Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2019 and How To Choose The Most Suitable One

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Stable bike carrying, fast bicycle loading, easy bike transportation -These are the benefits of having the best hitch bike rack on the market.

Like the rest of the bike riders, you may have some questions:

  • How to choose a hitch bike rack?
  • Best-selling hitch bike rack in 2019?
  • Features you should pay attention when buying a hitch bike rack.

Well here’s the good news:

In this post, we are going to answer all those questions you need to know about the best hitch bike rack.

Read our review of Best Bike Racks of 2019.

If you are new to a hitch bike rack, I’ll highlight 3 choices for you:

  • Best choice
  • Best value choice
  • Premium choice

Most importantly, we are going to explain what makes each hitch bikes rack important.

And the best part…

You’ll feel confident buying any of these hitch bikes. Enough of the introduction, let’s jump in.

Thule T2 Pro XT: Premium Choice

Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack (1.25" Receiver)

It shouldn’t surprise you if Thule T2 takes position one in the list. My reason is, it is the best hitch mount bike rack on the market.

It faces strong competitors, but what sets it’s apart is the functionality and performance.

There’s no doubt it has a high score when it comes to performance and durability.

Looking at its ergonomic, you will be happy to see it is excellent. It has a ratchet wheel clamps arms, which you can adjust with one hand.

The ratchet arms secure the wheels of your bike to the platform. Even better, it ensures no contact with the frame.

Did I also mention that the wheel clamp can fit up to five inches of a wheel with a 20 to 29 diameter?

In fact, its ratchet wheel clamps arms are what makes it unique in its category.

Its user-friendly tilt is superior in class. Most important to you, it provides quick, easy access to the vehicle’s rear.

And the best part is:

Because of its versatility carrying system, you can accommodate a fat bike and kid’s bike.

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The Yakima Holdup

Yakima - HoldUp +2, Hitch Mounted Bike Rack Add-On Extension

Guess what?

The Yakima Holdup still made its name in the Hitch rack competitive space. That’s because its main focus is to make sure your bike is secure without coming into contact with the frame.

Like what you see in Thule and NV 2.0, the Yakima provides adjustable cradles and an excellent locking clamp which hooks over the tire to keep your bike in position.

Maybe you are wondering if Yakima Holdup excelled in this area? Yes, it did.

But that’s not all.

Its main selling point is that it offers a 60-lb weight limit per bike. In other words, the entire racks accommodate a 120-lb capacity.

Being that this a two-rack model, it also offers 2 attachment for you to accommodate up to four bikes.

Tell me, what could be so great that this?

Its StrongArm technology also deserves mention. It safely secures any bike size wheel so that you never worry about your bike getting damaged.

Did I forget to tell you that Yakima comes with an Integrated cable?

Yes, it does, with a lock for extra securing. I wouldn’t say the lock is super strong enough to prevent a determined thief from stealing your bike.

But it will help your bike from coming off the highway.

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Kuat Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack

Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2" - 2-Bike Rack - Black Metallic, Black Metallic/Gray Anodize

If you are looking for a lightweight hitch rack, Kuat Sherpa has some nice features worth your consideration.

Let’s look at each of them.

First, Kuat Sherpa bike rack is a low-priced model you can get today without spending your hard-earned money on the expensive model.

The only thing it lacks is the adjustability you will see with Kuat NV. Second, it makes loading and unloading of bikes easy because of its weight.

What’s more, their low loading height makes this process so easy.

The front wheel clamp ergonomics make it easy to release and clamp your bike in position.

Third, its rear wheel straps pivot can accommodate different wheelbase length. It is so different than the sliding straps you see on the Thule T2 Pro.

Okay, let’s not forget its foot release. It is a great feature different from what you see in the T2 classic, which needs two hands to do the same task.

At only 32lbs, the Kuat Sherpa as a lightweight hitch rack.

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Rocky Mount Backstage : Best Value Choice

RockyMounts BackStage 2" Receiver Swing Away platform hitch 2 bicycle rack. Allows full access to the rear of the vehicle with bikes on or off the rack.

Do you know where the Rocky Mount Backstage shines in the hitch rack competitive space?

No idea? It is the first platform rack to use a side-swinging mechanism in their design.

Have no idea what a side-swing mechanism mean?

Think of an arm which swing away from your car so you can access the car rear cargo area

Well, this is what sets it apart from big competitors like Yakima or Thule. But this, not the only feature, let’s look at more.

Because of its side-swing mechanism, don’t expect it to be light. It weighs roughly 10 to 20 pounds than most platform-styles racks.

That means if you are going to buy it. It is something that you won’t remove on your car often.

A great thing I forgot to mention. The swing away feature made RockyMount the top pick award for Vanlife.

What this means is, if you have van or vehicle that’s not compatible with other kinds of hitch racks. RockyMount backstage might be the solution for your problem/

Besides having swing away features, RockyMount has retained all the features you see in a premium hitch racks such as a remote tilt hurdle and low loading height.

If you are a bike nomad, who want to have an easy time accessing the rear area of the car without hustle. Trust me on this. You can’t go wrong with RockyMount backstage.

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Kuat NV 2.0 : Best Choice

Kuat Racks NV Base 2.0 Bike Rack, Sandy Matte Black, 2"

If you love Kuat early version of hitch racks, am damn sure you will love their new upgrade. The Kuat NV 2.0.

It is one of those high-end durable hitch racks you will be standing on the line to buy. But allow me to tell you why so.

From the aesthetic feature to functionality, there’s something we all have to agree:

It doesn’t match Thule T2 in ergonomics and functionality.

It comes with best in class securing feature, coupled with a beautiful finish and an integrated work stand.

Talk of the ratcheting arms. You will notice they are easy to snug up and simple to release. Looking at the rear wheel straps, it has an excellent design, and you can easily manipulate it.

What about assembling?

Honestly, it is the easiest hitch rack to assembling. You will have excellent directions and reliable tools which makes assembling it a breeze.

Let’s talk about the lock system?

It comes with two burly cable locks. You will notice one extends from the black end of each tray to secure bikes.

That said, you will still love the Kuat New version because of its substantial cable diameter that’s different from all other hitch racks.

Read full review of Kuat NV 2.0

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Saris Bones Hitch 4

Saris Bones 4-Bike Hitch Rack

Saris bones hitch combines a high carrying and minimal design. It boasts of a light 20-pound weight thanks to its plastic-heavy construction, which makes it a light bike rack.

Besides its low-price point, it has incredible features like a tilt-down function for accessing the rear door and a fold-up unit.

Looking at its flexible rubber and plastic zip-tie style, you will notice it’s not fancy. But it does an excellent job of holding the bike in position.

The only limitation I see is the extensive use of plastic quality. It is not something that’s reassuring the rack will last long if your primary consideration for a rack is weight and price. You are better off with the Saris Bones Hitch 4.

The model has a lot to offer in ergonomics. Thanks to its incredible design you don’t need a wheel removal, and its loading height is also low. That means you will always load four bikes into it with ease.

A great thing to love about this bike is. Once your bike is onto the wheel, the rack supports the weight and adjust them into the right position.

Check Price On Amazon

Factors to Consider When Picking The Best Hitch Bike Rack

Buying the hitch bike rack is easy.

But if you know the value you are getting in a hitch bike, that’s when you can slap an S on your chest.

In other words, what am trying to say is, your buying decision should be value-driven.

You choose a hitch bike rack, and you already have a preconceived idea of how it is going to work.

If this is your first time, buying a hitch bike rack, let me share with you some of the factors you need to consider when purchasing a hitch bike rack.

Types of Hitch Bikes Rack

Platform racks

If you are looking for the best way to transport your bike, consider going for platform racks.

Hands down, they are the best compared to hanging racks. Best of all the platform racks are compatible with most bike styles and design.

They also excel in stability. One of the prominent features you will see on the platform racks is the two attachment points.

A ratcheting arm which secures the front wheel and a strap which holds the rear wheel in position. Thanks to these two attachments, you can rest assured that your bike will always be in place.

For those concerned about loading and unloading. It is so easy to load and unload your bike thanks to the straightforward and effective system.

But there’s more.

It also minimizes the wobbling and side-to-side movement during driving.

The only downside I see with platform racks is, they are heavy and big — their average weight ranges from 50 pounds and more. If you remove your hitch rack often, you may want to pay attention to weight.

Besides heaviness and bulkiness, they are expensive hitch bike rack compared to others.

That said, I will only recommend it to serious riders, the added weight is worth the cost because it secures the bike while traveling. It shouldn’t be a big deal if you factor in security and stability, which are critical.

Hanging Racks

Unlike platform hitch bike racks, the hanging racks are lightweight. Most importantly, they are also cheap.

If you are looking for something lighter and a bit compact, you can’t go wrong with Hanging racks. An excellent example to buy would be the Kuat hitch bike rack, which weighs less than 13 pounds.

Even better, you can tuck this rack in any corner of your house or garage.

If you look at the list of the product that I’ve reviewed, you will notice I’ve ranked hanging racks at the bottom.

That’s because they cannot accommodate irregularly shaped bike frames. The second reason, the bike are close together when placed on a hanging rack.

The problem is, occasional swaying makes the bike contact each other when you are driving. In other words, hanging bikes lack stability and are not worth the money.

Bike Capacity- Number of Bikes

How many bikes do you have? Even better, how many bikes do you want a hitch bike rack to carry?

An excellent platform-style bike rack carries one to four bikes (even more, if you have a great extension).

Hanging racks carry from 2 to 5 bikes. But they are exceptions like recon racks that carries six bikes.

If you are a regular biker, you can stick to the two-bike designs. But if you have a family or a group consider buying a higher-capacity hanging or platform add-ons to begin.

Platform Rack Add-ons

These are extensions to increase the carrying capacity of your platform-style racks.

You need to consider platform rack add-ons if you are going to travel with a group or family. Platform extension come with different designs and functionality.

Platform extensions are a big investment because they cost nearly the same as the main racks themselves.

If you are looking for a reasonable extension, you can find it anywhere from $300 to $500. You will love the ease of use, easy installation, and great securing system.

One thing to keep in mind is, they are compatible with only 2-inch receiver version because of their low maximum tongue weight.

The weight of the Bike

Of course, you have to consider the weight of your bike. If you have a mountain bike, e-bikes, fat bikes, or cruiser models. You need to verify the weight capacity of the hitch bike rack you are going to buy.

Each design of rack on the market will list the maximum carrying capacity per bike. The weight capacity will vary from platform to hanging racks.

For those looking for something great, consider going for platform hitch rack because they have a high rating.

Tilting Feature

Let’s face it.

I know how hard it can be to access your cargo once you have a hitch bike rack on the rear cargo area.

It is a huge challenge. But there’s good news. Next time, you are in the market, always buy a hitch rack with a tilt feature.

What a Tilt rack does is allow you to access or open the rear hatch or tailgate of your car with ease. All you need is to pull the lever which moves the rack so that you can access the rear.

You will find a tilting feature on both hanging or platform models. One big difference is, in many hanging models, you will need to unload the bike first before you can tilt.

With a platform model, you can tilt the bike without unloading the bike.

Swinging-Away Racks

You’ve seen that titling allows one to open the rear door on SUV, watch bikes, and trucks.

In my opinion, this is a lot of work, and it won’t work with some cars. And this where swing-way racks come is a solution.

It makes the process of accessing the cargo area seamlessly. It opens likes an arm, pivoting the entire rack to the side of the car.

Okay, let me explain what happens…

You had access to the rear cargo of your car without unloading your bikes. In other words, swinging-away racks saved you time and effort to access the rear door.

There’s only one challenge, the extra design and complexities add extra weight. Be ready to tolerate that weight too.

Material and Design Quality

Let’s agree on one thing.

The hitch rack is a tough competitive space. Here’s where you get what you pay for.

Let me explain.

For those planning to use their racks on a rainy season, it would be excellent investing in a premium design.

Having said that, since most racks are made of plastic, it doesn’t mean that most of them are poor quality. In fact, some are great, but you need to inspect the features they have first before you make a decision.

Bike and Recover Hitch locks.

Most bikes racks have similar features, but there’s one upgrade that’s coming into the market. The locks. Most mid-range to premium designs have locks

The purpose of these locks is to secure your bike’s frame or wheel on the rack. Most importantly, they do provide a level of security during parking.

If you want to buy a bike rack that has cable locks, always go for the one integrated with the lock. The second thing you need to also pay attention to is the accessory lock for the receiver hitch.

You’ll always see this on the hitch pin or into the bottom of the rack. The main goal of this lock is to keep thieves and burglars away from stealing the rack of your car.

Not every bike rack will come with these locks, but every manufacturer will always provide it as an accessory. Sometimes, you will have to pay for it separately if the manufacturer doesn’t sell it with the bike rack.

Receiver Hitch Size

In a bike rack they are two main receiver hitch size:

1.25-inch

2-inch

Before you purchase any hitch rack, you need to find out which one is present on your car. If your car has a 2-inch receiver, chances are, it holds more weight. That’s great especially if you are planning to accommodate more weight capacity.

Fortunately, most two-bike extensions present in platform racks work only with a 2-inch receiver. In case you are going to carry a standard road bike, a 1.25-inch receiver works out great.

Vehicle Clearance

Car clearance is an essential consideration for bike riders. The clearance involves rack, your bike, and your car. Before you purchase a rack, it’s a good idea to verify your car clearance.

Failure to do that, you may have a situation whereby you can’t open your rear doors. That’s because the rack is very close and your bike’s handlebars are in contact with your car’s tailgate.

The best way to know your vehicle clearance is to test its fit. The second option is to talk with a manufacturer. They will always share with you a technical drawing of the rack, and you can use the dimensions to assess whether you will run into some issues or not.

The Bottom Line on Best Hitch Bike Racks

Do riders still use ropes to tie their bike on the car?

Maybe in another world. If there’s one thing I know about buying the best hitch bike racks is, you will save time transporting your bike to and from.

There are stable carrying and fast loading of bikes. You can’t experience such an advantage if you are still using ropes in 2019.

In fact, you won’t feel at ease when you are driving your car. You will be anxious every time, confirming if your bike is okay because ropes don’t provide stability and security hitch bikes have.

Even if you are short on cash, you will be much better with our low-end choice. What counts most when you are driving your car is the peace of mind, best hitch bike racks bring. Feel free to try any of the hitch bike racks we have reviewed.