Cycling is perhaps the act where we relish one of the greatest pleasures of life. I mean, what equals the sensation of a flared skyline just before your eyes, or the brisk wind at your face, or the pulsating rush of blood from veins to veins as you pedal on your favorite bike? – Nothing.
But sometimes, the quest gets a little tricky, especially for mountain bike enthusiasts.
Because, it’s more likely that you’ll have to make frequent long runs to reach those off-road trails than the people with their standard bikes would do, riding just before their doorsteps. Relatable, right?
Well, that’s where the bike hitch rack comes into the frey.
It lets you carry your MTB on your vehicle employing an easy, quick, and trustworthy technique. With the correct hitch rack installed in the car, you are supposed to enjoy a trouble-free ride – all along the freeway.
So, what’s the best hitch rack for mountain bike? How do you determine the ideal one for your vehicle? Should you go for the platform-type hitch racks or the hanging ones?
Let’s read along and find all the necessary answers in the detailed article below.
Best Hitch Rack For Mountain Bike – Quick Chart
|Top Pick||KAC Hitch|
|Premium||Thule T2 Pro|
|budget||Allen Sports |
|Tyger Auto |
|Kuat Racks |
- Best Hitch Rack For Mountain Bike – Quick Chart
- The Magical Spell of the Mountain Bike Hitch Rack That Makes Your Day
- The 5 Top Hitch Bike Rack for Mountain Bikes in the Town
- Factors to Consider Before Buying The Hitch Rack for Your Mountain Bike
- Final Thoughts
The Magical Spell of the Mountain Bike Hitch Rack That Makes Your Day
Before we dive into the detailed review, let’s crack some facts on the bike rack right off the bat.
You can just skip the section and go through the items that I’ve talked about in the latter part of the paper provided you are an old-timer. But if you are about to buy a MTB hitch bike rack for the first time, then friend, you must read the segment. Trust me, this is gonna help a lot.
The Hitch Receiver Is the Thing to Begin With
You may not know that most of the cars don’t come with a built-in hitch receiver to avail towing. So, it would be your first step to get a hitch receiver to carry your bike rack on the vehicle.
The hitch receiver is a type of hitch that bolts onto the downside of your vehicle, right at the rear, and provides a short tube for mounting hitch accessories. In this case – the bike rack.
You will find several types of hitch receivers that offer an advantage in a given situation. For us, the 2-inch square tube hitch receiver is the perfect one for mounting a bike rack. Because… the bike racks, far or less, are made considering that aforementioned dimension.
Platform Style Hitch Racks Are Better Than Hanging Hitch Rack for Mountain Bike
It is universally acknowledged that the latter one is the most durable and efficient in terms of carrying mountain bikes. Well, let me get the idea over to you for better understanding, will you?
The Hanging Style Bike Rack
The hanging style hitch rack, just by the name, hangs your bike by a top tube. It’s basically divided into two sections – the mast that is directly attached to the hitch receiver, and the arm that holds the bikes in place.
Generally, you’ll find two types of hanging bike racks: single arm and twin arms. The twin arms provide greater stability compared to the single one. Besides, it offers more carrying capacity than the other one.
But, if you really want a bike rack that would let you transport a mountain bike, then it comes down straight to the platform-style bike racks.
Platform Style Bike Rack
The Platform style bike rack is superior to the other one in two general senses. Firstly, its design seems technically sound for carrying heavy bikes. Secondly, it offers contactless loading – a technique that’s widely overwhelmed by carbon-fiber bike owners.
Typically, the platform bike racks support the bike on its wheels, using different kinds of straps that firmly hold the bikes into place. Well, it does provide a mast to lock the cycle to the rack but does not necessarily interfere with the frames of the bikes.
On top of that, it’s easier to load and unload bikes into platform-style bike racks rather than hanging ones. I prefer this particular type since it swings less and the vibration at the rear is hardly felt even on the bumpiest road.
It’s Obviously Better to Carry a Mountain Bike in Hitch Rack rather Than Stuffing at the Trunk
Don’t be taken by surprise if someone calls you crazy while you hustle on loading bikes inside your vehicle. I mean, come on dude! Who does that living in the twenty-first century?
If you think that it’s still worth it to snap apart your sports bike each time you head out, then it’s high time you changed your mind. The amount of time you will be saving using a bike rack is beyond imagination. On top of that, it’s safe and efficient.
Nevertheless, it’s more of your class that you are carrying on the rear of your vehicle rather than the bike. So, it’s up to you how you want others to see them. Chew on that.
The 5 Top Hitch Bike Rack for Mountain Bikes in the Town
Finding the exact type of bike racks seems troublesome at times. Especially given the fact that there are numerous hitch mount bike racks for MTB in the market right now.
As the material used in the rack, its ease of access, compatibility with your bike, and many things like that come into play to decide on the rack, you need to show up with precise knowledge on this accessory to avoid a potential Bait-and-Switch.
On top of that, if you fail to recognize the difference between the good and the bad ones, chances are high that you’re gonna lose your expensive mountain bikes in the middle of the speedy highway, let alone the horrible aftermath.
Well, I apologize if I had made you scared. But I believe I have enough resources to put a smile on your face right away. Because, to simplify the case, we have gone through dozens of hitch mount MTB bike racks and handpicked the creams of the corps for you.
You can now sit back and read alongside me to get the ideal one that fits your car and mountain bike.
What follows are the five best hitch bike racks for mountain bikes.
1. KAC Overdrive Sports K2 Hitch Rack for Mountain Bike
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Hitch Receiver: 2″
- Item Weight: 44.8 lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Load Capacity: 120 lbs
- Brand: KAC
KAC Overdrive Sports K2 is the best-selling dual bike carrier hitch mount bike rack for the manufacturer. It made entry to the market in the summer of 2018. Since then, it has been providing top-notch performance to the riders with its durable build and ease of access.
It’s a platform-type bike rack that supports installation in a 2” hitch receiver. With a universal adjustable narrow and fat tires tray, it’s an ideal carrier for most standard bikes, e-bikes, mountain bikes, and more.
What I liked most about the rack is its knob-adjustable sliding wheel holders. I mean, we often find it difficult to tightly secure the wheel in place as some space is always left alone due to inefficiency. But the knob adjustment is absolutely spot on. Besides, you get wheel straps that make it even better.
The tray can accommodate up to 5-inch mountain bike tires. That means, even the fattest tires of your bikes should easily fit in the platform. On top of that, it houses an axle-to-axle wheelbase up to 54 inches – more than enough for the largest mountain bike of your collection.
The steel is durable enough to sustain the weight up to 120 lbs (it stays upright on greater drag too); 60 lbs for each bike. You get industry-leading powder-coated steel as the backbone of the bike rack. The power coat basically provides a protective barrier that helps prevent corrosion.
Yes, of course…it does make the rack look sleek. But it’s more about withstanding the tough environment that would result in maintenance-free service for years.
Now let’s focus on the upper part of the rack, shall we?
It comes with a padded hook that slides down over the bike’s frame for a sturdy hold. Luckily, the padded hook arms are good enough for protecting your bikes from scratches and scuffs. The hooks are also adjustable through knobs.
Interestingly, both the knobs feature an anti-theft key-lock system, a feature that many high-end bike racks fail to come up with.
However… once you lock the knob, it will spin freely without necessarily making further adjustments. You will need to unlock it again using the key to tighten or lose the arms.
It comes with a super convenient, quick-release smart tilt-away feature. The button lets you drop the rack backward to reach the rear cargo of your car – even when both the bikes are loaded in the rack.
On top of that, you can also fold the center post and hook arms flat down by pressing the “Push” button for quick access to the rear of the vehicle.
So, what’s the installation process? Do you require a professional to mount it on your car?
Well, absolutely not. It’s just a short DIY session to enjoy the evening by.
The 44.8 pound bike rack comes mostly in pre-assembled parts. All you need to do is assemble the major parts. Place it to your vehicle’s hitch receiver, lock it with a patented-anti wobble safety pin, and voila!
You are all set to load your mountain bikes for a long ride.
Honestly, I found the rack a great one. The anti-wobble safety lock does as it promises. You will hardly notice any bounces or vibration at its full capacity. And the chances of rack failure are almost zero since it is designed and modified for the roughest of roads.
So, all in all, the subtle enhancements like the rear reflector, heavy-duty tire cradles, and the capability to turn itself into a single bike carrier when required surely make it one of the smartest mountain bike hitch racks out there.
2. Thule T2 Pro XT/XTR Hitch Bike Rack for Mountain Bike
- Material: Aluminum
- Hitch Receiver: 2″
- Item Weight: 52.04 lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Load Capacity: 120 lbs
- Brand: Thule
If I were told to make a list of the top three greatest bike rack makers of all time, there is no doubt I would put the name Thule on the list. Yes, Thule is the name that has completely reshaped the bike rack industry with its state-of-the-art technologies.
For instance, the Thule T2 Pro XT/XTR Hitch Bike Rack comes with a wheel for easy maneuvering when it’s off the vehicle. I mean, who would expect such a feature in a bike rack! It’s literally amazing.
It is, however, not the stand-out feature of the rack. Rather, it’s the versatile bike compatibility with zero frame contact fitting that makes it one of the coolest hitch racks for mountain bikes of all time.
You should be able to load almost all sorts of mountain bikes since it offers wheel fitness 20-29 inches. It’s decent enough to call it a universal platform bike rack. On top of that, the wheel cradle supports up to 5 inches fat tires (no adapter required).
So, there are no shortcomings in terms of bike compatibility in this rack. Though it’s initially recommended for mountain bikes, you can also carry carbon frames, downhill, or fat bikes, and many more.
It’s made of solid steel and has powder coating all over to outplay rust. Thule has used rubber and plastic cloths in this rack. Apart from keeping your bikes safe from direct contact with the steel, the attachments make the rack expressively attractive.
You get two non-removable flexible wheel trays in each alternative end of the racks. To accommodate the bike’s length, you will need to adjust the wheel tray on the other end. It’s attached to the rack with a well-designed zip strap.
To be honest, the Thule T2 Pro XT/XTR Hitch Bike Rack is one of the easiest racks to move around. I mean, all you need to do is place the bike on trays and tighten the zips. On top of that, adjustable cradle arms work perfectly to hold the bike in place on the go.
The arms have rubber pads and grip into the bike’s tires. So, there is no chance for your bike’s frames to develop scratches. As a carbon fiber bike holder, you will surely value the feature.
It has a maximum length of 54 inches. You may say it’s a bit long for a dual bike carrier, but Thule had nothing to do to give you a rather generous 12.5″ inches spacing between bike mounts. Trust me, it’s the highest bike-to-bike clearance you would get from a bike rack of this kind.
Well, besides the bike mount-related efficiency, you will love the tilt away feature of the rack. Thule calls it the HitchSwitch lever that allows you to tilt down the racks with a minimum effort. Be it an SUV, Minivan, or Compact Car… you are always free to access the rear trunk with bikes loaded on.
With all that being said, we are left with one important question to be answered. That is, how do you install the rack to the car? Well, it’s easy as a pie.
Thule T2 Pro XT/XTR Hitch Bike Rack comes with an AutoAttach system that makes it a lot easier to mount and unmount the rack. You don’t even need any tool to run the installation.
Though it’s a little heavy with its 52.04 Pounds weight, you got to be liberal for a sturdy rack like this. However, the maximum load capacity for the rack is 120 pounds. And it’s better not to put a bike weighing more than 60 pounds on the rack.
Interestingly, you can increase the load capacity to four bikes by adding the Thule T2 Pro XT Add-On. It’s sold separately by the same manufacturer and doesn’t need much time to set up.
So, I think it’s a fantastic rack altogether for mountain bike. But the only downside I found in the device is its silly bike rack lock strap. I mean, it wouldn’t take more than 2 seconds for the thief to cut it and take away the bikes. That being said, you should use a metal chain instead for better security.
However, the rack to hitch lock is spot-on and doesn’t portray anything skeptical.
3. Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks for MTB
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Hitch Receiver: 1.25″ & 2″
- Item Weight: 30 lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Load Capacity: 70 lbs
- Brand: Allen Sports
If you want something real sporty, then get the Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks without thinking twice. Its modest look, coupled with bright red knobs and straps, makes it one of the best MTB hitch rack out there.
Allen Sports, founded in 1967 in Lincoln, Massachusetts, has been committed to producing the top quality, easiest-to-use bike racks in the United States. In addition to that, the Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Rack is one of their top-selling products to be found.
Despite being one of the sturdiest MTB bike racks on this list, the Allen Sports Bike 2 doesn’t offer the highest weight capacity. It’s rated for two bikes weighing not more than 70 pounds in total. So, no heavy lifting.
However, mountain bikes usually weigh between 28 and 32 pounds. So, as an owner, this shouldn’t be much of a concern for you.
With adjustable wheel trays and an easy-to-use frame attachment system, it fits bicycles with a wheelbase of 35″ to 48″ and wheels from 20″ to 29″. I don’t think you will face any compatibility issues on this rack.
But the thing that I found rather extraordinary in this rack is its strapping system. Unlike the zip strap technique, the Allen Sports 2-Bike uses high-quality thick stretchy rubber straps.
These straps buckle not only stretches easily to secure bikes on the bike rack but also offers more stability and efficiency to tightly hold the bike’s wheel from spinning.
However, you’ll get the rubber straps only for the two adjustable wheel trays. The other four are nylon straps, a widely used material for straps that have a reputation to withstand hostile weather conditions.
On top of that, you get a padded upper frame connector to secure your mountain bike’s tube to the rack. The buckle is fully wrapped in a TPR housing to protect your bicycle from scratches.
The fastening squad gets perfection with the adjustable knobs – an addition that solely belongs to the Allen Sports Hitch Racks.
Let’s come down to the hitch installation and the wobbliness of the rack.
Tell you what, the installation process is literally a breeze. You should be able to set it up without any trouble since it’s a lightweight item, just 30 pounds. As usual, it requires a 2-inch hitch receiver.
Interestingly, you get a secure No-Wobble hitch connection. It’s basically a pin that firmly locks the hitch in place to eliminate any sort of vibrations during the ride. However, you may need to show some muscle power as it takes a little bit of wiggling to get the bolt through the hole for a tight fit.
Oh, did I tell you that it has a tilt-away feature? I didn’t? Well, now you know. It allows tailgate access and comes very handy at times. On top of that, you get a foldable arm option that minimizes the rack’s profile.
It seems like Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks got you covered from all sides for hassle-free bike transportation.
Allen knows the business, right? Yeah, no wonder why it’s one of the leading manufacturers of bike-related accessories.
4. Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack For Mountain Bike
- Material: Aluminum
- Hitch Receiver: 2″
- Item Weight: 32 lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Load Capacity: 80 lbs
- Brand: Kuat
Remember I said in the beginning that this list is packed with some of the ‘creams of the crop’? Yeah, likewise, the Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack is the best of anything, at least as a platform-type hitch rack for mountain bikes.
Well, let’s be frank. We wanted you to come across a few exceptional (and of course, high-performing) products from the market. That’s why we have sorted out these final two items that are made of rather unorthodox materials.
ALUMINUM is for the Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack.
First of all, it’s extremely light (32 Pounds) despite being a big bike rack. You will surely like the ease of mobility if you need to install or remove it from the vehicle regularly.
It’s super glossy, which could be the reason for the powder coating. Not gonna lie, I liked its look pretty much. It looks different and certainly deserves a spot on the awards podium.
With the 40 pounds per bike limit and 14.5 inches gap between bikes, you will find it super convenient to carry two of nearly any bike (except some heavy e-bikes). Since it offers frame-contactless carry, it’s a good choice for any kind of mountain bike.
I think it’s kind of below par as far as the weight limit is concerned. But with a capacity of wheelbase support up to 47 inches and tires as large as 3 inches, I would say it’s worth carrying the day for you.
It does come with a tilt-down feature. The rack tilts down far enough even when loaded with bikes, making it easy for you to reach the rear of the vehicle.
The arms of the rack are very effective to hold onto the bike’s wheel. Both the arms feature soft pads to make sure the contacts are not threatening to the bikes.
However, it feels really cool to position the arms from their stored position to deployed states. On the effective side, you save some space for a garage or parking by folding the arms when not in use.
Now, let’s focus on the most crucial portion of the bike rack – the hitch mount area.
Well, in short, there is absolutely no issue regarding the hitch mount. As long as you have a 2-inch hitch receiver, you are good to go for it.
It comes with a silver wedge inside the hitch tube, which pushes the silver ball bearing into the corner of the receiver hitch. Thereby, an effective anti-wobble experience is offered both vertically and horizontally.
You just need to tighten the knob firmly as much as you can after securing the hitch lock pin. That’s it, your rack is ready to give you a trouble-free ride all the way.
To sum up, the Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 is a handy piece of bike rack that can sort all your logistical issues. It comes with all the convenient features including the safety ones that a quality rack should have.
So, I wouldn’t feel hesitant to recommend this magnificent hitch rack for your mountain bikes.
5. Saris Superclamp Hitch Bike Rack for Mountain Bike
- Material: Polypropylene
- Hitch Receiver: 2″
- Item Weight: 38 lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Load Capacity: 120 lbs
- Brand: Saris
Let’s finish with another exceptional product.
The Saris Superclamp Bike Rack is made of polypropylene material. It’s much lighter and sturdy compared to steel ones. For those who don’t know, polypropylene is a super form of plastic.
Don’t be baffled by the word ‘plastic’ since polypropylene structures have a good tensile strength – somewhere around 4,800 psi – fair enough to withstand heavy loads, despite being lightweight.
This 38 lb justifies my words well. I mean, just compare it with other racks from the list, you’ll find it almost 10-15 lbs lighter than most of them. Yet, it’s rated for the same capacity. It can carry two bikes equally weighing 60 pounds.
It comes with adjustable arms and wheel trays that are good enough to accommodate almost all sorts of bicycles. Since the Saris Superclamp Bike Hitch Car Rack has a universal wheel holder, you will be able to load the fattest of your mountain bikes.
With two super easy zip straps and dual wheel-clamping hooks, it offers the fastest loading and unloading. On top of that, the space between the bikes left after loading is decent enough to run a hassle-free ride.
It has good news for the sensitive bikers who don’t like touches on the frame of the bike. Yes, for those enthusiasts, this rack comes with two shepherd’s hooks that hold the bike on top of both wheels without necessarily touching the frame.
Though it’s specially designed for RVs, you can also install it on any of your vehicles as long as you have a 2inch hitch receiver. Since it’s a lightweight item, you should be able to install it without requiring anyone’s help.
Well, it has few interesting and rudimentary features. Yes, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it ‘rudimentary’. We literally picked from the finest items out there. So, far or less, you will find these features recurring to almost all the products in the list.
However, don’t take it for granted. It takes some doing to sort them out.
Let’s get back to business.
The Saris Superclamp Bike Hitch Car Rack has an integrated security system. It makes sure your bikes are securely locked to the racks, and the racks to the hitch receiver, making it a little harder for the burglar to snap it off.
You also get the tilting feature to the racks that lets you access the rear of the car for last-minute adjustments. Now, you don’t need to unload the bikes to let your dog come out of the vehicle.
However, there is a wobbling issue with the rack. Specially, at the hitch receiver area. Granted, almost all the racks do play a little at times. But it seems to be playing a bit more than usual.
You might have some gut feelings while riding on a bumpy road.
However, the most practical solution to fix this wobbling issue is to use additional safety straps to firmly hold the bikes in place during the ride. You may also want to drive with a little ease on uneven roads.
Factors to Consider Before Buying The Hitch Rack for Your Mountain Bike
No doubt choosing the best hitch bike rack for mountain bike becomes a little tricky at times. Especially given the reason that there are plenty of bike racks out there to pick from. But it gets a lot easier if you can sort out a few basic things while buying the bike rack.
Hence, make sure the product you are about to buy is scanned by the following traits.
Check the Compatibility, Both with Mountain Bike and Vehicle
It’s the first and foremost duty for you to check and double-check the compatibility of the rack with your bike and the vehicle.
By far, the hitch tube is the most common area where major compatibility issues take place. So, for a sweet and smooth fitting, make sure the hitch receiver and the bike’s hitch tube are a good match for each other.
Besides, wheel tray’s width, arm’s height, and bike-to-bike clearance are some of the major areas where you should be looking while buying a bike rack.
The Trunk Lid Might Interfere With the Rack, Therefore Tilt-Away Feature Is a Must
How do you know that your bike rack is a good one?
Well, it’s the efficiency that talks. A well-organized bike rack comes with several features to make transportation easy. The tilt-down feature is one of them. It’s always important to make sure the bike rack does not downgrade productivity, if not upgrades.
For instance, if you cannot access your vehicle’s rear trunk due to a stiff, unmovable bike rack, there is no use in installing it. So, check on this essential feature in your bike rack.
You Need a Good Ground Clearance
You will generally find two types of hitch-installed bike racks out there. One that rises up from the hitch receiver and another that drops down.
As a matter of fact, the latter one should be avoided, lest it provides shorter ground clearance.
Yes, it’s not much of a concern if you happen to drive on a smoother, undeviating freeway all time. But it’s a must-have feature for off-road enthusiasts.
Durability is a Huge Consideration
When it comes to hitch-style racks, durability is always a huge consideration. Since there is only one attachment point for the bike rack to be mounted on the vehicle, it needs to be very tough to withstand the pressure.
But the good thing is, most of the racks are made of solid materials like steel, aluminum or so. You will also find some manufacturers are coming up with the latest technologies that include light materials like Polypropylene or Aluminum.
So, if the rack is made of such sturdy composition, it’s less likely that the breaking point will be the hitch area. That being said, you are recommended to overlook the shepherd’s hook or the straps.
The hook arms should consist of padded arms for ensuring scratch-free transportation. At the same time, arms that have knobs are rated the smartest ones.
On the other hand, nylon straps last longer than elastic ones; they wear out faster in the hot sun and lose elasticity.
So, keep all these things into consideration to make the most out of your bike rack’s expedition.
Balance It Up with Your Individual Need
Finally, think about what you need from your bike rack. Its look, features, budget, and all other things come into play when you make the final call.
Undoubtedly, it’s a great expression of generosity to offer your friends a hand by carrying their bikes at times. But honestly, you shouldn’t move around with a big-bulky bike rack unless you personally need one.
It saves a lot of time to mount and unmount a dual bike carrier rack than the others. Perhaps, you should go for the racks that offer add-ons to extend capacity. For instance, the Thule T2 Pro XT/XTR Hitch Bike Rack. You can easily transform it into a four-bike carrier from two when required.
So, it’s a matter of balance. Keep learning more about the bike rack. Try to make assessments of your personal need and the rack’s capability. You’ll surely find the best one for your mountain bike.
You can also check our roof rack for mountain bikes if you want something new!
It’s always wise to sketch your budget taking the bike rack into account. Especially, when you head towards the bike shop for a new bike. Given the fact that a mountain bike enthusiast tends to explore the furthest corners of the country than anyone else, an effective bike rack is a must.
Trust me, it’s safe, it’s affordable, and most importantly – it gives a lot of ease in bike transportation. Don’t feel shy to make your choice right away.
On our part, we hope that this guide to the best mountain bike hitch rack has, at least to some extent, helped you to sort out a few important things.
So, keep pedaling, and drink life to the lees. Happy cycling!