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8 Best Hitch Bike Racks in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Car with Hitch Bike Rack

Hitch bike racks can be confusing, but they’re necessary if you plan to take your bike to the local trail or even cross country. In this article, we review the best bike racks available to make deciding a cinch. There are many types of racks, but it’s not as complicated as it seems! Let’s dive in and check out the best hitch bike racks you can buy online today.

car and road divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack
  • Wheels for easy transport
  • Wide bike spacing
  • Clearance between racks, bikes, and your vehicle
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Swagman XC2 Swagman XC2
  • Easy installation
  • Small footprint
  • Threaded hitch pin for extra stability
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Thule EasyFold XT 2 Thule EasyFold XT 2
  • Easy to use
  • Folds down when not in use
  • Tilts forward and backward to access back cargo spaces when installed
  • Yakima StageTwo Yakima StageTwo
  • Proprietary SpeedKnob makes installing the rack easy
  • Lots of ground clearance for loading and unloading
  • Supports even the heaviest bikes
  • Leader Accessories Hitch Leader Accessories Hitch
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Simple installation
  • The 8 Best Hitch Bike Racks

    1. Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack – Best Overall

    Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack

    Load Capacity: 100 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2 (4 with optional add-on)
    Item Weight: 52 pounds

    The best overall hitch bike rack is easily the Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack, which can be expanded to support four bikes with an optional attachment. The rack was carefully designed with all the important areas covered. It’s got wheels to shuttle it to and from your location, a versatile tilt feature that lets you access your back cargo space, wide spacing between bikes, and it’s easily installed without tools. There is tons of clearance between bikes and your vehicle, meaning nothing will get damaged while you drive. The main drawback of this rack is that it’s very expensive and best suited for experienced cyclists.

    Pros
    • Wheels for easy transport
    • Wide bike spacing
    • Clearance between racks, bikes, and your vehicle
    • Tilt feature to access back cargo space without removing the rack
    • Easy installation
    Cons
    • Expensive price

    2. Swagman XC2 – Best Value

    Swagman XC2

    Load Capacity: 70 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2
    Item Weight: 28 pounds

    The best hitch bike rack for your money is definitely the Swagman XC2, the perfect choice for occasional cyclist travelers on a budget. Although the rack doesn’t look that stable, the threaded hitch pin keeps it stable on the road. The ratcheting arms secure bikes very well, although they can scuff up bikes if you’re not careful. One of the best features is the easy installation and small size, which makes it dead simple to hook it up when you need it and throw it in the corner of your garage when you’re done. Unfortunately, the first bike is hard to attach, and the release mechanism is frustrating to deal with.

    Pros
    • Easy installation
    • Small footprint
    • Threaded hitch pin for extra stability
    • Sturdy ratcheting arms
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Ratcheting arms can cause cosmetic damage to bikes
    • Unintuitive release mechanism
    • Difficult to load the first bike

    3. Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack – Premium Choice

    Thule Helium Platform 2

    Load Capacity: 130 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2
    Item Weight: 45 pounds

    Once again, Thule proves itself to be one of the top bike rack manufacturers with the lightweight Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack. This rack is very user-friendly, with ratcheting wheel loops that won’t damage your bikes and an easy-to-use release mechanism. The rack folds down when not in use to save you space on the back of your vehicle, but it’s also easy to put on and remove. As with Thule’s previous rack, the EasyFold XT 2 can be tilted forward and backward with the handy HitchSwitch lever to access your back cargo area—even with bikes on it! The price is pretty steep, though, and it can be tricky to get your bikes to fit correctly without bumping into each other.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Folds down when not in use
    • Tilts forward and backward to access back cargo spaces when installed
    • Lightweight aluminum construction
    • Sturdy ratcheting wheel loops
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Configuring bikes can be difficult

    4. YAKIMA, StageTwo 2″, Premium Tray Hitch Bike Rack

    Yakima StageTwo

    Load Capacity: 130 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2 (4 with optional add-on)
    Item Weight: 45 pounds

    The Yakima StageTwo has stadium-style tray architecture which minimizes bike-on-bike contact while granting ample ground clearance for loading and unloading in uneven conditions. Installation is easy with the included locking SpeedKnob, and the rack has integrated locking cables to keep your bikes safe. The Yakima StageTwo is a heavy beast weighing 80 pounds, but the added weight helps to support even the heaviest fat tire and e-bikes. The price is nothing to scoff at either, but you could argue it’s a great investment for avid traveling cyclists. If you’d like a loading ramp to make things more manageable, you can purchase one separately.

    Pros
    • Proprietary SpeedKnob makes installing the rack easy
    • Lots of ground clearance for loading and unloading
    • Supports even the heaviest bikes
    • Stadium-style trays eliminate bike-on-bike contact
    • Loading ramp available for separate purchase
    Cons
    • Heavy
    • Expensive

    5. Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted 2 Bike Rack

    Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted 2 Bike Rack Bicycle Carrier Racks Foldable Rack for Cars, Trucks, SUV's and Minivans with 2 Hitch Receiver

    Load Capacity: 80 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2
    Item Weight: 21.9 pounds

    Another top choice for a hitch bike rack is Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted 2 Bike Rack. This hitch setup is easy swing-down access to get to the rear bike, including easy fold-down arms for quick storage when the hitch rack is not in use. The item weight was also a bonus as this made it easier to attach and remove from your car once you are done using it. Users of this hitch mount noted that it was solidly built and could handle rough terrain with a lot of shaking or rattling.

    Some users commented that the rubber holders stretched quite a bit and that the clamps on this hitch mount could be sturdier.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Lightweight
    • Simple installation
    • Fits most vehicles
    Cons
    • Rubber holders could be better quality
    • Some had issues with clamps

    6. Yakima DoubleDown 4 Bike Rack

    Yakima DoubleDown 4 Bike Rack

    Load Capacity: 120 pounds
    Number of bikes: 4
    Item Weight: 31 pounds

    Unlike the racks reviewed so far, the Yakima DoubleDown can carry as many as 4 bikes at a time, but you’re limited to 30 pounds per bike if you use all the slots. The hanging cradle eliminates bike-on-bike contact and even folds down with the press of a button.  There isn’t a lock included, but Yakima sells them separately for an additional charge. You can buy locks for the bikes and the rack itself. The price is significantly cheaper than some of the higher-end bike racks that only transport two bikes, though the hanging cradle does sway a bit.

    Pros
    • 4 bike capacity
    • Cradle folds down for a low profile
    • Locks available
    • Relatively cheap
    Cons
    • Low weight limit per bike
    • Cradle sways slightly

    7. Thule Helium Pro Hitch Bike Rack

    Thule Helium Pro Hitch Bike Rack

    Load Capacity: 37.5 pounds
    Number of bikes: 1
    Item Weight: 19 pounds

    Once again, Thule proves itself to be one of the top bike rack manufacturers with the lightweight Helium Pro. This rack is very user-friendly, with ratcheting wheel loops that won’t damage your bikes and an easy-to-use release mechanism. The rack folds down when not in use to save you space on the back of your vehicle, but it’s also easy to put on and remove. As with Thule’s previous rack, the Helium Pro can be tilted forward and backward with the handy HitchSwitch lever to access your back cargo area—even with bikes on it! The price is pretty steep, though, and it can be tricky to get your bikes to fit correctly without bumping into each other.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Folds down when not in use
    • Tilts forward and backward to access back cargo spaces when installed
    • Lightweight aluminum construction
    • Sturdy ratcheting wheel loops
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Configuring bikes can be difficult

    8. Kuat NV Base 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack

    Kuat NV Base 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack

    Load Capacity: 120 pounds
    Number of bikes: 2
    Item Weight: 51 pounds

    The Kuat NV Base 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack is another reputable hitch bike rack you can find on the market. This model has an adjustable front tire cradle system and an optional foot system to make loading your bikes easy. The Kuat NV also does not require any tools for installation. This is ideal for people who want to get started on their upcoming biking adventure without a lot of hassle!

    One inconvenience that some people noticed was that it did not fit with specific car models, namely the Tesla Model Y.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Removable cutaway creates ground clearance
    • Low profile on your vehicle
    Cons
    • Does not mount to certain car models
    • Inconsistent customer service

    divider 4 Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Hitch Bike Racks

    Hitch bike racks can be unintuitive if you’ve never used one before, but there are a few major things you should know and look out for when choosing a suitable bike rack for your vehicle and bike. These are the rack type, ease of assembly, and accessories. Let’s see how these affect what bike rack you go with.

    Type of Rack

    There are several types of bike racks to choose from, with their own pros and cons. Let’s take a brief look at the most common types of racks.

    Types of Bike Racks include:
    • Tray: tray mounts provide a stable platform to transport multiple bikes while eliminating sway and bike-on-bike contact
    • Hanging: hanging bike racks can usually telescope in and out to provide more ground clearance and space between bikes, but are vulnerable to swaying
    • Roof: roof racks are most commonly used to transport one bike, and are great for vehicles with lower roofs
    • Trunk: trunk-mounted bike racks attach to your car with a series of nylon straps, which makes them convenient but easily stolen by a thief with a knife

    Ease of Assembly

    Some bike racks are easy to install, requiring minimal assembly. Others may have unclear, confusing, or incomplete instructions. When choosing a bike rack, always look out for features that make installation easy. If you particularly hate assembling stuff, look for fully assembled racks that only need to be attached to your hitch.

    Accessories

    If you frequently travel with your bike, you’ll want a lock to secure your bike from enterprising thieves on the road. Many bike racks include integrated cable locks for extra security, but others either sell them separately or don’t have locks at all. Another important accessory you may want to consider is a loading ramp, which costs a pretty penny but makes unloading a smooth experience every time.

    car and road divider

    Conclusion

    Hitch bike racks make transporting your bike(s) easy, but some are better than others. Of the ones we reviewed, the Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Mount is the best pick, while the Swagman XC2 is great if you’re on a budget. Even if those aren’t the ones for you, we’re sure we reviewed a bike rack perfect for you.

    Related Read:


    Featured Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

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