With more and more companies putting out high quality “tray style” hitch mount bike racks, Yakima’s extremely popular HoldUp was facing some fierce competition. The original HoldUp has received some updates along the way, but this is the most feature packed update yet.
How does it compare to the other tray style racks on the market? Jump past the break to find out.
Impossible to miss, the new HoldUp is now bathed in a gloss black finish that somehow manages to make it stand out while at the same time, blending in. The slick finish not only looks higher end than the previous hammered grey, but should do a better job at preventing surface rust than rough surface of the previous HoldUp. However, they could have just changed the color because I used to have a grey car, and when I traded it out for the black E, they felt it necessary to match – yes, I’m sure that’s the real reason for the switch.
Like most tray style hitch racks, the HoldUp still supports the bicycle by the tires therefore preventing any part of the rack from touching the frame or fork. The layout also prevents individual bikes from touching each other at all which pretty much guarantees your bikes will arrive at your destination in the same shape you loaded them in – especially useful with carbon, or high end bikes. The rack will fit bike with 14″-29″ wheels and up to a 48″ wheelbase. The only time you’ll really run into any issues transporting a bike are those with front fenders, and fatbikes (we’ll get to that in a second).
Another big change to the HoldUp is having a lock cable now built into each support arm, rather than the long lock cable that was a separate entity on the previous model. When not being used, the lock cables next neatly inside the arms with the lock head cliped into the top to prevent it from falling out or rattling around. When you need to lock up a bike, simply pull the lock out of the arm, wrap it around the wheel or frame, and then lock it to the pin on the support arm. While this set up is much more convenient than the previous version, it would be nice if the cable was about a foot longer.
The Locks work very well for normal bikes, though the first time I used it, I was trying to lock a fat bike through the wheel and the frame, but the cable was simply too short. When carrying normal bikes, the support arm should be farther back on the front wheel, closer to the fork. However, I’ve found that with the fat bike, it needs to be farther forward, or the bike can rock back out of the front wheel tray. This puts the arm farther away from the frame, effectively shortening the cable. All in all, the HoldUp really isn’t designed for carrying fat bikes, so do so at your own risk.
On a road bike I had no trouble putting the lock through the front wheel and the frame, easily locking up the bike as it was intended.
One really nice feature of the HoldUp, is that all of the Yakima SKS (Single Key System) lock cores are included with the rack. That includes a hitch lock as well, so no one can simply steal the rack with the bikes still on it. The rack includes two of the same keys, that will unlock both the bike locks and the hitch lock.
Speaking of fat bikes…. I was really hoping for significantly increased functionality of the rack when it comes to fat bikes, but the new HoldUp seems to only be marginally better . What does that mean? Well, even though the rack isn’t designed to carry one properly you can get away with it, you will just need to really force the front tire into the wheel holder and use a bungee cord out back to hold the rear tire since the strap isn’t long enough to fit over the wheel. The new longer front wheel support arms help to clear the bigger tires, so that part is at least easier. Clearly fat bikes create more issues when trying to build such a bike rack, but making the rear wheel strap longer, or making a longer one available for purchase seems like it would be a very easy thing to do. Again though, only do so at your own risk.
Obviously, when it comes to normal mountain bikes, road bikes, bmx bikes, etc., tray style racks like the HoldUp are definitely the fastest and easiest to use.
Just like the previous version, the HoldUp can fold up when not in use, or fold down about 20 degrees to make loading easier. Rack tilt is controlled with a spring loaded pin that you pull out, raise or lower the rack, and then allow the pin to pop back into place all in seconds.
While this isn’t really about the rack, there are enough cyclists with Elements that it is worth pointing out that you can’t open the lower hatch all the way with the rack installed – at least not on a 2008 SC with a 2″ hitch. The 1 1/4″ hitch sits lower than the 2″ so you should be able to open it further. I had hoped the tilt down feature would alleviate this issue, but sadly it does not.
Perhaps the most welcome change to the Hold up is the ability to to slide each tray independently. Depending on the bikes, on the previous HoldUp you could run into a situation where the handlebar of one bike ran into the seat of the other preventing you from loading the bikes. Inevitably, someone would have to turn their seatpost so the saddle was nearly sideways, missing the offending handlebar. The new adjustability should prevent this from happening. I started with the trays at the extreme end of each adjustment and adjustment can be made by loosening the four 5mm Allen bolts holding each tray in place.
Last but certainly not least: the bottle opener. Yes, Yakima hitch racks have had one for a long time – but the old all plastic models didn’t quite work so well. The solution? An additional metal tab molded into the opener gets the job done (not that you couldn’t use an SPD, or a myriad of other things on a bike, but that’s beside the point). We’ll drink to that.
We’ll check back in after season’s worth of hauling bikes around to see how Yakima’s latest HoldUp is, well, holding up.