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I am torn between the Velocirax and the Lolo

There are many options out there to consider
Velocirax
Lolo
North Shore
Alta Racks
Recon
Yakima Hangover
Woof-Rax
 

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Your Best Friend
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I know this is only tangential to the OPs comment, but one of the things I really dig about the 1Up is how modular it is. Yes with 4 bikes on it, it sticks out pretty far. But only when you have 4 bikes on it. If you are only hauling 2 bikes, it doesn't stick out any further than a vertical rack and it's a much lower profile.

With any of the vertical racks, you are always stuck with bikes poking out moderately far and tires up 7 feet off the ground.

If you are always hauling 4+ bikes then the vertical rack is the way to go. I have both the 1Up and the Northshore, if I were forced to pick 1, it would be the 1Up simply because it's pretty rare that I move 4 bikes. For the 10-20% of the time I need to haul that 4th bike, I have the slightly awkward option to do so.
I'll agree and disagree. Any time you are carrying 5+ bikes, a vertical rack is the way to go. A 4- rack just works too well to go with anything else, especially a 1up.

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Trying to monitor this thread closely for myself that will always carry 4 bikes (kids, mountain bikes, gravel bikes)....

Extension:
My top concern is how far a 4 bike rack will extend, especially when backing up, trying to turn while backing up, trying to avoid whatever is behind me. I also drive a pickup, so it's already long in a parking lot.

I don't know if a 1up 2″ Heavy Duty 4 tray extends further than a vertical, or by how much?

Accommodate:
My other concern is how well the racks accommodate a variety of bikes (gravel bikes with drop bar, mountain bikes with suspension, kids, etc).

I don't know how many drop bar bikes vertical racks can accommodate compared to a tray.

I have also read some vertical racks do not accommodate non-suspension forks, therefore won't accommodate non-mountain bikes like gravel and road bikes. So that eliminates North Shore Racks.

Recon Racks says: "While the racks weren't DESIGNED to carry road bikes, they will do it with a little extra love..you may simply need to space the wheel away from the basket a bit with some foam and tape/zip tie. Basically trying to imitate a mountain bike tire on the road bikes.....We do not recommend leaving your road bike in the rack while shuttling rough back roads."

^^ I have no idea why vertical racks cannot easily accommodate road bikes, and if the same "extra love" needs to be given to gravel bikes. I assume the baskets don't hold/secure the tire enough on road/gravel bikes. I also assume a tray rack (1up) would be better? I rather not hassle with foam, tape, zip ties, and want a properly designed rack.

VelociRAX doesn't mention anything special about gravel bikes, but not sure if VelociRAX doesn't disclose any gravel issues, or have a better design than Recon (but the design looks the same to me).

Concerns:
The tire basket split of the VelociRAX concerns me. Not sure if myself and family members will accidentally get spokes caught in the basket.

Lolo racks use the handle bars, and again I'm concerned with snagging a cable.

Others:
Alta Racks looks like another good alternative to add to the list. I like the wheel basket (same with Recon) so there's no interference with spokes. But it might have the same gravel bike limitation that Recon has (because of similar design).

So far my list would be Alta Racks or Recon. But needing to use "extra love" and attention for road bikes (presumably gravel bikes too) is a no-go. So then I'm back with a 4 bike tray and it greatly depends on how much more it extends the back of my vehicle.

Thank you.
 

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beater
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FWIW: the “X” spaced Velocirax models are intended to provide spacing for drop bars that don’t overlap well in a traditionally-spaced MTB rack.

I don’t see any issues with spokes and the basket opening.
 

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More info from my research...

It seems there's potential issues for each rack, and designers are attempting to solve them. Not sure if a designer has solved all the issues, so there could be compromises.

Still not sure which issues to be concerned with, and which designer has solved it, and which issue is still unresolved.

Most seem to have issues with pedals, handle bars, etc getting in the way or too cramped. If this isn't solved, your bike is going to be banged up, or shifters and other stuff broken. VelociRAX might have solved this because you can order an extra wide rack and adjust the basket spacing. If you have 4 bikes, order the 5X (for more money), remove 1 basket, adjust the spacing, and now you'll have more space between bikes.

Seems you may have to pay attention to the load order of the bikes.

Potential issues if you have fenders, mounted computers, mounted lights, etc.

Crowding
Potential damage.
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Frame contact
loloracks contacts the bike frame (handlebars), while others don't. This doesn't seem good in the long run, unless you don't care about your handlebars. But maybe the frame mount makes it more universal with other bikes (road, kids, fat bikes)?

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Fenders
Fenders seem to be an issue for any vertical rack.
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Accommodate Variety
Still not sure why some can/can't handle drop bars or road bikes. Not sure if its an issue with thin tires or drop bars.

Loading Height
Velocirax is tall (and presume the similar heights with all the vertical racks), hence the need for this type of rack to pivot (and getting into the back of a vehicle). If others are shorter, you might have to be concerned with bottoming out over speed bumps. Just be careful of height limits.
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I also really like the idea being able to use the rack to store/move the bikes in the garage (not cheap).

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Excellent summary.

The Velocirax can be used as storage as well (it supposedly comes with the wall mount kit as part of purchase.). No additional parts/purchase necessary for this feature like you would have to pay for with Alta Racks. The whole bike storage/ rack storage ha to be looked at closer if you currently have bikes in different places in your garage in order to fit cars etc in vs now placing all the bikes in a single location that needa to be completely clear all the way to the wall (Velocirax) or anywhere in the garage (Alta racks)

The idea of buying a 5 bike rack and removing a rack and moving the spacing around won’t work with all the racks. It will only work with the racks that don’t have set basket locations. The Alta racks doesn’t have set backer locations and baskets can be moved around for flexibility. I don’t believe the Velocirax can do this. There are specific bolt holes for the baskets to get bolted through.

Lolo racks philosophy afterexchanging emails with them is handlebars are cheap and easy to replace. Even carban bars can be had cheap these days so concerns (again... according to them) about scuffs on the bars or bar cracks etc are easily remedied with new bars vs having damaged frames etc from possibly other racks.

I am very concerned with rubbing/damage between bikes. That is why I have not made any decision yet either.
 

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I am very concerned with rubbing/damage between bikes. That is why I have not made any decision yet either.
They all seem to have a potential to rub/damage and it will depend on the bikes, and near impossible to know as a buyer unless you can test it out first (though most places have a return policy). And if you change your bike or configuration in the future, you may have a rubbing/damage issue. Something I don't like to think about when spending $800+, and rather buy once cry once.

On vertical racks, I don't like seeing potential rubbing, banging, or tweaks, especially on a $800+ rack. Notice the handlebars touching. Notice the rubber band on the brake lever. I cannot rely on rubber bands, padding, and too much tweaking; nor is this something I want to do frequently. And again, if you decide you want front fenders, that could be another issue to deal with.
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Also VelociRAX's website says this about 3 and 5 bike racks: "Our 5X and 3X racks feature 15 inch spacing so drop bar bikes can be loaded without interfering with the next loaded bike." So that's like saying 4 drop bar bikes on a 4 bike rack (12 inch spacing) can be a problem.

I went back to reconsider tray racks (1up, Kuat, Saris). I was hoping for an ideal, no-brainer solution to a potential rubbing/damage problem for any bike. I like how they alternate placement direction, but the seats and handlebars can still potentially touch, but that might be easier to deal with by some other design features or simply raising/lowering the seat post. 1up/Saris try to resolve this by height staggering, but still may not solve all cases. Saris and Kuat try to resolve this with more space between the bikes (but that makes for a longer rack), and still may not resolve for all cases. Kuat also lets you lower/raise the front tire, which has a better chance to resolve the problem (instead of raising/lowering seat post). HOWEVER, Kuat's front cradle can rub/damage the fork/brake area. The other solution is to adjust your seat post so the seat/handlebars don't touch. Also might need to be careful with the pedals when loading so they don't hit the frame. You might also be able to resolve some of the seat/bar issues by moving the bikes further left/right if you have the wheelbase.

Another consideration is a rack that won't interfere with fenders or attachments around the wheels that may interfere with holding the bike to the rack (bike packing racks). Removable fenders can mitigate this, but it's just something more you'll have to do if you don't pick the right rack. 1up/Saris design can be used with fenders and/or racks.

They all seem to have a potential issue that might require thinking, patience, time, tweaks, or having to buy another $800+ rack. And be mindful of the wheelbase specs.

I don't like tradeoffs, but here's what I think they are for 4 bikes...

Trays
Might have less issue with bikes contacting each other.
Extend further back from the vehicle and might be a problem in a tight parking lot.
No problems with fenders or attachments around the wheel/fork area on 1up/Saris design.

Vertical
Doesn't extend as far from the vehicle, but still could be too far.
Easier to store off vehicle if using the garage mount.
Can store bikes on rack in the garage.
Can tilt to get into back of vehicle (if that's important).
 

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OOOOOOOh Gee Are Eee
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The fundamental problem with vertical racks is the bikes can't be moved relative to each other. Regardless of whether it uses the tire, handlebar, or fork to hang the bike, you are stuck with that mount point with no room for shifting the bikes relative to each other. Also, where the platform racks stretch out further back, the vertical racks just squeeze the bikes closer and closer together.

Platforms like the 1Up allow you to shift the bikes side-to-side which is a huge help. I still have issues, but you learn pretty quick what loading order works best.
 

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Platforms like the 1Up allow you to shift the bikes side-to-side which is a huge help. I still have issues, but you learn pretty quick what loading order works best.
This. The 1up is the only rack that gives you close to a foot of usable tray to move the bike back and forth. Learning how to do this alleviates all contact between bikes.

It was also mentioned that the Kuat has more space between trays. While this is true in 2 bike mode, the moment you add the +2 bike tray, now they are ridiculously close. They are the worst 4 bike rack you can buy if you actually like your bikes.

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beater
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My experience:

With my 1-Up I can shuffle bikes side to side to get a good fit (unlike a Kuat with established positions). BUT- I need to strap down pedals so that I don’t get shuttle beaver from a crank backpedaling enough to bring a pedal in contact with the other bike.

No rubbing or any contact issues with the Velocirax.
 

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My current Thule T2 Pro XT has 12.5 inches between trays and the trays can move left to right 4.5 inches each as well to alleviate rubbing/touching issues.

so I figure a Velocirax 5X with 15 inches of clearance for use primarily with 4 bikes (not all 29ers) with the occasional grandpa bike to make 5 would be a good fit. At least it seems to make sense in my head.
 

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After doing a ton of research I ended up with a Lolo rack. After 2500 miles round trip I must say I’m extremely happy with my choice. Simple and heavy duty construction. The rack holds the bikes very secure, no movement at all and even my kids can load and unload it easily.

 

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roots, rocks, rhythm
A little of this and that........nothing cheap!
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I will put my support to the NSR.
I do live in British Columbia and the close to Vancouver, so maybe I am bias......?
NSR are well supported around here!
I have used them for the last 13 years.
They are sturdy, simple, no moving parts, foldable so storage is easy and works great for mountain bikes.
However, they don't work well with Gravel or road bikes but I have seen them mounted on a NSR, unfortunately I did not see the modification they had done........
I have had 4 bikes with different geometries, sizes and never had any issues with them fitting or any damage to any of the bikes. I have driven 30- 40 kms of logging roads with 4 bikes - no issues.
(I do set the rack up as far as I can get up so the rear wheel has lots of distance from the road.)
My biggest beef with rack on the back are the stupid drivers (Specially in town) that could or can rear end you......
I have been rear ended twice with my bike on the back.........not fun and a super pain in the a$$!!!!!!
Also, I have a fat bike and fits like a charm.

Just my 2 cents!
 

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After doing a ton of research I ended up with a Lolo rack. After 2500 miles round trip I must say I’m extremely happy with my choice. Simple and heavy duty construction. The rack holds the bikes very secure, no movement at all and even my kids can load and unload it easily.

do all your bikes have dropper posts? If you are a tall rider and don’t have a dropper will the extension of the seat be a problem to touch the back of your van or cause any other issue?
 

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beater
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I was planning to buy a NSR-6 when we got a truck last year. NSRs are simple, proven, and hold bikes securely. And with a full-size truck, why not get a 6 instead of a 4? There’s really no downside and makes it easier on shuttle days or taking an extra bike or two on a trip (e.g. on my last Moab trip we brought a couple DJ bikes for playing in the park after dinner).

But every rack is a compromise. NSRs don’t work well with curly bars or with some rigid MTB forks. And depending on bar width and stack height, it can be a challenge to fit certain combinations of mountain bikes. There is usually an answer, but it can take some finding. That’s why I changed my mind in the end, since we have a couple gravel bikes and one rigid fatbike.

I planned to buy a couple fat baskets from Velocirax and install them seasonally. Then I realized that would be more work than necessary, and I already have a two-tray 1-Up with the fatbike spacers installed. I’m not likely to carry more than 2 fatbikes anyway (certainly not during COVID) and I’d rather use an aluminum rack during the winter.

I have the only Velocirax hereabouts. Lots and lots of NSRs. Recons were briefly popular but not anymore. There are a couple Lolos. I’ve never seen an Alta. I know a bunch of people who went for the Yakima because you can get it at REI and use a coupon and a dividend. It’s pretty adjustable. But it only works with suspension forks and I think it just looks chintzy.
 

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Alta Racks has some interesting features that may not be found on other vertical racks:

Sliding baskets. Also removable, replaceable.

Off-road upper horizontal bar tie down points, connect the rack directly to the vehicle to create 3 sided super stable for rough roads and long travel. Notice the horizontal end tie down points that can attatch back to the vehicle. This would seem to be a lot more stable over uneven roads. I now imagine 4x bike trays and other vertical racks having a lot of sway when on uneven roads, and this design should greatly reduce the side movement and stress. Or maybe vertical racks have more of this problem than trays because of the height/angle/leverage.
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The wheel baskets are thinner allowing them to get under fenders. Though in this photo it looks like they had to remove the fender wire:
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Not sure about the internal and external hitch stabilizers. It's either super beefy and better than everyone else's design; or because of its design, not as good as others. Not sure how others hold up over time.

Doesn't have a damper for when the rack comes down, but Alta makes a point about the leverage between the low hitch and top bar making it easy/simple. It's also not lowering that far, so there shouldn't be that much weight. Their video makes it look easy/simple enough. Looks easier to remove from the hitch too.

With 4x bikes...vertical racks seem to have more tasks involved loading/securing the bikes, and making sure the rack/bikes don't wobble/sway versus 1up 4x tray.

I also don't know if the class of hitch makes a difference with 4x bikes. I use a class III and IV hitch, and can't imagine 4x tray length extension causing hitch problems offroad. And the tray might be better with less side-to-side movement because of the lower gravity angle.
 

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I ordered the Lolo a couple weeks ago, but it hasn't come yet. My hybrid bike that I would like to transport on trips has fenders, and we will be transporting kids bikes (20" & 24"), and it seemed like the rack most accommodating of all the various styles of bike.
 

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do all your bikes have dropper posts? If you are a tall rider and don’t have a dropper will the extension of the seat be a problem to touch the back of your van or cause any other issue?
I can’t imagine it could be long enough to touch, there’s more space there than it seems. If we get a ride in soon I’ll take a side pic to show.
 
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