Mountain cycling is an excellent experience full of excitement and thrill. This type of outdoor sport requires true determinations and a long time pursuit. Usually, for mountain cycling, you have to go far into mountainous areas that are definitely not near your home. Therefore, your bike will need a suitable means of transport. Again, a proper bike carrying medium also depends on the type of your vehicle and some specific purposes that you are looking forward to having in that medium. Because of so many bicycle carriers on the market for mountain bikes, you can naturally become distracted and you may end up buying a carrier that does not meet your needs. Such an obsession can silence your mountain cycling enthusiasm. So, we have presented you with a list of the best bike racks for mountain bikes in this article.
After extensive hours of research for several hours, we were able to produce this in-depth article which is full of comparative analysis. Our research indicates that the Küat Sherpa 2.0 is slightly better than other racks. So, we like to declare this our Overall Best Choice.
Overall Best Choice
The Küat Sherpa 2.0 is a super strong and agile platform or tray-style bike rack. It is a premium hitch bike rack that is just perfect for carrying mountain bikes and any other types of bikes as well. It offers some unique and wonderful features that you can’t find in any ordinary bike racks such as Foot-Assisted Pivot System, No-Wobble Ratcheting Arms, Hand-tight Hitch Cam and many other features. These features made this rack very exceptional and worthy of money. With an excellent build quality, this rack is made of Aluminum that also makes it very light. Maintains 14” of space for each of your bikes while they are being mounted. In short, if you need to transport a mountain; this is the bike rack that you need.
- Type: Hitch-Mount (Tray-Style)
- Adaptable Hitch Receiver: 1¼” / 2”
- Dimensions (inch): 45 x 15 x 12
- Number of Bikes: 2
- Max Load Per Bike: 40 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 80 lbs
In the following table, we’ve listed the best bike racks that we have selected for carrying your mountain bikes:
|Bike Rack||Why we recommend this|
|SeaSucker Talon||Perfect Suction Cup Rack For MTBs|
|Thule T2 Pro XT||No frame contact. Perfect for Carbon frame, MTB, Downhill, Electric and Fat Tire Bikes|
|Küat Sherpa 2.0||A Premium Choice. It's Lighter, User-friendly and Secure|
|Thule EasyFold XT 2||A Rack with a Loading Ramp|
|Yakima Hangover||A Uniquely Designed Vertical Rack|
|Thule Gateway Pro 2||A Proper Trunk Rack for Your MTB|
|Thule 963PRO Spare Me 2||Spare-Tire Rack + Carbon Bike Compatible|
|Yakima RaptorAero||A Stylish Rooftop Rack for MTB|
|Thule Insta-Gator||Reliable Solution for Truck Beds|
|Demon Tailgate Pad||An Ultimate Tailgate Pad for MTB|
10 best bike racks you can buy today for carrying mountain bikes
Here is a comparison table of all the bike carriers on our list. This table will give a quick overview of all the racks. If you don’t have time to spare, then you can take a look at this table, But we strongly recommend you to read the entire article for in-depth detail about all the bike racks.
A. Vacuum Rack
1) SeaSucker Talon: Perfect Suction Cup Rack For MTBs
- Type: Fork-Mount (Vacuum)
- Rack Weight (lbs): 6
- Dimensions (inch): 15 x 13
- Number of Bikes: 1
- Maximum Weight Limit: 45 lbs
- HUSKE Fork-Mount: This bike rack is universal for its HUSKE fork-mounts that can adjust almost any bike’s fork.
- No Frame Contact: Keeps your bike protected from any scratches on the frame as it will be mounted with its fork.
- Rear-Wheel Strap: Your bike will remain close-bodied with your vehicle by a 22” rear-wheel strap located on the rear-wheel cup.
- Build Quality: This rack was made of HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) material.
- Adjustability: Being a suction cup bike rack, it can accommodate any sedan, hatchback, SUV, minivan, coupé or even a sports car.
- Portable: A small and lightweight rack that makes it perfect to carry around anywhere.
- Effortless Installation: No tools or hardware is required to install this rack and can be mounted on any part of our vehicle.
- Fuel-Efficient: For being very light, this rack will somehow become fuel-efficient for your car.
- Package: When you purchase this rack, you will get a crack arm strap, spare vacuum pump and lube tube (5 mm) in the package.
- This rack is covered with a 2-year warranty from “SeaSucker”.
- This rack requires the removal of the front tire of your bike to mount it.
- As time will go by, suction cups will lose their pulling strengths with it and this will cause serious damage later.
- Need to manage additional space in order to store the removed front wheel inside your vehicle.
- The paint job on your vehicle’s surface can be seriously damaged by the suction cups.
The SeaSucker Talon has proved to be a versatile bike rack with a unique style of holding your bike. This rack has successfully passed some of the challenging and toughest physical tests. This bike rack was used to carry bicycles for various pro cycling teams around the world that cost more than $250,000. So this rack has a significant reputation and that is why the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) has officially licensed this rack. The installation is also very easy and this video will show how easy it really is –
This rack has been pursuing a rule and that is – any car, any place, any time. This proves that this rack can adapt any vehicle at any time and anywhere. The 2019 version of this rack comes with upgraded HUSKE fork-mounts with a 9 mm skewer that is suitable for any bike’s fork. This rack can handle only one bike that should weigh at most 45 lbs and offers no locking mechanism. If these issues are invulnerable to you, then this bike rack is just the thing you need.
B. Platform Style Hitch Rack
2) Thule T2 Pro XT: No frame contact. Perfect for Carbon frame, MTB, Downhill, Electric and Fat Tire Bikes
- Type: Hitch-Mount (Tray-Style)
- Adaptable Hitch Receiver: 1¼” / 2”
- Rack Weight (lbs): 52
- Dimensions (inch): 54 x 15 x 43 & 54.7 x 22.5 x 33.8 (When Folded)
- Number of Bikes: 2 (Can be increased to 4)
- Max Load Per Bike: 60 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 120 lbs
- Carbon-Frame Compatible: If you are looking for a suitable bike rack for your precious carbon bike, then this rack can be a qualified bike rack.
- Adaptable Wheels: Bike-wheels from 20” to 29” and tire widths up to 5” can be adjusted on this rack.
- Frame-Free Ratcheting Arms: These arms will secure the bikes in place without making any contact with their frames.
- AutoAttach System: This feature allows the rack to fit easily to your vehicle and makes it very easy to remove it from your vehicle.
- Locking Feature: Offers full security where you lock the bikes to the rack with integrated locking cables and lock the rack to the vehicle with a locking hitch-knob.
- HitchSwitch Lever: An accessible HitchSwitch lever makes it very flexible to fold down the rack which makes the rear hatch access a breeze.
- Sufficient Space: Keeps the rack free from any interference as this rack leaves enough space between two bike-mounts.
- Colors: You can either buy this rack in Silver or Black colour.
- Thule will offer a limited lifetime warranty for buying this rack.
- This rack cannot be adjusted on any trailer, RV, motorhome, or any towed vehicle.
- This rack will not work with vehicles that have front fenders.
- The integrated lock is not very usable and you may need to buy additional locks.
- It comes at a very high price that makes it very hard to afford.
- Poor quality straps that might get ripped off after using for a few months.
If you are looking for a versatile premium quality bike rack with fantastic features and you have decided to purchase the Thule T2 Pro XT, then you have definitely made the right decision. This rack is amazing in every aspect such as durability, build quality, bike bearing capability, and adequate security. A product of fine material and workmanship that can safely transport a carbon-frame bike, custom-paint bike, eBike, downhill, fat-tire bike, and any mountain bike.
With an excellent weight load capacity of 120 lbs, this rack can hold 2 bikes where each bike weighs 60 lbs. So, you don’t have to worry about transporting any heavyweight bike. But, if you like to haul around with a bigger group and you want to increase the capacity so that you can load another 2 bikes, then you can purchase the Thule T2 Pro XT Add-on. Therefore, you can load a total of 4 bikes at the same time.
3) Küat Sherpa 2.0: A Premium Choice. It’s Lighter, User-friendly and Secure
- Type: Hitch-Mount (Tray-Style)
- Adaptable Hitch Receiver: 1¼” / 2”
- Rack Weight (lbs): 32
- Dimensions (inch): 45 x 15 x 12
- Number of Bikes: 2
- Max Load Per Bike: 40 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 80 lbs
- No-Wobble Ratcheting Arms: Adjust these ratcheting arms over the front tires of your bikes with a single hand to secure them tightly.
- Foot-Assisted Pivot System: Get an easy rear gate or hatch access when this rack drops down by tapping your foot on a foot-assisted pivot system.
- Foldable Cradles: The cradles can be folded up and down to make enough ground clearance.
- Semi-Integrated Lock: An external cable can be found that consists of a semi-integrated locking feature to keep your bikes secure.
- Co-molded Straps: Your bikes will remain stable in the corresponding positions when their rear wheels will be fastened with these straps.
- Hand-tight Hitch Cam: Make sure the rack is closely fitted with your vehicle tightening a hitch cam with your hand.
- Adaptable Wheel-Size: Wheels that have tires up to 3” wide and wheelbase up to 47” can be adjusted on this rack.
- Build Material: Made of high-quality Aluminum material and a powder coating finish makes it premium and glossy.
- Easy Installation: Smooth installation process that doesn’t require any usage of tools.
- Colours: Provides an option to select from three distinct colours – Gray/Orange anodize, Black Metallic/Gray anodize, and Pearl Metallic/Silver anodize.
- No Worries Warranty: If you register this product on Küat’s official website, you will get a limited lifetime warranty.
- You can be unlucky to find the main threaded rod of this rack curved imperfectly that will make it difficult to insert into the hitch receiver.
- There are complaints that the locking mechanism is unable to function properly.
- Some reported this rack won’t work on a Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.
- This rack is less durable than its older version which is the Sherpa 1.0.
‘Sherpa’ – the word came from Nepal which means something that is strong and agile enough to carry anything. So if you are looking for such a type of rack, then the Küat Sherpa 2.0 will be an ideal product for you. You won’t be able to compare this rack with any ordinary bike rack as this rack was built exceptionally and it is perfect in its own way. Your vehicle will look aesthetic when you install this rack. With a maximum weight load capacity of 80 lbs, you can load 2 bikes each considering 40 lbs of weight.
The Future Forest Initiative program was initiated by Küat cooperating with the National Forest Foundation. The purpose of this program is to plant trees as much as there can be, especially in the national forests inside the US region that are damaged by fire. With the effort of this program, more than 352,875 trees were being planted. Therefore, you may find a sticker of the Future Forest Initiative on every Küat product. This sticker is a symbol that defines the hard work that every Küat member has been doing until now.
C. For Electric Mountain Bikes
4) Thule EasyFold XT 2: A Rack with a Loading Ramp
- Type: Hitch-Mount (Tray-Style)
- Adaptable Hitch Receiver: 1¼” / 2”
- Rack Weight (lbs): 44
- Dimensions (inch): 48.4 x 25 x 26.7 & 31 x 12 x 26 (When Folded)
- Number of Bikes: 2
- Max Load Per Bike: 65 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 130 lbs
- Bike Compatibility: This rack has an incredible load capacity that enables this rack to transport an eBike, downhill and other heavy mountain bikes.
- Fully Foldable: You can fully fold this rack that will make mounting and storing your bikes much easier.
- Holders with Large Distance: These wheel-holders will keep the bikes separate from each other and prevent any contact between two bikes that have large wheel-bases.
- Padded Clamps: The clamps are covered with Road Dampening Technology (RDT) pads to protect your bike’s frame from shocks and vibrations.
- Thule AcuTight Knobs: When optimal torque is reached, these knobs will click audibly to inform you that they are tight enough.
- Straps With Buckles: The straps come with pump buckles to fasten the wheels of your bikes tightly.
- Locking Option: Secure the bikes with locking clamps and secure the rack to your vehicle with a hand knob.
- One Key System: With a single key you can access each lock and this feature deters thieves for stealing your bikes and the rack.
- Anti-Rattle Hitch-Pin: This integrated hitch-pin will prevent the receiver from excessive movements and rattling.
- Tool-Free Installation: The anti-rattle hitch-pin also allows quick installation where you don’t need any tools.
- Smart Foot Pedal: Tilt the rack just by pressing this pedal and get easy rear hatch access even when the bikes are loaded.
- Portability: The integrated transport wheels and carrying handle makes it portable enough for ergonomic transport.
- Bike Loading Ramp: Includes an Aluminum-made loading ramp that makes loading heavy bikes easier and it is also foldable.
- Oversized Reflectors: This rack enhances the nighttime visibility for your car with two oversized red reflectors.
- Quality Construction: This rack is rust-resistant and durable for the Aluminum and ABS plastic construction.
- This rack is backed up with a limited lifetime warranty by Thule.
- It cannot be used with a 5th wheel camper, motor-home or any other flat-towed vehicles.
- Plastic material in a rack of such advanced quality is not reasonable to many users.
- The loading ramp may break when you load a heavy fat-tire bike and it is pretty hard to use.
- Sadly, there is no locking option or button to unfold the platform; you just need to push the two parts of the platform to fold it and they just stick together with weak frictional force.
- The vertical U bar might be too short to reach the top tubes of some full-size bikes such as Electra Townie Go! eBikes.
The Thule EasyFold XT 2 is a flagship model of the company and it is filled with a lot of advanced features. This rack remains versatile while transporting any electric-bike, fat-tire bike or other heavy mountain bikes. And for loading your heavy bikes, you don’t have to use a lot of strengths to lift them up. This advanced bike rack allows a loading ramp (36”) so that you can rollover your heavy bikes on it. This rack is incredible for handling a total of 130 lbs of weight where you can load a heavy bike that can weigh up to 65 lbs.
You don’t have to buy additional locks and don’t have to worry about the security of your bikes. Because this rack offers the ultimate protection and security not just only for your bikes but also for itself. The clamps contain locks individually to secure your bikes and the rack itself gets secured to the vehicle with a locking hand knob. Also, this rack promotes a smart tilting feature that lets you access the rear hatch even when the bikes are loaded. You just need to press a pedal and the rest will do by itself. Hence you can load a bike that has most regular size wheelbases and tires, but there is an optional XXL wheel-strap available to load a bike with longer wheelbases and wider tires up to 4.7”.
D. Vertical Style Hitch Rack
5) Yakima Hangover: A Uniquely Designed Vertical Rack
- Type: Hitch-Mount (Vertical-Style)
- Adaptable Hitch Receiver: 2”
- Rack Weight (lbs): 65 / 73
- Dimensions (inch): 22 x 46 x 60 (4-Bike Variant) / 22 x 69.5 x 60 (6-Bike Variant)
- Number of Bikes: 4/6
- Max Load Per Bike: 37.5 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 150 / 225 lbs
- Vertical Orientation: Provides greater balance at the back of your car as this rack keeps your bikes vertically oriented and keeps them adjusted.
- Foot-Operated Tilt Mechanism: This rack smoothly tilts down when you press a foot pedal with your foot and makes the rear access easier than ever.
- Rotating Wheel-Cups: Bikes of various wheelbases can be adjusted for these rotating wheel-cups.
- Fork-Crowns: There are fork crowns on the upper mast of this rack to stabilize your bikes.
- Ground Clearance: You will get an enhanced ground clearance as two horizontal masts will keep your bikes at a higher position.
- Soft Padding: There is soft padding on the upper mast of this rack that will keep the bike’s forks protected.
- Adjustable Horizontal Masts: You can adjust the angles of the horizontal masts to make sure there is no contact between your car and your bikes.
- Locking Option: The integrated will hitch lock will secure the rack to the vehicle.
- Lock-Loops: There are lock loops on this rack that allow you to add extra locks if you wish to upgrade the overall security.
- Build Material: Constructed with heavy-duty Steel.
- Yakima’s Bottle-Cap Opener: This signature bottle-cap opener will help to open a bottle cap anytime you want and lets you enjoy a post-ride refreshment.
- Yakima will offer a limited warranty for a lifetime.
- This rack can only carry some mountain bikes or similar bikes that contain suspension-forks.
- As for carrying a fat-tire bike, this rack requires having a suspension-fork.
- The beginning of the installation process of this rack can be tricky and difficult.
- This rack is quite heavy compared to other hitch-mount bike racks.
- Some people consider this rack a bit expensive.
The Yakima Hangover is a great rack that can hold a significantly increasing number of bikes and organizes them vertically in a vertical posture. This rack can be very useful for family usage or if you are a person who likes to go out with a group of people. From the expert’s point of view, this vertical-style hitch rack is the most versatile rack you can find in the market and it is Yakima’s first produced bike rack that can carry bikes vertically.
This rack can tilt down and lets you access the rear hatch, but it is not very supportive when the bikes are loaded on this rack. If you really wish to gain rear access, then you need to take out the bikes from this rack first. Now if you think that is really bothersome and exhausting, then you can purchase BackSwing that will enable rear hatch access even when the bikes are loaded. But it is for the 4-bike variant only, the 6-bike variant doesn’t require this. Furthermore, this rack only supports those vehicles that have 2” x 2” hitch receivers and the hitch is recommended to have a tongue rating of 113 kg or more.
E. Trunk/Hatch Mount Rack
6) Thule Gateway Pro 2: A Proper Trunk Rack for Your MTB
- Type: Trunk-Mount
- Rack Weight (lbs): 13.7
- Dimensions (inch): 23.5 x 18 x 33 & 23.5 x 18 x 21 (When Folded)
- Number of Bikes: 2 (3-Bike Version Available)
- Max Load Per Bike: 35 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 70 lbs
- Patented FitDial: FitDial that includes a Quick-Fit lever will provide your bikes a “Perfect Fit” to your vehicle.
- Anti-Sway Cradles: Keep your bikes secure from bike-to-bike contact with its integrated anti-sway Stay-Put cradles.
- Ratcheting Straps: These Nylon straps lets you quickly attach your bikes and keep them stable in places.
- Sufficient Spacing: This rack ensures there is no collision between two bikes during transportation as it stores the bikes 7” far from each other.
- Bike Compatibility: The cradles were designed in such a compact way that they can accommodate a variety of bikes with different frame styles and sizes.
- Foldable Bike Arms: This rack has arms that can be adjusted independently with a cinch lever and they fold down when they are not in use.
- Convenient Storage: Grants you with convenient storage by folding up flat against the vehicle.
- Cable Lock: Integrated cable locks are included to lock your bikes to the rack and keep them safe from theft.
- Padded Bars: The bars that attach to the vehicle’s body are padded with soft foam to ensure no scratch or damage.
- Carbon-Frame Compatible: You can place a carbon bike and carry it on this rack.
- Optional Lock Strap: You can buy the additional Thule Lock Strap that lets you lock the rack to the car in order to update the overall security.
- Excess straps can be tucked away to provide better clearance for your vehicle’s surface.
- This rack is warranted for a limited lifetime.
- Horrible instructions to install this rack.
- The Stay-Put cradles do not stay in places instead, they slide to the end of the rack.
- Very difficult to adjust two bikes and you may need to remove parts in order to place them comfortably.
- For some vehicles, the brackets that connect to the top of the hatch are a bit small. As an instance, this rack is not a proper fit for a Volvo XC60.
In order to load a mountain bike and transport it, you may look for a hatch-mount or trunk-mount bike rack and the Thule Gateway Pro 2 will be one of the most suitable solutions. This is a robust bike rack that guarantees no damages or scratches to your bikes and to your vehicle. It places the bikes leaving an ample space of 7” and its nylon adjustable straps keep it secure to the car. This rack also offers adequate locking features and folds completely flat for convenient storage. You can add additional security specifically for the rack if you purchase the Thule Passive Lock Strap that will lock the rack to your vehicle.
This rack is fairly easy to use and loading and unloading of your bikes will become quick and smooth. If you want to carry 3 bikes and want exactly like this type of bike rack, then why don’t you buy the Thule Gateway Pro 3 which is the 3-bike variant of this rack. While the 2-bike version has a weight load capacity of 70 lbs where each bike should weigh 35 lbs, the 3-bike variant offers a superior capacity of 105 lbs where the weight for each bike remains the same. Other features are almost the same. However, both of these bike racks won’t work properly if you drive an SUV.
F. Spare-Tire Rack
7) Thule 963PRO Spare Me 2: Spare-Tire Rack + Carbon Bike Compatible
- Type: Spare-Tire Mount
- Rack Weight (lbs): 15.6
- Dimensions (inch): 38.5 x 18.5 x 15.9 and 38.5 x 18.5 x 4 (Folded)
- Number of Bikes: 2
- Max Load Per Bike: 37.5 lbs
- Maximum Weight Limit: 75 lbs
- One Key System: You can lock the rack to the spare-tire with just a single key.
- Adaptable Spare-Tire: This rack can adapt both regular and oversized spare tires.
- Carbon Bike Compatible: This is a recommended rack to transport carbon-frame bikes when your vehicle contains a spare-tire at the back.
- Stay-put Cradles: These cradles make sure the bikes stay in their places when the vehicle has to deal with excessive bumps.
- Anti-Sway Cages: The cradles contain anti-sway cages that keep the bikes relatively far from each other and prevent them from swaying.
- Locking Option: Proper locking mechanism is provided with this rack where you can lock the bikes to the rack as well as lock the rack to the vehicle.
- Fold-Down Feature: Makes convenient space by folding the arms down, especially when you don’t want to use the rack.
- Like other Thule racks, you will get a limited lifetime warranty with this rack.
- The cradles can be rough enough to scratch your bikes.
- The metal plate contains some screws that have a habit of getting loose.
- The plastic knob can break while twisting it very hard.
- A 2005 Honda CR-V may not accommodate this rack.
No one can deny the Thule Spare Me 2 is certainly one of the greatest bike racks for loading and transporting bikes on a vehicle that has a spare-tire. This rack is highly praised for its satisfying performance on many SUVs such as Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler. You can load 2 bikes of 37.5 lbs each on this rack that makes its total weight load capacity 70 lbs. If you want to load a bike with a non-conventional frame like a woman bike or a kid bike, then you have to add the Thule 982XT frame adapter.
‘Thule’ is always dedicated to providing top-grade products and assuring their qualities through intensive experimentation. The company’s founder Erik Thulin made fishing equipment for Scandinavian fishermen back in the days. Eventually, he formed this company and started to produce quality bicycle products at reasonable prices. This was all started back in 1942 and by gaining continuous fame, this is one of the best bicycle-accessory companies that has a headquarters in Malmo, Sweden.
G. Roof Mount Rack
8) Yakima RaptorAero: A Stylish Rooftop Rack for MTB
- Type: Roof-Mount (Wheel-On)
- Rack Weight (lbs): 7.40
- Dimensions (inch): 52 x 9 x 25
- Number of Bikes: 1
- Minimum Crossbar Spread: 16”
- Maximum Crossbar Spread: 38”
- Maximum Weight Limit: 30 lbs
- Wheel-on Bike Mount: You don’t have to remove the front wheel of your bike to mount it on this rack that makes loading and unloading of your bikes very easy.
- Bike Compatibility: Any traditional bike with a diamond-shape geometry and any bike that contains a fender can be adjusted on this rack.
- Adaptable Crossbar: Fits most round, square, aerodynamic crossbars as well as most factory-tuned crossbars.
- Adaptable Downtubes: Adapts 1” to 3” downtubes with round diameters.
- Adjustable Arm: Secure your bike with an adjustable arm that grips the downtube of your bike with jaws.
- Ratcheting Straps: With the help of these arms, you can firmly adjust most bikes with 20” or larger tires.
- Optional SKS Lock Cores: Additional SKS lock cores are sold separately to lock the bikes and the carrier.
- Tool-Free Installation: Requires no tools to get installed.
- Yakima will cover this rack with a limited lifetime warranty.
- A major drawback of this rack is the plastic clamps on the adjustable arm that can damage the bike’s paint.
- The process of assembly can be tedious and it may take a significant amount of time.
- If you have a bike with an aero or square downtubes, then this rack won’t work.
- Instructions can be complicated to understand.
The Yakima RaptorAero maybe a little rack, but it is a mighty one. This rack has a streamlined profile that allows it to match most types of vehicles. This rack is lightweight yet strong that can accommodate any bike with traditional frame geometry. Therefore, most MTBs will perfectly suit this rooftop rack. Also, this rack doesn’t require removing the front wheel before mounting. So, you can store your bike quickly and effortlessly.
This rack is provided with universal MightyMounts to adjust most crossbars whether they are factory-made or other types. With a maximum weight load capacity of 35 lbs, this rack can hold only one bike. For enhancing the overall security, you need to buy 3 additional Same Key System (SKS) lock cores and 3 lock housings. The cores will secure your bike and the housings will secure the rack to the crossbar. However, this rack doesn’t work well on SUVs or large trucks and if you don’t own a mountain bike; we suggest you go for the Yakima Highroad.
H. Truck Bed Rack
9) Thule Insta-Gator: Reliable Solution for Truck Beds
- Type: Truck Bed (Wheel-Mount)
- Rack Weight (lbs): 11
- Dimensions (inch): 40.6 x 18 x 6.7
- Number of Bikes: 1
- Maximum Weight Limit: 50 lbs
- Application: Full-size Pickup Trucks
- RQL(Ratcheting Quick-Load): This ratcheting arm enables quick loading of your bikes.
- Bike Compatibility: This rack is ideal for transporting any carbon bike, downhill, eBike, fat-tire bike, and any kind of MTB.
- Adaptable Bike-Wheel: This rack is suitable to adopt a variety of wheel-sizes ranging from 20 to 29” and up to 5” wide tires.
- No Frame Contact: Your bike remains protected and stable as an adjustable hook will hold it by its front wheel and that ensures no frame contact with your vehicle.
- One Key System: If you wish to lock your bike to the rack with a single key, then a one-key cylinder is available that needs to be bought separately.
- Easy Installation: No drilling on the truck bed is required to install this rack.
- Based on any defects in materials and workmanship, ‘Thule’ provides a limited lifetime warranty for all the racks.
- Your truck’s tailgate needs to be closed in order to transport the bike on this rack.
- This rack won’t fit a tailgate pad that is larger than ½”.
- Trucks with short-beds are not good to be used with this rack. Perhaps a Dodge Ram 1500 can be an example.
- Mounting your bike can be very tiresome as you have to lift it up on the truck bed.
- Stealing your bike can be easy as it offers no functional locking option.
The Thule Insta-Gater is a truck-bed bike rack that doesn’t require removing the wheels of your bike. Your bike will remain straight in an upright posture and its frame will be protected as there will be no frame-contact between your bike and the truck-bed. Moreover, you don’t have to drill any hole on the surface of your truck-bed to install this rack. While crossing a bumpy road, your bike will not bounce for its strong ratcheting arm.
This rack has a total weight limit of 50 lbs for carrying only one bike. If your truck bed comes with a tailgate that is 51” or larger, then you will be able to install 3 Thule Insta-Gater racks on the truck-bed. Again, if your truck has a smaller tailgate that is close to 34” or greater; then can install 2 of this rack. There is no proper security that is offered with this rack. So, you may need to buy an additional One-Key lock cylinder so that you can secure your bike to the rack with a single key.
I. Truck Tailgate Pad
10) Demon Tailgate Pad: An Ultimate Tailgate Pad for MTB
- Type: Tailgate Pad
- Available Size: Large – 62” wide & Small – 54” wide
- Number of Bikes: Up to 5
- Application: Full-size + Mid-size Pickup Trucks
- Recommended for MTBs: This tailgate pad is recommended for carrying any mountain bike.
- Available Sizes: Available in two sizes – The small one (54”) works with mid-size pickup trucks and the large one (62”) works with large-size pickup trucks.
- Bike Compatibility: It contains multiple bike slots to carry a wide variety of bikes of different sizes and styles.
- Foam-Pad Protection: Both of your bikes and the tailgate remains protected with a ¾” foam pad covered with heavy-duty vinyl.
- Tailgate Access Cover: You can access the handle for opening the tailgate with the help of a flap even when this pad is mounted on.
- Web Cinch Straps: These Nylon straps secure the pad to the tailgate and keep it steady while the bikes are mounted.
- Velcro Straps: These anchor shape velcro straps make sure the bikes are stored with adequate spacing, they are secured and they don’t rub each other.
- Reflective Logo: This pad has a black cover with a reflective Demon United logo.
- Tool Pockets: Includes tool pockets if you like to take trail gears with you.
- In some cases, the view of the backup camera gets blocked for the way this pad organizes the bikes on the tailgate.
- You won’t be able to use the backup camera or access the tailgate if this pad is mounted on a Chevy Colorado ZR2 (2019) or similar type vehicles.
- To fit this tailgate pad onto some trucks can be challenging.
- Sometimes the straps are not long enough to secure your bikes.
You may think you know better quality tailgate pads than the Demon Tailgate Pad. But we can assure you it is the best tailgate pad you will find if you wish to transport mountain bikes. It offers ¾” soft foam pad to keep your bike’s finish protected and the underside of this pad is ultra-soft to protect the tailgate’s paint. This pad doesn’t have any specific weight load capacity, it is referred to handle any standard bike’s pressure.
The large version of this rack which is 62” allows you to load up to 7 bikes and with the small version which is 54”, you can load as many as 5 bikes on your truck’s tailgate. Sufficient straps are included to keep it stable to the tailgate and the anchor shape Velcro straps will keep them firm on their corresponding places. Tool pockets are attached on the cover for loading gears and accessories and you can open the tailgate without removing the pad for the tailgate access flap.
Aside from that, the reflectorized Demon United logo enhances the visibility of your truck and gives your truck a cool look.
What Is The Most Suitable Type of Racks for Mountain Bikes?
You can find a variety of different bike racks available in the market. Depending on the position of your vehicle where you would like to install a bike rack you can find a hitch-mount, trunk-mount, roof-mount, spare-tire mount, towing-ball mount, tailgate pad and other types of bike racks. And the manufacturers keep trying day by day so they can discover new ways for mounting bikes on a vehicle. However, all these types of racks are basically the species of three major bike rack’s classes. They are – The Hitch-mount, the roof-mount, and the trunk-mount bike rack. We shall discuss their characteristics and features below so that you can get to know about these racks.
Hitch-Mount Bike Rack
If you want a bike rack to carry your mountain bikes, then these bike racks will be the best option for you. These types of bike racks usually mount at the back of your vehicle on the trailer hitch and keep your bikes relatively far from the vehicle’s body. These bike racks are reputed for their large number of bike loading capacities. Some of the hitch-mount bike racks offer you to load up to 6 bikes. The number of bike loading capacity for this rack is comparatively greater than a roof-mount and a trunk-mount bike rack. But, you can find these bike racks much heavier than any other types of bike racks. As a result, the overall weight of your vehicle will increase a lot when this type of bike rack is mounted behind and it is carrying a significantly greater number of bikes. There are several types of hitch-mount bike rack that we are going to discuss later in this article.
Hitch-mount bike racks can transport the following types of bikes in the most convenient way –
Roof-Mount Bike Rack
If you are looking for the most versatile bike rack, then this type of bike rack perhaps can be the desirable bike rack for you. This bike rack can certainly offer your bike the strength and solidity that is required for a safe and secure journey. However, make sure your vehicle is suitable to carry this type of bike rack and what I mean by ‘suitable’ is – your vehicle must have crossbars in order to install this bike rack. Most of the vehicles, especially most SUVs contain built-in crossbars when you purchase them. Unfortunately, if your vehicle doesn’t have crossbars; then you need to buy and install crossbars on your vehicle first. Roof-mount bike racks can be found in two categories and they are – fork-mount and wheel-on roof rack. The fork-mount roof rack is much more versatile and secure than the wheel-on roof rack. But, it will be harder for you to remove the front tire of your bike every time you want to mount it on the rack. When you are short or your vehicle is much taller or you need to mount a heavy bike, then trouble will increase to a great extent. On the other hand, the wheel-on roof racks will hold your bikes straight in an upright position where you don’t need to remove the front wheel of your bike. But, when it comes to versatility and security; they are not as good as fork-mount racks. Like for-mount roof racks, bike loading can be challenging on wheel-on roof racks.
Trunk/Hatch-Mount Bike Rack
Well, our last bike rack type for discussion is the trunk or hatch-mount type. If you are looking for an economical option and you don’t want to attach a bike-rack on any other part of your vehicle rather than the trunk, then you can go for this type of bike rack. This type of bike rack attaches to the rear trunk and uses some straps to secure itself with the vehicle. These racks can carry a significantly reasonable number of bikes which is between 2 or 3. These racks make bike loading and unloading very easy and quick. They are lighter and smaller than other bike rack types which makes them easy to carry around. Of course, a trunk or hatch-mount bike rack is not the greatest type of bike rack. It is not as durable as the other two types of bike racks, it doesn’t provide adequate security for your bike and you won’t be able to open the rear trunk or hatch while this type of rack is being mounted. They are generally the cheapest options and they are quite simple that makes them a popular choice among ordinary people who don’t want to make much hassle for a bike rack.
This chart below demonstrate the bikes compatibility for different bike racks –
Advantages of an Appropriate Hitch-Mount Bike Rack
Not all hitch-mount bike racks are proper. They need to have some features in order to be ideal. The question may arise – Why are we discussing the advantages for specifically a hitch-mount bike rack? Because they are considered to be the most appropriate for the transportation of mountain bikes. Therefore, if you are using a hitch-mount bike rack compare these positives with your rack or if you are willing to buy a hitch-mount rack, then you can try to look for these benefits in your predetermined rack.
- Hitch-mount bike racks are the most suitable for hauling mountain bikes and they can accommodate most conventional or non-conventional mountain bike frames.
- An ideal hitch rack should carry your bikes by their wheels making no frame contact
- Try to choose a platform or tray-style hitch rack instead of a hanging-style hitch rack. Because a platform or tray-style hitch rack keeps your bikes steady in their places and protects them by lowering the tension between them.
- Hitch racks don’t need to use your vehicle’s rooftop. So you will get an overhead clearance for mounting a rooftop rack if you wish to carry a bike or perhaps a kayak.
- A platform or tray-style hitch rack can carry any women’s bike without using any adapters.
- These racks can also carry kids’ bikes effortlessly.
- Most of the time, hitch-mount bike racks are built with an aerodynamic design and they tend to be more fuel-efficient than a roof rack or a trunk rack.
- Your bikes have chances to strike tree branches or ceilings of low garages. But in the case of hitch-mount racks, there are no such possibilities.
Differences Among the Types of Hitch-Mount Bike Racks
If you want to find out the dissimilarities among the types of hitch racks, then I must give the briefings about the types of hitch-mount bike racks first. In general, hitch-mount bike racks can be classified into three types. They are – Hanging-style, Platform or tray-style and vertical-style hitch-mount racks. Below we are going to shortly summarize these types
Hanging-Style Hitch-Mount Bike Rack:
These types of hitch racks mount on the hitch-receivers of vehicles and hold the bikes by hanging them with single or dual arms. Except for some non-conventional bike frames such as women’s bikes, kids bikes, and some commuter type bikes; most bike sizes and shapes can be mounted onto this bike rack. In order to accommodate these non-conventional bike frames, you will need to buy additional top tube frame adapters.
Just because hanging-style hitch racks don’t contain any platform or tray, they are way lighter than the platform-style hitch racks. This type of rack is capable of transporting bikes from 2 to a maximum of 5. Almost all regular vehicles with either 2” or 1.25” hitch-receivers can adjust this type of rack.
Depending on the number of supportive arms or carry arms, this rack is of two kinds. They are –
- Single Arm Hitch Bike Rack:
Only one supportive arm hangs your bikes on such a rack. Unloading and unloading of your bikes will be very easy on this type of bike rack. These types of racks include Velcro straps, rotating cradles, adjustable hand-knob, and other features to ensure no harm to your bikes. Except for some bike frames with lower top tubes such as women’s bikes, kids bikes; you can load most road or mountain bikes with casual frames on this bike rack. However, these racks can’t offer much versatility and stability for loading more bicycles. As there is no platform, your bikes may face some issues for lack of ground clearance.
- Dual Arm Hitch Bike Rack:
The name already indicates that this type of rack uses two arms to carry bikes. For having two supportive arms instead of one, these racks can provide better stability than a single-arm hitch rack. As a result, your bikes will remain stable even if they absorb excessive shocks and vibrations. Most of the time, these racks come with some fascinating properties such as anti-sway cradles, proper safety and locking options, excellent build-quality, and other features. These racks are becoming more reliable than single-arm hitch racks for their enhanced support and manufacturers are inclined to build these racks more rather than single-arm hitch racks. These racks can accommodate most regular vehicle’s hitch-receivers that should be either 2” or 1.25”.
Platform or Tray-Style Hitch-Mount Bike Rack:
These racks consist of a tray or platform where your bikes are being kept. Like all hitch-mount bike racks, you don’t have to remove your bike’s wheels to mount it on this type of rack. Your bikes remain much safer and more stable compared to hanging-style hitch racks. Some of these racks offer adjustable wheel hoops to carry a variety of bikes with different sizes. Unlike hanging-style bike racks, your bikes will not sway and won’t face any wobbling problem. Therefore, there will be no bike-to-bike or bike-to-car collision. Moreover, this type of bike rack makes loading and unloading of your bikes a breeze. Some of the premium types such as the Thule EasyFold XT 2 feature a loading ramp. So, you can easily load and unload any heavy bike without much effort. They work with most hitch receivers but they have a maximum number capacity up to 5 bikes.
Vertical-Style Hitch-Mount Rack:
These bike racks hold your bikes vertically keeping the front tires upright. These racks can be great alternatives to the other two types as they have the greatest number of bike loading capacities. This type of rack is suitable enough to carry up to 4 or 6 bikes and it keeps the bikes congested within a confined space. That is why this type of rack becomes a common choice for family usage or group tours. The vertical main mast and supportive horizontal masts offer ultimate stability and there will be adjustable straps to keep your bikes safe and protected.
This type of rack is suggested to carry mountain bikes. However, not all mountain bikes or any other type of bike are suitable to carry on such bike racks. Bikes with suspension forks are recommended to transport by this bike rack. So if you are planning to buy this kind of rack, don’t forget your bike must contain suspension forks even if it is a fat-tire bike. The back of your vehicle will be much heavier if all the bikes are loaded on this rack and it often supports only 2” x 2” hitch receivers.
To find out which one of the three bike racks will suit you and your preferences the most, take a look at this differentiation table among these three hitch-mount bike racks –
What are the Different Sizes of Hitches?
There are different classes of hitches from class-I to class-V based on their towing capacities. The hitch classes that are marked as class-I, are able to accommodate most regular vehicles whereas the class-V marked hitches can only be found on full-size pickup trucks. Therefore, the towing capacity for class-I hitches has a towing capacity of only 2,000 lbs. Then again, the heavy-duty class-V hitches own about 10,000 lbs of towing capacity or even more.
Because of having a relatively poor towing capacity a class-I hitch is not suitable enough to pull a hitch-mount bike rack. Hitch-mount bike racks can fit hitches that start with class-II. Again, most of the class-V hitches are either 2” x 2” or 2.5” x 2.5”. So, they are also not the most convenient type. Judging by the calculation, we can tell that the effective range for hitch-mount bike racks to adjust any hitch receivers should be within class-II to class-IV.
If you are uncertain about the type of hitch that your vehicle contains, then you can take a look at the hitch itself for any kind of sticker or stamp where the class of your hitch should be written or you can also check the vehicle’s user-manual to get an idea. This will inform you whether your vehicle has a factory-tuned or an aftermarket hitch. And if you fail to find out after doing everything you can, then you can directly contact or call the maker of that particular hitch or you can get help from your local vehicle retailer. This picture will help you a lot if you are facing issues to figure out your hitch class –
Different Hitch Classes
At the end of our discussion, we would prefer to say that mountain cycling is a challenging experience and people who like this kind of sport are true outdoor sports lovers indeed. They love their bikes as much as they love this type of sport. As a matter of fact, passionate mountain bike riders will need ultimate bike carriers to store as well as transport their bikes to their destinations safely. The bike racks that we have selected are based on different types of vehicles. So if you want the proper bike carrier, then choose it according to the vehicle’s type or according to your purpose. We can assure you all of our bike racks are serviceable and buying one of these racks, you won’t be disappointed. And if you already have a bike rack predetermined, then we always encourage you to buy it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and we wish the best for finding the most suitable bike rack for your mountain bike.
Last update on 2020-07-31 at 16:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API