If you travel with bikes, have a lot of gear to load, and want room for people to join in on the fun, you will probably need a hitch bike rack for your SUV to make it all work. Traveling with bikes is much more enjoyable when there is enough room for gear, plus the peeps.
Tow-hitch bike racks for SUVs are designed to attach to the back of your SUV vehicle so you can easily transport a full load of bikes without hogging space inside your car. VelociRAX makes the best tow-hitch bike racks for SUVs, allowing you to safely haul up to 7 bikes.
Not only do hitch bike racks make traveling with bikes convenient, but they are also easy to install and very affordable on a per-bike basis. When choosing the right tow hitch bike rack for your SUV, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind to feel good about your final decision. We’ll cover everything you need to consider when buying a tow hitch bike rack.Related Link: Find the Best Bike Rack for Your Jeep Wrangler
What Bike Rack is Best for SUVs?
Cycling News says a tow hitch bike rack is the best solution for SUVs. The main reason is that an SUV is a larger vehicle which may make it very challenging to lift a heavier bike onto the roof of your car.
Unless you love an unnecessarily challenging arm workout that might throw out your back, the tow hitch bike rack is the better solution. And if you have E-bikes, a hitch bike rack for your SUV is essential. Plus, most SUVs come standard with a hitch mount, making installation easy.
Which is Better: Roof or Hitch Bike Rack for SUVs?
If you have an SUV, you’ll want a tow-hitch bike rack. While roof mount bike racks are great, when you have a larger car, these are the main disadvantages of a roof bike rack vs. a hitch bike rack for SUVS.:
- Extremely difficult to access your bike because of your car’s height.
- Loading bikes on a roof mount bike rack is a full-arm workout that you’re gonna regret.
- Reduce your SUV’s gas mileage because of the significant wind resistance on your roof, costing you more gas to get to your trail.
- And the weather can be a factor on your bike’s security. High winds can mess with your bikes and your driving.
This is why most families and serious bikers prefer a tow hitch bike rack for their SUVs, giving them better access, security, and towing capacity. Check out our 5 bike rack for SUVs that makes bike trips a breeze for the whole crew.
Types of Tow Hitch Bike Racks for SUVs
When looking at hitch bike racks, there are three main types of tow hitch bike racks that will work for SUVs:
- Vertical Hitch Bike Racks: The bikes hang vertically behind your SUV from the wheel or handlebars and secure the rear wheel at the base of the rack for less movement. These racks allow you to carry more bikes and keep the bikes closer to the car for stability.
- Hanging Hitch Bike Rack: These bike racks allow the bikes to hang behind the car, holding more bikes. These racks can hang your bike vertically or horizontally, allowing you to haul more bikes than roof or platform bike racks.
- Platform Hitch Bike Rack: Platform hitch bike racks have a platform base that inserts into your hitch, allowing you to transport bikes of different sizes securely and have relatively easy access for loading. The downside is you're limited on the number of bikes you carry, and these racks can be fairly challenging to install on the back of your car.
6 Tips for How to Choose the Best Tow Hitch Bike Rack for SUVs
Like any other car accessory, a bike rack needs to be chosen carefully. The wrong rack could damage your car and/or bikes, make it difficult to load or unload bikes, and be an overall pain to deal with.
Here are six tips to help you narrow down the seemingly endless options and choose the best tow hitch bike rack for your SUV or truck:
1. CHOOSE HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL
A good tow-hitch bike rack for SUVs is made with high-quality materials. While the rack frame itself may be sturdy, if cheap parts are holding your bike, is it really worth the risk?
When looking for high-quality materials, you need to select a bike rack that’s materials are:
- Steel constructed for durability and long-term use. We’ll talk more about this in a minute because of its importance. VelociRAX vertical car bike racks for SUVs include an anti-rattle wedge that expands in the hitch receiver, which prevents rack wobble while driving. This feature is made with high-quality steel, like the rest of the rack, so it can withstand the rough terrain for years to come.
- Weather-resistant, so they can handle every season without rusting or corroding over time. VelociRAX provides heavy-duty rubber straps that secure bikes to the rack by only touching the tires. These straps have a UV filament and have been weather-tested for long-term use. VelociRAX hitch bike racks are powder coated, weather-tested, and up for the challenge of any road, thanks to the anti-rattle mechanism.
2. LOOK FOR TOUGH STEEL BUILD
A durable and long-lasting rack should have no breakable plastic parts. A good rack will have full steel construction with no breakable plastic. Yes, there are tow-hitch bike racks that are cheaper because they are made from less durable materials. And you might be alright until something breaks, and a bike gets damaged.
While it saves some money in the short term, it will bite you in the long run. Purchasing a rack that will last the long haul will save you money, is reliable, and is a sustainable purchase. Spending a little more on a rack that stands the test of time will end up saving you money in the future and allow you to travel with your bikes for years to come.
Bottom line: Invest in a tow-hitch bike rack for your SUV that can last as long as your vehicle.
3. ENSURE THE TOW-HITCH BIKE RACK FOR YOUR SUV IS EASY TO LOAD
The best bike rack for SUVs needs to load and unload easily to avoid any frustration while in use. You should be able to get your bikes quickly and easily on and off the rack when you need to, without any obstacles.
This is one reason many people prefer a tow-hitch bike rack for SUVs. Imagine lifting your bike into a roof-mounted bike rack on top of an SUV... not fun. Hitch-mounted bike racks on an SUV allow for easy loading and unloading.
Each of our racks comes with hinge-assisted dampers for self-lowering that enables easy loading and unloading. By lowering a VelociRAX bike rack into the load position, you can simply roll your bike in and out with minor lifting to adjust the bike.
4. PLAN FOR FUTURE CAPACITY
Buying a bike rack once is stressful enough, but needing to buy another bike rack because you want to ride with friends and family but don’t all want to drive is frustrating and expensive. If you have a family or love to bike with friends, you’ll want a bike rack to accommodate more than two bikes.
Most bikers look for a 5 bike rack for their SUV because of its utility and flexibility. As a rule of thumb, we recommend adding an extra two-bike capacity from what you think you’ll need. If the price is right, owning a rack that has more capacity than you currently need is worth it. The more, the merrier, right?
Let’s say you have both a mountain bike and a road bike, but only use one at a time. You might think you only need a bike rack for one bike. What happens when you move and want to move both, or a friend or significant other wants to join you on a ride? Or if you have a growing biking family?
The price difference between our VelociRAX 412 and our VelociRAX 6 is minimal when you consider the extra two-bike capacity you get. It never hurts to have extra bike capacity, but it sure is annoying not to have enough.
5. DOUBLE-CHECK THE CAR COMPATIBILITY
You may be surprised by how many people get excited about a bike rack for their SUV without checking if it will work with their car. When checking car compatibility, you’ll want to make sure you have the right:
- Hitch size
- Weight capacity ability
- A professionally installed tow hitch (if it did not come with the car)
This is important because you want to make sure that the rack will fit onto your car without damaging it. You can avoid compatibility issues by researching bike hitch measurements, weight requirements, and overall specs beforehand.
6. CHOOSE A TOW HITCH BIKE RACK BRAND YOU CAN TRUST
You should be able to trust the brand you are making a large purchase from—brand trust is everything! Spend time in the reviews of the bike rack. If the tow hitch bike rack for SUVs has issues, the customers will let you know in their reviews.
While VelociRAX may be considered a “new player,” our racks are rated 5-star by our growing loyal customers. Here’s a snippet of some of our reviews but you can read over 700 reviews of our bike racks here.★★★★★
I have had the 6 bike rack for two years now and it is, by far, the best bike rack I have ever owned. I have a family of 6 and we use it all the time. Initially, the sticker price was higher than I wanted to pay, but after doing my research, this was the rack I chose. Glad I did, it has been worth every penny. The rack is solid, made of really good quality materials and is easy to use…★★★★★
Absolutely love this rack. Had the similar Yakima 6 model for a year, this beats the pants off its hands down…plus it comes with a wall mount storage rack for winter storage, allowing you to hang the rack on the wall and use it for an off season bike rack. As a large mountain biking family, these are must haves. We couldn't be happier.★★★★★
I've been very happy with my 7-bike VelociRAX rack. I upgraded from the Yakima 6 bike and this is far superior. The hydraulic assist and ability to mount bikes that do not have front suspension are huge differentiators.★★★★★
The best way to carry more than 4 bikes! My wife is about 5' tall and she can load the rack when in the down position… It does great on the highway and has had no issues when on dirt roads. If you are driving on really rough terrain, I'd add a nylon strap to both wheels and check periodically. It takes 2 people to attach to the car, but it is a simple procedure and goes quickly. The locking mechanism is clever and easy.
Related Link: Read What Reviewers are Saying About VelociRAX
Is It Worth Getting a Hitch for a Bike Rack?
If your SUV doesn’t come with a hitch, you may want to consider getting a hitch if you like to explore and bike unique trails. Hitches can be difficult to install depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but many manufacturers offer custom-fit hitches that are designed to bolt on easily without the need for drilling or welding.
If you do install a hitch, you’ll want to do it professionally. A professional installer will ensure proper installation and maximum safety. Otherwise, your bike rack may become a safety hazard.
That said, getting a hitch for your vehicle is definitely worth it. These are the main benefits of a tow-hitch bike rack for SUVs:
- Provides a secure and stable platform for transporting your bikes, unlike roof-mounted racks that can damage your car or bikes in case of a mishap.
- Frees up valuable roof space, allowing for easier loading and unloading of bikes.
- Carries multiple bikes at once, making it ideal for group rides or family trips.
- Offers a one-time investment that can be used for years to come, ensuring that your bikes are always ready to go on the next adventure.
A Tow-Hitch Bike Rack is a Must-Have for SUVsA hitch-mount bike rack is a must-have for serious bikers looking for convenience, safety, and versatility. Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to choose the best tow hitch bike rack for SUVs and trucks. Go get your vertical hitch rack and let your adventures begin!
Related Link: Best Bike Rack for Minivans