Hitch Rack Style: Hanging Platform And Vertical Car Racks
There are three main types of hitch racks: hanging, platform, and vertical. Each rack type has its pros and cons. Platform and hanging racks are much more common than vertical, but vertical racks are quickly gaining in popularity .
Types of Hitch Bike Racks
Platform Hitch Bike Racks
Platform racks rest the tires of the bikes in their own individual tray, which is why they are often called tray bike racks. The top of the tire is secured in place with a shepherds hook.
The main benefit of tray-based systems is that they provide ample room between bikes to prevent bikes from banging into each other and being damaged while on the rack. Examples include, the Thule T2 Pro and Classic, the Yakima HoldUp EVO, the Saris SuperClamp, and the RockyMounts SplitRail LS.
Yakima HoldUp EVO, RockyMounts SplitRail, and Saris SuperClamp EX
Hanging racks hang the bikes by their frames. While bikes have individual cradles and straps holding them in place, the bikes are placed much closer together and can be more difficult to load as a result.
Because they are hanging, the bikes tend to swing and bang against each other while on the rack. Hanging racks, however, are much cheaper and lighter than platform racks. Examples of hanging racks include the Yakima Ridgeback, Allen Deluxe Locking, Thule Apex XT and Yakima Doubledown.
Allen Deluxe Locking, Yakima DoubleDown and Thule XT
Lolo Racks and North Shore Racks
Access To The Trunk Or Rear Hatch
The ability to access the rear hatch of your car while the rack is fully loaded is another great feature available on most higher-end racks. To allow access without removing bikes, several hanging racks have a 180-degree swing out as shown in the first picture below. The swing-out access is not available on platform or vertical racks.
Many platform, hanging, and vertical racks have the ability to tilt down about 30-degrees below upright . This tilt typically provides plenty of room for a rear hatch to open.
Thule Hangon 4 Bike Tilt Tow Ball Rack
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Please note You should check your local state or territory guidelines as each state and territory in Australia has a different set of rules and regulations regarding the safe use of car racks and displaying your number plates while driving.
The Thule HangOn 4 Bike Car Rack is a reliable and easy to use option for transporting up to 4 bikes. The strong coupling needs no pre-adjustment for mounting and the tiltable design offers trunk access . Your bikes are secured to the bike rack with soft rubber straps and you can also use the Thule Bike Frame Adapter 982 for fitting of bikes with non-standard frames . It also folds flat for easy storage and handling.
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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
The Best Roof Rack: Yakima Highroad
*At the time of publishing, the price was $269.
If you want to carry your bike on the roof of your vehicle, youll find no easier way to do so than with the Yakima HighRoad. We found it to be the simplest to use of all the roof racks we tested, both when installing the rack on the vehicle and when loading a bike. It secures the bike by the front wheel, avoiding any contact with the frame. And in our tests it held a variety of bikes solidlyeven more so than some fork-mount roof racks .
The HighRoad secures a bike using two hoops that clamp securely onto the front wheel , as well as a ratcheting strap that wraps around the rear rim. During our test drives, this setup held a variety of bikes rock-steady through bumps and swervesmore tightly than any other roof rack we tested. We also found the HighRoad to be one of the quickest and easiest racks to mount to and remove from the vehicle. With other roof racks, you have to fiddle with brackets and Allen screws. But the HighRoad uses three rubber straps that slide under any type of crossbar. Flip a tab and adjust the tension, and the rack grips any type of roof rails firmly, so you dont have to buy dedicated cross-bars from Yakima. Thats a big win.
For security, the HighRoad has locking covers that prevent those tabs from being lifted, so thieves cant remove the bike rack itself from the vehicle some other models that use a similar latching system are not lockable.
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A Versatile Bike Rack Thats Up For The Challenge
Thule VeloSpace XT is a towbar bike rack that can carry all types of heavy bikes, from ebikes to fatbikes. With this versatile bike rack you can increase the load capacity to 4 bikes with an adapter . Or, turn the bike rack into a rear cargo carrier with the Thule BackSpace XT . That way youre covered for any kind of adventure in the future.
Need To Carry 4 Bikes What’s The Best Way To Do This
How to carry 4 bikes
Today we will discuss the several different methods to mount four bikes on to your car.
The first option, and probably most common, is the well-known roof mounted bike carrier route. To carry 4 bikes on the top of your vehicle safely you will first of all need a quality roof rack system. In simple terms the roof rack is a cross bar that fits across the roof of your vehicle. Roof bars are not only limited to fitting bike carriers since you can also fit a Roof Box, Ski Carriers, Water Sports Carrier or a Roof Basket.
Virtually all modern vehicles are capable of fitting up to 4 bikes on top of the roof , if you need to make sure that this is possible, simply use our Roof Mounted Bike Carrier Guide to see how many Thule Bike Carriers can be fitted on your vehicle.
The second most popular method is if your vehicle is fitted with a tow ball. When using the tow ball you can transport 4 bikes using the Thule VeloSpace XT4 939 + 9381 tow ball mounted carrier. In standard form the VeloSpace XT is designed to carry 3 bikes but by adding the optional 4th bike adapter you can load up to 4 bikes.
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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.
Our Top Pick Best Hitch Bike Rack
After an in-depth deliberation, the Thule 9027 Apex Swing Away Bike Rack makes it to our top pick. This heavy-duty hitch bike rack is all you need when traveling to long-distance places with four racks.
What we like the most about this product is its durability. The rack is durable, and it is engineered to last for years to come. It is simple and easy to install, making it an ideal choice as your starting hitch bike rack.
Thule is also known as a reputable manufacturer of bike accessories. Whether its your first time buying or not, their company is worth the investment. Sold at a reasonable price, Thule also offers excellent customer service to assist you every step of the way.
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T2 Pro Xt 2 Bike Rack By Thule Best Hitch Bike Rack For Heavy
- Capacity: 140 pounds
- Type: Tilting Platform Rack
At first glance, this durable bike rack from Thule is originally designed to cater only to two bikes. However, you have the option of purchasing a two-bike add-on, allowing the rack to accommodate four bikes.
This sleek-looking and a heavy-duty bike rack is the perfect choice for bikers who take great pride in making sure that their bike remains undamaged while in transit. Thanks to its one-foot spacing between the bikes, rest assured that no matter how bumpy the roads are, youll be able to arrive with your bikes in good conditions.
The rack is engineered to accommodate cruisers, heavy-duty adult bikes, and fat bikes. It can carry bikes weighing up to 60 pounds each. But make sure that the bikes do not have large fenders. Otherwise, itll be challenging to mount the bikes with the wheel holders.
You also have the option of removing the bikes fenders to fit it properly. While it may be time-consuming and oftentimes inconvenient, it secures your bike.
The installation is tool-free and simple. This rack is compatible with cars that have an integrated 1-1/4 hitch receiver. But if you have the add-ons, it is recommended that you only use this bike with 2-inch hitches.
|Cannot accommodate bikes with large fenders|
|Ideal for heavy-duty, fat bikes||Cable locks faulty design|
How To Use Bike Racks Safely
When it comes to using bike racks safely, there are a lot of different factors, which means there are a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. Any potential problems can lead to damage to your bike or your vehicle — and mishaps while your vehicle is in motion can be hazardous to you or other drivers.
Each bike rack will have its own instructions that should be followed carefully in order to ensure maximum safety. Needless to say, a roof rack will have very different instructions than a platform rack, both when it comes to attaching the rack to your vehicle and when it comes to placing your bicycles in the rack. Just make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter .
That all said, there are still some rules that apply universally. You’ll want to make sure that your bikes aren’t in the way of your car’s exhaust pipe, as that can damage them. You’ll also want to ensure that you have enough space, either on top of your vehicle or behind it, to accommodate your bike rack and bikes. You’ll also want to make sure that your pedals are in a safe configuration so they don’t move and scrape the rack or your vehicle.
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Best Bike Rack For 2022
You can carry your bike behind the car, on top of it or even in a truck flatbed.
Riding a bicycle from Point A to Point B is easy and a lot of fun. Getting a bike from Point A to Point B without riding it? That’s trickier. If you like to ride on vacation or if you prefer a path that’s a bit far from home, then you know how valuable the right bike rack can be.
The issue is that there are as many bike racks as there are bicycles. Finding the one that’s right for you means sifting through a deluge of models with different mounting styles, different holding capacities and different price points. It’s critical to be pointed in the right direction at the start of your journey.
That’s precisely why we created this list, which features the best bike racks available in a variety of categories, based on expert opinion and customer satisfaction. After our picks, read on for more information about selecting and using the bike rack that’s right for you.
What Are The Different Types Of Bike Racks
Bicycle racks come in many styles, but there are a few major categories into which most of them fall. Platform bike racks attach to the backs of cars and provide platforms on which most bicycles can sit. Hanging bike racks also attach to the backs of cars, but they use metal poles or hooks to hold bikes by their frames . Trunk-mounted racks attach to car trunks and hold bikes behind cars, and spare tire racks do the same, but for cars that have spare tires mounted to their rears. Finally, roof racks hold bikes right-side up on their roofs, while truck bed racks do the same, but in the flatbeds of pickup trucks.
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What Is Better A Hanging Or Platform Hitch Bike Rack
Hanging and platform hitch bike racks have a lot in common, but they also have some key differences that may make one a better choice for you. Both hold bikes behind cars and both styles have deluxe models that can hold multiple bikes. One way they differ is in terms of loading — platform racks support bikes from below, so setting them in the rack doesn’t require much lifting. Hanging racks support bikes from their frames, so users have to lift the bikes higher in order to secure them. Platform racks also tend to be more expensive than hanging racks.
There is no “better” choice between hanging racks and platform racks — just a choice that’s best for your individual situation.
Best Choice For Pickup
*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.
If you want to secure a bike in the bed of a pickup truck, we recommend the Inno Velo Gripper. Of the pickup-bed carriers weve tested , this model provides the best balance of compactness, ease of use, effectiveness, and affordable price. Unlike some other carriers we tried, it doesnt require you to remove the front wheel of a bike. It held our bike securely in the bedand off to the side, where it didnt interfere with our rear vision while we were driving.
The Velo Gripper includes two clamps that attach securely to the side rail of a trucks bed. The initial installation took a little longer than with other pickup racks we tried, because it took some measuring to get the grippers in the right place on the truck bed. But this is something you have to do only once, and this system is more secure than those of some other models. It takes less than a minute, on the other hand, to remove the bike and grippers. But theres no way to lock the clamps to the truck.
There are two versions of the Velo Gripper. The original model, RT201, fits standard truck beds. And the newer model, RT202, is designed for use with the C-channel bed-rail systems that are available for some Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, and other pickups.
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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