Types of Racks
Before you head out to buy a car rack for your bike, you have to know the different options that are on the market. After considering these options, it would be much easier for you to make the correct buying choice. So let’s see some of the types available.
These, as the name suggests, are designed to be placed or installed on the top of the vehicle. They are excellent for hatchbacks, SUVs and similar types of vehicles. When installed, these racks will increase the height of the vehicle.
Other than that slight source of discomfort, these racks make it easy to have access to all parts of the vehicle. Additionally, the design does not impact greatly on the gas or fuel consumption of the vehicle.
The Towbar rack is a type of rack that is low-profiled, which makes it easy for you to remove or store your bike on it. Its design reduces the risk of the bike scratching the paint off your vehicle. It also lasts for a very long time.
The major downsides are the high price and the difficulty of installation.
As implied by the name, these are installed on trunks. They are therefore popular among sedan owners. They offer plenty of versatility and are easy to use.
The downside here is the difficulty of assembly and the inaccessibility to the trunk of the vehicle.
Boot racks are affordable racks that are portable and easy to put away. Installation is pretty easy and straightforward with them and it doesn’t increase your gas mileage.
This is the type of rack considered in this article. It is a versatile option that is cool for several types of vehicles. It comes with several features, including a tilt-away or foldable design that gives you access to the rear of the vehicle. All of the units reviewed above come as hitch racks.
Things To Consider
Before buying a hitch rack for your bikes you should never forget about the following:
Types of Hitch Racks
Now that we know the major classes of racks, let’s now delve further into the rack class that concerns us – hitch racks.
There are two main types of hitch racks; hanging and platform racks.
A hanging rack has a unique design that extends vertically from the hitch. In this design, the bikes hang at eye level. It is the most common type of hitch rack.
There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a hanging rack. First, if your bike is a carbon fiber bike, you should not consider getting a hanging rack. Why not? Because the design of the rack will hold the bike by the frame. If you have a carbon fiber frame, there is a very high chance of damage.
Aside from carbon fiber bikes, you should also know that step in bikes are not compatible with this type of rack because it lacks a horizontal top tube.
On the plus side, hanging racks are cheaper than other types of racks. Examples are IKURAM KRB-H040B, MaxxHaul 70210, and Road-Max RMRB4X.
If you are determined to have a non-compatible bike on this type of rack, some models have provided adaptors for that purpose. An example is the Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B.
The second type of racks are platform racks. These are arguably the best type. Although they cost more and are heavier, they allow you to secure different types of bikes with ease and without the use of adaptors. Furthermore, they let you quickly install and remove bikes.
With these type, your bike stands individually and the frame does not touch the rack or the car. Therefore, if you are concerned about scratching your car’s paint or bike’s paint, this is the model to choose.
They are highly versatile and some of the can be adapted to carry even tricycles and other types of bikes. An example of this is the Hollywood Racks Destination HR4000.
Another notable feature of this type of frame is that it often comes with a swing mechanism to let you get the rack out of the way and gain access to the trunk of the vehicle.
Examples of platform racks are Venzo VZ-F13-012-4 and KAC Overdrive Sports K4.
Another important factor that you must consider is the capacity of the rack to carry a certain number of bikes. This is referred to as the bike capacity. Now, many of the units that we have considered in the review above offer a capacity of up to 2 bikes and others can carry up to four.
Therefore, before buying a rack, we recommend that you are certain about the number of bikes that you will want to carry. The more the bike capacity, the more expensive, heavier, and cumbersome the rack would be.
Some of the best units on the market can carry up to four bikes and an example is our top pick, the Allen Sports 542RR-R.
These extensions are an excellent means of increasing the number of bikes or the carrying capacity of the rack. Some models originally come as two-bike racks, but because of these add-ons, they can be expanded to up to four bikes. An example of such type of rack is the Hollywood Racks Destination HR4000. Because the manufacturer intended for this, it comes with two different hitch receivers.
This refers to the amount of weight the rack is capable of carrying. Before you buy a rack, it is essential that you check out the weight of the bikes, the number of bikes, and the weight capacity of the rack.
If you are going to use a heavy bike, for example, fat bikes or cruisers, you should ensure that you are aware of the weight capacity of the rack before you make a buying choice.
Our review above reveals that there are different weight capacities. The Tyger Auto TG-RK4B102B for instance, has a weight capacity of around 132 pounds, which makes it a good option for those that have small, lightweight bikes. The KAC Overdrive Sports K4, on the other hand, can carry a total weight of 240 pounds.
Once again, consider the weight of your bike and compare with the weight capacity of the rack before making a buying choice.
One of the best features that a hitch rack can have is the tilting feature. This feature makes it easy and comfortable to handle the rack. As a cyclist, you likely want to have the rack handy at all times. However, having the rack on the vehicle might mean that you won’t have access to the trunk or rear of the vehicle. That is why it is important to look for a model with the tilting feature.
This feature will keep the rack out of the way and grant you access to the rear.
You can find it in most of our models reviewed above including the Allen Sports 542RR-R
, IKURAM KRB-H040B
, and KAC Overdrive Sports K4
Although the tilting feature is excellent, the swing-away feature is even better! With this feature, the entire rack opens up to the side and give full access to the rear area of the vehicle. Therefore, you don’t have to unload the bike or uninstall the rack. The Road-Max RMRB4X is an example of a bike rack that has this nice feature.
Tire Width and Wheel Size
If you are buying a platform type of rack, it is important that you consider these two factors. The racks come with different sizes, same as the bikes. Therefore, look for a versatile model that offers a large size to accommodate all types of tires. An example of such a versatile option is the BV-HR02-04.
When buying a bike hitch rack, you must think about the quality of the product. If you are thinking of getting a rack that would be used in all types of weather, then it is wise to find a model that is resistant to different types of weather and will not rust.
Some materials used in making these racks include steel and plastic. Steel is strong and will carry more weight, but without the right coating, it will suffer from corrosion. Some of the best units on the market are made up of steel and plastic parts for the best durability.
Although the weight capacity is an important factor, you should also consider the self-weight of the rack. Lightweight models have the advantage of being easier to carry and install. However, they do not offer the same solidity and durability of heavier models.
If you will be removing the rack often, you should look for a lightweight model like the MaxxHaul 70210.
Receiver Hitch Size
Before you make a purchase, consider the size of the receiver hitch in your vehicle and compare it with that of the rack. There are two main sizes, 2” and 1.25”. The 2” is excellent for carrying more weight.
Most of the models we have reviewed come with 2” receiver hitch sizes.