9 Best Hitch Bike Racks, Tested and Reviewed

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Hitch bike racks are one of the easiest ways to transport road bikes, mountain bikesgravel bikes, and even e-bikes. There's no need to lift your rig overhead onto the roof of the car, which is obviously easier on your arms. Most hitch racks swing away from the trunk of your car so you can still access gear inside, and some have side benefits like carrying cargo. And, because bikes are positioned behind the car, they don’t impact gas mileage as much as bikes on the roof.

The cons of hitch bike racks are they tend to be heavier, more expensive, and bikes on the back of the car are subjected to more road dirt and grime than bikes mounted on the roof of the car.

We reviewed an assortment of hitch bike racks from leading brands to find the top choices. The best hitch bike rack we tested is the Kuat Piston Pro. It's dead-simple to assemble and beefy enough to carry up to four bikes, and comes with sturdy security cable locks to keep your precious cargo safe.

Why You Should Trust Me

I'm a Vermont-based writer, photographer, and outdoor adventurer, who reports on gear, adventure travel, and environmental issues. I also serve on the board of Richmond Mountain Trails, Vermont Mountain Bike Association, and Vermont Huts. I've developed and guided hiking and cycling trips in the U.S. and South America, and biked across the U.S. I ride bikes most days and I've reviewed dozens of bike racks on the market with road, gravel, mountain, fat, touring, commuter, e-, and kids' bikes. Not only do I review gear for Men's Journal, but for multiple endemic bike magazines.

The Best Hitch Bike Racks of 2023

<p>Courtesy Image</p><p>If you loved the look and functionality of <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FKuat-Piston-Pro-Ratchet-Platform%2Fdp%2FB0C3F2YJWR%3Fkeywords%3DKuat%2BPiston%2BPro%26qid%3D1697055602%26sr%3D8-3%26ufe%3Dapp_do%3Aamzn1.fos.765d4786-5719-48b9-b588-eab9385652d5%26th%3D1%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3D0ed2814c32d03fd663eb533f891655cc%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kuat’s Piston Pro X;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Kuat’s Piston Pro X</a>, but couldn’t swing the price or didn’t feel like adding a wiring harness to your SUV, <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FKuat-Piston-Pro-Ratchet-Platform%2Fdp%2FB0C3F2YJWR%3Fkeywords%3DKuat%2BPiston%2BPro%26qid%3D1697055602%26sr%3D8-3%26ufe%3Dapp_do%3Aamzn1.fos.765d4786-5719-48b9-b588-eab9385652d5%26th%3D1%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3D0ed2814c32d03fd663eb533f891655cc%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Piston Pro;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Piston Pro</a> should be your next purchase. We love this bike rack because it assembles with two bolts and is easy to use. </p><p>Bikes can easily be offset so handlebars and saddles don’t collide. Many racks have some kind of cable lock deterrent. This one has a beefy cable that inserts into a port in the rack to lock. It’s a much more substantial security system than many other racks. Choose among three positions: lowered, carry, and raised. A hand lever allows you to easily move between them, whether loaded or unloaded. </p><p>It took me less than 10 minutes to set up. Each side of the two wheel trays clicks into the base, and each set of wheel trails are attached with one nut and bolt. Piston Pro is also exceptionally easy to get on and off the car. The rack comes with a locking hitch bolt that slides in, and the rack tightens onto the car using Kuat’s special theft-proof tool, which is included with the rack, as well as knotted ropes to secure the rear wheels. </p>How to Use<p>The rack uses hydraulic heel holders. Press a lever on the side of the tray (there's one for each wheel holder, so two per bike) and the wheel holder releases to give you space on the rack to set your bike. Once your bike is positioned on the tray, press the wheel holders in from each side to lock the bike in place. Each wheel holder can be adjusted to fit bikes from 18 to 29 inches with up to 5-inch-wide tires and up to a 53-inch wheelbase. </p><p><strong>Capacity:</strong> 2 to 4 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight:</strong> 63 pounds</p><p><strong>Load:</strong> 67 pounds for 2-inch hitch, 60 pounds for 1.25-inch hitch</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>One-hand operable<br><br></p></td><td><p>Still expensive</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Robust security cable locks into the rack</p></td><td></td></tr><tr><td><p>Easy to assemble</p></td><td></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>Hitch racks are typically large. If storage space is preventing you from investing, <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FThule-Epos-2-with-Lights%2Fdp%2FB0C487LG1D%3Fcrid%3D1Z8LVU8D4OLN%26keywords%3DThule%2BEpos%26qid%3D1697055825%26sprefix%3Dthule%2Bepos%2Caps%2C87%26sr%3D8-3%26th%3D1%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3Dfd51ef0c1aa6fc5674423d5d290d21af%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Thule Epos;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Thule Epos</a> might be the rack for you. Epos carries three bikes with the stability and security of other high-end wheel tray three-bike hitch racks, and plenty of space in between the bikes to prevent damage. When you remove the rack from the car, the wheel trays fold in so the rack takes up less space in storage. Better yet, the rack rolls on small wheels for easy transport.</p><p>Most racks need to be unloaded in the reverse order they were loaded. So if you want to get to the first bike you put on the rack, you have to take all the bikes off. And when it’s mounted on your car and you need to get into your trunk, it releases down loaded or unloaded for access. The rack comes in several configurations. A folding e-bike ramp and tail lights are sold separately, and so is a burly lock.</p><p>The rack holds any standard type or size bike, including e-bikes, mountain bikes, and gravel bikes, including bikes with racks and fenders, with up to 29-inch wheels. It’s particularly good for carrying long wheelbase bikes. </p>How to Use<p>When it’s time to put the rack on or off, it’s a tool-free process. Bikes mount to the rack with wheel straps and a strap attached to a telescoping arm that can be shifted to attach to the frame or the rear wheel. </p><p><strong>Capacity: </strong>3 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight:</strong> 51.4 pounds</p><p><strong>Load:</strong> 66 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Trays fold in for more compact storage</p></td><td><p>Lock sold separately<br></p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Tool-free mounting</p></td><td><p>Rolls best on paved surfaces</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Fits all size bikes and long wheelbase bikes, too</p></td><td></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p><a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FThule-Hitch-Bike-Rack-Bike%2Fdp%2FB08R7RP4LW%3Fcrid%3DZER3NME7KJ0R%26keywords%3DThule%2BT2%2BPro%2BXTR%26qid%3D1697056442%26sprefix%3Dthule%2Bt2%2Bpro%2Bxtr%2Caps%2C128%26sr%3D8-1-spons%26sp_csd%3Dd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY%26th%3D1%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3D18d32929c729f91907ccddaf19001080%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Thule T2 Pro XTR;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Thule T2 Pro XTR</a> is solid, dependable, and all-around awesome. Nothing beats the durability and time-tested ruggedness of this rack. It’s also one of the easiest racks to get to your car, and back to storage. It has an extremely heavy-duty hitch mount system, with robust trays that can easily be expanded from two to four bikes. The rack rolls from garage to car on two rollerblade wheels that we found were rugged enough to handle a gravel driveway. </p><p>Trays are wide enough for fat bikes, and the rear ratcheting straps are long enough that they can also accommodate fat bikes. That said, the straps aren’t too floppy for carrying road bikes and gravel bikes. Thule provides two positions for the straps—one for narrow-wheel bikes and one for wide-wheel bikes. And bike trays have theft-deterrent cable locks that, while not the most robust, are thick enough to be meaningful.</p>How to Use<p>This rack holds a bike using a front-wheel hook and a rear-ratchet strap. It's extremely easy to get on and off the car. Tighten the camming tongue by twisting it with your hand. Once tight, lock the knob with the rack key; it spins freely without loosening or tightening the rack until you unlock it. A hook clamps into the hitch receiver hole to position the rack appropriately on the car. It’s tool-free, and much easier to attach than a rack with a hitch pin. </p><p><strong>Capacity: </strong>2 to 4 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight:</strong> 52 pounds</p><p><strong>Load:</strong> 60 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Extremely durable</p></td><td><p>Other racks have more visual appeal</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Can be expanded from two to four bikes</p></td><td><p>No three-bike option</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Tried-and-true design</p></td><td></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Courtesy Image</p><p>If you need more from your hitch rack than just carrying a couple bikes, this is the system for you. The Yakima EXO SwingBase is built on a swing-away base that can take numerous carriers, including a two-bike attachment called <a href="https://yakima.com/products/exo-doubleup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DoubleUp;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">DoubleUp</a>, cargo boxes, a tray that converts to a cart, and even a modular kitchen. If you want to carry multiple things at once, the system lets you add an upper deck, called <a href="https://yakima.com/products/exo-topshelf" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:TopShelf;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">TopShelf</a>, for a second rack or carrier. </p><p>I used this rack with the bike attachment mounted on the SwingBase, and also with the EXO TopShelf with the <a href="https://yakima.com/products/exo-gearlocker" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:GearLocker;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">GearLocker</a> on the base. This was a great place to store a helmet, shoes, bike clothing, tools, a pump, and more. I loved the swing-away function, which let me get bikes and other accessories away from the vehicle for easy access to gear inside the car. </p><p>When loaded, Yakima recommends you use an included support underneath the base when it’s swung away. The biggest downside of the EXO System is it’s heavy, so not suitable for all cars. But it <em>is</em> ideal for vans, trucks, and SUVs. With the right accessories, EXO significantly expands a vehicle’s cargo carrying capacity, while also allowing it to carry bikes. And with the bike carrier on the TopShelf, bikes get covered with less road grime during long drives.</p>How to Use<p><a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FYakima-SwingBase-Hitch-Mounted-Base-System%2Fdp%2FB08TT1VYKM%3Fcrid%3DAEBLPSV2V0ED%26keywords%3DYakima%2BExo%26qid%3D1697056631%26sprefix%3Dyakima%2Bexo%2Caps%2C77%26sr%3D8-3%26ufe%3Dapp_do%3Aamzn1.fos.2b70bf2b-6730-4ccf-ab97-eb60747b8daf%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3Df41ba6a44c44f6474d8ff7021bbf326a%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Yakima SwingBase;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Yakima SwingBase</a> (pictured) is the foundation of the system. It has dual arms with slots to receive the system’s various attachments. Place the two-bike rack on top of the arms, then screw the knobs on the ends of the arms to secure the mount in place. The tightening knobs lock with the same key the rack uses to lock onto the car. The bike rack has front-wheel hooks that clamp over the front tires and ratchet down. The rear wheel is held by a ratcheting strap. </p><p><strong>Capacity:</strong> 2 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight: </strong>139 pounds (SwingBase: 68.5 pounds; TopShelf: 33.5 pounds; DoubleUp: 37 pounds)</p><p><strong>Load: </strong>50 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Comes with a swing-away</p></td><td><p>Expensive</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Modular system</p></td><td><p>Heavy</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Can be expanded to carry cargo, too</p></td><td><p>Carries two bikes max</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>For cars with low clearance, or anyone who wants their bikes to ride a little high and away from road grime, 1Up’s tiered <a href="https://1up-usa.com/product/2-heavy-duty-double" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Heavy Duty Double;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Heavy Duty Double</a> positions bike mounts so each is slightly higher than the one before it as they extend away from the car. </p><p>I love this rack for its lightweight construction, compared to other racks, ease of installation, and because it was also quick and simple to expand to carry three or four bikes. Instead of big, breakable reflectors on the back, 1Up uses reflective stickers. Folded, the rack sits close to the car, which also makes parallel parking easier.</p><p>This is the only rack I tested with a cable lock that doesn’t touch the frame of the bike, so I didn’t worry about leaving bikes locked for long drives. Cable locks rubbing on a frame can damage carbon bikes, so on other racks I removed the cable lock until parked. </p>How to Use<p>There’s no need to line the rack up with the hole in your hitch. The rack secures with an expander ball in the rack tongue that presses against the sides of your hitch when you twist the hitch-tightening knob with 1Up’s custom hex wrench. The expanded ball removes play in the rack. It also lets you position the rack anywhere in the receiver. If you do choose to position the rack to line up with the hole in your hitch, you can use 1Up’s locking hitch pin to further secure it. </p><p>Bikes sit in trays on the rack and lock in with ratcheting holders that clamp securely over the tops of the tires. The bike holders release by pressing an anodized lever next to the tray holder that releases the tension. The ratcheting bike wheel holders have holes drilled along their full length. Slide 1Up’s locking skewers through any set of those holes, front and back, and the skewer also passes through the bike's wheel to lock your bike to the rack. </p><p><strong>Capacity: </strong>2 to 4 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight: </strong>46 pounds</p><p><strong>Load:</strong> 50 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Rated for RV, off-road, and trailer use<br></p></td><td><p>Some assembly required<br></p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Bikes are tiered for clearance</p></td><td><p>Poor assembly directions</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Holds any size bike</p></td><td><p>Ratcheting mechanism can require a little fiddling to release</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>If it hurts your back just thinking about lifting a heavy e-bike onto your car rack, you’ll love <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSaris-Door-County-Hitch-Electric%2Fdp%2FB0B355T1X5%3FlinkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3D3d2cacaab3b26543fac486b72ce044fc%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Saris Door County;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Saris Door County</a>, which plugs into your car’s seven-pin trailer plug and electrically lowers so you can load bikes sans physical labor. With the rack installed, wheel trays fold out on each side. </p><p>Door County is designed for easy transportation to and from your car. It rolls on wheels that navigate pavement well but not gravel. A central handle makes it easier to lift than most racks. </p><p>It also comes fully assembled. I used a ratcheting wrench to secure the hitch pin. It comes with a handy cover, but it’s for storage only, not for use when the rack is on the car. Tail lights built into the rack alert drivers behind you that you’re braking or turning. </p><p>Moreover, the rack has integrated theft deterrents, including a locking hitch pin and cables to secure bikes to the rack. It’s available for 2-inch receivers only, and is approved for RV use. The wheel trays can fit bikes with tires up to 3 inches. This is one of the best racks for carrying step-through bikes, thanks to the clamping arm. It comes with a one-year warranty for electronics to boot.</p>How to Use<p>With the vehicle turned on, turn the key in the rack to activate the rack keypad, and use the arrows to raise and lower the rack. In my Ford F-150, I also had to press the brake for the arrows to work, so I rigged a piece of wood that braced against the driver’s side seat and the brake pedal. With the rack lowered, bikes roll on and attach with front and back wheel straps as well as a rubber lobster claw clamp mounted on an independent arm that folds down when not in use. This rack works even if your bike has fenders or down-tube batteries. </p><p>Saris recommends using an included auxiliary strap to wrap the rack, bike frames, and wheels to further secure the load. Once the rack is loaded, with the car on and in park, use the keypad to raise the rack to full height. </p><p><strong>Capacity:</strong> 2 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight: </strong>63 pounds</p><p><strong>Load:</strong> 60 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Lifts bikes so you don’t have to</p></td><td><p>Takes two people to load, one with a foot on the brake and one operating the lift<br></p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Comes fully assembled</p></td><td><p>Rack cover for storage only</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Handle and wheels make it easy to move when not on the car</p></td><td><p>Tools needed for mounting the rack</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>Many tray hitch bike racks don’t securely carry bikes with fenders. The front hook can’t hold the wheel without bending the fender or being too loose. <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FRockyMounts-HighNoon-Compatible-Platform-Receiver%2Fdp%2FB0BGYM938P%3Fcrid%3D2IG3FHYIY1WR9%26keywords%3Drockymounts%2Bhigh%2Bnoon%26qid%3D1697058007%26s%3Dautomotive%26sprefix%3Drockymounts%2Bhighnoon%2Cautomotive%2C79%26sr%3D1-1%26ufe%3Dapp_do%3Aamzn1.fos.c3015c4a-46bb-44b9-81a4-dc28e6d374b3%26linkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3Dceb72250403289cc25aea4f48e3121d4%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:RockyMounts HighNoon FC;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">RockyMounts HighNoon FC</a> is able to mitigate that by offering straps for front wheel hooks and rear wheel straps on trays that are tiered for better handlebar clearance. The wheel trays sit on a base that’s angled slightly up for better ground clearance, and the mount also has welded metal hooks to secure strap ends. </p>How to Use<p>To further stabilize bikes, the rack has a front wheel stop that creates a cradle for the bike wheel in addition to a front wheel tray. The hitch rack comes with straps long enough for fat bikes as well as a ratchet strap extender. If you don’t carry fat bikes, trim the straps with scissors so they don’t flap while driving. The rack can carry bikes with 20- to 29-inch wheels, and comes with an anti-wobble hitch pin with a locking bolt and a wrench to install it. </p><p>While it isn’t made from as heavy-duty materials as some other tray racks, it expands to carry three bikes and comes with a lifetime warranty. An included cable lock attaches to the frame. And RockyMounts also built in a metal loop for you to thread your own lock through should you choose to use one. </p><p><strong>Capacity:</strong> 2 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight:</strong> 39 pounds</p><p><strong>Load: </strong>60 pounds per bike (2-inch hitch can be expanded to 3 bikes at 45 pounds)</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Moderately priced</p></td><td><p>Lots of straps</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Holds bikes with fenders</p></td><td><p>Some vehicles require hitch extenders with this rack</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Accommodates fat bikes</p></td><td><p>Handle that lowers and raises the rack is hard to get to with a third bike mount</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>When your crew wants to shuttle laps on local trails, there's no better rack for the job than <a href="https://northshoreracks.com/products/nsr-6/?v=7516fd43adaa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:North Shore 2023 NSR6;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">North Shore 2023 NSR6</a>. Made for mountain bikers, this hanging hitch bike rack holds up to six bikes with suspension forks and is the OG when it comes to shuttle racks. The folding NSR6 is not only more affordable than competitors, but it also folds in half for more convenient storage. </p><p>North Shore 2023 NSR6 is best suited for cars with decent clearance, and the ability to handle the weight of the rack plus the bikes you load on it. I’ve used this rack on a Toyota Sienna all-wheel drive minivan and on various pickup trucks. </p><p>Like many racks, this has several positions: vertical to the vehicle’s rear window, slightly angled away from the vehicle, and significantly angled away from the vehicle. A heavy-duty pin holds the rack in whichever position you desire. The position that’s most angled away from the vehicle gave me tailgate opening clearance when the rack wasn’t loaded, but it didn't allow the tailgate to open with the rack loaded. </p>How to Use<p>North Shore 2023 NSR6 requires ratcheting wrenches and took me an hour to assemble. Though the rack is made in the U.S., the directions required some deciphering, missteps, and do-overs. But once assembled, it’s burly and easy to operate. Load bikes from right to left.</p><p><strong>Capacity: </strong>6 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight: </strong>72 pounds</p><p><strong>Load: </strong>60 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Carries up to six bikes<br></p></td><td><p>Assembly required and challenging directions</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Folds for storage</p></td><td><p>Hard to load</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Uses standard parts</p></td><td><p>For suspension fork bikes only</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Berne Broudy</p><p>One of the most affordable bike racks you can buy, <a href="https://clicks.trx-hub.com/xid/arena_0b263_mensjournal?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FMalone-Runway-Hitch-Mount-3-Bike-Carrier%2Fdp%2FB06XFZFVYP%3FlinkCode%3Dll1%26tag%3Dmj-yahoo-0001-20%26linkId%3Dd9350a20dba41d5123728405e5ff1592%26language%3Den_US%26ref_%3Das_li_ss_tl&event_type=click&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mensjournal.com%2Fgear%2Fbest-hitch-bike-racks%3Fpartner%3Dyahoo&author=Berne%20Broudy&item_id=ci02c6e682e0002578&page_type=Article%20Page&partner=yahoo&section=Hitch%20Bike%20Racks&site_id=cs02b334a3f0002583" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Malone Runaway HM3;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Malone Runaway HM3</a> is a post hitch bike rack. Bikes hang from arms that extend out from a central mast and are clamped down by rubber straps and stabilized with anti-sway cradles. Made from oversized steel tubing, the rack’s arms fold down when not in use, and the unloaded rack tilts away from the vehicle by removing a pin. </p><p>The rack is best suited for road bikes and gravel bikes with a more traditional front triangle frame design. This is an excellent rack for riders on a budget who aren’t concerned with bikes being scratched. As such, I don't recommend this rack for carbon bikes or other high-end bikes, and the rack is not rated for e-bikes. It's available for both 1.25- and 2-inch hitch receivers. The integrated cable lock is flimsy enough that I recommend adding a cable lock to secure bikes. This is also one of the most compact racks, making parallel parking easier.</p>How to Use<p>To mount a bike, slide the front triangle over the two arms, which support the bike from underneath the top tube. Two straps tighten over the top tube, while one strap wraps around the bike’s seat tube. The rack comes with a standard non-locking hitch pin. You can upgrade to a locking hitch pin, and also add a top tube adapter for step-through bikes. </p><p><strong>Capacity:</strong> 3 bikes</p><p><strong>Weight:</strong> 21 pounds</p><p><strong>Load: </strong>33 pounds per bike</p><div><table><thead><tr><th>Pros</th><th>Cons</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><p>Affordable<br></p></td><td><p>Bikes can bang into each other<br></p></td></tr><tr><td><p>Lightweight</p></td><td><p>Harder to load than most racks</p></td></tr><tr><td></td><td><p>Not recommended for expensive bikes</p></td></tr></tbody></table></div>

Determine What Size Hitch You Have

If you want to install a hitch bike rack on your vehicle, you’ll need a hitch receiver. If you don’t have one yet, opt for a 2-inch receiver, not a 1.25-inch receiver since nearly all hitch racks are sized for 2-inch receivers. A larger receiver also stabilizes the rack better, which in turn stabilizes your bikes better.

Some cars come with pre-drilled holes for installing a hitch, while others require you or a professional to add some holes in the underside of your car. If you want to have a hitch installed and your car isn’t rated for towing, inform the shop doing the install that the receiver is for a rack only.

Which Hitch Rack Is Right for Me?

Buy a hitch rack that will hold the number and style of bikes you want to carry. But be aware that not all cars are able to carry all racks. If your car has low clearance, choose a tiered rack that lifts the outer bike higher than the inner bike.

While lighter racks are easier to lift on and off your car, you may want a heavier and more durable option. Lightweight racks can get damaged by rough roads more easily, so keep that in mind if you drive over a lot of potholes. Before you invest in any hitch rack, check with the shop or manufacturer to make sure the rack is compatible with your vehicle.

Types of Hitch Bike Racks

1. Hanging Racks

Hanging racks, also called post racks, are the most affordable style of hitch racks. They’re best suited for carrying any bike with a standard front triangle connecting the handlebars, cranks, and seat. Using a post rack, you hang your bike on arms that extend out from a mast. On a hanging rack, you secure your bikes with rubber straps that come with the rack. Hanging racks are also the best racks for carrying more than four bikes. Many hanging racks can carry up to six bikes. Some hanging racks are designed for front suspension bikes only, and all are best for vehicles with substantial clearance.

2. Post Racks

A post rack works best for road bikes and gravel bikes. Just note bikes with a rear shock and kids’ bikes may not fit. And because bikes can bang into each other, a post rack is best for riders who don’t care if their bikes get dinged or scratched.

3. Tray Racks

Tray racks, while pricier, are often the best choice if you carry different types of bikes, bikes of different sizes, and expensive bikes. Many tray racks clamp over a bike’s wheels without touching the frame, making them ideal for carbon-fiber bikes. Not all tray racks are compatible with bike fenders, though some offer a specific attachment for bikes with fenders.

What to Know About Load

Every rack is rated for how heavy a bike it can hold. If you ride an e-bike, check the rack’s load capacity to be sure it can accommodate your bike. Hitch size and how many bikes the rack is carrying may impact load ratings (some racks are expandable, but the load changes when you expand them). If you want to put a hitch rack on your RV or Sprinter van, make sure the hitch rack is RV-rated.