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The Best Hitch Bike Racks|A Non-Technical Review

Updated on March 17, 2014

Why Hitch Mounted Bike Racks Are a Good Option

In the world of bike storage, there are a lot of options out there. I am by no means a technical expert in the area of bike racks; however, I do use my bike rack a lot and I know what bike racks work and what bike racks don't work. Hitch mounted bike racks are great for being user friendly and hassle free; however, there are other types of bike racks that will be just as compatible: car trunk mounted bike racks, roof top carriers, spare tire bike racks, just to name a few. Here are some great facts about hitch mounted bike racks:

  • People love hitch mounted bike racks because they are way less hassle to install than other types of bike racks.
  • To secure a hitch bike rack to your vehicle, simply hook the hardware onto your vehicle rear hitch post.
  • Most hitch mounted bike racks include either a bolt or a pin that secure the post. Pins are optimal because you don't need to get your tools out. You can always swap a pin for a bolt, as long as it fits-just look for an after-market product.
  • Hitch mounted bike racks, (particularly tray-style racks)are arguably more secure than typical strap-down style bike racks.

Where to Find the Best Hitch Mounted Bike Racks

If you're at your local bike shop, you should absolutely have a good look at some of the top rated hitch mounted bike racks: Allen, Yakima and Thule are some of the best brands in bike storage. Do some measuring to make sure your vehicle hitch post is compatible with the bike rack you want to buy. Also, try out the bike racks, if you can to see how easy they are to install and maneuver. Some things you'll want to consider when you're at your local bike shop, looking for a hitch mount bike racks:

  • Make sure you know your hitch post measurements to make sure the hitch mount rack will fit perfectly into your vehicle's hitch. Class I hitches with 1.25-inch openings are designed for most cars and small car-based SUVs. Class III hitches with 2-inch openings are usually found on pickups and truck-based SUVs.
  • Do you want a bike rack that folds down or one that swings out?
  • How many bikes do you want to use on your rack?
  • What style of hitch mount bike rack would best suit your bike needs? There are 2 types of hitch mount bike racks: tray style hitch mount (supports the weight of the bike(s) and holds your bikes by clamping down on the front bike wheel) or arm support hitch mount (secures bikes by using the frame as the primary point of attachment to the bike).

Shopping for bike racks online can be a viable way to save yourself money, but you have to know exactly what you're looking for and you need to do your research ahead of time. Allen Bike Racks on Amazon have a handy feature where you plug in all your vehicle information and your computer will show you if the bike rack you want will fit on your vehicle.

Bike Rack for Car

Hitch Bike Rack
Hitch Bike Rack | Source

Thule 990XT Doubletrack 2-Bike Hitch Carrier

Matching Bike Bike Rack Styles with Bike Frames

Any rack that uses the bicycle frame itself as a primary point of attachment is prone to compatibility issues. That's not to say that these types of bike racks are not to be used ever. Quite often bike racks that are easy to assemble, (hitch mounted racks included), are not always the most conservative choice for bike transportation. You bike might be prone to bumping into other bikes on the rack, hence cause said bike to get dinged and scratched. Long story short, if you have a really good/expensive bike and you don't want any chance of getting it dinged or scratched, then you need to invest in a higher end bike rack. This will assure you of a hassle-free and worry-free bike transportation adventure. Bike racks that are notoriously known for being high-end and known to keep your bike safe from dings are Thule and Yakima bike racks. Yakima bike racks have a hitch bike rack option that support your bike/s with a tray. This tray doesn't allow for any unnecessary banging and clanging, and the bonus is that it will only take you about 10 seconds to load/unload your bikes with the Yakima bike rack. Thule has an equally awesome hitch bike rack that's also a tray style that eliminates bike-to-bike contact completely.

Best Bike Rack for Car


Bike Rack for Car: Bike Frame and Bike Rack Compatibility

Type of Bike Frame
Best Bike Rack
Mountain Bike
Full suspension bikes need the support of a tray-style hitch mount bike frame or tray-style rood rack carrier.
Road/Cruiser Bike
Duel or single arm hitch-tray style for your high end bikes
Cargo Bike
Hitch trailer
BMX Bike

Bike Rack and Vehicle Compatibility

Type of Vehicle
Best Bike Rack
Duel or Single Arm Hitch Mount Bike Rack
SUV with Spare Tire
Duel or Single Arm Hitch Mount that swings out
Hatch Back

Making the Right Choice

To sum it up, there are many options for hitch bike racks out there and they range significantly in style and in price. Hitch bike racks suit almost every type of vehicle, as long as you have a hitch mount. Just make sure the rack you buy is compatible with the hitch size. Just make sure you're comfortable with the way your bike is supported by the bike rack you buy. If you want a zero percent chance of your bike getting damaged by other bikes, you'll want to consider getting a tray-style hitch rack like Yakima bike racks or Thule bike racks, which are some of the highest end bike racks on the market. You'll have to spend a little more, but it will be worth it because you won't have to constantly worry about your bike getting damaged.


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