1.25 Hitch Bike Rack

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Wheel Size & Tire Width Compatibility

How to Install 1 25 inch Hitch Bar Adapter on a Softride Bike Rack

A bike rack is useless if it cant hold your bike, so make sure your bike will fit. Hanging racks win this category. Because your bikes are secured by the frame, their tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase are not an issue.

The bigger concern with hanging racks is unique frame types like BMX bikes, step-through frames, and full-suspension mountain bikes. These can prove a pain to hang on a hanging rack.

Because platform racks secure the bike via the tires, its important to make sure that your bikes tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase all fall within the racks parameters. When shopping for a platform rack, check the technical specs listed on the rack brands website. Most companies will list a range of wheelbases, tire widths, and wheel sizes that fit that racks specs.

This wont be an issue for most bikes, but some outliers may cause problems. Fat bike tires, extra-wide wheelbases, and 29-inch wheels wont fit some platform racks.

Fortunately, several of the racks we mention will work with fat tires and wide wheelbases. Peruse our list and make sure that the one youre considering will work with your bike.

Hanging Hitch Bike Racks

Unlike platform racks, hanging hitch bike racks carry bikes via their frame rather than their tires. Bikes typically hang via their frames top tube on the racks two support bars.

Hanging racks are available in capacities ranging from 2 to 5 and can often accommodate bikes with wheel sizes 16 and up.

BEST FOR

If you are on a tighter budget, especially if you need to haul 3 or 4 bikes, hanging racks are your best bet.

Compared to platform and vertical hitch bike racks, hanging bike racks are significantly lighter, making them much easier to install and remove. As a result, if you dont want to leave your rack on your car for an extended period of time, a hanging rack is a solid choice.

A PASS FOR

Bikes on hanging hitch racks are spaced much closer together and make significantly more contact with each other compared to platform and vertical racks. Scratches are common and should be expected.

If you are hauling higher-quality bikes , wed advise you to skip a hanging rack. But if you can only afford a hanging rack, be sure to buy a rack with more capacity than you need you so can leave extra space between the bikes when loaded.

Bikes with carbon frames should never be carried on a hanging rack! If you have a carbon frame, platform and vertical are your only options.

Best Overall Hanging Hitch Bike Rack

MSRP : $449

CAPACITY: 2, 4, or 5 bikes

PROS:

Best 5 Bike Capacity on a Budget

MSRP : $159

CAPACITY: 4 bikes 20 wheels +

PROS:

CONS:

Are Hitch Bike Racks Better

If your vehicle has the capability, hitch racks are a great option. Having the mount attach to your hitch receiver versus trunk racks or roof racks not only protects your cars finish from damage, but its also extremely secure, as the mounts are made of heavy-duty steel.

Theyre also much easier to install than other options, which is a huge perk for people who dont want a rack on their car every day. Because its secured with a steel pin, it only takes one step to put it on a trailer hitch when you are out for a ride, and one step to remove it when youre done.

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Bike And Receiver Hitch Locks

Bike racks in general have very similar feature sets, and one common upgrade that you see on mid-range and premium designs are locks. Starting with bike locks, these flexible cables allow you to secure the bikes frame or wheel to the rack. While not a perfect deterrenta solid set of bolt cutters will make quick work of themthey do provide a degree of security while parking your car . Our favorite bike locks are those that are integrated into the rack, which makes it very convenient to quickly deploy them when needed. Racks that include a separate cable lock that you need to store in your vehicle are less appealing, and in those cases, we prefer to purchase our own metal U-lock.

The second accessory lock is for the receiver hitch, which typically is found on the hitch pin or integrated into the bottom of the rack. The aim is to keep thieves from removing the entire rack from your car. Considering even a budget-friendly design is often $200 or more, this is a sensible addition. There arent major differences between styles in terms of functionality, although weve found the integrated type is a little easier to use. Its worth noting that if the rack youre purchasing doesnt include a receiver lock, every manufacturer on our list above offers one as an accessory.

Thule T2 Pro Xtr 2 Bike 125 Inch Hitch Bike Rack Black

SportRack SR2703 Pathway Deluxe
Part Number:
9035XTR

Thule T2 Pro XTR is a premium bike rack for demanding bike enthusiasts. With time-tested durability and award-winning design, this robust bike rack is ready for a wide variety of bike styles, including e-bikes.Hassle-free designThule T2 Pro XTR has loads of features that make it easy to attach, use, remove, and store. From the tool-free AutoAttach system to the integrated wheels that help maneuver the rack to and from the vehicle, each detail has been carefully engineered, allowing you to focus on getting out and enjoying the ride.Extreme testingAt our state-of-the-art Thule Test Center, we put the Thule T2 Pro XTR through the most demanding tests on the market. After using our specially designed test equipment to simulate the rack driving around the world twice, we then expose it to extreme heat, cold, and real-world road tests to ensure we deliver the most durable rack out there.

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The Best Bike Racks Of 2022

Searching for a new bike rack? We’ve invested six years and purchased 38 bike racks to bring you this review of the 25 best racks available today. We know just how daunting it is to find a rack that works for your bike, vehicle, and budget, which is why we’re here to help. For months, our team of bike-loving testers hauled bikes around on hitch, trunk, and roof-mount racks. We rotated them from cars to trucks to SUVs and drove up dirt roads, down highways, and parallel parked around town. Through it all, we noted how easy it was to load and unload our bikes onto each and how securely they held our beloved rides. Read on to find the perfect rack for your needs, budget, and vehicle.

We’ve been testing bikes and bike-related gear for many years. From trail mountain bikes to bicycle helmets, we have recommendations on everything you need to help improve your ride. Once you’re done riding, we have garage bike storage suggestions to help you stay organized.

Editor’s Note: We updated this review on April 12, 2022, with the addition of the Yakima StageTwo and details and information to help you find the best bike rack for your needs and budget.

What Type Of Bike Hitch Rack Do I Need

We have a detailed FAQ section at the bottom of this post to help you find the best hitch bike rack for your needs. The TL DR version is this: You need to choose between Tray style and Hanging style, how many bikes you want to carry, and whether you need features like a folding or swing-away design, integrated locks, etc. Lets start with the best type for your bikes

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Easiest To Load Velocirax

VelociRAX brings the most bikes with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7-bike versions of their upright hitch bike rack. What sets this brand apart is their easy roll in design. Simply tilt the rack down and the tire trays get low enough that you can simply roll most full-size mountain bikes into place. Then just lift the rack and strap down the rear wheels and youre ready to roll.

Out of the box, itll fit anything from 700c road tires up to 29×3.0 mountain bike tires. They sell wider fat bike tire cradles separately to fit up to 5.0 tires.

When its time to remove the bikes, a hinge assist damper helps lower the weight of 6+ mountain bikes under control. Then just roll the bikes out as easily as you rolled them in. Theyre some of the most affordable upright racks on the market, and the price includes a garage mount, so you can safely stow it upright when not needed on the car and use it to store your bikes in a compact space!

What Is The Best Bike Rack For Four Bikes

KAC Overdrive K2 Hitch Mounted Bike Rack – 2 Bike 1.25 and 2″ hitch receiver

Both hanging and platform racks have versions that can hold four bikes. Hanging racks require a little bit more finesse to keep your bikes safe, as they secure your bikes from the top. This makes it possible for the bikes to swing and hit each other during travel.

Fewer bikes can be spaced out, which minimizes the risk. But space is limited with four bikes, so make sure the cradles are spaced out enough that the bikes wont hit each other, even with minimal swing.

This is less of an issue with platform racks, as the bikes are locked into place via both wheels, adding a good amount of stability. Its also easier to put the bikes on platform racks because the cradles are set so much lower.

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Most Compact North Shore Racks

North Shore is one of the originators of the category and is trusted by a lot of mountain bikers. They offer 2, 4, and 6-bike versions and are the only ones with a folding design to save space when not in use. Its also height, angle, and setback adjustable, so you can fine-tune the position to work with your vehicle.

North Shore uses a fork cradle rather than a wheel tray, meaning theyre designed primarily for mountain bikes. It may be a bit trickier to fit gravel bikes on it, though they say any fork with 3 of clearance between the legs and 3/4 from the tire to crown will work. Road bikes are pretty much a no-no for now, but they say an adapter is on the way.

  • RACK WEIGHT: 72lbs

What To Look For In A Good Hitch

Platform hitch-mount bike racks tend to cost roughly from $300 to $700+ for the higher-end models. Hanging bike racks on the other hand start as low as $100, all the way up to $600 dollar line. Heres what you should expect from one.

  • Capacity One of the main reasons is the load capacity generally from 35 70 lbs p/bike.
  • Ease of use User friendly & low enough to lift any bike on the rack.
  • Rugged Stand the test of time.
  • CompactFOLDABLE. Most hitch bike racks fold up when not in use.
  • Variations There are numerous of different designs available.
  • Lockable Both the bikes on the rack and the bike rack itself.
  • Tilt-function For convenient access the boot while the bikes are still on the rack.
  • Stable No swaying or wobbling.

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Easiest To Buy Yakima Hangover 6

The only major rack brand to offer an upright hitch rack is Yakima. Its HangOver Vertical Hitch Rack comes in 4- and 6-bike versions, and is designed only for mountain bikes with suspension forks. It wraps a rubbery strap around the forks crown and captures the rear tires to prevent any unwanted movement.

The upsides are you can find this at local REI shops and it has a built-in bottle opener. The downsides are it wont carry your road or gravel bikes, or your eMTBsmax bike weight is just 37.5lbs.

  • MSRP: $748-$948

Best For Big Families Yakima Fulltilt 5

Kuat Transfer V2 Hitch Bike Rack

The FullTilt 5 manages to fit five full-size bikes on the rack and keep them all stable. Its a tight fit, so you may need to load, assess, and reload to make it all work, but getting this many bikes on a 1.25 hitch is impressive. A 2 adapter is included so it works with larger hitches, too.

Even more impressive is how small it folds down, minimizing its footprint when not needed. And it folds all the way down so you can open your tailgate or liftgate with ease. The main beams are fully covered in a soft rubber coating and use their removable ZipStrips for easily strapping the bikes into place.

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Types Of Hitch Bike Racks

Platform RacksPlatform racks dominate this round-up, and in our opinion, are the best way to transport your bikes. Compared to hanging racks, platform designs are compatible with a much wider range of bike styles, sit lower to the ground for easier access, and are excellent in terms of stability. Most have two attachment points: a ratcheting arm that secures the front wheel, and a strap that holds the rear wheel in place. This straightforward and effective system makes it easy to rapidly load and unload your bike, and it minimizes any wobble or side-to-side movement while driving. In addition, these racks are the most gentle on bikes because they typically only come in contact with the tire or wheel .

As with any product, there are bound to be compromises. Platform racks are big, bulky, and generally quite heavy. If you plan on removing your hitch rack with any regularity, youll want to pay attention to weight, and many leading options tip the scales at 50 pounds or more. Platform-style hitch racks also are among the most expensive options on the market, with prices of leading designs like the Thule T2 Pro XTR and 1Up Heavy Duty Double clearing $600. That said, for serious riders, the added weight and cost are well worth the security and ease of use of this style.

Which Size Trailer Hitch Should I Get

If you dont already have a trailer hitch on your car, always go with a 2 hitch if its offered. Some smaller cars will only find 1-1/4 hitches available because manufacturers assume you wont be towing bigger, heavier loads, so they dont offer 2 hitches for many compact cars.

If you plan on adding any extensions to your rack and carrying more than two bikes, youll need a 2 hitch to handle that weight. Youll also need a 2 hitch if you plan on adding a swing-away adapter or anything else that extends or expands your carrying capacity.

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Most Stable & Durable Alta Racks Six Pack

Featuring a lightweight, made-in-the-USA, offroad-tested and mostly-welded construction, the Alta Racks Six Pack is a versatile, adjustable option for toting a lot of bikes pretty much anywhere your vehicle is capable of going. Theyve even given it an angled hitch beam to dramatically improve ground clearance, something minivan owners will appreciate when they arent scraping their way into a driveway.

Choose from three different tire tray widths and you get the ability to fit 20 to 29 wheels with tires from 700c road bike wheels up to massive 5.8 fat bike tires.

Its available in 3, 4, 5, and 6-bike versions, and all but the 3-bike model use the same base. The 5- and 6-bike models simply add more tire trays, and the position of each is adjustable. So, while there are fewer clearance issues on upright bike racks, being able to fine-tune the position of the bikes, or add more later, is a nice bonus. Oh, and it comes in five colors.

Why You Should Trust Us

Runway⢠HM3 OS – Hitch Mount 3 Bike Carrier (1.25″ & 2″) – MPG2130

Our mountain bike review editor, Jeremy Benson, and multi-discipline bike racer Curtis Smith supply the experience and know-how behind this review. Jeremy is the author of two books – Mountain Bike Tahoe and Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes: California. A 20-year Lake Tahoe resident, Benson races and rides mountain and gravel bikes obsessively in the summer months. Curtis races for the Bikes Plus/Sierra Nevada team in road, mountain, and cyclocross. He has placed first overall in the Sierra Cup. Both Benson and Smith travel with bikes regularly and are very familiar with bike racks of all kinds. Pat Donahue is a newcomer to this review. He is a mountain bike fiend that has experience with all types of bike racks, from trunk racks to hitch racks, over his cycling career. He is also skilled in the art of breaking things, which makes him particularly adept at evaluating durability.

Testing bike racks is not rocket science. Essentially, we loaded and unloaded a wide range of bicycles as much as possible. We used drop bar road bikes, hardtail mountain bikes, full-suspension bikes, and e-bikes. We evaluated how each rack plays with each style of bicycle. Next, we drove around⦠a lot. We traversed all kinds of roads, from fast and straight highways to twisty mountain roads. We carefully evaluated each rack on a set of performance metrics, including ease of everyday use, ease of removal and storage, security, durability, and ease of assembly.

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