Unless you’re situated amongst the backcountry trails themselves or along a key surface road ideal for cycling and training, odds are the best bikes routes — no matter what the terrain — are at least a short drive away. Be it two hours or two days, distance is distance and the need for speedy transportation prior to peddling is more often than not a required prerequisite in this world. So, instead of disassembling and reassembling your bike of choice in order to comfortably stow it away in your vehicle, allow the convenient world of hitch bike racks to take you for a spin.
Whether or not we recognize their proper nomenclature, we’ve all seen these before at one point or another. In layman’s terms, these handy devices attach to the trailer hitch of your vehicle and allow anywhere between 1-4+ bikes to accompany your gear for the road without taking up any additional space. Sounds great, right? The best part is that they’re easy to assemble and last for years on end. That is, as long as you’re investing in the right one. Here’s a bit of guidance to get you started.
Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
Dependable, quick to assemble, and easy to install. It’s this level of commitment to excellence that’s kept Allen Sports in business since they first opened up shop back in 1967. This Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack is no exception either — complete with their patented tie-down system, a no-wobble hitch installation, folding carry arms for easy storage when not in use, and a tilt-away main mast for simplified rear access when needed. Each rack also boasts a sturdy steel construction with black powder coat and comes equipped with their lifetime warranty.
Kuat Trio Rack
Okay, so maybe you don’t have a vehicle with a tow hitch, or that vehicle is in the shop and you’re left with a compact sedan with just a roof rack. Either way, the Kuat Trio Rack is a must-have if only for its reliability and convenience on such short notice. Each piece features their three-way fork mount system, a steady security system, rugged good looks, and a slimline design so you can get premier functionality without the bulk. It’ll house one bike, hosts an optional adapter for fat bikes, and mounts easily to most factory and aftermarket cross bars.
Swagman XTC 2
Known for their prowess in the cycling space, Swagman is practically a household name in the world of bike hitch racks. It’s all thanks to an easy-to-install construction, corrosion-resistant steel with a powder coated finish, and thoughtful two-bike carrying capacity. Let’s also not discount the device’s ratcheting hooks to keep everything in place, adjustable wheel hoops to fit the length of the bike, a locking hitch pin, and 10mm security cable/fat bike tire trays available upon request.
Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Complete with high clearance folding tire cradles, a foot-activated pivot lever that’ll unfold the rack hands-free, and a two-bike carrying capacity, the Sherpa 2.0 is one handy camping essential you shouldn’t leave home without. Here, this lightweight aluminum rack can comfortably house up to 80 lbs of bike gear with tool-free installation and has a low-profile arc design for a modern look.
Yakima Dr. Tray 2
You may know Yakima from their weather-resistant luggage containers for roof racks. So it comes as no surprise the brand offers a reliable bike hitch rack as well. Because, of course, if you’re heading to the hills for the weekend, why not bring that preferred mountain bike along for the ride? The Dr. Tray 2 is the lightest rack in its class — fitting up to two bikes — and hosts a locking SpeedKnob, a remote tilt lever, a convenient folding feature for easy storage. It can even fit your fat tire bikes if needed.
RockyMounts Backstage Swing Away Platform
Looking for an industry-first? Well, RockyMounts is here to make life easy with their Backstage Swing Away Platform — the first hitch rack built with the ability to swing away for easy access to the vehicle’s rear. Ideal for campers, this two-bike rack also comes equipped with an easy-to-load design, offers 13 inches of space between each bike, and a corrosion-resistant lightweight Chromoly hitch tube.
Thule T2 Pro
Need a bit more storage for the family? No to worry. Thule has you covered with their T2 Pro that can comfortably fit up to four bikes with ease. It’s a premium platform hitch bike rack that hosts a tool-free attachment, tilting capabilities for both easy storage or rear of vehicle access when in use, and an integrated 24” cable lock that’ll keep each bike secure in conjunction with the device’s ratcheting arm. Can’t complain here.
Saris SuperClamp EX 4
Sometimes, adventure calls for everyone to participate. In that instance, Saris offers up this American-built hitch bike rack as a tough, light, and secure option. With the SuperClamp EX 4, easily fit up to four bikes on the back of your vehicle. And whether they’re road bikes, e-bikes, or even fat bikes, all are welcome here thanks to universal wheel trays, adjustable arms, and integrated locking cables to secure bikes of any stature to the rack. Oh, and did we mention that each SuperClamp EX 4 is covered by the brand’s lifetime warranty as well?
The 12 Best Mountain Bike Trails in the US
Got the gear? Not it’s time to hit the trail. So go ahead and pack up the car, secure your bike to that new rack, and head out to one of the 12 best mountain bike trails in America.