Thule Expressway
Thule Expressway (courtesy, REI)

What’s the best hitch-mounted bike rack?

I’m looking for a hitch-mounted bike rack. Any stand-outs? And does the anti-sway device on the new version of the Thule Expressway work as well as the old zip-stick method? John New York, NY

Thule Expressway

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Certainly the Expressway from Thule ($299, for 1.25- or 2-ince hitches; has to come to the top of most heaps when shopping for a hitch-mounted bike rack. It’s sturdy, carries four bikes, and has features such as an integrated locking cable. I haven’t used the anti-sway feature on the Thule, but it should work well, and in an event it seems like an extra bungee cord or two never hurts. The one thing I’d caution you over is to think about tailgate access. The Expressway is a swing-down design. The somewhat more expensive Trailblazer ($399—make that quite a bit more expensive) has a swing-out design that makes it easier to get into the back of an SUV or minivan.

Thule Expressway Thule Expressway

Otherwise, there are the usual suspects for hitch racks, which have reached a fairly high level of sophistication. Yakima’s Backswing ($350; holds four bikes and has the swinging-arm feature for good trunk access. Their stuff is always first-rate. It’s also well worth your time to take a look at the Softride Access HD Rack ($319;, a very tough rack that pivots down, rather to the side, for easier access and to simplify loading. Softride also uses a dual-post construction in the upright arm, which could yield a stronger system than the single-post system used by Yakima and Thule, although those company’s offerings are really plenty strong.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, REI