and over the rack to pull the bar, combined with the stiff pivots, makes it feel a bit awkward. Also, the release bar will often only disengage the detents on one side, even when I grab it smack dead in the middle.
The Quik Rack isn't quite perfect, but it's damn close. Not only is it less expensive than its direct competitors, but it's also easier to use when carrying more than just a single bike and it's more robust. Yes, $529 USD is a lot of money no matter how you slice it, but 1up USA is producing the best rack on the market for that price. - Mike Levy