Nowadays, hitch bike racks have become quite familiar to people. A lot of bikers also prefer to use them. A hitch bike rack is a category of rack which glides into the receiver of a trailer hitch on vehicles, such as a car or a truck.
Whether one has a road, mountain, or electric bike, hitch bike racks make it easier to transport them easily. They are designed to carry your bicycles and make them easy to load or unload.
Although more and more people are leaning towards buying them, some are concerned about their safety. Hitch bike rack safety is not negligible. Let’s dive into what you can do about it!
- What Do Hitch Bike Racks Do?
- Why Should You Choose a Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack?
- Type of Hitch Bike Racks
- Benefits of Hitch Bike Racks for Safety
- Drawbacks That Come Along with Hitch Bike Racks
- Is Using Hitch Bike Racks a Better Option for Safety?
- Is Installing a Hitch by Myself Safe?
- Other Safety Concerns
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Bottom Line
What Do Hitch Bike Racks Do?
Hitch bike racks allow you to keep the bikes behind the vehicle. As a result, the car is aerodynamically more stable. These racks are often considered the ones that provide the most protection for vehicles.
They are compatible with a large variety of bikes. Therefore, it’s a better option for all. When it comes to user compatibility, it varies between racks, but most are lightweight, easy to store, and user-friendly.
Related reading: How To Fit Two Bikes In A Car?
Why Should You Choose a Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack?
There are a few questions and things to look for before you choose a bike rack. Let’s dive into those without any further delay.
What are you carrying?
You might carry bikes, paddleboards, or skis, probably multiple units. So, make a list of all the activities you will involve yourself and plan accordingly. Chances are pretty fair that you might have to spend more money if you fail to choose an appropriate bike.
What vehicle model are you using?
It would be best to choose the right bike rack that fits your specific vehicle designed to your needs. Depending on what type of car you own, an SUV or a pickup or sedan, you’ll find various options. Most bike rack manufacturers provide user manuals that help determine which racks will work appropriately based on your needs.
Type of Hitch Bike Racks
There are a few varieties of hitch-mounted racks. But most of these racks fall into one of two categories – Platform (Wheel-mounted) or Hanging style racks. Although, other bikes don’t fit in these hitch-mounted racks. For example, trikes, recumbent, tandems, etc. But, let’s discuss the features of these particular categorized racks.
Platform Styled Racks
- They help ease the loading-unloading task.
- They are capable of holding a large variety of bikes.
- They barely make any contact with frames.
- These racks especially exterminate swinging problems.
Hanging Styled Racks
- These racks are cost-efficient, which means they are affordable for pretty much anyone.
- They also weigh less than the platform-styled racks.
- They need adapter bars for an alternate-frame bike.
- They can easily hold up 2-5 bikes.
Benefits of Hitch Bike Racks for Safety
Hitch bike racks have a lot of advantages over roof-mounted and trunk-mounted ones. As they come in a large variety of styles, people can choose based on their design preferences. Some other benefits are enlisted below:
- They have more aerodynamic advantages over roof-mounted racks.
- Compared to the roof and trunk-mounted racks, they make it easier to load-unload bikes.
- They are also available with a larger capacity.
- They offer far better security than the trunk-mounted racks.
- They work with a lot more vehicle models than trunk-mounted racks.
- They also exterminate overhead clearance troubles with garage doors compared to the roof-mounted bikes.
Drawbacks That Come Along with Hitch Bike Racks
No matter what you buy, there are always some cons that come along with them. In the case of hitch bike racks, there are very few that you must know:
- Advanced hitch rack models can be a bit pricey. You might have to pay through the nose to afford them.
- There might be certain times when the bike may keep swinging a lot.
- Even the most basic models interfere with accessing the trunk. It feels like a hassle if you have to open and close the trunk constantly.
Is Using Hitch Bike Racks a Better Option for Safety?
Many online surveys have reported that people mostly prefer hitch racks to other types of racks. If you don’t have a suitable trunk hatch, you should consider owning one. For protection from any damage to your vehicle, these racks are the ones to go for as they have very rare contact with the cars they are attached to. Since they pose very little threat to the vehicle’s damage, we can consider them safe.
Compared to other racks, they can bear larger loads very efficiently. If they are geared up or fit perfectly, you won’t have to worry about the safety of your vehicles and bikes at all.
Is Installing a Hitch by Myself Safe?
Yes, it’s safe. If you are willing to install the hitch rack, there’s nothing to be worried about. The best part about installing it on your own is that you can save a good amount of money as you won’t have to pay it to the service providers. You can buy one of these racks that fitted to your needs and install them step by step, following the manual.
Other Safety Concerns
There are a few other safety concerns you might have. We’ll try to cover as much as we can in the following segment.
There are certain times when the bike racks tend to block the visibility of your vehicle’s taillights and make it quite hard to notice the signals. When you are on the road at night, other vehicle drivers may feel confused whether there’s a car upfront or not. This instance can lead to severe damage. We want to recommend using a light board for safety purposes if you don’t want the risk of being pulled over by the cops.
Number Plate Visibility
The visibility of number plates is necessary; it gets you out of the other troubles. Most police officers don’t bother themselves with this. But be sure to carry a lightboard; otherwise, there are chances you might be troubled by the insurance guys. Why get into trouble when you can fix everything with a lightboard? As they account for other safety measures as well.
Wobbling or swinging is quite a problem when it comes to hitch-mounted bike racks. People who prefer hitch bike racks know about this hassle. But, mostly, these hitch-mount racks come with anti-wobble knobs that prevent swaying. We would recommend you lift and wobble the rack when you’re tightening the knob. It leads to a perfectly balanced fit.
Carbon-Fibered Bike Racks
To prevent extensive damage to your bike’s carbon frames, choose bike frames with more cushions on cradles. Make sure the rest of the bikes don’t keep hitting each other’s carbon frames. It is often seen in the hanging-styled racks.
Related reading: Hitch Bike Rack Accessories
Frequently Asked Questions
Do vehicle types matter in terms of safety?
Vehicle types do matter in terms of safety because you have to make sure you are vehicle is a good match for the kind of hitch rack you’re using.
Are all trailer hitch-mounted bike racks wobbly?
Stability has become a more significant issue for these pieces of equipment. There are a lot of adjustments in the racks to make them stable. This is one of the most common concerns people have while buying a new rack, especially for the hitch-mounted models.
Is it possible for the hitch-mount bike racks to be tilted?
Yes. The hitch-mount bike racks can be tilted to a 45-degree angle which must not interfere with the hatch opening for cars.
Is Wiring Necessary for Hitch Safety?
Wiring is only required if the rack you’re using has some electrical connections. There are moments when the number of bikes may cover the taillights, so proper wiring to a lightboard might be needed for safety purposes. Or else, vehicles may hit your cars on the road.
How do you keep the rack straps from scratching the bicycle’s paint or wheels?
Usually, it doesn’t seem to happen, but we can suggest ways to help prevent it.
- Maintain the bikes in a way so that they don’t swing around and hit each other while you are on the road driving your car.
- Clean the surfaces that often get strapped. If you don’t pay much attention to this, unanticipated friction may occur caused by dust particles.
People are always looking for more adventures. As a result, they are more into trying out new things that feed their interests. Bike racks have been an essential household item all around the world. A vehicle owner who is into cycling and other adventures tries to own these racks for their comfort.
Depending on what one might need or their vehicle type, people may choose different racks. Hitch racks are pretty familiar today among both youngsters and grown-ups. Hitch bike rack safety should also be among the top concerns. Hope you had an informative read. Remember to always be safe on the roads!