Do you remember your first time hitching a bike to the back or front of your car? I remember my first time, thinking about how nervous I would be if the bike decided to take an unwanted trip back down a mountain. I remember being told more than a few times not to worry, only to have nothing worrisome happen.
Today is a bit of a different story. If it is your first trip up the mountain, you may be worried about picking out the best bike mount. While it may be the least exciting part of your offroad journey, it is still essential. Let’s go through some considerations for the best hitch mount bike rack in 2020.
How We Picked The Best Hitch Mount Bike Rack
Similar to other car seats, the four-in-one will be rated based on the below stats.
- Quality of Materials and Construction
- Ease of Use
- Bike Capacity
- Customer Experience
The most crucial aspect of any bike rack is the quality of materials and construction. If it is made poorly or made with inferior materials, the bike rack will not have the longevity to go on multiple trips. It may not have the ability to go on a single trip.
The second most crucial aspect we will review is the ease of use. If it is challenging to mount bikes upon or install, it is more likely to be mishandled by those unfamiliar with hitch mount systems. It needs to be approachable by anyone.
The more bikes it can hold, the more extended trips you can make. If you are traveling in a large group, a high bike capacity will be helpful.
Even if it can fit up to five bikes on there, it needs to be safe. Safety is related to everything on this list. With a clear set of instructions and high-quality construction included, security will be a limited issue.
It brings us to our last two concerns: cost-effectiveness and customer experience. If an item’s cost takes away from any other important aspect, the reduction is not worth it. If it takes away from their customer service department, it is especially concerning.
Best Overall: Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack
- Fits up to five bikes
- Quick and easy installation
- Individual tie-downs to secure bikes
- Can handle a lot of different frames
- Arms will fold out of the way when not needed
The Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks are high-quality racks that can easily be on any vehicle with a hitch. Just by feeling these racks, you can tell that their designs are thoughtful. The materials they use are also in that high-quality area.
It is incredibly easy to install in the hitch. It makes for a simple process that makes you feel confident. Speaking of confidence, each rack allows for its separate tie-down, placing that extra emphasis on safety.
Depending on the size of your receiver hitch, it can fit up to five different bike models. That is a high amount that can support almost any trip. When you aren’t using the excess space, the arms will fold out of the way when they are not needed.
A few customers have stated that the weight requirements will not allow this model to carry more than two bike racks. Keep in mind that there is a 140 lb weight capacity. Given that these issues are pretty limited, this is our vote for the best overall bike rack.
Runner-Up: Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike
- Ratchet arms adjust to different frame sizes.
- Has an anti-wobble hitch
- Transports up to two bikes with a maximum weight of 35 lbs per bike
- Center arm folds to allow access to the back of the vehicle.
- Folds into compact space for better storage
While the Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike only holds two bikes than our top pick, it keeps these two bikes with a great deal of confidence. With an anti-wobble hitch and sturdy construction, the XC2 is an excellent choice for two people looking to take a trip up the mountains.
It has a maximum weight of 35 lbs per bike, which covers most bike racks. It totals the weight capacity to around 70, making it a bit weaker than the Allen Sports model. It will not matter unless you regularly take a large number of bikes up a mountain.
The system folds for convenience purposes. It fits into compact spaces when not used, meaning it doesn’t have to take up a lot of room. You can even fold the center arm when you need to get access to the back of your vehicle.
Some customers state that this model is unsafe for highway driving. Others say that the grip on the bike will damage their paint jobs. Check with the customer service department on this one because these individual experiences will not address every situation. There is no clear speed limit when it comes to having a bike rack.
Best Budget Pick: Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack
- Carrying arm designed for different frame styles and sizes
- Some assembly required, not complicated.
- Options from two to three bikes
- The product folds up for secure storage.
The Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack is the rack for those who are on a budget. As an incredibly cost-effective option, it is surprising to see how thoughtful they were in this design.
As you would expect with all models, there is some small amount of assembly required. Thankfully, you will only have to do it once. Once it is together, the design folds down for secure storage.
There are two distinct models available under this group. Depending on who you bring out on your outdoor adventures, you can choose between a two-bike model and a three-bike option.
There are a few customers who have stated that the three-bike rack design has poor construction. Given that there are many reviews that say the opposite, it is best to see it with your own eyes.
KAC Overdrive Sports K2 2” Hitch-Mounted Rack
- Supports two bikes up to 60 lbs each
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Most parts come pre-assembled
- Quick-release tilt makes for easy access to back storage.
- Holds fat tire and electric bikes
The KAC Overdrive Sports K2 2” Hitch Mounted Rack is known for its durability. Its construction is of powder-coated steel tubing. It also has a padded frame, which is known to prevent scratches.
This model supports two bikes that are up to 60 lbs each. As a result of this and the wideness of this rack, it can hold the fat tire and electric bikes. Keep the weight in mind when accessing your cargo, which is pretty easy given the tilt system.
To double down on their confidence in this product, they have a limited lifetime warranty. If the company is anything like this product, it is likely to stick around for a long time.
There have been a couple of situations regarding the quality of parts, but those are few and far between. Again, their confidence in their product comes from the included lifetime warranty. Be sure to have that stored in a secure location.
Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
- Tool-free auto attaches to the hitch
- Two bikes at 60 lbs each at a total of 120 lbs
- Tilts down for access to rear of the vehicle
- Wheels up to five inches without adapters
- 24-inch cable to lock both bikes.
If you are looking for a trip up to the mountains with you and a friend, you can’t go wrong with the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack. While it is the last, it is certainly not the least.
The system can stay connected to your car throughout its lifetime. It folds up for secure storage and folds down when there are bikes on there. Either way, grocery trips with a bike on the back can be a reasonably straightforward matter.
Much like many of our models, this can fit two bikes at 60 lbs each. It makes for a total of 120 pounds of storage. That combined with wheels up to five inches means for storage of some e-bikes and fat tires.
Its most notable complaint comes from the thin cable. People have stated that it is too light, and thieves cut through it quickly. The cable is not to protect from thieves, only to prevent the bike from moving. You may consider investing in a thicker chain if that is a concern.
Features You Need to Look For in the Best Hitch Mount Bike Racks
We’ve listed out a few bike racks. You still may be wondering how to pick out the best one. Here, we will go through the features to keep in mind when selecting a bike rack.
Standard bike racks come with two slots for bikes. Many of them are suitable for a wide variety of frames, which we will get into later. The Retrospec is the only one that goes up to three, and our winner goes up to five.
Functional weight capacity on any rack will be apparent on the weight per bike and the overall weight. Many of these bike racks are two bikes at sixty pounds each, totaling 120 lbs. The XC2 is the only one below this at 35 lbs per bike. Allen Sports is a bit unique at 150 kg overall.
Typically that means that the materials used in construction are resistant to being moved. There may also be an extra attachment to the hitch to prevent this. It does not necessarily mean that there will be no wobbling, as that would be unrealistic. All of the models we reviewed have some feature like this.
Tilt-up and Tilt-down Features
A tilt-up feature implies that the bike rack will be on the back of your vehicle when not used. It reduces the amount of space it takes up. Tilt-down features mean that you will be able to pull the bikes forward while keeping them on the rack and accessing your rear storage compartment. All of the models we looked at have this feature.
Allowance of Fat Tires and E-bikes
A combination of weight and tire width factors will determine whether or not your rack will be able to handle more substantial tires. Determine this before purchasing, or you may end up making an unwanted return. Below is our list of racks and which ones allow for larger tires.
- Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack: No. It is for a large number of bikes.
- Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike: You have to buy an additional accessory
- Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack: No, weight capacity only up to 35 lbs per bike
- KAC Overdrive Sports K2 2” Hitch-Mounted Rack: Yes
- Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack: Tires up to five inches without adapters, so yes.
Can You Secure a Bike Rack To a Car To Prevent Theft?
There are a couple of ways you can prevent theft of your bike when on the move. Many people may assume that attached cables and straps are enough, but that will not discourage a bike thief from using their knife. Instead, you want to purchase an additional protective device.
The first device you can consider is a standard bike lock. Typically thieves will not think to come with anything they can fit in their pocket. For sturdy bike locks, you will need something like bolt cutters to get through them. You can choose to lock your bike rack to your car. If your bike rack is not very sturdy, you may want to find another place to put it.
Beyond this, you have two considerations. First, you can register your bike with the 529 Garage. This group is a registry of online bikes that is supported by a group of law enforcement agencies. With support from fellow biking enthusiasts, you have a higher chance of finding your bike.
Also, don’t be afraid to customize your bike. While it is true that thieves may paint over your custom design, they may be reluctant to do so, knowing that they could hawk it with your unique design.
Finally, you can choose to purchase a GPS tracker for your bike. While it seems like overkill to the regular consumer, people who invest more than a thousand dollars into their bikes do not want to lose them. If you are one of those people, this is something you should seriously consider.
Whether it is you and your family going up to the mountains, or you and your friend decided to race down the track, a bike rack is not just for professionals. It can be pretty liberating to buy one so that you can take it for a mountain bike ride. Even if you don’t like the mountains, there are still options for taking it down your favorite path.
With this in mind, you may be thinking about the bike rack falling off or something going wrong. Thankfully, with many of the bike racks on this list, that is not likely to happen. All of the bikes on this list are sturdy, which is why they are here. But our vote for the best hitch mount bike rack is the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack.