Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Gear Tests - TESTED BY Mark Wat­son PHO­TOS BY Mark Wat­son/ in­citeim­ RRP $529

IF YOU’VE EVER tried to throw a muddy MTB on a roof rack you’d have to agree that hitch-mounted racks will keep your han­dle­bar-cal­loused hands just a lit­tle bit less bat­tered for the drive home… and more im­por­tantly pre­vent the em­bar­rass­ing car­bon-head-stem to McDon­ald’s drive-through col­li­sion in­ci­dent. Ad­mit it, we’ve nearly all done it.

Here at Out­door we’ve be­come a bit of a fan of the Yakima HoldUp 2 Bike Rack. At 22kg straight out of the box the HoldUp 2 is cer­tainly not a feath­er­weight, but it’s sturdy and is su­per easy to in­stall and re­move. The braini­acs at Yakima have thought­fully pro­vided a lock­ing threaded hitch pin to hold the rack se­cure and tight to your car. Once fixed, and not in use, the HoldUp 2 hinges up neatly against your tail­gate. This not only of­fers a tidy look, but min­imises the chance of back­ing into some­thing in case you for­get the rack is on.

When you feel a need to hit the trails, the HoldUp 2 ex­cels in its ease of use and func­tion­al­ity. A sim­ple lock­ing pin is re­leased to lower the HoldUp 2 into hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion and it is im­me­di­ately ready for load­ing, which is as sim­ple as throw­ing your bikes into the wheel cra­dles and then rais­ing a sturdy swingarm with a ratchet clamp over your front wheel. The rack will take nearly all bikes sizes and styles, in­clud­ing 27.5+ tyres, but if you have a ‘true fatty’ then you may well be in trou­ble (un­less some­body told you a cou­ple of bungee straps would likely work; but I wouldn’t do that be­cause if they failed I wouldn’t want to be blamed). A firm push on the ratch­et­ing swingarm locks the front wheel in place, hold­ing the bike nice and firmly to the rack. The rear wheel is then se­cured by a ratchet strap and then you’re ready to boo­gie to the trail­head.

If you’re plan­ning to stop at the lo­cal bot­tlo for a few post-ride craft beers then your bikes can be se­cured by the cable lock that ex­tends from the swingarm, through your front wheel and fork, then back to the swingarm.

For those who reg­u­larly load the same bikes day in/day out, the ad­justable hor­i­zon­tal cross bars can be tweaked to avoid bar/seat/frame clashes. Ad­di­tion­ally, the swingarm wheel mount means there is no con­tact with the frame and there­fore that wor­ry­ing “how much pres­sure can I clamp to my shiny car­bon down tube” prob­lem never arises.

The HoldUp 2 mak­ers con­ve­niently thought of those of us who load our bikes and then re­alise we’ve for­got­ten our gloves, shoes, hel­met… what­ever. Sim­ply re­lease the lock­ing pin to al­low the en­tire rack to pivot away from the car so you can ac­cess open the tail­gate or boot, which on our test car cleared the han­dle­bars with around 3mm to spare. Per­fect.

What’s miss­ing? We’d love to see some shrewd and elab­o­rate sys­tem to al­low the rack to be hinged away from the car with­out hav­ing the bikes lower down on your head/shoul­der, and more im­por­tantly we’d love to see an ac­ces­sory li­cence plate holder. Other than that the Yakima HoldUp 2 is one of the eas­i­est and most us­able racks we’ve tested. Oh, and it even comes with Yakima’s sig­na­ture bot­tle opener. Per­haps the HoldUp 2 will take prime po­si­tion in the much-revered 2017

Out­door bike rack hall of fame (which doesn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist, but prob­a­bly should).

The HoldUp2’s

wheel clamp is the best in the busi­ness and holds the bike tight and se­curely, elim­i­nat­ing any chance of dam­ag­ing frame con­tact.

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