12 Best Hitch Mount Bike Racks Right Now – Bicycling

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The latest generation of hitch racks makes it easier than ever to transport your bike without the hassle of wrestling it into your car. These racks are designed to haul your pedaled possessions without a rattle and make loading and unloading your bike easy. Our rack picks vary by mounting position, actuation of the rack for trunk access, and the number of bikes they carry, but all are dependable options for your next two-wheeled adventure.

Best Hitch Bike Racks

Type Of Hitch Bike Racks

Hitch racks fit into your vehicle’s receiver tube and come in three basic styles: hanging, tray, and vertical.

Hanging racks hold your bike cradling its top tube and downtube on horizontal bars. These racks usually cost less and weigh less than tray and vertical racks, but do not hold bikes as securely and have limited carrying capacity. Many contemporary mountain bikes and aero road bikes cannot fit properly on these racks. Unless your budget is tight, Bicycling editors recommend tray or vertical racks for the best bike compatibility and ease of use.

Tray-type racks use a series of trays into which you rest your bike’s tires and are the go-to choice for most buyers. These racks either swing out of the way or fold down for trunk or lift-gate access. Tray-style racks (like the Kuat Sherpa 2.0) typically are heavier but accommodate mountain bikes better than hanging racks, which secure a bike by its top tube. Per-bike weight limits vary between 35 and 70 pounds, and all of our picks fit 1.25- and 2-inch receivers (except the Yakima Holdup Evo 2, which fits 2-inch tubes only).

Vertical racks are a newer style design and are most often used for transporting mountain bikes. These racks often fit up to six (or even seven) bikes in an upright carrying configuration, minimizing how far the rack sticks off the back of your vehicle. Most are designed to enable easy bike loading and access to your trunk or tailgate. They come in front wheel, fork crown, and handlebar carrying styles. However, some types are unable to carry road bikes. Additionally, some are even rated up to 300-pound total load capacity. If you need to carry more than two electric mountain bikes, a vertical rack might be your best solution. Because these racks are robust and carry lots of bikes, they also often cost more than hanging or tray racks and are only offered in 2” hitch versions.

Hitch Rack Features and Extras

Most hanging and tray hitch racks hold one or two bikes, although some have options to extend capacity to four bikes. Many vertical racks can hold six bikes. Some racks feature integrated cable locks to secure bikes to racks and locking hitch pins to secure racks to cars. Swing-style racks like the RockyMounts BackStage allow you to access the trunk without removing bikes. The Küat NV 2.0 has an integrated repair stand, and the Yakima Holdup Evo comes with a built-in bottle opener for post-ride beer o’clock. We also included an accessory (at the end of our list) that gives non-pivoting racks the ability to swing out of the way.

How We Tested

Our bike-crazed editors have driven hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles with their bikes entrusted to these racks. We haul road bikes, mountain bikes, e-bikes, and city bikes, as well as bikes with disc brakes, big wheels, fat tires, and more. We keep these racks on our vehicles for months, using and abusing them until we know what works and what doesn’t. We even put one to the “kid” test, giving an 11-year-old the responsibility of loading and unloading the bikes to see if he could do it without adult supervision (he had no problem). If we weren’t satisfied with a particular rack, we didn’t include it. So far, these are the hitch racks that earned their spots as the best.

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