Even though I had bought a professional-grade bike rack, The best hitch bike rack. It never occurred to me that I would have to look for the bike carrier on the market. However, one important event made me go through writing this article.
Last summer was the first time I went to the mountains with my wife. We always wanted to try riding bikes, but our town doesn’t have proper trails for that. Therefore, we had to drive over ten miles away.
It wasn’t until the day before the trip I realized that the only way to transport our bikes would be via some a bike rack hitch. The trunk-mount rack one that I had wasn’t suitable for both of our GTs. So, I had to act quickly and find a carrier that would do the job.
I went through some online reviews and buying guides, but none of them assured me enough that one of the proposed options would fit snugly on the back of my car. Finally, I went to the local bike store and bought a hanging hitch on a hunch.
The next day, we went on the trip as planned. I was driving around 70mph. At some point, I slowed down to make a sudden turn. The next thing I knew, my wife was yelling at me to stop the car. My bike hitch rack somehow fell off the hitch rack. Fortunately, the bike frame of the bike was intact, but the saddle and the rear wheel suffered a fair amount of damage.
This event really made me realize the importance of quality bike hitch rack. So, I found that the bike rack frame out there and share every useful piece of information on the subject.
Our Picks for The Top Hitch Racks For Bikes
Best Bike Rack #1
Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
When I started looking for the hitch bike rack, Thule T2 Pro XT 2 really caught my eye because of its hitch size and simplicity. Had I bought this product last year, my bike would not have fallen off the rack. The cable locks it comes with is rather convenient, so I would have probably locked it properly.
What We Think About This
Thule T2 Pro XT 2 is a platform hitch bike racks. The manufacturer claims that this product offers maximum security, strength, and user-friendly features. All these claims are probably true because I know Thule for making high-quality and durable products. This platform can be installed easily and in no time at all.
The box contains the product itself, with no extra features. The T2 Pro XT 2 can hold up to 2 bikes. However, the manufacturer offers an add-on for two more bicycles that you can buy separately.
They make this rack for vehicles with a 2″ x 2″ opening. But, since it can transport only two bikes, I wouldn’t be able to load my kids’ bikes too without an add-on. Therefore, the basic version is great for someone who hasn’t started a family yet.
With this carrier, I could transport different bicycles, like downhill, mountain, carbon-frame, and even fat bikes. All 20-29” wheels would fit with no problem. Also, I wouldn’t have to buy adapters if the tire sizes were up to 5”.
Best Trailer Hitch Bike Rack #2
Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack
My wife’s car has a different hitch opening from mine, so she can’t use our rack when I’m away for business. However, Kuat Racks NV 2.0 would solve this problem because it also has a version that supports 1.25” openings.
What We Think About This
Kuat Racks NV 2.0 is, above all, a thing of beauty. But aside from the hitch bike rack designed, it offers great stability. The manufacturer presents this model as a state-of-the-art rack that is packed with features. Also, it advertises it as a product designed for adventurers who want to travel the world.
The box contains the rack, the instruction manual, and a non-integrated hitch lock. I could load two bikes on this carrier with the possibility of buying an add-on to load two more. All bikes with 20″ to 29″ tire sizes should fit this metal hitch rack perfectly. However, users will have to buy a separate adapter if they have 20-24″ bike tires.
Kuat Racks NV 2.0 supports both 2” and 1.25” openings. Also, it can hold up to two bikes that weight limit is 60 lbs each.
Best Hitch Mount Bike Rack #3
Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style Bike Rack
Above all, I’ve included Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style quality bike rack on this list because of its side-to-side adjustability. I always need a lot of time to adjust my rack to prevent the bikes from coming in contact with each other. However, this product makes that much easier because all I need is two twists with the right key to set it up.
Our Experts Thoughts About It
The manufacturer claims that using this carrier is the easiest and fastest way to load bikes. Still, I would also say that the metal rack is durable since it’s made of steel. It supports both 2’’ and 1.25’’ openings and can hold up to two riding bikes that weight limit is 60 lbs each.
It’s great for all biking enthusiasts are always on the need to load their bicycles quickly. Many can enjoy it because it supports wheels between 20”-29”, and carbon frame bikes, and even those with disc brakes or full suspension.
4. Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0
Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0 would be a good option for me because it happened once that I wasn’t able to park my vehicle due to the rack’s size. Thanks to the folding tire cradles, this product leaves a tremendous amount of vehicle clearance.
Our Thoughts About This
Kuat presents Sherpa 2.0 as a convenient aluminum hitch rack easy to install and take off. They also claim that it is a completely redesigned product that has little to do with the first Sherpa model.
Yet, it isn’t as strong as some of its counterparts on this list. It can only hold two bikes that weigh only 40 lbs each. However, the cradles can support bike tires as large as 3” and wheelbases that go up to 47”. This model allows us to create spacing between the bikes of up to 14”. It also comes in two hitch size of 2” and 1.25”, which is great news since we can install it on various vehicles.
Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0 is intended for bicycle enthusiasts that don’t own heavy-duty bikes. It would also be perfect for small, lightweight cars.
5. Swagman XTC2 Hitch Bike Rack
What bugs me about the rack that I own is that I’m not able to access the rear of my car whenever I have it installed. With swagman xtc2, though, I wouldn’t have such a problem because the center arms fold down.
Our Thoughts About This
Swagman xtc2 is one of the Swagman’s hitch bike rack models. It was among the first that Swagman created, and it still holds well among its modern counterparts. This is exactly why I considered choosing it as the hitch bike rack. Swagman doesn’t sugar-coat the features and benefits of this carrier. It presents it in a straightforward fashion and takes pride in it for what it is.
The Swagman xtc2 can transport up to 2 bicycles with wheel sizes ranging from 20” to 29”. It can also fit 1 1/4″ and 2″ openings.
Unfortunately, users shouldn’t load bikes heavier than 35 lbs each. Another thing that made me unhappy about this rack is that I would have to buy 1/2″ locking hitch pin and cable locks separately.
This product is lightweight when compared to others on this hanging hitch bike rack list. So, it only supports bikes that weigh up to 35 lbs isn’t a disadvantage. It only means that it will suit small vehicles.
6. Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack
A while ago, my wife and I invited two of our friends to go mountain biking with us. They didn’t have a quality bike rack, and mine could transport only two bikes at a time.
What We Think
Therefore, we had to buy an extension to fit all four of them. However, if I had bought this, I wouldn’t have had to worry about that; this model can hold up to four bikes out of the box.
The manufacturer emphasizes the safety of this product and presents it as rugged and easy to use. However, the reason I featured it on this hitch bike rack list is that it can transport up to four bicycles.
Even though it’s a hanging a bike racks, it seems to provide enough support. This is because of Allen’s patented tie-down system that bike locks the bike frame in place. I could fold the carrying bikes rack arm in a matter of seconds and set up the whole hitch rack within five minutes.
Because of the weight and the number of bikes that it can carry two bikes, this product is only available for 2” openings. The manufacturer claims that users should only attach the rack to professionally installed Class III or Class IV hitches.
This would be a good choice for all users who need to transport over two bikes at once. However, users that have bikes with non-standard frames might need to invest in adapted bars.
7. BV Bike Carrier Tray-Style
To be honest, I was afraid to transport my bikes at night because the rack that I owned didn’t have a safety reflector. BV Bike Carrier Tray-Style premium rack incorporates this feature, which makes it one of the safest products out there for transporting bikes after sundown.
What We Think
BV describes its Bike Carrier as a premium rack that provides the user with the most effortless way to transport bicycles. This is close to the truth. The overall design of the product and multiple user-friendly features make this rack ready to use within minutes.
This product can carry two bikes that weigh 35 lbs each. Therefore, it’s one of the lighter racks on this bike rack list. The hitch tube can fit both 1.25” and 2” openings. So, a wide variety of vehicles will support this model right out of the box. However, what distinguishes it from the rest is that it includes an adapter for 2” hitch receivers.
BV Bike Carrier Tray-Style Hitch Rack is great for people who have multiple cars with different hitch types. For example, this product would fit both on my wife’s car and mine thanks to the 2” adapter. Hence, this feature can save you the cost of buying two different racks.
8. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
A friend in need once asked me to borrow him the best hitch bike racks. However, he wasn’t able to load his bike, which had a 50 cm frame. If I had owned Swagman XC Cross-Country, that would’ve been possible because it supports frames up to 59 cm.
What We Think
Swagman states that using XC Cross-Country is a secure and stress-free way to transport bikes. They back up that claim with the fact that the rack grasps bikes both by the wheels and the bike frame at the same time.
XC Cross-Country is compatible with 2” and 1 1/4” openings and can fit up to two bicycles with a wheel size ranging from 20” to 29”. The maximum carrying bike capacity is 35 lbs per bike, which is a standard for lightweight racks. Unlike some other competing products, this one folds up vertically. That feature is useful because it could give me even more vehicle clearance in tight spots.
Above all, I’ve included the Swagman XC Cross-Country on this hanging bike racks list because it’s easily adjustable and can fit a wide variety of bike frames. This rack will be a good choice for those who don’t need sturdy platforms and want to save a coin or two.
9. Swagman Chinook Hitch Bike Rack
The first product that I bought wasn’t the racks at all. As soon as I got home, I realized that it didn’t have a locking hitch pin for the hitch. So, I had to postpone packing for the trip, go back to the store and buy one. I could’ve picked Swagman Chinook that day, but I’m not sure why I didn’t. If I had, I would’ve gotten a locking hitch pin with it.
What We Think
Swagman states that Chinook is one of their latest products. They take pride in its state-of-the-art design, durability, and user-friendly features. At first glance, Chinook looks modern and streamlined. Simplicity is the key characteristic of this model because I could install it with ease. The design doesn’t jeopardize the compatibility with many frames.
Still, I would like to emphasize the quality of the tire cradles and the straps that firmly grasp the wheels and the adjustable hooks that help secure the frames to the hitch rack. Swagman has given the security characteristics of this model some thought.
Chinook can transport up to two bikes that weigh 45 lbs each. I could attach it to a hitch that has both 1 1/4″ and 2″ hitch receiver. However, there’s bad news for all those who prefer fat bikes. Namely, they would have to buy the fat tire tray separately.
This product seems satisfactory to me, especially because it can carry two bikes that are heavier than some other models in its price range. Therefore, I would recommend it to all owners of 45-lb bikes and those that have unconventional frames.
10. Hollywood Racks Sport Rider Bike Rack
I need to go back to the event I described at the beginning of this article. I forgot to mention that my wife told me she heard rattle seconds before my bike fell off the carrier. Afterward, I checked the hitch and realized that I couldn’t tighten the rack enough. So, the wobbling was probably one reason for the whole mess.
What We Think
In contrast to my rack, This includes a state-of-the-art system that I could use to fully tighten it with ease and with no tools. That’s one reason I’ve included it on my mount hitch rack list.
The manufacturer presents this model as a heavy-duty platform carrier that can hold up to two bikes. The maximum weight carrying capacity is 50 lbs per bicycle. However, we can only install it on hitches with 2” openings.
What’s good about this model is that the wheel can fit bikes with wheelbases are up to 60”. It secures them via universal locking-frame hooks that can fit most frames on the market. As a result, this carrier would be great for all-mountain bikers who have large and sturdy bikes but expect more reliability from a bike rack.
Bike Rack Buying Guide: How to Choose a Hitch Mount Bike Rack For A Good Bicycle
After the incident, it seemed impossible that I’d be able to find the hitch bike rack that would be just perfect for my car. I found a lot of information about racks, but none of it seemed to provide any real value.
For me, it was especially hard to discern between good and bad racks because I wasn’t a true biking enthusiast and I was just entering the world of road bikes. I used to ride bikes with my wife once a month, and it never occurred to me that someday, we’d do it almost every single weekend.
So, aside from reading blogs, reviews, and forums, I also visited local shops and asked sellers for their honest opinion. More often than not, they were happy to offer me some real insight into the best hitch bike racks available, their benefits and disadvantages. They explained to me what hanging hitch racks were, how to secure the bikes properly, and why finding the bike rack would be the optimal solution for my type of car.
What’s So Special About a Bike Hitch Mount Rack?
Why would someone choose the best hitch bike racks over some other types of bike racks? This was the first thing that crossed my mind when I started looking for the hitch bike racks of 2019. Thankfully, one of the local sellers gave me the answer. But first, he explained to me what hanging bike racks were.
I already knew that these carriers were supposed to slide into the hitch receiver of a trailer hitch. Yet, I was skeptical about using them because of the incident. Also, I wasn’t aware that these had certain advantages over other bike rack types, like trunk-mounted and roof hitch rack.
The Benefits of The Best Hitch Bike Racks
For me, the hitch bike rack must have better aerodynamic qualities than the roof racks. With such a rack, I could experience a reduced drag from the air while I drive. Also, I wouldn’t have to take it off every time I had to drive the car through short garage doors.
The hanging bike racks should be compatible with the more rear of your vehicle than the trunk option. That’s why I chose a hitch-type carrier. That also saved me the time and effort of finding the right model that would fit the trunk of my car.
The seller at the local bike shop persuaded me that the best hitch bike racks were more secure than those that go on the roof or on the trunk hitch rack. Then, he took the time to show me how hanging hitch `racks work and what safety measures they usually incorporate.
Finally, we concluded that my bike fell off because I took a sudden turn and failed to properly integrate bike locks with a cable locks. I was in a bit of a hurry that morning, and I probably forgot to double-check the integrated locks before I started the engine. So, it’s plausible that it was all my fault.
The Dilemma Between Hanging and Platform Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack
After all the aforementioned happened, I was one step closer to finding the hitch bike rack reviews. However, the seller at my local bike shop asked me whether I’d like the hanging or the platform racks type. I automatically said that I was more interested in a rack because the one that my bike fell off from was the bike types of hanging it.
He agreed that racks were probably inclined to secure the bikes. He also explained to me the differences between the two.
Deciding on a hanging rack wouldn’t be a bad decision at all because my mistake caused the bike to fall off of it. Such a rack also has certain benefits that might make some users choose it over the platform option.
The Hanging Type
With most hanging racks, we attach the upper part of the frame to it. Put, the bike hangs from its top tube. Such hanging racks are convenient for bicycles with standard frames. Yet, what amazed me was when I learned that there were even different bike racks.
For example, I could choose either the one that had two arms, the one with a single-arm, or the one that grasped the bike by the wheel.
As the name says, a dual-arm hanging rack has two rack arms that keep the bike in place. However, even though the vast amount of space between the arms might provide great stability, that only goes for large bikes.
A single-arm rack has one holder that secures the bike rack with a clamp. Still, this solution might not be suitable for children’s bicycles or those that have large-diameter tubes because of the clamp’s size. Therefore, I skipped this option for the time being.
The racks from which the bikes hang by their wheels were really interesting to me because, on some of them, I could place my bike vertically. These are probably the only hanging option for bikes with non-conventional frames.
Related Buying Guide On Bikes That Fits This Topic: Best Bikes for 5 Year Olds
Bottom Line: Do We Have a Winner?
Finding a hitch-mounted bike rack wasn’t an easy task for me because I had to choose between multiple products that incorporate world-class features. However, according to my judgment and research, the best one is definitely the Thule T2 Pro Bike Rack.
What sets it apart from other models is the design that offers greater ground clearance. Also, every competing product on the list lacks something, but Thule T2 Pro incorporates all of its benefits.
For example, some racks have the same features as T2 Pro, but they are of the hanging, and Thule’s model is platform-based, which automatically offers better security.
The only downside of this product is that it’s available only for 2” x 2” openings. However, if users are ready to spend an extra coin or two to get the bike hitch mount rack, they can always ask the mechanic to install a corresponding hitch on their vehicle.
Bike racks are used for transporting bikes for longer distances, for example, when you’re going on a trip. They’re, by far, the safest way of transporting your bikes.
Most Asked Questions and Answers:
Bikes help you stay active and explore the surrounding places no matter where the road takes you. However, it’s next to impossible to transport a bike without a bike rack. Also, on top of allowing you to take your bike rack with you, racks can help you organize your bikes at home.
Unfortunately, some mistakenly think bike racks are too difficult to set up or just not worth the hassle. In the following section, I’ll explain everything from setting up a hitch to mounting a female bike on a rack. Ultimately, I hope you’ll see how easy it is to set up and use a rack, and how it can benefit you.
How to Install a Bike Rack on a Hatchback in 2 Easy Steps
Bike racks (or bicycle carriers) are used for transporting bikes for longer distances, for example, when you’re going on a trip. SUVs and hatchbacks usually have these racks attached to the rear trunk, roof, or the rear tow hitch.
Also, setting up a bike hitch rack on a hatchback is easy, and you don’t need any special skills or tools to do it. You’ll need:
A bike rack
- Place the Rack Keep the hatch ajar, and place the upper bars of the rack on it.
- Hook and Tighten the Straps Hook the upper straps to the top edge of the hatch and tighten them.
Do the same for lower and side straps. Last, make each section is tightly set up and secure. Pro tip: You can also test the security of the rack by placing bikes onto it. If they don’t make the rack slip — you did it!
How to Put a Hitch on a Car in 3 Easy Steps
If you’re moving, or are constantly on the go, a car hitch can be a lifesaver.
For example, you can use it to attach a trailer for your family’s next vacation. A hitch also comes in handy if your car breaks down and you need to have it towed.
- Power drill (if your vehicle doesn’t have the holes)
- Wire tube brush
- hitch pin and clip
- Wheel chocks
- Torque wrench
1. Prepare Your Car To ensure the safety of yourself and your car, you should:
- Activate your parking brake and chock your wheels to prevent your car from rolling.
- Raise the level of your car with a jack if you want to give yourself more room to work.
- Use a lubricant and a wire tube brush to clean the holes that the hitch will hook into.
- If your car doesn’t already have the holes, drill them.
2. Attach the Hitch Although you can attach the hitch by yourself, it’s even better if you have a pair of helping hands. First, you must lift the hitch and attach it to the frame contact of your car.
Use the C-clamps to hold everything in place.
3. Tighten the bolts You can tighten the bolts with your fingers, just enough for the hitch to stay in place. Then, use a torque wrench and tighten the bolts to match the values from your hitch’s manual.
Pro tip: You also must rewire your car’s turn signals and brake lights to your tow hitch.
How to Put a Female Bike on a Rack in 4 Easy Steps
It can be difficult to set up female (low tube) bikes on a regular bike rack and get them to stand on their own without moving around.
Because of that, I prefer totem pole back racks, as they can handle many alternative bike frames.
Totem Pole Bike Rack This bike rack can store up to 6 bikes and carry two bikes or up to 200lbs. You can attach it to the hitch of your car, or place it inside your home to serve as a regular bike rack.
Also, you don’t even need any additional tools or materials to assemble this hitch rack — you can do everything by hand.
1. Install the Hitch Pull the rack’s hitch over your car’s hitch and they can both handle the same amount of weight.
2.. Set up the Poles, take the upright pole and connect it to the hitch, then tighten the screw on the pole until it clicks. Next, place the top pole over the upright pole, and do the same.
3. Set up the Stabilizing Bars You’ll get three stabilizing bars to screw into the main pole. One is for the lower front of the pole, and two are for the sides. You can also adjust the height on all the bars, depending on the height of the bikes you’re using.
4. Strap Them In Last, but not least, you can use the bands attached to your totem pole rack to secure all of your bikes in place.
Why Purchase a Portable Bicycle Rack for Cars
Bikes are a great mode of transportation. They allow you to navigate around any environment quickly and easily, give you a good workout, and save you money on fuel.
I just love taking both my bikes and car when I travel, so I can explore the places I’m visiting. Portable racks allow you to store your bike easily when you’re traveling, and they don’t take up a lot of space.
They’re also, by far, the safest way of transporting your bikes. They won’t scratch or damage your bike, and they will allow you to take it with you wherever you go.
How to Put a Hitch on a Truck
Hitches come in handy, especially if you own a truck. You will need them to attach a trailer, or in case your truck breaks down and needs to be towed.
Installing a hitch isn’t all that difficult, but you need to do the job right the first time around, to avoid any damage.
- A drill
- A jack
1. Create the Setup First, prop the truck up with the jack so you can access parts of your truck easier. Then assemble the hitch tightening no bolts. The process will help you see if the hitch fits your truck properly and ensure there aren’t any missing parts.
2. Drill the Holes You can use the hitch as a reference while you’re drilling holes in your truck’s frame. To avoid any issues with the fit, make sure that the holes are about 1/16 of an inch thicker than the bolts you will use.
3. Bolt the Hitch Use the C-clamps to clamp the hitch to the truck. Tighten all of the bolts and any other loosened parts on your truck (such as the exhaust and the bumper).
Next, all you need to do is bring your truck down back to a normal level — and you’re done!
Pro tip: If you’re setting up a trailer, fix any electrical wires you might have according to the manual. Also, always take your truck for a test-drive before going on any long trips.
When to Buy or Not to Buy a Used Bike Rack for SUVs
When you’re not sure how much use you will get out of something, it’s not a bad idea to buy a used product to cut down on costs.
For example, many types of bike racks are a great tool for all avid drivers, but they can cost a pretty penny. There’s no shame in buying a used product to save money, but you shouldn’t let someone take advantage of you.
Do’s of Buying a Used Bike Rack for SUVs
- Ask the seller how long and where they’ve been using it.
- Ask them why they’re selling it; if they get all flustered and confused — something’s not right.
- When possible, inspect the rack by yourself, and test it out on the gravel roads to see if it holds up.
- Look up the specifications of the product. Don’ts of Buying a Used Bike Rack for SUVs
- Never buy something because it’s cheap. There’s usually a good reason for the low price.
- Steer clear of any racks with obvious scratch marks. No one expects it to look brand new, but there shouldn’t be too many signs of damage either.
- Don’t go into it blind.
Research the product to know that it’s exactly what you need.
Starting on a starter tricycle at the age of 2, Danny has rarely been off a bike ever since. He spends most weekends riding through the woods near his house or taking longer bike trips on the road.