My new bike rack, a 1up USA Quick-Rack arrived today. I’ve had my eye on these for a while because they are well-engineered, well-made, simple, US-made, all aluminum and stainless steel racks that hold both wheels at once. Ever since getting my first real mountain bike at the beginning of 2008 I’ve used this Thule 917 T2 rack. While it works sufficiently, I didn’t like how it held just one wheel, it’s inability to fit in the trunk without folding down the seats, it obscuring my license place when folded up, and the amount of work required to fit two bikes on it without the bars and seats hitting each other. After Erik picked up one of these 1up USA racks for his new car I got to seeing how nice it is and I decided to finally get one for myself.
Along with the one-bike rack I picked up an add-on to allow a second bike to be carried. Because of how the arms work the bike’s position isn’t fixed side to side, and coupled with the second rack being slightly taller than the first it’s trivial to fit two bikes. This photo shows my single speed and the Titus easily fitting on the rack together, something which would require unbolting and adjusting the bars on the Thule, or turning the bars so they didn’t hit the other bike’s seat. This rack also folds up small enough that I could put it on the floor of the back seat behind one seat if needed.
The biggest downside to this rack is that there’s no built-in system for locking up bikes. The Thule had locks on the tire-holding arms, and while these are easily defeated† I can’t help but think the presence of a lock provides a slight deterrence. As such I’ll likely be getting a U lock and cable so that, if needed, I can easily lock the rack to the hitch and then string the cable through the bikes. While I wouldn’t drive with this setup (for fear of cable rub wearing needlessly on paint) it’d be sufficient to keep the bikes from walking away while parked. Even just a simple cable through the rack, bikes, and tow chain loops may be sufficient as well.
† To remove a bike from one of these racks, simply deflate the front tire slightly and the arm will be free. It is also often possible to remove the front skewer, lift the rest of the bike off the rack, then pull the arm down over the tire.