Hollywood Racks Rack Valet
Hollywood Racks TRS Rack
MSRP: TRS Rack $329.99 ($379.99 with keyed-alike locking cable and hitch pin) / Rack Valet $69.99
Weight: TRS Rack 52 pounds / Rack Valet 13 pounds
Max Bike Weight/Wheelbase: 50 pounds per bike / 48 inches
Tested: On our small Class C RV
RBR Sponsor: no
How Obtained: samples from company
Affordable, Full-Featured Hitch Rack And Ingenious Rack Valet
Hollywood’s TRS (for Tire Retention System) Rack offers everything needed in a hitch platform rack at the nice price of $329.99. It’s made to last, with a sturdy steel frame and aluminum wheel trays. It mounts to both standard vehicle hitch sizes. And it has a super secure attachment that locks it into the hitch so it stays tight and doesn’t sway.
Once you push the rack into your vehicle’s hitch, you insert either the threaded hitch pin or the locking hitch pin if you purchased the rack with that upgrade. With the pin in place, you then turn the handle on the front of the rack (essentially a large wing nut) to draw the rack fully into the hitch and lock it in place. To remove the rack, simply loosen the handle, remove the hitch pin and pull the rack out of the hitch.
Folds up and tips down
The rack has two spring-loaded locking pins for quick-release folding and tipping. One lets you lift the rack to fold it flat up against your vehicle. This is handy for fitting larger vehicles in shorter parking spots. And it’s the default rack position when you’re not carrying bikes.
To use the tip down feature, you first remove a small locking pin by hand. It’s a safety device to keep the rack from accidentally tipping down. Once that pin is out, you pull the other sprung pin and the TRS tips down for accessing the rear of the vehicle. Both of the spring pins snap into place and hold the rack when you tip it back to its original position.
Holds bikes by the wheels
Mounting bikes couldn’t be easier. There are lower wheel holders on the trays and ratcheting, telescoping locking wheel holders for the tops of the wheels. To put a bike on, you first undo the ratcheting wheel straps on the wheel trays. Then you lift the bike and place it on the tray so that the front wheel is ahead of the tray wheel holder (making sure the straps are through the wheels – not trapped under the tires).
To clamp the bike in the rack, you adjust the length and position of the top wheel holder to line it up, and push it down onto the front wheel. It ratchets into place and secures the bike by holding the front wheel two ways.
The inverted V shape of the top holder traps the front wheel to keep the bike from leaning either way. And, as you tighten the holder on top of the wheel it pushes the wheel back against the lower holder so that the bike cannot roll left or right, either. The last step is fastening and snugging both ratcheting wheel straps. They have sliding rubber pieces on them that rest against the rims to secure and protect the wheels.
The TRS holds bikes by the wheels only and all the touch points are rubber, so there’s no chance of anything scratching or chipping your frame or components. Also, the bikes are close but can’t move and touch each other.
Protecting your bikes and rack
For added security, the $379.99 version of the TRS includes a 6-foot locking cable to lock the bikes to the rack, and a locking hitch pin to lock the rack to the vehicle. These are keyed alike so one key opens both.
Unfortunately, bicycle thieves know how valuable these racks are, and unlocked racks and bikes disappear quickly. If a rack isn’t locked to the vehicle, it’s easy for thieves to steal the rack with the bikes locked on it and then figure out how to remove the bike locks later.
When we travel in our RV with bikes on the rack, I double up on bike locks, using the cable plus a Hiplok lock I reviewed recently. That extra lock might just convince a thief to look elsewhere. If you didn’t get a locking hitch pin with your rack, be sure to get one (they can be purchased separately).
Hollywood Rack Valet – One of 2017’s Hottest Products
If you’ve ever owned a hitch rack, you’ve probably had to remove it from your vehicle and store it when not in use or in the off-season. If you don’t have a lot of home storage, you’ve surely tired of having the hitch rack in the way in the garage or shed and gotten even more tired of having to move it out of your way from time to time.
Another hassle of hitch rack ownership is having to lug it from the vehicle to that storage spot and back. It’s not like they’re as light as bicycles. Hollywood’s TRS is 52 pounds, for example. And some racks I’ve used are almost twice that.
To solve both these hitch rack hassles, Hollywood invented the ingenious Rack Valet, a mobile bike rack storage and transportation system for most hitch racks (not just Hollywood’s). See the photo at the top of this review of the Valet holding the rack.
When the rack is off the vehicle, it mounts into the Valet’s hitch, just like it does in the vehicle’s hitch (the Valet accepts 1.25- and 2-inch racks). You can even insert your hitch pin as a handy way to keep it with the rack and not lose the pin.
When the rack’s in the Valet, it’s folded up, which puts the full weight directly over the stout four wheels on the base of the Valet. They have no trouble rolling over our very deeply-seamed concrete driveway. And they make it easy to roll the rack to and from your vehicle so that you only have to lift it from the Valet to the vehicle’s hitch. The wheels also lock to keep the Valet in place when loading the rack into it.
When the rack is in the Valet, it’s super easy to move the rack out of the way in the garage, and because the rack’s folded up and held in place and the Valet’s footprint is only 23.5 x 23.5 inches, you can push it close to a wall or even closer if the feet can go under something. Plus, unlike when the rack stands on its own, when it’s in the Valet it won’t fall over and get damaged or smash into anything.
Hollywood’s TRS Rack is affordable, easy to use, holds road and mountain bikes safely and securely and is build to last (it has a limited lifetime warranty). And in my opinion, the Rack Valet is among the most innovative and must-have products of 2017, which is why I give it our highest rating.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.