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