As you cycle often and revisit the same nearby trails, the sessions tend to become a lot more monotonous. At some point, you’ll reach a stage where your thirst for adventure riding will take you places far away from the comforts of your home.
However, there lies a challenge in getting your bike to the starting point of those adventure trails. Since it would be impractical to ride to those places on your bike, you would need to transport your bike via a vehicle.
So, how do you transport your bikes in the most secure, convenient manner? Well, get a bike rack to secure your bikes.
Thankfully, there are plenty of bike racks, with differing variations, designed to help you safely transport your bike to your destination. While some bike racks are designed to be mounted onto the hitch of your car/vehicle, others come with roof mounts (roof racks) and trunk mounts (trunk racks).
Personally, I regard hitch-mounted bike racks as the best type. That’s why I’ll be disclosing some of the top hitch-mounted bike racks money can buy.
Now, picking the most suitable bike carrier from a ton of options can seem a daunting task. Plus, there are numerous factors to consider when purchasing a hitch bicycle rack as it can have varying designs (platform rack, hanging rack) and features (swing away, locks, bike wheelbase, and bike frame compatibility).
If you want to skip past all these hooplas, consider the hitch mount bike racks below.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Hitch Bike Racks
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the hitch bicycle racks that most people buy).
- Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Top Pick
- Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Runner-up
- Yakima RidgeBack 4 Runner-up
Top 7 Best Hitch Bike Racks – Our Reviews:
1. Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Weighing around 45 pounds, modern hitch mount bike racks don’t come lighter than the Kuat Sherpa 2 0. However, don’t be fooled by its lightweight aluminum construction.
This carrier is durable beyond belief and manages to punch well above its weight. I also like the fact that the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 has a tool-free installation process.
I must also mention that I’m a huge admirer of its hand-free, foot-assisted pivot lever. This feature allows users to set the bike rack down without having to remove the gear first.
The front tire ratcheting strap has also been designed conveniently to let users release the bike wheel with minimum fuss. Plus, you can expect your bike wheels to be transported safely largely on account of the carrier’s co-molded strap.
Capable of securing two bicycles (40 pounds each) at a time, this hitch rack even features a hitch cam, allowing you to tighten the carrier to the hitch receiver of your vehicle manually, thereby facilitating a more secure and stable connection.
Unfortunately, all’s not perfect with the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 racks. This bike rack does have its fair share of flaws as well.
This rack isn’t as durable as other heavier racks on the list and it is also known to rust out quickly. Furthermore, long time users of the rack may also face issues with the tire ratcheting system and the sliding support arm mechanism.
However, bear in mind that all bike racks are susceptible to wear over time. So, let’s not be too critical of the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 and overlook its wonderful features.
- Features a hitch cam that lets you tighten the bike rack to the receiver manually for a more secure and stable connection
- This 2-bike carrier comes equipped with an integrated cable lock
- Arguably the lightest platform-style hitch-mounted bike rack around
- Easy to use and features tool-free installation
- Doesn’t cover the vehicle license plate
- Wheel trays of the Sherpa racks aren’t as staggered as I would’ve preferred
- Long-term durability issues
2. Thule T2 Pro XT 2
Granted, the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 can burn a huge hole in your wallet, but it does come equipped with numerous features that help justify its hefty price tag.
This Thule bike carrier, which is designed to be installed into a 2″ hitch, doesn’t require any tool kit for its setup. The Thule Pro XT 2’s “auto-attach knob” takes care of the installation process with minimum fuss.
I’m also a huge fan of the HitchSwitch lever that tilts the platform bike rack down, giving you access to the trunk.
Other notable features of the Thule T2 Pro platform bike racks that I’m fond of include their expanding wedge attachment system that facilitates a wobble-free and secure connection, ratchet arm locks that secure the bikes to the rack without touching their frames, and a cable lock that makes sure the bikes are transported via your vehicle as securely and safely as possible.
You can also rest assured that your locked bikes won´t tangle up in each other.
Weighing close to 51 pounds, the Thule Pro XT 2 hitch mounted bike rack may not be the lightest hitch rack around, but it does give every premium platform hitch rack a run for their money in the durability department. You can bet your bottom dollar on the Thule Pro XT 2 to stand the test of time as all the components on this rack are made with only the highest quality materials.
With an add-on and an extension, this bike rack can transport up to four mountain bikes simultaneously.
- This hitch mount rack can even accommodate fat bikes with tires up to 5″ wide
- Features an easy-to-operate wide trigger handle that allows you to fold up and lower the rack with minimum fuss
- Well-built with only the finest heavy-duty materials
- One of the best bike racks around
- Perfect for any type of car and vehicle
- Priced a bit too exorbitantly for my liking
- Weighing 51 lb, this hitch mount bike rack isn’t the lightest around
3. Yakima RidgeBack 4
With the Yakima RidgeBack 4, we have another hitch mount bike rack that can transport four bikes simultaneously. This bike rack deserves a spot on this list for its sturdy construction, affordable price point, and useful anti-sway design that ensures the bikes stay stable during transportation.
However, what attracts me towards the RidgeBack 4 in particular is its anti-sway cradles. This user-friendly bike rack boasts of reliable ratchet-style straps that make sure your bikes’ top tubes remain fixed to the rack, irrespective of road conditions.
However, like all products, this hanging-style RidgeBack 4 isn’t perfect either.
I don’t like the fact that an adapter is required to accommodate step-through bikes, full-suspension bikes, and smaller kids’ bikes. Having to purchase a top tube adapter for the aforementioned bike models is something I can do without.
Also, bear in mind that the RidgeBack 4 doesn’t leave a lot of space between bikes when they’re loaded. This can be a deal-breaker to some as the lack of space can result in the rubbing of frames and damage to the paintwork.
Even when considering the RidgeBack 4’s design flaws, I still consider this 4-bike hitch as one of the best hanging hitch racks around. You can’t simply overlook its secure cradle mechanism!
- One of the most affordable 4-bike hitch racks around
- Outstanding cradle mechanism
- Durable heavy-duty construction
- Provides good value for money
- This 4-bike carrier requires an adapter to accommodate step-through, full-suspension, and smaller kids’ bikes
- Doesn’t leave a lot of space between bikes
4. Kuat NV 2.0
The Kuat NV 2.0 has plenty of things working in its favor. This 2-bike hitch mount bike rack benefits tremendously from its expanding-wedge design that ensures your rack stays attached to your vehicle´s receiver hitch, without wobbling about during rides on treacherous terrains.
It also helps that there’s a theft-preventing thru-bolt that locks the bicycle carrier in place.
I’m also a huge admirer of the Kuat NV 2 0’s effective stout pivot. This feature allows you to flip the rack up and deploy it flat as you please, as well as drop the NV 2 0 rack at a 45-degree angle, facilitating easy access to the trunk.
Other notable features of the hitch mount bike rack worth talking about are its repair stand, integrated cable locks, and adjustable cradles that provide enviable clearance for secured bikes.
Now that I’m done waxing lyrical about its features, let’s nitpick at its flaws. I found that the ratcheting system of the NV 2 0 rack doesn’t work flawlessly as it should. It often gets gunked up, making the removal of bikes a painstaking process.
So, keep in mind to keep the ratcheting system clear of dirt and grime during travels.
- Adjustable cradles provide good clearance for secured bikes
- This 2-bike carrier offers easy trunk access
- Integrated with cable locks
- The bike security system can be easily upgraded/altered as per the user
- Sturdy ratcheting arms
- The repair stand isn’t as sturdy as advertised
- Priced too steeply for my liking
5. Yakima Dr. Tray
We have another Yakima rack on the list, this time in the form of Yakima Dr. Tray. It’s one of the lightest hitch racks in the world; it weighs only 34 pounds! Despite its lightweight, it can still accommodate a couple of bikes each weighing 40 pounds.
Of course, there are other notable aspects of the bike worth talking about as well. The movable tray platforms and smooth tilt-down lever that bears a similar resemblance to the one on Thule´s T2 Pro, all contribute to making this hitch rack an attractive option.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows with the Dr. Tray.
In a bid to cut down weight, the makers of the Dr. Tray have compromised on its durability. You won’t even have to be an expert to notice the rack’s flimsy thin arms tasked with securing the front wheel.
Plus, this Yakima rack, compared to others on the list, doesn’t lock the bikes as securely as you’d expect.
- Smooth tilt-down lever provides easy access to your trunk
- Integrated locks to help keep the bikes secure
- Weighing 34 lb, this Yakima rack is arguably the lightest hitch rack around
- The Yakima trailer hitch bike rack is easy to mount and dismount
- Weight limit of 40 lb per bike
- Not as stout as other heavier racks on the list
- Susceptible to a little slop and sway on rough terrains
- Can’t accommodate bikes with less than 26” wheel size
6. RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away
As you must have deduced from its name, the RockyMounts BackStage rack features a swing-away design that gives you unobstructed access to your cargo door; it does so by pivoting the bike trays to the passenger side of the car vehicle.
Yes, the special design and materials do make the rack heavier than a non-swing rack, but if it’s convenience you’re looking for, a few extra pounds shouldn’t deter you from purchasing the RockyMounts BackStage.
I also like the fact that the rack comes equipped with quick-release, spring-loaded locking pins. These pins make sure the rack stays attached to the hitch in both closed and extended positions.
The rack also benefits tenfold from the presence of a screw-type clamp which ensures the rack, along with the bikes, doesn’t wobble when transported.
Capable of carrying two bikes each weighing 60 pounds at a time, the BackStage also accommodates fat bikes with a tire width of 5 inches! Also, to discourage bike thieves from stealing, the bicycle carrier features a locking cable and a locking hitch pin.
As you can tell, the RockyMounts BackStage boasts of near-around every feature you’d expect in a high-quality hitch bike rack.
- Swing feature offers easy, uninterrupted access to your car/vehicle trunk
- Screw-type clamp ensures the bicycle carrier stays stable during transport
- Features a locking cable and a locking hitch pin for added security and ease of use
- Weight limit of 60 lb per bike
- Positive online score
- Very heavy for a two-bike rack
7. Allen Sports Deluxe
Looking for a reliable two-bike carrier hitch that doesn’t cost a fortune?
If so, go for the Allen Sports Deluxe hitch bike rack with your eyes closed. This rack is compatible with both 1.25” and 2″ hitch receivers.
What do I like the most about this rack, you ask? Well, I’m a huge fan of its tie-down cradle mechanism.
This system works brilliantly at locking in the bikes and ensuring their stability, security during bumpy rides. I must also mention that the cradle mechanism attaches the bikes individually.
It also helps that the rack can be tilted back to provide easy access to the trunk.
How easy is it to mount the Allen Sports racks? Well, truth be told—you will need a handful of tools to set this up.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be a master craftsman to piece this rack together; after all, only three bolts are required during the setup process.
As for its carrying weight capacity, the Allen Sports Deluxe hitch bike rack has a load capacity of 70 pounds, so transporting two bikes at a time shouldn’t be all too difficult.
- Available at a bargain price
- Can store a wide variety of bike types including those with unique frames and designs
- Outstanding tie-down cradle system keeps the bikes well-protected during transportation
- Can be tilted back to provide easy trunk access
- Compatible with both 1.25” and 2″ hitch receivers
- Good bike hitch rack for all types of mountain bikes and road bikes
- Has a weight capacity of only 70 lb
Modern iterations of hitch bicycle racks come equipped with a variety of features to ensure your bikes travel in the safest, most convenient way possible.
They don’t wobble about or rattle too much even when you drive in rough terrains. Plus, the loading and unloading of bikes on hitch mounts are a walk in the park.
If you still can’t choose from the options I’ve provided you with, go for my recommendation—the Thule Pro XT 2. This bike rack is well-built with only the finest materials, features an easy-to-operate wide trigger handle that allows you to fold up and lower the rack with minimum fuss, and can even accommodate fat bikes with tires up to 5″ wide.
I’m also fond of its expanding wedge attachment system that facilitates a wobble-free, secure connection, ratchet arm locks that lock the bikes in without touching their frames, and a locking cable that makes sure the bikes are transported via your car/vehicle as securely and safely as possible. As far as I’m concerned, this rack truly justifies its hefty price tag.