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MAARTECH | Saturday August 19, 2017

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Bike racks for a Prius

| On 20, Sep 2013

I recently upgraded the bike rack on our Prius. Here’s my video review, and some more details after the video.

Ken Shaw Toyota installed a 1.25 hitch when I purchased the Prius and sold me the Tow Ready rack for two bikes. It’s been fine for four years, but recently developed a little rust which had to be repaired. The excellent and friendly staff at Ken Shaw re-welded it for me (it’s probably better than new) but I’d already been envious of my friend Andrew’s 1UP rack, so this was the opportunity to upgrade.

We were also headed to PEI and Quebec with our bikes, so it felt like a good time to upgrade to a new rack that would treat our bikes better. It’s not that the Tow Ready is bad, it’s just not as good as the 1UP. And not all bikes (like Calla’s Kona Africa bike) fit easily on the Tow Ready rack.

It was not a cheap purchase. The base rack and second bike add-on left 1UP USA at C$642.30, and arrived here with a $25. UPS charge. The ball bearing that holds the rack in place in the hitch was jammed, so I had a little trouble sliding it into the hitch until I figured out that I needed to turn the rack upside down to release it. Otherwise, it’s a snap to mount and to add the second bike unit. It’s super easy to put the bikes on the rack and they’re now far enough apart so that they don’t rub against each other. (YEAY!). However, the brake cables on Kim’s bike are close enough to my handlebars that they’re wearing the grips slightly.

1UP is fully confident in the rack’s mounting system and guarantee it to be theft proof. I had an old krypton lock in the garage which I’ve used to provide a little additional security and safety to make sure the rack doesn’t go sliding off unintentionally.

The skinny pannier rack on my bike did not allow the arm to fully slide up and hold Dr. Fine’s rear wheel. I was ready to buy a new one, but the super helpful Brent at Sweet Pete’s moved the retaining bolt down one. 

1UP does sell locks (U$20) that mount in the arms to hold the wheels in place, but the bike remains pretty vulnerable. A standard lock and cable threaded through the hitch gives me a little better sense of security when the bikes are left unattended.

What I had not anticipated was improved gas mileage. The Tow Ready increased my gas consumption by about 20% when loaded with two bikes. The 1UP seems to be half that, and sometimes even less. Gas consumption measurement has so many variables that it’s hard to be accurate. Overall, the unit is about 10 kilos heavier.

I had not anticipated that I’d leave it on the car continuously, but it folds up so easily that it’s staying on for a while. I did remove it when I took it through a car wash recently.  The rack also rotates down if you need clearance to get into the trunk or hatchback when the bikes are on. There’s a cuff that prevents the rack from rotating. One day in PEI I neglected to tighten it and when we bumped over a bridge, it rotated down. Luckily, except for a slight scrape on the trailing edge, there was no damage to bikes or rack.

My thanks to Andrew for his recommendation and guidance, and to Kim for encouraging me to upgrade. And to Bob and Irena for use of their shady driveway. I’m very happy with the 1UP rack.

Wow, those cicadas are loud.

Thanks to Doug for his camera skills and guidance; to Calla and Tom for music.

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