If you want to bring your motorcycle with you, but don’t have a trailer or the trunk space to tote your bike, a hitch motorcycle rack is a safe, cost-effective, and relatively easy way to get the job done.

Hitch motorcycle racks evade the regulatory issues, inconvenience, and expense of a trailer while allowing you to easily and cost effectively transport your bike or scooter.

However, unlike racks designed to attach bikes to a car, motorcycle racks need to be very sturdy, safe, and durable.

Knowing which rack will provide the safest, most reliable method of transportation is crucial to avoiding damaging your vehicle or bikes and prevent dangerous equipment failure.

So, here’s our guide to finding the best hitch mounting motorcycle rack:

Rankings

RankingProduct NameMaterialWeightCapacityReviewPrice
#1goplus 600 lbs motorcycle carrierGoplus 600 LBS Motorcycle CarrierSteel91 lbs.600 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon
#2best choice sky1375 motorcycle carrierBest Choice SKY1375 Motorcycle CarrierSteel50 lbs.500 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon
#3trackside motorcycle carrierTrackside Motorcycle CarrierSteelNot provided500 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon
#4black widow folding hitch mounted off road dirt bike carrier rack with rampBlack Widow Folding Hitch Mounted Off-Road Dirt Bike Carrier Rack with RampSteel71 lbs.500 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon
#5titan ramps sport bIke motorcycle carrierTitan Ramps Sport Bike Motorcycle CarrierSteel69 lbs.500 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon
#6versahaul dirt bike hitch carrier with rampVersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier with RampSteel84 lbs.500 lbs.Read Review
See Price on Amazon

Finding the Right Hitch Motorcycle Rack for You, Your Bike, and Your Car: What to Keep in Mind

Hitch racks are fairly versatile; most large vehicles come with a factory-installed 2” receiver. As long as your car or truck is big enough, you should be able to find a hitch rack that meets your needs.

However, there are a few things to think about before you purchase, such as:

What kind of hitch do you have? Can your vehicle support a motorcycle rack?

Hitch racks use the vehicle hitch on the back of your vehicle to support the weight of both your bike and the rack.

Motorcycles are significantly heavier than bikes or other cargo you might want to attach to your vehicles.

To safely transport a hitch rack and motorcycle (rather than a simple bicycle and hitch rack), you will need a Class III or IV hitch (these are 2” heavy-duty hitches rated for 350-1,000 lbs.).

What are your vehicle’s tongue weight & towing weight capacity?

You will need to check the weight capacity of your rack to make sure it can hold your bike.

You’ll also need to know how heavy your bike is, in order to ensure it doesn’t exceed the tongue weight capacity of your vehicle (this is different from the towing weight limit, which is typically much higher).

The downward force on the hitch usually has a limit at about 10% of the tow capacity – for example, if you know your towing capacity in your rearview mirror is 2,000 pounds, your max tongue weight is likely between 200-500 lbs.

Many bikes fall within that range, as long as you have a big enough vehicle; trunk-mounted racks work most trucks & SUVs. Smaller vehicles will usually not be able to safely carry a motorcycle and rack together.

Do you have any interfering features on the back of your vehicle?

Motorcycle hitch racks are heavy and may obscure important features on the back of your vehicle such as the rear lights or license plate.

Replacement tires, tube bumpers, protruding spoilers, etc. are all unlikely to work with a hitch rack. If you have any of these things, a hauler or trailer is probably a better bet.

How heavy is your bike? Do you have more than one?

The majority of motorcycle racks won’t hold more than one bike. You may be able to fit two on some racks, but these are generally much more expensive (and again, you’ll have to ensure that you’re within the weight limit of your vehicle).

If you have more than one bike, it’s almost always easier to just invest in a trailer of some kind.

For people who have a relatively light bike, it may make sense to go for a lighter weight rack which will have less of an impact on vehicle performance. If you have very heavy bikes, you’ll likely need to invest in a heavy-duty rack, which may be slightly heavier.

What terrain will you be driving on, and how fast?

Hitches are designed to carry a mostly static load while moving.

However, if you’re going over significant bumps or off-road, this can cause your hitch and the bike to wobble from side to side. This can dramatically increase the torque on your hitch, which is not designed to accommodate this kind of motion.

Over time, this motion can start to damage component parts of your rack, with potentially disastrous consequences. It can also affect the way your vehicle handles.

So, it’s generally not a good idea to use a motorcycle hitch rack while moving at high speeds off road or in other difficult terrain.

If this is absolutely unavoidable, look for racks which have weight limits significantly above your bike.

Stabilizing features which minimize side-to-side motion of your bike while you’re driving also help. Generally, the more points of contact between bike and rack and rack and vehicle, the better.

Some high-end models, for example include “sway protection” such as additional stabilizing mechanisms which reduce movement at high speeds and around curves.

These can both be valuable features if you plan to hit a lot of windy mountain roads, but are also an added benefit if you’re worried about your bikes or car getting damaged by occasional bumps or rubbing against each other.

Can you lift your bike(s)?

Hitch racks hold bikes off the ground; you will need to be able to get your bike onto the rack in order to transport them. Most hitch racks have a roll-on ramp to make this easier, but it can still be somewhat challenging to get bikes in place on a rack.

If this is difficult for you, there are some models with lower ramps which can make it a little easier. You can also always look into a trailer instead.

Is security important to you?

Hitch racks attach to the external hitch on the back of your vehicle. When there is no built-in locking feature keeping it in place, it’s always possible that someone could take the bikes or the entire rack.

If you plan to leave your bikes on the rack at a campsite, trailhead, etc. it’s worth looking into advanced security measures which keep the bike securely fastened to the truck.

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Is it safe to transport a motorcycle using a hitch rack?

Understandably, safety is often a concern when looking for a rack like these. Motorcycles, if unsecured, are potentially very dangerous for you and others, particularly if the rack happens to fail while you’re driving at high speeds.

If your vehicle it built for it, a hitch rack can be a perfectly secure and convenient method of transport; the key is to ensure that your bikes are properly and completely secured, and that the combined weight of your bike and the rack don’t exceed your vehicle’s max tongue weight.

It’s also worth investing in additional lights and other safety measures to make sure the rack is visible while you’re using it. Depending on your vehicle, you may have to install a license plate behind your rack to ensure it is visible.

Can I make my own?

There are stories floating around the internet about people building their own rigs to haul their racks.

While it’s possible to rig something together, this is not advisable. You won’t have a good idea of how secure your rack is, how much weight it can hold, or how stable it is during transit.

Furthermore, if a rack isn’t secure, it can cause serious damage to your car or your bike. If it fails, you could be responsible for serious risks to yourself or other people.

Does a hitch mounted rack’s weight impact vehicle performance?

You will likely see that the back of your vehicle rides slightly lower while carrying your bikes. It should respond normally, but you will see a fuel economy difference due to the added weight.

Will a hitch mounted motorcycle rack damage my car?

As long as you stay within the weight limits of your vehicle and hitch, a carrier shouldn’t have a negative impact on your vehicle.

There’s always a chance that normal wear and tear during installation or use can nick the paint or cause other superficial damage, but as long as the rack is sturdy enough and properly installed, you shouldn’t have an issue.

What material is best?

Motorcycle racks typically come in steel or aluminum. Either material is sturdy enough to transport your bike, but there are some differences.

Generally, aluminum is weaker than steel and also more expensive. However, it’s also much lighter and rustproof, which can pay for itself in fuel economy and durability down the road.

Steel can be a cheaper, stronger version, but doesn’t tend to stand up as well to the elements unless you go for stainless steel, which is also more expensive.

Is a hitch motorcycle rack easy to install?

Most attach with simple mechanisms to the hitch receiver on your vehicle.

Of course, racks do vary slightly in terms of how they attach to cars. Depending on whether you have an SUV or truck, and the shape of your trunk, you may have a harder or easier time adding your rack.

But overall, as long as you have a hitch, all installation should require is a bit of elbow grease.

Will I be able to open the trunk with the rack attached?

Probably not. Motorcycles are heavy enough that it’s difficult to impossible to design a swinging or tilting mechanism (like the ones that exist for other types of bike rack) without making the whole rack too weak to support the motorcycle’s weight.

This is definitely something to keep in mind when considering how you’ll use your bike rack and when deciding between a hauler, rack, or trailer.

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Selection Criteria: How We Ranked Our Top Picks

Depending on your specific bike-transporting needs, the features which are most important to you will vary widely.

Some factors, such as material, weight capacity, and price, may be more or less important to you. Bikes also range widely in weight and size – there’s a big difference between transporting a dirt bike and a scooter.

This list is sorted to prioritize value, durability, and versatile fan-favorites to fit a variety of scenarios.

More specifically, we evaluated these picks using these criteria:

Stability & Durability

Security while in transit is the number one concern when looking for a motorcycle rack. While this varies slightly by vehicle size and type of bike, we looked for dependable, reliable models which hold bikes securely, minimize movement, and last as long as possible, including warranties where relevant.

This includes mechanisms to prevent the bike moving within the rack, such as wheel cradles and tie-down straps, and mechanisms to prevent the entire rack from swaying, such as anti-sway bolts.

Ease of Use

It can be difficult to manhandle a bike onto the back of a pickup or SUV; we prioritized choices which enable easy loading and unloading.

Ease of installation is somewhat subjective and will vary depending on the specific combination of car make/model and rack, but we also looked for models which users reported having little difficulty assembling and installing.

Price Point

Hitch racks are typically more affordable than other transporting options, but can still be a sizeable investment. We looked for picks which provide the best value for your dollar, factoring in things like durability and extra features to estimate the value you’ll get from the rack over its entire lifetime.  We looked for deals which offered the best price possible without sacrificing quality or reliability.

Weight & Profile

We’ll also include the rack’s base weight to help you gauge the impact it will have on your vehicle.

Even with all of those criteria, there are still a lot of options out there.

After sifting through the long list of motorcycle hitch racks out there with these features on our mind, we came up with this list of six top options.

Here’s a list of our top 6 picks, along with some info on each product’s price, weight, special features and what the experts have to say.

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Our Number 1 Pick: Goplus 600 LBS Motorcycle Carrier

goplus 600 lbs motorcycle carrier
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 91 lbs.
  • Capacity: 600 lbs.
  • High points: High weight capacity, secure, quick-release clasps, long loading ramp
  • Low points: Can be hard to get bike onto the rack, stabilizer not that strong
Why it’s a Top Pick:

This rack is fairly affordable for what it offers, which is a highly sturdy and easy to use rack that will hold up to 600 pounds.

It also has a longer ramp than other options, meaning that it can hold more bike types and that it’s slightly easier to load bikes, since the longer length reduces the angle of the slope you have to roll your bike up to load it.

Compared to other options, it’s easy to install, and it’s made of durable power-coated steel.

What the Experts Think:

This is a popular rack due to the relatively low price point and its versatility. It will work with most bikes, and is straightforward to use almost directly out of the box.

It has heavy-duty tough construction and an appealing slick look.

There’s also a front wheel cradle which more securely holds bikes in place and prevents excess motion.

The only complaint is that the ramp to load bikes can be slippery when wet, making it hard to load bikes when you’re parked on a hill or in less than ideal conditions. Adding traction tape to the ramp fixes this issue, but that’s still another detail to think about post-installation.

While this is definitely something to keep in mind, especially if your bike is too heavy for you to move easily, the vast majority of customers report solid satisfaction with this option, even under intense gear conditions.

Features and Considerations:

This rack comes in two separate shipments and is quite heavy – almost 100 pounds – which can make shipping cumbersome and expensive.

It does have a built-in quick-release lock for added security during transit (without added inconvenience when you’re taking your bikes off the rack).

GoPlus’ customer service promises 24-hour response times on all support inquiries, which can be helpful.

They also offer optional add-on features such as extra stabilizers and tie-down straps, which make the rack much more stable (it can move slightly during high-speed turns or over bumps, which can be disconcerting). Buying these does add to the price tag, but can be more than worth it for peace of mind.

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The Next-Best: Best Choice SKY1375 Motorcycle Carrier

best choice sky1375 motorcycle carrier
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 50lbs
  • Capacity: 500 lbs
  • High points: Inexpensive, anti-tilt mechanism prevents sway, easy loading mechanism, relatively high weight capacity.
  • Low points: Only accommodates tire width up to 4.5 inches, ramp is a bit short. Can sway a bit without optional add-on anti-sway
Why it’s a Top Pick:

This model is often offered through Amazon for less than $100, making it one of the cheapest options out there. Despite the low price point, this is a sturdy, easy-to-use rack that can safely carry even mid-sized bikes up to 500 pounds.

In fact, you are more likely to exceed your car’s weight limit than this rack’s.

This is, overall, a cheap, plug-and-play option which is a fairly reliable and relatively inexpensive way to transport bikes.

What the Experts Think:

The reason this is a fan favorite is that it offers one of the best values for the price.

It can also be easily loaded from either side using a tilting rack that automatically tips into place as the bike crosses the center of gravity; this makes it much easier to load and unload heavy bikes.

Some people have noted that assembly can be challenging for the less mechanically inclined. The rack itself is also heavier than aluminum options, but this isn’t a terrible thing since it also makes it much sturdier.

Features and Considerations:

While most bikes weight will fit on this rack, those with wide tires may not be compatible with this rack. Compared to other options, the tracks are slightly narrower, which can limit the type of tires it accommodates.

It’s also worth looking into adding inexpensive stability additional parts such as extra straps or anti-sway bars, since bikes can sway slightly even with the built-in mechanism at high speeds.

Overall, this is a solid investment either as a starter rack or an inexpensive part-DIY rack.

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3. Trackside Motorcycle Carrier

trackside motorcycle carrier
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: Not provided
  • Capacity: 500 lbs.
  • High points: Easy assembly, high weight capacity, easy loading; sits lower than bumper
  • Low points: Some parts aren’t that durable, can’t accommodate sport bike tires.
Why it’s a Top Pick:

This is another inexpensive, durable option that fits most vehicles and most bikes (though some fatter tires won’t work with this ramp size either).

It’s easy to assemble and install, and after it’s installed, placing bikes on the rack is also fairly straightforward.

What the Experts Think:

The experts agree that this is one of the easier racks to use out of the box. You shouldn’t need much in the way of hardware or expertise to get it set up.

It requires a heavy-duty hitch, but has a decent weight capacity. It’s great value for the price and feels durable even when driving at high speeds.

Users’ main complaint is that the loading ramp is narrower than the holder itself; if you have wider tires, it’s difficult to keep the ramp in place when pushing your bike up onto the rack. If you can install a locking pin to keep it in place, it works much better. Otherwise, you may have difficulty loading wider-tire bikes onto the rack.

Features and Considerations:

Compared to other racks, this one sits a little lower to the ground. This is great if you have a high-clearance or lifted truck, since it makes loading easier. If you have a lower-clearance vehicle, it may be an issue going over rough terrain.

It comes with several tie-down straps; when all of these and the included anti-sway mechanism are in place, you shouldn’t see much movement while driving. These do take some time to put in place every time you drive, but overall, they do a good job keeping everything secure without adding significant weight or cost.

Overall, this is a solid bet.

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4. Black Widow Folding Hitch Mounted Off-Road Dirt Bike Carrier Rack with Ramp

black widow folding hitch mounted off road dirt bike carrier rack with ramp
  • Material: painted steel
  • Weight: 71 lbs.
  • Capacity:  500 lbs.
  • High points: Folds out of the way when not in use, 45” loading ramp
  • Low points: Can be hard to install, folding mechanism makes rack weaker
Why it’s a Top Pick:

This is one of the few options which can fold out of the way when not in use. This can be a huge time saver, since it allows you to keep the rack on when you’re not using it instead of uninstalling and reinstalling it every time you need to tote your bike around.

It’s also a sturdy, functional bike rack – it’s rated to 500 lbs., and feels sturdy.

What the Experts Think:

While the folding feature is the main selling point of this rack, it also has a great reputation for reliability. Reviewers report using it for years without any issues.

It can be annoying to install at first, but once you get past the initial instructions, it’s quite easy to use, and is a highly dependable choice.

Features and Considerations:

The folding mechanism can make the rack less sturdy if you have a bike that’s on the heavy side of the weight rating or you plan to travel at high speeds or over rough terrain. However, it is possible to install the rack directly onto the hitch and forgo the folding feature.

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5. Titan Ramps Sport BIke Motorcycle Carrier

titan ramps sport bIke motorcycle carrier
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 69 lbs.
  • Capacity: 500 lbs.
  • High points: Long loading ramp, wide tire space
  • Low points: Poor material construction/alloy, not secure enough for heavy sports bikes, obscures taillights
Why it’s a Top Pick:

This is another affordable, stable option best suited to lighter bikes. The long loading ramp makes for easy loading and unloading, and the wide tire cradles also make it easier to transport bikes.

With all the straps, it stays securely in place.

What the Experts Think:

Generally speaking, reviewers report good experiences with this rack as a mid-line affordable way to transport dirt bikes and off-road bikes cross-country.

It’s easy to add and remove bikes by yourself, and installation is relatively easy.

Features and Considerations

The construction quality does leave something to be desired; while it is made out of solid steel, the protective anti-rust coating can start to deteriorate after a while.

The bike feels very secure when completely tied down, but can be tippy before all the straps are in place.

It has a high weight rating and feels solid, but does flex somewhat while in use even with the provided stabilizer bracket, which can be disconcerting.

Finally, if the bike obscures your taillights or license plate, you may have to install additional lights or an additional license plate bracket to ensure both are visible when you have a bike in place.

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6. VersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier With Ramp

versahaul dirt bike hitch carrier with ramp
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 84 lbs.
  • Capacity: 500 lbs.
  • High points: Sturdier construction than other models. Easy to load, solid, no rocking
  • Low points: Expensive, ramp could be longer, ramp only loads from one side.
Why it’s a Top Pick:

While more expensive than some other options, this is an easy top pick for anyone looking for a carry option for a lighter bike.

If you have a smaller dirt bike, this rack can help you take it with you even if you don’t have a large truck or SUV, as long as you have a Class III or IV hitch with a high enough tongue weight rating.

It’s easy for a single person to load and unload bikes, and with the added anti-sway bolts, it’s highly secure and doesn’t move while travelling. It also holds up to 500 lbs., which will accommodate almost any dirt bike.

What the Experts Think:

There is an immediate and obvious difference between this rack and cheaper overseas knockoffs as soon as you take it out of the box. It’s easy to assemble, and is quite steady once the bike is totally strapped down.

While this brand isn’t as well known as others, it is widely respected for its attention to engineering solidity and durability.

It’s well worth the slightly higher price tag for sheer peace of mind while driving, and even more so if you have to move cross country or otherwise drive extended distances with your bike.

Features and Considerations:

The ramp to load this bike only works on one side, which you will have to keep in mind when finding a place to park and load/unload your bikes.

It’s also slightly shorter than other models, which can make loading bikes challenging if you park on a hill or have a heavy bike. Generally speaking, though, the construction and design facilitate easy one-person use.

If you have a dirt bike, this is one of the best choices on the market, and offers great value for its price.

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