A new fad is upon us, and thankfully it’s a whole lot cooler than fat bikes. Vertical bike racks have changed the game in bicycle transportation almost as much as tailgate pads. By placing the bikes vertically behind the vehicle, drivers are able to move more bikes in a more compact way that doesn’t stick out behind you vehicle nearly as far. The concept was made famous by North Shore Racks but has since been evolved by several brands both big and small. While many options are out there, Portland, Oregon brand LOLO Racks has created what we think is one of the best options on the market.
In true Loam Wolf style, this rack was put to the test with countless dirt roads, rough terrain, interstate road trips, fully loaded shuttle runs and anything else you can think of. Each trip has proven how well crafted every part of this rack is, and how the unique details distinguish it from any other bike rack on the market today.
The LOLO Rack is offered in a six bike or four bike configuration. The six bike version is 60″ wide and weighs 74 pounds, while the four bike version is narrower at 39″ wide and comes in at 62 pounds. The rack is cleverly designed to hold each bike through a hooked mount by the bars and supports the rear wheel with a flat bar at the bottom. Integrated bungee tie downs allow you to secure the bars and wheels for the drivers who can’t help but keep it between the white lines.
The two prongs that hook around the bar have a small rubber covering fitted over them to avoid marring the finish of your bar or stem. The bottom of the bike is attached by a tiny C shaped metal piece welded onto the main aluminum cross bar that houses a bungee cord to fit over the rim and secures the rear wheel from shaking around regardless of road conditions. The tower of the rack is mounted on a hinged pivot system with a pin to hold it in place, and lets you adjust the angle of the rack depending on your vehicle and needs.
The entire rack is constructed in the USA, and when we say this thing is bomb proof, we mean it. It’s a brilliantly simple system that allows you to carry six bikes in a small overall footprint, and the mounting system accommodates everything from DH rigs to road bikes…and yes ebikes too, although we did find some issues with the Shimano STEPS screen interfering with the bar-hanging hooks.
We never got a chance to test this rack with a road bike, but supposedly they fit on either side of the four or six person racks with slightly wider spacing of the upper mounting hook to prevent handlebar interference with other adjacent bikes. One other great feature of this rack is that you can convert it between a four and six bike rack by simply adding the wider cross bars and mounting additional hooks.
We were lucky enough to test out the largest version of the LOLO rack, which carts six bikes with ease. The rack comes fully equipped with a hand-welded aluminum base, six sets of bungee straps to secure the bikes while on the move, and even has the option to mount an LED light bar that hooks up to your trailer wiring to match brake lights, signals and hazards. Now that’s a cool feature and a way to ensure you don’t show up to your next destination with squished bikes!
The dual mounting points at the top and bottom of the bike are convenient and strong, although big pot holes or dips can still shift the bikes around. After some rowdy dirt road trips with a fully loaded rack, we discovered a few scratches and areas where the bikes had contacted each other. While we never thought the bikes were going to fall off the rack, we did run a short cable through the tops of the bikes to keep them a little more planted. Granted we were rallying a Tacoma pretty dang hard! We also found that taking the pedals off on long trips with six bikes helps prevent possible damage.
One feature we absolutely love about the LOLO is the optional red LED light bar we placed under the bike’s rear wheels in the little aluminum tray of the rack. The rear light bar was created to give other drivers an increased view of the bikes and rack at night. By easily hooking the wiring up to your trailer connection, you can rest assured knowing drivers will know that you’re braking and turning into that In-N-Out Burger parking lot at the last minute.
Another well thought out feature is the angled hinge of the rack. Simply removing a locking pin allows you to tilt the entire rack backwards with bikes still attached in order to reach items from the trunk of your car. The six angles also allow the rack to clear a tailgate mounted spare tire or vertical rear end, for example if you’re on the van program.
This rack weathered some pretty crazy shuttle days, bumpy roads and long road trips. Throughout all of these varying conditions, the six bike LOLO rack proved to be incredibly durable and reliable. It’s clear this rack is designed by people that get it, as readily evident by the high level of craftsmanship shown in each and every weld. Although we did notice a little bike rub and handlebar wear while aggressively shuttling off-road, the rack never lost a bike, and held strong despite our best destructive efforts. While most four or six bike tray style hitch racks feel like towing a trailer, the small footprint of the LOLO’s vertical mounting system makes driving with a full load easy. Quick bike load-up, solid construction, an LED light bar and six bike compatibility that Made in the USA!… what more could you ask for?
Price: Starting at $740 ($140 Tail light upgrade);