Yakima HoldUp vs. HoldUp EVO: Old is Gold, or New is Always Better?

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The word “EVO” stands for evolution, so it’s clear that the Yakima HoldUp EVO is a newer model of the Yakima HoldUp. However, does that mean the HoldUp EVO is better than the HoldUp?

Hold up right there before jumping to a conclusion.

The HoldUp EVO may be newer compared to the HoldUp, but that doesn’t mean it is better than the latter. We all have had our fair share of new and old products, and sometimes we find the newer version to be better, but sometimes it’s the opposite.

So, if you want to make a decision between the Yakima HoldUp vs. HoldUp EVO, then do it after you know every detail of the racks.

Yakima HoldUp vs. HoldUp EVO: Comparison Table

Yakima HoldUpYakima HoldUp EVO
TypePlatform rackPlatform Rack
Item Weight49 lbs50.94 lbs
Bike Capacity22
Load Capacity120 Pounds100 Pounds
ExpandableOnly 2” Model, to 4 bikesOnly 2” Model, to 4 bikes
Hitch Sizes1.25” & 2″ hitches1.25” or 2”
Max Tire Width3 in4.8 in
Wheel Baseup to 48”up to 48”
Wheel Size20” to 29”20” to 29”
LockSKS Locks includedSKS Locks included
PriceBuy From AmazonBuy From Amazon

My Time with the Two Hitch Mounted Racks

Before I head first into the similar and different aspects of the Yakima HoldUp and HoldUp EVO, I think it would be best for you guys to know about the carriers first. When you understand how the racks work or at least take a look at my experience with both of them, you find it easier to connect the dots when I talk about the similarities and differences.

Yakima HoldUp Hitch Mount Tray Bike Rack

yakima holdup

I still remember that fateful day. It was around a couple of years back. On a warm summer day, I went to a party at my friend’s house. I got there a little too early, so he decided to give me a tour around his house. While going through his garage, I noticed the rack behind his SUV.

It looked pretty stylish and compact, so I couldn’t hold on to my curiosity and asked him about the carrier. That was the day I got to know about the Yakima HoldUp hitch bike rack. From the very first look, I became a fan of the carrier, so later that year, I decided to get one for myself.

The Yakima HoldUp wasn’t what I expected. I’m not saying I had a terrible experience with the rack, but I must admit it wasn’t a perfect one either.

So, the first thing I noticed about the carrier is that it didn’t come preassembled right out of the box. I had to do a little tinkering which took about 15-20 minutes.

However, let me remind you, I had dealt with many bike racks, so naturally, it would take me the minimum amount of time to assemble and install any carrier. If you’re not handy with a rack, then it might take you more than just a few minutes.

Nonetheless, you get everything you need to set up and attach it to the vehicle. The first few times may seem a little challenging, but after a while, you’ll get used to it.

There are two options to choose from in terms of hitch size, 1.25 and 2-inches. You can choose either of them, but I would suggest you take the 2-inch hitch model as it tends to wobble less when you’re driving with bicycles mounted.

The rack weighs about 49 pounds which I think is quite a lot considering its size. It is probably because of its solid steel build. The HoldUp has a powder coat finish which makes it look magnificent and resists corrosion at the same time.

Apart from that, the rack is able to carry two bikes out of the box (each weighing 60lbs). You can use an extension which you’ll need to purchase separately to make the carrier hold four bikes simultaneously.

The best thing about the rack is that it can carry a wide range of bicycles from 20 to 29-inch wheel size. I mounted the Yeti SB130 (29-inch wheel) and the Cleary Owl (20-inch wheel) without any complications.

There is an arm with an adjustable hook on each mounting slot. The hook connects to the wheels, so they won’t connect to the frames. The rear wheel slots feature ratcheting straps for keeping your bikes further secured to the rack. Additionally, the rear wheel cradle pivots, giving you the option to mount a wide range of bicycles.

One more thing I like about the carrier is that the wheel trays can be adjusted from side to side with an included tool. The feature helps you to minimize or remove bike-to-bike contact.

The HoldUp also comes with a cable lock to keep your bicycles locked to the carrier. Furthermore, it has the ability to tilt up and down for storage and rear vehicle access, respectively.

I liked all the features of the rack; however, one thing that bothered me is that if both your bicycles have the same height, then there will be a little bike-to-bike between the handle of your first bike and the seat of your second one. If the seat is adjustable, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

Things I Found Interesting About the Rack

  • It can accommodate a wide range of bicycles
  • The carrier can tilt down for rear vehicle access even when it is fully loaded
  • I was able to adjust the wheel trays to remove the bike-to-bike connection
  • It comes with a cable lock, so you don’t have to buy one separately
  • The arms and straps made sure there was no frame connection

Things That Need Improving

  • The rack wobbles a little as there is no SpeedKnob, but it doesn’t come off from the vehicle.

Yakima HoldUp EVO Tray-Style Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

yakima holdup evo

With the HoldUp out of the way, it’s time I tell you guys about the HoldUp EVO. I won’t bore you guys with the details of what made me get it.

However, I will say to you guys this; I thought the HoldUp EVO would be a great contender against the HoldUp because of their similar design and the fact that they are two versions of the same model.

Unlike the Yakima HighRoad and FrontLoader, the HoldUp EVO is a hitch-mounted rack with two trays to accommodate two bicycles.

It weighs around 51 pounds because of its solid-steel construction, which is also paired with a black powder coating. The carrier is quite durable. It can sustain some severe beating and has the ability to resist corrosion.

The rack comes with two trays out of the box. If you want to carry additional bikes, then you’ll need to use an adapter or extension. Although the carrier is bigger than the HoldUp, it can only hold bicycles with a maximum weight of 50lbs.

Similar to the HoldUp, this one also comes in two different hitch size options. You can choose between the 1.25 and 2-inch hitch sizes.

I attached the rack to my Subaru XV Crosstrek, where I had already installed a 2-inch receiver to test out the Thule Apex XT Swing and Yakima FullSwing.

It didn’t take me a long time to install the carrier, and I found the entire process to be pretty straightforward. There was a slight wobbling at first, but when I tightened the SpeedKnob, I didn’t feel any play around the hitch area.

The SpeedKnob also came with a lock, which secured the carrier to the vehicle even more. Without the key, it’s almost impossible to remove the rack.

What I found really interesting about the rack is that it is capable of carrying almost any type of bicycle. It can support bikes with a wheel size of 20 to 29-inches and tires up to 4.8-inches wide.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to test if it could actually carry a road bike and a fat-tire bicycle at the same time. Much to my surprise, it was able to accommodate both bikes without the need for additional adapters.

The HoldUp EVO features an adjustable arm and a wheel strap on each of the trays. The arm attaches to the tire and not on the frame, which I thought was convenient to keep my bike safe from scratches.

Furthermore, the rear wheel tray pivots and enables different types of bicycles to sit on the rack.

Similar to the former carrier, the HoldUp EVO features adjustable wheel trays. It eliminates bike-to-bike interference and keeps them at a reasonable distance from each other.

Afterward, there is the rack’s ability to tilt away and in for rear vehicle access and storage. The tilting system is different on the HoldUp EVO. There is a lever that you need to pull to tilt the carrier, unlike on the HoldUp, where you need to open the lock pin.

Finally, the rack also comes with an included locking cable that can be used to lock your bikes to the carrier. It doesn’t remove the possibility of bike theft but reduces it for sure.

Things I Found Interesting About the Rack

  • It is durable and can resist corrosion, allowing it to last long
  • I was able to adjust the wheel trays and remove bike-to-bike interference
  • The rack can accommodate bikes with a tire width up to 4.8-inches
  • Adjustable arms and wheel straps don’t ruin the paint job of your bicycle
  • It is effortless to tilt away and in the carrier with the help of the lever

Things That Need Improving

  • The locking cable is a little too short

Similarities Between the Two Hitch-Mounted Racks

I hope by now you understand the features of the carriers and how they work. If you do, then it’s time we check out the things that are in common between the racks.

Unlike the Yakima FullTilt or Yakima RidgeBack, these carriers don’t offer an arm-style hitch-mounted design; instead, they come with a tray-style hitch-mounted build. Both HoldUp and HoldUp EVO look almost the same, and their overall build is also similar.

Both of these racks come with two trays out of the box. These trays have one locking arm for the front wheel and ratcheting straps for the rear.

The trays can be adjusted from side to side to eliminate bike-to-bike interference, and the rear wheel tray pivots to accommodate a wide range of bicycles.

locking cable

Apart from that, both of the carriers feature a locking cable, which you can use to lock your bikes to the rack. They are both able to tilt away if you want to access the vehicle’s rear or tilt in when you’re not using it.

Additionally, the arms and wheel trays of the racks can be folded. It is the same with both carriers. The feature comes in handy when you’re planning to store the rack.

Finally, both HoldUp and HoldUp EVO can accommodate 20 to 29-inch bicycles; however, the latter can carry wider tires.

The Different Aspects Between the Yakima HoldUp and HoldUp EVO

Yakima HoldUp vs. HoldUp EVO

Sorry if I took some time to reach here. I know you all have been eagerly waiting to know the differences between the carriers, but I believe it is imperative you know about the racks before diving into the differences. So, I won’t waste any more of your precious time and leap right into it.

Significant Difference in Weight Capacity

One thing I’d call out first up is the weight these two racks can carry. It’s important. I mean, Whenever I’m out on trail rides or camping in remote areas, I bring my bikes out for a spin. Depending on my tourmates or family members with me, the number of bikes vary.

Naturally, weight varies as well. With the HoldUp version (basic rack), you can carry two bikes worth 60lbs each. of maximum weight. This is perfect if your bikes have fat tires and the frame is on the heavy side of things. However, HoldUp EVO wins by the slightest of margins.

Yakima HoldUp EVO can carry two bikes by default as well. It comes with two trays. I wanted additional bikes to be hauled as well. I ended up buying an adapter for an extension. Although HoldUp Evo wins in the “Number” game, the weight capacity for each tray is restricted.

One CANNOT carry bikes weighing more than 50 pounds each.

Thin or Fat Tire

I’ve already told you guys that both racks are able to accommodate 20 to 29-inch bikes. So, it is obvious that these carriers can hold a wide range of bicycles.

Yakima HoldUp tire width

The Yakima HoldUp comes with some limitations in this area. It is able to support bikes with a maximum tire width of 3-inches; however, it will be reduced to 2.5-inches if you’re using a 29-inch bicycle.

As you can see, you’ll be able to carry a ton of different mountain, road, women’s, or even kid’s bikes, provided all of them have tires less than 3-inches wide.

On the other hand, the HoldUp EVO excels in this aspect as it can accommodate tires that are 4.8-inches wide. It means you can use the rack to carry fat-tire bikes and even electric bicycles, which usually come with thick wheels.

So, if you’re struggling with a fat-tire bicycle, then the latter should be your go-to carrier, and if not, then you can settle with the former.

SpeedKnob – Yes, or No?

Let me first clear out what a SpeedKnob does. Usually, it is situated at the end of the hitch and looks and works like a knob. Its primary job is to eliminate play from the rack, which you notice while driving your vehicle with the carrier on it.

The HoldUp doesn’t come with a SpeedKnob; thus, you’ll feel the carrier wobbling a little every time you take it out for a spin. I’m not saying the rack will fall off or something without a SpeedKnob, but I personally feel it to be a little annoying to see my carrier jiggle when I’m driving.


On the contrary, the HoldUp EVO features a SpeedKnob, which you can use to remove the play of your rack. The carrier will sit tight on the vehicle, and you won’t feel any unwanted movement.

There is another advantage of having a SpeedKnob— you can lock it with a key, so no one can loosen or remove the rack without the key. It ensures your carrier is sitting safe and secured.

The Way These Racks Tilts

You guys already know that both carriers come with the ability to tilt in and away for storage purposes or rear vehicle access. So, what is the difference here?

Well, the HoldUp features a lock pin for the tilting system, and the HoldUp EVO comes with a lever for the same job. Personally, I think it’s easier to use the lever than the lock pin.

yakima holdup evo tiltign feature

The pin is a little rough, and it may take some effort for you to pull it. Furthermore, it is situated in a weird position. If your rack is loaded with bicycles, you won’t be able to reach it from the back. So, tilting down the carrier using the lock pin is quite a chore if you’re doing it alone.

On the other hand, it is pretty easy to tilt down the HoldUp EVO, and you can do it alone with the carrier fully loaded with bicycles. The lever can be accessed easily, but you do need to stretch your hands a little bit.

Let’s Not Forget the Price

You’re probably wondering why anyone would choose the Yakima HoldUp over the HoldUp EVO. The latter is much more versatile and comes with more features than the former. So, why should anyone even consider buying the HoldUp?

Well, the answer to your question is— the difference in price. There is a significant difference in cost between the two racks. The former is relatively cheaper compared to the latter. Thus, if you don’t require the extra features, then why would you waste the extra bucks?

The price certainly evens out the playing field.

Time for the Big Announcement

Undoubtedly, the Yakima HoldUp and the HoldUp EVO put up a great fight. Both racks are similar yet still different from each other.

The HoldUp is an older version of the HoldUp EVO, but it also costs less. So, if you have a tight budget and don’t need extra features, then the former is obviously the better option. However, I can’t deny the fact that the HoldUp EVO excels in many aspects where the HoldUp seems to struggle.

If you ask me which one is a better choice between the Yakima HoldUp vs. HoldUp EVO, I would probably side with the latter. Nevertheless, the decision is yours to make and not mine. Would you rather stick to the old yet cheaper rack or choose the new one? Good Luck!

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of RackTutor.com. In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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