Wheel Size & Tire Width Compatibility
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.
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.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Swing
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Yakima Full Swing Hitch Mount Bike Rack
When you are looking for a bike rack that would last a lifetime and have ability to carry all bikes of your family, Yakima Full Swing could be the one.The Yakima rack fits as a variety of bike frames so it is suitable for every member of your family. It also swings away with one touch, for easy and quick access to your back door of your car, truck or SUV whenever you need.
This carrier is designed with full padded arms which provides ultimate bikes protection and fold down when not in use. Moreover, your purchase included Zero- hassle Zip Strips secure the bike to the rack to enhance the protection incredibly regardless of bumps or rain.
Unlike other products, you can easily and quickly install and remove this one before and after every outing. Thats one of the top advantages.
However, customers need to pay extra fee for additional adapter to use this rack for womans bike and childs bike. And it weights a 75 pound so installing it or removing it from vehicle may be challenging with limited strength.
Top 5 Best Swing Away Bike Racks
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Every biking adventure will always be more convenient if you have the best bike rack. It is essential for every biker, especially if you want to travel long distances and bring your bikes. Although there are different types of racks available on the market, the swing-away ones are among the best.
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Yakima Fullswing Hitch Rack
- Application: 2 x 2 trailer hitch receivers
- Carrying capacity: 4 bicycles
- Length of Rack Arms: 25
- Cradle width: 1 ¾
- Carrier weight: 56 lbs
The Yakima FullSwing rack has the best value for your money. Its a 4-bike rack that securely holds bikes on the rear with ZipStrips while assuring easy vehicle access. Thanks to the high-quality rack swings of the FullSwing, you can easily access the rear cargo area of your car without unloading your bikes.
The hinged arm at the base of the rack lets you swing it away from the receiver hitch while your bikes are still loaded. It gives you the convenience of not having to unload your bikes when you open your rear cargo area. To open the hinged arm of the rack, you need to loosen the T-bolt and pull the spring-loaded pin then swing the rack away. It will lock in place once the rack is in full extension, so you dont need to hold it while opening your rear cargo.
To put the rack back in its place, just press the hinge release lever and pull the pin to swing it again back to the original position. You will know that the rack is in place if the spring-loaded pin will click. Then, tighten the T-bolt to secure the rack in place.
If you are worried about your rack not being able to support four bikes, dont fret because FullSwing has dual arms with TPE padding that absorbs road shock and vibrations on the rack, offering excellent bike support. With the quick-release TriggerFinger lever, you can quickly fold the arms of the rack for storage.
Our Analysis And Test Results
If you own a van or just value easy access to the back of your vehicle, then you’ve likely already run up against the issue of hitch racks being in the way. The BackStage answers the call of bike nomads and provides a viable solution to a common problem. RockyMounts has come to the rescue with a platform hitch rack that swings away allowing access to the rear of your vehicle. Other brands now offer pivoting rack attachments, although they are sold as an accessory and add to the already high price of most rack systems and add significantly more weight.
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Hitch Swings Pt : Rockymounts Backstage Two Bike Swing Away Platform Rack
Posted on January 4, 2018 by Zach Overholt
Yesterday, we covered the Kuat Pivot a swing away adapter for 2 hitch mounted bike racks. Today, were checking out the RockyMounts Backstage. Like the Pivot it allows the rack to swing away from the vehicle, but unlike the Pivot it is a dedicated rack. Meaning the swinging portion is built into the rack itself.
That has both advantages and disadvantages. For starters, the whole package of the Backstage ends up quite a bit lighter than the Kuat Pivot + Kuat NV 2.0 two bike rack. While the Kuat combination checks in at nearly 100lbs, the RockyMounts Backstage is only 62.4lbs. However, since you cant split the rack from the adapter, youre forced to carry around one 62.4lb rack when you need to remove or install it. The Kuat system you can split it up and carry one 47lb piece and the other 53.8lb piece.
Youre also limited to the included rack with the Backstage where the Pivot uses your choice of rack. Fortunately for RockyMounts, the rack is pretty good. The flip up cradles will carry 20-29 wheels with tires that are up to 5 wide . The two trays are spaced at 12 apart and include 3 of lateral adjustment to help clear bars and seats. Carrying a 60lb max weight per bike and a 48 max wheelbase, the rack should be a good option for heavy and cumbersome bikes like e-bikes which can be a pain to get on a rack.
Positioning of RockyMounts Backstage while open.
Positioning of Kuat Pivot + NV 2.0 while open.
Best Overall Hitch Bike Rack
Number of bikes: 2 Weight capacity per bike: 60 lbs.What we like: Loaded with features, well-built, and easy to use.What we dont: Expensive and a bit heavy.
Thule recently updated their popular T2 Pro, but the latest model retains its title as our favorite hitch-mounted rack thanks to its complete feature set and premium build. Taking the place of the top-selling XT, the XTR adds a set of wheels at the base for easier shuttling to and from a garage, but the rest of the design remains exactly the same . The T2 Pros user-friendly tilt feature is best-in-class, providing quick and easy access to the rear of the vehicle, and its versatile carrying system accommodates everything from fat bikes to 20-inch kids models. At $800, the T2 Pro certainly isnt cheap , nor is it particularly light at over 50 pounds, but its sturdy, long-lasting design is ideal for committed riders.
Number of bikes: 2 Weight capacity per bike: 60 lbs.What we like: Great price for a versatile platform-style rack.What we dont: Design is a bit less sturdy and feature-rich than premium alternatives.
Weight capacity per bike: 35 lbs.What we like: An inexpensive yet surprisingly reliable way to carry two bikes.What we dont: Not the most user-friendly design and the ratcheting arms scuff bike frames.
Number of bikes: 4 Weight capacity per bike: 40 lbs.What we like: Proven, affordable way to haul 4 bikes.What we dont: Need an adapter to carry step-through bikes.
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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.
Bike Racks For The Whole Family
Thule Apex XT is a hanging hitch bike rack that can carry up to 5 bikes. This secure bike rack keeps bikes stable on the trip, and fits a range of frame styles and sizes. Perfect for a bike vacation with the whole family.
Thule Apex XT Swing 4 hitch bike rack has all these perks and more! This bike rack provides access to your trunk with the bikes still loaded.
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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.
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
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Which Car Bike Rack Is Best
The best car bike rack varies from person to person. With so many variables between each rider, its nearly impossible to choose one bike rack for every situation.
The best option is to decide what your needs are and pick a rack that works best for you. If your priority is finding a good, cost-effective rack, and you can pick up your bike and move it around without struggle, you can get a good hanging rack for $100-200.
If keeping your bike safe and scratch-free is your main concern, a platform rack is a good choice. Platforms also sit lower to the ground, so its good for people who struggle to pick up their bikes.
The higher you go on price range, the more features you get. High-end racks add security features, levers, and buttons that make them easier to use. They usually also offer ways to let you access your trunk without removing the bikes.
When choosing a rack, consider the features youre willing to do without and which ones you need. Balance those needs with how much youre willing to spend, and youll find the perfect rack for you.
Ease Of Removal And Storage
While the swing-away feature is a game-changer for many van travelers, the pivot mechanism adds a considerable amount of weight to the BackStage, about 16 lbs more than the Monorail on its own.
At 60 lbs, the BackStage is quite heavy, and mounting the rack to your vehicle can be a bear, particularly for those who are smaller in stature. All of the hitch racks we tested are somewhat awkward to carry, but the pivoting arm of the BackStage adds to the difficulty by making the rack even more unbalanced, as the weight is not centered. The BackStage does not take up any more storage space than its competitors, but due to the weight, we recommend finding a place to store it that minimizes the distance to your vehicle.
Once the BackStage is placed in the hitch receiver, a threaded hitch pin is used to take the wobble out of the system. Threaded hitch pins used to be standard equipment on hitch racks, but most of the newer high-end models have moved to some expansion wedge or ball that is tensioned using a hand knob. Threaded hitch pins get the job done but are much more labor and time intensive, and they require tools to remove and secure. We found the threaded hitch pin to be particularly problematic when mounting the BackStage on our Sprinter test van. The trailer wiring plug assembly blocks access to the lock side of the pin. We eventually disconnected the wiring assembly to use the BackStage on the van.
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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.