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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen a few threads like this: 5th Gen 4Runner Hitch Rack: Recon vs 1up. which sticks...

But nothing that specifically lays out the cons to a vertical rack.

I can see the pros - they are (way) cheaper than a 1Up (4 bike), keep the weight much closer to the vehicle, allow you to carry more bikes (seems like up to 6 vs. 4 on a 1Up). Some like the Alta rack allow you to pick different sizes for different tires (fat tires, etc.)

For the cons, it looks like these would be a beast to load but maybe it's not as bad as I'm imagining. The bike doesn't seem as secure but it's not like it is gonna fall out of the basket, I suspect, but it might wobble around a bit more. I'm guessing another con is that they aren't flexible in terms of taking different sizes of bikes/wheels/tires.

I'm curious for those who need to take 4-6 bikes regularly to weigh in on pros and cons.

Full disclosure I just ordered a 1Up Super Duty Double + 2 add ons, along with the various accessories, so I'm hoping I didn't make a mistake. For the rare times when I need to take 5 bikes, I have a roof rack as well.
 

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I’ve never used a vertical rack, but I’d guess it would be basically like loading your bike up on a chair lift system???

just my thoughts.

I too just ordered a 1up - got the notice today that it’s shipping and will be here by Monday! That was pretty quick Compared to what I was expecting. Can’t wait to get this set up so I can ditch the Thule hatchback that Ive been using the last year. I use to have a roof rack system I made with U channel. I liked that system, but will enjoy having a hitch rack that can go on any of my three vehicles now.
 

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I got an older style NSR4 so I'll weight the pros and cons of a vertical rack specific to this model.

Pros
  • Fast loading and unloading.
  • replacement parts are cheap (except shipping, shipping from Canada was $30!), and durable.
  • Simplicity. The rear wheel tie down uses simple ropes with knots. It seems low tech but it works and dead simple. No fear of snapping expensive ratcheting plastic straps or similar mechanism.
  • loads 4 bikes without much finagling.
  • It's very secure and the bikes will not bounce I.e like some vertical racks secure to the front wheels instead of the fork crown.
  • Will not mar your frame.
  • lighter than most racks

Cons
  • Not designed for road bikes. I have transported one before, had to be creative.
  • will mar your fork crown area
  • anti-rattle hitch pin is aftermarket solution. In other racks like Yakima, it's integrated.
  • does not come with cable locks (these are useless anyway) so provide your own chain and lock.
  • earlier models have rust issues and cradle spacing that does not clear tapered head tubes of latest generation bikes. These has been remedied.
  • prices has gone up like all things

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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My sister's family uses a Yakima Hangover on their Ram van, it's OK. I can tell you that it's pretty easy to load, wouldn't transport a gravel bike, and somehow my top tube got scraped up while on it. However, I'm not sure of a better way to carry 6 bikes, at least not on that vehicle.
 

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We have a Thule 4 bike tray on my wife's Yukon for when the family rides without me, and a Velocirax 5x on my Silverado. I strongly prefer the Velocirax. With the strut assisted tilt it's fast and easy to load, just roll the front wheel into the basket then strap both wheels down with rubber straps. We have 26", 27.5+, and 29" bikes in the fleet (5 of us riding) and everything fits. Took some kids to the ski resort today and threw in a downhill bike and a couple enduros, handled it all like a champ.

I like the Velocirax because it holds by the front wheel, not the handlebars or fork crown. This means instead of having to lift the bike you can just roll it into the basket. My 13 year old son often loads while we get ready, occasionally one of his 9 year old sisters is able to get a bike on the rack by themself.

I think my wife's main beef with the vertical rack is you don't see them around here very often, she'd rather have something like everyone has instead of standing out. In her defense the Velocirax is very noticeable, I've met people for the first time and when they see my truck they tell me they've seen me around town. Doesn't bother me, I just want what works best but I can see why my wife feels that way.
 

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Just built a vertical rack onto my bumper swingarm. It was a bit of an adventure getting a diy design done, but very pleased overall. It is so quick to load, like 30 seconds a bike. It only takes a couple bikes practice to get down where to grab and how to pivot anddrop them in.
I used Lolo hangers (handlebar style).
For more than four bikes vertical is really the only choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is super helpful. Sounds like a major con (in my situation) is the inability to take road / gravel bikes (and maybe this also means kids bikes - we are usually taking 3 different size kids bikes).
 

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This is super helpful. Sounds like a major con (in my situation) is the inability to take road / gravel bikes (and maybe this also means kids bikes - we are usually taking 3 different size kids bikes).
With that in mind, I would recommend you consider the Lolo Rack
I have been very happy with ours.
We use it to carry adults and kids mountain bikes typically. But, we have also used it for hybrid and road bikes.
It has served us well on cross country road trips, holding the bikes securely.
The upper mount holds the bikes by the handlebars. Some of our bikes have nice carbon bars and We have not noticed any damage or scratching. I just make sure to wipe out any dust before I put the handle bar into the holders
 

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I'd say you also need to consider your transport vehicle when you're looking at vertical racks.

When you're transporting 5 or 6 bikes, that's a good hunk of weight, so you need a vehicle with a respectable tongue weight capacity. Also if you're talking about something with a low roofline, the rack arrangement will probably cut into fuel economy quite a lot (not altogether different from a roof rack). Also rear access may be a concern. You might need to add a swingout if you need to access the cargo area of your vehicle.
 

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Using my diy rack with lolo mounts for a 24” mtb, two regular 800mm handlebars 26” mtb, and a 740mm handlebar 26” mtb with a triple crown.
super easy to use.
I’d have no trouble putting two road bikes on it (on the edges) and three mtb in the center, but this does vary depending on the holder spacing and the road bars in question. I have five holders in the same width lolo puts six, so I have a couple inches more between each holder location.
 

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This is super helpful. Sounds like a major con (in my situation) is the inability to take road / gravel bikes (and maybe this also means kids bikes - we are usually taking 3 different size kids bikes).
We only ride MTB but the Velocirax site says the rack works with drop bar bikes. They recommend the 3X or 5X rack (the X means wider spacing between bikes), we got the 5X just to make loading our 5 mountain bikes easier. My twins ride 26" XXS Rockhoppers, and we go all the way up to my XL Stumpy. Never had a problem with interference between bikes with the 5X.
 

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Re: mileage- we have a 2020 GMC Sierra half-ton. With two bikes in the Velocirax, we average about 17mpg on the highway. That goes up to 21 mpg if we're using the 1-Up and carrying the bikes below the roofline.
Sorry, I'm not buying a 20% reduction in fuel economy, that doesn't jive with any of my experiences, even roof rack mointrf bikes never knocked my fuel economy that much.
 

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0.5 mpg reduction for me with 4 bikes on nsr 4 bikes rack when crossing the desert, then I off-road and find the best camp sites I can way off pavement. The nsr matches the capability of my land cruiser well. Your not getting far off the beaten path with a 4 bike tray, hard on the departure Angle.
 

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I’ve got a current gen 5-bike Recon Rack and a 2-bike Kuat, and my brother has a 1up super duty 2. All have their pros and cons of course, but it really is going to be a trade off for what benefits your situation the most.

Recon is super easy to load and keeps the bikes pretty still. I’ve used it to haul the kids 24”, wife’s hybrid bike, and even my road/gravel bike with no issues. It folds out of the way to get the tailgate open and I can open the canopy window enough to grab things/load groceries without laying the rack down (or unloading it). However it is heavy so it stays on the truck for most of the summer, takes up a decent amount of space to store and at least for me needs to have the bikes unloaded before folding it down to fully access the tailgate.

The Kuat is great for hauling 1-2 bikes and is rock solid with almost no wobbles. Also easy to load, light, easy to store and stays in the garage when not being used. Can make it work with the other kids 20” bike if necessary. The only real con is that it only carries two bikes and the tray is on the short side for my FS but it still holds solidly.

I got to check out the 1up rack this past weekend and if I were in the market for another tray rack this would be it no question. Solid, easy to use and adapts to different size bikes easily. Looks like it would be easy to add/remove the add-on trays when needed too.

My neighbor has the Kuat 4-tray and that thing is a beast. As heavy (or more) than the Recon and sticks out a mile and a half when loaded. Not all that easy to add/remove the trays but could be done occasionally.

Anyway I don’t think you can go wrong with the 1up and unless you’re hauling 4 or more bikes regularly it’s probably a toss up between the 1up and a vertical rack.
 

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As a manufacturer of vertical basket style bike racks here's my take on it.

Pro's.
Fast load and unload.
Only contact points other than the tyres. The tyres touch at a different point each time.
No contact with other bikes. No more damage. No more stuffing around with extra bungies and strops and bits of foam noodle to stop bikes hitting.
Easy access into the back of the car.
Really useful for 3+ bikes.

Cons,
The car needs a healthy tongue download rating to haul lots of bikes.
Weaker town bars can flex under the additional leverage and weight.
The rack is physically big and heavy.
Overkill for 1 or 2 bikes.
Short people find it hard to load bikes on.

My rack can run road bikes, and fit 20" kids bikes through to super massive dh bikes.
But you can't get them in the US.... yet.

Bicycle Wheel Automotive bicycle rack Tire Car
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Sorry, I'm not buying a 20% reduction in fuel economy, that doesn't jive with any of my experiences, even roof rack mointrf bikes never knocked my fuel economy that much.
20% sounds about right in my experience (going from naked to 2 bikes on top and 2 on a hitch rack).

Some actual test data:

Want To Boost Gas Mileage? Remove That Bike Rack, Says Consumer Reports (citing CR with 35% drop for two bikes and a deflector)

How Adventure Gear Strapped to Your Roof Affects Gas Mileage (31% for two MTBs)

How Rooftop Carriers Affect Fuel Economy for Cars and SUVs (19% for rack and rooftop carrier)

We Test the Tips Part II - Edmunds.com (21% for cooler and suitcase)

Study: That Roof Rack Is Killing Your Fuel Economy (25% general figure for unspecified load)

etc.
 
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