Hitch bike rack - Pros Cons

I just recently got a new vehicle and would like to get a hitch mounted bike rack. I would obviously prefer the tray style as they are far superior but I would like it to accommodate my sons 20" wheels as well as my 26". Does anyone have any suggestions? I have 2 roof rack tray racks which I managed to use for my younger sons kids bike as well as the 20" and 26" bikes as they grab the frame but the new vehicle is simply too high to want to climb up every ride.

Before I got my Jetta I ran a Sportrack Hitch Platform rack similar to this. Worked great for the price (decent % off on sale). Only real downside I could ever think of is the bikes partially blocks your brake lights/signal lights, and if you ever get rear ended your bike is almost definitely done for.

I’m sure the Yakima/Thule/etc offerings are much nicer in some way or another, but will set you back quite a bit more money.

The ones that grab the wheel instead of the frame allow for more frame sizes and generally fits step through and smaller bikes better. would definitely recommend tray style and something that can swivel up and down so that it is easy access to your trunk.

If your vehicle can accomodate a 2" hitch I would suggest that as well. It will allow for towing trailers if you ever want to. The 1 1/4 hitch only allows for so much weight.

The Thule and Yakima are definitely more costly, but have a great warranty and tend to last a long time.

I have a Thule 5 bike hitch rack that mounts bikes via the top tube. Well, most bikes. We have three kids, so 5 bikes is essential. It’s gotten easier to mount them as they’ve gotten older and their bikes have gotten bigger, but it can still take more than 10 minutes to load the bikes and it’s finicky as hell. Still, it works and seems secure. The tray racks don’t come large enough to accommodate five, only four, so that’s out for me. Thinking of getting a truck for my next vehicle and a Dakine pad to just toss them over the tailgate.

I’ve been using a Swagman XTC 2 hitch mounted rack. It’s very simple and if you are like me and only have your own bike on it most of the time, very quick and easy. It stays on the car from the time the roads aren’t salted in the spring until they are in the fall. I think there is a four bike version but if I need to take more than two I use the roof carriers for the smaller bikes. It requires the occasional tlc because the finish isn’t the best but it’s a great little rack for the price. MEC sells them making it a pretty safe purchase.

I run the Yakima Hold Up and it is amazing. It folds up nice and small, accommodates a plethora of bike options, the rack has held up with no complaints or issues for a few years now, the finish is great and it still holds bikes just as securely as day 1, and since I have a 2 inch hitch I am able to run the plus 2 adapter so I can carry 4 bikes when needed. The only issue with the yakima hold up is the price, it is one of the most expensive tray racks on the market. If it is in your budget it is well worth the money. There are other tray racks that are more affordable but they tend to use the clamps that grab the top tubes rather than the wheels. I’ve owned the fancy yakima roof racks and will probably never go back. Hitch racks are usually much cheaper than a roof rack system and much easier to load, especially the tray style.

Kuat racks are beautiful as well and comes with a built in work stand. Very cool feature, but it is certainly the cadillac of bike racks.

@riderx Yup, we’ve got a Kuat that we got a very good deal on (and was still ridiculously expensive)

Having said that, it is as good, if not better than advertised. Solid (heavy as hell to be honest), stayed solidly attached to the car all summer long. Grabs the bikes by the wheel, but I don’t know if the gripping arms will retract short enough to take a 20" wheel.

Oh, one other thing. Assuming the replacement for the Tiguan is a passenger car or wagon (not tall like an SUV) I will be going to a roof rack system. As much as I like the Kuat (and I do) I’m kinda done with hitch racks in general.

I’ve got a Swagman 2 as well, but honestly, it’s pretty cheap and flimsy compared to the Kuat

I have a early first gen Küat NV rack, mine came with (don’t remember if it was an extra or not) adaptor for 20" wheels. I can just get a 20" (well 19" really…) trials bike on with out it but it’s a bit loose so I do use the adaptor when taking the mod.

If you need the part their fairly inexpensive to get: http://www.kuatonline.com/parts/hitch-mounted/20-24-wheel-adapter

Also: I love my NV, it has been awesome and have had it for nearly 6 years. Would buy again.

Here’s a shot of the five bike Thule we have. It’s pretty huge when all five bikes are on it!

Thanks everyone. I did find this all very helpful and I am leaning towards the Yakima holdup as it will allow me to attach the 2 bike potion most of the time and eventually get the +2 for the times my wife and kids come along.

Good call! I know a few people with this rack and it is awesome. The plus 2 addition is nice, but it is big. I know when I have the plus 2 on my holdup the rack is comically large and sticks way off the back of the vehicle. But it works for hauling more bikes, so I just make sure to watch my tail swing when turning and in parking lots. The stickup has the same high quality construction and durability of the holdup without the crazy high price and the big rubber pads on the arms work well for protecting the frame. But I am sure you already know all of this since you are leaning towards the stickup already.