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Hitch Bike Racks

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Trailer Hitch Bike Racks

Hitch-mounted racks are preferred by many cyclists because they are both sturdy and close to the ground, simplifying loading and unloading bikes. A hitch rack is installed by sliding it into the receiver of a trailer hitch. A hitch receiver usually can be installed on a vehicle not originally equipped with one, but it's an additional step and expense to consider.

Key Info for Buying a Hitch Rack

  • Hitch Size: Most hitches are 1.25" or 2"; as you shop for a rack, check to be sure it fits whichever hitch size you have.
  • Tongue weight capacity: The weight of a rack plus the bikes on it cannot exceed your vehicle's tongue weight capacity (TWC), so check your owner's manual for that spec. If you add a hitch, find out its TWC and ensure you don't exceed whichever TWC is lowest.

Types of Hitch Racks

  • Platform-style bike racks: Bikes are secured on trays, which resist bike sway and minimize the risk of bike-to-bike contact during transport. They're more expensive than hanging style racks, but they handle a wide variety of bike sizes and shapes.
  • Hanging (mast-style) bike racks: These racks have a mast with arms that support bikes by the frame. They're compact and typically cheaper than platform racks, but don't fit as many bike shapes and sizes (including some kids' bikes) as platform-style racks.

Key Hitch Rack Features

  • Bike Capacity: If the stated bike capacity isn't enough, check if a rack might have an extension available to add capacity.
  • Rear of Vehicle Access: Some racks can be tilted down (when empty); others can tilt up or down even with bikes on them; a few racks swing away to the side of the vehicle.
  • Bike Compatibility: Check this detail if you have kids' bikes, fat-tire bikes, e-bikes (which are heavier than conventional bikes), or any other unique style of bike.
  • Integrated Lock: Simplifies securing bikes to the rack, and the rack to the vehicle.

Why Shop at REI

REI has a great selection of trailer hitch bike racks. We carry top brands like Thule, Yakima, and Saris.