Bikerumor Review: Yakima Stick-Up Rack

yakima stickup bike rack hitch mount bicycle carrier

Yakima recently redesigned several of their bike racks, and just as they were about to send us their Holdup model, they decided to do some last minute design tweaks, so we received the Stickup to test and review in the meantime.

Before we delve into the specifics of this rack, let me say this: Yakima has a rack for anything and everything, and a dizzying array of bicycle racks.  The Holdup and Stickup are the two tray-mount hitch models, the others (of which there are plenty of options) use arms that slide under the top tubes and strap onto the frame.  For me, tray mounts are the way to go.  They’re simple, they are unlikely to scratch your frame and your bike stays put…no swaying, swinging or sliding.

The Stickup is the less expensive model of the two, and is compatible with both 1-1/4″ and 2″ hitches using a spacer sleeve.  It holds two bikes, it’s fairly lightweight and keeps them spaced well enough that you don’t have to worry about bumping seatposts and handlebars.

So, how did it do over a couple months of testing and several trips?  Hit ‘more’ to read the full review…

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

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Clockwise from top left: The outer box; The inner box slides out; Inner box holds everything with lots of cardboard and foamy paper pieces; the size of the boxes in relation to our office’s front door.

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Everything was in good order upon opening it.  It comes with all the tools you’ll need for assembly, however if you have a socket set, it does make it easier than using the included wrenches.  The wrenches also work to tighten the threaded hitch pin, securing the rack into the vehicle hitch, and they easily tuck into a seat back pocket in your car so they’re always handy.  Just be forewarned, they get hot as crud if left in a hot car.

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Assembly and installation took only about 20 minutes and was pretty straightforward.  If you’re like me and don’t read instructions the first time around, just note that the front-wheel trays are supposed to point down at the outer edge…that one got me.

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There’s plenty of space between the two bike trays, making it really easy to put just about any two bikes on without having to adjust seat height or worrying about parts touching/rubbing/loving each other.  Additionally, as you can see from the pics below, the trays are offset left to right from each other, so handlebars and seatposts aren’t aligned with each other like on so many racks.  This is a surprisingly effective way to make bikes fit better, and it’s a wonder more racks are designed like that.

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This picture illustrates what I’m talking about.  Not only is the mountain bike handlebar well behind the road bike’s seatpost, but it’s far enough away that they don’t even come close to touching.  Lastly, the front wheel sits slightly lower than the rear wheel due to the tray designs, which further helps by tucking the handlebars lower than the seats.  Basically, if you’re bikes are touching each other with this rack, you’re doing something wrong.

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These three show the versatility of the rack.  I put everything I had on it: kid’s bikes, cruisers, road and mountain and it held it all.  Part of what makes it so flexible is the sliding rear wheel tray, shown below:

FEATURES:

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The red knob on the bottom loosens to let you slide the tray to fit different wheelbases.  My Felt cruiser tested the limits of the wheel strap, the width of the tray beam and probably the weight limits…that bike is a brick.

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While we’re discussing the brick, I mean cruiser, it shows off another feature of the Stickup, the way it holds the bike.  It has two independently adjustable arms that ratchet down onto the top tubes, not the wheels like many other tray racks, including the Yakima Holdup.  The benefit is that it will work on bikes with fenders, like my brick.  The downside is it can press cables into your frame if they run on the top of the top tube like my Trek Fuel.  If your cables don’t run that way, it’s a non-issue.

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Besides folding flat up against the vehicle, it tilts down…slightly.  I wouldn’t be able to get my hatchback open, but if your vehicle has an opening rear window hatch separate from the whole tailgate, this may be of use.

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All Yakima racks come with this handy bottle opener feature.  It works as advertised.

MINOR ISSUES:

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The bolts that hold the tray beams on developed some rust within a couple weeks.  Considering the tray beam mounts under center beam, I’m keeping my eye on these.

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The part that the ratcheting “hooks” mounts to also developed slight surface rust after a couple of weeks.  After another month, though, it hasn’t gotten any worse, so I imagine this isn’t anything more than a cosmetic issue. To be fair, any rack I’ve ever owned has developed surface rust because I tend to leave them on my cars 24-7…so this issue isn’t exclusive to Yakima, but it’s worth showing as part of our full review.

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The padded “hooks” that ratchet down over the top tube will slide under the tray beam and tighten down slightly when folded flat.  This keeps them from moving (rattling, wobbling, etc.) when the rack’s not in use.  Just be sure you tighten them UNDER the beam and not under the wheel tray, or they’ll get a little chewed up by the tray.  Two months isn’t really enough time to discern the durability of the rubbery-foamy padding on the hooks, but they’ve held up well otherwise, and this little section hasn’t gotten any worse.  This may be one of those things that depends on how rough you are on your equipment as to how long it lasts in good condition.

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The black metal spacer that adapts the rack from a 1-1/4″ to a 2″ hitch got a little sun bleached after a couple weeks.  At first I was annoyed.  Then, I realized it provides a perfect visual cue to line up the holes for threading the pin through.  It’s only cosmetic, and heck, if Gold accents are good enough for XTR stuff, they’re good enough for my rack.

Speaking of the pin…Yakima calls this their “RocSteady” hitch tongue, but it only gets Roc Steady when you thread it down tight.  This means that it’s harder to steal unless the thief has tools (or you lock it to your car like I do), but it also means you have to have tools handy to take it on or off yourself.  This is one area where we think Yakima needs to step it up…there are better systems out there for keeping the rack sturdy.

THINGS WE LIKED:

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  • Bikes load very easily.
  • Lots and lots of room between bikes, never had an issue fitting two bikes on it.
  • Comparatively lightweight.
  • Easy to use, folds up and flat when not in use.
  • Very versatile, fits a wide range of bikes.
  • Bottle opener.
  • Very stable, once the pin is threaded down.

BIKERUMOR RATING:

All in all, this rack performed well.  Perhaps the thing that kept us the happiest is the thing that most plagues us with so many racks out there: The bikes never touched each other or had to be wrestled in to fit handlebar-to-seatpost.  This alone makes this rack stand out from the rest.  Yes, it had a few minor issues, but truth be told, none of them would prevent us from buying this rack ourselves or recommending it to friends (or to you, our lovely readers!).  If you’re in the market for a 2-bike hitch rack, we’d recommend the Yakima Stickup pretty highly.

The Yakima Stickup has an MSRP of $280.00 USD, which puts it slightly lower than competing models with similar feature sets, and from what we’ve seen, the dual, independent ratcheting “hooks” feel more stable and secure than the single-post models from other brands that we’ve tried (but not reviewed).  All Yakima racks come with a lifetime warranty for the original owner, and, while it doesn’t affect the outcome of this review, it’s worth noting that their website is very good…lots of info and pics, and well laid out.  It’s amazing to us in this day and age that some companies still have lame websites.

Given the (slightly) lower price point, solid feature set and the fact that two bikes fit so well together on it, we give it 4-1/2 Thumbs Up!

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ABOUT OUR RATING: I teetered between 4 and 4-1/2, but in the end, it’s such a relief to be able to just throw the bikes on and not have to wrestle them together that convenience and ease swayed me to the higher rating. Seriously…I’m belaboring this point, but if you’ve ever had to drop a seat post or force a handlebar under a seat just to get two bikes to play nice on a rack, you’re feeling me. If this rack had a manual (as in “hand”) adjustable method of snugging itself into the hitch tongue instead of requiring a tool, it’d have had a full Five.

PS – If you need to carry more than two bikes, we’re reviewing the Holdup  rack with the 2-bike extension (4 total) now.  That review should be up in a couple weeks.

Comments

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Katie - 02/13/11 - 5:31pm

This is a very nice review! I have this rack and absolutely love it. But (there’s always a but) the rubber on my rack’s arms has worn away all the way to the metal and has now scratched the paint off the frame of my bike in that area. We’ve not had the rack a year yet either. I’m wondering if anyone has experienced this and what their fix was. I emailed Yakima with pictures and they told me to go to my local LBS, which unfortunatley pretty far away. (I live in the middle of nowere).

Leonard Selvaggio - 02/05/13 - 1:33pm

Thank you for a very thorough review of this bike carrier, the best I’ve read. Pictures and written detail were very helpful in helping me select this as my new carrier.
After reading countless reviews good and bad before purchasing this product, there are two areas of additional concern I would like to help address.
First, the breakdown of the padded hooks and how they wear down to scratch the top of the bikes cross frames. This seems to be a problem for many different bike carrier brands.
After experiencing this situation with my old bike carrier, the best way I have found to reduce any scratching of the bikes cross bar is to purchase house water pipe insulating wraps found at your local hardware store. They are sold individually, and can be cut to length for those problem areas. I have found this is a great padding where ever there may be bike to bike or carrier to bike contact.
Second, excessive movement of the carrier frame in a loose fitting receiver slot. I experienced this problem with a curve over two bike carrier attached to my travel trailer. Unknown to us that the time, the road was so bad, the bike rack bounced up and down and one of the bike handles broke out one of the small rear windows. At the time I thought there was plenty room from the camper when we first started (thought wrong). The final repair was minimal, however applying temporary duct tape in the rain was no fun.
I am planning to attach my new bike carrier to our new camper and do not want this scenario to happen again. After some research I have found a product that helps remove that sloppy hitch movement. One product is called the Quiet Hitch from Roadmaster, this simple product snug’s the ball-mount shank to the receiver by tightening the bracket with two nuts. However, there are numerous products that should be able to meet anyone’s needs just by doing a little research.
Through past experiences I hope I have helped with reducing these problem situations. Happy biking.

Ben - 01/28/14 - 2:42am

I own the rack and find it very easy to use…………BUT. the frame clamp system is quite unreliable and I’ve had them loosen off occasionally. Recently whilst driving down a dirt road I had one loosen and let the rear bike lean back and drag itself along the road, where it then ripped from the rack breaking the wheel clip. I normally add extra straps and ties to prevent this however on this particular day, I didn’t have any and secured the bikes using only what the rack provides – frame clamp and wheel strap. It was expensive and very unpleasant so if you’re going to use the rack, add extra restraints.

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