Yakima HoldUp Review
Cons: Lacks refinement, some tire and wheel fitment issues
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Yakima Holdup is a functional, relatively affordable hitch mount rack, packing many of the same features as other hitch mount racks in our test. It stands apart from other hitch mount racks with a compact design, due to the trays being hinged on the clamp end. When not in use, the wheel trays can be folded in towards the center of the rack, making it more compact for storage.
Ease of Everyday Use
The HoldUp is very functional, but the design is less refined than other higher scoring hitch racks we have tested. The rack tilts up and down by pulling a spring-loaded pin located back near the hinge of the rack, putting the user in a position of poor leverage to resist the load when lowering the rack when loaded with bikes. Also, the pin can be hard to release when under load. An additional safety pin is attached to the rack via a small plastic plug, which frequently fell out due to poor attachment. We much prefer the user-friendly tilt release handles on racks like the RockyMounts MonoRail or the Thule T2 Pro XT.
Loading bikes onto the rack is a similar process for all of the hitch mount tray racks we tested. The HoldUp requires an additional step because the front wheel trays fold up when not in use. The folding wheel trays give the rack a smaller footprint when not in use; if you have limited storage space, this is a welcome feature when the rack is off the vehicle being stored. However, the rack still weighs in at 49lbs, so taking it on and off is still rather labor intensive. The HoldUp has less clearance off the back of the vehicle than the class-leading Thule T2 Pro, so if you run wide bars, this is something to think about. The reduced clearance could limit your ability to access the rear compartment of your vehicle.
Ease of Removal and Storage
The rack attaches to the hitch receiver in the same manner as the Thule T2 Classic, using a threaded hitch pin with a lock on one end to eliminate wobble in the receiver arm. While this design is tried and proven, it is more complicated and labor intensive than the new Thule T2 Pro XT and the Kuat NV 2.0; both use an external knob that tensions an internal cam to eliminate wobble. The HoldUp is also hampered by an excessively long and wide wrench (included with the rack) that makes tightening the threaded hitch pin difficult.
By nature, hitch mounted tray mount racks are very versatile; because they clamp the bike at the front wheel, they have less inherent fit issues due to frame design and axle spacing. That said, the trend towards wider tires has limited the carrying capacity of some of the older tray mount rack designs; this model falls into this category. The wheel trays are more narrow than those found on the Thule T2 Pro XT, our Editors' Choice award winner, and will make adapting the rack to accommodate fat bikes a challenge. Beyond fat bikes and tandems, you'll be hard pressed to find a bike that this rack cannot carry. One of our testers complained that getting the wheel clamp over his 29" x 2.5" mountain bike tires was doable but a bit of a squeeze.
Ease of Assembly
The HoldUp falls a bit short of some of other contenders we tested when it comes to assembly. The directions are thorough and accurate, but this rack is not easy to assemble. The trays come fully assembled, which is convenient, but attaching them to the main support mast is a chore. The tray brackets are connected to the underside of the main mast, so the easiest way to attach them is with the rack in the upright position attached to a vehicle. The trays must be balanced in the bracket while the bolts are threaded through the bracket and into the tray. The trays are also cumbersome and awkward since the balance point is nowhere near the attachment point. To avoid frustration, this job is best approached with two people.
This bike rack uses a locking hitch pin to secure the rack to your vehicle. While not the most convenient design, it is sturdy and would require a saw or angle grinder to remove the rack from the vehicle. Bikes are secured to the rack using short cables that deploy from the ratcheting arms that hold the front wheel. The cables are rather short, so it may be difficult to loop the cable through the frame, especially on downhill and enduro bikes. While the integrated cable locks are a nice feature, they serve as little more than a theft deterrent. You will not be able to lock the wheels, so if this is a concern, then adding an additional cable lock is highly recommended for maximum security. The HoldUp does come with lock cores for the cables as well as the locking hitch pin, that all share a common key.
This contender proved to be a reliable rack during testing. We had some reservations about the folding plastic wheel trays, but they proved to be more than up to the task of dealing with our abuse. We had no issues with durability other than the painted finish of the rack being prone to scratching and abrasion. We did have some frustration with the weak retention wire anchor for the stability pin, but as long as the pin is in position during transport, you should not have any issues. If you forget to put the pin in before leaving the trailhead, then all bets are off, and you might be short a pin when you arrive at your destination.
The HoldUp is well suited to those who have multiple bikes of differing styles, or heavy bikes that would be difficult to load on a roof rack. If roof height is an issue, then a hitch mount rack is the way to go.
With a retail price of $449, this rack is a good value. It is cheaper than both the T2 Pro and the Kuat NV by around $100. It is, however, a much less refined product. But if you are on a budget, the HoldUp will get the job done — unless you are hauling fat bikes. We would consider it to be a good value despite some of its shortcomings and have no problem recommending it to a friend. For an even better value, check out the RockyMounts MonoRail, $400, our Best Buy award winner.
The Yakima HoldUp is a sturdy, basic hitch mount tray style rack that can carry a wide range of bicycles. It folds up smaller than most other hitch racks we tested, so it may be a good choice if you have limited storage space. It also has a bottle opener on the end of the rack. Who can argue with that?
— Curtis Smith