Going to an exciting trail or experiencing a ride somewhere remote means hauling your bikes on your car.
You’d need a car rack for simply transporting your bikes, without having to wrestle them into the vehicle. Luckily, if your vehicle has a receiver hitch, you have many options to safely get your bike where it belongs.
There are different options that can match your versatility and, more importantly, your budget. That’s why we’ve scoured the internet for the best hitch bike rack under $200.
Hitch mounted bike racks are your best bet to safely and easily carry your bikes anywhere. They are sturdy and secure to the trailer hitch of your vehicle.
They can either have a platform which can support large weights and bear no tension on expensive frames, or you can get hanging racks which offer a more compact and light solution to carrying multiple bikes.
Our Favorite Product
There are a host of choices to choose from when it comes to hitch racks, but the Yakima DoubleDown 4 remains our favorite.
It is an easy install straight from the box and proves to be a tough contender with many platform style hitch racks. Even with a small price it has many premium features that move it up our list like anti sway cradles and easy folding mechanism for compactness.
It is built solid and supports up to 4 bikes without any fear of either of your bikes cartwheeling behind. Yakima’s bike racks are designed for safety and purpose. The company has been making transport solutions and multipurpose racks for many outdoor adventures.
More details after the comparison table.
Best Hitch Bike Racks (<$200) Comparison Table
|Price||Brand||Model||Receiver||Rack Type||Bike Capacity||Weight Cap|
|Check||Yakima||DoubleDown 4||1 1/4 & 2 inch||Hanging||4 Bikes||120 lbs|
|Check||Rhino Rack||Take 2 (RBC045)||2 inch||Hanging||2 Bikes||66 lbs|
|Check||Allen Sports||Deluxe||2 inch||Hanging||4 Bikes||140 lbs|
|Check||Allen Sports||Premier Locking||2 inch||Hanging||5 Bikes||175 lbs|
|Check||Swagman||XC2||1 1/4 & 2 inch||Platform||2 Bikes||70 lbs|
|Check||Bell||Right Up 350||1 1/4 & 2 inch||Platform||2-3 Bikes||105 lbs|
|Check||Hollywood Racks||Destination 4||2 inch||Platform||4 Bikes||140 lbs|
Reviews for the Best Hitch Bike Rack Under $200
If you’re looking to spend wisely, we recommend going more in depth with the review and taking a short look at our entire list, to find something that fits your bill and meets our testing.
Here are some reviews for the best hitch bike rack under $200.
Yakima DoubleDown 4 – Best Overall
The Yakima DoubleDown 4 packs some of the best features for a hanging rack. This bike rack deals with the lack of trunk access we found on other hanging racks and the design enables unmatched convenience.
- Simple assembly with the hitch of your vehicle
- Compatible with 1 ¼ inch and 2 inch receivers
- There are anti sway cradles that prevent any scratching between the bikes
- Sturdy bike rack that can carry up to 4 bikes
- Easily tilts away adding to the compactness
|Large carrying capacity means it can carry heavier bikes||There’s a slight wobble room in the hitch if you use a pin|
|The carrying arms fold with a button press for storage||Fitting 4 bikes of different sizes requires pedal alignment and handlebar adjustments|
|The entire hitch rack tilts with a pull of a lever, opening trunk access|
|Rubber straps hold the bikes in place|
With riding season starting, you’d be looking for the best bike rack that can help you transport bikes without a worry. This bike rack does more than that for its price.
The Yakima DoubleDown 4 has no problem attaching to 1 ¼” and 2 inch hitch receivers. The hitch bike rack is designed to give clearance to the vehicle and a gentle pull on a lever actuates the tilting function, providing access to the trunk.
At 31 lbs this isn’t the most lightweight hanging bike rack, but it offers a solid build and great material.
Add to this, a carrying capacity of 120 lbs and a hitch locking feature that stops the hitch attachment from getting loose or coming off, and it easily becomes the best bike rack for a tight budget.
What really differentiates this from other car bike racks is the convenience of pressing buttons or pulling levers to assist in loading bike frames onto the rack.
The carrying arms easily fold with the press of a button, and there’s enough space between the cradles to avoid any damage to the frames. As with most hanging racks, this can fit any kind of frame, but kids bikes with shorter stems and bikes with slanted top tubes require TubeTop Adapters.
This is a great choice for daily riders who are mostly on the road and looking to get the most out of their bike racks.
Rhino-Rack Take 2 – Best 2 Bike Hanging
Rhino-Rack Take 2 Bike Carrier is a close contender for our top pick. If you’re looking to save a few bucks on a bike rack without compromising on quality, then this bike rack will back you up on your adventures.
- There are levers to tilt away the car bike rack for rear cargo access
- Cradle design that adjust to different types of frame tubes
- Anti rattle bolt makes the rack and hitch a single unit with no noise and wobbling
- Steel construction makes it long lasting and a strong carrier
|Padded cradles and rubber straps provide protection to frame and paint||The rack does not accommodate a hitch lock|
|The bikes hang well above ground providing enough clearance||Two heavily modded bikes might exceed the 66 lbs carrying capacity|
|A hitch pin fixes the hitch to the rack and leaves no room for wobbling||Only compatible with 2” receivers out of the box|
|Thick gauge steel construction that feels solid and does not bend or move|
The Rhino Rack Take 2 has design aspects that are similar to some of the Thule’s high end hitch bike racks but at a fraction of the price.
There is a lever that allows the entire hitch mount rack to fold down for easy rear cargo access without having to remove the bike rack. Lifting the rack snaps it back into its upright position. The carrying arms also have this feature and fold completely with another lever.
Most budget hitch bike racks cut corners, but we found the Rhino Rack to live up to its reputation. There’s a securing bolt that locks the rack to the hitch and removes any gap and room for wobbling during travel.
The anti-sway cradles rotate and feature 3 cradle designs to support different types of bikes like mountain and BMX bikes.
There’s frame contact at three points (2 with the cradles and 1 with the strap). The rubber straps are stretchable and there are holes that adjust the grip to be tight or loose.
What is the trade-off for the lowered price?
Compared to the Yakima DoubleDown, the most obvious is the number of bikes you can carry. This hitch mount bike rack is only compatible with a 2” hitch receiver, so you’ll need to buy a hitch riser for your 1 ¼” hitch.
There isn’t any locking feature built into the rack so a bike lock that can go over both your bikes is an extra expense. Other than that, this is a reliable purchase that will last you longer than other cheaper two bike carriers.
Allen Sports Deluxe – Best Budget Rack
Ask any expert and they would prefer platform bike racks for the added stability and safety offered by these tray racks, but for people looking for value, hanging bike racks like the Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Rack offer a good alternative for carrying up to four bikes.
- Quick and simple install with a hitch pin
- Bike capacity of four with up to 140 lbs
- Collapsible carrying arms use less space when bikes are not loaded
|Lightweight hitch bike rack with easy installation and little assembly||No extra straps and the nylon straps need to be replaced over time|
|Tilting function gives trunk access||Carrying 4 bikes is practically impossible and leaves scratches on bikes|
|The rack feels sturdy and there’s no rattle during travel|
The Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike hitch mount bike rack offers a simple design for carrying bikes.
Allen sports bike racks are among the simplest to install and the Deluxe 4 easily slides into the 2” hitch of your vehicle and fixes in place with a pin and cotter-pin assembly.
There are four cradles and straps for each bike and once you load bikes, the straps do not get loose or let the bike’s frame move.
At such a low price, we were a bit surprised with the bike rack offering a tilting feature for the vehicle’s rear hatch to open and a weight of 23 lbs helps with assembling this hitch mount bike rack in under 5 minutes.
Considering the price, there aren’t a lot of complaints with budget bike racks, but this Allen sports model lacks a locking hitch pin.
This is not really an issue if you’re traveling to a park or hauling bikes within the city, but going on trails, where the vehicle is left unattended for hours makes it prone to theft.
The cradles aren’t the best for protecting your frames and the nylon straps offer little in terms of safety.
Allen Sports Premier Locking – Best 5 Bike Hanging
Allen Sports has some of the best hitch bike racks that match entry-level budget. The 5 bike hitch rack makes it to our list and is a great choice for transporting bikes of your family and crew.
- A locking hitch on the rack makes it extra secure and safe
- The hitch rack has a tilting feature and foldable carrying arms
- It can carry bikes of different styles
- Large weight capacity of up to 175 lbs
|Easy installation without any tools||For an SUV, the first position does not support wide handlebars as they can hit the trunk|
|Rotating cradles that can fit most frames||There’s no locking feature or cord for the bikes|
|Hitch locking feature provides extra safety and security|
The Allen Sports Premier Locking hitch mounted rack is sort of an elder brother to the Deluxe 4.
The entire rack has all the features of the above rack and offers a few more essentials that make it better.
It has the same simple assembly and easy installation into a 2” receiver, but offers a key locking mechanism for the hitch.
Loading the bikes onto the rack requires a bit of adjustment and aligning of rear tires and pedals with other bikes but this goes with most hitch racks when you carry mountain bikes and fat bikes of different frames.
The rotating cradles support any angled frame or slanted tubes. The hitch bike rack is built tough to support bikes up to 175 lbs.
You can use this rack to carry heavy e-bikes and with the growing trend of fat bikes, this rack is ideal for the heavier models, if you want to avoid splashing on an expensive platform rack.
Where it falls short, is a bike locking feature.
When carrying 5 bikes you’d expect a little safety for your bikes, but there aren’t any integrated cable locks. The front position is a little awkward to load the bike and isn’t ideal for heavily modded hardtail bikes or shorter frames of the BMX.
Overall, when the rack is fully loaded it feels sturdy and definitely delivers the expected performance.
Swagman XC2 – Best 2 Bike Platform
Swagman isn’t the most popular brand for hitch bike racks, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying this top of the line platform rack for two bikes.
- Completely adjustable trays and upright arm for different bikes
- Threaded pin to eliminate wobbling
- Trays can fold in a vertical position for easier storage and parking
- Rugged steel construction
|Straight forward and easy installation||Hitch bolt needs to be tightened and checked multiple times|
|No wobbling and fits 1 ¼” and 2” receivers||The clamp can ruin the bike’s paint|
|The trays are foldable and take less space for storage|
The Swagman XC2 has a strong steel material which will last you a long time.
The rack is extremely practical with trays that can adjust, fitting a longer or shorter wheelbase, and there’s a ratcheting clamp up top for both bikes that keeps them from sliding around.
We found the installation very simple and the supplied threaded pin works great to minimize any rattling.
For a few extra dollars you can get fat tire trays to accommodate bikes with wider tires, as a weight capacity of 35 lbs per bike can support heavier bikes like some full suspension mountain bikes with accessories.
At an entry level budget, you can expect a few downsides to this rack.
There isn’t any locking pin for the hitch and you have to spend extra for the locking pin to deter thieves.
This isn’t a tool free assembly for the hitch and you’d need a wrench every time to tighten the hitch pin/bolt.
Platform racks are great to protect the bike, but after putting a couple hundred miles on this rack we found the paint on our first bike scratched due to the poor finish on the clamp.
BELL Right Up 350 – Best 3 Bike Platform
Bell Sports is one of the oldest mountain bike accessory companies, and a big name in motor sports, but despite selling high quality bike racks, they haven’t found great recognition yet.
The Bell Right Up 350 comes from a set of underrated platform racks that impressed us for this price.
- The rack tilts away to allow trunk access on most vehicles
- There are sturdy tire holders and a cradle with straps for each frame
- The rack is foldable for easy storage
|Solid build which can support heavy e-bikes||The rack does not tilt enough to open the trunk gate|
|Fits both 2” and 1 ¼” hitch||The hitch bolt gets loose on rough roads|
|Ideal rack for 3 bikes given the price||There isn’t any anti-sway capability so off-roading with this is a no go|
|The tie down straps for the wheels aren’t long enough for wide tires|
The BELL Right Up 350 shares all the perks with our top pick.
An easy installation, a feature to tilt away the rack and generous space to carry more than two bikes.
For a platform style rack, it is fairly lightweight.
To keep the bikes from unnecessarily contacting, the design adopts a metal mast in between with straps to keep the bikes in place.
This particular tray rack is designed to fit 1 ¼” and 2” trailer hitch.
The bike wheels go into the soft cradles which slide back and forth to accommodate different wheels. Two sets of straps go into the rear and front wheel, securing the bikes in place.
This rack isn’t for people looking to transport their rides with fat bike tires as the rack cradles support wheels of up to 3” thick.
During our testing, we also found the paint scraped off of our mountain bikes. This was mainly because of the friction and rubbing against the upright mast.
On the interstate, we had to stop to tighten the bolt on the hitch because of all the rattling noise. We still feel confident with this rack on longer hauls and find this better than other racks for transporting 3 bikes (35 lbs) each.
Hollywood Racks Destination 4 – Best 4 Bike Platform
The last rack featured on our list is another platform style rack. The Hollywood Racks Destination 4 can switch between 2 and 4 bike capacities with a simple add-on. This rack beats many popular brands for the included straps and rack design.
- Adjustable wheel trays and straps for different bikes
- Rack folds for compact storage and parking space
- Rubber ratchet straps
- Carries heavy loads up to 35 lbs per bike
|Lightweight and easy to install with simple pins and bolts||The straps aren’t the strongest and do break|
|Includes a hitch lock pin to deter theft||The platform sits close to the car exhaust and heat|
|Fits most frame sizes and fat tire bikes||Fitting suspension bikes is tricky with pedal positions and fork contact between bikes|
|Well built and a good contender with expensive racks|
The Destination 4 isn’t the most feature rich 4 bike carrying rack, but it has some of the best adjustable modules we’ve seen on any budget rack.
Of course, this can be downgraded to a 2 bike capacity, if you don’t plan on transporting all of your family’s bikes.
The adjustable wheel trays support a wheelbase of 48” and have no problem with a shorter wheelbase for your kids bikes.
The rubber ratchet strap hooks also come off and go into another position to support a longer wheelbase. All the straps on this rack are rubber and adjustable.
The center strap on the upright post slides up and down and the cradle rotates to adjust to slanted frame tubes.
We liked the included anti-rattle bolt and washers. Plus, the extra strap to hold all 4 bikes.
The cradle and strap that holds the frame isn’t the best if you have brake cables running down the tubes.
Nothing about this rack is very outstanding but this rack has few shortcomings.
Buying Guide for Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks
To help you decide on the best bike racks and save you the hassle of dealing with returns, we’ve added this quick overview of the necessary things in a bike rack.
Types of Hitch Racks
Hitch racks come in a hanging or platform style. Other racks include vertical hanging, and the type of rack usually depends on how many bikes you want to carry.
Vertical Hitch Racks
Vertical hanging racks are great for making the best use of your space and carrying up to six bikes and in some cases eight bikes. The only downside is, they are bulky and heavy.
Storing them in the garage means more space and the bikes extend further from the trunk compared to a hanging style rack.
For most people, the only choice is a platform or hanging style rack.
Platform racks are sturdy, stable and offer more protection for the bike. The rack holds the bike from the wheels and usually a single strap to the frame reducing abrasions and damage to the paint.
These racks are also easier to load and accommodate heavy bikes. However, they take up more space and the price increases significantly with carrying capacity.
Hanging Hitch Racks
Hanging hitch racks have all the sturdiness and solid construction of a platform rack with the added benefit of storage and compactness. But they don’t accommodate as many styles and fitting three or more bikes can be challenging without contact between the bikes.
Clearance is also another problem with these racks and needs to be checked while buying a hanging rack.
Other Considerations When Buying A Hitch Bike Rack
There’s a few other things to consider when shopping for the best hitch-mounted bike racks.
Size of Receiver
Most people overlook this simple detail while making the purchase.
Your bike rack options are quickly filtered by the receiver and bolt size you use. Most bike racks are designed for 2” x 2” hitch while some are compatible with both 1 ¼” and 2” receivers.
If you’re someone like us, who keeps a lot of things in the trunk, you’ll need something that offers access to your trunk.
A roof rack or hanging hitch rack should be your go-to choice. It is worth mentioning, roof racks aren’t good for gas mileage and you’ll need to lift your bikes to the roof to secure them.
Hitch mount bike racks are a great way to carry multiple bikes, but on most budget bike racks the locking system to the hitch is either an add-on or completely unavailable.
When carrying mountain bikes worth $2000 or more, a hitch lock is an essential feature to consider when buying racks. A simple bike lock going over your bikes won’t be enough as someone can easily remove the entire rack while you’re busy on the trails.
Buying a rack for under $200 isn’t a difficult task. There are companies going above and beyond to offer their racks in this competitive budget.
Always choose a rack that is compatible with your trailer hitch and car model. Your bike rack can also carry other equipment, so platform hitch racks are a viable option to carry surfboards in the off season.
They are also great, if you own an expensive frame that you don’t want to hang at the rear of your vehicle.
The Yakima DoubleDown 4 is hands down (no pun intended) the best rack you can get at this price point, which can take 4 bikes and support all your riding plans after work or for your next big adventure. It is a hanging style rack and makes efficient use of space and it is easily stored when not in use.
Whichever rack you choose, make sure it provides enough clearance, is safe on the highways and locks to the hitch for when you’re not around. Match your price with your purpose and always choose the practical option so you don’t have to worry about your bikes (or vehicle for that matter).
FAQs About Hitch Bike Racks
Are hitch bike racks worth it?
Hitch bike racks are the sturdiest racks on the market for regular bikers. They are a bit pricey but offer more stability, protection and are generally carry more bikes than trunk or roof racks.
What kind of bike rack is easiest to use?
Platform hitch racks are the simplest to install and require the least handling of bikes. The trays are low enough to easily place the bike and the rack itself has a simple hitch bolt or pin.
What kind of hitch do I need for a bike rack?
Most bike racks are compatible with 2” hitch receivers and some are compatible with both 1 ¼” and 2” receivers. To use hitch racks you will need a trailer hitch and in case you don’t, a hitch can be installed easily on any car.
Is Thule a good brand for bike racks?
Yes. Thule is one of the best outdoor sport and bike rack brands available today. Their bike racks have a solid construction, accommodate different vehicles and have redesigned models. All racks are heavily tested in driving conditions and offer more features than other brands.