Top 9 Best Hitch Bike Racks in 2021
Buyer’s Guide, Comparison and Advice
There are hundreds of hitch bike racks on the market and choosing just one can be stressful, so we’ve picked out ten of the best.
Each one has a unique selling point and will do the job perfectly. But how can you know which is the best for you? We believe there are seven essential factors to consider.
1. main Types: platform racks vs hanging racks
There are two main types of racks, and your experience will entirely depend on whether or not you buy the right one.
A platform rack uses the bike’s tires to secure it, whereas a hanging rack uses its frame.
Since the former doesn’t touch your bike, you don’t have to worry about scratches or damage. Moreover, you can increase the distance between bikes, which allows the rack to carry nearly all bike styles and frames.
However, since the latter secures bikes from their frame, two bikes hung next to each other can clash and cause damage. This is a massive issue with carbon fiber bikes. Even so, hanging racks typically cost less than platform racks and are thus more attractive.
They can accommodate at least four bikes; some models can even hold up to five.
2. how many bikes you own
The second factor to consider when buying bike frames is the number of bikes you own. You can easily find products that hold up to six bikes, but you don’t have to spend money on it if you don’t need that much space.
Generally, you should purchase racks with a higher bike capacity than you need because you can always carry fewer. However, the same doesn’t apply if you have more than the load capacity of your rack.
3. swing away design vs Tilt-away feature
The swing function and tilt feature determine how you can access your bikes. For example, if your rack tilts, you can move the rack with the bikes still on it to open a hatchback or let your dog out of the car.
With a swing-away, your rack is moved away from the car it is attached to. Therefore you can access the rear of your vehicle quickly.
4. how does it mount bikes
Platform racks typically use the shepherd’s hook to mount bikes. It’s particularly effective as an arm-like structure that reaches up and holds onto your ride.
On the other hand, hanging racks use the strap system to keep your bicycle in place. These straps are elastic buckles that wrap around the bike.
Both systems are secure and work well. The only problem with the first comes around if the hook breaks. If there isn’t anything holding your bikes in place, they can fall off the bike rack.
The second system itself is foolproof. At times the straps wear out and break, but this isn’t common. Typically, issues are caused by user errors.
5. tire width and wheel size compatibility
A bike rack is useless if it can’t hold your bicycles properly. Therefore, you have to make sure it is the right size. For instance, a rack that works for big bikes may not work for smaller ones.
Racks don’t hold on to the entire bike. Instead, they attach themselves to the bike frame, wheels, or tires. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the tire width and wheel sizes compatible with a rack before buying it.
The rack can only accommodate bikes within set parameters. So you have to make sure your ride falls within them.
6. user friendly
Bikes tend to be heavy, and lifting them onto racks is often an arduous task. Imagine trying to attach up to four bikes to a poorly designed rack. You’ll be left with a sore back for the rest of the week.
We’ve found that people who have a bad quality hitch rack prefer not using it to go through the effort of making it work. Hence, the only way to carry bikes with a rack in the long term is to buy the best car rack available on the market.
Most hitch racks produced by known brands go out of their way to make their products pretty easy to work with. For example, hanging racks let you slide your bike onto it, whereas almost every platform rack we have come across uses low frames, so you have easy access and don’t have to lift the bike very high up.
The only platform racks that don’t have this feature use ramps instead.
7. size of hitch receiver
Verify which receiver your bike uses and only consider bike racks that match it. The most common sizes are 1.25 inches and 2 inches.
The larger receiver has a higher weight capacity than the smaller one. This means that it can carry a higher number of bikes and is more suitable for people with:
- Several bikes
- heavy bikes (road bikes, hauling bikes, and fat bikes)
# 1. MaxxHaul 80875
This product allows for the 4-inch rise and 3 and 3/8 inch drop rugged full steel make with a powder-coated finish to mitigate rust and corrosion. It is ideal for towing hitch accessories such as bike racks, cargo carriers, and anything similar. But keep in mind it is not for pulling. It can have a load weight of a maximum of 350 pounds
- It is engineered from durable solid steel construction
- Corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant
- it is fantastic for bike carriers while towing the trailer
- Provides additional clearance
- Utilizes a standard hitch and pin clip
- The neck is not long enough
- Tends to sway and rock
If you are on the search for one ¼ inch to 2-inch adapter, the Max Hall hitch adapter is an ideal option. It is durable and will surely last for the long term in contrast to other brands. Also, you don’t have to look for specialized pins and clips as it utilizes only the standard size.
# 2. MaxxHaul 70355
This product fits class two hitch receivers only. It has the capacity to converts every one ¼ inch class two hitch receiver via a pinhole that measures ½ inch into a 2-inch hitch receiver utilizing a 5/8-inch diameter pinhole.
The adapter is engineered from steel that weighs around 10 pounds. It has a powder coat finish to keep it rust and corrosion-resistant. To ensure sturdy connections into one and ¼ inches hitch, the shank has solid steel material.
The 2” x 2” hitch adapter is ideal for cargo carriers, bike racks, as well as other items that require a standard 2-inch hitch receiver for the device to connect to. The MaxxHaul is not engineered for towing. The tongue weight load rating is up to 350 pounds.
- Meets safety requirements of the SAE
- Extremely durable
- Resists rust and corrosion due to its powder-coated finish
- The shank connects perfectly into the hitch
- It only fits class two components
- length is short compared to other brands.
The MaxxHaul provides an option of rising or dropping, which is very helpful when traveling with a cargo carrier. It does not produce annoying sounds and holds firmly. The price of the product is worth it.
# 3. Reese Towpower 7020500
This product can enable a one ¼ inch receiver to fit into 2-inch accessories. In addition, it allows the receiver to intake cargo bike carriers and other trailer hitch accessories thanks to its modified size and top-notch durability.
Its gross trailer weight is up to 3500 pounds, but it is recommended not to exceed 50% of the towing capacity as displayed on the manual. You must purchase a ½ inch and 5/8-inch hitch pin since it is not included in the package. The manufacturer provides a one-year limited warranty.
- Adapter is durable
- It fits perfectly in the holes
- Incredible in mounting bike racks
- The manufacturer provides a one-year limited warranty
- Pins and clips are not provided
- Produces a clunky sound
This hitch adapter is ideal for mounting bike racks and other carriers. It is a perfect hitch because of its well-designed aesthetics and durability. In addition, the price is affordable in contrast to other products on the market.
# 4. MaxxHaul 70032
The Max Hall hitch adapts and converts your one ¼ inch receiver to 2 inches hitch mount accessories. The adapter is not engineered for towing trailers. However, the black color finish makes it last longer and makes it rust and corrosion-resistant.
The product meets every safety standard of the SAE. The maximum weight it can manage is up to 350 pounds. Its distance from the center of the pinhole is up to 6 ½ inches. However, the adapter is aimed only for class two receiver hitches.
- Meets every standard requirement of the SAE
- Corrosion and rust-resistant
- Extremely durable
- Ideal fit
- It doesn’t produce annoying sounds
- It can only fit class two receiver hitches
- The length is a bit short
- No negative reviews so far
It is a firm and sturdy hitch adapter that can be utilized for the long term. It helps mount bike racks and cargo carriers. Unfortunately, the MaxxHaul is not engineered for towing trailers. But it is still an ideal choice for converting one ¼ inch to 2 inches.
# 5. BougeRV
This product has carefully crafted black powder-coated texture and polish that makes it look cool and comfortable to the touch. The unique groove design makes it effortless to slide in. It only takes one step to install and use. The rounded corners can lessen the chances of the user being sharply injured.
The premium aluminum material is heavy-duty and durable. It ensures long-term reliability. You don’t have to be hassled about weather elements such as wind and rain. You have the freedom to enjoy venturing into nature.
- The hitch adapters are engineered with high-quality material
- It works well in converting 2-inch hitch receivers into one 1/2-inch receiver.
- It can attach directly to your tow hitch accessories
- The finish is black frosted and scratch-resistant
- It has optimum rust and UV resistance
- No negative reviews so far
# 6. MICTUNING
This product perfectly reduces 2-inch receivers to a 1 ½ inch receiver. It is incredible for every standard 2-inch receiver since it can fit snugly inside the receiver. It is engineered from premium aluminum with a black frosted finish. It is durable to use. The product achieves maximum rust and corrosion resistance. It is perfect for trailers, cargo carriers, RVs, and many more. It provides you a carefree and comfortable drive.
- The product can fit inside all standard 2-inch receivers
- It allows you to utilize a 1 1/2 inch carrier on the 2-inch hitch receiver.
- Snug fit
- The unique concave groove design adds to the well-designed look of the product and mitigates air resistance for effortless insertion. Although it fits snugly, it can slide out easily.
- The sturdy construction is a result of a high-strength aluminum structure and precision cutting.
- The black frosted finish is rust and corrosion-resistant. It also resists scratches.
- No negative reviews so far
# 7. CURT 45770
Hitch adapters from Curt can be utilized for numerous purposes when hitching up a trailer. Regardless if you are using a ball mount shack that is too small or too large to fit into a receiver, this adapter can make all the difference.
These adapters are designed and engineered to have exceptional strength and are designed to be precisely fitted for its use.
Curt trailer hitch adapters can accommodate the receiver openings and shanks measuring 1 ¼ inch, 2 inches, as well as two 1/2-inch dimensions. These adapters come in varying lengths allowing for additional clearance for a cargo carrier, bike rake, as well as a spare tire.
The current receiver adapter or extender can convert the 2 x 2” receiver tube opening to 1 ¼ inch by one ¼ inch opening. It installs effortlessly and provides 4 inches of additional clearance for a bumper or spare tire. It has up to 3500 pounds gross trailer weight capacity. The tongue weight has a capacity of up to 350 pounds.
This adapter has a durable black powder coat finish to ensure optimum rust, chip, and UV-resistant capacity.
- The finish is deep black and anodized
- It can be mounted on cargo and bike carriers
- Perfect fit
- It does not produce annoying sounds
- Effortless to use
- The set of screws can be stripped easily
- No negative reviews so far
The Curt trailer hitch is effortless to use to perform the job without any challenges. But the set of screws strips fast, which is not ideal. But overall, it performs well and does not produce annoying sounds.
# 8. LFPartS
You will genuinely enjoy the size of this adapter. It can fit snugly into SUVs. It doesn’t result in rattles or extra space. Even though the fit is remarkably snug, it is not hard to insert or remove. In other words, the size of the inner and outer dimensions is just perfect. In contrast to other brands, you will also enjoy that this adapter is designed to extend your receiver further from the vehicle. Because of this, it will not result in heavy racks that will increase the downward leverage on the receiver.
Installing the adapter utilizing a trailer hitch is effortless. But it may be tricky to install it with a heavy rack, and you will need to have extra hands to lift it.
- Shortens the size of the 2 inches receiver to 1 ½ inch
- Designed from aluminum
- Heavy-duty powder-coated black finish
- It has an anti-rattle stainless steel hitch and bolt keeper
- 90-day money back guarantee
- No negative reviews so far
# 9. DEF
This product utilizes high-quality materials. Aluminum with a black powder coat makes it solid and durable, and resistant to rust and corrosion. It reduces scratches and durable for the long term.
The unique exhaust slot design mitigates air resistance and makes the hitch receiver adapter effortless to install and remove.
- The powder-coated black finish is rust and corrosion resistant
- The standard 2-inch receiver fits snugly inside the receiver
- It provides higher friction compared to other standard models. The unique shape design provides higher friction and mitigates wobbling.
- No negative reviews so far
finding a hitch in 4 simple steps
Choosing an optimum trailer hitch for your vehicle is actually easier than you might think. The reason is a majority of hitches are explicitly made for vehicles. You can refer to your vehicle’s year, make, and style to choose the perfect hitch.
After that, it is a matter of selecting the right receiver size and aesthetics to complement your needs.
The following are some guidelines to look for when purchasing the best trailer hitch receiver.
check your vehicle
It would help if you began by determining the year, make, model, or sub-model of your vehicle.
A custom-fit ensures effortless installation as well as maximized towing and the perfect look and integration with the spare tire and other vehicle design aesthetics and features.
choose a class
After knowing the year and make of your vehicle, you will be able to determine the trailer hitches that are a perfect fit for your car.
Some vehicles may have several options to choose from. In this case, it is helpful to know that trailer hitches have different styles of classes. You must know what class of trailer hitch is ideal for your vehicle. You can also watch videos online for some guidance when selecting the best trailer hitch.
maximize the potential of your vehicle
You must determine what size of hitch you require. If several trailer hitches are compatible with your vehicle, it can be helpful to consider what and how often you will be towing.
If you are planning to tow extremely heavy trailers frequently, you should maximize the potential of your vehicle to tow via high-rated hitches and larger hitch receivers. On the other hand, suppose you are only towing light-duty trailers or utilizing the hitch receiver for cargo management with bike racks or cargo carriers. In that case, a more lightweight hitch trailer may be suitable.
It must be noted that you should choose the lowest-rated towing factor, including the vehicle.
consider the aesthetics of the hitch and how it will look on your vehicle
The aesthetics should be considered when purchasing a trailer hitch. You don’t want your sporty SUV looking off with a big square hitch body that sticks out.
Look around on the market for concealed and exposed hitches. Concealed hitches mean that the main body is hidden underneath the vehicle and provides a more formal look and feel. Only the receiver tube is exposed. In some vehicles such as work trucks and utility vehicles, adding the hitch is not an issue.
provide additional accessories to your hitch
A hitch receiver is simply a receiver. It doesn’t offer a direct connection to the trailer. Because of this, after you have selected a hitch for your vehicle, you will need to buy some hitch accessories such as a ball mount, trailer ball, as well as wiring harness.