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NSR rack vs. tray style

May 1, 2017, 9:19 p.m.
Posts: 948
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

Just got a new vehicle with a 2 inch hitch - old vehicle had a 1.25 inch and I had an NSR2 on there. Looking to get a new 2 inch hitch rack and trying to decide between an NSR4 and a tray style rack (Thule T2 Pro XT). NSR4 is much better value and better for shuttling/MTB type stuff but the fact that it can only really carry mountain bikes is what's making me hesitant since I now have a young family and foresee us taking our road/commuter bikes on family trips in the future. Therefore, I think the tray style might make more sense but the price ($699) and the fact that it can only hold two bikes is a bit of a bummer. 

Has anyone gone from an NSR rack to a tray rack - happy you made the switch?

May 2, 2017, 12:30 a.m.
Posts: 90
Joined: March 2, 2011

Just gotta mention

http://recon-racks.com/

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May 2, 2017, 8:43 a.m.
Posts: 1362
Joined: April 25, 2003

Never used a NSR - too big, too mountain specific but my Kuat tray style rack has been awesome.  It hasn't met a bike it doesn't carry solidly and easily.  It's a big ungainly itself as a four bike rack so I generally just run it as a two bike rack, then bolt on the additional 2 bike attachment when I know I'm taking more bikes (or just use the truck). I like to over spec my hitch for these racks (Class III 2" on an Element), they put a lot of tongue weight on the hitch.

I just picked up some 1UpUSA roof rack attachments, they appear to be very well made. I've seen their tray racks and really like how they angle up, minimizing contact between the bikes and keeping the rack more compact when folded down. Difficult to source in Canada though, I got mine off UsedVic.


 Last edited by: tashi on May 2, 2017, 8:43 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 2, 2017, 9:25 a.m.
Posts: 948
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

The Kuat rack looks really nice but man is it expensive... Rack attack has it for $899 for 2 bikes and then the 2 bike add on is $613....although I guess it looks like they have lower priced models as well. Which model do you have? 

The Recon Racks look good from a usability perspective but those things look pretty ugly/bulky to be attached to the back of your car at all times.

May 2, 2017, 10:15 a.m.
Posts: 1362
Joined: April 25, 2003

Yeah they're way expensive, I got mine used. It's a NV I think, the pimped out one with a workstand and locks in the original colour.

At that price I'd look into what it would take to get a 1Up up here...they look seriously nice.


 Last edited by: tashi on May 2, 2017, 10:16 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 2, 2017, 10:53 a.m.
Posts: 948
Joined: Feb. 5, 2011

1Up looks really nice/solid but based on what I can see online they seem to be a pretty small operation based out of Wisconsin and they are expensive so would probably be a bit of a hassle to deal with all things considered.

May 2, 2017, 1:37 p.m.
Posts: 880
Joined: March 18, 2017

Have an NSR-4.  Would go Recon or OneUp if I was buying another rack today.

May 2, 2017, 3:05 p.m.
Posts: 1029
Joined: Feb. 12, 2009

I ended up buying a Swagman Jackknife for the same reason but I think they have been discontinued.

May 2, 2017, 3:05 p.m.
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

I currently own a first generation NSR4 and a 1UP 2 bike rack.  I use the NSR on my truck and the 1UP on the wagon.  Both are very good racks.  If I was going to carry 4 bikes (mtb only) alot of the time, id do the NSR.  Its cheaper, faster to load and has higher clearance.  The 1UP is a great rack for our wagon, but they start to get really pricey and LONG out the back when you are talking about 4 bikes.
I had one of the first generation Kuat NV racks.  It was not nearly as good.  It had all kinds of play and slop in both the hitch mechanism and the locking arms that go over the front wheel of the bikes.  The traildoc stand was nice to have, but you had to remove it everytime you park anywhere or someone will walk off with it. 
I ordered the 1UP to the border and just went across and picked it up.  I think the shipping price to Canada (not to mention the crappy dollar) would make it prohibitively expensive right now.

May 3, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
Posts: 2099
Joined: April 22, 2006

The one thing that always amazes me when I see some racks on cars is the lack of tongue weight knowledge.  With my VW Golf with a 1 1/8" hitch from U-Haul the tongue weight is 200 lbs.  The kicker is that weight is measured at the actual point where the hitch mounts to the car.    

The guy at U-haul that installed it explained that because the actual rack sticks out 2 feet behind the car when it's folded down (older Swagman G2) that the bike rack acts like a lever.  So the actual tongue weight gets reduced by approximately 50 percent to only 100 lbs when the rack is down and loaded.  Seeing as the rack weighs about 25 lb and 2 bikes weigh about 35 lbs each then I'm at maximum tongue load pretty quick. So as you can see the hitch mounted racks need weight to be kept to a minimum if you are running a smaller car with a low tongue weight.

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