Gear Guy

Softride Access Dura Hitch Rack     Photo: courtesy, REI

Q:

Is a hitch rack still considered the way to go for hauling bikes?

I had to give up my truck, so now I’m looking for a bike rack for my car (for three bikes). I very short, so a roof rack probably won’t work. Do you recommend a hitch rack? Janice House Springs, Missouri

A:Well, I hate the idea of anyone giving up their truck. But maybe it’s the best thing, given the price of fuel.

Most cars can take some kind of trailer hitch, so if you can do that, great. That’s because I think hitch racks are usually the best way to go. They’re easy to use, there’s no drama getting them on/off vehicle, and they come in a variety of configurations. Yakima’s DoubleDown four-bike rack ($229), for instance, holds four bikes in an easy-access upright mount. It’ll hold most any bike securely, and it tilts out of the way so you can get access to the car’s trunk.

Thule’s Ridgeline ($339) also can take four bikes, and it has a little wider swing on its arm for better back-of-car access. In between the two racks, price-wise, is Softride’s four-bike Access ($275), which actually is a really nice rack for the money.

The easiest hitch racks to manage are those that use a tray to hold the bike, such as the Saris Cycle-On ($360). It’s a two-bike rack that can accept a two-bike extension, although at that point you have a very long thing sticking out of the back of your car.

Saris also makes a pretty good three-bike trunk-mount rack called the Bones 3-Bike Trunk Rack. At $150, it’s very affordable, but in time it will leave some wear marks on your car, regardless of how careful you are.

So there you go. Thanks for writing!

The 2008 Summer Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From riding to trail-running to camping, get reviews of nearly 400 gear must-haves.

Ask a Question!

Our gear experts await your questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

By submitting above, you agree to the Outside privacy policy. * We might edit your question for length or clarity.

0 Comments

Load More

Comments