A bike rack is a useful piece of equipment for cyclists who want to take their bikes on adventures, whether that be on vacation or just to your favorite scenic trail.
However, while bike racks are undoubtedly convenient, actually loading your bike(s) onto them can be easier said than done, especially with the traditional roof rack system.
A hitch-mounted bike rack is easy to install and much easier to load than a standard roof rack. The positioning of a hitch bike rack also weighs your car down less than a roof rack and makes it easier to keep an eye on your bike(s) while driving.
If a hitch-mounted bike rack sounds like it might be the solution to all your bike-transport-related woes, then look no further!
We’ve put together a list of the best hitch bike racks on the market to make traveling with your bike easier than ever. Plus, our buyers guide and FAQ section below will provide all the extra guidance you need to make the best choice.
Top 5 Best Hitch Bike Rack
OUR TOP PICK
The Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack from MaxxHaul is one of the best hitch-mounted bike racks on the market for multiple bike transport.
With a maximum weight capacity of 150 lbs (37.5 lbs per bike), this rack is suitable for bikes well above the 18 lb average for road bikes and 30 lb average for mountain bikes.
The durability of MaxxHaul’s hitch-mount rack is improved by its all-steel construction and powder coat finish, which makes it resistant to corrosion.
You can be sure that your bikes will be stable and well-protected in this rack due to its padded bike cradle and sturdy support bracket.
The rack also includes hook and loop straps to keep your bikes firmly secured and a built-in reflector for additional safety.
Moreover, this rack is designed for easy installation and storage, featuring foldable arms and quick-release pins.
This rack will fit standard 2 x 2-inch class 3 and 4 hitch receivers. However, please be aware that this rack is not suitable for use on campers and RVs.
- Carries up to 4 bikes
- 150 lbs load capacity
- Durable, all-steel construction
- Rust-resistant powder coat finish
- Swing-down feature for trunk access
- Padded bike cradle for added protection
- Sturdy support bracket
- Foldable arms for easy storage
- Built-in safety reflector
- Quick-release pins for easy installation and removal
- Fits standard 2 x 2-inch class 3 and 4 hitch receivers
- Not suitable for camper or RV use
Another 4-bike rack, this hitch-mounted rack from Allen Sports allows for the secure transportation of up to 4 bicycles.
The metal construction of this rack gives it a weight-bearing capacity of 140 lbs. The black powder-coated finish, meanwhile, not only gives the rack an attractive matte finish but also protects against rust.
Allen Sports’ patented tie-down system uses adjustable straps and built-in cradles to secure and protect your bikes. The ties are fixed firmly in position, but also have the ability to rotate for the most effective use of space.
The carrier arms are 22 inches long and fold down for compact storage when not in use.
One great feature of this rack is the included No-Wobble hardware bolt, which allows you to secure your rack in place as tightly as possible, eliminating any unwanted wobbling.
There are only 2 other bolts required for installation, so this rack can be assembled in as little as 5 minutes.
The tilt-away mast means you can easily access your trunk whilst keeping the rack attached.
Allen Sports’ 4-bike hitch rack is also available in a range of improved models with additional features. The Deluxe Locking model, for example, includes a quick-install locking feature, while the Deluxe + Locking model allows for rapid tilt-away and arm folding.
This rack is suitable for use with 2 x 2-inch class 3 and 4 hitches.
- 140 lbs weight capacity
- Carries up to 4 bikes
- Patented tie-down and cradle system
- Foldable arms for compact storage
- Includes No-Wobble hardware bolt
- 5-minute installation
- Tilt-away mast for trunk access
- Available in a range of improved models
- Suitable for use with 2 x 2-inch class 3 and 4 hitches
- May only fit 3 bikes depending on makes and models
If you only have 1 or 2 bikes to transport, the XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack from Swagman could be the product for you.
This rack can carry up to 2 bikes, with a weight-bearing capacity of 35 lbs per bike, which should be more than enough for the vast majority of road bikes and surpasses the average mountain bike weight.
The steel construction is complemented by a soft, frame-friendly arm coating, ensuring both durability and bike protection. These arms are also adjustable to accommodate various bike sizes. The middle arm folds down to allow easy trunk access.
When not in use, this rack can fold up vertically for compact storage.
The built-in, anti-wobble hitch feature reduces excessive wobbling or swaying during transport.
This rack will fit 1 ¼ inch and 2-inch receiver hitches and can transport tire sizes between 20 and 29 inches.
- 35 lbs weight limit per bike
- Durable, steel construction
- Soft, frame-friendly arm coating
- Adjustable arms for various bike sizes
- Vertical folding for compact storage
- Foldable middle arm for trunk access
- Built-in, anti-wobble hitch feature
- Versatile receiver compatibility (1 ¼ - 2 inches)
- Security and locking features must be purchased separately
Tyger Auto’s Deluxe Carrier Rack is compatible with 1 ¼ - 2-inch hitch receivers and is available for purchase in 3 and 4-bike carrying options.
The sturdy metal construction of this rack allows for a weight limit of 33 lbs per bike, suitable for most road bikes and your average mountain bike.
The black E-coating makes this rack corrosion-resistant. Meanwhile, the soft individual cradles secure and protect your bike(s) simultaneously.
This rack incorporates a tilt-down feature for easy trunk access, as well as foldable arms for easy and compact storage.
The installation process is quick and easy and can be completed in just a few minutes. Tyger Auto also provides an instruction manual to help you with this.
Included with the rack are a security strap, cable lock, and hitch lock, so you can be confident that your bikes will remain safe and secure on your travels.
- 33 lbs weight limit per bike
- Available in 3 or 4-bike options
- Sturdy metal construction
- Corrosion-resistant E-coating
- Soft individual arm cradles
- Tilt-down feature for trunk access
- Foldable arms for compact storage
- Quick and easy installation
- Includes security strap, cable lock, and hitch lock
- Not suitable for use on trailers, campers, or RVs
- Reports of safety pin falling out
Kuat’s Sherpa 2.0 2-Bike Rack is a lightweight, yet strong and reliable piece of equipment suitable for transporting up to 2 bikes.
The aluminum construction strikes a good balance between lightness and strength, meaning this rack is easy to handle and adjust whilst remaining sturdy and durable enough to carry bikes weighing up to 40 lbs each.
The metal is finished with a metallic gloss powder for rust-resistance, which is available in black or gray.
Meanwhile, the rear tire cradle, folding front tire cradle, and co-molded strap features combine to keep your bikes protected and prevent them from rubbing against one another.
Additional features include the innovative foot-activated pivot lever for lowering the rack and the semi-integrated bike lock.
Best of all, this rack doesn’t require the use of any tools for installation, so the mounting process is easier than ever.
This rack is available in 2 hitch receiver options, so you can choose the 1 ¼ or 2-inch model depending on the size of your hitch receiver.
- Lightweight and durable aluminum construction
- 40 lbs weight limit per bike
- Metallic gloss powder finish for rust-resistance
- Multiple color options
- Front and rear tire cradles
- Co-molded straps
- Foot-activated pivot lever
- Semi-integrated bike lock
- No-tool installation
- 1 ¼ or 2-inch hitch receiver options available
ConsInstallation instructions may be difficult to follow
Best Hitch Bike Racks Buying Guide
Now that you’ve had a look at the best hitch bike racks available on the market, it’s time to decide which model will work best for your vehicle and cycling needs.
Number of Bikes
This one might go without saying, but the very first thing you’ll need to consider before purchasing your new hitch-mounted bike rack is the number of bikes you need to transport.
Cycling isn’t just a great cardio exercise - it can also be a really fun outdoor activity to do with friends and family. Therefore, many cyclists will want to transport more than one bike at some point.
Our list features hitch racks suitable for carrying anywhere between 1 and 4 bikes, which should be enough for most cyclists.
Carriers that are suitable for more than 4 bikes are less widely available. However, if you do need to transport more than 4 bikes for whatever reason, you could consider combining your hitch rack with a roof rack.
When purchasing a hitch bike rack, you’ll need to pay special attention to the hitch receiver specifications in the product information.
Purchasing a rack with a different hitch receiver specification to that of your vehicle will either make the rack impossible to install or, if you do manage to install it, potentially very dangerous.
Therefore, you should find out what size hitch receiver your vehicle has and check that your desired rack is compatible with this size before purchase.
If you own a larger vehicle such as a camper or RV, be very careful when purchasing a hitch rack, as many are not suitable for use on these types of vehicles.
Construction material is another important consideration when purchasing a hitch-mounted bike rack.
The material used in a bike rack’s construction will ultimately determine its durability, which is an incredibly important factor - you certainly don’t want your rack coming apart as you’re traveling down the freeway.
All-steel construction is a great choice in terms of durability as it is one of the strongest metals used for car accessories.
Aluminum is also a good option because it is strong enough to withstand a significant amount of weight whilst also being lightweight, which allows for easy handling.
Since your bike rack will inevitably be exposed to the elements at some point, its durability will also depend on the rust-resistant coating used. A powder coating is an important feature to look for on a bike rack as it will make the steel or aluminum construction more resistant to corrosion, extending its lifespan.
Before you purchase your hitch-mounted bike rack, it’s a good idea to find out exactly how much your bikes weigh. This is because each bike rack will have its own load-bearing capacity, which will determine how much weight it will hold.
All of the bikes featured on our list have a weight-bearing capacity of at least 33 lbs per bike, which will definitely be enough to cover the vast majority of road bike models. 33 lbs is also more than the average mountain bike weighs.
However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you know how much weight you’ll be needing to transport before you invest in a rack.
The primary purpose of a bike rack is to transport your bikes safely from one location to another. Part of this, of course, entails not damaging your bike(s) in the process.
The hitch rack manufacturers featured on our list have taken this into consideration and incorporated the necessary bike protection features to keep your bike(s) damage-free.
Bike cradles are a crucial feature in any hitch bike rack and can be installed on the carrying arms of the rack or positioned between your bikes’ tires to maintain extra space between them.
Arm cradles will prevent the structure of the rack itself from causing damage to your bike(s), while tire cradles stop your bikes from rubbing against one another.
Safety features are important to have on a bike rack because they minimize the risk of damage or accidents on the road.
The inclusion of straps or locking cables is crucial in any type of bike rack, as these features will help to keep your bike(s) more secure.
A built-in reflector is also a good feature to have on your hitch rack, especially if it’s designed for multiple bikes. This is because multiple-bike hitch racks will stick out further from the back of your vehicle, but may not be visible to other road users. A reflector will draw attention to your hitch rack, ensuring other drivers know to give you some extra room.
Hitch-mounted bike racks are generally easier to install and load than roof racks, and there are a few features you can look for in your hitch rack to make the installation process even easier.
Some hitch racks will include the tools and hardware you need to install your rack, such as the required bolts. This eliminates the need to make separate purchases in order to install your rack properly.
For an installation process that requires minimal DIY experience and preparation, look for racks that specify ‘no-tool installation’.
Features such as quick-release pins can not only facilitate the installation process but also make the rack easier to remove when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I open my trunk with a hitch bike rack?
The concept of a hitch-mounting rack can initially be offputting for some customers who worry that they won’t be able to access their trunk while the hitch rack is in place.
However, most manufacturers have designed their hitch racks to circumvent this problem.
Most of the hitch racks included on our list all incorporate some form of swing-down or tilt-away feature in their construction. This means that you can swing or tilt the rack downwards and out of the way of your trunk, whilst keeping the rack attached to your vehicle.
How do I stop my hitch bike rack from swaying?
One possible disadvantage of a hitch-mounted bike rack compared to a roof rack is the potential for swaying or wobbling.
Most of the racks we’ve included in our list either have built-in anti-wobble features or include hardware to minimize this issue.
However, if you still find that your hitch rack is wobbling more than you’d like, there are a couple of things you can do to fix the problem.
If you have the funds to do so, you could purchase an anti-wobble or anti-rattle hitch pin to help stabilize your rack.
Alternatively, you could try using a cable lock (included with the purchase of some hitch racks) to hold your rack more securely in place. This has the added benefit of protecting your bikes and bike rack from theft.