Best Hitch Bike Racks 2021 – Complete Guide

Anthony
| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

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Traveling with one or more bikes can be a hassle.  Trying to figure out how to fit a bike in or on your vehicle takes a lot of space, time, and effort. 

Using a hitch bike rack is a convenient way to carry your bikes without much difficulty. These handy devices attach to an existing hitch and secure the bikes for long and short trips. 

Read on to learn more about how these work and how to choose the best hitch bike rack for your next adventure. 

Comparison of the Best Hitch Bike Racks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Rack can be installed in less than 5 minutes
  • Easily holds up to 4 bikes at a time
  • Will fit on most vehicles for convenience
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  • This rack holds 2 heavy bikes at a time
  • Powder coating finish to resist erosion
  • Will accommodate a wide range of frame sizes
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  • Best Hitch Bike Rack For The Money
  • Very easy to assemble and use for bikes
  • Anti-wobble feature included to keep bikes stable
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  • Best Hitch Bike Rack For Electric Bikes
  • Comes with a maximum load capacity of up to 120 pounds
  • Ideal for a wide range of frame types
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  • Best Trailer Hitch Bike Rack
  • Easily holds 2 bikes of 35 pounds each
  • Made from strong material to improve durability
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  • Best 4 Bike Hitch Rack
  • Can be used will all dual-arm types of bikes
  • Safety straps included to stabilize bikes
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  • Best 5 Bike Hitch Rack
  • Great to use with all bikes with larger frames
  • Holds up to 5 bikes at a time
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How Does a Hitch Bike Rack Work?

Hitch bike racks offer one of the easiest and safest ways to carry your bike from one place to another. They mount on the trailer hitch that is found at the rear of your vehicle. Not only can you easily haul your bikes on these, but you also have to do the minimal lifting.

Numerous types of hitch bike racks work differently. Hanging hitch bike racks hang your bike at the rear using straps or Velcro fasteners. Meanwhile, platform hitch bike racks have a dedicated tray that mounts your bike and offers minimal bike rattling.

Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks

What Size Hitch Do I Need For a Bike Rack?

Determining the hitch size is very important before you mount your bike on the rack. You must have the right size of hitch to ensure a convenient hauling operation. 

So, the first thing you want to do is measure the shank at the bottom of the rack. If it measures 2 x 2 inches, then you will need a class III receiver. Meanwhile, if it measures 1¼ x 1¼ inches, a Class I or Class II hitch would work perfectly for you.

Review of the Best Hitch Bike Racks

Finding the best hitch bike rack is not an easy task by any means. With so many products available, it becomes quite difficult to pick one for yourself.

To help you find the right one, we have listed some of the top units available on the market.

Best Overall:
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks

Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks for 2 in. Hitch

pros

  • Promises quick assembly and easy installation
  • Transport arms can be folded when not in use
  • Includes a non-wobble bolt to minimize bike rattling
  • Accommodates up to four bikes of any size or design
  • Mainmast can be tilted backward for easy door access

cons

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the simple design of this rack. They like how well it performs, considering its buyer-friendly price point. It's not only inexpensive but it also offers some premium features to the user. It has a solid build quality that can withstand rough use. Besides, it offers easy access and can lodge bikes of any size or design.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What we like about this Allen Sports Bike rack is the overall build quality as well as the superior design. The unit allows you to mount up to four bikes of any size or frame. It also includes a non-wobble bolt that can be tightened to minimize bike rattling when the vehicle is at higher speeds.

Moreover, the main mast of the rack can be tilted backward, which allows easy door access. It requires only three screws for installation, which promises quick assembly and setup. Also, you can fold the unit's transport arms when it's not in use.

Bottom Line

In short, this is a versatile hitch bike rack that can accommodate multiple bikes of any size or design. Its durable construction can withstand rough conditions and also promise you long-lasting usability.

Runner-up:
Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks

Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks for 1 1/4 in. and 2 in. Hitch

pros

  • Easily fits 1¼-inch receivers
  • Ideally designed for road camping trips
  • Black powder-coat finish minimizes rusting
  • Can house a wide range of frame sizes and designs
  • Promises convenient access to the vehicle's rear with a tilting main mast

cons

  • Can only haul two bikes
  • Unreliable and poor-quality straps

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers share their successful experience using this bike rack. Most of them are quite pleased with their consistent performance and reliable quality. Buyers say that this rack is the ideal purchase as it minimizes bike wobbling at high speeds. Plus, its versatile design allows you to lodge bikes of any size or frame.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Allen Sports 2-bike hitch rack is a reliable model that is perfectly designed for road camping trips. It is a versatile unit that allows you to accommodate a wide range of bike sizes and frames. You can lodge up to two bikes using this model if you have a 1¼-inch receiver.

The unit also promises easy access with its tilting main mast. It allows you door access from the rear, unlike traditional rack models. Also, its black powder-coated finish adds to its durability, minimizes rusting, and ensures it lasts longer.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a quality bike rack for a road or a camping trip, then this is a great option. It's not only durable, but its versatile design allows you to carry bikes of multiple frames and sizes without a problem.

Best Hitch Bike Rack for the Money and Best Platform Hitch Rack:
Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack , Black, 2-Inch Receiver

pros

  • Can easily carry two bikes
  • Fits well with 1¼ and 2-inch hitches
  • Features a quick and easy assembly process
  • Center arms are foldable to easily access the trunk
  • Comes with an anti-rattle device to minimize bike rattling

cons

  • Installation instructions are not clear
  • Some users reported bike wobbling at higher speeds

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers are convinced that this is a durable and reliable bike rack that features a lightweight design. It's very durable and minimizes bike rattling with its anti-rattling device. Users also love its simple and foldable design, which provided them with great convenience on longer trips that included lots of items stored in the trunk.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When it comes to hauling multiple bikes easily and securely, this bike rack is a great option. It can house two bikes of any size and frame at once, without any hassle. Also, it fits 1¼ and two-inch receivers quite comfortably.

Additionally, the unit features foldable center arms that allow you to easily access your vehicle's trunk. It has a simple design that promises a quick and easy set up while it minimizes rattling with the anti-rattling device that comes with it.

Bottom Line

All in all, this is a well-made hitch bike rack that promises easy-to-use functionality. If you search for a simple yet efficient bike rack, this product might work perfectly for you. It can lodge multiple bikes while offering convenient rear access and quick set up.

Best Hitch Bike Rack For Electric Bikes:
Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack

Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack (1.25'), Black

pros

  • Minimizes damage with ample bike clearance
  • Can easily mount up to four bikes of any size or shape
  • Has a foldable design that allows it to be stored conveniently
  • Offers easy access to the vehicle's rear with tilt-down motion
  • Features a tool-free Auto Attach system that enables quick installation

cons

  • Cable locks are not reliable at higher speed

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of buyers loved the Thule T2 Pro XT for its ease of installation, robust construction, and stable design. They report that this rack installs easily on almost any vehicle. The bikes are also easy to load or unload, while its robust design offers easy trunk access. Moreover, users believe that this rack ensures great stability and minimum sway at higher speeds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Thule T2 Pro XT Hitch bike rack is one of the best racks you can find on the market. Its ease of use is its main selling point. The rack features an Auto Attach System that offers you a tool-free installation, unlike conventional models. Consequently, it makes the installation and setup process a breeze. 

The rack can also be tilted downward to access the trunk. It also promises maximum clearance between bikes when mounted. It protects the bikes from getting damaged by negating sway or grating. The unit also folds easily so that you can store it conveniently when not in use.

Bottom Line

To conclude, this hitch bike rack is all you need to keep your bikes safe and secure on a road trip. The ease of installation and foldable design of this model makes it a perfect choice for everyone.

Best Trailer Hitch Bike Rack:
BV Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack

BV 2-Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack Carrier for Car Truck SUV - Tray Style Smart Tilting Design (2-Bike Carrier)

pros

  • Padded arms protect your bike from damage
  • Comes with a safety reflector to enhance visibility at night
  • Foldable design allows you to save space when not in use
  • Features two-way anti-wobble system to minimize wobbling
  • Rear tilt design promises rear access without removing the hitch bracket

cons

  • Not ideal for fat-tire bikes

What Recent Buyers Report

Many positive reviews suggest that the unit is of outstanding quality. Users love the wobble-free operation of this rack that ensures minimal damage to your bikes. Also, it has a foldable design that allows buyers to store it in tight garages. Plus, its safety reflector improves visibility when driving at night.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like the feature-packed design of the BV hitch-mount rack. It features a tilt-back design, unlike standard models that allow you to open rear doors without removing the hitch. You can also save space with the rack's foldable design if it's not in use.

Moreover, the unit has a safety reflector embedded within that not only improves visibility during the night but also ensures your safety. The product also boasts a two-way anti-wobble system that minimizes wobbling between the rack and hitch. Besides, its padded arms ensure your bike is safe from any scratches during transit.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, this rack provides great flexibility and ease of use to the user. It also promotes user safety with its reflectors, making traveling at night much safer. If you travel at night, then this unit is a great investment.

Best 4 Bike Hitch Rack:
Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B Deluxe

Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B Deluxe 4-Bike Carrier Rack Compatible with Both 1-1/4'' and 2'' Hitch Receiver | with Hitch Pin Lock & Cable Lock | Soft Cushion Protector

pros

  • Installation is quick and easy
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • Features safety straps to reduce bike rattling
  • Durable build that can mount up to four bikes
  • Arms are foldable while its tilt-down feature promises convenient access

cons

  • Doesn't work with RVs and trailers

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent reviews admire the astounding quality of this hitch rack. Users confirm that this model has a solid build quality that can easily accommodate up to four bikes. Its mount and strap system are also quite effective in ensuring the safety of your bikes. Also, it offers you great value for your money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Tyger hitch bike rack is one of the best units you can find on the market. It features a durable design that keeps your bikes safe and secure for longer. The model can accommodate up to four bikes of any size or shape.

Moreover, it features robust and practical construction that is known to minimize bike rattling at high speed. It's not only easier to install but also safeguards your investment with a limited lifetime warranty. Besides, it has foldable arms and a tilt-down feature to provide you convenient access from the rear.

Bottom Line

All in all, this unit is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a premium model. Its solid construction, backed with a higher bike capacity and convenient access, makes it a perfect purchase. Plus, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty as well.

Best 5 Bike Hitch Rack:
CURT 18065 Premium Trailer Hitch Bike Rack

CURT 18065 Premium Trailer Hitch Bike Rack Mount, Fits 2-Inch Receiver, 5 Bicycles

pros

  • Highly compatible with two-inch receivers
  • Rigid arms allow you to mount smaller bikes
  • Uses a powder finish for increased durability
  • Features adjustable rubber mounts prevent scratching
  • Has a maximum load limit of 225 pounds that can house five bikes

cons

  • Straps are flimsy
  • Quite heavy in comparison to other models

What Recent Buyers Report

The excellent reviews from buyers suggest that this unit is amazing for family trips. Users love it as it's highly compatible with all sorts of vehicles and works with all two-inch receivers. The unit itself promotes a user-friendly design that prevents scratching of your bike's frame. Additionally, users love how easily they can lodge five bikes at once with it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are multiple features of this product that make it superior to other conventional models. Out of many, its large bike capacity is worth noticing. This model allows you to haul up to five bikes at once. Meanwhile, its adjustable rubber mounts take care of your bikes. These mounts prevent scratches or damage to your vehicle that might occur during transportation.

Moreover, the unit has a powder finish that increases its durability. It has rigid arms that are perfectly suited for hauling small bikes while offering a higher load capacity of 225 pounds. Also, it's fully compatible with two-inch receivers.

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a great bike rack that is fully compatible with two-inch receivers. It features a powder finish that enhances its durability for longevity. So, if you want to haul smaller and lighter bikes, we suggest buying this rack.

Best 2 Bike Hitch Rack:
Swagman CHINOOK Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Swagman CHINOOK Hitch Mount Bike Rack

pros

  • Doesn't obstruct rear visibility
  • Fits both 1¼ and 2-inch receivers
  • Carrier fits securely in the car hitch
  • Features two key-lock cylinders for security
  • Accommodates up to two bikes that suit most frames and styles

cons

  • Tilt mechanism is not tight enough
  • Release pins have no self-lubricating bushings

What Recent Buyers Report

Nearly all buyer reports are positive for this product. Users admire the robust construction that ensures convenient access and ease of use. The unit also offers additional security against theft and can accommodate two bikes of any frame or style.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Swagman Chinook hitch bike rack is one of the best models that you can buy on the market. Its quality construction and practical design make it an ideal purchase for anyone looking to easily and safely carry their bikes. The model promises great versatility as it allows convenient access to the trunk with its tilt-down feature.

Besides, it's easily foldable so it allows you to save space when not in use. It also has two key-lock cylinders that offer added security. Plus, it works perfectly with 1¼ and two-inch receivers.

Bottom Line

This is a user-friendly bike rack that features a flexible design. It offers some level of security against theft with its two key-lock cylinders. If security is a concern for you, then you might want to buy this model.

Best Bike Rack For SUV Hitch:
Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks

Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks for 1 1/4 in. and 2 in. Hitch

pros

  • Very easy to install
  • Durable steel frame with a lack of powder finish 
  • Features 16-inch long arms that ensure bike safety
  • Arms are foldable and can be lowered when not in use
  • Easily accommodates three bikes with any frame or size

cons

  • Bikes sway on bumpy roads
  • Not compatible with all vehicles

What Recent Buyers Report

People love the versatile design and feature this bike rack has to offer. Users believe that its long arms offer great security to your bike during transportation. They also like the fact that it's very easy to install and has a sturdy build that promises longevity.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What makes the Allen Sports 3-bike hitch rack superior is its great quality and flexible design. It is capable of accommodating up to three bikes with ease and you can lodge bikes comfortably regardless of their frame size or design. Its 16-inch long arms provide enhanced security while you are on the road.

The unit also features foldable arms that can be lowered when not in use. It allows you to access the vehicle's rear without any hiccups. Plus, it's quite simple to install, while its durable steel frame ensures a long-lasting operation.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a durable bike rack that can accommodate multiple bikes, then go with this one. Its steel frame, backed with a versatile design and folding arms, provides you maximum reliability when used.

How Do I Choose a Hitch Bike Rack?

Choosing a hitch bike rack has become quite difficult nowadays. To help you find the right one, the following are some aspects that you must consider before making the purchase.

Value for Money

Most high-quality bike racks come at a higher price point. They offer premium features but are much more expensive as compared to other models. Meanwhile, cheaper models offer fewer features and might lack the quality that you desire. Therefore, it is better that you opt for a model that offers you value for your money.

Compatibility

You must buy a rack that is compatible with your vehicle. Numerous units are designed to work with most vehicles but not all of them. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the unit you are purchasing works with your vehicle.

Capacity

Determining the capacity of the rack is also necessary. Some models allow you to carry only a single bike, while others can haul multiple bikes. If you plan to carry more than one bike, you should invest in a model with a suitable capacity.

Types of Bike Rack Hitches

Hitch bike racks are mounted on the hitch at the rear of your vehicle. They are quite popular as they allow you to carry your bike easily and safely with minimal lifting. They are also quite simple to set up and easy to use. Although most models limit rear access, some models tilt down or swing away to maximize accessibility. The common types include:

Platform-style Bike Racks

Platform-style bike racks allow you to mount your bike on dedicated trays or platforms. The bikes are anchored on trays, which ensures minimal bike sway and decreases the danger of bike-to-bike contact during transit. 

These racks are known for their higher bike capacity and can haul any type or size of bike. You can even haul heavy electric bikes using these models; however, they are relatively expensive.

Hanging Bike Racks

Hanging racks feature a mast with arms that support bikes by their frame. They have a compact design and are much cheaper than platform-style models. Since they acquire less space, they are a great option if you don't want to compromise your vehicle's maneuverability. However, hanging bike racks don't fit many bikes of multiple sizes and shapes.

Swing-away Bike Racks

As the name suggests, these racks have a swing-away feature that can also be found in platform-style and hanging bike racks. The swing-away feature allows convenient access to your vehicle's rear. They offer easy accessibility to the vehicle's rear by swinging to the left or right without the need of unmounting your bikes.

Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Pros and Cons of Bike Hitch Racks

Hitch bike racks are quite popular and widely used by many people. Their user-friendly design makes them an ideal choice for hauling bikes conveniently. However, there are certain drawbacks to using hitch bike racks. Here’s a breakdown of both the aspects:

Pros

The following are some of the advantages of using hitch bike racks.

Easy to Use

These racks have a simple assembly that promotes a user-friendly design. They are quite simple and easy to use even for people who are unfamiliar with it. They are fairly easy to install and ready to mount your bike in just a couple of minutes.

Higher Capacity

Hitch racks are known for their higher bike capacity. They can haul multiple bikes with ease, regardless of their size or shape. Moreover, they can even mount heavy electric bikes, unlike other bike racks.

Safe Operation

The best thing about hitch bike racks is that they promise a safe operation. High-quality models ensure the safety of your bike by offering generous bike clearance and a reliable mounting mechanism. As a result, the risk of bike-to-bike contact or damage during transport is minimized.

Higher Accessibility

Purchasing a premium hitch bike rack offers you better accessibility. Since these units are mounted at the back, they can hinder access to the rear of your vehicle. However, if you own a top-quality model, they promise tilt-down or swing-away features to offer maximum accessibility.

Cons

Here are some drawbacks of using hitch bike racks.

Expensive

Although hitch bike racks offer a reliable hauling operation, they charge a higher price. Most models that promise higher bike capacity and features are relatively expensive.

Increase Vehicle Length

Since these racks are mounted at the rear of the vehicle, they add to its overall length. As a result, this can affect the maneuverability of the car.

Hitch Bike Racks - Comparison Overview

Hitch bike racks offer you the luxury to carry your bikes conveniently from one place to another. Sometimes, you might get confused about the model or type you should buy.

The following comparison between different racks will help you identify the best pick for yourself.

Roof Rack vs Hitch Rack

Roof racks, along with hitch racks, are the most commonly used for hauling bikes on your vehicle. However, both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's have a look at some similarities and differences found between the two.

Similarities

Both these units serve the same purpose. They can carry multiple bikes of any type or size, depending on their capacity.

Roof racks are simple and easy to set up, like hitch racks. They require fewer tools for installation and mostly come pre-assembled from the factory.

Differences

Hitch racks are much easier to access than their rivals. You can load or unload your bikes with moderate lifting, unlike roof racks that require lots of heavy lifting.

Tray vs Hanging Hitch Bike Racks

Tray bike racks and hanging hitch racks offer an easy way to carry your bikes on a road trip. They are quite effective when it comes to hauling bikes from one place to another. The following are some similarities and differences found between these two types.

Similarities

The two racks are mounted at the rear of your vehicle. They offer higher accessibility and require moderate lifting to load or unload your bike. Both also have similar capacities. They allow you to haul bikes of any size or shape without any problem.

Differences

Tray bike racks tend to be much more expensive than hanging ones. They are also more suitable for professional usage for this reason.

How to Mount a Bike on a Hitch Rack

Hitch racks are very user-friendly when it comes to mounting your bike. However, if you want to mount your bike correctly the first time, then follow this step by step guide.

  1. The first thing you need to identify is the size of your receiver. Two-inch receivers are most common, so most racks come with a pre-installed adapter. If you have a 1¼-inch receiver, just remove the adapter.

  2. Insert the rack into the receiver until the hole in the rack aligns with that of the receiver.

  3. Now, screw the rack in the receiver with the bolt provided using a wrench. Make sure to tighten it properly to minimize the risk of an accident.

  4. Once done, remove the top pin and raise the upper bar. Reinstall the top pin before mounting your bikes on the rack.

  5. Open the Velcro straps and mount the bike using the top tube. Place it onto the holder and refasten the straps.

You are now ready to transport your bikes anywhere you like. The amazing thing about hitch racks is the accessibility they offer. You can access your vehicle's rear easily by just removing the bottom pin from the rack.

Conclusion

Opting for a hitch bike rack from an ocean of products seems quite a challenge. This is why we have listed some of the best ones that you can choose from. These models promise excellent quality and performance to their users. If you want to haul your bikes conveniently, consider investing in a quality hitch bike rack.

Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B Deluxe

People Also Ask

A lot of people struggle when finding bike racks to use for transporting their bikes conveniently. Others are confused about the class hitch to use for their bike rack. Keeping in view the concerns of readers, we have answered some commonly asked questions.

What Class Hitch For Bike Rack?

If you own a Class I hitch, make sure to purchase a rack that fits Class I hitches. However, if you own a Class II hitch, a bike rack that fits Class I and Class II would work perfectly.

What Hitch Bike Rack is Better, Wheel Rest or Frame Rest?

A wheel rest bike rack allows your bike to be anchored on a tray or platform. These racks are much better than frame rest models as they minimize bike swaying even at high speeds. Moreover, they can haul almost any bike regardless of their size or shape.

Are Hitch Bike Racks Legal?

Most states enforce that the racks are properly installed to avoid any accidents. Meanwhile, some states don't allow you to travel without any bikes mounted on the hitch rack while it's installed on the vehicle. So, you need to check with your state laws.

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "