Platform vs. Hanging Bike Racks


A question we frequently get asked is, what type of hitch-mounted bike rack should I get? A platform or a hanging style rack? Which is better?

A platform rack is a bike rack where your bikeís wheels rest on the bike rack whereas the hanging rack is one in which the frame rests on the bike rack. Letís take a look at each one a little more closely by reviewing the pros and cons of a platform versus hanging hitch-mounted bike rack.

Platform Pros

  • Easier to load and unload bikes. Donít have to lift bikes as high
  • Allows for many different bike styles
  • Bikes are very secure at both the wheels and the frame
  • No contact with other bikes on the rack and less contact between the bike and the rack

Platform Cons

  • Heavier then hanging racks
  • Bulkier and harder to store when not in use
  • Larger/heavier rack may be hard to install and uninstall
  • Typically extends farther out from the vehicle than hanging rack

Hanging Pros

  • Lighter weight than platform racks
  • Easier to store because of how they fold up
  • Easier to install and uninstall on hitch receiver
  • Does not extend as far out from the vehicle as platform racks

Hanging Cons

  • Does not fit as many different bike styles unless using adapter bar
  • Can be challenging trying to get all bikes to fit on the rack without touching
  • Have to lift bikes higher
  • If no anti-sway bar, bikes can move (highly recommend getting a bike rack with an anti-sway bar)

Bottom Line

If you plan to load and unload your bikes frequently from the rack, then a platform rack would be your choice. If you plan on removing your bike rack from your vehicle frequently, then a hanging rack would be your choice.

Other Considerations

If you have a bike with a carbon frame, then you might want to consider going with a platform rack where the bike is secured mostly at the wheels and slightly at the frame. Your bikes warranty might be voided if the frame is damaged when using a hanging frame.

Make sure when you receive your rack that you install it and try loading and unloading your bikes before you actually want to go somewhere to ride. It can take some time to make sure you get the bikes situated on the rack properly, especially with a hanging rack.

Get the right side rack for your hitch receiver! Hitched Mounted racks fit either a 1 ľ in or 2in receiver hitch. Some racks fit both sizes. This information should be clearly stated on the product specifications.