Yakima HoldUp EVO
Words & Photos by Andrew Villablanca
As a lifelong truck owner, I’m new to this whole hitch rack thing. I’ve always been a throw it on the tailgate guy, but when recently purchasing a Honda Element for a failed attempt at Uber driving to supplement by whopping Loam Wolf salary, I was forced to join the bike rack crew. After using my new Yakima HoldUp EVO on the tiny toaster, I realized just how practical this rack could be on my truck. Turns out hitch racks are pretty awesome, and the HoldUp EVO is now on the back of my Dodge almost permanently.
The HoldUp EVO is Yakima’s one step below their top of the line rack offering. We chose to pair ours with a BackSwing hitch mount. After having a swing away hitch, I could never have a normal hitch rack again.
Metal tube trays hold the front wheel, while a plastic tray holds the rear wheel. The rear trays are not movable, but pivot up and down. Amazingly, the pivoting is enough to accommodate any wheel base length we tried to put on it from dirt jump bikes to DH rigs, and yes even e-bikes. If you need further adjustment in length, the metal bars for the rack can be expanded with a hex key.
A plastic ratchet strap secures the rear wheel and a telescoping arm, Yakima calls the StrongArm, cradles the front wheel and fork. The system is well designed so that the only areas of contact are on the tires, with the exception of the rear plastic ratchet strap that contacts the rim as it wraps around. The rack is claimed to hold up to two 50 pound bikes, but we had no issues with 58-pound and 52-pound e-bikes on the rack at the same time. Regardless of size or weight, the HoldUp EVO kept our precious cargo secure. It’s also expandable with an additional section that can be purchased to accommodate two more bikes.
SKS locks pull out from the front wheel arms and offer a little peace of mind. They’re not burly enough to protect your bike in a bad neighborhood at night, but they’re more than enough to deter a crime of opportunity while you hop inside a restaurant to order a burrito.
The rack is raised and lowered via a footstep, and the front wheel trays and arms fold inward to reduce the rack’s profile when not in use. The rack also tips downward for easer access if you mount it directly to the 2” hitch on your car.
Of course, the real magic happens when you get Yakima’s BackSwing. The system consists of two arms with a hinge that lets the rack swing outward and to the side of your vehicle. It’s a huge help since it lets you access your truck, tailgate or rear of the car. The back swing has a burly hinge capable of supporting a 250-pound capacity. In the closed position it has a safety pin and heavy duty locking clasp to keep it secure. In the open position, it has a locking tab that keeps it from accidentally swinging closed. It’s one of the most robust swing-away systems we’ve used, with thick gauge metal, a sleek curved look, and all around high build quality. I use it regularly as a step to access the van roof or truck bed contents and it’s plenty sturdy.
During the testing of this rack, I made sure to put it on a variety of vehicles, and test it in everything from daily life to extreme off road abuse. If you watched our Utah camping story video, you’ll know this rack saw dirt roads and “spirited” driving while fully loaded. Despite getting my truck airborne and throwing the rack side to side on rough, rocky roads, my bikes stayed perfectly safe and the rack survived without damage.
One key area that the rack excelled in was bike-to-bike contact. The staggered mounting and space between bikes stopped any contact between bikes even under the harshest of bumps. It’s also free from the rattles and pops that normally come along with hitch racks thanks to some rattle stoppers that are built into the hitch portion of the rack.
Initially during the unboxing I was concerned about the plastic rear trays, as they didn’t impress me as being particularly robust. Thankfully that preconception was just that, and they withstood some seriously hard miles, even with e-bikes on board.
The rack is easy to use, and the construction is more than up to the task of transporting bikes. One area I did have issues however, was with dirt ingress in the pivot mechanisms for the front wheel trays and wheel arms. After my trip to Utah where the rack got blasted with sand, rain and dust, the arms were much harder to move. Since the pivots aren’t sealed, it’s something that will definitely happen to others. I solved it by flushing the pivots out with water, and then greasing them with a silicone spray lube. I’ve had to keep applying it over the months to keep the system moving freely. Aside from that singular issue, my rack has been durable and trouble free for thousands of miles.
The Wolf’s Last Word
With a price tag of $878 for the HoldUp EVO and BackSwing set up, this is no small purchase. Thankfully, the versatility of the system to hold literally any bike tire size and hub spacing will help ease that pain. While other racks that cost even more may have a slightly sleeker look, the HoldUp EVO absolutely gets the job done and puts the cost where it counts– durable build quality. The BackSwing is also one of the heaviest duty and over built swing away systems available, and gets our 100% Loam Wolf vote of confidence compared to other systems on the market. With details like hitch pin and bike locks, this rack is definitely a worthwhile option to consider. If it survived my abuse, it’s sure to hold up to yours.
BackSwing – $329
HoldUp EVO – $549
Swing Away System
Built in Locks
No Seals on Pivots
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