Yakima is arguably the most popular name in automobile bike racks. They’ve been making roof racks since 1980, and hitch racks like the StickUp since 1996. While many people will forever be fans of roof racks, I’m short and thus I’m not. Plus, I don’t like the idea of one of my bikes getting crushed overhead in a low clearance situation.
Almost anyone who’s used a hitch rack swears by them. The only real disadvantages are that it can get in the way of accessing your trunk, tailgate hatch, or rear door. And it can be a hassle to install and remove it regularly. Meanwhile a hitch rack is easy to load and unload, keeps the bikes relatively out of harm’s way, and just “feels” like a more secure bike transport system. For those who are conscious of their automobile’s appearance, a hitch rack doesn’t really come into contact with the vehicle, save for the hitch mount interface, so you’re apt to do less damage than with a roof rack or a trunk rack. Granted, most vehicles don’t come standard with a hitch mount, but places like U-Haul can fit one to most vehicles, and prices seem to hover around $250 installed.
The StickUp is a mid-level hitch rack. It’s solidly built and displays the high level of finishing that all Yakima racks exhibit. Personally, I wouldn’t mind one of their entry-level racks, but according to their website the most affordable hitch mount for my vehicle was the StickUp.
The StickUp holds two bikes fully assembled. A ratcheting arm secures the top tube from above, and a ratcheting strap secures one of the two wheels. The other wheel sits in a tray that holds it deceptively well. The tray with the ratcheting strap can slide to accommodate bikes with different wheelbases.
While the StickUp performs exactly as promised, I admit I’m a bit paranoid when it comes to toting my precious mountain bikes around. So I add a steel cable lock to the mix, and fasten the ratcheting arm to the top tube with a Velcro strap. Just to be safe. As far as security goes, unfortunately there’s no great solution for leaving your bikes unattended, since the rack itself is merely bolted to the hitch mount.
At 42 pounds, the StickUp might not be the best choice for people who plan to take the rack on and off of their vehicle regularly. Thankfully it folds up when not in use, and even when loaded it can drop down for convenient trunk access. Personally, I don’t mind taking it on and off, and I’m sure that storing it indoors will keep it working smoothly for years to come. Either way, Yakima recommends pretty simple routine lubrication and maintenance.
The StickUp retails for $259 and carries a lifetime warranty. Oh, and it features an integrated bottle opener. Check out www.yakima.com