Review: Back in Black – Yakima’s HoldUp 2 Hitch Rack

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

 

 

Comments

Scott - 10/28/13 - 10:23am

Def a nice rack, picked one up 2 months ago. The one thing I see as a fault (unless mine was assemble incorrectly) is when the rack is in full upright (folded up) there is no “stop” to keep it from going past that position and hitting the body of the car.
I was in a bit of a hurry to release it into the down position to throw a bike on. The rack was wet from rain and when I pulled the pin, it slipped and folded toward the car. Put a nice little dent in the back lift gate.

Collin - 10/28/13 - 10:58am

Zack, good review. Any chance you can post the climate your in and if you keep it on there all year around. Here in Michigan, things rust quick with the salt they put on the roads. I have a Kuat which everyone claimed was great in terms of rust resistance, and I’m already seeing a little bit of corrosion on the locks and hardware, but I do keep it on year around (since I ride throughout the year)

LULZ - 10/28/13 - 11:03am

This looks like typical crap from China from Yak. Thule had a Fatbike adaptor for their T2 on display at Interbike – did y’all see that? Plus, the locks actually reach through the frames. And that adjustability problem Yak has with similar-sized bikes as you mention? T2 is way more adjustable and doesn’t have that problem. Oh, and Thule is made in the USA, Yak in China. Sorry to wax poetic here about Thule, but this Yak rack looks like a POS.

Endor - 10/28/13 - 11:21am

@LULZ

Maybe do some research before spouting where something is made. Only Thule boxes and maybe a few other bits are made in the USA. OH, and so are Yakima’s boxes and few other bits!

The T2 is also typical crap from China along with the rest of the rack line up from Thule.

Endor - 10/28/13 - 11:23am

Sorry for the double post, it gave me an error on the first one, didn’t think it went through…

LULZ - 10/28/13 - 12:24pm

Whoa, whoa, Endor – take a deep breath and back off a bit. Maybe too much coffee this morning? From what I understand, 80% of Thule product is made in the US. Hitch racks and load bars are made in Florida according to my research before and after my so-called ‘spouting’.

Collin - 10/28/13 - 12:25pm

@LULZ, my Thule T2 rack is horrible. The ratchet mechanism on the front wheel holder has so much play, I don’t even feel comfortable driving around with it. Plus everything started rusting real bad.

AlanM - 10/28/13 - 1:05pm

I have one of these racks, as do a few of my friends and I can say that they work great. Super quick to get bikes in and out of, easy to adjust to fit different bikes. Mine is looking a little beat up from a lot of use, but it still functions great.

@Lulz, relax a little bit man.

K11 - 10/28/13 - 2:56pm

THANK YOU Zach for the honest review in terms of material durability.

* I currently own and have used yakima products over and over for a loooong time.

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THEIR STUFF RUSTING AND PLASTIC FADING AND CRACKING WELL BEFORE ITS TIME. Use marine or auto grade paints, plastics.

Need to find a different company this spring to replace the piece of garbage on my roof now.

Sean - 10/28/13 - 4:01pm

Not to get into the Thule vs Yak war, but one nice feature of the T2 is that it can be dropped down lower than horizontal, which would (I think) alleviate the issue with the rear hatch on the Element.

I think any rack is going to get rusty and sticky considering it’s in the rain, salt, etc. The need for a little spray lube on the moving parts once in a while seems a reasonable expectation.

ZachOverholt - 10/28/13 - 4:20pm

@Collin, I live in Cincinnati so probably similar as far as climate. They use a LOT of salt here and that last picture was after one winter of use. The rack isn’t stored outside but I do use it during the winter and hose it off on a regular basis to get the salt off.

Jon - 10/28/13 - 7:03pm

When are we going to see the review on that orange Burner?

Ajax - 10/28/13 - 11:45pm

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Psi Squared - 10/29/13 - 6:39am

Blanket statements that one country’s product is better than another’s are ignorant at best. Some great stuff is made in China, and some crap stuff is made in the US. Some crap stuff is made in China, and some great stuff is made in the US. I’ll take reality and actual thought over troll comments any day.

Urban Cowboy - 10/29/13 - 10:02am

I have one of these on an Element and carry a 4″ fatbike with it and can open the tailgate. Go buy a cheap 12″ receiver extension from Harbor Freight and a tensioning hitch lock similar to the Yakima one and bolt them together. I did weld a couple tabs on the extension to keep the rack at an upward tilt instead of the sag it had. I can open the tailgate and the liftgate will interfere with the handlebars on some bikes. I just stuff my 4″ fatbike in the front and use a whitwater cam strap that I cut down to 16″ or so to strap the rear onto the tray. I would never worry about the cam strap failing and they are quick to attach/remove. It does get a little unwieldy with 4 bikes on it as the bike alone almost consume all of the Element’s 600lb payload:0

Ajax - 10/29/13 - 2:02pm

The truth of the matter is that manufacturing in China exceeds the quality of manufacturing in the USA. The costs of manufacturing in the US is exponentially higher in the US, and US factories have to cut corners in order to save costs.

There is a reason why Apple has all its iPads and iPhones, and all its Mac Airs made in China. The manufacturing is better. Steve Jobs spoke about the dichotomy and the uninformed prejudice against Chinese manufacturing by those who purport false knowledge of inferior Chinese manufacturing and superior American manufacturing. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, if there are any generalities to be made, China’s manufacturing quality is leaps and bounds ahead of the United States.

eric - 10/29/13 - 11:00pm

If you want rust free performance, look at the aluminum 1up USA rack. Made in the good ole US of A. I’ve had for two years installed on my car 100% of the time in PA winters and road salt without corrosion.

K11 - 10/30/13 - 1:49pm

thanks eric for the info. this is what i have had in mind for a while! I’m sold.

goodbye yakima, hello 1up USA.

White Mike - 11/01/13 - 12:09pm

KUAT or nothing. Best looking, best quality racks, awesome warranty and a great company to boot.

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