Reviews

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers: Keep Your Bike Secure During Transit

Seamlessly haul your bike with these top motorcycle hitch carriers.

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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON August 9, 2021

Hitting the open road with the freedom of your motorcycle is one of the most thrilling experiences out there. Of course, unless you’re exploring a small area, you need to haul your bike around. It can be a real chore, especially if you don’t have a solid way to move your motorcycle around. Thankfully, getting a motorcycle hitch carrier can make a world of difference. To cut through the noise and get you back to exploring, we’ve identified the best hitch carriers for any motorcycling style.

Best Overall
Trackside Motorcycle Carrier
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Summary
Summary

A resilient way to carry your motorcycle, this carrier connects to most standard hitches. Featuring anti-tilt technology, it can support up to 500 pounds.

Pros
Pros
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Built by a reputable brand
  • Powder-coated steel resists rust and corrosion
Cons
Cons
  • Only works with Class III and Class IV hitches
  • Exclusively fits tires less than 4.75 inches
Best Overall
Trackside Motorcycle Carrier
Best Value
Portable Motorcycle Trailer Carrier
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Summary
Summary

Affordable and resilient, this motorcycle carrier can support an impressive 800 pounds. Attached to any standard hitch, this carrier is a great way to move your bike around.

Pros
Pros
  • Comes at a friendly price point
  • Works on any manual transmission bike or scooter
  • Simplifies transportation
Cons
Cons
  • Relies on a manual crank to make adjustments
  • Only works with Class II and Class III hitches
Best Value
Portable Motorcycle Trailer Carrier
Honorable Mention
Black Widow Steel Motorcycle Carrier
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Summary
Summary

Capable of supporting up to 500 pounds, this heavy-duty hitch is made out of heat-treated steel and comes with advanced anti-tilt locking. At over 75 inches long, it’s compatible with most motorcycles.

Pros
Pros
  • Available at an accessible price point
  • Includes a built-in ramp
  • Features heavy-duty steel coated in rust-resistant powder
  • Comes with a hitch pin
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn’t include a wheel chock 
  • Ramp can be difficult to use 
  • Materials include cadmium and lead
Honorable Mention
Black Widow Steel Motorcycle Carrier

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Benefits of Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

  • Protect your truck and motorcycle. By storing your motorcycle on a hitch carrier, there is sufficient clearance between the vehicle and the bike. This prevents scratches and dings on both surfaces. Hitch carriers equipped with anti-tilt balancing features add stability to the motorcycle (even when the road gets bumpy). 
  • Easy to install. Unlike some accessories, motorcycle hitch carriers are almost effortless to install. Most come with the setup hardware, and rely on the tools you likely already have in your garage. Not only is the process quick, but you also get professional results without paying shop fees for setup. 
  • Road safety. Anytime you hit the asphalt, safety is the first priority. Considering the freeway speeds you can hit, having a truly secure way to tow your bike is essential. A high-grade motorcycle hitch carrier ensures that you and fellow drivers are safe on the road. 
  • Low-cost way to haul your motorbike. If you put the price tag of a trailer next to a hitch carrier, the difference is clear. If you don’t want to hook up a trailer or set it into a truck bed every time you take a ride, hitch carriers offer a lot of convenience. It’s affordable and easy to use—a dynamic pair if there ever was one. 
  • No paperwork or registration. Trailers require registration paperwork in order to be road-legal. On the other hand, a hitch carrier lets you get all the transport and storage benefits, without wasting a day in the DMV. 
  • Lets you travel lighter. Most carriers give you all the storage you could need for a motorcycle. Unless you’re pursuing it professionally, or need the extra room in the trailer, you can get all the same benefits with a hitch carrier (at a fraction of the cost). 

Types of Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

Aluminum Frame 

Motorcycle hitch carriers made out of aluminum are popular for a couple of key reasons. For starters, aluminum comes cheaper and is lighter than other common metals. It is neither prone to rust or corrosion, making it a great candidate for the outdoors. However, this type of hitch carrier is only suited for light-duty motorbikes. You can find models that accommodate tires up to 5 inches wide, but the weight threshold is seldom higher than 130 pounds. Unless you have a compact bike or light-duty motocross setup, you’ll benefit from a different type. 

Steel Frame 

Widely regarded as the best type of motorcycle hitch carrier, steel frames offer a tensile strength that aluminum just can’t beat. Sure, the metal is more vulnerable to rust due to the iron content. However, with a simple powder coating, the manufacturers nip that issue in the bud. Though these hitch carriers are heavier, they are also capable of supporting much more weight. Even the lowest end of this type can easily support 200 pounds. The strongest models can even support up to 800 pounds. This type costs more and is bulkier, but if you plan to use the carrier on even a moderately regular basis, it’s worth the extra cost. 

Tilting Carriers 

This type of hitch carrier was born with the need to access a vehicle’s storage without having to remove the carrier every time. Tilting carriers move at an angle, letting you get to the back of your SUV. These tend to be bulkier, since lower-profile carriers let you access the trunk without the extra feature. However, for heavy-duty bikes, the tilt offers clear advantages. Though moving parts are more vulnerable to rust, with proper care, they last as long as the other types. 

Top Brands

MotoTote

This company was founded in 1996 by Dan Diotte, who built motorcycle carriers for friends and acquaintances. The company distributes its products at powersports dealers, auto dealers, RV dealers, web dealers, and wholesale distributors. One recommended product is the MotoTote Sport Bike Motorcycle Carrier.

Trackside

With an impressively diverse product line, Trackside focuses its efforts on outdoor enthusiasts. Geared towards motorcyclists specifically, it offers everything from ramps to towing gear. Though it’s a newer brand, it has quickly developed a reputation for quality amongst experienced bikers. A great example of its quality hitch carriers is the Trackside Motorcycle Carrier. 

Motorcycle Hitch Carrier Pricing

  • Under $100: If you’re looking in this price range, don’t set your sights high. You can find aluminum options and low-grade steel picks, but the quality is diminished. The added risk of warping, fit issues, and size make it worthwhile to invest a bit more upfront and avoid problems down the line.  
  • Between $100 and $200: For recreational riders, this is the sweet spot for motorcycle hitch carriers. There are models of every type in this price range, coming in all sizes and weight thresholds. The carrier won’t be perfect, but it will get the job done and, with care, will last. 
  • $200 and up: An investment in motorcycle transportation is exactly that: an upfront cost that pays off in value over time. Premium carriers are compatible with more hitch types, are more supportive, and are built to outlast lower-grade options. For a heavy-duty hitch carrier, expect to pay in this range, where the higher the price tag, the stronger and more advanced it is. 

Key Features

Compatible Hitches 

There are five classes of hitch receivers, differentiated by two things. The first is the type of vehicle holding the hitch and the other is load capacity. Class I hitches have a tongue weight of 300 pounds. Referring to the downward force exerted on the hitch ball of the vehicle, a Class I hitch could go on an SUV or truck. Conversely, higher-class hitches are meant for tongue capacity in the tons. These are only compatible with pickup trucks. Knowing the type of hitch you’re dealing with goes a long way to finding the best motorcycle carrier. The best options will be compatible with all five types, but the important thing is that the carrier works with your hitch.

Weight Threshold

The owner’s manual of your motorcycle will state the net weight of the ride, but it doesn’t include a tank of gas, transmission fluid, or accessories. Factor in the real weight of the motorcycle when deciding on your hitch carrier. The vast majority range between 300 and 800 pounds, but there are specialized options for heavier gear. Keep in mind that aluminum frames consistently support less weight than steel models. Also note that the more weight it supports, the more the carrier will cost. Aim for more than the weight of your bike, but not by too much. 

Carrier Size and Structure

Weight is an extremely important measurement, but it doesn’t make the size and build of the carrier any less important. If your motorcycle is too long or the tires are too wide for a chock, then it won’t be a suitable pick. Look at the dimensions on the carrier and ensure that they exceed the size of your motorcycle. Be sure to take a gander at the distance it gives between the hitch and centerpoint of the carrier. Too close, you get paint scratches. Too far, you get wobbling. Generally, look for the smallest possible choice while still ensuring everything fits. It is the best way to balance stability with support. 

Other Considerations

  • Bike Mass. A motorcycle bumper carrier can only carry so much weight. You need to determine how heavy your motorbike is before you purchase a motorcycle hitch carrier. If you have a lightweight dirt bike, a carrier with a 400-pound capacity may suffice. If you have a heavier machine, you will need a steel frame carrier that can handle more weight.
  • Durability. The best motorcycle hitch carrier will be very stable and reliable. It will securely hold your motorcycle and minimize motion while you’re driving. It should also last a long time and include features that prevent your bike from moving, such as wheel cradles, tie-down straps, and other mechanisms.
  • Ease of Use. A motorcycle rack for trailer hitches shouldn't be too difficult to install. The biggest problem is the weight of the carrier; it's much easier to install one that weighs under 40 pounds than one that is close to 100 pounds. Some manufacturers provide instructions that are easy to follow as well as all the necessary hardware to assemble the unit.
  • Extras. One feature that's very helpful is a loading ramp. It can be very challenging to put a motorcycle on a carrier without a ramp. Another feature to look out for is a double bike carrier that can transport more than one motorcycle at a time. Other extras include anti-tilt locking devices and multiple tie-down spots.

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Trackside Motorcycle Carrier

A clear winner overall, the Trackside Motorcycle Carrier is a fantastic go-to for any serious rider. For starters, it is able to support up to 500 pounds, well within the parameters of the industry standards. You can load and unload your bike from either side, using the included ramp for simplified access. The device is manufactured using high-grade steel, finished with a corrosion-resistant powder coating. Standing out for its simple design, the focus of this hitch carrier is on getting the job done. Featuring built-in anti-tilt devices, the streamlined structure makes it highly resilient. Easy to install and extremely durable, this makes a fantastic go-to solution overall. 


Nothing’s perfect, though. This carrier fits most rides, but won’t accommodate tires larger than 4.75 inches. Compatible with only Class III and Class IV hitches, it is meant to work with the most common motorcycle setups around.

Best Value
Portable Motorcycle Trailer Carrier

Need a way to haul around your bike while sticking to your budget? Consider the Portable Motorcycle Trailer Carrier for its cost-effective price point and high functionality. It stands out from the competition for its ability to withstand 800 pounds. Connecting to any standard 2-by-2-inch Class II or Class III receiver, it fits most vehicles for a hitch. The device is made out of high-grade steel, covered with a powder coating that prevents rust and corrosion. Adjusting using a crank handle, the manual controls keep you in control of its position. Limiting the storage requirements for your motorcycle, the design makes transporting the bike easier and more affordable. 


There are a couple of downsides, where you need to manually remove the driveshaft on an automatic to prevent transmission wear. Plus, if the crank rusts or corrodes (something moving parts are always susceptible to), then it can be harder to control the carrier. However, in terms of cost versus quality, this is a winning value pick.

Honorable Mention
KAC Overdrive Hitch Mounted Carrier

Not all motorcyclists ride a heavy-duty Harley, which is why the KAC Overdrive Hitch Mounted Carrier is such an interesting option. It earns a shoutout on this list not for its intense build, but rather its streamlined design. Able to support tires up to 5 inches wide, with two separate spaces for bikes, this carrier is ideal for group excursions. Installing efficiently, it connects to any standard 2-inch hitch. Cumulatively able to support up to 120 pounds, though it won’t support an engine-heavy motorcycle, it will support e-bikes and some autocross models. Priced affordably, it lets those with smaller rides reap all the benefits of a hitch carrier, without shelling out extra for unused capacity. This model comes with a quick-release tilt feature, reflective components, and a secure structure, making it a worthy pick for many avid autocrossers. 


Keep in mind that this won’t support your gas-powered motorcycle. This carrier is geared towards those with compact rides that aren’t as heavy as a motorcycle but still bulkier than a bike.

Honorable Mention
Black Widow Steel Motorcycle Carrier

The open and lightweight design of this motorcycle carrier makes it easy to maneuver and set up. It features a 5-inch wide support that can accommodate sport, touring, and off-road motorcycles. It has a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds and is constructed of steel. A 45.5-inch long ramp is included to make loading your bike easier. Store the ramp on the carrier during transport. What makes this carrier stand out is the included 5/8-inch hitch pin and anti-rattle device to prevent tilting and wobbling during transport. The carrier is powder-coated for durability and anti-corrosion. 


Unfortunately, this carrier doesn’t come with a wheel chock. The platform and ramp aren’t solid and smooth, which can make it harder to roll your bike on and off.

Honorable Mention
Tilt-A-Rack Aluminum Hitch Mounted Carrier

Anytime you take your motorcycle on the road, it’s vulnerable to damage. The Tilt-A-Rack Aluminum Hitch is a great way to shore up the well-being of your motorcycle during transit. Sure, it won’t help the dings and dust, but it can prevent vibration damage. By securing the carrier effectively to the 2-inch Class IV hitch, it ensures that there is a stable base for your ride. Capable of withstanding up to 600 pounds, you can rely on this model for even the most intense motorcycles. It comes with a ramp feature, extending from the structure itself to remove the need for carrying extra gear around. With a tilt feature, it lowers the rack to the ground and lets you both remove and hook your bike in quickly. Offering a 19-inch clearance from the pin to the carrier, it keeps the paint intact on both your truck and your motorcycle.


It warrants a mention that, for the premium quality of this model, there is a higher price point than most of the competition. Casual motorcyclist? Opt for a more basic option. Serious rider? This carrier is definitely worth the investment.

Honorable Mention
BikeMaster Motorcycle Carrier

Capable of holding up to 500 pounds, the BikeMaster Motorcycle Carrier is designed to withstand a whole host of wear and tear. With a clearance of 18 inches between the pin and ramp center, even larger rides aren’t prone to scratches. Equipped to handle tires up to 5 inches wide, you can attach this carrier to either a Class III or Class IV receiver. Compatible with a 2-inch hitch, this carrier comes with an attachable ramp. This makes loading and unloading easy, especially when paired with the front tire slot. Complete with an anti-tilt setup, this well-balanced hitch carrier makes motorcycling adventures more accessible. Strong steel, corrosive-resistant coating, and a quality design earns this model an honorable mention. 


Bear in mind that this carrier, while large enough for most rides, won't accommodate anything over 5 inches in tire width. Be sure that your carrier can support both the weight and size of your ride.

Honorable Mention
Best Elm Bikes Inc. Hitch Mount Carrier

Want something that is crafted specifically for motocross enthusiasts? Check out the Best Elm Bikes Inc. Hitch Mount Carrier for its versatile design and easy installation. It features an included loading ramp and locking parts to prevent vibrations. The anti-tilt feature holds the bike steady while you are on the road. You can load this hitch from either side; and, since it is capable of holding 500 pounds, you can use it on just about any bike. Attaching to any standard 2-inch square receiver, this carrier works with Class II, Class III, Class IV, or Class V trailer hitches. This alone sets it apart from most other selections, typically restricted to two types of hitch. Simple to set up, this model comes with a few nuts and bolts, letting you set it up with the tools you already have on hand. 


It warrants a mention that this model does not include a hitch pin. That said, they are easy enough to find if you don’t already have one. For the price, it’s a great way to go.
Honorable Mention
TMS T-NS-MRC001 Motorcycle Hitch Carrier

This is a high-end hitch receiver designed by TMS that’s great for hauling heavy dirt bikes and scooters. It’s made from heavy-duty steel with a powder-coated finish to resist fading, scratching, chipping, and wear. It’s also designed with a dual-sided loading ramp to make it easy to load or unload your bike from either side. It fits a 2-inch hitch receiver for Class II, III, IV, or V trailer hitches. This carrier can safely haul loads of up to 500 pounds and features an anti-tilt locking device to keep the bike from wobbling while it’s in transit. It also has sufficient traction of the carrying channel to help keep the wheels stationary. 


One downside is that this carrier is less dense than most carriers, seeing that it weighs a bit under 50 pounds. This makes it more prone to dents, which can shorten its service life. That being said, it’s best to limit its use to short trips rather than long-distance moves to avoid overexerting the metal. Another thing is you may have to purchase extra tie-downs to keep the bike secure.

Honorable Mention
Ecotric Store Black Steel Motorcycle Carrier

On the hunt for a hitch carrier that is strong without overdoing it? Consider the Ecotric Store Black Steel Motorcycle Carrier for its sturdy build. With a relatively basic design, it puts focus on structural integrity rather than flash. Supporting 500 pounds, this powder-coated steel hitch trailer is meant for heavy-duty use. Simple to set up and to use, it includes a loading ramp that makes it quick to load and unload the motorcycle. Fitting with 2-inch square receivers of any class, it holds the motorcycle steady while you drive. Because it offers 18 inches of space between the ramp and the pin, you can protect the exterior of both your truck and the motorcycle. Standing out for its compact structure, this carrier is a great option for those with limited storage space. 


Keep in mind that, while it is tough, the weight threshold is there for a reason. Going over that limit can lead to warping and bending, compromising the device’s ability to lift.

Tips

  • Many hitch carriers don’t include the mount, and the functional success relies on this component. Ensure that you are using the best fit for your ride so that you can more stably accommodate the hitch carrier. 
  • Look for a carrier that lets you tie down the motorcycle at many points to ensure stability on the road. It prevents damage to both the bike and the towing vehicle. 
  • Hitch carriers that include ramps are generally easier to use, where the longer the ramp, the easier it is to load and unload the bike. Some come with built-in ramps while others tack on the supply as a perk. 
  • Though most vehicles have an OEM two-inch square hitch receiver, others don’t include that component. The good news is that you can easily get one set up (provided your vehicle will support it). 
  • Consider the physical layout of the area surrounding your hitch before you pick a carrier. Will it get in the way of your spare tire or cause issues with your bumper? If you have a clear, open space, go for it. Otherwise, you might want to look at a motorcycle trailer
  • If you plan on going off-road with your vehicle, think twice about using a hitch carrier to transport your bike. Wobbling and shaking can damage the carrier as well as your motorcycle.
  • Make sure your license plate is visible after you install a motorcycle carrier rack. You may need to purchase an extra license plate mount and affix it to the carrier itself.
  • For added safety, consider installing LED lights on the back of the carrier so other drivers can see it better at night. Battery-powered lights work just fine and are easy to put on the carrier.

FAQs

Q: What does tongue weight capacity mean?

The tongue weight capacity is the weight your vehicle can hold on the hitch. This information is included in your owner's manual. Another way to determine an approximate tongue weight capacity is by taking your car's total towing capacity and dividing it by 10.

Q: Are motorcycle hitch carriers safe?

They are just as safe as a trailer but offer more convenience. It's harder to maneuver a vehicle when you're hauling a trailer, and it's also more difficult to park. Some hitch carriers even allow you to transport two bikes just like a trailer. Just be sure to stay within the weight limits of the vehicle and the hitch.

Q: How do I know if a hitch carrier will work with my vehicle and motorcycle?

Check that the load rating of both your motorcycle and hitch carrier are within your vehicle's tongue weight. The carrier will come with information that describes the maximum weight it can hold.

Q: How do I install a motorcycle hitch trailer?

For most setups, you first need to connect the support brackets to the trailer hitch bar and put the carrier between them. Then place the anti-tilt device on the hitch. Next, place the rack on the hitch and connect the hitch pin. If it's included, mount the ramp. Make sure the carrier is stable before loading your bike.

Final Thoughts

After rounding up all the best motorcycle hitch carriers on the market, we’ve named the Trackside Motorcycle Carrier as our top pick. Not only does it have an impressive weight capacity, but it’s also designed resiliently and is compatible with most standard hitches. If you are looking to stick to a budget, consider the Portable Motorcycle Trailer Carrier, a cost-effective way to haul your motorcycle.