The Best 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Transporting bikes to distant trailheads can be a stressful endeavor, especially if it’s a group outing. Using hitch mount bike racks will significantly reduce the hassle of trying to shove multiple bikes into your car, or having to deal with the limited carrying capacity of roof racks

If you are planning to transport a bunch of bikes on a regular basis, consider investing in a useful and economical 5 bike hitch rack.

Our Pick!

Allen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack offers great value for those who want to safely and securely transport up to 5 bikes. Sturdy enough to support a maximum weight of up to 175 lbs, it can also fold flat to be compact enough for convenient storage. This is the perfect 5 bike rack for a family of cycling enthusiasts.

Our Winners

  • Best OverallAllen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack
  • The Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack is a versatile bike rack made from strong, solid, and durable alloy steel and is available for a great price. If you’re looking for an affordable 5 bike carrying option, that still delivers quality functionality then I’d say the Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack is a great place to start.
  • Best Runner Up Yakima Ridgeback Tilt-Away Hitch Bike Rack
  • The Yakima RidgeBack 5 bike hitch rack is dependable, comes fully assembled, and is easily installed. The Ridgeback can tilt away from the trunk of the car, making it possible to access it even with all 5 bikes loaded. The Yakima Ridgeback ticks all the boxes in terms of looks, design, quality, and functionality.
  • Best Hanging Rack Thule Apex XT 5 Bike Hitch Rack
  • The Thule Apex XT hitch rack is but one testament to the brand’s exemplary reputation. The Apex XT is one of the best hanging bike racks due to its superior anti-sway cradles and stability and durable integrated cable locks.
  • Best Tilt Option Yakima FullTilt Hitch Mount Bike Rack
  • An easy-to-use tilting feature and discreet fold-down ability tick two of the most important bike rack boxes. It is this superior tilting design that sets it apart from its competitors. The Yakima FullTilt’s motion is smooth and solid. The UpperHand lever easily tilts the rack downwards so that the trunk is accessible.

Best Overall

Winning our best overall award is the Allen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack. It’s a versatile bike rack made from strong materials and available for a great price. If you want a top-quality option without breaking the bank, this is the best choice.

1. Allen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Allen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Hitch Receiver Size:
1.25″ and 2”

Load Capacity:
175 lbs

Dimensions:
30″ x 17″ x 5″

Foldable:
Yes


Some racks are made from aluminum, which is a weaker metal. Alloy steel is stronger and more durable, which adds considerable value over time. With a product weight of only 20 pounds, the Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack is the lightest rack on our list. The reduced weight makes installation and removal even easier.

Notable Features

  • Versatile hitch size: The hitch component of the Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack is versatile and can accept hitch receivers of both 1.25 and 2 inches. This allows the rack to mount to a wider selection of cars and trucks.
  • Convenient tilting feature: The best bike racks have a tilt or lever function that allows the rack to fold away from the trunk. With the extra space of a tilt-away feature, you can easily access your trunk while bikes are still loaded onto the rack.
  • Great Pricing and Value for Money: While there are many sturdy bike rack options out there, few offer the durability and capacity of the Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack at less than $200. This is a fantastic price for a sturdy, high-capacity bike rack.

Notable Concerns

  • Some loading maneuverability required: It is possible to fit 5 bikes onto this rack, however, it is a bit of a tight fit. The bikes are positioned quite close to the trunk, and in my opinion, not all bike varieties will fit perfectly.

Why Should You Buy It?

Allen Sports have a steadfast reputation for manufacturing high-quality, durable and practical transportation solutions. It is capable of safely and securely carrying a load of 5 bikes over short or long distances. If you’re looking for an affordable 5 bike carrying option, that still delivers quality functionality then I’d say the Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack is a great place to start.

Liked

  • Lightweight alloy steel construction
  • Tilting feature
  • Affordable pricing

Disliked

  • Possible rust
  • Takes a bit of maneuvering to load all 5 bikes

The Best Runner Up

My choice for the best runner-up is the Yakima RidgeBack Tilt-Away bike rack. This 5 bike hitch rack is dependable, comes fully assembled, and is easily installed. Much like the above-mentioned Allen Sports hitch bike rack, Yakima is known for delivering very high-quality, functional products, albeit at a steeper price tag.

2. Yakima RidgeBack Tilt-Away Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

Yakima RidgeBack Tilt-Away Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

Hitch Receiver Size:
1.25″ & 2”

Load Capacity:
175 lbs

Dimensions:
12.2″ x 16.14″ x 45″

Foldable:
Yes


The Ridgeback is notable for it’s useful and convenient tilt-away design, providing easy access to my vehicle’s trunk, even when the bike rack is loaded at full, 5-bike capacity. It is specifically designed to fit traditional geometry bikes, so my bikes that have slanted top tubes didn’t fit properly. I would recommend getting a tube top adapter if you find yourself in the same situation. Another small, but the useful design is that the Ridgeback has a lever that enables you to fold it flat when it’s not in use. Low-profile storage is a very underrated feature.

Notable Features

  • Versatile hitch size: The Yakima Ridgeback 5 bike hitch rack can be attached to a hitch receiver size of 1.25″ or 2-inches. This versatility expands its compatibility with different types of vehicles, which is great since I can attach this to both my hatchback and my crossover SUV.
  • Convenient tilting feature: Like the Allen Sports and with many other hitch bike racks, the Ridgeback can tilt away from the trunk of the car, making it possible to access it even with all 5 bikes loaded.
  • Speed knob for extra security: A useful feature during transportation it the speed knob that locks the bikes securely into the rack. When tightening all 5 bikes, I was pleasantly surprised at how secure the bikes were. There was very little wobbling over higher speeds and uneven driving terrain. This is the kind of experience and standard I expect from Yakima, and the Ridgeback does deliver.
  • Anti-sway cradle and removable ZipStrips: These straps are thick and lock into place solidly, securing the bikes to the rack, while the anti-sway cradles prevent the bikes from coming into contact with each other. Even on more uneven terrain, then bikes stayed firmly in place, with no frame contact at all.

Notable Concerns

  • May need an adapter for larger-sized bikes: Loading 5 standard road bikes onto the Yakima Ridgeback was doable with a bit of maneuvering. However, I had a more challenging time trying to load mountain bikes. I didn’t have 5 mountain bikes to load, but I would expect trying to get 5 bikes attached to this bike rack might only be possible with an adaptor or some really creative configuration.
  • Expensive: Yakima and it’s close competitor Thule is known for being in the more expensive price range. I appreciate Yakima’s products, and I trust their craftmanship and quality, however, their price tags might be a deterrent to many people.

Why Should You Buy It?

They Yakima Ridgeback ticks all the boxes in terms of looks, design, quality, and functionality. It is made to have quick and efficient handling. Loading and securing the bike are just effortless thanks to the quick secure straps and dual compound cradles. And for a 5 bike rack, the carry arms fold away quickly making the rack very discreet when not in use. If you’re happy to fork out around $450 for a bike rack that can transport 5 bikes, then I’d say you can’t go wrong with the Ridgeback.

Liked

  • Removable ZipStrips and anti-sway cardle
  • Speedknob for extra security and anti-theft features
  • UpperHand lever that discreetly folds rack flat when not in use

Disliked

  • Expensive
  • Top tube adapter required for non-geometry bikes

Best Hanging 5 Bike Rack

Thule has a longstanding and trusted reputation when it comes to outdoor and transportation-related products. Their workmanship is associated with high-quality standards, durability, and effective functionality. The Thule Apex XT hitch rack is but one testament to the brand’s exemplary reputation. The Apex XT is one of the best hanging bike racks in my opinion due to its superior anti-sway cradles and stability and durable integrated cable locks.

3. Thule Apex XT 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Thule Apex XT Bike Hitch Rack

Material:
Metal

Load Capacity:
150 lbs

Dimensions:
42″ x 11″ x 37″

Foldable:
Yes


Unlike tray-style hitch bike racks, hanging bike racks cannot support the same amount of weight, especially when it comes to a 4 or 5 bike hanging rack. However, I had a high expectations when it came to the Apex XT, and I am happy to say that it handled the weight of 5 different-sized road bikes quite well. I just wouldn’t recommend trying to exceed the 150-pound weight limit, as even Thule’s products aren’t invincible. The Apex XT is also a perfect fit for vehicles with a 1.25″ or 2″ hitch receiver.

Notable Features

  • Convenient tilting feature: I think this is a standard expectation of hitch bike racks to be able to tilt or sway away in order to provide access to the vehicle’s trunk. Even more so when the bike rack is fully loaded, as is the case with the XT. I still was able to open my trunk on both my hatchback and SUV crossover with 5 bikes locked and loaded to the bike rack. The rack’s arms also fold down, just like the above-mentioned Yakima and Allen Sports, making the rack more discreet which is something that I find very appealing.
  • Superior anti-sway cradles and ratcheting straps: There is about a 5.5-inch space between the bike cradles, which makes it possible to fit a relatively wide variety of bike frames and sizes onto the rack. The cradles are relatively think and do a great job in preventing bike-to-bike contact, especially on the road and while driving at higher speeds.
  • SnugTite Stinger tool-free installation: The Thule Apex XT requires no additional tools for the installation process. The SnugTite Stinger works perfectly as a way to stabilize the bike rack and also lock it securely to the vehicle.

Notable Concerns

  • Instructions aren’t user-friendly: The assembly and installation were a bit of a hassle. The “pictures-only” instructions that Thule provides with the Apex aren’t as easy to decipher as some other competitors, which leads me to frustratingly have to Google a few things in order to set everything up correctly.
  • Expensive: Yakima and it’s close competitor Thule is known for being in the more expensive price range. I appreciate Yakima’s products, and I trust their craftmanship and quality, however, their price tags might be a deterrent to many people.
  • Hold-down ratchet straps can be tough to release – I had to try and pivot them away in order to create enough space to release the straps. I would also recommend buying additional wheel straps to use during transportation. The single tie-down strap isn’t enough to keep all the wheels steady when driving, especially at higher speeds.

Why Should You Buy It?

Apart from the price tag, this is a typical Thule product and it delivers what is expected; full access to the trunk while all bikes are mounted, and a very secure fit due to the high-quality twist knob. The rack is quite burly and heavy, giving the impression that it is built to last, so with that in mind, I can almost justify it’s $480 price tag. Longevity and durability.

Liked

  • Very sturdy and durable design
  • Integrated lock cables for added anti-theft security
  • Tilt feature for full trunk access while bikes are loaded

Disliked

  • Expensive
  • Not the most user-friendly instructions

Best Tilting 5 Bike Rack

The dependable Yakima FullTilt 5 bike hitch rack is another exceptional product from the ever-popular Yakima brand. An easy-to-use tilting feature and discreet fold-down ability tick two of the most important hitch bike rack boxes. It it this superior tilting design that sets it apart from its competitors.

4. Yakima FullTilt Tilting Hitch Mount Bike Rack

YAKIMA FullTilt Tilting Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Material:
Alloy Steel

Carrying Capacity:
150 lbs

Dimensions:
12.2″ x 16.2″ x 44″

Foldable:
Yes


Similar to the Yakima Ridgeback, the FullTilt is fully compatible with bikes that have a traditional geometry frame. This is overall attributed to Yakima’s overall bike rack design, and should your own a bike with slanted top tubes, I would strongly suggest that you invest in a TubeTop adapter. The Yakima FullTilt is also perfectly compatible with 1.25″ and 2″ hitch receivers.

Notable Features

  • Made from high-quality material: Yakima’s reputation is built on the expectation of high-quality materials and production standards. The FullTilt is made from high-quality alloy steel. When handling the bike rack, it feels strong and sturdy. Especially the tilting mechanism. No flimsy pivoting such as can be found with other lesser-quality products. Added bonus points for no assembly required as I received it already fully assembled straight out of its box.
  • Smart tilt design: The UpperHand lever easily tilts the rack downwards so that the trunk is accessible. With some other competitors, the tilting motion sometimes feels unstable, like it might snap after a couple of months of regular use. However, the Yakima FullTilt’s motion is smooth and solid. Attaching the rack to the hitch receiver is also effortless, as the built-in AutoPin positions and secures the rack to the receiver automatically, so it took little to no effort on my part at all. As with any great hitch bike rack, the FullTilt also folds completely flat for low-profile storage.
  • Tool-free locking SpeedKnob: This feature makes installation even more efficient. I was very happy to see that the SKS cable lock system was included, which is a fantastic benefit when it comes to anti-theft measures.
  • Rubber-padded arms for protection: The padding on the bike rack arms is quite thick. The entire arms are wrapped in this rubber material, ensuring that the bikes are protected again scratches and damages during loading, unloading, and transportation.

Notable Concerns

  • Adapter needed for certain bikes: The rack does an excellent job securing frame geometry bikes. If you have a bike with a slanted top tube (kids’ bikes or mountain bikes), you need to buy an extra adaptor to make it work.
  • Expensive: Like Thule, Yakima products are some of the industry’s best, and the price reflects this. At $500 this is definitely not for everyone.

Why Should You Buy It?

Compared to the above-mentioned Thule Apex and Yakima Ridgeback, the FullTilt is equipped with some features that neither of the other two has. The FullTilt comes equipped with locks and fully adjustable cradles. The ZipStrips that secure the bikes in place are also new and revolutionized, much more efficient than the straps that come with the Thule Apex. The outrageous price tag can be better digested when you take into account that this bike rack will most definitely offer you many years of use.

Additionally, for those who travel with their bikes often, the 3-point mounting system is extremely secure and the bikes will not move and inch during transportation, I promise you! Overall this is a fantastically designed 5 bike hitch rack; it carries a variety of bikes without much effort and its built is definitely high-quality and durable.

Liked

  • Superior and easy tilt feature
  • Strong and durable design and construction
  • Bike rack arms are fully covered in high-quality rubber for extra protection

Disliked

  • Expensive
  • Adaptor needed for some non-geometry bikes

CURT 18065 Premium Trailer Hitch Bike Rack Mount

Like Yakima and Thule, Curt has been making great towing and storage solutions for years. Their products are usually a little less expensive as well. For its affordability, superb loading capacity, and practical design, the Curt 18065 Premium hitch bike rack is a solid honorable mention.

5. Curt 18065 Premium Hitch Bike Rack

CURT 18065 Premium Trailer Hitch Bike Rack Mount

Material:
XX

Carrying Capacity:
225 lbs

Dimensions:
40″ x 9″ x 18″

Foldable:
Yes


With an impressive 225-pound carrying capacity, the Curt 18065 can handle significantly more weight than comparable options such as the Thule Apex or Yakima Ridgeback. It’s two tapered arms make the process of fitting multiple bikes of varying sizes much more efficient. I loaded a full-size mountain bike, two teen mountain bikes, and two BMX-style kids’ bikes, with some maneuverability.

Notable Features

  • Versatile hitch size: The Curt 18065 is compatible with both a 1.25″ and 2″ hitch, making it a good fit for most general vehicles. I had no trouble fixing it to my hatchback or crossover SUV. If you have a vehicle with a 1.5″ receiver or larger, I would recommend that you buy an adaptor.
  • Impressive loading capacity: The CURT 18065 can handle significantly more weight than comparable options such as its Thule, Yakima, or Allen Sport competitors. With a 225-pound maximum weight capacity, the 18065 has a considerable heavy-duty edge over its competition.
  • Affordable: While top-of-the-line bike racks certainly have their benefits, when you find comparable material and durability in a rack that’s half the price, it should grab your attention. The Curt 18065 hitch bike rack is much more forgiving on your wallet and more on par with the Allen Sports hitch bike rack in this regard. In my opinion, this is a much better buy in terms of value for money in comparison to its Thule and Yakima competitors.

Notable Concerns

  • Extension pieces: I found that a vehicle with a spare tire on the rear may not be a fully compatible fit with the Curt 18065, and therefore I would suggest that if this is the case, you should buy an additional extension piece. Without one, there is a possibility, that the loaded bikes might come into contact with each other during transportation which can lead to frame damage.
  • Not the best for larger bikes: This bike rack is better suited to small and medium bikes. Even with the 225-pound weight capacity, trying to fit larger bikes such as mountain bike alongside kids, or standard road bikes is quite a challenge.

Why Should You Buy It?

I wanted to include the Curt 18065 as it’s a solid contender if you’re looking for a 5 bike hitch rack. Although it’s not a solid in construction as the Yakima FullTilt or the Thule Apex, the Curt is still very much capable of getting the job done with a much higher weight capacity than most hitch bike racks. What I really appreciate about the Curt 18065 is the fact that it has integrated reflectors for improved visibility.

My bike rack was rear-ended a couple years back, and this small touch of reflectors is a fantastic benefit. Also a small design detail is the fact that the entire bike rack has a durable black powder coated finish to protect it from corrosive external elements such as rain and dirt. The Curt 18065 hitch bike rack might not be the top tier of 5 bike hitch racks, but it come pretty close to ticking all the boxes in terms of design, quality and functionality. Not to mention its very affordable price tag of $209.

Liked

  • Impressive 225 lbs carrying capacity
  • Affordable price
  • Padded arms, fold-up sides and anti-wobble shank

Disliked

  • Extension parts may be necessary
  • Better suited to small and medium bike sizes

Buyer’s Guide for a 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Before settling on a bike rack, there are a few pieces of information worth keeping in mind.

Hitch Bike Rack Style

There are two main types of hitch bike racks and both utilize a hitch attachment to mount onto the back of your vehicle. The first is a platform-style rack. Bikes are anchored in place on trays, with the wheels fitting into grooves and multiple attachment points holding them down. This kind of rack can significantly increase the length of your vehicle so pay attention when backing up or making abrupt turns.

The second style is a hanging bike rack, sometimes called a mast bike rack. These racks have arms that attach to the bike by the frame as opposed to the wheel. Generally, they’re more compact and less expensive than platform racks. These racks can fit up to 5 bikes but won’t accommodate all bike shapes, which limits their overall application.

Hitch Size

The hitch size is important because that’s what attaches these racks to your car. Usually, a bike rack comes in a few sizes, like 1.25 or 2 inches. The hitch receiver (on your car) needs to have a square or rectangular shape to accept the bike rack. You then tighten everything down to prevent excess wobbling. Pay special attention to which hitch sizes a certain bike rack takes; not all are compatible with all vehicles.

Wheel and Tire Size

Each 5 bike hitch rack comes with a set of instructions and specifications. One of those specifications is the wheel and tire size range for bikes. Above or below this range, the rack won’t hold onto the bike as securely. Make sure to check your tire size and compare it to the range that a rack can hold. If the two align, all is well. If they don’t, it may be beneficial to shop around a little more.

Vehicle’s Ground Clearance

Hitch Racks, because they connect to the hitch receiver and hang behind the vehicle, need a good amount of ground clearance. Mast-style racks already have a bit of sway to them, so when they’re loaded down with the weight of multiple bikes, the rack may sink lower to the ground.

A vehicle with 9 inches or more of ground clearance should be able to handle most racks. Even still, drive slowly on dirt roads, and be aware that kicked-up rocks, debris, and occasional bottom-outs can occur. Always check your bike rack after a trip out. If there is some cosmetic damage, go over it with a new coat of paint to prevent rust issues.

Installation and Removal

A 5 bike hitch rack can be anywhere from 20-50 lbs. fully assembled, so an easy installation process is something to look for. While most brands will never claim that installation takes longer, there are certainly some models that demand more time than others. The options presented in this list should be assembled and installed within an hour.

Because the racks can be heavy, there is a risk of injury. To stay safe, make sure you can lift the rack correctly or utilize the help of a friend. It’s also a good idea to take a test run without any bikes loaded to see how the rack sits.

Trunk Access

Tilt-away features are popular for a reason. Humans are a forgetful bunch and sometimes we need access to the trunk without the annoyance of taking the entire rack off the car. All the selections in the list have some tilt capacity, enough to access your trunk.

Folding Capability

While bike racks are helpful, they are rarely installed and left on a car for long periods of time. At some point, you’ll want to store it for the winter or off-season. A rack that can tilt and fold itself down to half its original size is perfect for storing. The foldable capability makes it easy to store the rack without needing a large amount of space.

Security Features

Some 5 bike hitch racks come with added security features like an integrated locking cable. This cable locks the bikes to the rack. However, in order to secure the entire apparatus, you want an extra lock for the hitch receiver. If the rack of your choice doesn’t come with security additions, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. Think about where you live and whether or not bike theft is an issue. If it is, get a set of extra cables or locks to give you peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a 5 Bike Hitch Rack Actually Hold Five Bikes?

Yes, but with caveats. You cannot make the arms of the rack longer, so the last bike on will not be secured as well. If you have a family with different size bikes, you’ll have more success setting the bikes onto the rack. However, if you have five full-size bikes, it’ll be difficult getting them all to fit on a 5 bike hitch rack.

What Type of Hitch Do You Need for a Bike Rack?

To use a hitch rack, you need a hitch. Roof and trunk racks do not need hitches. Generally, you want a square hitch receiver shape that can accept 1, 1.25, or 2-inch square hitch shanks. Ball mount hitches are mostly used for towing trailers. Bike racks can slip into square hitch receivers much easier than ball mount hitches.

Should I Cover My Bike When Traveling?

Yes. Weather is unpredictable. If it’s going to rain or snow, it helps to cover bikes. Additionally, it’s a good move for very hot temperatures and for an extra layer of protection from rocks that could be kicked up by passing traffic. 

Our Pick!

Allen Sports 5 Bike Hitch Rack

Allen Sports 5 bike hitch rack offers great value for those who want to safely and securely transport up to 5 bikes. Sturdy enough to support a maximum weight of up to 175 lbs, it can also fold flat to be compact enough for convenient storage. This is the perfect 5 bike rack for a family of cycling enthusiasts.

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