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Best Hitch Bike Racks

A high-quality hitch bike rack allows you to bring your bicycle anywhere.
Written and Tested By:
Will Moore
Written and Tested By: Will Moore Senior Writer – Motor1 Review Team

Will has written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, logging hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339).

Last Updated 06/21/2024

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

Best Hitch Bike Rack
Kuat Sherpa 2.0

A snug-fitting, easy-to-use platform hitch bike rack.

Best Hanging Rack
Thule Apex XT

A hanging bike rack that holds up to five bikes.

Best Multi-Bike Rack
Kuat NV 2.0

A well-made hitch rack that’s great for securing multiple bikes.

Best E-Bike Rack
KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount

A hitch-bike rack that’s specially designed for heavy e-bikes.

Most Compact
KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack

A low-cost and compact hanging bike rack.

A hitch bike rack opens up a world of possibilities for cyclists, whether that be new roads to ride or trails to tear up. While you could throw your bike in the back and be done with it, a hitch bike rack provides a convenient transport solution while saving your car’s interior from grease and chain ring marks.


Hitch Bike Rack Reviews

Our team of experts researched, ordered, and physically tested the top-rated hitch bike racks on the market. We highlight a range of options for different budgets and needs. The scores in each review category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars.

What Are the Best Hitch Bike Racks?

Based on our testing, the best hitch bike racks are the Kuat Sherpa 2.0, Thule Apex XT, Kuat NV 2.0, KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount, and KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack, though there are several others worth considering depending on what you’re looking for.

Brand/ModelOverall RatingAwardCost

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

4.8

Best Hitch Bike Rack

$600

Thule Apex XT

4.7

Best Hanging Rack

$450

Kuat NV 2.0

4.7

Best Multi-Bike Rack

$850

KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount

4.5

Best E-Bike Rack

$400

KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack

4.2

Most Compact

$130

Swagman XC2

4.0

Best Value

$175

RockyMounts Monorail

4.0

Most Versatile

$500

Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack

3.8

Also Consider

$230

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

Hitch Bike Rack: Our Testing Process

The hitch bike racks in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching retailers like RealTruck and Amazon for top products, looking at factors such as design, customer ratings, and prices.

Our product testing team then ordered a variety of racks for testing. A team member installed each bike rack and practiced loading and unloading bikes from the rack. Learn more about how we tested each hitch bike rack here.

1. Kuat Sherpa 2.0: Best Hitch Bike Rack

Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Best Hitch Bike Rack

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

  • Cost: $600
  • Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Bike capacity: Two bikes
  • Load capacity: 80 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 1.25-inch, 2.0-inch

The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 is a versatile and well-designed hitch bike rack. It will fit snugly in any hitch receiver and is incredibly easy to use. The Sherpa can fold down to allow for truck access when installed, and it will securely grip any compatible bicycle. It also has integrated locks for added bike security.

If you’re looking for a reliable hitch rack to carry one or two bikes, we recommend the Sherpa 2.0. You may be able to find a less expensive hitch rack, but you generally sacrifice stability and longevity for a lower cost. 

You can see how the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 performed in each category below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 5.0
Stability 5.0
Durability 4.5
Overall Rating 4.8
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Made with durable, high-quality materials
  • Little to no movement while driving
Cons
  • Doesn’t secure XL bike frames well

The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 was among our favorite car racks to assemble and install. Even the packaging is designed to assist with assembly. Because there are so many parts, it does take some effort to build the Sherpa. Even so, the instructions are clear, and all the components fit together well.

Once installed, the Sherpa is extremely secure with no wobbling whatsoever. The tightening mechanism ensures that it will fit snugly in your trailer receiver. The tilt design allows for trunk access after this hitch is attached, and it is very easy to load bikes. The platform design is stable and secure.

Kuat Sherpa 2.0_Assembly

Engaging the pivot system is simple thanks to a foot-assist lever. This means you can raise and lower the hitch rack without using your hands.

Among the hitch racks that we tested, the Kuat Sherpa felt the most secure and was the rack we would first choose to carry our own bikes.

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

Amazon review score: 4.8 out of 5.0 (over 640 reviews)

Most love the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 because it is exceptionally sturdy and does not wobble. Many like the look and that it tightens in the hitch receiver for a perfectly snug fit.

One downside of this hitch bike rack is that it will not fit especially long bikes. The platform-style bike rack does not allow for much adjustment, so make sure your bike is compatible before buying this bike rack. The Sherpa can hold bikes up to 40 lbs. with wheelbases up to 47.0 in. and tires as large as 3.0 in.

2. Thule Apex XT: Best Hanging Rack

Thule Apex XT
Thule Apex XT Best Hanging Rack

Thule Apex XT

  • Cost: $450
  • Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 35 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Two to five bikes
  • Load capacity: 150 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 1.25-in., 2.0-in.

The Thule Apex XT is a hanging-style rack that fits snugly into your hitch receiver. While a hanging rack isn’t compatible with bikes that only have a small gap between their top tube and down tube, they are good for carrying a large number of bicycles. Choose the Apex XT if you’re looking for the most stable hanging rack or if you need something capable of carrying a large number of bikes. This rack also includes an integrated cable lock for a bit of added security.

Below are the Thule Apex XT’s ratings in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.5
Stability 5.0
Durability 4.5
Overall Rating 4.7
Pros
  • Snug, secure fit
  • Fits any size hitch reciever
  • Lockable to prevent theft
Cons
  • Won’t fit certain bike frames

The Thule Apex is the only bike rack we tested that matched the stability of the Kuat Sherpa 2.0. The Apex also has a tightening feature that ensures a snug fit with the hitch receiver. It is simple to install and even has a special key to secure it to the tailgate and prevent theft.

Unlike the Sherpa, the Apex features a hanging rack design, which allows for more bikes to be attached. That said, the hanging design is not compatible with all bikes, and you’ll need to be sure that your frame can fit.

The Apex’s securing straps are made from thick, quality rubber and can be tightened to prevent sway or rocking.

Thule Apex XT_Installation

Amazon review score: 4.4 out of 5.0 (over 860 reviews)

Many reviewers are happy with the Thule and feel that it is more secure than any other option. It can fit any size hitch receiver and is totally stable once tightened. Reviewers often comment that it is not difficult to attach and remove bikes.

Some have had trouble assembling the Thule, as the included instructions don’t explain the locking system very well. If you’re struggling to install this hitch rack, you can find videos to guide you through the process. Another issue is that the securing mounts (where you attach your bike to the rack) can wear down over time.

3. Kuat NV 2.0: Best Multi-Bike Rack

Kuat NV 2.0 Best Multi-Bike Rack

  • Cost: $850
  • Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 62.1 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Two-, three-, and four-bike models available
  • Load capacity: 120 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 1.25-in., 2.0-in.

The Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack is a great option for drivers who have multiple bikes they’d like to take out on the road with them. Although the NV 2.0 only holds two bikes out of the box, you can grab a +1 or +2 bike add-on that can potentially double the rack’s bike capacity.

The Kuat NV 2.0’s ratings are highlighted below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.5
Stability 5.0
Durability 4.5
Overall Rating 4.7
Pros
  • No tools needed for installation
  • Adjustable front tire cradle system
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Fold-out bike stand isn’t the most stable

Our team loved the Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack. It was easy to install, and even easier to use and uninstall. With the rack being as easy to install as it was, we weren’t expecting it to be one of the most stable of the bunch we tested. Surprisingly, the NV 2.0 is up there with the best of the best in terms of hitch bike rack stability.

In terms of durability, Kuat has been making high-quality bike racks for a number of years. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, you’ve likely driven past a car on the road with a NV 2.0 installed on the back, as it is one of the most popular bike racks around. You can trust this hitch bike rack will go the distance.

Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (more than 40 reviews)

Reviewers rave over the Kuat NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack. Customers say you get what you pay for, in the best sense of that phrase, as reviews frequently mention the quality of this hitch bike rack. One reviewer notes that they chose this rack over others because few could support their 60-lb. downhill mountain bike.

4. KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount: Best E-Bike Rack

KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount
KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount Best E-Bike Rack

  • Cost: $400
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 52.8 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: One to two bikes
  • Load capacity: 190 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 2.0-in.

Specifically built with electric bicycles (e-bikes) in mind, the KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount provides a secure platform to mount your machine(s) on. An incredibly helpful feature of this bike rack is its quick-release tilt lever, allowing users trunk access without having to remove their e-bike or hitch-mounted rack.

Another benefit of this e-bike rack is its quick-fold design, allowing drivers to easily stow away the rack in their garage when not in use.

The KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount’s ratings are highlighted below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.5
Stability 4.5
Durability 4.5
Overall Rating 4.5
Pros
  • Tilt back allows for trunk access
  • Fits a variety of frame sizes
  • Ships in compact/manageable package
Cons
  • No integrated way to secure bikes
  • Only fits 2.0-in. hitches

The instructions to set up the KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount are clear and concise, and our team had no issues assembling the rack or mounting it onto our test vehicle. Once we mounted two Pedego electric bicycles to the rack, we went for a test drive.

During our test drive, we didn’t see or sense any lack of stability. The Pedego e-bikes hardly swayed when we grabbed the handlebars and attempted to remove the bikes while they were locked in place. In terms of stability, this e-bike rack was rugged to the touch and felt like it wouldn’t give out on you prematurely.

Amazon review score: 4.3 out of 5.0 (over 50 reviews)

The KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount is hailed by customers as easy to install and incredibly sturdy. As e-bikes are typically heavier than your average bicycle, the heavy-duty design of this hitch bike rack is well-praised by reviewers. One man claims the ergonomic design of this bike rack allows him to mount and unmount his bikes on his own. 

One main point of criticism is the fact that, as you can see in our photo, you need a wrench to install/uninstall this mount. While this fact wasn’t an issue for us, some customers reported stripped screws and complained about this extra hassle.

5. KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack: Most Compact

KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack Most Compact

  • Cost: $130
  • Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 25.2 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Two-, three-, and four-bike models available
  • Load capacity: 143 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 2.0-in.

If you have a smaller bike or are looking for a bike rack that takes up less space in the garage, consider the KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack. This hanging bike rack only has a few parts to assemble and is not as wide as some other hanging racks. This enables you to mount bikes with only the slightest gap between the top and down tubes. That said, the saddles are small and so may not be the best at securing bikes with especially thick top tubes.

You can see how the KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack performed in each of our testing categories below: 

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.0
Stability 4.0
Durability 4.5
Overall Rating 4.2
Pros
  • Tilt back allows for trunk access
  • Fits a variety of bike frame sizes
  • Ships in compact/manageable package
Cons
  • Only fits 2.0-in. hitches

While the included instructions for the KYX bike rack were not very helpful, assembly is nonetheless simple. There are only three parts to attach, and the overall design is intuitive. This rack fits nicely into the hitch receiver and even includes a stabilizing plate that helps reduce wobble once installed.

One thing we noticed about this hitch bike rack is the smaller space between the hanging bars. This allows users to secure bikes with minimal space between the top and down tubes.

The KYX hitch rack uses rubber straps to secure bicycles. While these straps provide a nice tight fit, they are difficult to use. We struggled to stretch the rubber hole over the shoe. We tested this bike rack on a cold day (49.0 degrees Fahrenheit), so it may be easier to use when it’s warmer outside and the rubber is more supple.

Amazon review score: 4.1 out of 5.0 (over 190 reviews)

The consensus among Amazon reviewers is that this KYX bike rack is an excellent option for the price. It’s sturdy, reliable, and compatible with most bikes. Reviewers like the included metal saddle, which adds extra security and stability where the rack attaches to the hitch receiver.

There are mixed reviews about how well the KYX fits a 2.0-in. hitch. Some say it fits loosely, while others claim perfect stability with very little wobble. We found that the KYX bike rack wobbled in our hitch receiver at first, but was stable after we firmly tightened the securing bolt.

6. Swagman XC2: Best Value

Swagman XC2
Swagman XC2 Best Value

Swagman XC2

  • Cost: $175
  • Overall rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 28 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Two bikes
  • Load capacity: 70 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 1.25-in., 2.0-in.

The Swagman XC2 is a lightweight tray hitch bike rack. It costs considerably less than the Thule and Kuat racks we recommend. This does come with a tradeoff, as it does not fit as tightly in the hitch receiver, and the Swagman is made from a lower-quality metal that may rust over time.

However, this is a secure bike rack that is also very lightweight. It has a maximum weight capacity of 70 lbs. but is a good pick for those who only need to carry one bike or two light bikes. You might consider the Swagman if you have a small car and are worried about extra tailgate weight.

You can see how the Swagman XC2 performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.0
Stability 4.0
Durability 4.0
Overall Rating 4.0
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install and use
  • Lightweight frame
Cons
  • Doesn’t secure well to hitches larger than 2.0-in.
  • Low weight capacity

We like the cradle design of the Swagman, and it was able to firmly secure our test bikes. 

Swagman XC2_Assembly

However, this rack did wobble in the (2.0-in.) hitch receiver. The Swagman locks securely with a hitch pin but shakes and makes noise on the road. This can be fixed by using shims or stabilizing inserts. The Swagman may fit more securely in a 1.25-in. hitch.

Mounting bikes onto the Swagman can be difficult for one person, but removing them is no trouble at all.

Swagman XC2_Installation

Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 (more than 970 reviews)

Amazon reviewers like the Swagman because it is lightweight, easy to use, and inexpensive. Some opt for this type of bike rack because of the low cost, while others prefer it over premium racks due to its weight. While the written instructions aren’t the best, the Swagman is not too difficult to assemble.

Some don’t like this rack because of the low weight limit. For this reason, it’s not a good option for those with heavy bikes. One person has commented that their Swagman began to rust after exposure to the elements.

7. RockyMounts Monorail: Most Versatile

RockMounts Monorail
RockyMounts Monorail Most Versatile

RockyMounts Monorail

  • Cost: $500
  • Overall rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 39 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Two bikes
  • Load capacity: 60 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Those who need to carry a range of bike sizes—children’s bikes, road bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, fat bikes, e-bikes—should consider the RockyMounts Monorail. The design allows it to hold most bike sizes comfortably. It has wide wheel saddles and includes straps for securing fat tire bikes.

The Monorail’s design is similar to the Kuat Sherpa, though the materials, stability, and look are a slight downgrade. That said, this is still a premium bike rack and a good pick in the $500 range.

You can see how the RockyMounts Monorail performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.5
Stability 3.5
Durability 4.0
Overall Rating 4.0
Pros
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Noisy while driving

The Monorail has a similar design to the Kuat Sherpa 2.0. However, it does not tighten at the hitch and is therefore less stable. We were able to adequately secure our bikes, but they were noisy during our test drive. This is another rack that would benefit from stabilizing tape.

RockyMounts Monorail_Assembly

Assembling the Monorail is not difficult, nor is loading and unloading bicycles. The rack can tilt up to 30 degrees to allow for trunk access once installed.

Amazon review score: 4.5 out of 5.0 (over 210 reviews)

Reviewers praise this rack for its versatility, as it can carry a range of bike sizes. Others note that RockyMounts has responsive customer service that will help with installation. Overall, the RockyMounts Monorail is described as sturdy, well-designed, and easy to store (as it folds up).

Customers noted this rack can be damaged by your vehicle’s exhaust. Make sure to check your exhaust pipe and that it doesn’t blow directly onto the tire saddle. For this reason, the Monorail is incompatible with certain vehicles (such as the Subaru Forester). Unfortunately, RockyMounts has not made a list of such vehicles.

8. Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack: Also Consider

Curt Premium
Curt Premium Also Consider

  • Cost: $230
  • Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5.0
  • Weight: 43 lbs.
  • Bike capacity: Four to five bikes
  • Load capacity: 225 lbs.
  • Receiver size: 2.0-in.

The Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack is a low-cost alternative to the Thule Apex. It has a high weight capacity and can hold up to five bikes. Choose this bike rack if you plan to carry several bikes and don’t want to shell out more than $500 for your rack.

You can see how the Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use 4.0
Stability 3.5
Durability 4.0
Overall Rating 3.8
Pros
  • Can carry several bikes
  • High weight capacity
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Only fits 2.0-in. hitches

The Curt is one of the easiest hitch racks to assemble because it only has three pieces to connect. There is a good amount of bolt-tightening involved, but this isn’t complicated. While the Curt fit into our receiver hitch, it wobbled some and there is no hitch-tightening mechanism. Depending on your hitch, you may want to use some shims for full stability.

As with any hanging bike rack, bikes with a small gap between the top and down tubes cannot fit on the Curt. This was the case with our smaller test bike. While attaching bikes to this rack is easy, our test bike felt imbalanced once attached. It takes more time and care to properly attach bikes to this rack.

Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack_Complete

Amazon review score: 3.7 out of 5.0 (over 210 reviews)

According to customer reviews, most find that the Curt bike rack provides excellent value. It is easy to assemble and the parts are durable. Some have noted, as we did, that the Curt Rack sways a little bit in the hitch. According to these reviews, this did not cause any issues on the road.

It can be difficult to mount five bikes on the Curt, and the hanging system isn’t compatible with some bikes. That said, this hitch bike rack secures nicely and doesn’t leave a residue where it makes bike frame contact.


Hitch Bike Rack Buyers Guide

When comparing bike racks, you’ll first need to compare receiver size, bike capacity, and load capacity to make sure your rack is compatible with your needs. Compare important features between the hitch bike racks we recommend in the table below.

Compare Hitch Bike Racks

Brand/ModelWeightReceiver SizeBike CapacityLoad Capacity

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

32.0 lbs.

1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Two bikes

80.0 lbs.

Thule Apex XT

35.0 lbs.

1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Five bikes

150.0 lbs.

Kuat NV 2.0

62.1 lbs.

1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Two, three, or four bikes

120.0 lbs.

KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount

52.8 lbs.

2.0-in.

Two bikes

190.0 lbs.

KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack

25.2 lbs.

2.0-in.

Two, three, or four bikes

143.0 lbs.

Swagman XC2

28.0 lbs.

1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Two bikes

70.0 lbs.

RockyMounts Monorail

39.0 lbs.

1.25-in., 2.0-in.

Two bikes

60.0 lbs.

Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack

43.0 lbs.

2.0-in.

Five bikes

225.0 lbs.

Hitch bike racks generally come in one of two designs: tray or hanging.

  • Tray hitch bike racks: Also called a platform rack, this type of hitch bike rack has a shoe or saddle for bike wheels and a clamp that connects to the top tube near the fork. A tray hitch design is more secure and easier to use than a hanging rack.
  • Hanging hitch bike racks: Easy to attach, you rest the top tube over the hitch posts and secure the bike with a strap. This type of hitch rack can often hold more bikes than a tray rack, though is less secure. It isn’t recommended to use a hanging rack for carbon fiber bikes, as it can cause damage to the frame.

To select the best hitch bike rack, you’ll also want to consider stability, durability, ease of use, and compatibility.

Stability

A bike rack is useless if it doesn’t properly secure your bike. But even secure hitch racks can be unstable, wobbling as you drive. This shaking can be nerve-racking and a distraction on the road. 

The best hitch bike racks have some mechanism to ensure a tight fit. However, most bike racks under $500 have some wobble. You can stabilize your hitch bike rack and reduce wobble with a hitch adapter or specialized inserts.

Not only do you want your hitch rack to be secure at the point it attaches to the car (the hitch), but be sure that your bike attaches securely to the hitch rack.

Durability

If you plan to get a lot of use out of your bike rack, select one made from durable, heavy-duty metal. Look for  racks with quality metal that won’t rust and corrode, and pay attention to joints and latches as well

Ease of Use

The best hitch bike racks allow you to load and unload your bikes with ease. Many even have convenience features that allow you to access your trunk even after bikes are mounted.

Compatibility

Be aware of your bike rack’s compatibility with your hitch and with your bike. You’ll need to pay attention to the following:

  • Receiver hitch size: Most trailer hitches are 1.25 or 2.0 in. Some bike racks are available in only one size, and others offer multiple sizing options.
  • Wheel size and tire width: This is relevant for platform-style hitch racks. Make sure your bike’s tires and wheels will fit into the shoe.
  • Frame compatibility: This is relevant for hanging-style hitch racks. This type of rack requires that you hang your bike by the top tube, but if your bike has only a slight opening between its top and bottom tube, it may not fit with this type of rack.
  • Capacity: A hitch bike rack can hold anywhere from one to four bikes. Some can hold even more. Pick one that can accommodate all the bikes you plan to transport. Some bike racks are compatible with extenders that add extra capacity.

Other Features

Some hitch racks have convenience features such as tilt and pivot designs that allow you to move the rack out of the way of your trunk.

A few have added security parts like integrated bike locks and straps. That said, no bike rack will be as secure as bringing your bike inside for the evening. If you have an especially expensive bicycle, this is highly recommended.

Hanging hitch bike racks sometimes offer add-on extenders that increase the number of bicycles they can carry.

Hitch racks don’t add much drag, so many people choose to leave them attached even when not in use. This is an option, but if you don’t use your rack often, it may be easier to store when not in use. In this case, you might consider a storage mount for your rack like the 1UP USA Rack Stash Hitch.

Types of Bike Racks

There are three common types of bike racks: trunk mount, roof mount, and hitch mount. A hitch bike rack is often the most expensive type of bike rack, but also the most versatile. That said, there are some benefits and drawbacks to each type of bike rack that may make other types of racks a better fit for your needs.

Hitch Mount

Pros Easiest to use Can carry many bikes
Cons Expensive Requires hitch

Hitch-mount racks are the easiest bike racks to use and install. They can typically accommodate several bikes, though they are expensive. Choose this type of bike rack if you have the budget to afford it, have a car with a hitch, and prefer the most convenient type of bike rack.

If you don’t have a hitch, you can install one on your vehicle, but keep in mind this can cost hundreds of dollars. A hitch mount may not be the best choice for small vehicles, which are more affected by the additional tailgate weight. Low-profile vehicles are also not compatible with this type of bike rack.

Trunk Mount

Pros Inexpensive No trailer hitch required Fits a broad range of vehicles
Cons Less secure Takes a long time to set up Rubs against your car and can scratch paint over time

Trunk-mount bike racks are typically the least expensive type of bike rack and are compatible with most vehicles. You might want this type of bike rack if you only need to transport one or two bikes and are on a budget. These make good bike racks for cars without roof rails or a trailer hitch.

Roof Mount

Pros Doesn’t impede trunk access Highly secure
Cons Causes drag Raises clearance
(bad for tunnels and low bridges)
Difficult to mount bikes

Roof-mount bike racks attach to your vehicle’s crossbars. This is the most secure type of bike rack, though they can be difficult to access. Choose this type of rack if you don’t want to impede trunk access or don’t have a hitch. The biggest drawback of a roof mount is that it significantly raises clearance, preventing you from driving into a garage or under low bridges.

We recommend checking out our review of the best roof racks for roof-mounted bike rack options, as well as other sport racks.


Hitch Bike Racks: Bottom Line

Having tested a number of hitch bike racks, we felt that stability was of utmost importance. A hitch bike rack that doesn’t secure your bicycle(s) risks damaging your machine, and is also a liability out on the road. With an average overall score of 4.3 stars, our top options—like the Kuat Sherpa—really stand out above the competition.

Investing in a high-quality hitch bike rack ensures you, your car, your bike, and your new hitch bike rack make it to your destination safely—and without damage.

  1. Best Hitch Bike Rack: Kuat Sherpa 2.0
  2. Best Hanging Rack: Thule Apex XT
  3. Best Multi-Bike Rack: Kuat NV 2.0
  4. Best E-Bike Rack: KYX E-Bikes Hitch Mount
  5. Most Compact: KYX 4-Bike Car Hitch Rack
  6. Best Value: Swagman XC2
  7. Most Versatile: RockyMounts Monorail
  8. Also Consider: Curt Premium Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Hitch Bike Racks: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about hitch bike racks:

Is a hitch bike rack worth it?

We think a hitch bike rack is worth the high cost because it is easy to use and reliable compared to other styles of bike racks. A trunk-mount rack is less expensive but can be more difficult to set up and is often much less stable. A roof-mount bike rack is stable but harder to access than a hitch-style bike rack.

Are trailer hitch bike racks better?

Trailer hitch bike racks are typically better than trunk and roof racks when it comes to ease of use. They are the easiest to set up and install, generally speaking. A hitch bike rack may not be better in all cases, however.

Trunk-mounted bike racks can be less expensive and compatible with more vehicle models. Roof bike racks can also be less expensive and offer the best stability, though they produce more drag and can be hard to use, especially for shorter people.

Do all bike racks fit hitches?

Not all bike racks fit all hitches. Trailer hitches vary in size (typically either 1.25 or 2.0 in.). You need to make sure that whatever hitch rack you get is compatible with your hitch receiver. The best hitch bike racks are designed to fit snugly, while others may require shims or inserts for a stable fit.

How fast can you drive with a hitch bike rack?

You probably shouldn’t drive over 80 miles per hour with a bike rack attached. Depending on your bike rack, that top speed may be even lower. Consult the owner’s manual to determine the top safe driving speed. The Thule Apex, for example, recommends a top speed of 80 mph.

Do hitch bike racks get stolen?

Any bike rack you leave on your car unattended can be stolen. Some hitch bike racks feature a locking design that makes stealing them off your car exceedingly difficult. Even if your hitch rack is secured to your vehicle, it’s not a good idea to leave bikes attached to your hitch rack unattended for long periods of time.


Hitch Bike Rack Testing Methodology

To test hitch bike racks, a team member assembled and mounted each bike rack onto either a 2017 Ford F-150 (extended cab) or a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor. Bikes were then installed onto the hitch rack; stability was tested by hand and during a short test drive.

The hitch racks that we tested were evaluated based on ease of use, stability, and durability. Each hitch bike rack was given a rating out of 5.0 stars based on these criteria. We utilized five bicycle frames during our testing process. These include:

Ease of Use

Our ease of use rating is based on how easy or difficult it is to assemble, install, and use the bike rack. Bike racks that can be attached and removed quickly score highest in this category. We also give higher ratings to hitch bike racks that make it easy to attach and remove your bike.

Stability

Our stability score is a measure of how stable the hitch and bike are once secured. Hitch bike racks that firmly secure bikes with no wobble and that also don’t wobble much in the hitch receiver score best in this category.

Durability

Our durability score represents how well we feel a hitch bike rack is constructed. Those that use solid components that don’t easily break score best in this category.

Most bike racks are made with metal parts and the racks themselves are unlikely to break. However, certain parts like pins, straps, and buckles that are necessary to secure bikes can fail if not well made.

How We Score Products

Every hitch bike rack we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. Here’s what those star ratings mean in concrete terms:

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a hitch bike rack is among the best in a category. It can be quickly assembled, bikes are secured in seconds, there is no wobbling or shaking, and/or we expect the parts to last a lifetime.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means the hitch bike rack performs better than average in a category. Installation is simple, although one or two parts of the process may be more difficult than average, there may be some wobble, or one or two parts may need replacement after several years.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is average or typical for a hitch bike rack, based on our testing experience. It can be installed and used but with some effort, the hitch wobbles but not excessively, or parts are durable but not best-in-class.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the hitch bike rack performs poorer than the average. It is difficult to install, parts don’t fit well, there is considerable wobble, or one or more parts is easily damaged.
  • 1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the hitch bike rack performs well below expectations in a category. It is impossible to install without expert assistance, extremely difficult to use, drags on the ground, or is made with cheap components.

Why Trust Motor1.com

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.