Is a Hitch Bike Rack Worth It?

The hitch bike rack is a popular type of bike rack for a variety of reasons, and in this article, we will examine in greater detail the benefits of a hitch bike rack. We will also take a look at some of the drawbacks of this type of bike rack, with the goal of providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the hitch mount bike rack’s advantages and disadvantages.

Types of Hitch Bike Racks

Hanging Hitch Mount Bike Rack

The frame of the bicycle is held up by cushioned cradles that are mounted on support arms, and the bicycles themselves are suspended from the arms. There are two different kinds:

  • 2 support arms are attached to the hitch rack – These arms each include a cushioned cradle that is designed to retain the bike frame and offer equal support.
    • Compatible with;
      • standard road bike and mountain bike frames
      • different shapes and sizes of frames, women’s bikes without a crossbar, smaller kid’s bikes
    • Arms – widely spaced
      • Gives more bike support
      • Better for carrying larger bicycles
      • More difficult to load smaller bikes
    • Arms – narrowly spaced
      • Fits all types of bike sizes
      • Easy to load smaller bikes.
        nb. A crossbar adapter may be required to get the best fit possible
    • Capable of safely carrying up to 5 bikes
  • 1 support arm on the hitch rack – the bicycle sits in one padded cradle one a single support arm
    • Compatible with;
      • all types of bike frames
        nb. Even so, it’s probable that you’ll need a crossbar adapter in order to get the optimal fit.

These racks provide either a single point of contact or two points of contact between the bike and the rack. Because they are suspended, the bicycles will rock back and forth as the vehicle moves. Anti-sway technology is included in higher-quality bike racks as a solution to this problem.

Anti-Sway Technology offers more points of contact to the bike frame, which results in the frame being held in a more stable manner. The anti-sway straps or cradles are integrated into the bike rack in this manner. The consequence;

  • Brings an end to the bikes’ wobbling.
  • Keeping bikes from colliding with one another and reducing the risk of damage
  • This avoids harm to the car and stops the inner bike from swinging into it.
  • Reduces the amount of vibration felt during travel by preventing rocking.

Platform Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Because there are now three points of contact between the bike and the frame, the bike’s stability is improved. (1) the skeleton of the vehicle, (2) the driving wheel, and (3) the trailing wheel

After placing the wheels in the appropriate cradles and securing them in place, a frame clamp is attached to the crossbar in order to maintain the stability of the frame. The bikes can be loaded onto the frame in a very safe manner using this straightforward method, and the good news is that there will be no swaying of the bikes.

The bike trays are adjustable, so they can accommodate a broad range of different sizes of bicycles.

You may get inside the vehicle from the trunk or the hatch.

When a bike rack is attached to the back of a vehicle, it may prevent access to the cargo area via the rear hatch or tailgate. This is a disadvantage of this arrangement. This problem has been solved by the manufacturers of many hitch bike racks by having the racks tilt or swing away from the hitch.

Swing Away Hitch Rack

Because of this, the bike rack, together with the bicycles that are stacked onto it, is swung entirely away from the rear of the vehicle, allowing for unimpeded access to the cargo area. It is easy to use; most of the time, all that is required is to remove a pin or clip.

Tilt Hitch Rack

The rack may be tilted away from the rear of the car while the vehicle is in reverse. Although the rack is still located at the rear of the car, the tailgate may be opened so that access can be obtained into the back of the vehicle. However, this technique of accessing the back of the vehicle is somewhat less convenient than the swing-away option. It is recommended that bikes be removed prior to tilting the vehicle since the combined weight of several bikes may be difficult to manage, and the ground clearance may not be adequate to allow tilting with a large number of bikes loaded.

Benefits of a Hitch Bike Rack

  • Stable Bike Carrying

It does not make much sense to carry your bike (or bikes) into a bike carrier that is not very sturdy and is thus potentially dangerous. The concept of sliding a heavy-duty steel hitch bike rack into a hitch receiver on the rear of your car is an exceedingly secure means of securing the bike rack to the vehicle. To such an extent that some hitch bike racks are able to handle up to five bikes of varying shapes and sizes simultaneously.

  • Quick Install Bike Rack

Simply slipping a bar into a hitch receiver and then tightening it is about as straightforward of a method as it is possible to get. A quick installation equals less difficulty.

  • Fast Bicycle Loading

Because the rack is located in the back of the vehicle, the position that you are in to load and unload your bicycles is the one that affords you the greatest amount of convenience. It is not necessary to raise bicycles above your head in order to load them. In certain situations, you may literally just need to elevate your bicycle a few inches, which makes loading bicycles a very simple process.

  • Variety Of Styles

There is the greatest variety of models available in hitch-mounted bike racks, giving you a great deal of choice before making a purchase.

  • Less Wind Drag

Because the bikes are positioned at the rear of the vehicle, there is little wind drag; hence, there should not be a significant reduction in the vehicle’s ability to save gasoline. Unlike bikes that are placed on roofs, where this is a far more significant drawback.

We have discussed a variety of sorts thus far and looked at a number of advantages; but, are there any disadvantages associated with hitch bike racks?

Drawbacks of a Hitch Bike Rack

  • Security Concern

It is just as crucial to secure the bikes to the rack as it is to attach the rack to the car, which is why some of the better hitch bike rack manufacturers include locks that lock the rack to the vehicle.

  • Need of a Hitch Receiver

You will need to have a hitch receiver installed in your car if it does not already have one. And once again, if you change vehicles, you will need to ensure that the new car has a hitch receiver installed, and so on; this will make your options far more constrained. As a direct result of this, you will not be able to transfer the rack between cars that do not have hitch receivers that are compatible with one another.

If you purchase a car that has the spare tire mounted on the rear of the vehicle, the bike rack may not have sufficient space to fit and will need a shank extension in order to work properly.

  • Bulky to store

Even while the racks are easy to install, they may be rather hefty, especially a hitch rack made of strong-duty steel that can handle five bicycles. As a direct consequence of this, they become awkward to manipulate and bulky to store away.

  • Wobbling Prevention

The racks need to have a reliable mechanism that prevents them from wobbling, or else the rattling might be dangerous.

  • Higher Price Point

Compared to the costs of purchasing other kinds of bike racks, they are often more costly. However, if you go across our website, you will see that our stance on the subject of basing the purchase of a bike rack on its cost is rather consistent throughout. A low-cost bike rack that does not provide enough safety and protection might wind up being the most costly piece of cycling equipment you ever buy.

Also, keep in mind that a high-quality bike rack that is properly installed and serves your needs effectively may last you for the rest of your life.

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