There are many different ways to transport your bike using your vehicle. There are trunk mounted carriers, roof mounted ones and the one that’s been increasing in popularity over the last few years – the hitch bike rack. More and more people are beginning to use these carriers on their vehicles and that can clearly be seen out on highways all around the world.
It’s really no surprise they have become so popular lately. There are a number of advantages of using one of these carriers. They are usually pretty easy to install, the chances of you scratching the paint on your bike is greatly reduced when using them, it’s usually a lot easier to lift your bike on them then it would be on roof-mounted models and removing the front wheels of your bicycles usually isn’t necessary when using them.
With increased demand, however, comes an increase in the number of carriers available and not all of them are worth buying. Lately, there’s been an influx of inferior models filling the market, which leaves the consumer wondering how they can find the best hitch bike rack that suitable for their bike, their vehicle and their lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are a lot of really great models out there as well and we’re going to point you towards them. And then, if you still aren’t sure which one to choose, we’re going to give you a few pointers that will make the decision a whole lot easier. So without further delay, let’s take a look at ten of the models that I think are fairly impressive. After that, we’ll move on to the guide portion of this article.
Best Hitch Bike Racks – Reviews
10Swagman XTC Cross-Country Rack For 2 Bicycles
This Swagman XTC Cross-Country Rack is designed to hold 2 bicycles on the back of your vehicle and do it quickly and easily. This model will fit a 1 & 1/4-inch or 2-inch hitch and has a load capacity of approximately 35-pounds per bike. It’s a model that’s also easy to use. The hooks on this mount hold onto the frame of the bike securely and the rack has a fine powder coating that helps it to resist corrosion and rust. Other features of this rack include the ability to carry bicycles without having to remove the wheels, a built-in anti-wobble hitch device and ratcheting hooks that slide up and down the mast with just a button push.
9Thule 990XT Doubletrack Bicycle Rack
This bicycle rack allows you to transport two bikes on the back of your vehicle using its 1 & 1/4-inch or 2-inch hitch receivers. This rack features wheel trays which slide independently of the platform and this is designed to eliminate contact between the two bikes. It also features a ratcheting wheel strap that allows the wheel of the bike to be securely attached to the trays. While it’s not designed to be installed on a trailer, it is designed to allow the bikes to fit neatly on the hitch of your vehicle. It’s a rack designed for bikers who lead an active lifestyle and just want to attach their bikes and go.
8Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bicycle Rack With 2-Inch Receiver
While many hitch-mounted racks hold one or two bikes at a time, this deluxe model is designed to hold up to 4 bicycles and do it on a Class III or Class IV 2-inch hitch. This model features 22-inch arms that secure the bikes to the rack via the unit’s tie-down system. With the right tools, this rack can be set up in approximately 5-minutes and allow you to start setting up your bikes. And since the unit has a black powder coat finish, you can rest assured that it’s less likely to rust than some of the inferior models on the market today.
7Yakima Products Hold-Up Tray Style Rack
This Yakima Products Rack is designed for bicycling enthusiasts who want to get their bikes loaded quickly so they can head out on their trip. Right out of the box, it can hold 2 bicycles, and if you want to carry 4, you can add an optional Hold +2—but that requires a 2-inch hitch receiver. Another feature of this rack is that it doesn’t make contact with the frame thanks to its Strong Arm pivoting wheel hook. And with adjustments made to the unit, there is less of a chance of bikes making contact with each other, which allows you to enjoy a nice drive without having to worry about your bicycles scratching each other up.
6Allen Sports Deluxe 5-Bicycle Rack With 2-Inch Receiverv
Bike enthusiasts often have a problem transporting more than 2 or 3 bikes at a time, a problem which is resolved thanks to this Allen Sports Deluxe Rack. It has the capacity to hold up to 5 bicycles at a time and do it without the bikes scratching each other or being scratched by the rack. Designed using heavy-duty steel and powder-coated to resist rust, this model should provide years of service. This model is also easy to set up and can be installed in approximately 5-minutes. And when the rack isn’t being used, the carry arms can be dropped out of the way.
5Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Rack
This rack is designed to easily hook up to your hitch and to provide a stable platform for your bike. It has an adjustable tire cradle system that holds on to the front tire of the bike and has cable locks that are fully integrated into the unit. While this unit isn’t the lightest rack on the market, it is a very sturdy one and is rather easy to set-up. Other features of this rack include a front tire ratchet design that’s equipped with a release and a pivot with optional foot assist. All of these features make for a rack that’s simple to use and quite reliable.
4Swagman XC Cross Country Mount Rack for 2-Bikes
Designed to transport 1 or 2 bikes, depending on your need, this Swagman XC Cross Country Rack fits standard 1 & 1/4-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers and can carry up to 35-pounds per bike for a combined maximum total of 70-pounds of weight. It has ratchet arms that sit upright and can be adjusted according to your bike’s particular frame size and has a built-in anti-wobble hitch device that keeps everything stable. This model is designed for bikes with wheel sizes between 20 and 29-inches but isn’t designed to handle fat bike tires – although trays for that purpose can be purchased separately.
3Swagman Chinook Bike Carrier For 2 Bicycles
The Swagman Chinook is a 2 bicycle carrier that fits 1 & 1/4-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers and has a maximum load capacity of 45-pounds per bike. It features 2 lock cylinders, both of which use the same key, to lock the bicycle into the bike rack and secure it. It also has hook ratchets to lend the bike additional stability. This rack can also tilt down to allow the user access to the back of their vehicle, even when the bikes are fully loaded. With the purchase of the optional fat bike trays which are sold separately, this unit can also hold bikes with fat tires.
2Thule Pro T2 Bike Rack
Designed to hold a maximum of 2 bikes, this rack is a good unit for transporting bikes down the road or across the country. It has a tool-free design that allows it to be quickly and easily installed to the back of your vehicle and has a ratcheting arm that makes sure the bikes are secured adequately without the bikes having to come into contact with the rack’s frame. This unit is designed to fit bikes with wheels between 20 and 29-inches and fat bikes with tires up to 5-inches. Another feature of this unit is that it has an integrated cable lock that secures the rack to the receiver.
1Hollywood Racks HR1400 Sport Rider 4-Bike Rack
This rack has a number of features which make it an attractive model for many bike owners. First of all, it’s designed to hold up to 4-bikes at a time and do so without the bikes making contact with each other or the back of the vehicle. It’s also designed to be easily installed and adjusted. Other key features of this unit are that it can hold up to 50-pounds of bike – per bike – and folds flat against the vehicle when it’s not being used. It also comes pre-assembled so you can begin installing it almost as soon as you receive it.
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Choosing the Best Hitch Bike Rack
Bike racks which attach to your vehicle via the hitch have a number of benefits which make them a really good choice to carry your bike. Here are some of the pros of using this type of mounting system:
- Can be used with a large variety of vehicles
- Available in a wide variety of different styles
- They’re more secure than racks mounted on trunks
- Are easier to load and unload than other types of racks
- Can hold more bikes than other types of racks
- They’re aerodynamic
- They eliminate overhead clearance problems
All of the above benefits are assuming that you bought the correct type of hitch-mounted rack system for your vehicle. These types of racks come in a variety of different styles but they can normally be broken down into two main categories – Hanging Style and Platform Style. In order to determine which style is correct for you and your bike, then we need to sort them according to their specifications. Which is what is done below.
Hanging Style Racks
- Can fit most 1 & 1/4-inch and 2-inch hitches
- Lighter than Platform racks
- Less expensive than Platform racks
- Except for wheel-only mounting systems, bikes come in contact with frame
- Sway control devices needed for stability
- For some non-standard bike frames, an adapter bar may be needed
- Holds 2 to 5 bikes
Platform Style Racks
- Can fit most 1 & 1/4-inch and 2-inch hitches
- Can be loaded and unloaded quickly and easily
- Rack makes little contact with bike frame
- Will hold a variety of different bikes
- Platform is less likely to sway than Hanging Style Racks
- Holds anywhere from 2 to 4 bikes
Hitch Mount Rack Safety
Now that we’ve discussed the basic racks available, I would like to take a few moments to talk about safety when it comes to these hitch-mounted racks. After all, it doesn’t matter how well designed a unit is or what materials it’s made out of, it’s not going to be safe it not used correctly. Here are a few tips for using these units that will make them safer to use.
The first thing you need to consider is that you need a hitch that attaches securely to your vehicle. You also want to make sure that the rack you choose fits your style of bike correctly and without obstructing the view of your lights or license plates. Another thing to consider is that you might not be able to use this type of system if your vehicle has a wheel mounted tire. And you should always make sure that your bike or bikes are securely attached to the rack following ALL manufacturer’s instructions.
One thing that needs to be considered, and which is often overlooked by many people, is that you need to keep in mind that your vehicle is no longer thanks to the rack. You need to take that into consideration when driving on the road or backing up because you’ll have to account for the extra length. Also be advised that your vehicle, the rack or your bikes may be damaged if you back it up into an obstruction or if someone on the road hits you. If you keep all of these considerations in mind, properly install your rack and make sure to follow all manufacturer recommendations, then your experience with these racks should remain positive.