HomeCycling1Up Recon Rack overview: legendary 1Up sturdiness now in a 5 or...

1Up Recon Rack overview: legendary 1Up sturdiness now in a 5 or 6-bike vertical carry rack

Final yr, we introduced the launch of the then-new 1Up Recon 5 and Recon 6 vertical hanging hitch bike racks. After buying Recon Racks in 2021, it didn’t take lengthy for 1Up to develop the brand new Recon fashions primarily based on the unique however with some notable modifications. Whereas functionally about the identical, they give the impression of being barely completely different with beefy metal wheel baskets and a revised decrease crossbar and rear wheel attachment system. 1Up additionally moved the manufacturing of the Recon racks in-house to their facility in Wisconsin, and they’re made totally within the USA. 

The 1UP Recon racks have been in the marketplace for over a yr now, and I’m slowly however certainly seeing extra of them within the wild close to my residence within the mountains simply north of Lake Tahoe, CA. Having personally used or examined practically each mid to high-end bike rack in the marketplace through the years, I used to be desirous to check out the Recon to see the way it compares to related choices and if it lives as much as 1Up’s popularity for making a number of the finest and most sturdy racks within the enterprise.

I’ve been utilizing a 1Up Recon 5 for the previous six months for prolonged street journeys, weekend campouts, shuttle runs, and day by day journeys to and from the trailhead. I’m properly previous first impressions and I really feel I’ve obtained sufficient expertise with the Recon to say that it’s probably the most sturdy and finest vertical carry hitch rack that I’ve ever used to date.

Getting began

1Up USA solely sells their racks direct to the patron, so that you’ll want to leap on their web site to order one. The primary resolution you’ll have to make is whether or not to get the Recon 5 or Recon 6, which carry 5 or 6 bikes and value $1,200 or $1,400, respectively. Whereas ordering, you’re additionally given the choice to decide on between commonplace, fats bike, and children wheel baskets, so you may combine and match to get the setup you need. The hampers are additionally offered individually for $149 ought to your wants change. A handful of equipment are additionally out there, however extra on that later.

The assembled weight of the Recon 5 is a whopping 92 lbs (add about 10 for the Recon 6), so the shipped weight is true round 100 lbs. Thankfully, it is available in two packing containers, and floor delivery is included within the buy worth. Unboxing the Recon reveals a comparatively concerned meeting course of, because it comes fully disassembled, even the wheel baskets are in two items. Sadly, I uncared for to take any footage at this stage, however you’re basically bolting your entire factor collectively from the hitch bar up.

Assembly instructions for the 1Up Recon hitch bike rack
A number of bolts. Thankfully, assembling the Recon is one thing you solely need to do as soon as. (photograph Jeremy Benson)

1Up consists of detailed printed directions, which may also be discovered on their web site, that undergo the method step-by-step. It isn’t essentially troublesome, nevertheless it does take a little bit of time to get the entire thing collectively. By following the instructions rigorously, nevertheless, it goes easily and ensures you don’t mess up and need to do something over once more. I received’t bore you with the small print however simply know that you just’ll wish to put aside a few hours in the event you’re placing one in all these collectively your self. The excellent news is that all the holes line up completely and a socket wrench will assist make fast(er) work of all of the bolts that have to be tightened, there’s fairly a number of. Of notice: there are three holes within the backside of the wheel baskets, two of that are on the identical aspect and assist you to mount the hampers straight or at a slight angle. I selected the slight angle for no matter motive, and I’m sticking with it.

As soon as the rack is collectively, you’ve got the choice to make some changes to dial it in for each car and floor clearance. The vertical mast of the rack will be moved up or down so as to add or lower floor clearance to fit your particular car or preserve a departure angle for off-road use. The hitch bar additionally has a number of holes drilled in it so you may modify the place of the rack in relation to the again of the car if wanted. I used the Recon on my ’09 Toyota Tacoma that had both a camper shell or my Six-Pac cab over camper on the again (I had simply taken the camper off earlier than these photographs), and I discovered the middle-height place and the farthest out hitch place labored finest for my wants.

Set up

One of many major challenges with the 1Up Recon, and all racks of this type, is that it may be a bear to put in and take away. At 92 lbs, simply selecting it up isn’t any easy process, and while you consider its unwieldy form, it’s fairly awkward to hold from wherever you’re storing it to your car. This isn’t the kind of rack you wish to placed on and take off repeatedly, as an alternative, we’d suggest leaving it on for prolonged durations at any time when potential.

When you slide the hitch bar into the receiver and line up the holes, a beefy threaded hitch pin must be cranked down tight. In the course of the meeting, an anti-wobble insert was positioned contained in the hitch bar, and the hitch pin threads via it to tug the hitch bar tight towards the aspect of the receiver to take away side-to-side wobble. Whereas this truthfully works pretty properly, we discovered that an inexpensive U-bolt type anti-wobble hitch cam that I already had (like this one on Amazon for $10) was a pleasant addition to fully cease it from wobbling, each aspect to aspect and up and down. 

The hitch pin lock on the 1Up Recon hitch bike rack
The thread hitch pin comes with a novel steel lock pod that threads onto the tip for a layer of rack safety. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

To assist preserve your costly rack safe, the Recon additionally comes with a hitch pin lock. The lock pod is product of steel and has a rubber mud cowl to maintain street particles and moisture from jamming up the works. In contrast to most hitch pin locks, this one threads onto the tip of the hitch pin as you flip the important thing, and it has a really sturdy and safe really feel.


Loading bikes onto the Recon is sort of easy with massive, open-wheel baskets that cradle the entrance wheel and solely make contact with the tire. After all, you have to carry the entrance finish of the bike excessive sufficient to get the entrance wheel into the basket, however they simply slot proper in there, and in contrast to related racks that maintain bikes by the fork crown, there’s no lining up the crown into slim slots, and the basket design accommodates bikes with inflexible forks (gravel, street, and so on.) with out the necessity for adaptors. 

Bikes loaded into the wheel baskets of the 1Up Recon
Loading bikes is fast and simple with the entrance wheel baskets. Plus they’re tremendous versatile and match a spread of wheel and tire sizes from mtb to gravel and street. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Like different vertical racks, there’s a really brief studying curve to loading them in the event you’ve by no means achieved it earlier than nevertheless it shortly turns into second nature. It helps to have one hand on the fork and the opposite on the seat tube as you carry the entrance finish and place the entrance wheel within the basket. It additionally helps to load the bikes from left to proper (and unload proper to left) to keep away from handlebar interference in the course of the loading and unloading course of. Relying on the variety of bikes you’re carrying, you’ll additionally want to think about their place on the rack. If, for instance, you’re solely carrying two bikes, it’s finest to place them within the cradles closest to the vertical mast.

The place the Recon differs from most different vertical racks in the marketplace is the rear wheel attachment system. Most different manufacturers have a bungee, rubber strap, or brief size of rope that holds the rear wheel tight towards the decrease crossbar, however the Recon makes use of a webbing cam strap that captures each the wheel and the pedal. The strap loops over the drive aspect pedal (it additionally works simply high-quality on the non-drive aspect in our expertise) and right down to the rear wheel “cradle” the place it passes over the rear rim to connection factors on each side earlier than cinching it tight. After some preliminary skepticism, I grew to understand this technique, nevertheless it has advantages and downsides, which I’ll clarify.

The first good thing about the Recon’s distinctive rear wheel attachment is the spectacular safety and stability of the bikes in transit. It holds the rear wheel firmly towards the rear wheel cradle whereas concurrently protecting downward stress on the bikes. This basically eliminates the potential of the bikes getting bounced off the rack in the event you hit a pace bump going too quick otherwise you’re clambering up some tough grime street. It additionally ensures that your cranks and pedals don’t transfer and intrude with one another, or worse, scratch up your buddy’s body. Cam straps like these are additionally simple to seek out at {hardware} or sporting items shops, in order that they’re simply changed in the event that they put on out otherwise you occur to lose one.

Now for the drawbacks. Looping the strap across the pedal and rear wheel cradle takes slightly extra time than merely stretching a bungee over the wheel. Realistically, it’s just a few further seconds when you get your system down, nevertheless it isn’t practically as fast and simple. There’s a “proper method” to do it that 1Up particulars on this brief educational video, nevertheless it nonetheless takes slightly getting used to earlier than you’ve obtained it completely dialed. Plus, your pals will probably be tremendous confused after they attempt to do it the primary few occasions. The opposite, and maybe extra obvious, disadvantage to this technique is that the straps are usually not hooked up to the rack in any method and there’s no apparent technique to retailer them on the rack itself. This implies you’ve obtained 5 or 6 straps to stash someplace in your car, preserve monitor of, and fish out each time you employ the rack.

Locked and loaded, these bikes aren’t going anyplace aside from for a journey. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

On the Street

In use, the 1Up Recon 5 is impressively secure and evokes confidence in its capacity to carry the bikes securely irrespective of the place you determine to go. It’s a vertical rack, in fact, so there’s a tiny little bit of side-to-side motion seen however lower than I’m used to seeing with different fashions. Moreover, the bikes are held onto the rack higher because the rear wheel strap system actually locks them down. The bikes themselves hardly transfer aspect to aspect and so they don’t bounce vertically in any way. 

The 1Up Recon racks are rated for off-road use, and whereas I haven’t achieved any correct rock crawling with mine, I’ve taken it down some grime and gravel roads starting from washboard to reasonably tough. It has dealt with that very properly, and, once more, the rack and the bikes seem like extra secure than different vertical racks I’ve used. As talked about beforehand, the vertical mast will be adjusted for extra clearance do you have to want it, though this does require instruments and slightly little bit of time. And in the event you’re driving off-road with any regularity, you’ll in all probability wish to test your bolts slightly extra ceaselessly.

The thread-on style lock pods of the hitch pin and optional cable lock for the 1Up Recon
Each the hitch pin and the optionally available cable lock have these thread-on type steel lock pods. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)


Apart from the locking hitch pin, the Recon racks don’t include another locks. There’s a massive metal lock loop welded to the vertical mast the place you may connect another aftermarket lock you want. 1Up sells a Recon-specific cable lock ($52) that integrates comparatively properly with the rack. If you are going to buy the cable lock along with your rack, then the hitch pin and the cable lock pods will come keyed alike, which is sweet.

The optional cable lock passes through holes on both ends of the steel crossbar
The optionally available cable lock passes via holes on each ends of the metal crossbar, and, at 9 toes lengthy, it has loads of size to go via 5 bike frames. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

The lock is a nine-foot-long, 12mm diameter (together with the coating) cable with a stopper on one finish and the lock pod on the opposite, and it feeds via holes on each ends of the higher crossbar. Slide the cable throughout one in all these holes, go it via the bike frames, and slide the lock pod finish (with the lock pod off, clearly) via the outlet on the opposite finish. Connect the lock pod, a steel thread-on lock the identical because the hitch pin, to the tip of the cable and also you’re achieved. After all, no lock is infallible, however this thick cable will do wonders to discourage opportunistic thieves from a straightforward grab-and-run. I discovered one of the best ways to retailer the lock when not in use was to only go away it locked on the rack. By passing it via the lock loop, it stays out of the best way even when it doesn’t have the cleanest look.


The 1Up Recon in the tilted down position
Within the tilted-down place, there’s loads of room to drop a tailgate, open a trunk, and even get out and in of the camper within the background. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

1Up saved the Clean Pivot Operation of the unique Recon racks and the outsized pivot level that kinds the junction between the hitch bar and the vertical mast. And, given the 6mm thick metal plates on both aspect of this pivot, it’s tremendous sturdy and one of many causes this rack is so secure. Pulling up on the small black knob on the high of the pivot releases a thick steel bar from the metal aspect plates and permits the rack to tilt away from the car at roughly a 40-degree angle. This enables entry to the rear of the car whether or not you have to open your tailgate or trunk, or in my case, open the rear door on my previous camper. 

The pivoting motion of the Clean Pivot is, in reality, very easy. You possibly can tilt it down with bikes on the rack, simply be able to assist the burden while you accomplish that, and ensure you’ve got sufficient clearance for the rear tires. I personally solely used this function with none bikes loaded because the lengthy enduro bike I’ve been using most ceaselessly would make contact with the bottom when tilted. Regardless, the lean function works fairly properly and gives loads of area for rifling round in your trunk whereas searching for the gloves you unintentionally left at residence.


The design of the Recon racks, and the wheel baskets specifically, make it very versatile by way of bike match. The usual baskets match wheel sizes between 24 and 29 inches and tires as much as 3 inches broad. This implies you may carry not simply mountain bikes, however gravel or street bikes too, one thing the fork-hold fashions can’t sometimes do. As talked about beforehand, you even have the choice to combine and match between commonplace (tires as much as 5.1 inches broad) and Children (wheel sizes 20 to 24 inches as much as 3 inches broad) baskets when trying out, or you should purchase them individually in case your carrying wants change seasonally or over time. 

The 1Up Recon Rack loaded with 4 bikes
The 1Up Recon 5 loaded up with 4 bikes. It could possibly simply carry drop bar bikes, however you’ll wish to place them on the skin for handlebar clearance functions. (photograph: Jeremy Benson

The Recon Racks have a forty five lbs per bike weight restrict and a complete weight capability of 225 or 270 lbs for the Recon 5 and Recon 6, respectively. That’s simply sufficient to deal with just about all non-electric bikes and light-weight eMTBs, though most full-power eMTBs will probably be barely over that restrict. That mentioned, it actually feels greater than able to dealing with heavier bikes, although we’d suggest staying inside its claimed limits. 

Given the burden of the rack itself and the leverage exerted on the hitch bar, the Recon racks solely come within the 2-inch receiver measurement.


The 1Up Recon Rack on the 1Up Rack Stand
Storing this behemoth is way simpler with one thing just like the 1Up Rack Stand. The stand additionally has a wheel on the entrance so you may roll the rack round. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

A problem that plagues most hitch bike racks however particularly vertical carry fashions is their measurement and storability. Off the car, the Recon 5 is 62 inches tall, 58 inches broad, and 34 inches deep. It doesn’t get up by itself and it takes up loads of area wherever you select to retailer it. A wall-mounted rack dock or one thing like 1Up’s Rack Stand is fairly crucial to maintain the Recon out of the best way and your space for storing tidy. 

I had the prospect to make use of the 1Up Rack Stand ($310) which gives a secure base to carry the rack upright, whereas additionally serving as a system to roll the rack throughout easy surfaces to get it nearer to the car or reposition it in your storage. Though 1Up doesn’t particularly say it will probably do it, I discovered you too can use the rack within the Rack Stand to carry a motorbike or two, perhaps three relying on their weight, however I discovered it might get slightly tippy with three 30+ lb mountain bikes loaded. Both method, it’s an superior accent to have, albeit slightly costly.

The 1Up Rack Stand accessory for the 1Up Recon rack
The Rack Stand is a good accent to have for storing your bike and/or shifting it round. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)


I discussed a number of of the equipment out there for the Recon racks already, however right here’s slightly recap, plus a number of extra. The entire wheel baskets, commonplace, fats bike, and children, will be bought individually for $149. The nine-foot-long Recon cable lock sells for $52 and integrates comparatively properly with the rack. The Rack Stand will set you again $310, nevertheless it’s an effective way to retailer the rack when not in use and it makes shifting the rack round a heck of so much simpler. In addition they promote a Bottle Holder for $22 that mounts to the again of the decrease crossbar and has a bottle opener for these post-ride drinks. 

1Up additionally says that the Recon racks can be utilized with their hitch extenders, hitch bar cease, and the RakAttach swing-away attachment.


The 6mm thick metal plates that make up the pivot and pivot junction are burly. The entire rack has an overbuilt and really sturdy really feel. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

1Up bike racks are famend for his or her sturdiness and that continues with the Recon racks. Your complete factor is created from metal and it feels completely bomb-proof. The metal aspect plates on the pivot junction are 6mm thick and held along with beefy {hardware}. Even the wheel baskets are minimize from 3mm thick metal plates. The entire steel can also be lined with a sturdy, black powder-coat end to guard it from corrosion and the {hardware} is all commonplace sizes that needs to be simple to seek out at your native {hardware} do you have to ever want to exchange it. 

When you’re driving off-road repeatedly, you’ll be subjecting the rack to further stress, however given the supplies utilized in its building, I don’t see it being an issue in any respect. With the extra bouncing and jostling of tough roads, nevertheless, you’ll wish to test the bolts slightly extra typically to verify the whole lot stays good and tight.

The 1Up Recon 5 loaded with 3 mountain bikes


There’s no trying previous the value of the 1Up Recon racks. At $1,200 for the Recon 5 and $1,400 for the Recon 6 (costs embrace floor delivery), there’s no denying that they’re fairly costly. However when you think about the value of tray racks plus the add-ons wanted to hold 4 bikes, it begins to appear extra cheap. Take, for instance, the Thule T2 Professional XTR ($800) and the 2-bike add-on ($550), and also you’re $1,350 and also you’re maxed out at 4 bikes. The costs of different tray rack fashions that may use add-ons are fairly much like the Thule, apart from the Kuat Piston Professional X which is considerably dearer.

Maybe a greater worth comparability is towards the VelociRAX vertical hitch racks. The VelociRAX are available in 3, 4, 5, 6, and seven bike variations, with retail costs ranging between $799 and $985. Trying on the 5-bike model particularly, it goes for $885, and commonplace delivery is one other $120, give or take, bringing the value earlier than tax as much as simply over $1,000. So, you may undoubtedly save slightly cash by going with the VelociRAX, the hydraulic tilt help perform is a fairly cool function, and the 55 lbs per bike weight restrict can deal with full-power e-bikes. I personally don’t personal any electrical bikes, don’t significantly look after the pink shade, and the shortage of mast peak adjustability could also be a limiting issue for some folks. Regardless, the VelociRAX work very properly, are tremendous versatile, and are arguably the very best worth for this type of rack.

Costly, sure. Cheaper than most tray racks with add-ons that may’t carry as many bikes, sure. Constructed to final, additionally sure. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Ultimate Ideas

The Recon Racks carry 1Up’s legendary sturdiness to the vertical carry design. With a sturdy metal building and front-wheel baskets with a flexible bike match, you may load up the entire household’s bikes for weekend getaways or rally the crew up janky grime roads for shuttle laps. Assuming you don’t want to move full-power electrical bikes, the Recon is tremendous secure, holds bikes very securely, and the off-road score means you may take it on any journey you select. Sure, it’s costly, however the Recon’s sturdy building and lifelong guarantee make it a strong funding that’ll be paying dividends for years to come back.

The Recon Racks include 1Up’s 100% lifetime guarantee safety.

1Up Recon Rack Specs

  • Matches 2” receiver
  • Black powder coat end
  • Commonplace Wheel Baskets maintain 24”-29” wheels, as much as 3” broad tires
  • Fats Bike Wheel Baskets maintain 24”-29” wheels, as much as 5.1” broad tires
  • Children Bike Wheel Baskets maintain 20”-24” wheels, as much as 3” broad tires
  • Recon 5 carrying capability of 225 lbs (45 lbs per bike spot)
  • Recon 6 carrying Capability of 270 lbs (45 lbs per bike spot)
  • Street score: Pavement, Gravel, and Off-road
  • Automobile score: Passenger Automobile
  • Wheel Basket Design holds tires safely and securely with no bike body contact
  • Suitable with suspension and inflexible forks
  • Built-in adjustability for straightforward attain and floor clearance tuning
  • Clean Pivot Operation for straightforward entry to rear of auto
  • RakAttach, Hitch Extenders and Hitch Bar Stops are acceptable
  • Delivery Dimensions: Tubing Field 64″ x 13″ x 4.5″ / Basket and Pivot Field 30.5″ x 18″ x 8″
  • Recon 5 Delivery Weight: Tubing Field 39 lbs / Basket and Pivot Field: 55 lbs
  • Recon 6 Delivery Weight: Tubing Field 43 lbs / Basket and Pivot Field: 61 lbs


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