The Bottom Line
The Yakima Holdup EVO is a high-quality kit and easy to install. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and it’s easy to forget it’s on your trunk. There are other racks available, but the convenience of adding on or taking off space for two extra bikes makes the Yakima Holdup a practical option and one that should last you for years.
At a Glance
120 lbs Total
1 ¼” Hitch Receiver
34.5” x 64” x 12”
Hitch-mounted bike racks are the most popular choice when it comes to choosing bike racks for any vehicle. With such a wide variety, it can be a daunting task; with different bike rack brands, sizes, and possible extras that need to be fitted, it’s always a good idea to do some research before buying. To start, look at these hitch-mounted bike racks from this best list. The Yakima Holdup is a worthwhile consideration for something more specific. So, I decided to look and see whether the Holdup was as good as it appeared.
Yakima knows what they are doing. They have been in business since 1979 and are at the forefront of the industry, constantly creating new solutions to travel needs many people didn’t realize they had.
This is also a company that has inspired professionals. Their first foray was to deck every race vehicle with original aerodynamic fairings, which was back in 1984, and they remain at the top of their game to the present day.
There is no doubt that Yakima has the credentials, but can the Yakima Holdup deliver when it counts?
Let’s take a look.
It’s nice to see SKS (Same Key System) locks included with the product, although they are also sold separately. There are two locks on the Holdup, one which locks through the hitch, preventing the hitch pin from being moved and ensuring no one can take your bike rack.
The other is built into the rack and is for wrapping around the bikes, keeping them safely attached to the rack.
That should be enough to give you peace of mind! However, you should note that the cable will only loop around the frame, not the wheels. It simply isn’t long enough. If the security of your wheels is an issue, you’ll need an extra cable. These are sold separately.
Materials and Design
The Holdup is made of steel, powder coated in black. This gives it a heavy-duty feel and look, which ensures it can carry your bikes for any distance.
The attention to detail seems to be present in all the plastic fittings, providing you with a high-quality product that should last for years.
Fitting and Installation
To fit this to your vehicle, you slide the hitch into the hitch receiver and then secure the locking pin in position. If you have a 2” hitch, you’ll need to use the included adaptor.
As noted later, make sure you tighten the hitch bolt up properly, as this will prevent wobble in the bike rack.
Once the rack is positioned, you’ll note the red button at the back. This allows the rack to tilt away from your vehicle, providing you with access to your trunk.
The trays will handle almost any bike tire up to 2.5” in width, which means even fat bikes should fit, although it is worth checking first. Once you’ve unfolded the front wheel tray, you can lift the bike into position and wrap the strap around the rear wheel, securing it in place.
The front clamp lifts over the tire of your bike and slides down without making frame contact. It can be easily released by pushing the red button at the top of the clamp. That’s it, your bike is secured, and you’re ready to put the next one on.
When you’re not using the rack, you can fold the clampdown and the wheel trays in. This minimizes the space the rack takes up, allowing you to keep it on your vehicle regardless of what you’re doing.
This also helps if you’re removing it to store in your garage.
I was very pleased to discover that there is a Holdup +2 that can be added to the Yakima Holdup. This creates an extra two bike slots. Perfect for taking the whole family away.
Perhaps the best thing about the Holdup and the Holdup +2 is that it’s very easy to connect the two and get going with four bikes.
There is a reasonable amount of clearance between the bikes when loaded. However, you may struggle to fit multiple bikes with wide handlebars.
Unsurprisingly, a company with a real passion for the outdoors delivers excellent customer service. My rack arrived with a couple of bolts missing. It took just one call, and the replacement bolts arrived the next day’s post.
On top of that, the assistant was friendly and helpful, that’s a big plus if you have an issue. They can even help with the limited lifetime warranty, although it is worth reading the terms first.
Consider The Downsides
No product is perfect, and there were a couple of small issues: The Yakima Holdup Hitch Bike Rack is not the cheapest on the market, and if you want to add the Holdup +2 it will cost you nearly as much as the original rack. However, it is worthwhile as this is a high-quality rack, provided it is within your budget.
At 49 pounds, it’s heavy enough to be hard work holding it while you align it with your hitch. Although this isn’t a deal-breaker, it is not the lightest hitch bike rack on the market. You should be aware of the weight. You may need help installing it.
If you tighten the hitch pin properly, there is no issue. However, if you don’t, you’ll notice that the rack wobbles while driving. This isn’t enough to cause a safety concern, but it is something you should be aware of.
It should be noted that the pin which releases the rack, allowing access to the trunk, is set at a slightly funny angle. It can be difficult to support the bikes as you release the pin.
Fitting the rack is easy, but the first time you use this rack, you will need to assemble it. Although the rack comes with everything you need and a set of instructions, they are not the best designed.
You’ll need to allow at least 30 minutes to put the rack together, potentially more.
The Yakima Holdup is a high-quality bit of kit and easy to install. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and it’s easy to forget it’s on your trunk.
The fact that it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty and excellent customer service makes me believe that if you’re looking for a rack, you should consider it.
There are other racks available, but the convenience of adding on or taking off space for two extra bikes makes the Yakima Holdup a practical option and one that should last you for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of bikes can the YAKIMA, HoldUp EVO accommodate?
The YAKIMA HoldUp EVO is designed to fit a variety of bikes, including mountain, road, hybrid, women’s-specific, BMX, and fat-tire bikes. Its versatile design allows it to hold 20″ to 29″ wheel sizes and fat bikes with up to 5″ wide tires. With an adjustable cradle, it accommodates various bike lengths and sizes. Remember, though, the maximum weight per bike should not exceed 50 lbs.
How does the HoldUp EVO ensure the security of my bike during transit?
The HoldUp EVO has StrongArm hooks that secure bikes at their wheels, preventing potential frame damage. The side-to-side adjustability reduces the chance of bike-to-bike interference. It also features integrated SKS (Same Key System) locks, which lock the bikes to the rack and the rack to the vehicle, offering an added layer of security against theft.
How difficult is the installation process of the HoldUp EVO bike rack?
Answer: Installation of the HoldUp EVO is user-friendly and does not require specialized tools. It’s designed for an easy, tool-free installation with its SpeedKnob system. The knob also tightens and locks the rack to the vehicle. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in the manual for a safe and secure fit.
Can I access my vehicle’s trunk with the bike rack attached?
Yes, the YAKIMA HoldUp EVO is designed with convenience in mind. It features a tilt-down mechanism that allows users to tilt the rack down (even with bikes loaded) to provide access to the vehicle’s rear. However, always ensure it’s safe to tilt without obstructing or interfering with your vehicle.
Timo is an outdoor enthusiast and gear specialist who is constantly exploring. As an avid hiker, he has completed the ADK 46ers, South Beyond 6000, GA4000, and the Colorado 14ers. He's ice climbed Mt. Hood, hiked up half a dozen mountains in the Alps, and spent three consecutive summers constructing a sustainable trail through the Colorado high country.