Saturday, November 18, 2023
HomeCyclingThe Greatest Hitch Bike Racks of 2023

The Greatest Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


There are numerous methods to move bikes together with your automobile, however hitch bike racks are arguably the very best. With so many fashions and kinds to select from, nonetheless, discovering the proper hitch rack to your wants and funds generally is a problem. At Bikerumor, we’ve examined dozens of the very best hitch racks available on the market to search out the very best methods to conveniently and safely transport your valuable bikes wherever you go.

Whether or not you’re doing mountain bike shuttles with a giant crew, heading out on an off-the-cuff experience or to a race, or loading up the household for a weekend trip, we’ve discovered the very best choices obtainable in 2023. Our group assessed every mannequin’s ease of use, weight limits, versatility, safety features, and meeting, to offer you the main points you’ll want to make the appropriate buy resolution. 

Right here you’ll discover our prime suggestions organized by type so you possibly can rapidly discover what you’re searching for. When you’d like to match product specs remember to try our comparability chart and consult with our complete purchaser’s information and FAQ to assist reply any questions.

The Greatest Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


Greatest Total Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $1,389
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-ons)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    63 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    2” receiver: 67 lbs, 1.25” receiver: 60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    53” or 1,346mm
  • Max tire width
    5”
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    18” to 29” (fender equipment obtainable)
  • Safety
    Hitch pin lock and 12mm metal cable lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Smooth design

  • LED lights

  • One contact hydraulic clamp arms

  • Strong safety features

  • Extremely versatile

  • No body or rim contact

Greatest Price range Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $499.95
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (As much as 3 with add-on, 2” receiver solely)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Per bike weight capability
    60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    36” as much as 50” or 1,270mm
  • Max tire width
    5”
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Locking hitch pin and cable lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Cheap worth

  • Versatile bike match

  • 60 lbs weight restrict

  • Simple to make use of


  • Included lock pods are plastic

  • Sits near automobile, hitch extension could also be wanted with sure autos

Runner Up Greatest Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $800
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-on, 2” model solely)
  • Receiver Sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    52lbs
  • Per Bike Weight Capability
    60lbs
  • Max Wheelbase
    50” or 1,270mm
  • Max Tire Width
    5”
  • Wheel Dimension Compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Built-in locking hitch knob and cable locks

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Simple to put in and take away

  • Simple to load bike

  • Person pleasant tilt launch

  • Included locks for rack and bikes

  • Transport wheels to roll rack


  • Reasonably costly

  • Cumbersome – takes up lots of space for storing

Greatest Hitch Bike Rack For Sturdiness

  • MSRP
    $650 (silver) or $700 (black)
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-ons)
  • Receiver sizes
    2”
  • Rack Weight
    46 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    50 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    54” or 1,371mm
  • Max tire width
    3.1” (as much as 5” with spacer equipment)
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    16” to 29”
  • Safety
    Hitch lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Tremendous sturdy all metallic building

  • Trays fold when not in use for simpler storage

  • Reasonable rack weight

  • Versatile bike match

  • No body or rim contact

  • Rated for RV, journey trailer, and off-road use


  • Wheel dimension changes require instruments

  • Loading bikes might be barely much less consumer pleasant than some related racks

  • Tilt launch might be arduous to succeed in

Greatest Swing-Away Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $770
  • Variety of Bikes
    2
  • Receiver sizes
    2”
  • Rack Weight
    62.4 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    50” or 1,270mm
  • Max tire width
    5”
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Hitch pin lock and cable lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Pivots 180 levels to permit entry to again of auto

  • Lighter weight and extra inexpensive than different racks plus swing away extension

  • Person pleasant

  • Versatile bike match


  • Solely obtainable in a 2” receiver dimension

  • Sits shut sufficient to the automobile {that a} hitch extension could also be required for handlebar clearance on some autos

  • Not appropriate with add-ons

Highest Weight Capability

  • MSRP
    $849
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-on)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    66 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    70 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    52” or 1,320mm
  • Max tire width
    3.25” (as much as 5” with Fats Bike Equipment)
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Locking SpeedKnob, built-in cable locks, welded lock loop on rack

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Powerful, overbuilt really feel

  • 70 pound weight restrict

  • Versatile bike match

  • Elective loading ramp for heavy bikes

  • Person-friendly options like distant tilt-release deal with and SpeedKnob

  • Two colour choices


  • Pretty costly

  • Giant, cumbersome dimension

  • Heavy weight

  • Tilt launch deal with can stick generally

Greatest Vertical Hanging Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $885 (5-bikes), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-bike variations
  • Variety of Bikes
    5, 6, or 7
  • Receiver sizes
    2” solely
  • Rack Weight
    89 lbs (5-bike)
  • Per bike weight capability
    55 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    n/a
  • Max tire width
    3” (as much as 5” with Fats Bike Tire Baskets)
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Locking hitch pin included, appropriate with “Built-in Locking System” (bought individually)

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • No body contact

  • Simple to load and unload bikes

  • Hydraulic damper help to decrease rack, even with bikes loaded

  • Is available in a number of variations to fit your carrying wants

  • Comes with wall mount to help rack when not in use (can be utilized to retailer bikes on wall mount)


  • Costly

  • Very massive and heavy

Greatest High Tube Hanging Hitch Bike Rack

  • MSRP
    $699
  • Variety of Bikes
    4
  • Receiver Sizes
    2″ solely
  • Rack Weight
    56 lbs
  • Per Bike Weight Capability
    40 lbs (150 lbs max)
  • Max Wheelbase
    N/A
  • Max Tire Width
    N/A
  • Wheel Dimension Compatibility
    N/A
  • Safety
    Locking SpeedKnob and built-in cable lock

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Swing-away characteristic

  • Carries as much as 4 bikes

  • Padded bike cradles

  • Zip strips are user-friendly

  • Device-free set up and elimination


  • Holds bike by the body

  • Bike on bike contact is troublesome to keep away from

  • Design is inherently much less secure than different kinds of hitch racks

  • 40 lbs per bike weight restrict

Better of the Relaxation

  • MSRP
    $849.95
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (As much as 3 with add-on, 2” receiver dimension solely)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    49 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    36” as much as 55” or 1,397mm
  • Max tire width
    3”
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Locking hitch pin and 10mm sq. hyperlink chain included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Holds bikes by tires solely, no body or wheel contact

  • Nice safety features

  • Simpler to load than some related racks

  • Simply accessible tilt-release deal with

  • Principally metallic building


  • Sits near the automobile, some might have to make use of a hitch extension

  • Pretty costly

  • MSRP
    $849 ($749 for the NV Base 2.0)
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-ons, 2” receiver dimension solely)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    56 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    50” or 1,270mm
  • Max tire width
    As much as 5” with Phat Bike Equipment
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Locking hitch pin and built-in cable locks included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Path Doc included

  • Slick appears to be like and sturdy powder coat end

  • Loading ramp accent obtainable

  • 60 lbs per bike weight restrict

  • Is available in 2 colour choices


  • No lateral tray adjustment (entrance wheel cradles regulate)

  • Comparatively costly

  • Tilt launch lever might be arduous to succeed in with bikes loaded

  • MSRP
    $749
  • Variety of Bikes
    2
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    43 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    66 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    50” or 1,270mm
  • Max tire width
    29” x 3.25” (as much as 27.5” x 4.5” with FatStrap Equipment)
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29”
  • Safety
    Cable lock – locks bikes and hitch pin

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Can carry heavy e-bikes

  • Loading ramp included

  • Reasonable 43 lbs rack weight

  • Designed to work with an enormous vary of motorbike body kinds

  • Inexpensive than different e-bike racks


  • Bike loading course of is a bit clunky

  • Tilt launch is hard to succeed in and requires 2 folks with bikes loaded

  • Holds bike by body

  • MSRP
    2-bike: $449
  • Variety of Bikes
    2 (as much as 4 with add-ons)
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    37 lbs (2” model)
  • Per bike weight capability
    2” receiver: 60 lbs, 1.25” receiver: 40 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    50” or 1,270mm
  • Max tire width
    As much as 5” with Phat Bike Equipment ($15)
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    18” to 29”
  • Safety
    Tamper-resistant hitch cam and semi-integrated cable lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Mild weight

  • Cheap worth

  • Versatile bike match

  • 60 lbs per bike weight restrict

  • Included safety features


  • Tilt-release lever might be awkward to function with bikes loaded

  • Much less refined than costlier competitors

  • Extra concerned meeting

  • No lateral bike adjustability

  • MSRP
    6-bike: $900, 4-bike: $750, 2-bike: $600
  • Variety of Bikes
    2, 4, and 6 bike variations obtainable
  • Receiver sizes
    2” (2-bike model is available in 1.25” and a pair of”)
  • Rack Weight
    6-bike: 72 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    60 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    n/a
  • Max tire width
    n/a
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    n/a
  • Safety
    None (hitch pin appropriate with 1/4″ padlocks)

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Increased weight capability than related fashions

  • Can carry as much as 6 bikes at a time

  • Adjustable peak, angle, and setback

  • Folds in half for storage

  • Sturdy all metallic building


  • Solely works with bikes with suspension forks

  • Fork cradles can harm paint over time

  • Heavy

  • MSRP
    $629
  • Variety of Bikes
    2
  • Receiver sizes
    1.25” and a pair of”
  • Rack Weight
    32 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    40 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    47” or 1,194mm
  • Max tire width
    3”
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    20” to 29” (20” to 24” require adapter)
  • Safety
    Hitch pin lock and cable lock included

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Light-weight

  • Smooth design and appears

  • Accessible in 3 colour choices

  • Comparatively smaller total dimension


  • Decrease per bike weight restrict

  • Restricted wheelbase size

  • No lateral tray adjustability

  • MSRP
    6-bike: $999, 4-bike: $799,
  • Variety of Bikes
    4 and 6 bike variations obtainable
  • Receiver sizes
    2” solely
  • Rack Weight
    6-bike: 73 lbs, 4-bike: 65 lbs
  • Per bike weight capability
    37.5 lbs
  • Max wheelbase
    n/a
  • Max tire width
    n/a
  • Wheel dimension compatibility
    n/a
  • Safety
    Locking hitch pin and welded lock loop

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023


  • Can carry as much as 4 or 6 bikes

  • Tilt perform for rear of auto entry

  • Extensively obtainable

  • Adjustable mast peak and tilt angle


  • 37.5 lbs weight restrict

  • Solely works with mountain bikes with suspension forks

  • Heavy and ponderous – troublesome to retailer

Hitch Bike Racks Comparability Chart

Hitch Bike Rack MSRP Variety of Bikes Per Bike Weight Capability Hitch Dimension Choices Safety Options
Kuat Piston Professional X $1,389 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 67 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Hitch pin lock and 12mm metal cable lock
Rocky Mounts MonoRail $500 2 (as much as 3 with add-ons) 60 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Hitch pin lock and cable lock
Thule T2 Professional XTR $800 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 60 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Locking hitch knob and built-in cable locks
1Up USA 2″ Heavy Obligation Double $650 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 50 lbs 2″ Hitch pin lock
Rocky Mounts BackStage  $770 2 60 lbs 2″ Hitch pin lock and cable lock
Yakima StageTwo $849 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 70 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Locking SpeedKnob and built-in cable locks
VelociRAX $885 (5-bike) 5 (additionally 3, 4, 6, and seven bikes) 55 lbs (230 lbs max) 2″ Hitch pin lock
Yakima FullSwing $699 4 40 lbs (150 lbs max) 2″ Locking SpeedKnob and built-in cable lock
Rocky Mounts GuideRail $850 2 (as much as 3 with add-ons) 60 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Hitch pin lock and 10mm sq. hyperlink chain
Kuat NV 2.0 $849 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 60 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Hitch pin lock and built-in cable locks
Yakima OnRamp $799 2 66 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Cable lock
Kuat Switch V2 $449 2 (as much as 4 with add-ons) 60 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Tamper-resistant hitch tightener and cable lock
North Shore Racks $900 (6-bike) 6 (additionally 2 and 4 bikes) 60 lbs (300 lbs max – 6-bike) 2″ None
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 $629 2 40 lbs 1.25″ and a pair of″ Hitch pin lock and cable lock
Yakima HangOver $999 (6-bike) 6 (additionally 4-bike model) 37.5 lbs 2″ Hitch pin lock

Testing hitch bike racks within the Nevada desert. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Why Ought to You Belief Bikerumor?

The group at Bikerumor is obsessive about all issues biking. We experience for work, enjoyable, health, coaching, racing, and commuting. We don’t simply write about bikes, they’re a driving drive in our on a regular basis lives. Such as you, we frequently use our autos to move ourselves and our valuable bicycles, and hitch-mounted bike racks are our favourite manner to take action. 

For over a decade, we’ve been testing the newest bikes, applied sciences, parts, and equipment, together with bike racks. In that point, we’ve gotten our arms on nearly each bike rack available on the market whether or not for testing and assessment or private use. We’re at all times looking for the very best, most secure, and most safe approach to transport our bikes to the trailhead, for a weekend getaway, or to the subsequent race.

Our editors have been testing biking gear for years and have developed a eager sense of what makes an amazing product. Every rack featured right here has been completely used and examined by one or a number of members of our employees to tease out the customarily refined efficiency variations that separate the nice from the very best. In reality, many of those fashions are our private racks which have seen a number of years of heavy use and abuse. Relaxation assured, we’ve got our fingers on the heartbeat, and as new fashions hit the market, we’ll take a look at these too, and hold this assessment as up-to-date as potential. We’re dedicated to serving to you discover the proper rack to fulfill your wants and funds.

Hitch Bike Rack Purchaser’s Information

There are lots of kinds of motorbike racks available on the market, however we really feel that hitch-mount racks are one of the best ways to move your bikes. Hitch racks are available a number of kinds, nonetheless, so that you’ll want to find out which is the best choice for the bikes you personal and the automobile you’ll apply it to. Right here we break down the principle variations between tray racks, vertical hanging racks, and prime tube hanging racks, in addition to different vital issues to contemplate when buying a hitch rack. 

Kinds of Hitch Mount Bike Racks

There are benefits and drawbacks to every sort of rack. Right here we’ll clarify the variations together with the professionals and cons related to every type.

Tray racks help the bike on trays, or platforms, and sometimes are available 2-bike variations with many offering the choice to broaden capability with add-ons. (photograph: Steve Graepel)

Tray or Platform Hitch Bike Racks

As a rule, we select the tray or platform type rack over the others on account of their ease of use and bike attachment strategies. The bike’s tires relaxation on a tray or platform with arms that sometimes clamp down on the entrance wheel whereas the rear wheel is strapped into place. Some fashions use arms to seize each the entrance and rear wheels. Tray racks are essentially the most secure and safe. Some fashions permit for left-right changes so you possibly can keep away from handlebar-to-seat interference between bikes. Severe cyclists sometimes select tray racks as a result of most designs maintain the bike with none body contact, serving to to maintain your experience in pristine situation.

PROS: Good tray racks sometimes maintain bikes with no body contact in order that they received’t scratch or rub on the paint. Additionally they are likely to have more room between bikes, making it simpler to load larger bikes and fatter tires. They’re very versatile and most can maintain a variety of wheel sizes, tire widths, and kinds of bikes. Some have excessive weight limits making them appropriate for transporting heavy e-bikes. Low loading heights imply you don’t need to raise your bikes that top to get them on the rack.

CONS: Most tray racks can solely match 2 bikes (some can max out at 4 with add-ons). They’re usually fairly costly, and including a 2-bike extension to a 2-bike rack will increase the fee much more. Tray racks are sometimes massive and heavy, making storage more durable in case you don’t simply go away them in your automobile.

Vertical Hanging racks carry bikes vertically, holding them by the entrance wheel, fork crown, or handlebar. (photograph: 1Up-USA)

Vertical Hanging Hitch Bike Racks

What was as soon as a really area of interest type of rack is changing into extra widespread as extra manufacturers have began making racks that hold the bikes vertically. Historically, vertical hanging hitch racks have been generally used for shuttling mountain bikes. Earlier fashions held bikes by the crown of a suspension fork. Extra lately, this type of rack has turn into extra versatile. Some new fashions characteristic angled wheel baskets/trays that seize the entrance wheel whereas others help them by the handlebar. Vertical hanging racks might be among the best to load, though it should be executed in a particular order. Most fashions are provided in a number of variations with carrying capacities sometimes various between 4 to six bikes. 

PROS: Able to carrying plenty of bikes. Comparatively fast and simple to load bikes. Usually no body contact. 

CONS: Cumbersome and really heavy. Troublesome to maneuver round and retailer when not in use. Bikes should be loaded and unloaded so as. Some designs are solely able to carrying mountain bikes with suspension forks. Most solely are available a 2” receiver dimension.

High Tube Hold racks help bikes by the highest tube of the body on two help arms. Body contact is assured, and bike-on-bike contact may be very arduous to keep away from. (photograph: Zach Overholt)

High Tube Hanging Hitch Bike Racks

High tube hanging bike racks sometimes maintain your bike’s body by hanging the highest tube throughout two arms that stretch out from its help beam. You merely slide your bike over these arms, relaxation it on them, then strap it into place. Higher fashions have cradles and rubber or ratcheting ladder straps in addition to some technique of stopping your bikes from swaying forwards and backwards. These racks are available varied sizes with carrying capacities ranging between 2 and 5 bikes. At Bikerumor, we personal and experience bikes that we care about, so that is our least favourite approach to transport bikes because of the inherent downsides of the highest tube hold design.

PROS: Inexpensive, simpler to retailer (particularly if the arms fold down), lighter weight.

CONS: Helps the bikes by the body and may harm the paint. Bikes usually make contact with one another. Non-traditional body shapes (like step-through frames), actually small (child’s) bikes, or full suspension mountain bikes might be arduous to suit, correctly safe, or require an adapter. Hanging racks are nowhere close to as secure or safe as a tray rack. Decrease weight limits.

Product Concerns

Tray vs. Vertical Hold vs. High Tube Hold: Which is the very best?

Selecting the best type of rack will rely upon a number of elements together with what number of and what sort of bikes you’ll want to carry, how usually you propose to make use of it, and the way a lot you’re prepared to spend. As a rule, we go for tray racks or vertical hanging racks as they’re the simplest to load, most secure and safe, and are much less more likely to harm the paint in your body. These are usually the costliest choices, nonetheless, so they might not make monetary sense for these on a funds or much less frequent rack customers. High tube hanging racks is perhaps a greater choice for many who solely use a motorbike rack often or are much less involved with the looks of their bike’s body. 

Vertical hold racks have the best capability, however they might not work for every type of bikes relying on the way in which they help them. (photograph: North Shore Racks)

How Many Bikes Do You Want To Carry?

It could appear apparent, however the variety of bikes you propose to hold when purchasing for a motorbike rack. Many racks might be bought in various sizes/carrying capacities or extensions might be added on to deal with extra bikes. 

Most tray racks include area for 2 bikes, though some are provided in single or three bike configurations. Many producers supply add-ons for tray racks (relying on the mannequin) that may broaden capability by one or two bikes. Tray rack add-ons can add considerably to the price of your rack system.

Vertical hanging racks are sometimes provided in a number of sizes, often between 4 and 6 bikes. Whereas the upfront price of vertical hanging racks is substantial, it finally ends up being probably the most cost-effective methods to move 4 to six bikes (some manufacturers go as much as 7) aside from a tailgate pad. 

High tube hanging racks are provided in varied sizes ranging between 2 and 5 bikes. 

How A lot Do Your Bikes Weigh?

The appearance of and proliferation of electrical bikes has made weight capability a typical concern for these wanting into a brand new bike rack buy. Not all racks are created equal on this regard, so weight limits ought to be thought-about primarily based on the bikes you propose to hold. With many e-MTBs and electrical bikes weighing within the neighborhood of fifty to 60 lbs, and generally extra, rack producers have been designing racks to deal with this new breed of bicycles. In case you are planning to move heavy e-bikes, you will need to get a rack that meets or exceeds the burden of your bikes for security. It ought to be famous that some racks are rated for RV and off-road use, though the burden limits sometimes drop down barely in these functions.

Loading Heavy Bikes

Heavyweight electrical bikes are tougher to load, so some producers have responded with rack designs and equipment to assist make it simpler. Lifting a 60 lb bike up and into place on a tray rack is awkward and will even be inconceivable for these with restricted power or mobility. Many manufacturers now supply loading ramps that may be bought to permit customers to roll bikes up onto the trays of sure racks. A choose few racks even include this accent included.

Loading ramps have gotten extra widespread. Some racks just like the Yakima OnRamp include them, whereas others have appropriate ramps provided as an aftermarket buy. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Bike Attachment Concerns

Relying on the kind of bikes you may have and the way a lot you care about your body’s end, the way in which a rack secures the bike could also be an vital consideration. Fashionable carbon fiber and aluminum bikes might be very costly, so the very last thing most individuals wish to do is harm the paint or body materials whereas transporting their valuable rides. For that reason, prime tube hanging racks ought to typically be averted by these with costly carbon bikes since they carry bikes by the body. Restricted area between bikes additionally makes bike-on-bike contact troublesome to keep away from.

Tray racks just like the 1Up USA Heavy Obligation Double have twin clamp arms that solely make contact together with your tires. (photograph: Fred Stamm)
Tray Racks

Most tray racks, however not all, keep away from body contact by securing the bike with both a entrance wheel clamp and rear wheel ladder strap, or with twin clamp arms that sandwich the bike from each ends. Entrance wheel clamping fashions such because the Thule T2 Professional XTR, Rocky Mounts MonoRail, Kuat NV 2.0, and Yakima StageTwo have hook-shaped ratcheting arms that lock the entrance wheel down and a strap that holds the rear wheel tight in opposition to the tray. These fashions keep away from body contact, but it surely ought to be famous that the entrance wheel hook can probably make contact with the fork and go away abrasion marks over time, and the rear wheel strap can go away some minor scuffing in your rear rim. Twin clamp fashions just like the 1Up-USA Heavy Obligation Double, Kuat Piston Professional X, and Rocky Mounts GuideRail, maintain bikes by the tires, making it simple to keep away from any undesirable body, fork, and even rim contact.

Vertical Hanging Racks

Vertical hanging racks fluctuate in the way in which they maintain bikes, with choices that help bikes by the fork’s crown, entrance wheel, or handlebar. Fashions with entrance wheel baskets/cradles, just like the VelociRAX, make the least quantity of contact with the bike as they often solely contact the entrance tire and have straps that maintain each the entrance and rear wheels in place. Racks that carry bikes by the fork crown, just like the North Shore Racks and Yakima HangOver, have padded cradles that make direct contact with each the crown of your suspension fork and the underside of the top tube and have the potential to trigger abrasion marks in these areas. Vertical racks that help bikes by the handlebar are a bit extra versatile than the fork-carry fashions, however additionally they have the potential to trigger minor abrasion harm to your handlebar’s end.

Some vertical racks maintain bikes by the fork with the potential to break paint over time. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

What Form of Bikes Do You Have?

Together with the quantity and weight of the bikes you’ll want to transport is the kinds of bikes you may have. Whereas hitch racks are extremely versatile when it comes to bike match, not all will work with each bike. Some racks are designed to work with nearly any bike on the market and may help an enormous vary of wheel sizes, tire widths, and wheelbase lengths, whereas others are extra restricted. It is very important contemplate these elements when looking for the rack that most closely fits your wants and the bikes you’ll be transporting.

The character of tray rack designs means they’re among the many most versatile when it comes to bike match. Most work with various wheel sizes and tires starting from skinny highway bikes to mountain bike treads. Many fashions can match as much as 5-inch extensive fatties, though some require fats bike kits. A limiting issue for some tray racks is wheelbase size, so select correctly in case you have an excellent lengthy downhill or enduro bikes.

Vertical hanging racks fluctuate of their versatility relying on how they help the bike. Some fashions maintain the bike by the crown of the fork and solely work with mountain bikes with suspension forks. Fashions that use entrance wheel baskets or hold the bike by the handlebars work with a better number of bikes, together with these with inflexible forks or drop handlebars.

High tube hanging racks are the least versatile because of the manner by which they help the bikes. Grownup dimension frames with straight prime tubes work the very best. Curved tubes, small frames, or full suspension bikes could also be troublesome or inconceivable to place correctly over the help arms. Most manufacturers make adapters to hold non-compatible frames.

Hitch receivers are available both 1.25″ or 2″ (pictured). Getting a rack that matches your receiver is a crucial piece of the rack puzzle. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

What Dimension Is Your Hitch Receiver?

When ordering a motorbike rack, it’s essential to get one which matches the scale of the receiver in your automobile. Many autos, however definitely not all, include hitch receivers put in, so remember to double-check the scale. Will probably be both the bigger 2” or the smaller 1.25”. Can’t inform simply by wanting? Merely measure the width of the receiver opening to search out the scale. When you don’t have already got one, it’s potential to get one put in on most autos. Native auto outlets or U-haul areas can sometimes maintain it for you. In lots of circumstances, it is usually potential to do it your self, and trailer hitch kits can sometimes be discovered on-line to suit your yr, make, and mannequin of auto.

If getting a trailer hitch put in, the two” dimension is our advice as it’s typically stronger and may help extra weight. This makes it higher for transporting tray racks with add-ons, racks with swing-away attachments, or vertical hanging racks. The 1.25” dimension additionally works properly sufficient, however the weight score is mostly a bit decrease and a few racks are solely provided within the 2” dimension. Adapters can be found to go between the 2 sizes, and a few racks even include adjustable receiver ends that may be switched between them.

Tilt options are pretty commonplace and mean you can open truck tailgates or the rear doorways of wagons, hatchbacks, and SUVs. (photograph: Steve Graepel)

Swing Away and Tilt Options

Most high quality tray racks have a tilt perform so you possibly can fold it up when not in use, flat for transporting bikes, and tilt it down and away to entry the rear of the automobile. Some racks have handy tilt-release handles or foot pedals and might be tilted down even with bikes on the rack. Others have much less user-friendly launch mechanisms that require you to succeed in underneath or round loaded bikes to tilt the rack. Most vertical and prime tube hanging racks even have tilt options for simpler entry to the rear of the automobile.

Individuals who have camper vans, cabover campers, or just need extensive open entry to the again of the automobile ought to contemplate racks that swing away or including a swing away/pivoting attachment to the rack of your alternative. This permits the whole rack to pivot out and to the aspect, making it simpler to open massive doorways or just take pleasure in unrestricted entry to your trunk (boot), truck mattress, or camper. A choose few racks include this characteristic constructed into the design, however most main producers additionally make swing-away attachments. These attachments are sometimes solely obtainable within the 2” receiver dimension for racks that even have 2” receiver ends.

Swing-away racks permit for simpler entry to the rear of your automobile. Attachments just like the 1Up RakAttach might be added to your present rack, and the RockyMounts Backstage comes with the pivoting characteristic as a part of the design. (photograph: Zach Overholt)

Car Clearance

The clearance between the rack, bikes, and your automobile is worthy of consideration. No one desires to have their rear window damaged by their handlebar whereas in transit or have to loosen and switch their handlebar each time they load a motorbike on the within tray. Some trailer hitches are mounted additional beneath the automobile, making the rack itself sit nearer to the rear bumper. Further elements just like the type of auto and the design of the bumper and rear door additionally play a job. Some racks play good with nearly any automobile whereas others can have a tighter match that may trigger contact between handlebars and rear home windows or doorways. That is most typical with tray racks and autos with vertical rear doorways like campervans that may be extra problematic on this regard in comparison with these with sloping rear ends like station wagons and hatchbacks.

Most rack producers present technical specs or match guides on their web sites for reference. This hyperlink to Kuat’s Piston Professional X Match Information is an efficient instance that offers you all of the measurements you want for that particular rack. Evaluating your measurements to the rack’s specs ought to offer you an thought of whether or not or not a rack will match. Nonetheless, that doesn’t at all times clear up the handlebar clearance concern, though that’s typically most prevalent with vertical rear doorways. In some circumstances, it might be essential to get a hitch extension to attain the correct clearance to your automobile. Fortuitously, most manufacturers supply hitch extensions as an aftermarket accent, a few of which additionally elevate and decrease the peak of the rack. Vertical hanging racks often have fewer clearance points as they sometimes have an angle adjustment to place it correctly to keep away from any interference with the rear of the automobile.

The place of the trailer hitch and the form of the bumper on this Subaru Outback makes for a decent however workable match with the RockyMounts GuideRail. (photograph: Ron Frazelle)

Safety

Bikes might be very costly, so protecting them secure is a precedence for many customers. The very last thing anybody desires is to cease for a fast errand and discover their bike(s) stolen once they return. Many racks, however not all, include included safety features like cable locks built-in or semi-integrated into their design. Whereas these options are undoubtedly significantly better than nothing, they’re sometimes little greater than a theft deterrent. We at all times suggest including a beefy aftermarket lock to your rack for an added layer of safety and peace of thoughts.

Racks are additionally pretty costly, so protecting them secure and safe can be essential. Fortuitously, most hitch racks include hitch pin locks or locking knobs to safe them to the automobile. Some require using particular safety allen keys to tighten or loosen them on the hitch. Hitch pin locks are pretty cheap, and an amazing addition to any rack that doesn’t already include one.

Included safety features like locking hitch pins and cable locks are at all times appreciated. Some rack’s safety features are extra strong than others, and we at all times suggest including a tricky aftermarket lock to maintain your bikes secure. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Meeting

Once you buy a hitch bike rack from a brick-and-mortar retailer, they may sometimes assemble the rack for you and probably even show you how to set up it in your automobile. Once you buy a rack on-line, it often arrives at your private home in a big field with some meeting required to organize it to be used. The meeting course of varies between fashions and a few are extra concerned than others, however typically, it isn’t too troublesome. Most fashions include detailed directions and the instruments wanted to finish the steps within the course of. Typically you’ll find an educational meeting video (or scan a QR code) in case you favor to see it executed. We suggest following the directions precisely for the simplest and most streamlined meeting.

Most racks, just like the Thule T2 Professional XTR pictured right here, are delivered in a number of items with some meeting required to get them prepared to be used. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Storage

Whereas many individuals will select to go away their hitch rack on their autos always, most individuals will take it off seasonally or once they aren’t planning to make use of it for an prolonged interval. You’ll want someplace to maintain it, and most hitch racks are pretty cumbersome and take up a good quantity of area in your storage, shed, or storage location. That is very true of most vertical hanging and tray fashions, though a couple of collapse to a smaller dimension to make storing them extra handy. Some corporations make wall-mountable hitch docks that may maintain your rack up off the bottom to maintain issues tidier. High tube hanging racks are usually the simplest to retailer given their narrower collapsed dimensions.

Hitch racks might be large and ponderous, so storing them when not in use is definitely a consideration, particularly for these quick on area. (photograph: Jeremy Benson)

Worth

There’s no denying that hitch bike racks are costly. Costs have been steadily growing and the highest-end fashions now prime $1,000. Except you’re rolling in disposable revenue, that’s a tricky capsule to swallow for most individuals. Positive, costlier racks sometimes have fancy options and high-end finishes, however most individuals don’t want to spend that a lot to get a rack that will get the job executed.

Realistically, the least costly fashions we examined work practically in addition to the high-priced choices. All of them work higher than no rack in any respect. After all, the value of some racks goes manner up when you’ll want to add capability. Tray racks get way more costly while you issue add-ons into the equation. These needing to hold many bikes without delay could be sensible to take a look at the vertical hanging choices. Whereas the upfront price is pretty excessive, they price lower than some racks with add-ons for carrying 4 or extra bikes at a time.

Steadily Requested Questions About Hitch Bike Racks

There are a selection of causes to decide on a hitch rack over a trunk or roof rack. First, aside from touching the hitch receiver, the rack itself doesn’t make contact together with your automobile (until used incorrectly). Trunk racks may cause harm to your automobile’s paint whereas roof racks should be connected to your manufacturing facility roof bars or require aftermarket bars connected to the automobile. 

Hitch racks even have a low loading peak and less complicated loading course of that makes them extra user-friendly. For tray racks, you solely have to raise the bike wheels as excessive because the tray. Roof racks require you to raise your bike to the peak of the roof and loading them might be awkward. Trunk racks require you to raise the bikes to the peak of the help arms.

Hitch racks are versatile when it comes to bike match, and most can deal with all kinds of wheel sizes, tire widths, body shapes, and wheelbase lengths. Hitch racks are higher to your bikes as they sometimes hold them from contacting each other or your automobile when in transit. You additionally received’t run the danger of by accident driving into the storage together with your bike on the roof of your automobile and probably damaging your bike, automobile, and residential all on the similar time.

It actually depends upon your wants. The very best rack would be the one which carries the quantity and kind of bikes that you’ve, suits your automobile, and suits your funds. Doing plenty of mountain bike shuttles? Look into the vertical hanging fashions. Solely carrying one or two bikes at a time? The tray racks are your greatest guess. Must haul heavy e-bikes? Try the racks with a excessive weight capability and compatibility with a loading ramp (and get the loading ramp). When you’re quick on space for storing, decide one which folds down small or isn’t too heavy. There are sufficient choices that you must be capable of discover one which fits your wants.

Due to all that testing, plus premium supplies, respectable engineering and design, and extra. Right here’s the deal: We’ve examined some pre-production racks earlier than and located points, so these name-brand manufacturers push again the discharge date and repair the issues. If manufacturers which can be skilled in making hitch racks don’t at all times get it proper on the primary attempt, would you belief that no-name online-only manufacturers will? We wouldn’t.

Would you like your bikes to reach safely on the similar vacation spot as you? If sure, then know that all the manufacturers listed right here extensively take a look at their racks for power, sturdiness, and longevity. They take a look at the coatings and {hardware} in opposition to highway salt and different corrosive components. They undergo rigorous assessments within the lab and out within the wild. We’ve toured a few of their headquarters and seen the testing firsthand. It’s unlikely you’ll put these racks by the identical torture, but it surely’s good to know they will take it.

After all, you possibly can go away your hitch rack in your automotive on a regular basis but it surely relies upon the place you reside and the way a lot you utilize it. A few of us go away our racks on the automotive year-round with out concern. These racks see lots of rain, cross-country highway journeys, and bake within the solar, they usually’re high quality. That stated, in case you reside someplace it snows rather a lot within the winter otherwise you’re not utilizing it for months at a time, it’s most likely higher to take it off and hold it clear and dry slightly than topic it to pointless abuse.

Most of those racks use an aluminum body, however the {hardware} and hitch beam are often metal. So, use your judgment. If the whole lot else metallic is rusting round you from salt air or highway spray, you must most likely hose it off and retailer it someplace dry when not in use.

When you don’t have already got a trailer hitch in your automotive, we suggest going with a 2″ dimension if potential. Some smaller vehicles will solely discover 1-1/4″ hitches obtainable as a result of producers assume you received’t be towing larger, heavier masses, in order that they don’t supply 2″ hitches for a lot of compact vehicles.

When you plan on including any extensions to your rack and carrying greater than two bikes, you’ll want a 2″ hitch to deal with that weight. You’ll additionally want a 2″ hitch in case you plan on including a swing-away adapter or anything that extends or expands your carrying capability.

In North America, U-Haul is among the predominant locations that individuals go to get a trailer hitch put in. They will do the wiring harness too in case you want it. In any other case, you possibly can most likely discover a native mechanic who will fortunately set up one for you. When you’re the DIY sort, kits can be found on-line for practically each make and mannequin of auto which you can set up your self.

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