Best Hitch Bike Rack Reviews 2018

As with most products, there are different types and models of hitch bike racks in the market. We’ve taken the pains to research on several brands and arrived at 5 top brands with the best hitch bike racks. This review focuses on one model from each the selected five brands. Please note that the brands under review have some other great hitch bike rack models that we encourage you to check out if those reviewed here aren’t to your taste.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Capacity
Size
Installation
Material
Hitch
Our Top Choice
Thule Doubletrack Bike Rack
Thule is a renowned brand with products that are top-notch, durable, and designed to suit your personality and adventurous spirit.
Independently sliding wheel trays. Hitch Switch lever quickly folds up the rack.
The rubber hook covers crack easily and the metal rubs against the bike frame.
2 bikes
51 x 23 x 11 inches; 46.2 pounds
Straps
Steel
1 ¼ and 2-inch
Best Value
Swagman XC Cross-Country Hitch Rack
Swagman is dedicated to the manufacture of durable and quality hitch bike racks that feature groundbreaking designs and functionalities.
Adjustable hooks ratchet down for a tight fit. Frame grip arms have protective, frame-friendly coating.
Somewhat poorly-written, hard-to-understand manual.
2 bikes
11 x 34 x 5 inches; 28 pounds
Clamps
Steel
2-inch
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE Hitch Rack
Hollywood Racks produces simple and secure hitch bike racks that’re fully assembled and stylishly designed for trailer hitches and pickup trucks.
Comes preassembled. 2-bike add-on kit to carry total of 4 bikes.
May not work well with minivans that have low-riding hitches.
4 bikes
27 x 10 x 36 inches; 85 pounds
Clamps
Steel
2-inch
Yakima Products Ridge Back Hitch Bike Rack
Yakima’s products are designed with users in mind, and proffer innovative solutions to challenges faced in carrying their favorite gear on trips.
Speedknob for easy and secure attachment. TubeTop system lets you carry bikes with varying frame styles.
Vertical tube may not be welded strongly onto base and tends to bend with more than 2 bikes strapped on.
2 bikes
44 x 16 x 12 inches; 33 pounds
Ridge back
Reinforced Polymer
1 ¼ and 2-inch
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
Allen Sports’ products have an established tradition of being extremely innovative, highly functional, easy-to-use, and almost unrivalled in the industry.
Holds four bikes. Made from sturdy steel with black powder coat finish.
Bikes tend to knock together and rattle.
4 bikes
25 x 16 x 3 inches; 22.8 pounds
Mount
Reinforced polymer
2-inch

(Updated )
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Watch Our Hitch Bike Rack Review

How Do I Choose the Best Hitch Bike Rack?

There are times when you have no choice but to bring your bike along with you by vehicle instead of riding it, and for such situations it becomes imperative to look for a safe, easy, and fast way to transport your mountain bike. Of course you may consider just loading the bike in the back seat or tying it onto the roof or trunk of your vehicle with a rope - but there is a better option. The hitch bike rack is a specially designed frame that lets you transport your bike with your car safely and easily while freeing up space in the vehicle.

A hitch bike rack is one of the three main styles of bike racks. The other two are the rooftop mount rack and the trunk mount rack. The rooftop mount rack requires the removal of the front wheel of your bike for better mounting, while the trunk mount rack holds the bike to the car trunk with lots of straps which may not be as secure as required. That leaves the hitch bike rack style as the most convenient and expedient option out of the three with its superior bike securing options and ease of operation.

The hitch bike rack is a simple and functional bike rack that mounts at the rear end of your vehicle to the hitch receiver, which oftentimes comes pre-installed in the vehicle. It lets you secure your bike for the trip or adventure ahead in an easy and safe manner. It comes with numerous types of security systems, depending on the brand, for the safety of your bike and the rack itself.

If you’re transporting several bikes with different frame styles, most hitch bike racks are designed to adequately carry bikes with different frame sizes and shapes at the same time. Whether you’re out biking alone or going for a weekend camping trip with family or friends, a hitch bike rack is the best equipment to transport your bike in one piece and undamaged.

Before investing in a hitch bike rack, there are some factors that one needs to consider, such as the type of the hitch bike rack, the security afforded by the rack, manufacturing material, capacity, ease of use, installation, and even the cost implications. Now let’s take a look at some of these important factors, to help you shop for a suitable hitch bike rack.
Price
When it comes to costs, most products always have the high-end and low-end category, with the high-end usually having more features and naturally costing more than the low-end category. For some products like the hitch bike rack, you’ll need to take into consideration the features that would best serve its purpose for you. This means that you’ll not want to cut corners and go for a hitch bike rack that’ll dislodge or damage your bike on the way.

Our review covers products from different price ends, but be rest assured that whichever item you choose from our review, you’ll be getting a good quality product from a reputable manufacturer.

The price range for the hitch bike racks reviewed here are between about $120 and $440. Of course during the course of our research, we came across several cheap hitch bike racks, but we overlooked them because they’re usually built from low-quality materials and flimsy parts that are sure to fail in no time.
Features
Hitch bike racks are special units that are designed to safely carry your bike as an attachment to your car, and as such, care should be taken when choosing one. Understanding some important features that come with hitch bike racks will help you make the right decision.

These features include:
  • Type
  • Security and locking system
  • Capacity
  • Installation
  • Ease of use
Construction and Design
There are two types of hitch bike racks – the tray hitch mount and the arm support hitch mount. The tray hitch mount provides support for the bike weight in a base tray and locks it by clamping the front wheel. It has a low loading height, making it extremely easy to load and can hold almost all types of bicycles, from heavy downhill bikes to normal road bikes. The arm support hitch bike rack also has a low loading height, but in this case, the bike is supported or attached at the frame and the unit’s support arms don’t usually fit full-suspension mountain bikes or bikes with certain frame styles.

A hitch bike rack is usually installed onto the hitch receiver that comes pre-installed on your vehicle. In the event that your vehicle doesn’t have a hitch receiver, you can check with the manufacturer or an aftermarket store to get a hitch receiver installed for your vehicle.

The hitch bike rack can be installed onto a 1 ½-inch or 2-inch receiver, but the 2-inch receiver is typically preferred because it has a higher weight capacity and gives you more latitude when it comes to choosing a compatible rack. Some hitch bike racks have a no-tools, no-wobble installation design that lets you easily install the rack, while some require only a simple no-wobble bolt to hold the rack firmly to the receiver.

Hitch bike racks have different carrying capacities depending on the type. The tray type hitch rack is usually designed to carry two bikes, but some of them have the capacity to expand to a four-bike carrying rack. The arm support hitch rack, on the other hand, can carry from between two and five bicycles. Whichever type you choose to buy, be sure that it can comfortably accommodate the number of bikes you have or will need to transport at any given time.
Performance and Ease of Use
Different hitch bike racks are equipped with different types of security and locking systems to help keep your precious bike safe both in transit and from theft. The tray type hitch rack firmly locks the bike to the rack at the base of the wheel with the aid of a hook securing the front wheel. The arm support hitch rack usually comes with straps or strips that hold the top tube of the bike firmly in place.

The hitch bike racks we featured in our review all have some kind of locking mechanism to ensure the safety of your bike. Also, some of them are equipped with a locking hitch pin that secures and locks the rack to your vehicle so it can’t be removed.

Hitch bike racks mount on the back of the vehicle and as such, may cause some minor obstructions and annoyances, especially when you want to park or back up. To alleviate the problem, most racks are equipped with a folding mechanism or lever that lets them fold flat and out of the way when not in use. It folds in such a way that it doesn’t have contact with the body of your vehicle, so as not to scratch or damage it.

For better value, most hitch bike racks can be made to lean away from the back of the vehicle, even with bikes attached, so you can have uninhibited access to the rear storage.

Generally, setting up the hitch bike rack isn’t rocket science; it takes just a few steps, and then you’re all good to go. A few of the hitch bike racks come fully assembled, thereby eliminating the need for any coupling of parts or pieces. For these, all that’s required of you is to attach it to the hitch receiver on your vehicle and then load up the bikes.

The hooks that come with the tray type hitch rack are usually adjustable to accommodate different bike frame styles. They’re also cushioned or covered with a rubber material, so as to protect the frame finishing of your bike from scratches or damages that may result from the hook’s firm hold.

What is the Best Hitch Bike Rack?

Choosing the right hitch bike rack is a big decision, and having gone through our buying guide, we believe you now know the features that you should look out for. To ensure you get the best hitch bike rack for your specific needs, take a look at the products we reviewed in our review section and pick the model that best suits you.
Our Top Choice
The Thule Doubletrack Bike Rack has a load capacity of 2 bikes, reinforced wheel trays, foldable center mast, Snug-Tite receiver lock, and 2 secure lock cylinders. For a larger capacity bike rack that can hold up to 5 bikes with better ground clearance, check the Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount Bike Carrier.
Thule Doubletrack Platform Bike Hitch Rack for 2 Bikes

Thule Hitch Bike Rack 990XT


Features
Thule is a registered brand of Eastern Mountain Sports, which has established itself as the number one brand when it comes to products for any type of outdoor experience. Its products are top-notch, durable, and classically designed to suit your personality and adventurous mood. Whatever adventure you plan on embarking on, from hiking and surfing, to kayaking, biking, or even climbing, as long as it has to do with the outdoors, it’s sure to have all that you need to get you going.

The Thule Doubletrack Bike Rack is a lightweight bike hitch rack that features adjustable center mast hooks that apply pressure to the bike and secure it to the rear end of your car. It can safely hold up and transport two bikes with different wheel sizes, suspension, and even frame design.

Some of its interesting features are:
  • Foldable center mast with ratchet hooks that move independently and smoothly to easily grab and hold the wheels of the bikes, thereby stabilizing them quickly
  • Its wheel trays are reinforced and slide independently to prevent bike-to-bike contact
  • Comes with a hitch adapter which accommodates 1 ¼-inch or 2-inch receiver models and increases its versatility
  • Weighs 46.25 pounds
  • Dimensions of 11 x 23 x 51 inches
  • Made of steel
  • Its ratcheting and durable wheel straps securely hold the wheels firmly to the trays
  • Its designed with a Hitch Switch lever that quickly folds the rack out of the way for easy storage when not in use
  • Has a load capacity of 2 bikes with a wheel base of up to 48 inches wide
  • 2 secure lock cylinders ensures that the bikes are securely locked to the hitch rack
  • Its Snug-Tite receiver lock ensures that the hitch rack is immovable in the receiver, and solidly locks the rack on the rear of the vehicle
  • It can comfortably accommodate a wide range of bike shapes and sizes, including those with fenders and 3-inch wide tires
Best Value
The Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Rack is lightweight, has adjustable and cushioned hooks, built-in anti-wobble hitch device, and a compact design. For a high-end rack with wheel hoops and secure rubber straps, see the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (1/1/4 and 2-Inch Receiver).
Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (1/1/4 and 2-Inch Receiver)

Swagman Hitch Bike Rack 64650


Features
Swagman was one of the pioneer designers and marketers of the hitch-styled bike rack back in the early 90s. Since then, it’s been dedicated to the manufacture of durable and quality hitch bike racks that feature groundbreaking designs and functionalities. A few years ago, it expanded its production line to include other outdoor products geared towards redefining the way adventurers perform on wheels, water, and snow. Its progress and climb to the top is heavily boosted by the feedback it gets from users, brand ambassadors, key athletes, and every man and woman who regularly uses and tests its products. The feedback spurs it on to seek better ways to continually improve on its products.

The Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Rack provides a fast, convenient, safe, and stress-free transportation for your bikes. Weighing 32 pounds, it has a maximum carrying capacity of 35 pounds per bike and carries up to 2 bikes at a time.

Its notable features include:
  • Adjustable and cushioned hooks ratchet downwards for a tight a snug fit for bikes of different sizes
  • Extremely easy to load up the bikes and secure them on both wheels and the frame for more stability
  • Its built-in anti-wobble hitch device ensures that the hitch rack stays firmly in place on its receiver without shaking or wobbling
  • The frame grip arms of the rack have newly improved, soft, and frame-friendly coating that protects the frame finishing of the bike from scratching
  • The center arm easily folds down and out of the way to allow you access to the rear end of the vehicle without having to dismantle the hitch rack
  • Dimensions of 11 x 34 x 5 inches
  • It’s made from steel and has a compact design that doesn’t take up much space
  • Fits bike tires within the size range of 20 inches – 29 inches, although fat bike tire trays are available and can be bought separately
  • The unit works with a locking hitch pin and 10-millimeter (0.39 inch) security cable which is sold separately and offers better security for your bike
The Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE Hitch Rack is a heavy-duty rack featuring a Keyed Alike locking hitch pin system, and it easily folds flat for safe storage. If you prefer a less expensive, trunk mounted bike rack with soft rubber cradles to protect your bike finishing, then check the Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack.
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE 4-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack

Hollywood Racks Hitch Bike Rack HR1400


Features
Hollywood Racks started in 1973 as a trunk mounting rack manufacturing company in Hollywood, California. Its objective was, and still is, to manufacture simple and secure hitch bike car racks that are easy to use, secure, fully assembled, and stylishly designed. In the early 90s, its production line was expanded to include bike racks for trailer hitches and pickup trucks. Its products are well-known for their high-quality, ease of use, and reliability, and are exported to Europe. Its manufacturing plant is based in Taiwan with the warehouse and Research and Development office in Los Angeles, and its products are available in all 50 states of the USA.

The Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE Hitch Rack is a heavy-duty bike rack that’s designed to fit a large range of bike styles in its platform with the universal top clamp and adjustable wheel holders. It’s easy to use and comes in a great style that won’t scratch your vehicle.

It comes with several interesting features which include:
  • A 2-bike base unit out-of-the-box set up that’s easily expanded to a 4-bike unit using the 2-bike add-on kit provided in the pack
  • A Keyed Alike locking hitch pin system coupled with a 9-foot security cable for safety
  • Patented “no-wobbles, no-tools” hitch tightening system that effectively eliminates slack between receiver hitch and the rack without tool use
  • Easily folds flat against the vehicle (without touching the vehicle) for storage and can be tilted downwards to access the rear vehicle storage area
  • Dimensions of 36 x 10 x 27 inches
  • Weighs 45 pounds for 2-bike setup, and 74 pounds for 4-bike setup
  • Has a maximum bike wheel base of 60 inches and a maximum bike wheel width of 3 inches
  • The frame clamp slides down to hold the bike frame firmly in place using a self-locking, “press lever to release” clamp, and has soft padded cushions to protect the bike frame finishing
  • A limited warranty coverage against defects
  • Specifically designed for a 2-inch hitch receiver size
The Yakima Products RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack features a Zipstrip bike lock, Upperhand easy storage lever, and anti-sway bike cradle. If you want a rugged rack with a switchblade anti-sway cradle and integrated bottle opener, the Yakima DoubleDown 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack will most likely fit the bill.
Yakima Products RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack – Available in 3 Sizes

Yakima Hitch Bike Rack 8002457 – 2-Bike


Features
Yakima is dedicated to getting you, your friends, and your gear safely to your destination. It designs and manufactures top-quality products that pack and handle all your gear compactly, freeing up more space in your vehicle so as to accommodate more friends and family for that great adventure or trip outdoors. Its products are designed with users in mind, and seek to provide innovative solutions to challenges involved in carrying their favorite gear with them on their adventures. Whether you’re out biking, skiing, fishing, paddling, or taking the family to the cabin for a weekend treat, its products are sure to get your gear there safely with you.

The Yakima Products RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack is a no-hassle, extremely functional hitch bike rack that easily mounts onto the hitch in your vehicle. Its ergonomic and stylish design lends an air of functional elegance that complements its durability and reliability.

Its notable features include:
  • Fully factory assembled with no loose bits and pieces to fix up or tighten, just a simple ready-to-go design
  • Its patented tools-free Speedknob lets you tighten, cinch, and lock the unit to the hitch in a quick and secure manner without using tools
  • The rack is equipped with patented Zipstrips that lock the bike solidly without scratching the rack’s finishing and are fully removable
  • A unique and functional Upperhand lever that tilts the rack downwards so you can have full access to the vehicle’s rear storage, and also folds the rack safely out of the way for easy storage
  • To prevent bike-to-bike contact that may damage the bikes, it’s furnished with an anti-sway cradle for each bike
  • Its patented TubeTop system lets you carry bikes with varying frame sizes and styles
  • Dimensions of 44.09 x 16.14 x 12.2 inches
  • Weighs 33.07 pounds
  • An additional handcuff locking cable can be used to lock the bikes to the rack for added security and is sold separately
  • It works well with either a 1½-inch receiver or a 2-inch receiver, thus increasing its versatility
  • A full lifetime limited product warranty coverage for the rack
The Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack has a simple design, foldable 22-inch carry arms, patented tie-down system, and lifetime warranty coverage. For a fully-assembled, patented design for sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs trunk mount bike rack, check out the Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack.
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack with 2-Inch Receiver

Allen Sports Hitch Bike Rack 542RR


Features
Allen Sports was founded by Dick Allen, a cycling enthusiast and inventor, out of his personal need for a convenient means of transporting his and his family’s bikes when going out for a hike or a drive. Its first trunk mounted bike rack was a huge success and from there, it’s been one success story after another. Its products have an established tradition of being extremely innovative, highly functional, easy-to-use, and top-notch quality unrivalled in the industry. With products that are versatile and which offer superior quality and value, it’s no wonder that it’s continued to blaze a trail with its numerous patented and innovative ideas.

The Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack is amazingly quick and easy to install and use. It makes short work of carrying your bikes safely to your destination with no hassle and its simplistic design belies its inherent strength and reliability. It requires only minor assembly and sets up in as little as 5 minutes.

Here are some of its interesting features that you should know:
  • Easily installs on vehicles with a professionally installed Class III or IV 2-inch trailer hitch, using the no-wobble bolt that effectively eliminates slack
  • It’s outfitted with Allen’s patented tie-down system that securely holds the bike firmly to the rack
  • Has a maximum capacity of four bikes with different frame sizes and styles
  • Weighs 22.6 pounds
  • Dimensions of 25.7 x 16.6 x 3.8 inches
  • It comes with individual form-fitting cradles for each bike to reduce sway and bike-to-bike contact
  • Its 22-inch carry arms have a drop-down mechanism with a patented single key release system that easily folds it down and flat out of the way when not in use, for easy storage
  • The rack tilts upwards so you can have uninhibited access to the rear lift gate
  • It’s constructed from steel which makes it sturdy and has a black powder coat finishing that withstands the elements quite well
  • Has a lifetime Allen product warranty coverage

Get the Best Hitch Bike Rack of 2018!

Thank you for reading to the end. Now we’re quite sure that you’re well-informed and can conveniently choose a hitch bike rack that will suit your needs. So, go ahead and place that order today.

Our Top Choice
Thule Doubletrack Bike Rack
Best Value
Swagman XC Cross-Country Hitch Rack
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE Hitch Rack
Yakima Products Ridge Back Hitch Bike Rack
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack