The best way to transport your bicycle is with a tray-style, hitch-mounted bike rack on the back of your vehicle, truck, SUV, or Van. Second, only to that is a hanging-style hitch-mount bike rack.
Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks are the most convenient method to get several bikes on your vehicle. As long as you have a drawback, carrying bikes behind your automobile is easy with any of the racks listed below. Make certain to choose the proper hitch receiver size, and make certain your drawback can support the weight of all the bikes you wish to bring.
Hitch-mounted racks are the method to go if you’re browsing for the finest method to carry bikes. Safely attaching to the receiver drawback of your lorry, they offer unequaled versatility and ease of use.
There is a vast array of choices to choose from, but drawback racks fall under 2 standard categories: platform models are the most expensive but offer exceptional stability and convenience while hanging racks optimize bring capability in a compact bundle.
You require to think about every aspect of your cycling and way of life, from the number, weight, and types of bikes you desire to carry to the product in the frame of those bikes (prevent using racks that clamp onto the frame if you have a carbon bike, as the tension might harm the frame). Some racks work well with road bikes however can’t manage fat bikes or even full-suspension bikes, and vice versa.
Table of Contents
The common measure?
Both types are linked to your vehicle at the hitch. And yes, if you do not have a hitch on your automobile, it’s worth getting one installed if you regularly carry bikes … particularly much heavier e-bikes.
To get the very best Hitch Mounted Bike Rack Buying Advice constantly take a look at this!
- Types of Hitch Bike Racks
- Platform Racks
- Hanging Racks
- Bike Contact Point
- Size of Hitch Bike Racks
- Wheel Size and Tyre Width Compatibility (FatTire and e-Bikes).
- Bike Quantity Capacity.
- Maximum Bike Weight Capacity.
- Bike Frame Compatibility (CarbonFiber frame ).
- Tilting Feature.
- SwingAway Bike Racks.
- Vehicle Clearance.
- Bike and Receiver Hitch Locks.
- Bike Wheelbase Compatibility.
- Reduce of Use.
Types Of Hitch Bike Racks
Platform racks dominate this round-up, and in our opinion, are the best method to transfer your bikes. Compared to hanging racks, platform designs work with a much larger range of bike styles, sit lower to the ground for easier gain access to, and are outstanding in regards to stability.
Most have two accessory points: a ratcheting arm that protects the front wheel, and a strap that holds the rear wheel in location.
This efficient and uncomplicated system makes it simple to quickly fill and unload your bike, and it reduces any wobble or side-to-side movement while driving. In addition, these racks are the most gentle on bikes due to the fact that they normally just come in contact with the tire or wheel (and not the painted frame). Platform racks have the benefit of not touching the bike frame at all; they just touch the tires. This makes them ideal for individuals who do not want to risk damaging their bike frames.
Plus, the trays can be adapted to allow for more area in between bikes, minimizing bike-to-bike contact. This likewise permits platform racks to fit all kinds of bikes regardless of general size, suspension style, or wheel size.
This combination of adaptability and simple installation makes the platform-style racks popular amongst major bicyclists. The only disadvantage is that they’re generally more expensive than hanging-style racks.
Just like any item, there are bound to be jeopardized.
Platform racks are huge, large, and normally rather heavy. If you plan on eliminating your hitch rack with any regularity, you’ll want to focus on weight, and numerous leading alternatives tip the scales at 50 pounds or more.
Platform-style drawback racks likewise are among the most pricey options. That stated, for serious riders, the included weight and expense are well worth the security and ease of use of this style.
Hanging hitch racks are a popular method to carry roadway or lightweight bikes without the need to lift them overhead and onto the roof of your car. While not necessarily affordable, a quality hanging rack comes in at about half the rate of a platform design with the same capability. Hanging racks are much lighter and more compact, which is a plus for those that prepare to remove the rack with some consistency.
The greatest factor for the Hanging Racks to be not so popular is that they’re not able to accommodate irregularly-shaped bike frames– consisting of lots of full-suspension mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, and step-through bikes– without purchasing a leading tube adapter. And a final pitfall of the hanging rack is how it secures bikes to the rack: it holds them in location by rubber or plastic straps that cover around the frame.
Hanging racks, meanwhile, assist bikes by the frames, letting the bikes hang down. The benefit here is that many of these racks can hold up to five bikes without added hardware. The main disadvantage is that contact with the frame can result in abrasion and, in some cases, damage. When bringing a bike with a carbon fiber frame, this is a huge consideration.
Hanging racks likewise may not accommodate bikes with unusual frames (like step-through bikes) or full-suspension mountain bikes. And you might also want to secure the front tires to the frame with a bungee cord or a strap. This helps avoid the wheels from bumping and rotating into other bikes.
On the plus side, hanging racks are easier to install and unmount. And they’re generally less expensive than platform racks.
Bike Contact Point
Installing systems tend to feature 2 various ways to lock your bike to the rack. It’s generally made up of a ratcheting or elastic strap that covers over a part of your bike.
The second is the shepherd’s hook, most often made use of in platform racks. This entails an arm that swings up from the platform and cogs down onto your bike’s tires.
Every hanging rack we’ve seen uses the strap system. While it’s a protected and strong system (user error is the most typical concern), straps can break down and break. Because of this, many strap systems secure the bike with two straps at each accessory point as a contingency. If a shepherd’s hook breaks (which just occurs rarely), your bike is a considerable threat of falling off.
Size of Hitch Bike Racks
If you’ll just be carrying standard mountain or road bikes, a 1.25-inch receiver will work great. And a final note: numerous hanging racks come with an adapter, so they can work with either hitch size.
Wheel Size and Tyre Width Compatibility (Fat Tire and e-Bikes).
Wheel size and tire width aren’t major considerations when choosing a hanging rack, however, those that select the platform style will want to confirm their bikes will fit in the included trays.
The good news is that most road and mountain bicycle riders will not have an issue at all– the majority of the platform rack can fit 26- to 29-inch wheels and 3-inch and under tires. It’s when you get to the extreme ends of the spectrum with 12- to 24-inch kids’ bikes or fat bikes with 4- to 5-inch tires that issues can emerge.
A bike rack is ineffective if it can’t hold your bike, so ensure your bike will fit. Hanging racks win this classification. Due to the fact that your bikes are secured by the frame, their tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase are not a concern.
The bigger worry about hanging racks is unique frame types like BMX bikes, step-through frames, and full-suspension mountain bikes. These can prove a discomfort (or difficult) to hang on a hanging rack.
Because platform racks secure the bike through the tires, it’s essential to make certain that your bike’s tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase all fall within the rack’s parameters. When searching for a platform rack, examine the technical specifications noted on the rack brand’s site. A lot of companies will list a series of wheelbases, tire widths, and wheel sizes that fit that rack’s specs.
This will not be a problem for most bikes, however, some outliers might trigger problems. Fat bike tires, extra-wide wheelbases, and 29-inch wheels won’t fit some platform racks.
Optimum Bike Weight Capacity.
For those planning on carrying much heavier downhill mountain bikes, e-bikes, fat bikes, or cruiser designs, it’s an excellent idea to verify the bike weight capability of a given rack. For reference, many basic mountain bikes and road bikes are under 35 pounds, but e-bikes can easily exceed 50 pounds.
Hitch-mounted bike rack weights vary widely, from the 14-pound to the big 63-pound Our preferred platform-style designs remain in the 45 to 52-pound range, which can make setting up and removing them a difficulty.
We’re ready to deal with the included weight because of the benefits of a stronger building and construction that carries bikes more securely and lasts longer. That stated, if you will not be utilizing your rack all that often or will need to remove it by yourself with some regularity, a lightweight style is a perfectly sensible option.
Bike Frame Compatibility (Carbon Fiber frame ).
The final possible bike compatibility mistake is related to the shape and design of your bike’s frame.
If, however, you’re considering a hanging rack, take a close look at the shape of the top tube of your bike’s frame. If you have a traditional roadway bike or mountain bicycle, you’re probably safe– the triangular frame with a relatively level top tube will fit terrific on a hanging rack.
Step-through frames (common on cruiser bikes), full-suspension mountain bikes, and kids’ bikes can be troublesome.
Leading Tube Adapters.
If your bike will not fit on your hanging rack due to a heavily angled or stroking top tube, buying a separate top tube adapter is your best choice. The design is relatively easy: clamps on either end attach to your seat post and bike stem, and the rounded piece in the middle lays on top of the rack’s cradles. Further, while they’re relatively easy to use, putting them on and taking them off whenever you go biking will undoubtedly end up being annoying.
Carbon fiber bikes are dream devices for many riders and include superior price tags, so it’s no surprise that a typical concern is how to carry them securely. To keep the material secured, the most crucial thing to do is choose a style that does not enable any frame contact.
This suggests you’ll want to avoid the basic hanging rack category. Amongst platform-style racks, it’s finest to select one of two fundamental styles: a ratcheting arm that secures over the front wheel and a strap through a dual-arm design or the rear wheel Heavy-Duty that tightens over the front and rear tires.
The common measure amongst these suitable racks is a high price tag, but it’s well worth it to avoid any unnecessary damage to your carbon rig.
Material and Build Quality.
The mentioning “you get what you spend for” calls very real in the hitch-mounted bike rack world. In short, if you prepare to use your rack a lot or keep it on your truck even in the rainy seasons, it’s well worth the costs for a superior style.
If like the majority of bicyclists, you prepare to keep your rack on your car for extended durations of time or simply want to keep access to your rear freight location, you’ll want to get a drawback rack with a tilt function.
The tilting function is readily available on both hanging and platform-style racks, although one crucial point of distinction is that numerous platform designs can tilt with the bikes packed while hanging racks need you to discharge your bikes.
It’s clear that we put concern on the style and ease of use of a rack’s tilting function. And while hanging racks typically resemble one another in how they work– unload the bikes, fold the arms down, and after that pull a lever to reduce the rack– platform designs can vary commonly. In the end, this function can have a huge effect on total benefit, and we call it out whenever possible.
Swing Away Bike Racks
Tilting racks enable you to open the cargo door on most Trucks, SUVs, and hatchbacks, but swing-away designs take access to the next level. In short, releasing a pin permits them to open like an arm, pivoting the whole rack to the side of the lorry.
Among the more technical considerations of the hitch rack puzzle is the clearance in between the rack, your bikes, and the car. Failing to verify this can lead to myriad issues– examples include your van’s rear doors can’t open more than a couple of inches since the rack sits too close, your bike’s handlebars enter into contact with the back of an SUV when bikes are filled, or a pickup’s tailgate can not be decreased. Needless to say, it’s worth the time to validate you have the appropriate clearance.
Another method is to contact the maker directly, and we’ve had good luck in getting dependable recommendations as to whether or not the rack we’re looking at will fit our car. One listing to hone in on is the distance from the center of the drawback pin to the first tray, as this reveals how close the rack will be to the back of the vehicle.
Bike and Receiver Hitch Locks
Bike racks in general have really comparable function sets, and one typical upgrade that you see on mid-range and exceptional styles are locked. Starting with bike locks, these versatile cables enable you to protect the bike’s frame or wheel to the rack.
Bike racks have 2 bottom lines of vulnerability when it concerns theft: the bikes can be taken off the rack, and the rack itself can be eliminated. If bikes are on it; the racks themselves can be coveted products for potential thieves, this isn’t simply a concern.
Bike Quantity Capacity
In general, platform-style racks can carry anywhere from one to 4 bikes (if you purchase an extension), while hanging-style racks vary from 2 to five overall bikes. There are notable outliers, which can accommodate 6 bikes in a vertical hanging position.
Most riders stick to the two-bike style, however, households or those that anticipate carrying bikes for group trips must consider getting a higher-capacity hanging design or one of the platform add-ons to start. Among the first things to think about after picking a bike, rack type is how many bikes you generally take with you. Racks typically carry anywhere from 2 to 6 bikes, so you have some choices.
Keep in mind, you can always carry fewer bikes than a rack’s capability, but never more than a rack’s capability. When you’re going to pick up a few more pals to ride with, and you never ever know.
Platform Rack Add-Ons
Add-ons (likewise called extensions) are an excellent method to increase the bring capacity of your platform-style hitch rack. They usually double the rack’s carrying capability– from two to 4 bikes– and are offered for lots of popular designs, they’re clearly a big investment, costing nearly as much as the primary racks themselves.
However, the extensions are convenient to utilize, simple to set up or remove, and include the security of the platform design. It’s worth keeping in mind that these add-ons are normally only compatible with the 2-inch receiver variation of the racks due to the low maximum tongue weight of 1.25-inch receivers.
Bike Wheelbase Compatibility
On particular platform racks, there can be wheelbase compatibility concerns. To check, you can look your bike up online and search for a geometry chart, as bike producers almost constantly call out the wheelbase. As soon as you have this number you can compare it versus the maximum wheelbase specks for the rack you’re interested in acquiring.
Ease of Use
If you have actually ever had to wrestle full-suspension MTB onto a hanging rack or find a way to Tetris four bikes onto a badly designed rack, you know that ease of use is a huge consideration in picking the right bike rack.
For a diamond-frame bike (the most typical bike), hanging racks provide an easy choice. Raise the bike, slide it onto the rack, strap it down, bungee the front wheel, and you’re great to go.
If you’ve got a heavier bike or one with a special frame design, a platform rack might be a much better option for mounting bikes. Since it has a lower frame, you don’t need to raise the bike as far. And as soon as you have it on, you do not need to raise it much to adjust. Hanging racks can take a bit of messing to get the bike into the cradle.
The most convenient choice (and often the most expensive) is the ramp. This function, found on some platform rack designs, allows you to merely roll your bike onto the rack. This is a great option for cyclists with heavier bikes like e-bikes or cruisers.
When it comes to Hitch Bike Racks, sturdiness is a substantial consideration. The single attachment point puts a lot of pressure on racks as they carry loads over rough roads. Breaks extremely seldom take place at the hitch’s accessory point due to the fact that they’re normally made from a tough product like steel.
Problems typically happen at the accessory point of the bike– the shepherd’s hook or the straps. The most typical failure is the least disastrous and most convenient to fix: the straps. Elastic straps tend to dry out, specifically if exposed to the sun, which causes breaking and eventually snapping.
Nevertheless, most hanging racks (where you usually discover elastic straps) have two straps at each accessory point. This not only acts as an anti-sway step but also works as a backup when a strap breaks. And they tend to be inexpensive and simple to replace. It’s easy to keep spares in your car due to the fact that they’re inconspicuous and small.
The exact same opts for the difficult plastic straps on ratcheting systems. Though they tend to be more sun-resistant than elastic ones, difficult plastic straps can likewise dry out and fracture. Again, it’s not usually a big concern, as they’re easy and economical to replace.
Shepherd’s hook breaks, on the other hand, are much rarer. These systems utilize one hook per wheel, so if one breaks, you’ll be dragging your bike to your destination. Replacement shepherd’s hooks are far more costly and more complicated to change. They’re likewise much bigger than a strap, so it’s not likely you’ll have a spare being in your cars and truck.
When shopping for a bike rack, do your research study. Take a look at the user reviews or speak to your local shop pro to see what experiences others have had.
The cost of bike racks differs from less than $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the model and features. The pattern we’ve seen is that the more costly the rack, the more secure it’ll keep your bikes.
Pricier racks also tend to provide features that make them simpler to utilize. Typically, hanging racks are cheaper than platform racks.
Lower-end racks frequently offer very little security and functions. Higher-end racks typically use more padding and defense. They also provide more features that make your bikes easy and protected to access.
Just how much you invest depends upon your requirements. If you just want a method to get your bike to a trailhead without dismantling it and stuffing it in your trunk, an excellent $100 hanging rack is the method to go.
If you’ve spent a couple of grand on a killer road bike and wish to keep it in mint condition as long as you can, opt for a higher-end platform rack
Usually, we’ve found that the sweet spot in racks is somewhere around the $400-600 range. For that cash, you can find a rack that is easy to use and will keep your bike safe. Plus, you’ll have some money left over for a decent rest stop on the way to the trail.