If you are a serious rider and want to bring your hobby with you across the country, you probably have anticipated buying a hitch mount bike rack.
Even if you are not one of those serious riders and merely have a family full of bicyclists, there is still a reason to keep reading.
Trailer hitch bike racks are the best way to move all of your bicycles far distances to where you need them to be. Hitch mount bike racks offer various benefits, not the least of which is superb and safe carrying capabilities.
What I cover in this article:
- Top picks for the best hitch mount bike racks.
- What is a hitch bike rack?
- Why hitch mount is better
- The different styles of hitch mount racks
- How to pick the right one for you
Choosing the right model can be a challenging task, but in the long run, it’s well worth the effort. Read on for our top picks of the best hitch racks out there.
Top 7 Best Bike Racks Reviewed
1. MAXXHAUL 50027 Hitch Mount 2-Bike Rack…click image to see more on Amazon After examining 10 bike racks, I am convinced that the MAXXHAUL 50027 is the best choice for my entire house. It’s pricey, but with everything it can do, I think it’s worth the price.
MAXXHAUL 50027 Hitch Platform Bike Carrier Style 2 Two foam to secure and stabilize bikes in the carrier without scratching the finish of the bikes. Includes padded hooks. The hooks and tire cradle fit most bike frames with wheel sizes from 20-26.
The upright post can be quickly removed for compact storage. Maximum load capacity: 80 lbs. or 40 lbs. per unit. Unique hook design adjustment with quick-release knob accommodates different size bicycle frames for safety and reliability.
The MaxxHaul brand makes professional bike racks that are built to last, and this model is no exception.See more on Amazon…
2. Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack…click image to see more on Amazon It is one of the best bike racks made on the market today.
Deluxe saddle for 4 hook-up bikes
Carry your bikes safely with this sturdy, easy-to-use rack.
For road trips and camping outings, the Allen Hitch for up to four bikes is perfect for your bikes because the hitch insert that fits the 2″ receiver hook is easy to handle and super secure. Simply attach to the hitch and use the cradle attachment system to secure and protect your bikes individually.
The carrying arm fits a variety of frame sizes and designs, so you can carry a child’s mountain bike or an adult’s road bike with ease. The stand also tilts back for easy access to the lift door and folds completely when not in use, so there is no need to remove the bike to access the bed of a truck or SUV. It also features a non-moving bolt to prevent the carrier from moving in the hitch.
It is quick to assemble and easy to install. With only three bolts to mount your deluxe Allen hitch frame, your frame will be out of the box and on the road in minutes.See more on Amazon…
3. Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack…click image to see more on Amazon It is one impressive rack.
The auto-attach knob is easy to mount and remove and has a locking cylinder. The HitchSwitch lever allows for easy access to the rack.
Folds compactly unused or for storage. Tilts away from the vehicle’s rear when access is needed. The free-standing ratchet arm easily secures the bike without touching the frame and fits 20 to 29 inches wheels and 5 inches tires.
The cycle mount can be left or right to create more room between cycles with minimal interference (up to 197mm wheelbase). The integrated 24″ cable lock secures the bike to the bracket and retracts while not in use.
Bring 4 bikes with Thule T2 Pro XT add-on (compatible with 2″ receivers only, sold separately).See more on Amazon…
4. Saris Superclamp Bike Hitch Rack Mount…click image to see more on Amazon Saris is a very popular and reliable brand, so if you’re looking for a well-built bike rack, this is a good choice.
A travel rack made for your bike! The SuperClamp is your new BFF with its solid construction, eye-catching style, and lightweight design. This lightweight but strong platform mount is always on target. If you’re holding eBikes, rough mountain bikes, useful TT equipment, or a variety of bikes, the SuperClamp’s double hooks will never touch your bike frame, making sure your bikes are safe to ride. Thanks to the SuperClamp’s tilt feature, you don’t need to lower the bike anymore to release the dog from behind. All you have to do is lean and release the puppy. Plus, with integrated locks, built-in bottle opener, and head-turning reflectors, the SuperClamp proves you can have and eat your cake too. Five bike and cargo options are available.See more on Amazon…
5. Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack…click image to see more on Amazon If you are looking for impeccable craftsmanship that is perfect for your hitch, then Swagman is your brand. This bike carrier provides a stress-free way to transport your bikes. Each bike is secured at both wheels and the frame providing a more stable and safe ride. It easily transports up to 2 bikes and is compatible with 1-1/4″ and 2″ receiver hitch. The maximum weight capacity is 35Ibs per bike and fits 20″ to 29″ tire sizes. It has a maximum carrying capacity of 35 lbs per bike. It folds easily into a compact mode so that you can conveniently store it when done using it. It can fit 20″ -29″ wheel sizes and has a built-in anti-wobble hitch device to keep bikes in place. It is available in sizes 1/2″ to 1/3″ and 1/4″, 1/5″ to 2″ and weighs 32 lbs.See more on Amazon…
6. KAC Overdrive Sports 2-Bike Carrier…click image to see more on Amazon
In order to protect bicycles of all shapes and sizes, this bike rack has comfortable and protected features. Fast for installation and adjustment. Much of the pieces are pre-assembled. The KAC will carry it down to the carrier for a 1-bike. Works with many vehicle and bicycle types.
Ideal for bikes with tire fenders – bikes are fixed with top frame hooks that are cushioned. Tires up to 5 are covered by heavy-duty wheel trays. Wheel belts offer additional protection on the carrier for bikes. Powder-coated steel tubing. Supports up to 60 lbs. each of two cycles.See more on Amazon…
7. BV 2-Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack Carrier…click image to see more on Amazon
The BV bike mount is ideal for moving bikes. The rearward tilting configuration allows you to open the rear door without loosening the hitch bracket.
The three-point hitch system secures each bike with two tray-type arms at the bottom and one vertical arm at the top. This prevents the bike from moving.
With the BV Bike Carrier Attachment Bracket, you can carry your bike anywhere you want.
This bracket provides a patented two-way anti-roll mechanism that prevents rocking between the bracket and the hitch.
Not only does it keep your bike safe, but the padded arms also protect your bike from scratches.
Maximum weight per unit is 35 lbs. Fits 1.25″ x 1.25″ and 2″ x 2″ hitch receivers (with 2″ adapter); 4-Bike models fit 2″ x 2″ hook-up receivers only.
The tilt-back configuration allows the rear door to be opened without loosening the hitch bracket. The frame can be bent when not in use. Smart space-saving concept.
This rack is equipped with rear safety reflectors to improve visibility and ensure safe driving at night.See more on Amazon…
What is a Hitch Bike Rack?
So a hitch bike rack is a device that you can attach to your car to lug around your bikes.
Typically these are somewhat heavy devices that can handle anywhere from one to four bicycles. A few top of the line brands set themselves apart from the rest and then a bunch of other options that sort of blend together.
Are hitch mount bike racks the only kind of bike rack available? Nope. You can also buy roof-mounted, trunk-mounted, or hatch mounted bike racks, but because of the disadvantages of the others, I favor the hitch mount, the exception being the Toyota Prius.
Attaching or removing a hitch-mounted rack is incredibly simple and faster than the other options. To install, slide the connecting point of the frame into the hitch receiver on the car. Then secure the rack from sliding back out with the hitch pin or hitch lock, and it’s installed. All finished with using the bike rack? Removing it when not needed is just as fast.
Hitch bike racks are an aerodynamic option.
Putting your bikes behind your vehicle, instead of on the top, will help prevent unnecessary drag on your car while driving. This helps maintain fuel economy and keeps you paying less at the pump.
Hitch racks are sturdy.
Compared to the other rear of the car racks, hitch bike racks attach more securely. They do not rely on tightened straps and clips to keep the frame on or keep the bikes level. With hitch mount bicycle racks, steel not adjustable fiber straps keep it securely attached. No matter how much of the bike weight shifts to one side or the other or how bumpy the ride, the rack does not loosen or tilt. Your bikes stay balanced and firmly attached.
Less likely to cause damage.
Trunk and hatch bike racks are in tight physical contact with your car’s painted surface and tend to shift on longer drives. Usually, the only protection from the steel tube and your vehicle is a foam tube. As the rack shifts, the foam can move down the tube and around the bend. Now you have tight metal on paint grinding away with great force and vibration as you drive down the road. I speak from experience as this happened to me, and I ended up with deep grooves carved into the back of my hatchback.
Roof-mounted racks also present a clearance danger that hitch racks do not. It’s an out of sight, out of mind issue. On a long drive, you can forget that your bikes are up there. Not paying attention to the clearance on a drive-thru or driving under low hanging tree limbs could severely damage the bike, the bike rack, and even the roof of your car. Also, with roof-mounted racks, imagine a bike slipping out of your hands while loading or unloading it while it’s above the top of your vehicle.
What Styles of Hitch Racks Are There?
If you think that a hitch bicycle rack may be the right option for you, you will need to distinguish between different hitch options.
The two most popular hitch racks are the ‘Arm Support’ and ‘Tray Style’ mounts. Let’s look into which one might be right for you!
Arm Support Style Hitch Mounts
Arm support styles usually secure the bike by placing the bikes top tube of the frame over the rack’s arms and then securing it with clamps or straps.
Some models can swing out for easy loading and unloading of hatches and trunks while keeping the bikes, and bike rack mounted. The disadvantage to the arm style is that if you are trying to only remove a single bike on a rack with multiple bikes, you may have to remove other bikes that are further from the vehicle first.
Tray Style Hitch Mounts
In the tray-style hitch mount, it supports your bike from the bottom. You set your wheels in the grooves or rings, and it usually secures the bike in place by clamps over the top of the wheels or going through the bottom of the wheels. This hitch rack style is popular because it will hold basically any style of bike regardless of frame geometry. It is also popular because other than touching the wheels or tires, little to no contact is on the bike itself. Plus, you can often remove the cycle closer to the vehicle with a tray-style without removing all others first.
How Can I Pick a Rack?
So now that you are finally committed to getting a hitch bike rack, it is time to delve into the technical details. As you probably understand, not all bikes and cars are made equally. This can create a bit of a headache when trying to decide which rack to purchase.
You should be able to look in your car manual or on a dealership’s website to find out this information or measure it if you are not sure. Most receivers are either 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ or 2″ x 2″. If your hitch is this size, you shouldn’t have an issue, most bike racks are specified to those sizes. If you really find a bike rack that you like but your car does not have the correct size receiver, in most cases you can buy a hitch adapter to overcome the issue.
Do you have a rear-mounted tire?
There will be a mounted tire on the back of their vehicle for many jeeps and sporty cars. This tire gets in the way of the hitch and will cause you to need a longer shank for the bike to clear the distance.
There are a lot more great bike racks available, but we touched upon the major ones. When you decide to buy a bike rack you are buying a whole new style of life. This bike rack will give you the room to transport your bikes anywhere you please. That sort of freedom will lead you to hit up trails, paths, and cities that you would never have biked before. Before purchasing a bike rack, be sure to consult our guide to brush up on your knowledge. Happy riding!