Buying Guide For Best Bike Racks
When you need to use your car to transport your bike to the perfect spot, you need a bike rack. With a rack, you can easily take your bike to a scenic trail thats too far away to ride to, or pack it with you to take on vacation. Choosing the right bike rack is key. You want to be sure that your bicycle is secure when you take it on the road. Shopping for a rack can be tricky, though. How do you know which type of rack is best for your bike and car?
At BestReviews, our goal is to simplify shopping for you. We do the research, buy the products, grill the experts, and survey real-life owners, so we can pass along all the info to you. And because we never accept free products or perks from manufacturers you can trust that our reviews are honest and unbiased.
If youre ready to shop for a bike rack, take a look at our highlighted favourites. For more info on how to select the best bike rack for you, just keep reading.
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
Customs Taxes And Duties:
- Duty, taxes, and other fees are the customers responsibility since Outdoorplay does not pre-collect these fees at the time of purchase. Please contact your local Customs Office for more information about the cost of these fees.
- Please also take note of any personal purchase limits in place in your country. If your order exceeds the set limit, you will have to arrange for a broker to clear your order through customs at extra cost. Outdoorplay is not able to make these arrangements for you.
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Complete Security For Bikes And Rack
The Allen wrench has an indentation, so it can only be used with the Transfer. This helps keep the rack secure on your vehicle. You’ll need to store it in a safe place because you’ll need it when you want to remove the rack. You can also use a locking hitch pin for extra rack security.
The Transfer also includes a cable lock that secures your bikes to the rack. The 1/4″ thick, braided steel cable threads through your bike’s frames, and locks back into the rack.
Hitch Mount Vs Other Bike Rack Styles
Weve made it clear throughout this piece that a hitch-mounted rack is our favorite design, and platform models in particular. Comparing common bike-carrying alternatives, there isnt a style that offers as much convenience, capacity, or compatibility with such a wide range of vehicles . Rooftop racks have a lower maximum capacity , are more of a pain to load and unload, and can impact gas mileage or create a whistling sound on the highway. Trunk-mounted racks are cheaper but prone to causing paint damage on your vehicle if you dont take extra precautions. If you have a truck, the simple pickup pad is a nice, affordable option, but you do lose the security of a locking hitch and it can take some work to limit bike-to-bike contact. In the end, all have their merits, but no other bike rack type can match the versatility of a hitch mount.
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New Features Of The V2
One of the new features of this version is a semi-integrated bike cable lock. Its is about 7.5 long and uses a locking pin to secure the cable to the rack. The cable is a deterrent to a thief looking to grab and go but easily snipped with cable cutters. Personally, I dont leave my bike unattended for very long since Ive had mine stolen a few years ago while on the rack.
The cable is semi-integrated, meaning theres nowhere on the rack to store it when not in use. Instead, Kuat provides a burlap bag for the tools and cable, but Id prefer to see a retractable cable making it one less thing to worry about losing.
Kuat provides two keys that come on a keychain that doubles as a bottle opener, always a handy item to have around for post-ride libations.
Another new feature is the flatlock hitch cam that expands with the turn of a special Allen key. As the flatlock expands, the hitch becomes stabilized in the receiver. Double-check the flatlock on long trips, as I found it tends to loosen over time. The 8mm security Allen wrench has a unique head, so a thief cant remove the rack unless they have the same head. Just dont lose it, or you wont be able to get it off your car until Kuat sends a replacement.
It was strange that the instruction manual stated to tighten the flatlock hitch cam to 24 nM. But without the same security Allen head for your torque wrench, youre guessing at the amount of force to use.
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Hanging Hitch Mount Racks
A hanging hitch mount rack can fit multiple bikes. In many cases, it can carry up to five if the hitch and car are approved for the weight. Most hanging hitch mount racks hit at chest level, so you dont need to lift the bike high to secure it. Its easy to take the rack off the hitch, and the rack is compact for convenient storage.
Not all bike frames are compatible with hanging hitch mount racks. Bikes can sometimes bang up against one another in the rack. Bikes can get dirty when transported at the back of the vehicle. If your vehicle is low to the ground, bike tires can be damaged if they come in contact with the ground.
Why We Like The Transfer 3 Bike Rack
When its Thursday afternoon before the three-day stage race, or if you are punching the clock to hit a weekend of alpine single-track with your crew, the Kuat Transfer 3 Bike Rack sets the travel off well with easy loading and frame-less contact. The Transfer set itself apart not only in value but also convenience, as its U-shape allows you to step into it, instead of to the side when loading. And the Perfect Fit system ensures that each bike has a relatively custom fit as the wheel trays can swivel and adjust to better fit wheelbases and handlebar widths. When loading, roll up to the back of the car, kick down the spring-loaded foot pedal, lock the tray down for loading, and place your bike on the trays. The tire trays fit 20-29in tires, so theres no hassling with initial positioning. A front claw-like lever arm holds the top of the wheel in place, and a simple ratcheting strap secures the rear wheel in place.
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Choosing A Hitch Rack For Carbon Fiber Bikes
Carbon fiber bikes are dream machines for many riders and come with premium price tags, so its no surprise that a common question is how to transport them safely. To keep the material protected, the most important thing to do is select a style that doesnt allow for any frame contact. This means youll want to avoid the standard hanging rack category, as models like the Yakima Ridgeback secure the bike with straps directly over the top tube. Among platform-style racks, its best to choose one of two basic designs: a ratcheting arm that locks in over the front wheel and a strap through the rear wheel or a dual-arm design like 1Ups Heavy Duty that tightens over the front and rear tires. The common denominator among these compatible racks is a high price tag, but its well worth it to avoid any unnecessary damage to your carbon rig.
Rotating Arms With Ratcheting Hooks
The Transfer V2 has ratcheting hooks that grab your bikes firmly by the front wheel – not the frame. It’s perfect for carrying carbon bikes or bikes with a custom paint job. To load a bike, simply place your front wheel in the cradle, rotate the arm up and over the wheel, and press down firmly on the ratcheting hook.
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Quality Modular Design And Price Make Kuat Racks Appealing
Kuat racks are so appealing because they are affordable, compact for easy storage, and dont weigh a ton. Ranging from $349 to $549 , the Transfer v2 is an affordable option for those riders looking for a quality hitch rack. When not hauling bikes, the rack folds down and close to the vehicle . Also, when off the vehicle, the Transfer v2 stows up against the garage wall taking up minimum space. Or use the optional Rackdock to stow it. Also, as a woman with lower back problems, I appreciate the lightweightat ~40 lbs for the 2-bike versionthe rack is easy to maneuver on and off the car.
Another feature to point out for those with back issues or heavy bikes, the Transfer v2 has an open design, making it easy to load and unload. The center of the rack is an open format allowing you to stand close to the bike when lifting it on or off the rack, thus reducing back strain.
The Transfer v2 has a modular design for 1, 2, 3, and 4 bike options. And as with the first version, it hinges down to enable accessing the vehicles hatch/trunk easier.
Review Of The Kuat Transfer V2 Bike Rack On A 2022 Toyota Rav4
Hey, it’s Ethan here at etrailer. Today we’re gonna be taking a look at the Kuat Transfer bike rack on the back of our 2022 Toyota Rav4. This is the two bike platform version, but we also have onethrough four available, so we can pick whatever suits your needs. This bike rack is capable of supporting up to 40 pounds per bike. And it’s gonna hold onto our bike primarily by the wheelhere, with this wheel hook, and one extra strap at the back, which is nice ’cause itdoesn’t make any frame contact. So if you wanted to transportsome carbon frame bikes, you wouldn’t have to worryabout damaging the frame.
And alternative and kidstyle bikes should work as well, without the need topick up a bike adapter bar. Using this pedal here,it does have the ability to tilt the bike rack away with it loaded. And one of the nice featuresabout the Transfer as well is how close you can actually get to that pedal, by openingup the first hook. You can lever it down with yourfoot, holding onto the rack. And we actually did find that in our case if we just leave the bike alone and try to open up the hatch, it will make contact with our handlebars.
Info for these parts were:
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Kuat Improves On An Already Excellent Hitch Rack
In January 2019, I reviewed the Kuat Transfer hitch rack. I liked the rack then but felt the company could improve on a few features. Fast forward, and Kuat addresses many of my suggested improvements, plus more in version 2. For a full rundown of features, view Kuats video, but a few of the key enhancements include:
- Increased the wheelbase length from 47 to 50
- Holds a wider selection of wheel sizes from 18-29
- Accommodates more fat bike models with tires up to 5 with accessory strap
- Increased length of J-arm for better clearance of the hook that holds the front tire
- Semi-integrated bike cable lock
- Flatlock hitch cam used to secure the rack with an 8mm security Allen wrench needed to remove it
Material And Build Quality
The saying you get what you pay for rings very true in the hitch-mounted bike rack world. In short, if you plan to use your rack a lot or keep it on your vehicle even in the rainy seasons, its well worth paying for a premium design. 1Ups Heavy Duty Double and Recon Rack 6 are among the most expensive racks in our round-up, and both feature high-quality, all-metal constructions that have excellent lifespans. On the other hand, racks like the $120 Swagman XC2 that use a lot of plastic or cheap, thin metal, will be prone to rusting out or breaking down over time. That said, just because a rack is made up of a lot of plastic doesnt necessarily mean that its not durable. One design that does a great job of balancing metal construction and strategic use of tough plastic is our top-rated Thule T2 Pro XTR. Not surprisingly, the Thule comes with a steep $800 price tag.
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Kuat Transfer V2 3 Bike Hitch Rack
The Transfer v2 is more solid than ever. From the steel construction of the original to a new Flatlock hitch cam for enhanced stability in tow. Plus, a semi-integrated cable lock for an upgrade in security. The best part? The new Transfer v2 has the modular configurations available so you get a multi-rider rack at an everyone-friendly price.
Interested in this item? For availability on this model and many more, give us a call at 478-7777!
- Flatlock cam for 2, ball cam for 1.25
- Includes semi-integrated bicycle cable lock
- Tamper-resistant hitch security
- More robust hitch design for enhanced stability in tow
- Holds up to a 50 wheelbase bike
- Holds wheels 18-29
- Holds tires up to 5 with accessory strap + better hook clearance for loading fat bikes
- Automotive-grade 750 hour salt spray hardware
- Dedicated 2 hitch version in the 2 bike configuration can be directly mounted on campers, recreational vehicles, or trailers with CHASSIS MOUNTED RECEIVERS ONLY.
Why We Like The Transfer V2 2 Bike Hitch Rack
We’re already big fans of the Kuat Transfer rack for its convenience, sturdiness, and versatility, so we’re proud to offer the new and improved second edition, which sees greater capability across the board, along with the ability to expand your bike hauling capacity with the Kuat Transfer 1-bike add-on rack.
The updated Transfer V2 features a more robust hitch design for greater stability on the back of your vehicle, as well as a semi-integrated cable lock to add a little more security to your bikes. The rack is now capable of hauling bikes with up to a 50in wheelbase , and it can hold bikes with wheel sizes ranging from 18 – 29in . The Transfer V2 is also compatible with fat bike tires up to 5-inches wide, so long as you purchase the accessory strap .
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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.
Upright Mount Roof Racks
An upright mount rack fits a wide range of bike tire sizes. You dont have to spend time removing the bikes front wheels to attach the bike to the rack.
An upright mount rack is larger and heavier than a fork mount rack. There will be more weight on the cars roof, and the bike will have a higher profile, too. You have to lift the entire bike, including the front wheel, to attach it to the rack.
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