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Even if you own the best electric bike, planning to go on a biking adventure off the beaten track will be impossible without a bike rack for electric bikes attached to the rear end of your vehicle. These racks are an essential add-on to your car accessories since they smoothly transport your bike (or bikes) between locations.
They feature close-to-the-ground tray baskets into which you can easily mount your electric bikes and secure them with locking mechanisms. Most parts are made of powder-coated and aluminum designs to prevent rusting, and the anti-wobble system ensures your e-bike stays put, allowing you to access the trunk even with the bikes mounted.
If you’re in the market to get your hands on the perfect rack for your e-bike, keep reading our buying guide to learn everything from how they work to whether they’re worth the investment, plus other factors.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is sturdy enough to handle a huge load capacity and is pretty easy to install. It can also be flipped up when not in use and allows for boot access when mounted with bikes.
With the capacity to hold up to two bikes, this Hitch Mounted Rack from the KAC K2 store is ideal for users who want to move around with their bikes easily. It has a carrying capacity of 120 pounds and can also be easily adapted to easily carry one bike. It features heavy-duty tire cradles that hold the bike’s wheels in position and comes with an anti-wobble system to prevent any slight movements when in transit. It also features a quick-release tilting lever for easy boot access and comes with a safety strap for secure mounting. Unfortunately, the locking racks that secure this bike are made of plastic and can therefore come off during riding.
This rack can hold bikes with a wheelbase of up to 54inches and a tire width of up to 5 inches. The rack also folds up flat behind the vehicle when not in use, and since most of its parts come pre-assembled, it is relatively easy to install. There’s also a rear reflector that ensures good visibility when riding at night, and since it comes with a locking hitch pin, there’s no risk of theft or sudden movement.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It comes with a wide range of options for adjustability and also allows for easy access to the rear car door through its quick tilt design. It also has a heavy load capacity of up to 140 pounds.
This 2-bike rack from Leader Accessories boasts extra-wide wheel holders that allow it to fit wheels that are up to 5.5 inches thick and comes with easy-to-use ergonomic knobs that allow for quick adjustments. Its tilt-back design also allows owners to access their car’s rear door without dismounting the bikes, and with a load capacity of up to 70 pounds for each mount, it is ideal for carrying heavy-duty bikes. Its quick-release tilt design also makes it very easy to operate, and since its wheel loops are adjustable, it should be able to fit different bike lengths. Still, the rack is quite heavy and may be difficult for some to install.
When not in use, the rack can be quickly folded up to save on space, and since it also comes with adjustable straps on the bike cradle, owners have the option to ensure even more added stability. It also features a safety reflector to make sure that it stays visible at night and foam protection on the hooks to prevent any scratches or damage to the bikes when in transit.
Award: BEST FOR CARRYING CAPACITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can handle multiple loads and does not affect visibility through the rearview window. It is also significantly lighter than other bike racks.
The Saris Superclamp car rack is made of an alloy steel frame and can support up to 4 bikes. Its got dual wheel-clamping hooks for improved wheel security and can be easily tilted to allow for quick access to the hatch when fully loaded. It can accommodate bikes that have a wheelbase of up to 50 inches and has a combined load capacity of 190 pounds. However, owners will have to make sure that the two outer bikes do not exceed 35 pounds each when carrying four bikes.
This bike rack also features a locking hitch pin that secures the rack to the hitch. There’s also no frame contact with the rack, and since it also has reflector lights, night visibility is guaranteed. The bike rack does not block the view outside for the rearview mirror, and weighing only 63 pounds, it is significantly lighter than many other alternatives.
Award: BEST FOR SECURE MOUNTING
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has three lock mechanisms to ensure secure mounting and comes with a quick-release foot pedal for easy tilting or folding up. It also has a heavy load capacity courtesy of its sturdy build quality.
The Vibrelli electric bike hitch rack is ideal for mounting bikes that weigh up to 65 pounds each and has three locking mechanisms that ensure the bikes remain safe and well secured during movement. The hitch can be quickly folded up when not in use and is also easy to tilt down for rear door access, even when loaded with two bikes. It has a patented anti-wobble hitch that securely locks into the vehicle, which also comes with a spare key for added convenience. However, the rack can only be used on cars with a 12-inch ground clearance.
The bike rack will fit all tires up to 5 inches wide and includes a safety rap and locking cable for even more secure mounting. Its locking arms are padded to prevent any instances of damage, and it also comes with a quick-release pedal that owners can step on to have it fold up or tilt quickly.
Award: BEST FOR TRAILERS AND RECREATONAL VEHICLES
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for trailers and Recreational Vehicles or any other vehicle with a Class 3 or higher hitch receiver. It also has an anti-theft frame lock and a carrying handle for wall mounting.
The Hyperax Volt RV hitch mounted carrier is a 2-bike capacity rack with an impressive 140-pound maximum load capacity and excellent build quality thanks to its high carbon steel construction. The rack can accommodate 20-inch to 29-inch bikes and features a reflective tire strap that keeps it visible at night. It also comes with both a pin lock and a frame lock, making the mounted bikes very difficult to steal. The rack can also be folded entirely when not in use. However, the rack is not tiltable and does not allow rear door access.
This bike rack is compatible with a 2-inch class or higher hitch receiver and can only accommodate tires up to 5 inches wide. Its ratcheting hooks are rubberized and therefore are not likely to cause any damage or scratches to the bikes, and since it also comes with a carrying handle, owners can opt to mount it on a wall when not in use.
Award: BEST FOR EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is very easy to install and has a cable lock to prevent theft. It can be folded up quickly and tilted back to allow access to a car’s rear door.
The Hollywood Racks HR-1500R is a lightweight bike rack with a combined weight capacity of 160 pounds. It is easy to install and has universal wheel holders that can accommodate tires up to 5 inches wide. The bike rack can be folded up when not in use and can also be tilted back for owners to open the car’s rear hatch while fully loaded. It also comes with a unique “no-wobble” system that ensures that the rack is solidly attached to the vehicle, as well as a hook clamp that supports the bike’s top tube for added stability. Still, some might not like that it fits 2-inch hitches only.
The wheel holders on this rack come with an adjustment knob that allows users to move the wheel holder along the tube. Since it also includes wheel straps, owners will be able to further secure each tire individually and prevent any movement when on the road. Lastly, this bike rack also consists of a cable lock that secures both the wheel and the frame to the rack and prevents theft.
A bike rack for electric bikes is merely a more robust version of a regular bike rack and is built to hold up against the heavier weight of electric bikes. Electric bike owners can’t attach just any rack to their vehicle as expensive e-bikes require stronger frames to carry the bike’s weight and better locking systems to prevent theft. As such, ebike carriers tend to be hitch racks.
As with any kind of bike carrier, even an e-bike rack must fulfill three primary criteria. It should be user-friendly, it must securely lock your mobility equipment, and lastly, it has to transport your bike without damaging either your e-bike or vehicle. The three main bike racks in the biking community are roof racks, trunk-mounted racks, and hitch racks.
Even though roof-mounted racks aren’t suitable for e-bikes, some bikers still take the risk of using them because of their cheaper price range of $40-$70. These racks are attached to the roof of the car. Even if you manage to hoist the 52-lb bike onto the roof rack without injuring yourself, fastening an additional bike will lead to overloading issues. In the long run, damaging both your car and e-bike, not to mention getting a sore back, may cost you a lot more than a hitch rack suitable for electric bikes.
Similarly, trunk-mounted racks are not recommended for e-bikes since their maximum weight capacity is only 35 pounds, and the lightest e-bike weighs 40 pounds. Another issue with these racks is that it’s impossible to access the car’s trunk when your e-bike is mounted, and security is a concern too because the design lacks a proper locking system.
If you want a proper bike rack designed for your electric bike, there’s only one type that’s worth the investment— a hitch-mounted rack. These sturdy racks can bear the additional weight that comes with the battery, motor, and heavy frame geometry of an e-bike.
Hitch racks are fairly simple to install and are well-known for their ease of use while loading and unloading. The racks mount on a trailer hitch (attached separately at an additional cost of $150-$180) at the rear end of your vehicle.
Once your racks are locked into the hitch tubes, mounting your electric bike requires moderate lifting until the wheels fit perfectly into the tray racks or baskets, also known as platform-style hitch racks. This provides greater stability during transport and prevents your bikes from swaying and colliding with one another. A platform hitch rack can carry between two to four electric bikes.
Alternatively, the bicycle frame can also be strapped into a tube top, known as mast-style hitch racks. Though these are considerably cheaper than platform-style racks, they may not support different bike shapes and sizes. Apart from accommodating a higher weight capacity, hitch racks offer more flexibility due to their tilt function, giving you trunk access even while your electric bikes are mounted on the hitch rack.
If you feel that installing one of these devices isn’t something you can do yourself, you can always visit a professional garage. A mechanic can install a trailer hitch and rack for you, letting you haul your electric bike with you whenever you hit the road.
It’s one thing to buy an electric bike just to get around within your vicinity, but it’s an entirely different thing to venture out to your local trailhead or go on a cross-country road trip with your pedaled possession. For the latter, a hitch rack is an essential vehicle accessory.
Just as caring for your electric ride is crucial, it’s equally important to regularly tend to your bike’s rack for it to last longer. Anyone in the biking community will agree that bike racks are generally designed to endure extreme wear and tear, unlike things like electric bike helmets. However, that shouldn’t give you the go-ahead to leave them straddled to your car 24/7.
Hitch racks are constantly exposed to UV radiation, temperature fluctuations, bouts of heat from your car exhaust, bumpy roads, and plenty of other things. In addition to that, because the rack sticks out, it leaves enough room for an inattentive driver to back into it when the car’s parked. After spending hundreds of dollars on a hitch rack, the only way you’ll do it justice is with timely maintenance.
The first thing to be on the lookout for is signs of corrosion. Wash your rack down with soap water to reveal corroding metal parts. You can either apply grease to the fixing bolts and welds or switch them out with stainless steel ones. When selecting the best bike rack, look for durable aluminum designs that are rust-resistant and can withstand some rough handling. Also, ensure that both the vehicle’s and rack’s contact points are clean for a robust fit and smooth ride. And if you’re not using it, take the rack off the car.
Most manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty on electric bike racks, so check out what the company’s offering before making a purchasing decision.
Now that you’ve decided to pick up a bike rack, you have to consider several factors to arrive at a choice that’s most suitable for your electric bike.
For someone looking to purchase an electric bike rack, a critical factor is whether it can take the weight of their electric bike. It’s not uncommon for an e-bike to weigh two times (55-60 lbs) or sometimes even three times (80-90 lbs) more than a typical road bike. Therefore, strapping your high-end e-bike to a cheap $40 trunk rack is not recommended.
What you’ll need is a well-built hitch-mounted rack that has at least 60 lbs weight capacity per bike. Given the weight of an e-bike, a hitch mount will allow for easy loading as it’s the only rack that’s closest to the ground.
2. How Many Bikes Do You Want to Transport?
Whether you’re a solo adventurer or prefer company on your cycling excursions will make all the difference when choosing a bike rack. This is because you need a frame that can support all your electric bikes. Most hitch-mounted racks can easily accommodate two e-bikes but will likely max out at four.
If a rack holds more than one bike, manufacturers will often indicate weight per bike instead of the total weight capacity of the hitch rack.
Electric bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have fatter tires than others, and they may or may not be detachable. They can also be designed either as step-through or high-step e-bikes. You can opt for a style that’s most comfortable for you, but when selecting a rack, you must ensure it accommodates all these varying features.
For example, the tire baskets must be wide enough to fit bikes with fat tires, and step-through bikes might require a crossbar adapter for additional support.
Electric bikes are expensive, and the last thing you want is your ride getting stolen off your bike rack. It’s best to opt for a rack that has an integrated locking system. With hitch-mounted racks, these are usually found near the baskets as they tightly lock and secure the wheels in place. Additionally, you can buy an aftermarket steel lock to deter thieves from prying.
When it comes to conveniently loading an e-bike, nothing beats the platform-style hitch racks. All you have to do is lift the bike’s front wheel and place it properly into the basket/tray, followed by the rear wheel.
With a roof rack, you’ll need to lift your electric bike to the roof of your car, which can be difficult and dangerous for riders. On the other hand, loading and unloading on a trunk-mounted rack may cause the paint on your e-bike to chip off.
The most expensive hitch rack can be as pricey as $1000 and can typically carry four bikes behind your vehicle without a hassle. They’re sturdily built to hold up against extreme wear and tear and prove to be a perfect choice if riding with your family or cycling buddies.
You can also find excellent options for carrying two e-bikes anywhere between $400-$650. These hitch racks usually feature anti-wobble systems, durable steel tubing, and extensive locking mechanisms. Keep in mind, though, that these options may not be extendable to four bikes.
Yes, since electric bikes weigh more than traditional bikes (due to the added electrical system), they require more sturdy designs with easy loading and unloading. The ideal rack type for an e-bike is the tray hitch-mounted rack.
Most bike racks for electric bikes carry two e-bikes, each having a maximum weight capacity of 60 lbs. There are sturdier racks that hold more weight, but these don’t come cheap.
Bike racks are classified into three distinct categories — roof racks, trunk-mounted racks, and hitch-mounted racks. All three types have their pros and cons, but the most suitable rack for an electric bike is the hitch-mounted rack because it has a greater weight capacity, and it’s easier to load bikes onto it.
If you’re someone who enjoys the challenge of biking at different locations, a bike rack for electric bikes will allow for the smooth transit of your high-end e-bike. This way, you’ll never have to worry about it getting damaged or stolen.
No, since the trailer hitch keeps both the racks and bikes at a distance from your car’s trunk, your car won’t be damaged. However, if bikes on a trunk-mounted rack aren’t securely placed, the bike’s front wheel could rub against the paint, causing scratches.