Cycling is a fun and healthy activity to do in your spare time. But before you can enjoy the blowing wind, the sun, and the beautiful horizon that awaits you on the trail, you must first transport your bike to the starting point. You wouldn’t want to waste time and energy just getting there. Here’s where a handy trailer hitch bike rack comes in. You don't need to worry about wrestling your bike to your car and constantly checking to see if it's still intact.
Luckily, there is a range of options for bringing your bike or even your whole crews' wherever you need to go efficiently and safely. It's easy to choose the ideal method to load and unload your bike, fasten it, and tackle the road with no worries, thanks to features like integrated cable locks, ratcheting arms, and swing-away arms.
We’ve searched high and low for the best hitch bike rack of 2022 and discovered several strong competitors in various price ranges.
1. Thule T2 Pro XT
The T2 Pro XT is one of our top picks for hitch bike racks because it's made to accommodate various bike sizes, from 20-inch, 29-inch to the bulkier models. In addition, with 12 inches between each tray, the T2 Pro XT provides enough space to keep bikes from clashing.
If the handlebars clash when loading, you may use the toolbox to adjust the tire trays from left to right by up to 4 inches to balance the bikes. You don’t need any special tool to install or adjust this bike rack—the current contents of your toolbox will suffice and provide enough security.
The Thule T2 Pro XT's best characteristic is its ease of use and a folding handle that's easy to reach. In addition, the rack may easily be folded up and tilted down to allow hatch access while fully loaded when not being used.
- With the add-on kit, you can quickly swap between 2 and 4 capacities depending on your needs.
- You can find a folding lever at the rack’s end.
- Allows for the use of 20-inch bicycles without the use of adapters
- Without adapters, it can fit bike tires up to 5 inches wide.
- Allows for a 12-inch gap between bikes
- Trays can be moved up to 4 inches from side to side to help counterbalance motorcycles.
- Installation requires no tools, and the hitch locking system is included.
- Incompatible with 27.5-inch fat bikes
2. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Bike Rack
Based in British Columbia, Swagman may not have the same name recognition as Thule or Yakima, but their XC2 model is a good option for recreational riders on a budget. The Swagman XC2 offers a tray system that you can adjust, ratcheting solid and secure arms, and a threaded hitch pin that reduces rack motion. For only $140, you can have all these features. Now that's a bang for your buck!
It is lightweight at a mere 32 pounds, which makes it easy to assemble and fit on any car size. This rack may not have all of the bells and whistles of the more costly options, but it will get your bikes to their destination securely.
Engaging its ratcheting arm, however, is a challenge due to its release mechanism. As a result, loading your bike close to your vehicle becomes difficult compared to other racks on our list. In addition, you have to buy a lock separately because it isn't included in the package.
The padded frame cradles managed to remove the paint from one of our bikes after around 500 miles of use, which included many miles on dusty gravel roads. If you have the funds, we propose the $449 Kuat Transfer v2 2, which addresses most of these concerns.
- Assembling is quick and straightforward.
- The all-metal build is incredible.
- 1-1/4" and 2" hitch receivers are compatible.
- It takes at least 60 seconds to load two bicycles.
- Your bikes will be safely stored in the wheel pool and hooks.
- Adjustable wheel pools fit bikes of various sizes.
- A locking hitch pin and a security cable are not included.
- For cars with little ground clearance, there isn't enough rise.
3. Kuat NV Base 2.0
The NV Base 2.0 hitch rack is a workhorse from Kuat, an industry leader. This rack has a handy foot-assisted pivot system that allows you to lower the rack hands-free. This feature comes in useful when loading your bike onto the rack and makes it easier to fit into the rear of an SUV. The NV Base 2.0 has a hitch receiver that holds a 1.25 or 2-inch hitch receiver and can accommodate two bikes, weighing up to 60 pounds. With the purchase of an additional adaptor, you may add two more bikes to this model. A hand-tight cam system, integrated cable locks, and adjustable tire cradles keep bikes secure on the road no matter where they go. Finally, this model comes with a lifetime warranty, so you won't have to worry about anything.
- Stability and rock-solid construction
- 11.5′′ space between bikes and easy tuning while on the trail, you can get the optional "Trail Doc" attachment for bike stands.
- Tires up to 4.5 inches wide
- It can accommodate tire widths of up to 4.5 inches, and for wider tires, a fat bike kit is available.
- Front-wheel trays come in three different heights to prevent handlebar/saddle clashes.
- The motion of the wheel trays is only up and down, resulting in lower freedom for bike placement than other racks.
- A second (but free!) adaptor is required to accommodate 20′′ and 24′′ bikes.
- Adapter-equipped bikes hold up well, although not as well as other racks.
4. Allen Deluxe Hitch Rack with Lock
For larger groups, a cheaper option is the Allen Deluxe 4 Bike Hitch Rack, coming in at under $150. In addition, it is lightweight yet durable and simple to use, given its price. Apart from being budget-friendly, it can also be attached or detached from the hitch in as fast as three minutes without lifting a finger.
Initially, fitting them all is tough as the bikes are held very near one another. However, stick to your strategy once you've figured out the optimum arrangement for your family's bikes, and the procedure will go considerably faster. We've also discovered that getting the 5-bike capacity rack makes it much easier to move four bikes.
When not in use, you can fold down the rack's arms, and the vertical pillar can be easily tilted back for hatch access. Its sleek design adds only 7.75" to the length of your vehicle, so you can probably park in your garage with it fitted. Once detached, it takes up a smaller area than a child's bike.
- It's a fraction of the price of higher-end brands, but it's still a high-quality product.
- It is lightweight (just 26.6 lbs.) and maybe readily installed by one person.
- It doesn't block your view out the back window when it's unloaded.
- No additional tools are required to secure into the receiver, and the tightening knob minimizes any wobble.
- Because the bikes are so close together, figuring out the optimal configuration can be difficult at first.
- Bikes are quickly scratched or damaged due to their proximity, and they collide during the drive. Adaptors for slanting top tubes are required (as with all hanging racks.)
- When mounted, bicycles appear "messy."
5. Thule Apex 4
The Apex 4 is a straightforward solution that is also reasonably bulletproof. Thule is one of the industry's first producers of bike racks; they have been consistently creating premium quality bike racks for decades. You can't go wrong with Thule that their old ski boxes and racks are still used by many today. It is also versatile that Thule recommends this rack for all sorts of bike frames. The Apex XT 4 has road-dampening cradles to preserve the bike's frame so that you may use this rack with carbon frame bikes.
- Bike and receiver locks are included in the package.
- Compatible with carbon frames
- There is no tilt function.
Platform-style Bike Racks
Bikes are secured on trays, which prevent swaying and reduce the chance of bike-to-bike contact during transportation. They usually hold two bikes, but with extensions, they may hold up to four. They're pricier than the hanging version. However, they can transport a larger range of bike sizes and shapes, and some can even transport heavy electric bikes.
Hanging (mast-style) bike racks
A mast with arms supports bikes by the frame on these racks. They're small and less expensive than platform bike racks. Some people are capable of transporting multiple bicycles, even four or five at a time. However, they do not accommodate many different bike shapes and sizes (such as children's bikes) as platform-style racks.
After deciding on a bike rack style, one of the first things to consider is how many bikes you usually bring with you. Racks can hold anything from two to six bikes, so you'll have plenty of alternatives.
Always remember that you can carry fewer bikes than the capacity of a rack, but never more than the capacity of a rack. And you never know when you'll meet up with some new friends to ride with.
In terms of rack accessibility and adjustment, you can decide whether to “tilt” or “swing away,” each offering its own pros and cons.
A bike rack is pointless unless it can hold your bike, so make sure it fits. This category is won by hanging racks. When the frame locks bikes, you don't need to consider your bike's wheelbase, tire width, and wheel; this is the main advantage of hanging racks.
Since the frame locks hanging racks, full-suspension mountain bikes, BMX bikes, step-through frames, and those with a different frame can be difficult to hang to this type of rack.
The shape of the top tube must be considered while hanging bike racks. To hang your bike easily, you'll need a bike with a typical triangle frame. This applies to the majority of classic road bikes and hardtail mountain bikes.
On the other hand, a hanging rack may not be the best option for hauling a full-suspension mountain bike, a step-through bike, or a smaller children's bike.
Determine which sort of hitch-mounted rack you have by inspecting the rack. For some racks, the bikes have to be fixed down and suspended from the rack's top, while for other racks, you place your bike in a tray located towards the bottom.
Place the bike's tires in the tray towards the rack's bottom, or the frame's horizontal section in the top's rack, on the rests with grooves. The weight should be uniformly distributed, so the bike must be appropriately spaced on the rack.
A rack with grooved rests at the top, the hook-and-eye straps or rubber should be wrapped around the bike frame. While on a tray-mounted hitch rack, the front tire and the back tire may be wrapped around a spring-loaded, curved hook. In addition, a strap is usually included for wrapping the back tire.
Hitch racks are an excellent alternative if your vehicle has the capabilities. To prevent ruining your vehicle's finishing, you can attach the mount to your hitch receiver. And because the mounts are made of durable steel, it is highly secured.
To know more about bikes and where to buy a bike rack, Cycle Buddy is your trusted source.