The process of figuring out the best rack to haul your bikes can be more daunting than finding your dream bike. There’s a heap of different rack styles and loads of models within each style. Hitch racks are the easiest to load, can hold a variety of different bikes and won’t have much of an effect on your gas mileage compared to roof racks. The downsides: They weigh more and are typically more expensive than trunk or roof racks. But when considering all the variables, hitch racks are worth the splurge—particularly if you tend to drive into garages with bikes on top of your car.
These three premium racks are some of the most popular two-bike haulers on the market and should be at the top of your wish list. All three can accommodate 1.25-inch or 2-inch hitch receivers and have available add-on extensions to allow you to carry two additional bikes.
Kuat Sherpa 2.0
With a powder-coat finish topped by a protective clear coat, the Sherpa 2.0 won’t look out of place on your luxury vehicle. But its dashing good looks are just the start of this rack’s impressive features. The foot-actuated tilt lever, which tilts the rack away from your car so you can access the trunk or tailgate, makes this rack stand out. If you’re transporting your tri bike on race day, a softer material on the inside of the rear wheel straps won’t scratch your carbon rims. With wheel cradles that can accommodate tires up to three inches wide, your fat-tire toys can hitch a ride too. At only 32 pounds, this rack weighs about 20 pounds less than the competition, is easy to assemble and can be taken off your car in a few minutes without using tools. It comes with one semi-integrated lock and is available in black, white or black with orange accents.
With more than three decades of experience making bike racks, perhaps no other brand is more recognizable in the U.S. than Yakima. So when Yakima declares the Holdup to be its fastest and easiest rack to load, it’s worth a close look. Like the T2 Pro, the Holdup weighs about 50 pounds but can be tilted with bikes attached. It also has the ability to adjust the space between bikes so they don’t touch and comes with two integrated locks. Compared to the other two racks, installation may be a bit more time intensive and does require tools. But it has one very important feature that can’t be overlooked: a built-in bottle opener.
Thule T2 Pro
The T2 Pro has a more utilitarian look compared to the Kuat rack, but the two racks share many of the same features, including tool-free installation and the ability to tilt away from the rear of your vehicle, even with bikes mounted to the rack. The T2 Pro tilts easily despite weighing more than 50 pounds. The upside to its sturdy design is its ability to securely carry just about any bike, including fat-tire mountain bikes with five-inch-wide tires. It comes with two integrated locks concealed by the arms that secure the front wheel. If you’re carrying two bikes, you can adjust the spacing between them to eliminate the chance of the two making contact—an especially handy feature if you’re hauling a road bike next to a mountain bike.