Best Hitch Bike Racks Categorized by Style: Find your Favorite!

By Eric Awwy, 02 Dec 2021

Trying to figure out how to store multiple bikes in a household is usually an arduous task. However, figuring out how to haul many bikes for a riding trip is usually an even more arduous task. Even more challenging is finding a good hitch bike rack that can accommodate your family’s bikes with a budget.

Thankfully, with innovation and creativity, manufacturers have various hitch racks of different styles: hanging racks, platform racks, and vertical racks to help you store and haul many bikes, which is practical for all the bike-loving families.

But even with this in mind, it may still be a daunting task trying to find the best hitch rack that will suit all your needs and fit your budget.

Worry not! We have researched the different hitch bike racks, tried some out, understood their strengths and weaknesses, and crafted this master review of the bike racks so you can have a peaceful time selecting your perfect fit. If you need further information on any bike rack, check out our car/auto bike rack buyers’ guide that details everything about bike racks.

But for now, let’s dive right in!

Best Hitch Bike Racks in the Market

The creation of car bike racks is one of the most revolutionary inventions in the bike world. With the racks, you can haul kids' bikes and adult bikes depending on the style and size of the rack in question.

From our months-extensive research, we can conclude in totality that although all the hitch bike racks can accommodate at least four bikes of at least 20-inches in size, only a few can accommodate bikes smaller than 20-inches. Therefore, most of these racks will work well for families with youth bikes starting from 20” to 29”.

We believe you can squeeze some space for the balance bikes ranging from 12” to 16” and other kids’ pedal bikes if you notice they cannot fit on a bike rack as you arrange for transport.

For each style of the hitch racks, we have a quick comparison table then a review of each beneath it.

Something about the hitch on your car: if your vehicle does not have a hitch, you need to install a hitch receiver. And the total for the hardware installation can cost you $200-300 for an SUV or car. We recommend you take the 2” hitch option as it gives you a range of choices compared to the 1.25” hitch that is considered a lighter duty.

Best platform hitch bike racks

HITCH RACK  Model  Bike compatibility  Min. wheel size Max. Capacity  Weight  Max. tire Width  Does it fit a 1.25” hitch?

1UP Super Duty

Super Duty

16-inch – 29-inch

16-inch

4 bikes

47 pounds

3.1 inch

No

Kuat NV 2.0

NV 2.0 base

20-inch – 29-inch tires

20-inch

2 bikes

52 pounds (2-bike)

87 pounds (4-bike)

5” (with fat bike kit)

Yes

Yakima holdup

HoldUp

20-inch – 29-inch tires

20-inch

2-4 bikes

49 pounds

N/A

Yes

Saris SuperClamp Ex

SuperClamp EX

20-inch – 29-inch

20-inch

2 bikes

35 pounds

4-inch

Yes

Thule T2 Pro XT

T2 Pro XT

20-inch to 29-inch tires 20-inch  2-4 bikes 44 pounds 3-inch No
RockyMounts Split Rail

SplitRail LS

20-inch to 29-inch tires

20-inch

2-4 bikes

44 pounds

3-inch

No

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

Sherpa 2.0 20-inch – 29-inch  20-inch  2 bikes 32 pounds

3-inch

Yes

Thule Helium 

Helium Bikes with fenders 26-inch  2 bikes 43.2 pounds

3-inch

Yes

1 1UP Super Duty Hitch Bike Rack

Starting us up is the 1Up Super Duty, which stands out for having one particular feature that separates it from most platform racks. It is the only platform rack that we know of that can hold 16” bikes.

Most platform racks can’t accommodate bikes that small, so it’s the perfect match for kids’ bikes! What’s more, the trays hold fat tires with a width of 3.1 inches.

This rack also has extension trays should you want to expand your bike collection in the future.  The Super Duty can hold up to 2, 3, or 4 bikes; depending on the choice you make.

Furthermore, the 1UP hails from the company that pioneered the system of having the front and rear wheel held in place by tilting arm racks. The rack tilts to allow access to the trunk of your car.

The steadiness of the rack is another plus as the hitch system is entirely anti-wobble, thereby keeping your bikes are insured against damage.

Really; there isn’t much we’d change about this rack.

  • Only platform rack that carries 16” wheels
  • Rock-solid stability
  • Folds for better storage
  • Heavy and challenging to tilt

2 Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack

The Kuat N.V 2.0 is an excellent upgrade to any bike-loving family.

This rack can comfortably hold 2 to 4 bikes with a tire width of 3” going downwards. However, it has a fat bike kit option available for wider tires up to 4.5” wide.

The bikes are amply spaced on the rack with 11.5” of space between them. The rack’s wheel trays further feature a handy three-height adjustment feature that allows you to store the bikes without the handlebars or saddles bumping into each other.

Sturdily built, the Kuat bike rack is one that will undoubtedly serve you for years. To bank on longevity, it also comes with an integrated wide-gauge cable lock system that sufficiently protects bikes from thieves.

In addition, it comes with an optional ‘Trail Doc” bike stand attachment for adjustments while on the go.

One thing to note about the Kuat is that it needs an adapter to fit 20” and 24” bikes. And although the fit is great, the bikes just don’t fit as snugly as they do with other racks.

That notwithstanding, the Kuat N.V is a great rack in our books.

  • Three height adjustment features on front-wheel rays prevent handlebar and saddle damage
  • It fits most tire sizes and accommodates fat-tire bikes
  • Ample spacing between bikes
  • The integrated cable lock is thicker than those on most racks
  • Requires a separate (but freely available) adapter to accommodate 20” and 24” bikes
  • The adapter doesn’t hold bikes as snugly as other racks

3 Yakima holdup 2’’

The Yakima HoldUp is an example of a bike rack that offers great value for money. Yakima is an already established brand that thrives in the car bike rack industry, so it would be amiss not to mention such a great contender.

The HoldUp especially made this list for having an expandable feature. The rack comes standard as a 2-bike rack and is expandable to hold 4 bikes.

The 4 bikes are held with minimal interference on bikes as they are amply spaced, and the rack further allows side-to-side adjustability. All four bikes have to have 20–29-inch wheels as that is what the rack can accommodate.

Our only qualm with the Hold is that it is hard to access the pinch and pull bolt used to engage the tilting mechanism. However, Yakima has an upgrade version of this same rack known as the Yakima EVO, which uses a foot-actuated lever that is much simpler to engage.

For those who are working with a budget, the Yakima holdup is an excellent choice.

  • Expandable from 2 to 4 bikes
  • Accommodates disc brakes, thru-axles, and full suspension bikes
  • Features integrated locks
  • Bikes are amply spaced
  • Hard to engage the tilt bolt when the rack is loaded

4 Saris SuperClamp Ex

The Saris SuperClamp Ex made our top list as it is just ramped with great features.

For starters, it is one of the lightest platform racks out there. Weighing 63 pounds, this rack is lightweight yet still solidly constructed.

If you want to view through your rear window, it is the best rack for you as it folds up just right when unloaded such that you can’t even see the rack itself through the rear window.

Designed to hold up to 4 bikes, this rack can accommodate a tire width of up to 4-inches. That’s because the tire trays can be adjusted to accommodate the different bike tire widths.

What we’ve found noteworthy is that mixing up the sizes allows better synchronization on the rails as opposed to trying to fit two 29ers or two 20-inch bikes together. In addition, the larger and smaller sized tires are prone to damage if stored together because the rack stores two bikes per horizontal bar.

For security, integrated bike locks comprising dual shepherd’s hooks keep the bikes in place in a very secure manner.

  • Very lightweight for a platform rack
  • Short profile allows unobtrusive rear window view
  • Dual shepherd hooks offer extra security
  • Bikes are spaced very closely together
  • Difficult to load two 20-inch or two 29-inch bikes together

5 Thule T2 Pro XT Hitch Bike Rack

The Thule T2 Pro XT is a rack that all its users rave over. Each part of this rack was designed with precision!

This rack is designed to fit a 2” hitch and can accommodate 2 to 4 bikes with the help of an add-on kit. It holds quite a variety of bike sizes starting from 20” bikes and goes all the way to 29ers.

Best part? There’s no need for an adapter for the fat tires to fit!

To keep the bikes from contacting each other and resulting in any kind of damage, the rack is sufficiently spaced with 12” of space between them. The rack also features a toolkit that enables left to right adjustability up to 4-inches to offset the bikes’ positioning.

While a folding lever located at the rear of the rack allows it to store easily when not in use; the tilt-down feature enables hatch access in such a simplistic manner even while the rack is fully loaded.

As you can tell, the reasons why this rack is a fan favorite are endless!

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  • Trays can shift to help offset bikes
  • Accommodates bike tires up to 5” wide
  • Individual locking cables secure the bikes
  • Tilts down for hatch access
  • Heavier than most
  • Doesn’t fit 27.5” fat bikes

6 Rocky Mounts Split Rail Hitch Bike Rack

The Rocky Mount SplitRail is a 2-bike capacity rack that is easy on the eyes as far as aesthetics are concerned and also very thoughtfully designed as far as functionality goes.

Its stand-out feature is just how flexible it is. Although it comes standard as a 2-bike rack, it can be upgraded to a 3-tray or 4-tray rack. And while the extension feature is commonly sighted with tray-based racks, the thing to note here is that it is one of the rare racks that offer a 3-bike option.

What’s more, each tray can be adjusted about 4 inches to the left or the right to offset the bikes and prevent handlebar and saddle contact.

This rack can handle 20” bikes with no need for an adapter, so it’s perfect for dad, mom, and child!

Not only does it maintain a minimal profile when folded up, but it also comes with a wall hook to ease storage when the rack is off the car’s rear.

However, the rack needs tool operation to tighten or loosen the hitch pin during the installation and removal process. The process is a bit time-consuming but not a tough job.

  • Uniquely offers 3-bike capacity as an upgrade
  • Accommodates 20” bikes without the need for an adapter
  • Easy to swap trays and change bike capacity
  • Ample spacing between bikes
  • Requires tools for tightening and loosening hitch pin
  • Not compatible with 1.25” hitch

7 Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack

Next up is an aluminum-made rack known as the Kuat Sherpa 2.0. This rack makes it all the way over to give the user an easy time using it.

To start with, it’s a 2-bike capacity bike that can hold a maximum weight capacity of 80 lbs. However, while it can hold wheelbases up to 47” and 3” wide tires, this bike rack really stands out because the bikes are spaced with up to 14 inches between them!

Rest assured that they’ll be no contact between the saddle and handlebars of the bike.

This is such a lightweight rack whose operation can even be done by a kid!

One of our favorite features is that folding tire cradles allow a significant level of clearance together with a foot-actuated pivot lever, allowing easy one-handed loading and offloading from the rack. That means that you can enjoy a bagel on hand while loading with the other!

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  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Folds compactly for storage
  • Easy one-handed loading and offloading
  • Easy to assemble
  • Expensive and lacks versatility

8 Thule Helium Hitch Bike Rack

You can trust the Thule brand to deliver when it comes to bike accessories. The Thule Helium rack is no exception to the high caliber ranking of the Thule brand.

This premium quality rack features sturdy aluminum construction that can hold a 2-bike capacity (each with a maximum weight capacity of 37.5 pounds) which is just perfect for a biking couple.

The rack fits bike wheels of 26- 29 inches and a tire width of up to 3 inches.

We absolutely love how it keeps bikes secured without having frame contact. That’s thanks to ratcheting wheel loops that hold the bikes in place. And taking the bikes off is also an easy task, thanks to the integrated release handle.

The Thule Helium is also fully lockable for maximum security of the bikes. Plus, when not in use, its arms can be folded down for compact storage.

Additionally, the bike rack can tilt even when fully loaded to allow trunk access.

All in all, we are not disappointed by this brand!

  • Wheel-only attachment point
  • Integrated cable lock secures bikes
  • It folds down for compact storage
  • Not extension compatible

Hanging-Horizontal bike racks

Hitch Rack Model Bike Compatibility Min. Wheel Size Max. Capacity Weight Max tire Width Does it fit a 1.25" hitch?

Thule Apea XT

 

Apex XT

20-inch wheels +

Some 16-inch bikes

2 – 5 bikes

35 pounds

N/A

Yes

Allen Deluxe Sports Hitch Rack

Deluxe locking

20-inch wheels +

20-inch

2- 5 bikes

22 pounds

N/A

Yes

Maxxhaul 50025 Hitch Bike Rack

 

50025 2-bike racks

20-inch wheels +

20-inch

2 bikes

14.5 pounds

N/A

Yes

IKURAM 4 bike rack

KRB-H040B

20-inch wheels+

20-inch

4 bikes

24 pounds

N/A

No

Kuat Beta

Beta

20-inch wheels +

20-inch

2 bikes

11 pounds

N/A

Yes

Trimax Road-Max Hitch Mount Tray

 

Road-Max

Blade-Runner 4

20-inch wheels+

20-inch

4 bikes

41.3 pounds

N/A

No

XCAR bike rack

XCAR 2-bike

20-inch wheels +

20-inch

2- 4 bikes

22.7 pounds

N/A

No

1 Thule Apex XT Bike Rack

Hanging racks have an outstanding balance of minimized weight and a minimized price point, which is precisely what the Thule Apex XT offers.

It is a lightweight, easy-to-use rack that has the capacity to hold 2, 4, or 5 bikes, according to the choice you make.

With the help of ratcheting straps and anti-wobble cradles, the rack can hold 20” bikes and even accommodate bikes as small as 16”!

The Apex XT stands out because it offers 7” of spacing between the bikes, which is better than the average 5” to 6” of space that is standard in horizontal hanging hitch racks. This leaves very little chance of collision and damage to the bikes.

The rack does tilt for hatch access and uses integrated locking cables to keep the bikes from theft and accidents.

Above all else, it maintains all these terrific features while keeping a low profile.

  • Accommodates bikes as small as 16”
  • Better spaced than the average horizontal hanging rack
  • Accommodates a wide range of bike sizes
  • Tool-free installation
  • Requires a top tube adapter for most women and kids’ bikes

2 Allen Deluxe Sports Hitch Rack (4)

The Allen Deluxe hitch rack is easy on the pockets, but that factor doesn’t compromise its quality. On the contrary, the quality is just what you would expect for its price; and then some.

The length of the rack is 7.75”, so you can also fit it in your garage space. But if garage space is an issue for you, the rack arms do fold down compactly for minimal storage space occupation.

It comes in 2, 3, 4, and 5 bike options! And while the bikes do sit close to each other, one can easily avoid damage by figuring out the right positioning of the bikes.

This five-bike capacity rack is super lightweight (weighing 26.6 pounds), so getting it on and off the car hitch is an effortless task. Even better is that you can do it by yourself!

And in addition, a tightening knob keeps the rack from wobbling when secured to the hitch.

Lastly, the Allen Deluxe hitch rack scores highly as it tilts to enable hatch access. In addition, once unloaded, the rack doesn’t interfere with the driver’s view of the back window.

  • Three height adjustment features on front-wheel rays prevent handlebar and saddle damage
  • One of few 5 bike hitch racks
  • Highly affordable
  • It takes up minimal storage space
  • Tool-free installation
  • Because the bikes are spaced closer together, there is a probability of scratches

3 Maxxhaul 50025 Hitch Bike Rack

Following up is an alloy steel 2-bike rack with a weight capacity of 100lbs. known as the Maxxhaul 50025 hitch bike rack.

The Maxxhaul rack is ideal for 1.25” to 2” hitches making it an excellent fit for vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Once installed, it does not wobble owing to a built-in locking knob that keeps it in place.

Weighing 14.5 pounds, the Maxxhaul 50025 is one lightweight rack. One of our favorite features is the installment of rubber padding on the attachment areas to prevent damage to the bikes’ finish.

Like the other racks in our review, it tilts down for rear hatch access without detaching it from the car altogether. And the process only requires a quick-release pin to swing the rack down.

The biggest perk of this rack is the considerate gesture of the manufacturer to ensure safety by including reflector stickers that enhance visibility on the road.

  • The swing down feature allows rear hatch access
  • The locking knob makes it anti-wobble
  • Reflector stickers enhance visibility
  • Very pocket-friendly
  • Does not fold

4 IKURAM 4 Bike Rack

From the looks of the all-steel construction and protective powder, paint finishes, one can tell that the IKURAM KRB-H040B bike rack is built with durability in mind.

This rack comfortably holds up to 4 bikes of different frame sizes and designs. However, it does require a separately sold crossbar adaptor to hold most women’s and kids’ bicycles.  

It features a dual-arm mounting design and is the perfect fit for cars, minivans, and SUVs with a 2-inch hitch receiver.

With solid steel construction, it can hold a maximum load capacity of 140 lbs.

As for operation, durable UV-resistant rubber cradles secure the bikes in place and protect them from damage. The tie-down cradles further allow this rack to accommodate a wide variety of bike tube sizes because they are easily adjustable.

Conveniently, it allows access to the car’s rear by tilting down and getting back into position with the help of locking pins.

  • Fully adjustable tie-down cradles allow bike variety
  • Arms fold down for minimized storage
  • anti-wobble hitch installation
  • Requires crossbar adaptor for women’s and kids’ bikes (sold separately)

5 Kuat Beta Hitch Bike Rack

Keeping the lightweight bandwagon up is the 11 pounds car bike rack known as the Kuat Beta.

This model is a steel-made 2-bike with a maximum weight capacity of 80 lbs.

What stands out about this rack is its slim profile. The racks look great and maintain a very low profile making it the perfect match for those who don’t want a car rack that is too ‘out there.’

It is compatible with 1.25” car hitches, although one can also acquire a 2” hitch adapter separately.

The rack does tilt down to allow you to access the back of your trunk without having to go through the process of offloading.

Lightweight, easy-to-use, and aesthetically pleasing, the Kuat Beta is ideal for a bike-loving couple.

  • Very lightweight
  • Slim, sleek profile
  • Tilts down for trunk access
  • Requires 2” hitch adapter for compatibility with 2” hitches

6 Trimax Road-Max Hitch Mount Tray

Although a bit heavier than most hanging racks in our review, the Trimax Road-max mount tray wins in almost every single way one would expect a hanging car rack to do.

It has a compact design that fits 2” hitch receivers and carries up to 4 bikes.

To secure the bikes, the rack features high-resistant wheel straps with zamack buckles. In addition, soft pads keep the bike from scratches and damage. And when not in use, the rack arms of the Road-Max Blade-Runner 4 do fold to allow minimal storage space consumption.

The only drawback to this model is that it is challenging to mount two adult-sized bikes side by side. That means that the best-case scenario is mixing adult and child bikes together.

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-rattle hitch installation
  • Bikes attachment areas are kept from damage
  • Folds for minimal storage
  • Hard to store 4 adult-sized bicycles
  • Straps are susceptible to falling off when not in use

7 XCAR Bike Rack Hitch Bike Rack

The XCAR bike rack is a 4-bike rack fit for a 2-inch hitch receiver.

With heavy-duty steel construction, this rack can support a wide variety of bikes with a maximum load capacity of 150 pounds.

Mounting saddles are adjustable allow enough spacing between the bikes to avoid saddle conflict. The mounting saddles just require appropriate tightening, and they can offer great stability to the bikes.

It further features durable rubber straps which prevent damage to the bike’s attachment points. In addition, its straps can be adjusted to fit each bike optimally in the event that you are hauling different bike sizes.  

Among its best features is a tilt-down ability for vehicle access, a folding carry arm that stores the rack compactly during rest time, as well as a 7.87” clearance between the end of the hitch and the starting point of the rack to allow room for the spare tire.

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Folding carry arm design
  • No saddle conflict between bikes
  • Easy tilt-down mechanism/li>
  • Rack is prone to rattling

Hanging Vertical Bike Racks

Hitch Rack Model Bike Compatibility Min. Wheel Size Max. Capacity Weight Max. tire Width Does it fit a 1.25" inch?

Velocirax

Velocirax 7

20-inch BMX bikes – 29-inch

Some 20-inch

7 bikes

102 pounds

3.1 inch

(Fat tire bracket required for fatter tires)

No

Lolo racks

Lolo Racks 4 bike rack

Road, mountain, kids’ BMX, and fat-tire bikes.

Bikes with front fenders

12-inch

6 bikes

62 pounds

4-inch

No

Totem bike rack

Totem 6-bike

All-wheel sizes

Some 12-inch

6 bikes

47 pounds

2-inch

N/A

Alta racks

Alta 6-bike

20-inch – 29-inch bikes

20-inch

3-6 bikes

82 pounds (6 bike)

4-inch

N/A

Northshore Racks NSR 6

 

NSR 6

Mountain bikes

20-inch

6 bikes

69 pounds

N/A

No

Yakima hangover

Hangover

Bikes with a suspension fork

20-inch

4 -6 bikes

73 pounds

N/A

No

1 VelociRAx Vertical Hitch Bike Rack

The Velocirax is a great vertical car bike rack that holds bikes with 24-inch to 29-inch tires.

Velocirax beats all bike racks we have reviewed for having a 7-bike capacity! It is the luxurious yet also affordable deal that every bike owner wants.

This rack’s other perk is that it features a duo-functional hydraulic dampening system. The damper-assisted hinge works as the perfect aid for accessing your car’s rear hatch or lowering the rack when fully loaded.

However, we will warn that it does require the help of more than one person to get the rack back up to its vertical position. This is because the hinge works against high hitches as it gets harder to push the rack back into position and against low hitches as it can bottom out.

Other than that, it’s a perfect car bike rack for large families. We absolutely love that it also converts to a wall-mounted bike rack with the help of the accessory parts included with the package.

  • The only rack we know of to hold up to 7 bikes!
  • Hydraulic dampening system allows easy rear hatch access
  • Converts to a wall-mounted rack
  • Bottoming out in low-hitch cars is a probability
  • Doesn’t fit 20” kids’ bikes

2 LOLO Racks

Perfect for larger families, the Lolo rack is a top contender for large bike-riding families! This is because it has a bike capacity of up to 6 BIKES, which is quite impressive!

Lolo rack is undoubtedly the best for multipurpose use as it can also hold kids’ bikes with ease. That’s because the rack holds the bikes by the handlebars, rather than the frame or wheel, like every other rack, so wheel size does not matter.

The rack can hold everything from 12” balance bikes to BMX bikes and fat bikes!

The rack can hold even bikes with front fenders without risk of damage.

Furthermore, the Lolo rack has a tilt-away feature to access the hatch, and to make it even better; it comes with a lockable anti-rattle hitch bolt.

The bummer is that the bikes sit closely together such that the bike’s handlebars might be susceptible to minimal damage (scratching) with long-term use.

  • One of the best vertical racks for small kids’ bicycles
  • Tilts away for rear hatch access
  • Can hold bikes with front fenders
  • Made in the USA
  • Bikes’ handlebars are susceptible to scratches with long-term use

3 Totem vertical Hitch Bike Rack

The design of the Totem bike rack itself is simple; nothing too fancy about it.

The rack holds bikes’ front wheels by a rubberized top arm. Wheel cradles secure the bikes’ rear wheels while the frames are held in place by yellow bungee cords to keep them from bumping into each other.  

Our favorite feature about this rack is its high capacity. It can hold up to 6 bikes of different wheel sizes. This is further enabled by the fact that the rack’s bottom horizontal bar can be shifted up or down to allow it to accommodate different wheelbase lengths.

The only key point here is a need to secure smaller bike’s rear wheels when stored next to larger bikes with differently-sized bikes. 

This rack’s other big selling point is the extra accessories that make it more user-friendly. Because vertical racks are known to bottom out on low hitch vehicles, this rack offers an optional 6-inch vertical extension to lengthen the ground clearance. The downside is that the vertical mast is a bit wobbly over bumps.

It also has an optional floor stand which converts the car rack into a garage rack for off-the-car storage.

If you have a big family and want to work with a budget, this is just the rack for you!

  • The high-capacity rack on a budget
  • Holds a wide variety of bike wheel and frame sizes
  • Features optional vertical mast extension for low hitch vehicles
  • Offers optional floor stand for garage storage
  • Bikes are packed pretty tightly
  • Some reports that the vertical mast is wobbly

4 ALTA Rack

If you want to store a highly-customizable rack, the Alta rack is the best bang for your buck!

Firstly, its angled hitch arm appropriately prevents bottoming out. The top bar of the rack is height-adjustable (with three height settings), so you can garner additional ground clearance or alternatively ease the loading and offloading process on high hitch vehicles.  

In addition, its multi-sized wheel trays can be easily swapped out to enable you to carry a wide variety of bike sizes and types using the same rack. When swapped out, the spacing between the wheel trays can also be changed.  Due to this feature, this rack can hold 20-inch to 29-inch standard wheels as well as 24-inch to 29-inch mid to fat-tire bikes.

To enhance the stability of the bikes, there are optional side straps that are perfect for off-road riding. These are great as the rack doesn’t have a built-in locking mechanism.

Lastly, the 3-6 bike capacity rack also tilts away to enable hatch access.

  • Made in the USA
  • It fits a wide variety of wheel sizes
  • An Angled hitch allows plenty of ground clearance
  • The top bar is height adjustable
  • Requires crossbar adaptor for women’s and kids’ bikes (sold separately)

5 Northshore Racks NSR 6

At 69 pounds, the Northshore NSR rack is a pretty lightweight rack that is designed specifically for mountain bikes.

It features a new taller mast which enables to accommodate longer slacker mountain bikes.

The NSR-6 is one of the few 6-bike racks in the market today that takes up a small amount of space and stores the bikes without contact and at risk of damage. In addition, it can fit all mountain bikes, be they kids’ bikes or e-bikes.

Even with a 6-bike capacity, it is still effortless to use. In addition, loading the rack is entirely manageable because it is height-adjustable.

The icing on the cake for the NSR-6 is that when put in place, it doesn’t block the tail lights of vehicles .

  • It fits a wide variety of mountain bikes (including kids bikes and e-bikes)
  • Tool-free installation
  • New taller mast allows it to accommodate a wide variety of mountain bikes
  • It only fits a 2-inch receiver

6 Yakima HANGOVER

The Yakima Hangover is the first vertically-oriented bike rack from Yakima. It’s a 4-bike rack that is designed for suspension fork bikes.

Designed to suit the needs of different bike owners, the brand also avails a 6-bike option for larger families. Both the 4-bike and the 6-bike options carry the bikes in the least amount of space possible.

This rack boasts of solid steel construction and a weight capacity of 37.5 pounds per bike. The fork crown supports the bikes, and the finish of each bike’s fork stays protected thanks to soft padding on the contact area

With 3 mast height settings, the rack can also offer improved ground clearance while 3 mast angles prevent bike-tire contact with the vehicle.

This rack further features a foot-operated tilt mechanism that is easy to operate. It tilts downward to allow you to access your vehicle's tailgate without having to unload the rack.

If you are on the lookout for a rack for group rides, look no more; the Hangover is it!

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  • Carries numerous bikes using minimal space
  • Solid build
  • Securely protects the fork’s finish
  • 3-mast height setting enhance ground clearance
  • It fits suspension fork bikes only
  • It only fits 2-inch hitch receivers

Hitch rack Buyer’s Guide

When looking for a car bike rack, you have to consider your needs and the type of car and bikes you own. To find the perfect hitch bike rack, here are a few other things that you have to factor in:

Hitch rack style

Hitch racks come in three different styles. That is, platform, vertical and hanging racks. 

Platform hitch bike racks

Platform racks have trays onto which bikes are rested.

Each bike is usually placed on its own tray for optimal support while the tire tops are held in place with shepherd’s hooks. Because the bikes are so amply spaced, there is very little chance of the bikes having any kind of contact that would result in damage.

Vertical racks

As the name suggests, vertical racks support bikes vertically. In addition, the front and rear wheels are secured in place such that the bikes don’t shift position while on the go.

The main advantage to this system is that many bikes can be carried at one go while taking up very minimal space. However, the downside is that the bikes require lifting to be correctly mounted onto the rack.

Hanging racks

Hanging racks entails a system whereby the frame holds bikes. They hang on cradles and are held in place by straps. They, however, end up bumping into each other due to their close placement.

Hitch size

The car’s hitch size has to match the bike rack that you select. Typically, most cars have either 1.25” hitches or 2” hitches, depending on the size of the car.

When considering the hitch size, it’s all about strength and how many bikes can be held. As such, 1.25” hitches don’t have as much strength and versatility as 2” hitches.

Capacity

This has to do with how many bikes a rack can support. You need to consider the capacity of the rack.

Most racks have a maximum capacity of 4 bikes.  However, for 5+ bikes, vertical racks are the ideal solution as they are the only racks that are known to carry such a number without damaging the bikes.

Expandability

While capacity refers to how many bikes can be hauled, now expandability refers to how many more bikes can be carried in the future.

Looking into expandability is a cost-effective measure.

Most platform/tray-based bike racks are expandable, starting as a 2-bike rack and expanding to a 4-bike rack. The great thing about expandable racks is that they can be modified back into their original capacity with ease to fit your current needs.

Price

When it comes to price, it’s pretty simple. The price has to match the capabilities of the rack.

Wheel size

Wheel size compatibility usually varies from brand to brand. However, different types of racks are compatible with some wheel and tire sizes than others.

Most racks can carry 24” + bikes. The problem comes in with smaller kids’ bikes, fat-tire bikes, and ebikes, usually more specific.

Vertical hitch racks are a great example of how the brand comes into play, as some racks can accommodate 12” while others can only go as low as 24”.

With platform racks, 24” + bikes are usually a standard fit save for the 1-up (reviewed above), which is the only tray-based rack that can carry a 16” bike. Some of these racks also usually feature a 20” bike adapter or an optional fat tire tray alternative.

Most tray-based systems are not compatible with 12”, 14”, and 16” bikes.

Horizontal hanging racks are more accommodative in that they can carry 20” + bikes. However, Allen racks are your best bet if you need to carry wheels as small as 16”.

Horizontal hanging racks usually have a lower weight limit; therefore, you need to be careful not to carry heavier bikes such as fat-tire bikes.

Ground clearance

Ground clearance has to do with how far the bikes sit from the ground. The standard distance between the lowest rear tire (for vertical racks) and the ground should be at least 12”.

Because platform racks are designed to be set at a certain distance from the ground, ground clearance is never an issue with them.

Vertical and hanging racks, on the other hand, are prone to experiencing the problem of larger and longer bikes hanging closer to the ground.

However, horizontal hanging racks are more problematic than vertical racks in as far as sitting closer to the ground in a vehicle with a low hitch is concerned.

Ease of installation and removal

Like every other gear, users usually desire to have an easy time handling it. However, with car bike racks, the ease of use is highly dependent on how easy it is to install and remove the rack, which can be affected with the weight of the rack.

Hanging racks are usually the lightest of the three types of car bike racks.

You will find that most racks weigh over 70 pounds, so the average person can’t typically lift the rack by themselves. Therefore, hanging racks are a more reasonable option for users who intend to install and remove their racks more frequently.

Access to the trunk/ rear hatch

Because car bike racks are usually placed at the rear of the car, access to the rear hatch is vital as the chances are that it may be hindered when the rack is fully loaded.

To combat this, most racks incorporate a tilt-down feature that allows the rack to tilt down about 30 degrees below their upright position; allowing enough space to open the trunk without removing the bikes from the rack.

Foldability

Rack folding has to do with how the rack folds up against the car’s back when not in use. 

The thing to consider here is how much window space the rack takes up when folded as well as whether or not the rack blocks the license plate. As far as window space is concerned, platform racks take up more space as compared to hanging racks as they are wider and longer.

Integrated bike rack locks

Not all bike racks feature integrated locks to secure the bikes from theft. However, locks are an important safety feature that could protect your bikes when traveling.

Although not present in all racks, most racks feature a cable to secure the bike onto the rack by wrapping around its frame. However, while the cables secure the bikes, the protection offered isn’t that strong as one could easily cut off the cable and steal the bike.

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