A common struggle for cyclists is having to deal with unfavorable road conditions and poor cycling infrastructure. As much as you might want to go cycling, the desire to not get honked at (or worse) by overly aggressive drivers can result in you leaving your bike to collect dust in the garage. But if you don’t have nice bike routes in cycling distance from you, you very well might have routes within driving distance.
If you’re looking for good paths, or you’re just tired of the ones in your area, the best way to bike there might just be to, well, drive there. Even if you prefer a compact car to a clunky gas guzzler, you can still haul multiple bikes to the paths or mountain trails you want to explore. You just need a hitch mount rack.
The gold standard is Thule, but their racks will set you back more than the average cost of a new commuter bike from Raleigh or Giant. Fortunately, there are several affordable alternatives to Thule that you can find around. Some have supports on the bottom to hold the wheels in place, similar to what you might see on a public bus, and others hold the bike in place just by the frame. The former is called a tray rack and the latter hanging. It’s worth noting that each of these racks requires that you have a hitch installed, and the listings provide information on compatibility. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite bike hitch mount racks for your car.
1. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
This hitch mount rack is a tray design, meaning it has slots for holding the wheels. It can accommodate up to two bikes, and the hooks on the central arm are adjustable to support bikes of various heights. Additionally, the center arm can be folded down to allow easy access to the trunk, and the anti-wobble device prevents the bikes from rattling too much while driving.
Pros: Affordable tray-style hitch racks, the central arm folds down to allow access to the trunk.
Cons: Can rust in wet weather.
2. Allen Sports 2-Bike Hitch Racks
Another option with a tray rack design is this option from Allen sports. However, the brand also stocks hanging racks, which you can choose from the same listing. The tray rack features straps for securing the tires and the tube. The rack can be folded up against the vehicle when not in use.
Pros: Adjustable trays allow the rack to hold a variety of bike sizes. The arm can be moved into various positions. That makes it able to accommodate bikes without straight top tubes, such as some models of women’s bikes, beach cruisers, and mountain bikes.
Cons: Bikes can wobble somewhat.
3. MaxxHaul 4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack
If you’re looking to haul more than two bikes, this option allows you to carry up to 4. It has a hanging design, making it more lightweight than the other options on this list. Like most hanging hitch racks, it’s not intended for bikes that don’t have straight top tubes, including many women’s bikes and some cruisers and mountain bikes.
Pros: Foldable frame for access to the trunk, lightweight, can accommodate 4 bikes.
Cons: Like most hanging racks, it’s not ideal for bikes without straight top tubes. Threaded hitch pin may be an issue for some hitches.