Being a mountain bike rider means you need to transport your bike anywhere you go. While it is easy for those with a large pickup truck, but the standard car or SUV owners might not have the same adequate space to get the job done.
That’s why hitch mount bike rack is becoming very popular these days for a good reason. It can serve as a great alternative to the roof mounted racks.
With roof mounted racks, vehicles seem to be getting taller and the last thing you may want to do after long ride or race is to lift that bike and put it on the roof of your vehicle. A hitch mount bike rack is a good substitute to prevent these unpleasant scenarios from taking place, since the bikes are supported firmly at the rear part of your vehicle.
There are a large number of these hitches available, making it harder for individuals to choose the right one for their needs. We have done some of the research, allowing you to see all of the top products you can use on the market today.
At a Glance: Best Hitch Bike Rack for Cars & SUVs
Before we look at the reviews and important features, we are going to show you the products and how they stack up when it comes to ranking.
|1. Thule T2 Pro XT2|
|2 bikes||1.25/2 inch||4.7|
|2. Kuat Racks NV 2.0|
|2 bikes||1.25/2 inch||4.9|
|3. Allen Sports 4-Bike|
(Best in Budget)
|4 bikes||2 inch||4.6|
|4. RockyMounts WestSlope||2 bikes||2 inch||4.7|
|5. Yakima Holdup Hitch||2-4 bikes||1.25/2 inch||4.4|
Editor’s Choice: Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
Thule has always been at the forefront of the leading bike accessory brands. One of their top products is the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack with a large design and a simple mount that fits most of the vehicles found on the road. The special design of the unit is what makes the difference when compared to many of the others.
The mount features connections to the wheels of the bikes. This method keeps the bike sitting upright and it does not damage the frame. It can hold two bikes, but the general consensus is that you should net exceed 120-pounds in total weight. One of the big selling points is that you don’t need any tools if you are going to mount it.
The mount is also flexible, allowing the mount part to bend to the front, specifically to the right angle if you need to open your trunk. When the unit is not in use, you can actually fold it inwards. The inward bending feature will keep it out of your way when you are traveling. However, we don’t recommend it for trailers.
Fortunately, price is the biggest upside unlike other big brands. Being one of the leading brands on the market today, Thule T2 Pro Bike Rack is inexpensive – you get quality and brand value hand in hand. If you have heavy bikes and you need a lot of flexibility, the unit should be perfect for you. Keep in mind that there are many accessories available for the unit as well.
- Holds upto 120-pounds
- Best for 2 bikes
- No damage to the frame
- Flexible to tilt
- Durable construction
- Easy to set up
Best Overall: Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack
One thing you will notice when you buy a rack for your bike is that tire size matters. With all the electric bikes, it becomes important to have a bike rack that can handle larger tire sizes. Fortunately, the Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack is overhauled and designed to accommodate tires in the range of 4.8-inches when it is set up.
Much like the previous unit, it also installs without any intervention with specialized tools. You can simply pop it onto your hitch and you have all the durability to get your bikes from one point to another safely. A very intricate bike security system is easy to alter by the user. It will ensure that your bikes remain on the mount.
Also, it has the ability to carry two different bikes with large wheel sizes. The unit is made from solid steel materials, which might make it somewhat heavy. However, you won’t find that it gets damaged by a simple bump. The lock on the wheels also means that the unit will not damage your bike frames.
It’s also an expensive option on the market today, but the security features definitely make it worth your time. It is compatible with almost any vehicle, including, but not limited to SUVs and hatchbacks. If not in use, it will fold back 35-degrees, making it possible for you to gain access to your trunk, even if it is a door that needs to open to the side.
There’s also an Kuat NV extension which increases the carrying capacity to 3 bicycles, but you have to get it separately.
- Intricate security system
- Fits all vehicles
- Durable construction
- Foldable when not in use
- Best for 2 carrying bikes
Best Budget: Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks
The Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack is one of the versatile options on the market today. It does not have a solid platform that is used to clamp onto the wheels of the hitch. However, it will connect to the frame, allowing you to carry more bikes.
Once again, you won’t need to use any specialized tools if you are trying to set the unit. It might take some time to figure out the hitch, but it comfortably fits any 2-inch unit. According to the manufacturer, it should not take you any more than 5-minutes to have the unit set up and ready to hitch your bikes along for the ride.
A durable black powder coating means that your mounting rack should not succumb to any damage from the elements. It will hold a decent weight of four bikes while keeping it small and out of the way. You will need the premier version if you want the locking features, but it is still not that expensive to buy for travelers.
For this specific model, you should be able to carry up to four different bikes. But, there’s a catch – You would have to install Class III or IV 2 inch hitch to your vehicle, only then you can use this rack. So, keep this in mind before proceeding any further.
Speaking of prices, the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack is one of the most affordable options on the market today. Not only is it durable, but very pragmatic and easy to use. You also receive a limited lifetime warranty that should give peace of mind. We would recommend it for the value and the overall design features.
- Holds 4 bikes
- Mounts in 5 minutes
- Quite Affordable
- Limited lifetime warranty
Best 2 Bike Rack: RockyMounts WestSlope Bike Rack
Moving onto one of the most unique bike racks on the list, we have the RockyMounts WestSlope Bike Rack. It has a completely different design from the rest but follows the same basic principle of mounting to the frame of the bikes. The rack also mounts to a 2-inch hitch, making it easier to fit it to a standardized car.
The standout feature is the fact that your bike will be locked in at the frame and the tires. The different locking mechanisms will ensure the safety of your bike when traveling. If the rack is not in use, you can simply fold it out of the way. With all the folding features, it will depend on how many bikes your rack can carry at one time.
Aside from the durability and security features, the bike rack also features a lot of stability. Since it will be mounting to the frame of the bike in certain areas, the stability is a great feature for keeping the paint on the frame and reducing any friction. We should mention that locking up the bike on the frame might be a bit timely.
It might not be the cheapest option on the market today, but it does not cost a fortune like many of the other options. The unit has a few great features and offers you value for the price that you need to pay. We should also let you know that you have a limited lifetime warranty that should ensure peace of mind.
- Multiple ways to connect
- Security lock
- Stable design
- Reasonably priced
Best 4 Bike Rack: Yakima Holdup Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
Last but certainly not least, we have another unique unit that you can choose. The Yakima Holdup Hitch Mounted Bike Rack. It has the same features as the top units, by allowing the bikes to mount connected to the wheels instead of the frame. However, an additional overlocker is also present to feature as a security feature.
The unit can carry two different bikes, but with a couple of different accessories, you can upgrade the unit to comfortably carry four bikes if needed. The side-to-side adjustability will help when it comes to support, while also locking in the bike wheels with the security features that could take some time to set up.
We also like the design of the frame, which makes sure that your bike frame does not come under pressure. You should easily set it up and retain stability. Since it is a large rack, you will like the fact that the frame can tilt backward. The tilting feature will enable you to gain access to your trunk if needed.
As for the price, the rack is not as expensive as many people might think, but it will be a bit expensive if you don’t have enough bikes. The frame can be used throughout the entire year, giving you stability and keeping the bikes safe. With the limited lifetime warranty, anyone should have a lot of peace of mind when carrying bikes.
- Heavily secured
- Best for 4 bikes
- Includes multiple accessories
- Easy to set up
- Stable design
How to choose a Bike Rack for Trailers & SUVs?
While we have selected the top hitch mount bike racks, there are many more that you can choose from. If your vehicle does not have a hitch, these different bike racks should be worth your time to look through. We have identified the different racks and whether it is worth it for you to buy them or not.
- Roof Rack
The roof rack is very functional, but has a similar design to the hitch rack. The only downside is that it increases the height of your vehicle substantially. However, it is great for traveling with luggage if you feel the need to mix up your travel plans.
- Hitch Rack
There are very few downsides to the hitch rack, and it comes with a few excellent features that will hold your bike stable. However, your vehicle will need to have a hitch. These racks can be used for almost any purpose and to carry any type of cargo.
- Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
The truck-mounted bike rack is probably the closest to a universal bike rack. However, it does not have the same durability as some of the others. These racks can take a bit of time to mount as well.
You might find more bike racks, but these are three of the most common options on the market today. The trailer bike rack sets up inside your trailer or your pickup truck, but it needs a lot of work to mount effectively. Depending on the type of mounting you have available in your vehicle, you will be able to choose the right rack.
Whether you like it or not, there is a specific weight limit on most of these bike racks. It is very rare that you will find a bike with a weight that is heavier than your bike rack. However, you still need to keep the weight in mind, as you are adding more bikes. While weight is not the only determining factor to how many bikes your rack can carry, it does have a large influence.
The weight limit also seems like an important feature if versatility is one of your main concerns. If you have ever traveled before, you might have noticed the massive weight on your luggage. The bigger your weight limit, the more value you have. Keep the tensile strength of the hitch in mind as well, as it will connect the rack to the vehicle.
The overall construction of the frame might not seem important when we look at the previous feature. However, it can be broken up into numerous aspects to ensure you get value for your money. The first aspect is the materials of the arms or the pressure points. Solid steel is the best material to ensure strength on the frame. However, steel might be prone to rust in wet weather.
This brings us to the second point, which means you need to look at the coating. A UV coating is very beneficial to ensure the sun does not damage it due to extreme heat. A plastic coating can help keep the water from the frame and prevent rust. Generally, the combination of materials will add additional durability to the unit.
Lastly, you will need to look at the connecting points of the rack. The materials that form the connection points will help to keep the bike protected. If it is steel on steel, it could potentially scratch the surface and paint. However, solid material like plastic is what you need when it comes to connecting to the tires of the bike.
Once your bike is mounted to the back or top of your vehicle, you have no guarantee that it will remain safe all the time. Therefore, security features are very important to ensure the bikes are not stolen. The security features will vary from brand to brand. A durable security lock will ensure that your bike never gets stole.
We would also like to inform you of the lock types. Do not lock your bike only at the wheels, as the wheels can be removed and the frame stolen. It is important that you find a locking mechanism to lock onto the frame as well as the bike. It is much harder to break locks that are mounted to the frame than those mounted tires.
Not all of these frames are the same to set up, but you can refer to the section where we describe the different types to get an idea of the setup. Most hitch mount bike racks simply clip into place and they do not require any additional setup feature. You should be able to find out if the product needs specialized tools like the trailer racks or not.
For many people, the warranty that we see on these racks are not important. However, the warranty plays a huge role when it comes to your frame. As a rule of thumb, we have noticed that better warranties are a good indicator of quality products. The price is not always the best indicator and brands might overprice their racks.
The top bike racks have a limited lifetime warranty that will give you peace of mind and even cover damages. Unfortunately, you also need to adhere to the rules and instructions of the manufacturer to get the best out of these warranties. Your instruction manual might become one of your best friends with these racks.
Frequently Asked Questions
With all the bikes and the features discussed, you should be rearing to find the right options on the market today. However, many people still have a few questions about these products. We have done some digging to find the top features that are important for a bike rack and the overall design thereof. Here are a few questions that could help you:
1. Why Get A Hitch Bike Rack?
The most common reason for you to get a hitch bike rack is to transport your bike. However, there are numerous different bike racks available, as you have seen. Fortunately, the hitch option stands out for the ease of use. Since most vehicles have a 2-inch hitch, it will work with almost any car that you have, including pickup trucks.
2. Can You Open The Trunk With A Bike Rack?
Most modern bike racks have mitigated the issue of opening your trunk when you need to gain access. While there are a few of the older models that do not allow this, the modern models will tilt forward and out of your way. The forward tilting design will keep your bikes locked in place and still give you access to your bike.
3. Which Bike Rack Doesn’t Cover The License Plate?
As for the modern models, they all have space for an additional license plate of the rack mounts to your hitch. The additional lights will also offer you the security to ensure that people driving behind you can see your indicators. Unfortunately, they will cover the license plate at the back of your vehicle, but a roof rack should still keep it visible.
4. Are Any Bike Racks Prohibited?
Modern bike racks are all safe for use and they follow all the regulations you need to comply with. However, those that are not regulated may pose a risk and you will need to check the manual to see if it complies with safety procedures. In terms of accessories, you need to be careful with the accessories you are adding. If any of them detach, they could pose a risk to the other drivers on the road.
We have finally reached the end of this article and we hope that you also find it as comprehensive as we intend it to be. The products are tested for quality and the racks comply with all the road regulations. Now, it is up to you to select the best option for your vehicle. Be sure to let us know which ones you like and if we missed any of your favorites.