For too long hitch mount racks were wobbly tinker toys, seen as inferior to a race ready roof top rack (race ready means the front wheel stays on the bike). Roof top racks can be great, but as vehicles seem to keep getting bigger roof top racks can be a real challenge to load and unload. Even Volkswagen and Subaru have gone mega XL with the Atlas and the Ascent SUVs. Try to load a gravel bike or even e-bike on the top of your huge SUV. Good luck! What these giant vehicles do have is hitch mounts, and they deserve another look. There are some amazingly well built and full featured new racks to choose from. In fact, we prefer hitch mounts to roof top these days, especially when you don’t need to worry about plowing into the Taco Bell drive through. These are PELOTON’s five best hitch mount racks.
Hitch Rack 411
• Hitch racks come in two general categories, trays that hold the wheels, or bars that hold the top tube.
• Big racks that can accommodate four bikes need a 2” receiver, some two bike racks need just 1.25” receivers.
• Tail gate access can be impeded by hitch mount racks, so choose one that tilts away.
• Hitch mount racks can be heavy to take on and off your car or even tilt up and down. Don’t get a four bike rack if you really just need two bikes.
• Some of these rack are so good, it’s worth getting a tow hitch put on your little commuter to take advantage of their convenience.
• Make sure to lock your bikes to the rack and the rack to your car. Some racks have security built in.
KÜAT NV 2.0: King of the Hitches
The NV 2.0 is a two bike tray style rack with premium materials and finishes that won’t detract from your car’s looks, even if it’s a new Range Rover. It’s also the most stable rack we’ve ever used, cradling bikes with confidence on a rock solid platform, without touching the frame. At 52lbs it’s no lightweight, but for its build quality we’ll forgive it a few extra pounds. The front tire cradle is wide enough to comfortably take a 3inch tire, with an internal channel for road bike tires. The front tire hook is simple to use and easily puts enough tension on the tire to keep the bike stable, while still being easy to unload when it’s time to ride. Extra features help it set the bar even higher. It has dual, retractable cable locks mounted in the rear tire cradle. No rack is easier to lock your bikes too. It even has a work stand built into the rack, which can extend when the rack is in the ‘up’ position providing a legitimate, pro-mechanic ready work stand. Our favorite feature has to be the easy folding with the foot assist lever. A two bike add on is available, but it does add significant expense and weight.
KÜAT NV 2.0, 2” Receiver; $649, 52lbs w/ 120lb total capacity. Two bike NV 2.0 Add-On, $439; kuatracks.com
Saris Glide EX 4-Bike: King of the Hangers
When we first got the new Saris Glide EX 4-Bike rack, we were skeptical. We’ve always gravitated to tray mount racks when using a hitch mount system. The Glide EX 4 is a hanging-style rack, but unlike any other we have ever used. With the best ratchet strap set up we’ve seen, it eliminates the swinging and rattling that plague most hanging hitch mounts. Integrated locks, both rack to car and bike to rack, make quick road trip stops less stressful. But the game changer is the four bar linkage system. Even fully loaded, simply grab the handle, hit the button and the entire rack–bikes and all–tilts down, away from the tailgate, allowing easy access to the back of your car. What’s truly impressive is the ease of lowering and raising the rack, with or without a load of bikes–it’s leverage magic.
$550, 2” Receiver; 37lbs w/140lb total capacity; saris.com
RockyMounts MonoRail Platform Hitch Rack: Best Rack under $400
Based, in Colorado, RockyMounts has perhaps the most fitting and coolest name in the business. The Monorail Platform Hitch mount is our favorite from its line up and for our money, the best rack under $400 out there. It’s very well made, providing a solid platform for two bikes with either a 1.25” receiver or 2” receiver, with the 2” version expandable to three bikes. Like all the tray racks on this list, it holds just tires, leaving your frame blissfully unmolested. It’s very versatile as well, holding road bikes and fat bikes with equal security and ease. It includes both a hitch lock and a cable lock, with the same keys. Like any hitch mount we’d even consider, it both tilts down to access your vehicle and tilts up, to shorten your foot print when not in use.
$380, 39pounds /120lbs capacity. rockymounts.com
1Up USA Quik Rack Single: For Solo Adventures
At just 23lbs the 1Up USA Quik Rack is a great solution for the single rider. Make some friends and it can be expanded for up to 3 bikes total with add-on trays. It can easily be swapped from a 1 1/4” to a 2” receiver with the included adapter and each bike can weigh up to 50lbs for all you e-MTB riders out there. Don’t worry, the trays can fit up to a 29” wheel with a 3.1” tire. It folds up for a smaller foot print when not loaded and tilts for tailgate access. The rack grabs your bike’s tires so you won’t have to worry about damaging your frame. It’s also the quickest rack to get up and running. It comes fully assembled, and require no hitch pin, thanks to an ‘expander ball’. Just slide the rack in as far as you want – no hunting to line up the hole in your rack with the one in the receiver – use the provided hex wrench to lock the ‘expander ball’ against the hitch and you’re ready to roll securely, with no rattling to damage your bikes. It’s a light, stable and very well made unit that’s quick and easy to use. Plus it comes in black or silver to match your car.
$300 Silver, $350 Black, 23lbs w/50lb capacity; 1up-usa.com
Saris Superclamp EX 2-Bike: Light Weight Performer
Hitch-mount racks don’t have the best reputation. If you want your bikes to be secure, the rack might as well be an anchor. If you want lightweight, it’s built like a tinker toy. While new hitch-mount racks from a few brands are turning this convention on its head, Saris is leaping to the head of the pack with its new SuperClamp EX 2-Bike. At just 35 pounds, it can carry two bikes with a total capacity of 120 pounds and is packed with smart features. It has integrated locks, tilts for tailgate access, folds up when not being used to shorten your vehicle’s footprint and uses a single-bar design to mount two bikes. Our favorite feature is the dual wheel-clamping hooks that never touch your bike’s carbon. It’s faster to load than racks using a rear-wheel ratchet strap and more secure. Plus, the wheel-clamp arms pivot on casehardened brackets for strength and durability, which means they won’t get wobbly or loose over time.
$490; 35lbs w/120lb capacity; saris.com
Ultimate Hitch Mount Upgrade: KÜAT Pivot
Küat has done more than any other brand to improve the hitch-mount rack, making travel by auto with your bike much easier, and its Pivot solves any access issue even a new tilting hitch mount can create. The Pivot allows any 2-inch hitch-mount rack to be swung completely out of the way for easy access. With Küat’s typical solid construction and tight tolerances, it can even do it loaded with four bikes—up to 250 pounds total. It locks open, has an anti-rattle hitch pin and swings to the right, giving you easy access to your bikes from the sidewalk.