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The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Whether you’re riding solo or bringing along the whole crew, these are the best hitch bike racks to haul your wheels to the trailhead or bike park.

Mountain biker and Senior Editor Morgan Tilton opens hitch rack on back of truck; (photo/Eric Phillips)
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Taking a header over your handlebars is never a good time. But wrestling your bike onto a rack (and compulsively checking your rearview mirror to make sure your bike isn’t cartwheeling down the highway) is probably your least favorite part of cycling.

Luckily, there are a host of options for conveniently and safely getting your bike to where you want to go, especially if you have a tow hitch. With features like ratcheting arms, integrated cable locks, and swing-away arms, it’s easy to find the perfect way to load and unload your bike, securely hold it, and hit the trail without worry.

We looked around for the best hitch bike rack of 2024, and we found some very solid contenders in a wide range of price points.

At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart. Otherwise, scroll through to see all of our recommended buys.

Editor’s Note: We updated our hitch bike rack buyer’s guide on October 31, 2023, to reflect the current price tags on our recommendations — most of our favorite hitch racks have dropped in price. We also added information to the buyer’s guide and a sweep of field imagery from our testing.

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024


Best Overall Hitch Bike Rack

Thule T2 Pro XTR

Specs

  • Weight 52 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 2 (4 with add-on)
  • Carry capacity  60 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks Integrated bike lock, included receiver lock
  • Type Platform
Product Badge The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Secures bikes with no frame contact

Cons

  • Pricey
Best Budget Hitch Bike Rack

Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Bike Rack

Specs

  • Weight 23 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 4
  • Carry capacity 35 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks  None
  • Type Hanging
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Price
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • No security system
  • Frame contact carry
Runner-Up Best Hitch Bike Rack

1UP USA Equip-D Single

Specs

  • Weight  27-28 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 1 (3 with add-ons)
  • Carry capacity 50 lbs. per bike (35 lbs. for the third bike)
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks None
  • Type  Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Doesn't shimmy in the hitch receiver thanks to an integrated anti-wobble mechanism
  • Quick to install

Cons

  • No integrated lock
  • The release lever can freeze in super-cold weather, usually below zero degrees F
Best Swing-Away Hitch Bike Rack

RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away Platform

Specs

  • Weight 63 lbs.
  • Number of bikes  2
  • Carry capacity 60 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 2"
  • Locks Integrated hitch lock and bike cable lock
  • Type  Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • 180-degree arm swing for full use of the back of the vehicle even with bikes loaded

Cons

  • Complicated assembly takes some trial and error to get right
  • Not compatible with fenders
  • Add-on for additional bikes not available
Best E-Bike Rack

Yakima OnRamp

Specs

  • Weight 42 lbs., 9.6 oz.
  • Number of bikes 2
  • Carry capacity  66 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks Integrated bike lock and hitch receiver lock
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Convenient loading system especially for heavy bikes
  • Among the highest carry capacity for high-pound bikes

Cons

  • Fatter tires require a different set of straps (sold separately)
Best 4-Bike Hitch Rack

Yakima RidgeBack

Specs

  • Weight 35 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 4
  • Carry capacity  40 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks None (bike lock sold separately)
  • Type Hanging
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Integrated bottle opener

Cons

  • Cable lock not integrated
  • Frame adapters are separate purchases
Best of the Rest

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

Specs

  • Weight  32 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 2 (4 with add-on)
  • Carry capacity 40 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks Bike lock (no hitch lock)
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Easy install
  • Low profile
  • Tilts away from vehicle while fully loaded

Cons

  • Less weight capacity than the Thule T2 Pro XTR
  • No integrated hitch lock

Swagman XC2

Specs

  • Weight 28 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 2
  • Carry capacity 35 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks  None
  • Type Cradle system (Similar to platform style)
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Secure cradle system
  • Great price point
  • Lower weight

Cons

  • No access to the rear of your vehicle when bikes are on the rack

INNO Tire Hold Bike Hitch 4

Specs

  • Weight  85 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 4
  • Carry capacity  60 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 2"
  • Locks Included for hitch and bikes
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Frameless contact
  • Rock-solid stability
  • High weight capacity

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • Doesn’t fit fat bikes

Yakima HangOver 6

Specs

  • Weight 70 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 6
  • Carry capacity 37.5 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 2"
  • Locks Yes, a hitch lock and integrated bike lock system
  • Type Unique rear wheel and rear fork cradle system
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Huge carrying capacity
  • Innovative design

Cons

  • Only works with bikes that have suspension forks

Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike

Specs

  • Weight 35 lbs.
  • Number of bikes  2
  • Carry capacity 60 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks Locking hitch pin, integrated bike lock cables
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Slender footprint
  • Zero frame contact

Cons

  • Pricey

Saris MHS DUO 1-Bike Tray

Specs

  • Weight 105 lbs. (2 33-lb. trays, 39-lb. base hitch)
  • Number of bikes 2 (3 bikes with add-on)
  • Carry capacity 60 lbs. per bike
  • Hitch receiver options 2"
  • Locks Locking hitch pin, integrated bike lock cables
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Quick load time

Cons

  • Cost-wise the pieces add up
  • On the arms, the release levers can get a tad stubborn
  • The rack and bikes wobble on rocky, bumpy terrain

Yakima StageTwo

Specs

  • Weight 66 lbs.
  • Number of bikes 2
  • Carry capacity 70 lbs. per bike on road; 42 lbs. per bike off-road
  • Hitch receiver options 1.25", 2"
  • Locks Integrated bike lock and hitch receiver lock
  • Type Platform
The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2024

Pros

  • Accommodates a wide range of wheel bases
  • Durable and secure while driving off-road
  • Integrated bike lock is streamlined

Cons

  • The hitch receiver SpeedKnob lock is a tad counterintuitive and takes practice (but is strong and works well)
  • Tilt lever needs mindfulness – make sure it’s fully latched when returned upright, before driving off
  • Significant weight difference max between paved and off-road routes
Single-tray bike hitch racks are more streamlined and weigh less than other options; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Hitch Bike Racks Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Number of Bikes, Carry Capacity.

RacksPriceNumber of BikesCarry Capacity (per Bike)
Thule T2 Pro XTR$8002 (4 with add-on)60 lbs. 

Allen Sports Deluxe
Hitch Bike Rack
$130435 lbs. 
1UP USA Equip-D Single$5251 (3 with add-ons)50 lbs. (35 lbs. for third bike)
RockyMounts BackStage
Swing Away Platform
$770260 lbs.
Yakima OnRamp$699266 lbs. 
Yakima RidgeBack$379440 lbs. 
Kuat Sherpa 2.0$6292 (4 with add-on)40 lbs. 
Swagman XC2$150235 lbs. 
INNO Tire Hold
Bike Hitch 4
$1,000460 lbs. 
Yakima HangOver 6$999637.5 lbs.
Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike$580260 lbs. 
Saris MHS DUO
1-Bike

& Base 
$200 and $3502 (3 bikes with add-on)60 lbs. 
Yakima StageTwo$749270 lbs. on road; 42 lbs. off-road
Hitch racks that tilt down allow you to open your tailgate — just make sure the rack latches, so it doesn’t hit the ground upon opening; (photo/Eric Phillips)

How We Tested Hitch Bike Racks

The folks behind GearJunkie spend a lot of time in the saddle. From daily office commutes to singletrack joyrides, bikes play a major role in our lives. Like most cyclists, we often use our vehicles to haul bikes around. We plug our hitch-mounted bike racks into sedans, SUVs, and everything in between. Though it’s always nice to start pedaling right out of the front door, we often have to drive before we can ride.

Two of our lead testers, Senior Editor Morgan Tilton and professional photographer and gear writer Eric Phillips, live in Crested Butte, Colorado, where Gunnison Valley delivers more than 750 miles of mountain bike trails in and surrounding the valley. They also drive to the trail systems in Moab, Utah, or Colorado’s Grand Junction, Fruita, Paonia, and the San Juan Mountains, to name a few, racking up hundreds of miles on each hitch rack per road trip.

After years of regular use and testing, we’ve identified the best hitch bike racks on the market. We thoroughly assess every rack we test, down to the last screw. A hitch bike rack should be easy to use, durable in the long term, secure, and versatile. We’ve weighed dozens of racks against these standards, and the models on this list are as good as it gets.

Many of the racks featured here have been with us for many years. Even after regular exposure to the elements and many miles of rough roads, they’re still going strong. Whether you’re pedaling a mountain bike, e-bike, or commuter, we’re confident you’ll find a rack to help transport your steed. As new racks roll out in the future, we’ll be sure to update our list to reflect the current market.

1UP Equip-D Single
Testing the 1UP USA Equip-D single-bike hitch rack year-round; (photo/Kurt Barclay)

Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Hitch Bike Rack

Types of Hitch Bike Racks

Platform-Style and Hanging-Style Explained

There are two main types of hitch-mounted bike racks. The first is platform-style racks, which use a platform to secure bikes generally via the tires. The second is hanging-style racks, which suspend the bike from the frame.

Platform racks have the benefit of not touching the bike frame at all; they only touch the tires. This makes them ideal for people who don’t want to risk damaging their bike frames.

Plus, the trays can be adjusted to allow for more space between bikes, minimizing bike-to-bike contact. This also allows platform racks to fit all kinds of bikes regardless of overall size, suspension style, or wheel size.

This combination of versatility and easy installation makes the platform-style racks very popular among serious cyclists. The only downside is that they’re generally more expensive than hanging-style racks.

Hanging racks, meanwhile, support bikes by the frames, letting the bikes hang down. The advantage here is that many of these racks can hold up to five bikes without added hardware. The main disadvantage is that contact with the frame can lead to abrasion and, in some cases, damage. This is a huge consideration when carrying a bike with a carbon fiber frame.

Hanging racks also may not accommodate bikes with unusual frames (like step-through bikes) or full-suspension mountain bikes. And you may also want to secure the front tires to the frame with a bungee cord or a strap. This helps prevent the wheels from rotating and bumping into other bikes.

On the plus side, hanging racks are easier to mount and unmount. And they’re generally less expensive than platform racks.

We found that hanging bike racks aren’t ideal for multiple mountain bikes and are better for leaner road or gravel bikes; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Platform vs. Hanging: Which Is Best?

If keeping your bike pristine is the most important benefit and cost is less of a consideration, platform racks are ideal. Most platform racks secure the bike via the tires, avoiding frame contact entirely.

They’re also easy to use, especially platform racks with a roll-up feature. This is ideal for people transporting heavier bikes like cruisers or e-bikes.

Platform racks also win out if you transport bikes with unique frames (like a step-through bike) or full-suspension mountain bikes. You won’t have to find a way to weave any hanging arms through the frames.

That said, platform racks as a whole come with bigger price tags than hanging racks. Most riders’ main concern with a hanging rack is that it could potentially damage carbon fiber frames. However, a crack is more likely to come from crashing into a tree or accidentally stepping on the chainstay.

Realistically, the bigger issue with frame contact is that it can damage the bike’s finish over time. We’ve heard horror stories about hanging racks wearing the paint down to the metal on long road trips.

While that’s an extreme case, slower wear over years of use isn’t. Because of this, hanging racks tend to feature padded cradles to minimize frame damage, but the best way to guarantee your frame is safe is to eliminate frame contact.

If the price is no object and keeping your bike looking new is your priority, choose a platform rack. If you want to save money and aren’t concerned about wear, a hanging rack is a great choice.

In some designs, the front bike tires rest in an angled tray while the back tire is secured with an adjustable ratchet strap; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Number of Bikes

One of the first things to consider after choosing a bike rack type is how many bikes you typically take with you. Racks generally carry anywhere from two to six bikes, so you have some options.

Remember, you can always carry fewer bikes than a rack’s capacity, but never more than a rack’s capacity. And you never know when you’re going to pick up a few more buddies to ride with.

Note: Some platform racks have optional add-ons that will add more bike capacity to the rack.

Some hitch rack designs swing away from the back of your vehicle for access while the bikes are loaded; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Tilting vs. Swing-Away

The “tilt” and “swing-away” features refer to how the rack adjusts to allow access to your vehicle. Tilting angles the rack to allow you to open a hatchback or drop down a tailgate. This makes it possible to lean in and grab a backpack or let your dog hop out.

One thing to consider is whether you can tilt the rack with the bikes still on it. It can be a pain to take the bikes off when you need to get into your car. Also, consider how far it tilts away. This will make a huge difference if you’re pulling out something unwieldy, like a cooler.

Generally, a feature of hanging racks, swing-away operation tends to move the rack farther away from your ride. This allows more access to the rear of the vehicle. It also moves the rack out of the way, so you can pull out heavy and unwieldy items more easily.

Our favorite swing-away rack is the BackStage 2 from RockyMounts. It swings a full 180 degrees away from your vehicle, giving you unobstructed access to whatever’s back there.

Mounting Systems

Mounting systems tend to feature two different ways to lock your bike to the rack. The first and most common is the strap system. It’s usually made up of a ratcheting or elastic strap that wraps over a part of your bike. In hanging racks it’s the frame, while in platform racks it’s the wheels.

The second is the shepherd’s hook, most often utilized in platform racks. This entails an arm that swings up from the platform and ratchets down onto your bike’s tires. These lock it down to the platform. Often, they’re reinforced by straps that wrap around the bottom of the wheels to bolster security.

Every hanging rack we’ve seen uses the strap system. While it’s a solid and secure system (user error is the most common issue), straps can degrade and break. Because of this, many strap systems secure the bike with two straps at each attachment point as a contingency. However, if a shepherd’s hook breaks (which only happens rarely), your bike is at significant risk of falling off.

Every hitch bike rack’s wheel tray has unique dimensions including the tire width and wheelbase length, so be sure to check what you need; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Wheel Size and Tire Width Compatibility

A bike rack is useless if it can’t hold your bike, so make sure your bike will fit. Hanging racks win this category. Because your bikes are secured by the frame, their tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase are not an issue.

The bigger concern with hanging racks is unique frame types like BMX bikes, step-through frames, and full-suspension mountain bikes. These can prove a pain (or impossible) to hang on a hanging rack.

Because platform racks secure the bike via the tires, it’s important to make sure that your bike’s tire width, wheel size, and wheelbase all fall within the rack’s parameters. When shopping for a platform rack, check the technical specs listed on the rack brand’s website. Most companies will list a range of wheelbases, tire widths, and wheel sizes that fit that rack’s specs.

This won’t be an issue for most bikes, but some outliers may cause problems. Fat bike tires, extra-wide wheelbases, and 29-inch wheels won’t fit some platform racks.

Fortunately, several of the racks we mention will work with fat tires and wide wheelbases. Peruse our list and make sure that the one you’re considering will work with your bike.

Platform racks often have a security arm with an angled hook that ratchets down on top of the tire; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Bike Frame Compatibility

For hanging bike racks, you’ll need to consider the shape of the top tube. You’ll need a bike with a classic triangular frame in order to easily hang your bike. Most traditional road bikes and hardtail mountain bikes fit this bill.

But if you’re planning to haul a full-suspension mountain bike, step-through bike, or smaller kids’ bike, then a hanging rack may not be the best option.

Hitch Receiver Size

Hitches generally come in 1.25-inch and 2-inch sizing. It’s important that you verify which size your vehicle has prior to purchasing a bike rack.

The larger, 2-inch hitch can carry heavier loads, which is great if you plan to carry several heavy e-bikes. It’s also worth noting that some racks come with an adapter to fit either size.

Some bike racks include an integrated bike lock system that are long enough to secure at least part of the bike like the front tire; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Security

Bike racks have two main points of vulnerability when it comes to theft: the bikes can be stolen off the rack, and the rack itself can be removed. This isn’t just an issue if bikes are on it; the racks themselves can be coveted items for potential thieves.

Remember, if you have to head into a store or you’re spending the night away from home, it only takes a few seconds for a thief to pull your bike off the rack and pedal off with it.

If they’re prepared with tools (or not, for mounts with hand-tightening hitch mounts), someone can take your entire rack. This can be a huge issue if you don’t have a garage to park in, particularly if you don’t want to put on or take off your rack every time you ride.

Fortunately, many racks come with a locking hitch mount, which makes it impossible to unscrew when engaged. If your rack doesn’t come with one, many companies sell mount locks separately. There are also plenty of aftermarket hitch locks available for purchase.

As for your bikes, a standard cable lock can secure them to the rack itself. Make sure that your rack has some predrilled holes for you to thread the cable lock through. But a much more convenient option is an integrated lock. This is a feature found on higher-end racks; companies like Thule and Yakima usually offer this.

The lock is integrated into the rack itself, retracting into the rack when not in use. When you need it, simply pull it out and thread it through the bikes. It then locks to another part of the rack, so you can lock and unlock your bikes in seconds.

Some designs include an integrated lock loop, so you can add your own additional locks, which we recommend; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Ease of Use

If you’ve ever had to wrestle a full-suspension mountain bike onto a hanging rack or find a way to Tetris four bikes onto a poorly designed rack, you know that ease of use is a huge factor in choosing the right bike rack.

For a diamond-frame bike (the most common bike), hanging racks provide a simple option. Lift the bike, slide it onto the rack, strap it down, bungee the front wheel, and you’re good to go. (Plus, it gives you a chance to get some bicep curls in before your ride).

However, if you’ve got a heavier bike or one with a unique frame style, a platform rack may be the better option for mounting bikes. Because it has a lower frame, you don’t have to lift the bike as far. And once you have it on, you don’t have to lift it much to adjust. Hanging racks can take a bit of fiddling to get the bike into the cradle.

But the easiest option (and often the most expensive) is the ramp. This feature, found on some platform rack models, allows you to simply roll your bike onto the rack. This is a great option for cyclists with heavier bikes like e-bikes or cruisers.

Many bike hitch rack designs offer add-on options to increase the load capacity, but make sure the extensions match your hitch size; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Durability

Durability is a huge consideration when it comes to hitch racks. The single attachment point puts a lot of pressure on racks as they carry loads over rough roads. Because they’re usually made from sturdy material like steel, breaks very rarely occur at the hitch’s attachment point.

Issues usually occur at the attachment point of the bike — the shepherd’s hook or the straps. Fortunately, the most common failure is the least disastrous and easiest to fix: the straps. Elastic straps tend to dry out, especially if exposed to the sun, which leads to cracking and eventually snapping.

However, most hanging racks (where you most often find elastic straps) have two straps at each attachment point. This not only acts as an anti-sway measure but also functions as a backup when a strap breaks. And they tend to be inexpensive and easy to replace. Because they’re small and unobtrusive, it’s easy to keep spares in your car.

The same goes for the hard plastic straps on ratcheting systems. Though they tend to be more sun-resistant than elastic ones, hard plastic straps can also dry out and crack. Again, it’s not usually a huge issue, as they’re inexpensive and easy to replace.

Shepherd’s hook breaks, meanwhile, are much rarer. These systems use one hook per wheel, so if one breaks, you’ll be dragging your bike to your destination. Replacement shepherd’s hooks are much more expensive and more complicated to replace. They’re also much bigger than a strap, so it’s not likely you’ll have a spare sitting in your car.

When shopping for a bike rack, do your research. Check out the user reviews or talk to your local shop pro to see what experiences others have had.

The security hooks are typically user-friendly with a click-in button that allows the arm to slide up or down; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Price

The price of bike racks varies from less than $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the model and features. The trend we’ve seen is that the more expensive the rack, the safer it’ll keep your bikes.

Pricier racks also tend to offer features that make them easier to use. Generally, hanging racks are less expensive than platform racks.

Lower-end racks often offer minimal protection and features. Higher-end racks usually offer more padding and protection. They also offer more features that make your bikes secure and easy to access.

How much you spend depends on your needs (as well as your bank account). If you just want a way to get your bike to a trailhead without disassembling it and stuffing it in your trunk, a good $100 hanging rack is the way to go.

If you’ve spent a couple of grand on a killer road bike and want to keep it in mint condition as long as you can, go for a higher-end platform rack (assuming you can afford it after spending all that cheddar on a carbon fiber rocket).

Generally, we’ve found that the sweet spot in racks is somewhere around the $400-600 range. For that money, you can find a rack that is easy to use and will keep your bike safe. Plus, you’ll have some money left over for a decent pit stop on the way to the trail.

While many tools are intuitive, we encourage you to read the directions for your hitch rack to make sure you correctly assemble each piece and correctly mount the rack; (photo/Eric Phillips)

FAQ

Which car bike rack is best?

The best car bike rack varies from person to person. With so many variables between each rider, it’s nearly impossible to choose one bike rack for every situation.

The best option is to decide what your needs are and pick a rack that works best for you. If your priority is finding a good, cost-effective rack, and you can pick up your bike and move it around without struggle, you can get a good hanging rack for $100-200.

If keeping your bike safe and scratch-free is your main concern, a platform rack is a good choice. Platforms also sit lower to the ground, so it’s good for people who struggle to pick up their bikes.

The higher you go in price range, the more features you get. High-end racks add security features, levers, and buttons that make them easier to use. They usually also offer ways to let you access your trunk without removing the bikes.

When choosing a rack, consider the features you’re willing to do without and which ones you need. Balance those needs with how much you’re willing to spend, and you’ll find the perfect rack for you.

What is the best bike rack for four bikes?

Both hanging and platform racks have versions that can hold four bikes. Hanging racks require a little bit more finesse to keep your bikes safe, as they secure your bikes from the top. This makes it possible for the bikes to swing and hit each other during travel.

Fewer bikes can be spaced out, which minimizes the risk. But space is limited with four bikes, so ensure that the cradles are spaced out enough that the bikes won’t hit each other, even with minimal swing.

This is less of an issue with platform racks, as the bikes are locked into place via both wheels, adding a good amount of stability. It’s also easier to put the bikes on platform racks because the cradles are set so much lower.

The arms on hanging and platform racks usually fold down or up for a svelte tow when you don’t have bikes loaded; (photo/Eric Phillips)
Do bike racks damage your car?

One of the reasons that so many people choose a hitch-mounted rack over a trunk-mounted rack is that the hitch doesn’t have any contact with the body of the car. This decreases any rubbing against the paint. It also generally keeps the rack away from anything on the body that it can dent or shatter.

However, no matter what precautions a company can make when designing a rack, there’s always the issue of user error. Opening your hatchback while the rack is on and upright can drive the hatch right into the rack.

This can cause denting and scratching to the rack or the car. Make sure the rack is out of the way when you access the rear of your vehicle.

Bikes can also contact your vehicle if you’re not careful. Platform racks sometimes carry the bike close to a vehicle’s back window. This can increase the odds of the handlebar going through that window on an especially bumpy road.

You can solve this by adjusting the cradles to make the bike sit farther away from the window. Hanging racks let the front tire hang free, which can lead to bumping and grinding up against your car.

It’s not as dire an issue as breaking a window, but it can damage the finish over time. It’s an easy fix, though. Secure the wheel with a strap or bungee cord to solve the problem.

If you are off-roading to your route, consider getting a hitch rack that is built for off-road travel; (photo/Eric Phillips)
What is the easiest bike rack to use?

Both types of racks have their advantages. If picking up your bike isn’t a problem for you, hanging racks are simple to use. Put the bike on the arms, tie down the straps, bungee the front wheel, and your bike is secure.

Platform racks don’t require as much muscle, as the cradles are lower. However, they do take a few more steps to lock the bike in. Racks with swing-away features make it easier to access the back of your ride. Consider one of these if you carry a lot of gear (camping trips, etc.).

Overall, we’ve found that brands like Thule, Yakima, and 1UP tend to include little tweaks like lever-adjustable tilting and integrated locks. Details like these go a long way in making a rack easier to use.

Are hitch bike racks better?

If your vehicle has the capability, hitch racks are a great option. Having the mount attach to your hitch receiver versus trunk racks or roof racks not only protects your car’s finish from damage, but it’s also extremely secure, as the mounts are made of heavy-duty steel.

They’re also much easier to install than other options, which is a huge perk for people who don’t want a rack on their car every day. Because it’s secured with a steel pin, it only takes one step to put it on a trailer hitch when you are out for a ride, and one step to remove it when you’re done.

The primary hitch rack arm often has a lock to offer secure installation with your vehicle’s hitch; (photo/Eric Phillips)

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