In the world of bike racks, 1Up USA set a high bar for durability and quality. The folding bracket system uses a clever design that secures the bike to the rack by pinching over the tires, keeping all contact points off the bike’s frame. With some tooled adjustments, the racks can fit fat bikes to kids bikes, and the design allows you to stagger bikes so they don’t rub against each other. All parts are machined out of aluminum and made in their Wisconsin shop.

Because it’s made of aluminum, there’s virtually no concern of parts wearing out or deteriorating under the harsh sun. And if they do wear out, you can find the nuts and bolts at your local hardware store. Or you can purchase replacement parts directly from 1Up.

We’ve been using 1Up’s Super Duty Double rack for about five years now. The quality is unparalleled, but we’ve had our gripes. Namely, to drop the tray you need to reach under the rack to release the spring-loaded lever out of the locked position. Two racked bikes is a workout. If you are hauling four bikes and need to get in back, forget about it. You’ll need an extra set of hands to reach the lever and maneuver the loaded rack. And if you are running a fat bike, you’ll need to either deflate the tires or buy fat-friendly spacers to widen the arms. Fortunately, things have gotten better…

The new 1Up Equip-D Double

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

This year 1Up released the Equip-D Double rack which addresses these issues. Namely, they’ve added a pull rod that sits on the back side of the rack. Now you can release the ‘black bar’ mechanism to drop the rack with one fell swoop. No more reaching and pulling required.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

A red pin locks the rod in place, preventing it from disengaging while shuttling on rough road.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

The tire release mechanism is also more user friendly. Instead of a coordinated push on the tire and unlatching the ratchet strap mechanism, you just push in the black lever on the red bar-slide mechanism to unlatch the ratchet. They somehow managed to do this with larger teeth on glide bar, too. So the ratchet durability has increased significantly. The mechanism still requires two hands to operate though (one on the ratchet mechanism, and the other on the wheel hoop) which can sometimes complicate loading and unloading.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

The Equip-D is available with either a 1.25” or 2” hitch bar and sold as a single or double tray. You secure the rack to your vehicle by tightening the hex bolt in back which tightens the corner expander marble against the hitch port. Equip-D trays ship standard with space for tires 4.5” wide (and they throw in a set of spacers to extend the trays to 5” wide) and are capable of swallowing a 56” wheelbase. No matter what your crew is running, the rack can handle them all – however switching between wheel sizes is not a particularly quick process, and requires tools.

The rack ships folded and ready to mount with some minor assembly. You’ll need to you bolt the trays to lock them in place (the Super Duty uses a pair of swinging blue levers to keep the trays from butterflying open).

RakAttach swingaway adds tailgate access

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

RakAttach has been building their swing-away hitch adapters for years now, but recently the company has partnered with 1Up for production. 1Up is now building all of the adapters, and the two companies are working together on the product development. That’s led to some updates to the RakAttach, with the latest version seen here.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

The RakAttach system attaches to your automobile’s trailer hitch port with a hairpin cotter pin and accepts a 2” rack hitch. The u-bolt and plate Hitch Tightener bites down on the gap between your vehicle’s hitch and the RakAttach. According to RakAttach, the decision was made to use the plate-style anti-rattle device because it seemed to support the rack better than a threaded hitch pin. There is an immense amount of torque on the hitch with the RakAttach fully loaded and extended away from the vehicle so this is an important feature. However, if you want even more of a stout set up, RakAttach says you can add a threaded pin insert as well for the ultimate anti-wobble/anti-sag set up. For now you’ll have to source your own insert if you want to go that route, but we’re told that something may be in the works from 1Up/RakAttach.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

The RakAttach is only available with a 2” hitch bar. The Equip-D (or any rack with a 2” hitch) slides into the backside of RakAttach. The RakAttach does not come with a locking hitch pin to lock the adapter to the vehicle, but you can add your own if desired.

The real benefit of the RakAttach is that instead of dropping the racked bikes to access gear in back, you simply pull the giant red pin and swing the rack to the side 90˚. This makes camping with bikes an infinitely more enjoyable experience.

The rack adds an additional 12 inches out back. And when the bikes are racked on the attaching rack, you’ll notice the bikes sway more so than if the rack is attached directly to your vehicles hitch port. It’s a little unnerving at first, you get used to it after a while.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

One of the best features for Element owners like Zach, is that the RakAttach is available in either left or right swing. You may recall Zach’s review of the Kuat Pivot last year, which was developed as part of a collaboration between RakAttach and Kuat. The Pivot worked great, except that it blocked the exhaust pipe of his Honda Element which wasn’t an ideal situation.

Since then, Zach has been testing out a RakAttach in a left-swing medium version (though an earlier model than the one on my truck, which is why the pin and release lever are different). The left-swing version has worked out perfectly for him, without any of the exhaust related issues of the right-swing-only Kuat Pivot.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

To install the RakAttach, you’ll need to bolt on the Latch and Hook mechanism. This snaps the arms together, preventing the bikes from swinging out. Mounting the RakAttach and rack took me ~30 minutes and I was able to install it in my LBS’s parking lot using the tools included in the box.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

Final Thoughts

My gripes with the full set up?  It’s more of a trade-off. Equip-D no longer uses the security hollow point expander bolt. Guess 1Up’s are becoming more popular. If someone wants to snipe it, they probably have the tools. And the RakAttach only comes with a fat pin to lock it into place. But you can purchase after market locks to secure both the RakAttach to the hitch port and the bike rack to the RakAttach.

And compared to the previous line of rack’s 12-inch base, the Equip-D has a narrow 4-inch base. The arms have a little extra sway, and without two points of contact on the front wheel, the bikes have a tendency to wobble a good amount. That and this rack combination is HEAVY. 43 pounds for the RakAttach on top of the 50-plus pound rack.

Review: 1Up USA Equip-D Double bike rack and RakAttach swing away hitch adapter

And finally, yes, the Equip-D Double will set you back $730 and the RakAttach another $360 bucks. But considering the upgrades and that you are buying a made in America product … with a rack made entirely from aluminum… to haul your pride investments… we think it’s got most of the right upgrades.

Check them out at rakattach.com and 1up-usa.com.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Are some of the new components able to be bolted to older 1up racks? Primarily the new red release/ratchet mechanism and the new tilt/lower tilt/raise handle.

  2. its shocking they havent addressed easy swapping between tyre sizes – i love my black dual 1UP to pieces – but having to get out a wrench when going riding with kids drives me nuts

  3. I own this rack, and I think it’s not as good as the Thule T2 Pro I just got rid of. I would not recommend it.

    The tilt mechanism, first of all, is terrible. If you lower the rack to tilt the bikes away from a hatch on an SUV, the blue anodized handle hits the ground (I drive a Toyota Highlander, so its not really low). This happens a bit with the 2 bike version, but its catastrophic with any extensions attached. We used this rack in it’s 4-bike arrangement this summer, and the I was seriously concerned the blue handle would break due to the weight resting on it. The handle clearly shows a lot of scratches and dings as a result of this huge design oversight.
    I was unable to use the tilt mechanism on our vacation as a result. I was easily able to tilt my T2 Pro without issue, and this feature is essentially useless on this (much more expensive) rack.

    In addition, the rack itself is WAY more flexible that the previous version and even more flexible than the markedly cheaper Thule T2 Pro. The bikes bounce and twist a lot while driving. It hasn’t caused any problems yet, but its seriously unnerving. I could foresee it causing loose hardware in the future. The much narrower stance of the support bars (vs the older HD rack) is the culprit here. I’m not sure why the decided to narrow the stance so much, but it has greatly reduced the stability of the rack.

    Other complaints:
    -Removing the rack requires tools (provided with the rack, but stil a PITA) whereas the Thule does not. It has an integral locking knob.
    -The locks are not included and are an additional cost, and they only lock the wheel to the rack. The frame cannot be secured using their locking scheme.
    -The bikes are not as well retained as they are on the Thule (if you tilt the rack with bikes on it, the front wheel can rotate, allowing the bike to shift noticeably).

    TL:DR – I paid nearly $1400 for the full 4-bike configuration of this rack, with locks, and I feel as though I got less rack-for-the-money than I did with my Thule T2 Pro.

    • Thanks for your thorough review. I was considering ditching my heavy, old T2 like you did – I guess now I’ll just keep it and save the money. I was considering modifying the 2″ receiver end of my T2 rack with a swing away tongue that is used on boat trailers.

  4. Just bought on of these racks in a 1.25 version. I love the rack itself, it really is a well made piece of equipment. My only gripe, and it’s a huge one…is that there is no safety cotter pin that runs through the draw bar that goes into your receiver hitch. You literally have zero safety catch of any sort if the bolt loosens. Ask me how I know? I was mortified when we got back from a 4 day trip to find I could literally just slide the entire assy. out with the bikes installed because the bolt had loosened so much, all I could think about is how it could kill somebody if that thing came out on the interstate doing 80mph. So if you buy one in the 1.25 version, carry your multi tool they now include with the rack and check it at every gas stop. The 2” version has a safety pin.

    • Not sure how this mechanism for securing the rack in the hitch compares to the old one but I had mine come loose on me a fair amount of times when it was mounted on my BRZ. When it became loose, it would slide further into the hallow hitch and butt up against my exhaust. It was a good audible warning. On my Outback, I never had this issue, albeit the rack is now much older, and I tighten the heck out of it now.

  5. I used the Saris Freedom Super Clamp two bike on a couple of trips last summer and as seriously impressed with how easy it was to load the bikes, and just how stable they felt, and looked as well as we went down the road. My friends who were traveling separately were hauling two bikes (lighter ones to boot) on their 1UP and the amount of movement they had was unnerving. My friend also complained about the 1.25″ loosening up occasionally. As a precaution, and to help eliminate the sway, he added some lines from the outermost bike to his roof rack rails, which helped, but talk about cheesy. I realize the Saris isn’t as fancy or sleek, but it’s still USA made, has a lifetime warranty and was sturdy as hell with two 30lb bikes on it. Plus it can easily be switched from 1.25 to 2″, which is nice. (I have cars with both size hitches)

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