Tired of complicated roof rack systems that are semi-permanently attached to your car? That’s exactly what Upside Racks set out to improve on when they started designing their own roof rack. We’ve all probably seen someone driving down the highway with a bicycle upside down and tied to the roof rack, and while the Upside Rack might look similar at first, it’s actually a fairly innovative approach to transporting a bicycle on your roof.

The key to design is that the rack is less a permanent part of your car and more an accessory that allows you to quickly mount almost any bike to almost any car with a factory roof rack (or aftermarket cross bars)…

upside-racks-universal-roof-rack-bike-system-3 upside-racks-universal-roof-rack-bike-system-1

Realistically, roof racks have a lot of benefits. They offer secure transport of your bike, they’re relatively convenient since they’re always there, and they keep your trunk free and clear for easy access. But they also can be tricky to install which leads to most of us leaving them on semi-permanently which ultimately cuts down on gas mileage to some degree, and in some cases can make getting into a garage a bit tricky.

Upside Racks wanted to create something that was super easy to install, easy to remove, mostly universal, and secure for transport of almost any bike. That led them to turn things upside down.

All photos c. Upside Racks

Where most roof racks attache to the fork or front wheel and include a strap for the rear wheel, the Upside Rack starts by unfolding and attaching directly to the bike before you mount it to the car. The front of the rack clips on to the handlebars with soft clamps to prevent damage. The rear of the rack then adjusts to mount to the saddle. Once the rack is mounted to the bike, the whole assembly is then turned upside down and mounted to a roof rack with opposing hooks that latch on to the cross bars. The design is said to fit may cross bar set ups (outer edges 550-930mm, cross rail thickness less than 35mm) and allows for the rack to be installed and removed in a claimed 20 seconds which makes it possible to easily switch between cars, install on a rental, your friend’s car that’s bailing you out from a mechanical, etc.


That last bit is made possible by the fact that the rack folds up and can be stored in a travel case that is fairly portable. With the exception of bikes with tri bars, the rack is said to fit almost any bike and has a weight limit of 25kg (55lb).

Taking to Kickstarter to get things mounted, pricing starts around $112 for the Super Early Bird with delivery estimated by April, 2017.


    • If the wheels spinning with no load on them causes the bearing life to change in any noticeable capacity, get better wheels. Alternatively a rubber band around each brake lever would prevent spinning, although solving a ‘prob;em’ that doesn’t exist in normal racks maybe isn’t the best advert. Looks functional enough, but can’t say I’ve ever seen any problems with (good quality) roof racks that weren’t operator induced.

  1. The wind will not effect the seat any more than if it were upright. Easy enough to loop a bungee through each wheel to keep ’em from spinning. Rather brilliant concept, I hope they succeed.

  2. cool idea but i wouldn’t toss a bike with hydraulic brakes upside down like that: not only upside down for a prolonged amount of time, but also a jarring ride on top of a car. even the best brake will need to be bled from being shaken around upside down.

    • Any knowledgeable mechanics have an opinion on this? I hang my bikes upside down in my garage and one set of brakes seems to have the problem (Formulas) but the other don’t care (Shimano). How much of a problem is this?

      • Shimano used to recommend not hanging bikes with their hydro brakes upside down (it was in their technical notes). This was with their non-mineral oil fluids so I am not sure if it still applies.

      • Quite a few people are having trouble with the shimano road/cx hydraulic seals when they are hanging their bike vertically on a wall, with the fluid disappearing. I think Tyler mentioned it in one of his reviews.

      • If your master cylinders are fully filled, it’s not a problem because there will be no air to migrate up into the line. Unfortunately, most folks do have some air in the reservoir, which isn’t a problem unless the bike is inverted.

        On the plus side, the Kickstarter
        rubber band to keep the wheels from spinning will also close off the brake circuit, preventing any air from fouling your bleed!

        • Depends on the brake and quality of bleed. Some well-designed brakes handle a little bit of air in the system quite well, and it will quickly migrate to the top of the master cylinder and stay there with no ill effects – the old Shimano XTs are a good example of this. Other brakes cannot handle even the tiniest amount and will have problems immediately – Juicys are the classic case there.
          Obviously we should strive to bleed perfectly every time, and air that is located further down the line will cause issues in any brake. It is inevitable that some will eventually find it’s way in past the seals, or through unavoidable trace moisture in the system, which is why periodic bleeding is wise in any brake.
          Back on topic, I always used to run a bungee cord through my wheels on hitch racks to stop them spinning. You could argue that the resulting few degrees of constant movement would be worse that even wear from spinning though…

    • I’m that lazy, and forgetful/dumb. I forgot to throw my wheel in the car and ran it over. Destroyed the wheel and somehow flatted my car tire. Wasn’t my most favorite day of mountain biking, but it was at least top ten.

    • Not lazy just don’t want to add that extra wear on the axles having to take them off then on again. 100 rides in a year means at least 200 removals and sets you have to do…not to mention any mechanical work you have to do in the meantime.

  3. Frankly I feel like a hitch rack is always the best solution. The new ones from Saris and the Thule units seem to have the most versatility and ease of loading. The problem is storing them. That being said my Outback with a Yakima that fits the factory bars was only $50 on Craigslist and I made a 15mm adapter out of an old hub for free.

    • I agree with hitch mounting, my 1UP is the best rack I’ve ever owned and I’ve had quite a few racks in 50 years.

      Have always been told hanging a mtn bike upside-down with an fork that uses oil inside was a real No No. Can’t imagine going down the road with one mounted this way is a good idea.

      And what about tooling along at 70 mph in the pouring rain with your bike on top, isn’t that a danger for water, possibly containing road grime in the spray from other vehicles, being blown into every nook & cranny?

      I miss my E-150 Ford van, with the back seat out 3 full size mountain bikes made numerous trips to Tsali.

  4. If your brakes can’t take being upside down, then you already had air in the reservoir. A properly bled system won’t care about its orientation.

    • Bypass port style brakes such as shimano and magura allow for a small volume of air in the resivor. The Avids, specifically anything with a taper bore, have no tolerance for air.

  5. Having a bike upside-down at the trailhead, on the trail, roadside, in a shop, in your garage etc has long been considered an international signal for distress because it clearly shows to everyone around that you have no idea what you’re doing. If you’d like to display this trait and signal of distress while driving then this an excellent product for you.

  6. Fast spinning wheels with nearly zero load will shorten the life of the bearings. Grease will slowly exit, even in sealed bearings and more important slip can occure when the load is below spec. That event will make flat spots on the rolling elements in the bearing and destroy them quickly. I would not recommend highway speeds without using wheel straps.

  7. I flip my mtb with shimano xt brakes upside down all the time and if you have a good bleed it’s not an issue. That said, I hate advertisements such as this that so poorly show how the product works. Why not some close ups of how it attaches to the bike and car instead of trying to just show people riding and saying how simple it is.

  8. They’ve got a vid based on the CAD renders on their site and Kickstarter page which shows the connection details and how it all connects if interested in seeing it.
    Liking the idea of the rack mounting to the bike and then the car. Would make it handy when jumping into someone else’s ride rather then having to disconnect and re-connect your own fixed rack.
    Guessing you could fit a couple of poles up in the shed, so after disconnecting from car could hang the bike (right way up) from the roof or even the wall??

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