From Sleek Platform Designs To High
- / Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2022
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If youre searching for the best way to transport bikes, hitch-mounted racks are the way to go. Securely attaching to the receiver hitch of your vehicle, they offer unmatched versatility and ease of use. There are a wide range of options to choose from, but hitch racks fall into two basic categories: platform models are the most expensive but offer excellent stability and convenience, while hanging racks maximize carrying capacity in a compact package. Below we break down our top picks for 2022, from high-end, exquisitely manufactured designs like 1Ups Heavy Duty Double to Kuats budget-oriented and weight-conscious Beta. For more information, see our hitch rack comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
- Best 4-Bike Hanging Rack: Yakima RidgeBack 4
- Best Hitch Rack for Rear Cargo Access: RockyMounts BackStage
- Best Vertical Hanging Rack: 1UP Recon Rack 6
How Do I Choose
With so many different options on the market, picking the bike carrier to best suit your needs can be tricky. We spoke to the specialists at The Roofbox Company , to ask for some expert pointers…
Deciding what type of bike carrier to buy depends on how many bikes you want to carry, what they weigh, how tall you are, and what type of car you have.
Lifting any weight of bike onto a car roof could be out of the question if youre of average height and driving a big SUV or 4×4.
There are two places to carry bikes: on the car roof, behind the car, either on a tow ball, or strapped to the boot or tailgate.
Strap-on racks used to be thought of as universal fitting, but nowadays have very specific vehicle application lists due to the design of modern car tailgates in any event the risk of car damage is relatively high, most offer little in the way of theft deterrence, and they usually require a lighting board.
Tow-bar mounted carriers are becoming increasingly popular, because they are so quick and easy to fit and load.
There are platform racks, where the bikes stand on their wheels, and there are generally cheaper hang-on racks, where the bikes hang by their top tube.
Tow bar carriers can take two to four bikes, depending on the model, but check the maximum weight your tow ball can carry.
Ease Of Removal And Storage
It sure would be nice if we could leave our bike racks on our vehicles all the time, but unfortunately for most of us, riding bikes is a hobby rather than a full-time job. Therefore, bike racks are often mounted and removed from our vehicles as needs or seasons change. The ease of that process depends on various factors, including a rack’s size, weight, and the method of attachment.
In the case of roof-mounted racks, manufacturers assume that you’re less likely to remove them regularly. Roof racks are more of a set-it-and-forget-it item that consumers often choose to just leave on the roof for extended periods after the initial installation. An exception is the Yakima HighRoad which is impressively easy to remove or install on your vehicle. Everything can be done with your fingers and fingers alone. Removing this rack is as simple as flipping a switch on three different contact points on the rack and loosening a screw. When the rack is unattached, it is light and easy to haul off your roof. It only weighs 18 lbs and can be conveniently shoved onto a high shelf or tucked into a tight space in the garage. Other models in our test selection, such as the Kuat Trio and the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles, require hex keys to take on and off, but they are mostly long and skinny, so you can stand them up in a corner or lay them on the floor when they’re not in use.
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Best Platform Bike Rack
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 2-Bike Hitch Rack at a Glance
- Carries up to 2 bikes
- Up to 40lbs max weight per bike
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Hitch Mount is a no-nonsense rack that keeps things to a minimum but does not skimp on performance.
It is the best platform bike rack that easily attaches to both standard 1.25-inch and 2-inch receivers. This was one of the easiest racks to install, with just a single bolt attaching it to your receiver.
As with all of the hitch-mounted racks in this list, you can tilt it outward to access your trunk. Kuat has implemented a well-designed foot lever for this function which makes life just that bit easier.
You can also press down the foot lever and tuck the rack away when not in use.
The platform cradles have three different sizes, so you can fit thick tires all the way down to skinny road tires. Specifically, the wheel trays can accommodate 20 to 29 inches, and the wheelbase can be from childrens bikes to a maximum wheelbase of 47 inches.
While the cradles take care of the bottom of the wheel, your bikes stay snugly in place with an adjustable U-shaped arm putting downward pressure on the front wheels.
Named the PerfectFit adjustment system, this technology means your bike is secured with absolutely no frame contact.
In terms of security, Kuat does include security cables, but I certainly wouldnt rely on them for overnight storage.
Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack at a Glance
- Carries up to 4 bikes
- Up to 35lbs max weight per bike
Finding The Right Hitch Rack For Your Vehicle
Most vehicles that have a hitch receiver can accommodate a hitch mount bike rack. If your vehicle doesnt have a hitch receiver, this can usually be installed. EZ Travel and Reese Towpower 81378 are some of our best recommendations here. They are super affordable, strong for up to 2 bikes, and easy to install. Assuming that your vehicle already has a hitch, youll need to find whether your ideal bike rack will fit into it.
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Vertical Hitch Bike Racks
Vertical hitch bike racks position bikes perpendicular to the ground with the front tire pointed up and the rear tire pointed down. Bikes on vertical racks can either hang via their front tire or the headset of the bike and make no contact with the frame of the bike.
Capacities range from 3 to 7, and between all the brands available, vertical hitch racks can accommodate all types and sizes of bikes. Fit does vary between brands, especially in regards to kids bikes 20 and smaller, so be sure to double check compatibility before purchasing.
Those who need to haul more than 4 bikes. While all vertical hitch racks typically do a great job with mountain and hybrid bikes, some brands fit road and gravel bikes with dropper bars better than others.
Unlike the other hitch rack styles, vertical racks dont obstruct a cars tail lights and rear blinkers nearly as much as platform and hanging racks. In addition to being safer, in many areas blocking tail lights is a legal issue as well.
A PASS FOR
While not as heavy as some platform racks, most vertical bike racks are not easy to get on and off, so once its on, plan on having it stay there for a while.
Due to ground clearance issues, not all vertical hitch racks are suitable for cars with low-set hitches. Either the rack itself will bottom out when driving up steep inclines , or the rear tires of longer wheelbase bikes will be too low to the ground to be safe.
CAPACITY: 3 to 7
MSRP: $1,049, $849
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Looking to provide as much bike storage as possible? The fixed two tier bike rack maximises the use of space available, increasing bike storage capacity easily. The racks are spaced 375mm apart, and double-stacked so you can fit plenty of cycles within the area.
The two levels are fixed, so cyclists can place or lift their bikes into the channels in order to lock them up. The design includes a fitted locking hoop, which means both the frame and wheels can be secured a feature cyclists appreciate, as it gives them peace of mind their bike is safe. It also fulfils one of the key BREEAM requirements.
Youve probably noticed in recent years that cycling is getting increasingly popular and, as a result, theres a greater demand for such bike storage. Fixed two tier bike racks are a cost-effective solution to the need for cyclist-friendly storage, ideal for the following environments and more:
- All places of work
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Do Bike Racks Damage Your Car
One of the reasons that so many people choose a hitch-mounted rack over a trunk-mounted rack is that the hitch doesnt have any contact with the body of the car. This decreases any rubbing against the paint. It also generally keeps the rack away from anything on the body that it can dent or shatter.
However, no matter what precautions a company can make when designing a rack, theres always the issue of user error. Opening your hatchback while the rack is on and upright can drive the hatch right into the rack.
This can cause denting and scratching to the rack or the car. Make sure the rack is out of the way when you access the rear of your vehicle.
Bikes can also contact your vehicle if youre not careful. Platform racks sometimes carry the bike close to a vehicles back window. This can increase the odds of the handlebar going through that window on an especially bumpy road.
You can solve this by adjusting the cradles to make the bike sit farther away from the window. Hanging racks let the front tire hang free, which can lead to bumping and grinding up against your car.
Its not as dire an issue as breaking a window, but it can damage the finish over time. Its an easy fix, though. Secure the wheel with a strap or bungee cord to solve the problem.
While The Maxxhaul 50027 Is The Best Option For Trucks And Suvs
The MaxxHaul 50027 is a perfect fit for avid bikers who like the convenience that comes with being able to take their bikes anywhere. It can easily carry two bikes with a maximum distributed weight of 75 lbs. You can also carry one bike provided that you secure it safely with the straps provided. It is the perfect fit for trucks and SUVs and performs better in this category than other types of bike racks. This is because of its compatibility with the hitch receivers on most trucks and SUVs.
The MaxxHaul 50027 is durable and it is made entirely of alloy steel which has excellent properties when it comes to resisting corrosion. It also has a neat finish that will blend seamlessly with your vehicle.
It comes equipped with a universal fit 2 by 2-inch bar which is compatible with standard 2-inch class three and class four hitch receivers which you can find on most SUVs, sedans, and trucks.
The MaxxHaul 50027 features hooks and tire cradles that can easily accommodate most bike frames with wheel sizes that range from 20 inches to 26 inches. Theres no need to worry about the size of your bike frame. The hook design adjustments cater to different sizes of bike frames.
The two foam-padded hooks secure your bikes to the rack without causing any chafing or scratching. This is perfect for preventing damage while in transit. You can easily and quickly remove the vertical post for compact storage. This also makes assembling and disassembling quite easy and quick.
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The Swinging Front Wheel Problem
The swinging front wheel is a thorn in the side of many hanging bike racks. Without anything to support it and its pesky ability to turn, the front wheel can be a bit of a problem.
Some of the products on this list have anti-swing components, but in the absence of a dedicated feature, youll have to find another solution.
However, it is not a difficult problem to fix. A couple of hooks and look straps or well-positioned bungee cords should do the trick.
The Correct Hitch Size
Hitches are usually divided into classes, according to each vehicles towing capacity. They range from Class I through Class V .
Hitch mount bike racks normally only fit hitches from Class II and up, with a few exceptions. This is because the tongues of Class I hitches cant carry heavy loads. To see what hitch your vehicle has, check the owners manual if you have a factory-installed hitch, or if you have an aftermarket hitch, check the hitch itself for a notation, sticker, or stamp with the classification. Alternatively, contact the hitch maker directly.
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Best Overall: Thule T2 Pro
The Thule T2 Pro is a pricey but excellent option for serious cyclists. It holds two bikes and up to 60 pounds, which can be doubled with an add on. It is well made with the highest quality materials so it will hold up throughout years of use.
This platform style bike rack is easy to install and does not require separate tools to set up. It features a locking cable that keeps bikes secure and retracts to stay out of the way when it’s not being used. The design keeps bikes separated to prevent damage and ensure they remain stable while driving, and is adjustable to fit a range of different bike sizes. The bike rack also has an easy to use tilt feature to enable access to the trunk of the vehicle with the rack still attached. However, the T2 Pro is quite heavy and therefore not safe to use on trailers.
Wheel Size And Tire Width Compatibility
Wheel size and tire width arent major considerations when choosing a hanging rack, but those that opt for the platform style will want to verify their bikes will fit in the included trays. The good news is that the majority of road and mountain bikers wont have a problem at allevery platform rack on our list can fit 26- to 29-inch wheels and 3-inch and under tires. Its when you get to the extreme ends of the spectrum with 12- to 24-inch kids bikes or fat bikes with 4- to 5-inch tires that problems can crop up.
One of the reasons that the Thule T2 Pro XTR took the top spot on our list is its ability to fit so many bike styles straight out of the box. Its the only one that can both accommodate 20- to 29-inch wheels and tires up to 5 inches wide . Others, like the Kuat NV 2.0, require two separate adapters to fit bikes with wheels between 20 to 24 inches and tires larger than 2.75 inches. For reference, purchasing both Kuat adapters isnt costly at around $20, but they are separate pieces that youll need to store when not in use.
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What Is A Hitch Bike Rack
If youve never purchased a bike rack before or are just beginning to research your options, its easy to feel overwhelmed. There are many different types of bike racks on the market, including roof-mounted bike racks, hitch-mounted bike racks, and even spare tire bike racks, to name a few. Each type of rack is different and has its advantages and disadvantages.
It is nothing more than a bike rack that attaches to the trailer hitch of your car. You remove the ball mount and secure the rack to the receiver. It is usually secured with a hitch pin and clip or hitch lock. Depending on the model you buy, the rack may be L-shaped or straight. Depending on the configuration and capacity, they can also hold two, three, or even four bikes.
Most of these bike racks come with straps with locking tabs that allow you to secure the bikes in place, as well as ones designed to support the frame of each cycle. Some use Velcro as well as tension tabs.
You will also find basic hitch bike racks and advanced hitch bike racks on the market. The more basic bike racks allow you to transport your bikes safely but may block access to your cars tailgate or truck. More advanced and pricier models offer a swivel feature that will enable you to fold or lay the rack down to access the vehicles tailgate, trunk, or rear door.
Bike Wheel Size And Tire Width
It is important that you check if there are any specifications concerning wheel size and tire width before you buy your bike rack. Most bike racks come with specifications when it comes to wheel size and tire width. A good example is how the vertical hitch bike racks are compatible with 20 to 29-inch standard wheels and 24 to 29-inch mid to fat-tire bikes.
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Bell Cantilever 200 2
- A quick and easy carrier solution no-tools required for assembly and installation
- Compatible with sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and minivans
- Stable fit with versatility: 2 padded top bars designed to adjust to different trunk shapes
- Each bar that comes in contact with the car is padded to protect the cars paint and finish
- Holds up to 2 bikes using rubber cradles and hook-and-loop straps for secure attachment
- Compatible with most bike frame types
- Reflective red end caps increase visibility
- One-step folding with hub for easy on/off and storage
- Maximum 35 lbs. per bike