Review: Back in Black – Yakima’s HoldUp 2 Hitch Rack
There’s nothing quite like rolling out from your house on your bike for a quick spin that dumps you off at the mouth of endless trails. But, for everyone else who has to drive to the trail head, thankfully there are plenty of bike racks on the market. Yakima has been making a number of quality options for quite a while though few have matched the ease of use and versatility of the HoldUp. The first generation proved to be a winner, so when we were offered a chance at reviewing the latest generation, we jumped at the opportunity.
The HoldUp turns out to be a great rack, but not without a few surpises. More after the jump.
Like the original HoldUp, one of the best features of the rack is that it fits nearly any size, wheel, or style bike and all without contacting the frame. The method of supporting the bikes (like other upright racks) also means that there is no chance of the bikes rubbing together while driving potentially causing damage to your frame or components. Whether you have a pricey carbon bike, or just love your bike’s finish, it’s a big plus.
The only bikes we can’t recommend carrying are fatbikes. I won’t lie and say it isn’t possible, but you can’t properly fasten the rear wheel strap which means if you use a bungee cord instead, and it breaks on the highway – your bike could come loose (oops). At Interbike, Yakima said they were investigating ways of carrying fatbikes with the hold up, but as of now there are no definitive plans.
On a whole, the HoldUp is a great rack but this little clip was the cause of a lot of headaches. It’s since been remedied, but apparently earlier models potentially had lock clips that were too thin or didn’t have the right glass matrix in the plastic to properly hold the lock head in place while not in use. Which could result in the lock coming loose from the arm. On the highway. The resulting cheese gratering of the lock on the road surface destroys the lock, and creates sharp edges that can damage your car’s finish.
Fortunately, the issue has been fixed and most racks sold at this point should have improved clips. Yakima sent out new ends for the arms that included the clips and locks, and I haven’t had an issue since. You can tell that the lock takes a lot more force to install and remove from the new clip.
When asked what customers should do in the event that they have a lock that doesn’t stay clipped in, this was Yakima’s response: At Yakima, we take great pride in caring for our customers by providing them with quality customer service. We hope that you take a moment to contact us if or when you might have a question or a concern about the use or quality of our products. We encourage anyone who might have concerns about their existing Yakima products to call us directly at any time 7am-5pm Pacific Time M-F for help or assistance at 888-925-4621, Option 2. True to their word, I’ve always had great luck with the Yakima customer service team.
Now, let’s talk about those locks – specifically, their length. The locks can only be as long as the arm they are housed in which will mean on some longer travel forks, you will be unable to get the lock through the frame.
If that’s the case, then you can simply run the lock cable through the center of the fork. When compared to the original HoldUp lock, it’s nice that the locks are always there, and you don’t need a super long cable especially when you’re only locking one bike. Truthfully, the included lock cables are likely only good to keep people honest, and from walking by and quickly swiping your bike. I would want to use at least an additional cable lock to lock the wheels together if I were to leave the bikes on the rack in a questionable area overnight.
Thanks to the new horizontally adjustable trays, you have a better chance of being able to carry similar mountain bikes without interference, especially with wide bars. However, no matter how they are adjusted thanks to the number of tires sizes, frame sizes, etc. – unless you’re traveling with the same bikes and people every ride inevitably you will run into some interference (the trays aren’t really adjustable on the fly). But, that’s what dropper posts and quick releases are for, right?
Just shy of a year’s worth of use, one of the ratchets for the fork arm I don’t use on a regular basis started getting a little sticky. I used a spray lubricant (Zep45) aimed at the ratchet though the gap pictured and it made the rack work like new. Not surprising that moving parts exposed to the elements for extended periods will need a little lubrication every now and again. One of these days, I’ll see about taking the arm apart to use grease instead of spray lube, but for now it’s working great.
This is really more of a wish than an issue, but for the Element owners out there it’s too bad the rear hatch can’t fold all the way down. I’ve also heard reports of the sideways swinging doors on Rav4s not clearing the rack as well, but for most vehicles it will be a non issue. If Yakima could figure out a way for the rack to fold down and clear the hatch though, it would be gold since most other tray style racks are in the same boat.
Even with the few issues that popped up, at the end of the day the $439 HoldUp 2 is still a great rack. The finish seems to be improved with almost no surface rust at this point (wish we could say the same for the hardware), it carries most of your every day bikes super fast and easy, and is capable of holding 4 bikes with the HoldUp 2+ (2 inch hitch model only).
Where could the HoldUp stand to see some improvements? We’d like to see better tolerances in the moving parts (especially the ratchets), improved rust proofing on hardware, and if possible – slightly longer cables on the locks. Of course, options for fatbikes would always be appreciated!