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Best Overall: Kuat Sherpa 2.0 at Amazon
"As light as it can be for all the features it brings to the table."
Best Budget: Allen Sports Deluxe at Amazon
"Comes in iterations that carry anywhere from two to five bikes."
Best for Serious Riders: Thule T2 Pro XT 2 at Amazon
"Leaves enough space between locked cycles so they don’t get tangled up in each other."
Best for Quick (Un)Loading: Hollywood Racks Trail Rider Hitch Rack at Amazon
"Folds up super-thin for easy garage storage."
Best for Two Bikes: Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack at Amazon
"Reviewers loved how well-made this rack is and noted that setup was easy."
Best for Four Bikes: Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack at REI
"Has a 160-pound weight limit and comes with anti-sway cradles to keep bikes from touching."
Best for SUVs: Kuat NV Base 2.0 at Backcountry
"The foot-assisted pivot system makes getting into the back of an SUV easier."
Best Ultra-Light Hitch Rack: Thule Helium Pro 3 at Thule
"Despite weighing just 19 pounds, this aluminum rack lets you haul up to 110 pounds."
Best for City-to-Mountain Biking: Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S at Amazon
"Holds three city bikes and two mountain bikes."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Kuat Sherpa 2.0
While we love cyclist-favorite Thule T2 Pro XT 2 (which wins our “Best for Serious Riders”), there are a few things that make the Kuat Sherpa our best overall pick. It’s a little lighter than other models at around 45 pounds and it's made out of aluminum, which makes it as light as it can be for all the features it brings to the table. It’s also tool-free, so you don’t have to mess around with a time-consuming installation. The rack’s also been redesigned recently with user experience put first, with a few key improvements in design we love, like a foot-assisted, hands-free pivot lever that lets users lower the rack without having to set all their gear down first. Kuat’s also designed the front tire ratchet to make releasing the wheel much easier, while in the back, a co-molded strap keeps wheels protected.
Best Budget: Allen Sports Deluxe
If you’re not going to be taking your bikes out on the trail all that much, Allen’s Sports Deluxe model is a hitch-mounted rack that still boasts a friendly price tag for occasional users. It fits both 1.25-inch and 2-inch receivers and comes in iterations that carry anywhere from two to five bikes — enough for the whole family to head out. You can rest assured that the bikes will remain both locked in and steady, even on bumpy mountain roads, thanks to a tie-down cradle system that individually attaches the bicycles (though it rotates to carry a huge range of frames) and the no-wobble bolt in the hitch. The rack can tilt back so you can get in your trunk without having to dismantle the entire operation. The installation isn’t completely tool-free, though it’s not terribly difficult: There are only three bolts needed to put the hitch rack together. For two bikes, there’s a max capacity of 70 pounds, which should be fine for most.
Best for Serious Riders: Thule T2 Pro XT 2
Yes, this one has a pretty hefty price tag — and that accessibility is what took it out of the running for best overall — but this new upgrade on an old favorite is top-of-the-line for a few reasons, not least ease of use. It requires no tools to install into a two-inch hitch — the AutoAttach knob takes care of that — and when it’s not in use, the HitchSwitch lever tilts the rack up against the trunk of your car. Need to get into the trunk? The lever can also tilt the rack down so you can get into the back, too. The rack is great at keeping bikes secure, too: The racheting arm locks in bikes without touching their frames, and the two-foot cable lock secures bikes firmly to the rack. When it’s not in use, the cable just retracts into the racheting arm. Best of all, the system leaves enough space between locked cycles so they don’t get tangled up in each other, and you can be assured your bikes will remain stable even when you hit the highway — or a bumpy gravel road. At 51 pounds, this is heavier than some racks, but it definitely gets the job done. Just be warned: Don’t install this rack on a trailer or a similar towed vehicle. For an additional price, you can get an extension that lets you throw another two bikes on this for a total carry of four.
Best for Quick (Un)Loading: Hollywood Racks Trail Rider Hitch Rack
If you’re traveling for a quick ride somewhere, or have enough to wrangle in your daily life besides a couple of bikes, the Hollywood Racks Trail Rider Hitch Rack is a godsend. This platform-style hitch rack holds two bikes (up to 70 pounds) and fits both 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitches — plus, it’s only 39 pounds. The real ingenuity here, however, is in the “press to release” self-securing frame clamps that honestly sound too good to be true — you wouldn’t expect something so simple to hold bikes so securely, but it certainly keeps them wobble-free, thanks to the “AutoPin” that positions and locks the rack where it joins with the hitch and receiver. Keep in mind that the maximum bike wheelbase is 60 inches, though there’s a kit to extend that up to 72 inches if you need it — and with a maximum tire width of three inches, it probably won’t hold fat bikes. When you’re not using the rack, it folds up super-thin for easy garage storage.
Best for Two Bikes: Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
The Swagman XC2 makes taking multiple bikes on the go stress-free. This affordable bike rack can hold two bikes and carries a maximum weight of 70 pounds. Reviewers loved how well-made this rack is and noted that setup was easy. They also liked how quick it is to put their bikes onto the rack and go. The bikes are secured at the wheels via ratchet arms, and the frame grips are adjustable to accommodate different sizes. The frame grips also have a soft coating so they won't scratch your bike while it's in transit. When it's not in use, this rack folds up vertically for compact storage. The Swagman XC2 Hitch is compatible with 1.25 and 2-inch receiver hitches and works with 20 to 29-inch wheel sizes.
Best for Four Bikes: Yakima RidgeBack 4-Bike Hitch Rack
With a four-bike capacity and a 160-pound weight limit, there's plenty of spots for your family or caravan when you use the RidgeBack Rack by Yakima. Cyclists love this rack because it protects their bikes using its safety features. It comes with anti-sway cradles that prevent bikes from coming into contact with each other and secures them while you're en route. You can also secure your bikes to the rack using zip ties, which are perfect for blocking would-be thieves from getting access to your bikes.
The RidgeBack easily attaches to your car using a knob that tightens the rack into your hitch. To remove the rack, simply untwist the knob to loosen it. There's also a lever that tilts the rack down so you can still access your trunk. Best of all, this rack doesn't require any assembly.
Best for SUVs: Kuat NV Base 2.0
From industry-leading brand Kuat, the NV Base 2.0 is a workhorse of a hitch rack. It's the result of a process that took the best from Kuat's NV 2.0 model and removed the Trail Doc, leaving you with only the extremely useful essentials. This rack features a convenient foot-assisted pivot system, which lets you drop the rack down by pressing on a lever with your foot. This spec comes in handy when you're loading your bike onto the rack and makes getting into the back of an SUV easier. The NV Base 2.0 can hold two bikes up to 60 pounds each and fits with an 1.25 or 2-inch hitch receiver. You can add two more bikes on this model with purchase of an additional adapter. Bikes are kept safely on the road no matter where you're going with a hand-tight cam system, integrated cable locks, and adjustable tire cradles. This model includes a lifetime warranty, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Best Ultra-Light Hitch Rack: Thule Helium Pro 3
Despite weighing just 20 pounds, this aluminum rack lets you haul up to 112 pounds on the three-bike version of the rack, making the Thule the winner for the best ultra-light hitch rack. For its price, it comes with a ton of features that make installation and loading (and their opposites) extremely easy: The brand’s patented hold-fast cradles with proprietary road-dampening technology absorb shock from bumps on the road before they can jostle your bike around — plus the ratchet strap cradle straps and integrated anti-sway feature, protect the bike frames when on the go. Bikes are kept as far apart as they could possibly be with this rack's design, while the locking cable securely fastens the bike, rack, and hitch together.
Best for City-to-Mountain Biking: Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S
Built with versions for both three and four bicycles, this Tyger rack is great for those who both bike around town (it holds three city bikes) and in on the trails (it holds two mountain bikes). It fits with a 1.25-inch or two-inch receiver, but an extender might be needed for some cars and trucks. (One caveat: This rack won’t fit Toyota Tacomas.) Bikes are protected by the soft cradles, which help to keep bike frames from scratching and scraping against the rack’s steel construction. It comes with a cable and hitch lock, as well as security straps to keep bikes in place — all of which are usually extras, especially at this price point. Like more expensive models, this rack comes with a tilt-down arm so that you can get into your trunk without the rack getting in your way. Cyclists love just how firmly this rack keeps bikes in place, even on bumpy gravel roads, though the few who experience wobbling add some shims to the receiver, which helps immensely.