Best Bike Hitch Rack in 2021 to Transport Your Bicycle
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One of the easiest ways to transport your bike without actually riding it is to use a bike hitch rack. But, since not much is known about this invention outside of the biking community, we saw it fitting that we compile this helpful guide to the best bike hitch racks.
What makes them so effective and convenient is the fact that they can be attached straight onto your vehicle’s receiver.
Now, there’s no shortage of bike hitch racks to choose from, but you only need to know about the two main categories.
First, you have platform models that are pricey but easy to use and well-made. On the other hand, you have hanging racks that are portable, compact, and enable you to maximize carrying capacity.
Bicycle Hitch Rack Reviews
In the following section, we’re presenting you with our review of the best bike hitch racks, based on hours and hours of painstaking research and testing.
We’ve got options for all budgets and lifestyle needs.
1. Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Rack
First up, we have the Swagman XC2 Rack, which comes with a stable threaded hitch pin, safe ratcheting arms, and a flexible tray system.
This rack only weighs about 32 pounds. It’s pretty lightweight, which makes it portable and easy to install and remove. Although it doesn’t have the wide variety of features that you’ll come across from other options, it’s still a very solid option that’s guaranteed to get your bike from point A to point B.
Of course, because this is a budget-friendly option, you do have to make a few concessions, such as making it difficult to load more than one bike, due to the difficult ratcheting arm. Also, it doesn’t come with any locks. So, there’s no clear way for you to secure your bike using this and you’d have to purchase a lock separately.
Also, we noticed that the padded frame cradles have a tendency to remove the paint job on your bike after some time. This is especially if you travel in dusty roads or rough terrain. Regardless, this is the best bike rack for anyone who’s shopping on a budget.
2. Saris Superclamp Hitch Car Rack
If hitch bike rack reviews are to be believed, the Saris Superclamp EX is the best hitch bike rack for the money. Why? Because it’s a platform-style model with wheels clamps that are located on either side for reliable mounting.
Although it only weighs a light weight 35 pounds, this rack has the ability to handle two bikes of up to 60 pounds each.
You can tilt this rack down in order to enable easy access to the back of your vehicle. You can even fold it up when not in use. This includes the wheels which can be folded and locked into place for ease of assembly. Also included with the rack are reflectors that help to keep you safe and easy to see in low light conditions.
Another feature worth noting on this rack are its integrated locks which are designed to keep your bikes locked into place when you’re on the move.
3. RockyMounts MonoRail Bike Rack
The RockyMounts MonoRail is one of the best bike hitch racks for many reasons. First of all, instead of tilting down, it’s designed to swing out so that you can effortlessly access the back of your car.
In addition to being easy to use, this platform hitch bike rack is incredibly durable and can handle a bicycle capacity of up to 120 pounds. This translates to two bikes that weigh up to 60 pounds each, which should be mounted evenly to avoid potential damage.
This rack has also been designed to ensure that there’s more than enough space between the two mounted bikes. It’s great news for electric and fat bike riders. The lightweight chromalloy hitch tube is great for reducing corrosion and ensuring prolonged durability.
This hitch doesn’t come with an extender so it can only carry two bikes and no more. It’s only compatible with two-inch hitches.
4. Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack
Next, we have the lightweight Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack. Constructed from durable aluminum, it weighs about 45 pounds and comes with a variety of features.
The best part is that it’s so easy to install that most everyone can assemble it in a matter of minutes. It’s certainly made with the end-user in mind, as evidenced by its new and improved design.
This includes a foot-assisted pivot lever which can be operated without the use of your hands, and you can lower it using this tool without putting your stuff down.
This is the best bicycle hitch rack for someone who’s looking for a durable and reliable option. It also comes with a co-molded strap at the rear to protect the bike wheels and a front tire ratchet that makes it easy to release the wheels.
5. Swagman XTC2 Hitch Mount Rack
The Swagman XTC bike rack is a great way to travel with up to two bikes at the same time without worrying about it potentially falling off.
It’s budget-friendly and easy to install and use. All you have to do is follow the provided instructions and you’re good to go.
After you’ve installed this bike rack, you can easily install and uninstall your bike. This bike rack is also quite durable and versatile and can handle bikes of different styles, shapes, and sizes, from 20 inches to 29-inch wheel sizes. But, it’s limited to hitches of 1.25-inch to 2 inches.
6. Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks
Next up in our list of the best bike hitch racks is this 2-bike model from Allen Sports. Not only is it accessible, but it’s great to take with when going through those heavy trails. It’s compatible with 1.25-inch and 2-inch receivers. This means you can carry two to five bikes at a time. That’s enough for the whole gang!
This is the perfect bike hitch rack to get if you plan on enjoying outdoor adventures with your family or a group of friends. It has the capacity to keep your bike safe even when going through bumpy and rough terrain, due to its tie-down cradle system design. This means each bike is individually attached for maximum security.
You can even tilt this rack backward to allow you to access your trunk without disassembling the entire racks and all of your bikes.
Although easy to do, assembling this hitch rack does require a few essential tools that are simple to use. This includes three bolts. Because it has a maximum carrying capacity of up to 70 pounds, this hitch rack has the ability to handle two bikes at the same time.
7. Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B Carrier Rack
With built-in inversions that accommodate up to four bikes at once, this rack from Tyger is the best platform bike rack for a multitude of applications. It can hold two mountain bikes or three road bikes for city-slickers.
It has the capacity to fit a receiver with dimensions of 1.25 inches or 2 inches. But, you may require an extender if you’re driving a certain vehicle. You should also know that it’s not compatible with Toyota Tacomas. But, it does feature soft cradles to protect your bike’s paint job and components when riding your bike through rough terrain.
Other features include a cable and hitch lock and security locks. All of which are included in order to keep your bike reliably secure. These extras make this bike a great value for money buy, especially when you consider the fact that it even features a tilt-down arm. It allows you to access your truck without affecting the position of the rack.
However, the best thing about this rack is its ability to keep all of the bikes you mount on it securely in place, no matter what kind of conditions you find yourself in.
8. Thule Raceway Pro Trunk Bike Rack
The Thule Raceway PRO is ideal for trunk bike use. It comes with a wide variety of great features to suit different needs and preferences.
It’s incredibly easy to use and install since you don’t need any tools to do so. While it’s great to use as a trunk bike rack, this hitch rack isn’t compatible with all car models. But, you could always check to see if it’s compatible with your car before you buy it just to be on the safe side.
You can fold it up after use and when it is unfolded, you can rest assured that it’ll keep your bikes reliably secured.
It’s designed according to modern technology measures which allows it to absorb shocks, and the best part is that it has the ability to hold all bike sizes, from the small to the big. Sure, it’s a bit pricey but it’s well worth the investment.
How to Get the Best Bike Hitch Rack
Alright, now that we’ve covered what the best hitch bike racks are, it’s time to look at the features that you should consider when making your final choice.
You should definitely keep in mind your car and the hitch rack’s dimensions to make sure that the two are a good fit.
Most racks are designed to fit standard-sized SUVs, pick-up trucks and regular vehicles. Again, you want a rack that’s compatible with your car based on its size and dimensions.
For best results, it’s often recommended to opt for a bike hitch rack that has a lightweight and low-profile design. This way it won’t negatively affect your ability to make sharp turns when driving. This is especially the case if you’re going to attach the rack onto a trailer.
Make your life easier by opting for one of those short and stockier hitch racks instead of those long and lanky ones.
A lot of hitch bike racks can only accommodate two bikes that are carried side-by-side. But, there are also models that can handle up to four bikes or more at the same time. The heavier the rack’s carrying capacity, the heftier it is in weight.
Four-bike racks often also come with anti-wobble and tilt-down functions which can really come in handy at that level.
For the most part, you should make sure that your bike rack is made from high-quality materials, especially if you plan on using it to carry more than two bikes. High-quality bike racks often come with a lot of nice features like safety straps for ease of use.
Don’t forget to look at its dimensions to make sure that it’s compatible with your specific car model. A lot of four-bike racks don’t have the capacity to handle fat tire bikes. But, most two-bike racks can. So, it all depends on the specific bike rack that you buy.
A lot of racks that are available on the market today come with flexible arms that can handle tires that measure 2 to 4 inches. Most of them can’t handle “fat” tires that measure 5 inches or more.
But, it’s important to ensure that your hitch rack comes with adjustable arms so that it can accommodate different bicycle tire sizes.
You probably won’t find a one-size-fits-all model but you can get a hitch rack that accommodates a wide variety of tires sizes. Adjustable arms are essential to making this a practical reality.
Another important feature to keep in mind while searching for the best bike hitch rack is foldability.
This will affect your ability to conveniently use the rack on the road. Ideally, it should be able to stay in place when your car is parked. For that to happen, it needs to be foldable and have a low-profile design.
A smaller foldable bike rack also means that you can always attach it to the hitch. It won’t take up a lot of space in your garage when not in use.
A lot of bike racks are foldable nowadays because manufacturers realize the value of this feature to the end user. But, there are still a few models which lack this all-important feature. You want to avoid them because this is one of the non-negotiables.
From here on out, you’re going to notice us going into some of the nice to have extras that you can look forward to with a lot of bike hitch racks.
This includes safety straps which as the name implies, is designed to optimize the hitch rack’s safety by stabilizing your bikes and keeping them securely in place through the clamps.
You can tie most safety racks to these straps based on your bike specs. They can really come in handy for when you’re dealing with a bike that’s too small for your clamps or you can use them to hold all of your bikes in place, granted you don’t mind the bikes scratching each other’s paint jobs along the way.
Some hitch racks also feature safety cords or belts that are designed to protect your bike from vandalism or theft. This is an extra safety measure that often comes with a key or a lock.
Next, you want your hitch rack to come with a lock that’s compatible with your specific vehicle hitch size.
Most vehicles have a hitch size compatibility that’s between 1.25 to 2 inches in diameter. That’s why it’s recommended to look for hitch racks whose size is optimized for those particular sizes.
A lot of racks on the market are compatible with 2-inch hitches only which limits your options. But then again, there are plenty of other hitch sizes available, some even being adjustable.
It’s recommended that you double-check this capacity before you make your final decision.
Foot pedals are great because they enable you to adjust bike rack levers and navigate the tight controls effortlessly.
This means that you can make adjustments using your foot only. These adjustments include releasing the bikes or lowering the hitch rack.
Now, the type of rack you have will determine the foot pedal’s function. That’s why it’s important to check the product description to make sure that it’s able to do what you need it to.
This feature can really come in handy when it comes to adjusting your hitch racks, especially when it comes to the different weight and pressure requirements of modern design models.
Think about how you’re going to install and use these bikes before deciding on the particular foot pedal that you need.
Make sure your bike rack is as durable as they come, by checking its product description to find out what materials it’s made from.
Most models are constructed from tough metals like steel, which is a long-lasting and durable material.
In addition to the rack itself, its connecting components such as the screws and pins should also be constructed from durable materials. This way, you don’t find yourself having to replace them every now and then.
For best results, opt for a hitch rack that comes with metal screws as they can fit tighter and more secure.
Types of Bike Racks
On your journey to looking for the best bike hitch rack, you’ll come across all manner of different types of racks, aside from the standard rack.
With that said, the hitch rack is by and far considered the most popular option among most bikers because of how versatile and easy to use it is.
Nevertheless, it’s worth exploring what other types of bike racks are available to you so you can understand for yourself why the hitch rack is so superior.
There are also truck-mounted bike racks which as the name implies, are designed for truck drivers.
This type of rack typically features metal hooks that are utilized to clamp the rack into place so that it’s securely attached to the truck.
These rubber-coated metal hooks are designed to protect your bike’s paint job from scratches and some even have foam to protect your bike.
The roof mount is another fairly common car rack. To get the most out of this type of car rack, you need to install a base roof rack onto your vehicle.
If you’re lucky, your car manufacturer will do it for you and it’ll be one of the features that come with your vehicle. If that’s the case, then it’ll most likely come with a custom locking system that helps to keep the bike attached to the rack.
As with anything a roof rack system has its own pros and cons.
Spare Tire Mount
Tire mounted bike racks are another option that’s available to you.
They’re designed to be attached to vehicles or cars that have a spare tire attached to the bike and are contingent on that design.
Benefits of Bike Hitch Racks
So, why should you go for a bike rack instead of a strap-on or a roof-mounted bike rack?
Well, there are a lot of different reasons actually, and here are a few of them.
Can Handle More Than One Bicycle
One of the chief reasons why a hitch bike rack is better than a truck rack, a spare-tire rack, and a roof rack is because it has the ability to handle multiple bikes at once.
Sure, you can find a rack with the ability to carry two bikes at the same time. But a lot of them can’t go over that.
Whereas, there’s no shortage of hitch racks that have the capacity to handle three and even four bikes at the same time. All of this is done while securing your bike and protecting it from danger.
Won’t Affect Your Car
With a roof rack, you can carry two bikes at a time. Just make sure that they’re positioned in an upright way, which will raise the height of your vehicle overall.
Obviously, you don’t want that because it’ll make it hard for you to maneuver through different environments.
There Won’t Be Any Loose Straps
Most bike racks have to be attached to your vehicle using straps, especially when it comes to strap-based systems.
They can be attached to different types of vehicles, via the trunk of your car, or minivan. The security of this rack is dependent on the quality and strength of the straps.
Should the strap get damaged or loose, this could lead to a complete catastrophe for your bike and might even lead to an accident.
You Won’t Have to Disassemble Your Bike
When it comes to the various bike rack styles that are available, you end up having to take off one of the wheels on your bike in order to install it on the rack.
This requires a lot more time to install and use than a regular hitch rack because you now have to find a place to keep your bike wheels while the bicycle is attached to the back of your vehicle.
So, what’s the best bike hitch rack? After much consideration, we’ve found that the Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack ticks all the boxes of what we’re looking for when it comes to this essential bicycle accessory.
Why? Because it’s budget-friendly, easy to install and use, and can proficiently keep two bikes secured to your bike effectively. This is a versatile and durable hitch rack that can carry bikes of different styles, shapes, and sizes, with diameters of between 20 inches to 29-inch wheel sizes.
So, although it only has a two-bike capacity, it’s lightweight and can guarantee bike safety.