Welcome to our review of the best hitch bike racks in 2021. You’ve spent a lot of time and money to find the right gear for your outdoor activities. You’ll want to ensure that equipment gets where it needs to go so you can spend less time worrying about gear and more time having fun. Car racks allow you to haul bikes while freeing up room inside your vehicle.
With hundreds of different styles and models of bike rack available, picking the right one can be challenging. The right bike rack for you will depend on your vehicle type, the number and style of bikes you need to transport and a whole host of other factors.
That said, let us take a look at the top ten hitch bike racks the market has to offer right now.
List of Top 10 Hitch Bike Racks in 2021 – Reviews & Comparisons
1. Thule T2 Pro XT ($620)
Thule T2 Pro XT is one of the best hitch bike racks you can find on the market. It has a user-friendly tilt feature that provides quick and easy access to the rear of the vehicle, and its versatile carrying system accommodates everything from fat bikes to 20-inch kids’ models. Its long-lasting design is perfect for committed riders. Thule T2 Pro XT offers generous spacing and side-to-side adjustments, so bikes won’t bounce against one another and cause accidental damage.
2. Kuat Transfer 2 ($329)
Kuat Transfer 2 has a variety of basic features, including an attachment system that avoids any frame contact and a tilting function that allows for access to the back of your vehicle. It’s also adjustable enough to fit a wide range of bike types and wheel sizes and can even accommodate a fat bike with an adapter (sold separately). Compared to the Thule T2, the Transfer 2 has a lower max capacity per bike (40 lbs. vs. 60 for the T2) and doesn’t include locks or the option to move the bikes side-to-side to avoid potential contact.
3. Swagman XC2 ($115)
Swagman XC2 is a perfect choice for recreational riders on a budget. At $115, the Swagman XC2 has a highly adjustable tray system, sturdy and secure ratcheting arms, and a threaded hitch pin that keeps rack movement to a minimum. This rack is extremely easy to assemble and use: only takes a few minutes to assemble and the upright ratchet arms easily adjusts to different bike frame sizes, will accommodate bike frames up to 59 cm (23.2″). Swagman XC2 folds easily in to compact mode so that you can conveniently store when done using it.
4. Kuat NV 2.0 Rack ($689)
Kuat NV 2.0 Rack has a number of great features: the materials have a high-quality feel, the rack stays solidly in place even on bumpy forest service roads, and the adjustable wheel cradles make it easy to avoid bike-to-bike contact. This rack holds tires up to 4.8 in. wide. The rack is very user-friendly and have long-lasting builds. In addition, the articulated front cradle has 3 points of adjustability so you can get the handlebar and seatpost clearance you need.
5. Yakima FullSwing 4 ($549)
Yakima FullSwing 4 is an excellent hitch rack that features bike locks, a receiver lock, and its secure strap system is one of the best in the business. FullSwing 4 has padded arms that are very useful and frame scuffs are inevitable. The anti-sway bike cradles eliminate bike-to-bike contact and bike-to-vehicle contact. In addition, installation to vehicle is fast and requires no tools. The rack has a well-built design that should keep most riders satisfied and happy.
6. Thule T2 Classic ($500)
This hitch rack can carry everything from 20- to 29-inch-wheeled bikes to fat bikes with up to 5-inch-wide tires (no extra adapters needed). It carries 2 bikes and can be expanded to carry up to 4 bikes with the Thule T2 Classic Bike add-on (not included). Bike-to-bike interference is eliminated with fully adjustable bike mounts.
7. Yakima Dr.Tray ($599)
Yakima Dr.Tray is a nice rack that includes moveable tray platforms, an easy-to-use tilt-down lever, and the EZ+1 extension, which allows you to expand its carrying capacity to three bikes with only a 9-pound weight penalty (for an additional $259). Locking SpeedKnob delivers simple and secure vehicle attachment, and exceptional bike theft protection is built-in with a burly SKS cable lock system for wheels and frame.
8. Thule EasyFold XT 2 ($780)
Thule EasyFold XT 2 features ramps that enable you to push your bikes onto the platforms rather than having to lift them off the ground. Its sides fold upwards in half and an integrated handle allows you to carry the rack short distances with one hand. With a load capacity of 130 pounds (between two bikes), the EasyFold checks all the boxes for a heavy hauler. This rack is a perfect choice for e-bike owners who want an integrated and deployable ramp and riders who don’t want to lift heavy bikes on and off their rack.
9. Thule Camber 4 ($300)
Thule Camber 4 has 7 inches of space between cradles to minimize bike-to-bike contact and the folding design makes it easy to store when not in use. It has a four-bike capacity, anti-sway strap systems, and a tilt mechanism to get the rack out of the way when loading or unloading your car. Anti-sway cradle extensions offer superior bike stability and fold away when not needed.
10. Yakima HoldUp EVO ($549)
Yakima HoldUp EVO features large cradles that fit up to 5-inch-wide fat bike tires. Its easy-access tilt mechanism and KickStart foot pedal make raising and lowering the rack a breeze, even with bikes loaded. Tool-free locking SpeedKnob makes installation and removal fast, easy and secure. StrongArm hook secures bike at the wheels, protecting painted surfaces and carbon frames.
Types of Hitch Bike Racks
Knowing the types of the Hitch Bike racks is very important because it will determine which one that’s suitable for your preferences and needs. One of the questions asked by the biker is what type of the hitch bike rack should they get. Is it a platform or hanging style rack?
· Platform Racks
The platform rack is the type of rack which provides the place for the bike’s wheels to rest on the bike rack. Many bikers prefer this over the hanging rack because it is pretty simple and straightforward to load and unload the bikes. You won’t need to lift the bikes too high to make it to the rack.
Platform racks design tend to be general so that most bike models would fit. With the platform rack, your bikes will be secure in their frame and the wheels. And even if you carry more than one bike, you can rest assured that there will be no contact between the bikes, as well as between the bikes and the racks.
But thanks to its versatility, this type of racks come with a catch. It is heavier and bulkier than the hanging racks. The initial installation might be challenging if you do it by yourself.
· Hanging Racks
The hanging rack is the type of bike rack which provides the frame of the bike to rest. In a nutshell, your bike wheels will be hanging rather than resting. It is the only frame of the bike which will rest on your bike rack. Unlike platform racks, hanging racks tend to be lighter in weight. Besides, it is also compact and foldable. You can install and uninstall it anytime you want and store the hanging racks in the corner of your room without any hassle. While platform racks could extend far out from the vehicle, the hanging racks tend to be different because of the minimum measurements.
However, the hanging racks are not a one-size-fits-for-all solution. If you have different bike styles, you will need to invest your money more on the adapter bar. It is almost impossible to fit all of the bikes on the rack without bumping each other.
Before choosing the racks, you will want to make sure to count the number of the bikes that you have. If you go with your family members or friends, you surely want to pick the bike racks which can cater to more bikes at once.
Consider to browse around the specific racks which have larger capacity if you usually go with your larger group. But if you are just alone, or coupled with someone, you could also pick the rack with smaller capacity.
Tilting feature is very useful to keep your racks situated at your vehicle for much longer time. Besides, it can provide the great access to your rear cargo area. In the tilting racks, you will lean it over by pulling the lever. As a result, the rack will move down to give you direct access to the tailgate part of your vehicle. You can find this feature basically in both platform type of racks as well as the hanging type one.
Swing-away feature has been popular amongst the bike lovers lately because it allows the users to access the rear area of the racks without unloading the bikes one by one from the rack (if you have multiple bikes). In this system, the hinged arm which is installed at the base of your car can swing back from it. The swing-away rack provides an enormous amount of extension away from the hitch so that it can attain the rear cargo area without having to unload the bikes.
Wheel Size and Tire Width Compatibility
The wheel size and tire width will determine the type of the hitch racks you are grabbing from the market. Consider to measure the width of the rim and diameter of the tire.
Bike Frame Compatibility
The bike frame can be different from one model to another. But the frame will be the key to pick the right bike racks for you. As a good start, you can rest assured that each manufacturer will always create a design which really conveys the basic characteristics of the bike. Therefore, not only the frame, but also the surrounding parts including the wheel size and tire clearance. The standard rack is often coming as 26 inch wheel capacity. But it can be others depending on the type of your bike. Always cross-check the information with the manufacturer of the racks. If needed, you could also specify the model of your bike. Their customer support will gladly help you to locate the right bike racks for you.
The width of the tire and frame measurement of your bike can really determine the racks that you choose. Depending on the type of your vehicle, you will want to choose the racks which clear a rear mounted spare tire or bumper. Some SUV models can spare the tire part on the back of the vehicle to be replaced with the bike racks. Before installing the bike rack on your SUV, make sure that it will clear the spare. Measure the required clearance of vehicle and bike rack clearance well so that you can determine the most appropriate racks that you can install.
Depending on the models of the bike racks, there are certain weight differences between one unit to another. As mentioned before, if you see the platform racks, these models tend to be heavier than the hanging racks.
Hitch Mount vs. Other Bike Rack Styles
Hitch mount racks can provide the seat for the bikes. And your bikes will be visible and stun fellow road runners out there. Hitch mount racks are efficient, effective, and convenient. No other bike rack styles can match the versatility of the hitch mount racks.