Top 8 Best Hitch Bike Racks In 2024 For Easy and Secure Transport

best hitch bike racks 2024
Yakima Ridge Back 4 Check on Amazon
Rocky Mounts Check on Amazon
Thule Easy Fold XT 2 Check on Amazon
Kuat Bike Rack Check on Amazon
Yakima Stage Two Check on Amazon
Yakima Full Swing 4 Check on Amazon
Saris Super Clamp Check on Amazon
Yakima Dr. Tray 2 Check on Amazon

Transporting bicycles safely and conveniently has become increasingly important for cycling enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The market offers a wide array of bike rack options, each with its unique features and design, catering to various needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeply into the world of bike racks, taking a closer look at the top contenders in the market. From hanging-style racks to platform-style designs, we will explore the features, pros, and cons of each, aiming to provide you with a detailed understanding of the best options available. Whether you’re a dedicated cyclist in need of a high-capacity rack or a casual rider looking for a budget-friendly solution, this guide will help you make an informed decision.

Yakima Dr. Tray 2 Bike Rack – Number 8:

The Yakima Dr. Tray 2 Bike Rack is a standout product in Yakima’s extensive hitch rack lineup. It offers a range of features that cater to dedicated riders and those who demand versatility. One of its standout features is the movable tray platforms, allowing for flexible bike placement and easy loading. Moreover, the rack features an easy-to-use tilt-down lever similar to the Thule T2 Pro, enhancing its user-friendliness. A notable advantage of the Dr. Tray is its ability to expand its carrying capacity to three bikes with the addition of the EZ+1 extension. This is a remarkable feature, allowing you to accommodate an extra bike with a minimal weight penalty, although it comes at an additional cost of $259.

However, the Dr. Tray is not without its drawbacks. In their quest to reduce weight, Yakima has had to make some compromises. The most noticeable compromise lies in the design of the thin arms that secure the front wheels. While they contribute to the rack’s low weight of 34 pounds, they may feel flimsy and less secure in comparison to more robust competitors. Additionally, during road tests, the Dr. Tray has shown a tendency to wobble more than its sturdier counterparts like the Kuat NV 2.0. While sacrifices are sometimes necessary to reduce weight, it appears that Yakima may have pushed the limits a bit too far in this instance.

Saris Super Clamp Bike Rack – Number 7:

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4 is a unique platform-style rack that differs from our top picks by its ability to carry four bikes on a set of two platforms, eliminating concerns about frame contact. For each bike, arms securely hold the tires, and wheel straps provide added security, making it ideal for carrying heavier e-bikes, models with fenders, or bikes with varying wheelbases. What sets the SuperClamp apart is its minimalist and lightweight build, which takes up surprisingly little space behind your vehicle and is easy to store in your garage.

However, the design does come with its drawbacks. The bikes are placed in close proximity to each other, making it challenging to prevent side-to-side contact. This can be a concern if you’re transporting bikes with different wheelbases, such as a long-travel adult mountain bike and a kid’s bike. Furthermore, the emphasis on reducing weight means the rack is more susceptible to wobbling on bumpy roads. While the bike attachment system is generally reliable, these compromises should be considered before making a purchase decision.

Yakima Full Swing 4 Bike Rack – Number 6:

Hanging-style racks are known for their simplicity and affordable price tags, but the Yakima Full Swing 4 Bike Rack bucks that trend. Its standout feature is the swing-away design, which provides easy access to the rear of the vehicle. This feature is especially useful for those who need to access their vehicle’s cargo area frequently. Furthermore, the Full Swing 4 offers added value with included bike locks, a receiver lock, and a secure strap system that is among the best in the industry.

However, hanging-style racks like the Full Swing 4 have inherent compromises. They make direct contact with your bike’s frame, and although the rack has padded arms to mitigate this, frame scuffs are inevitable. Additionally, a top tube adapter is necessary if you plan to transport bikes with irregularly shaped top tubes, which is common with many full-suspension bikes. At a price of $649, the Full Swing 4 represents a significant investment for a rack with several compromises. Yet, it’s worth noting that it undercuts the price of the Rocky Mounts Back Stage by over $100 and has the capacity to carry two additional bikes.

Yakima Stage Two Bike Rack – Number 5:

Yakima’s StageTwo is a significant step forward in terms of quality and innovation. At first glance, it resembles a standard platform rack, similar to their long-standing HoldUp model. However, there are several noteworthy upgrades in this design. Notably, it offers e-bike compatibility with a high weight capacity, particularly in the 2-inch version, which can handle up to 70 pounds per bike. This is a remarkable feature, making the StageTwo a suitable choice for heavy e-bikes.

Additionally, an optional ramp add-on is available for $89, simplifying the process of loading and unloading your bikes. The StageTwo boasts high-quality parts throughout, even including an improved locking knob for the hitch receiver. Bike loading is made easy with adjustable trays that can be offset to prevent bike-to-bike interference, and the tiered profile reduces the risk of hitting the rack on steep driveways or backroads. If you prioritize a high weight capacity and long-lasting parts, the StageTwo deserves to be at or near the top of your list.

However, the StageTwo is not without its limitations. It is one of the more expensive options on the market, which may deter budget-conscious buyers. Additionally, there’s no option to add an extension to the XT 2, limiting its capacity to two bikes. If you require the ability to carry more than two bikes, you’ll need to invest in another rack, which could be a drawback for larger biking groups.

Kuat Bike Rack – Number 4:

Kuat is a well-known leader in the platform rack market, and their signature product is the NV 2.0. This premium design excels in various aspects, from the quality of materials used to its remarkable stability, even on bumpy forest service roads. The adjustable wheel cradles make it easy to avoid bike-to-bike contact, ensuring your bikes remain in pristine condition. Kuat goes the extra mile by including integrated cable and receiver locks and even a unique bike stand for quick repairs at the trailhead. The rack’s aesthetic appeal should not be overlooked, especially in the Gray Metallic colorway.

However, just like other top contenders, the Kuat NV 2.0 competes closely with our top-rated Thule T2 Pro XTR. Both racks offer user-friendly experiences and have long-lasting builds. While the Kuat is an excellent choice, we have found that the Thule T2 Pro XTR edges ahead in terms of versatility.

Thule Easy Fold XT 2 Bike Rack – Number 3:

Reflecting the growing popularity of heavy e-bikes and large fat bikes, Thule introduced the EasyFold XT 2. The key feature of this rack is the inclusion of ramps that allow you to push your bikes onto the platforms instead of having to lift them off the ground. These ramps are quick to deploy and make the process of loading and unloading your bikes a breeze. They store easily on the rack while driving, adding to the overall convenience. With a load capacity of 130 pounds for two bikes, the Easy Fold checks all the boxes for those looking to transport heavy loads.

However, the Easy Fold’s design comes with its compromises. Notably, it is one of the more expensive options available, which could be a deterrent for budget-conscious buyers. Additionally, the lack of an option to add an extension to the XT 2 means that you’re limited to carrying two bikes. If you need to transport more than two bikes, you’ll need to invest in another rack, which can be a significant drawback for larger biking groups.

Rocky Mounts Bike Rack – Number 2:

The RockyMounts BackStage turned heads in the industry when it was released due to its innovative side-swinging mechanism, allowing for complete access to the rear of your vehicle. This feature is a game-changer for those who frequently need access to their vehicle’s cargo area. The BackStage comes with several features you’d expect from a premium hitch rack, including a cable lock (although not integrated), the ability to carry various types of bikes and wheel sizes, sturdy ratcheting arms, and quality materials and construction overall.

However, adding the swing-away functionality to a hitch-mounted rack does come with its compromises. The RockyMounts BackStage is 10 to 20 pounds heavier than most other platform-style racks, which means you won’t want to remove it from your vehicle frequently, or without some assistance. Another quibble is that the lock is not integrated into the rack, which might be a minor inconvenience for some users.

Yakima Ridge Back 4 Bike Rack – Number 1:

Our top pick for hanging-style racks is the Yakima Ridge Back 4 Bike Rack. It is an excellent balance between affordability and reliability. The Ridge Back features a durable build that can withstand the rigors of transporting your bikes. Its anti-sway design limits bike movement during transportation, ensuring that your bikes arrive at their destination in the same condition as when they were loaded onto the rack. The cradle system, which includes ratchet-style straps to securely hold the bike’s top tube to the rack, is among the best in its class.

However, the Yakima RidgeBack 4 is not without its compromises. To carry certain types of bikes, such as full-suspension mountain bikes, step-through bikes, or smaller kids’ models, you’ll need to invest in a top tube adapter, which can add a significant amount to the overall cost. Additionally, there is very little space between the bikes when they’re loaded, which can lead to rubbing and potential damage to the bike’s paint. For those seeking a bit more space between bikes, Yakima offers the RidgeBack 5, which can accommodate four bikes with a bit more wiggle room.

Choosing the Perfect Bike Rack: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

When it comes to transporting your bicycles, choosing the right bike rack can be a game-changer. With a wide array of options available, it’s essential to make an informed decision that suits your unique needs. In this buying guide, we’ll provide you with valuable insights into selecting the perfect bike rack. We’ll cover various aspects of bike racks, including types, features, and considerations, and conclude with frequently asked questions to address your specific concerns.

Types of Bike Racks

Before diving into the details, let’s begin by understanding the different types of bike racks available on the market:

Hanging-Style Racks

Hanging-style racks suspend bikes by their frames. They are generally more affordable and offer straightforward installation. However, they may require the use of a top tube adapter for certain bike styles, such as full-suspension or step-through frames.

Platform-Style Racks

Platform-style racks support bikes by their wheels, providing more stability and reducing the risk of frame contact. They often offer features like easy loading and unloading, making them a preferred choice for many cyclists.

Swing-Away Racks

Swing-away racks, like the Yakima Full Swing 4, allow easy access to the rear of the vehicle by pivoting away from it. This feature can be incredibly convenient for those who frequently need access to the cargo area.

When evaluating bike racks, keep the following features in mind to make an informed choice:

Bike Capacity

Determine how many bikes you need to transport regularly. Some racks can carry two bikes, while others, like the Saris SuperClamp EX 4, offer space for up to four bikes.


Ensure that the bike rack you choose is compatible with your specific bike types. Some racks may require top tube adapters or have limitations on wheelbase size.

Weight Capacity

Consider the weight of your bikes, especially if you own e-bikes or heavy mountain bikes. Choose a rack that can handle the load.

Ease of Use

Look for user-friendly features, such as easy loading and unloading, secure attachment mechanisms, and convenience when accessing your vehicle’s rear.


For a smooth and worry-free ride, opt for a rack that provides stability during transportation and minimizes wobbling or movement.


Set a budget that aligns with your needs. While premium racks offer advanced features, there are cost-effective options that get the job done effectively, such as the Yakima RidgeBack 4.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are platform-style racks better than hanging-style racks?

Platform-style racks, like the Kuat NV 2.0, are often preferred for their ease of use, stability, and reduced risk of frame contact. However, the choice depends on your specific requirements. Hanging-style racks, such as the Yakima RidgeBack 4, are more budget-friendly and may be suitable for casual riders.

Do I need a top tube adapter for my bike rack?

Some bike racks, particularly hanging-style ones, may require a top tube adapter to accommodate certain bike styles with irregular top tube shapes. It’s essential to check the compatibility of your bikes with the chosen rack.

What is the significance of a swing-away feature in a bike rack?

A swing-away feature, as found in the Yakima Full Swing 4, allows the bike rack to pivot away from the vehicle, granting easy access to the rear cargo area. This feature can be incredibly convenient, especially if you frequently need to load or unload items from the back of your vehicle.

How do I ensure my bikes are secure on the rack during transportation?

To secure your bikes effectively, make sure they are correctly attached to the rack according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Double-check that all straps, locks, and cradles are in place and properly adjusted to prevent movement during transport.

What’s the best way to choose a bike rack that fits my needs and budget?

Start by evaluating your specific needs, such as the number of bikes, bike types, and budget. Research different rack types and read reviews to get a sense of their features and performance. Finally, consider reaching out to experts or customer service for guidance.

In conclusion, choosing the perfect bike rack is a decision that requires careful consideration of your unique requirements and preferences. Whether you opt for a hanging-style rack, a platform-style rack, or one with a swing-away feature, understanding the features, compatibility, and budget constraints is essential in making the right choice. By exploring the different types and features of bike racks and addressing common concerns through our FAQs, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your biking adventures with confidence.

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