Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers: Transport Your Bike With Confidence
Seamlessly haul your bike with these top motorcycle hitch carriers
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PUBLISHED ON July 16, 2019
It can be laborious to transport your vehicle in the bed of your pickup truck or with a trailer. To make things easier, consider using a motorcycle hitch carrier. Our buying guide and motorcycle hitch carrier reviews will help you find the top products that will help you spend less time loading your bike and more time riding it.
- Best OverallVersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier With RampSummarySummaryThis carrier fits class III and IV hitches. It's easy to store, includes an anti-tilt lock bracket, four retractable tie-down bars, and a ramp. It's designed to carry 500 pounds.ProsProsThis heavy, durable, steel carrier is easy to set up, and loading/unloading can be done by one person. The self-storing tie-downs prevent you from hitting your shins when you unload your bike.ConsConsHitches low to the ground will not work properly, the stabilization bracket and hitch pin aren't the highest quality, and the directions may be difficult to decipher.
- Best ValueBlack Widow Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle CarrierSummarySummaryThis aluminum carrier has a 400-pound weight capacity. It's designed for bikes with wheels up to 5 1/2-inches wide and can be used with Class III or IV hitch receivers.ProsProsThis carrier is lightweight and easy to assemble, carry, and store. It holds your bike tightly, and the stabilization system is top-notch. The anti-wobble bracket also makes it very solid.ConsConsYou may need assistance to safely unload a motorcycle. Also, it does not come with reflectors, and you may need to purchase additional bolts and hardware for assembly.
- Honorable MentionVersaHaul Sport Bike Carrier with RampSummarySummaryThis carrier fits class III and IV hitches, has an anti-tilt lock bracket, four retractable tie-down bars, one wheel stop, and two reflectors. It has a carrying capacity of 500 pounds.ProsProsThe carrier is high quality, stable, durable, and easy to assemble. It can be used for a variety of different-style bikes, and the ramp is strong and sturdy.ConsConsIt's fairly heavy for one person to assemble and/or place in the receiver. Also, your bike may move while attached to only the carrier extension arms.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Hitch Carriers
- They're safe and efficient. It's not always easy to load your motorcycle onto a trailer or pickup-truck bed to transport it to the track, mechanic, or another location. The best car, truck, and SUV motorcycle carriers are quick and easy to use.
- They're relatively inexpensive. When compared to trailers and pricey motorcycle haulers, a hitch carrier is much more affordable. They provide the same service for a significantly lower cost.
- No registration is required. If you use a trailer or hauler, you will need to go to the DMV for registration. You don’t need to do this with a motorcycle hitch rack.
Types of Motorcycle Hitch Carriers
The best motorcycle hitch carrier is usually made of steel or aluminum, which are durable and corrosion-resistant. A hitch mounted motorcycle hauler made of heavy-duty steel is bulky and heavy and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. As a result, carriers with steel construction may be designed with spaces to keep the weight down. One benefit is they are capable of carrying larger loads.
An aluminum motorcycle tow hitch carrier is lightweight and easier to maneuver than steel, but it can only accommodate light bikes and not heavy-duty motorbikes. On the plus side, an aluminum hitch mounted motorcycle hauler is more resistant to rust and corrosion than steel.
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.
VersaHaul is based in Winamac, Ind. and solely manufactures American-made products used for hauling motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs. Two popular products are the VersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier With Ramp and the Versa Haul Sport Bike Carrier with Ramp.
Motorcycle Hitch Carrier Pricing
- Under $100: You can purchase a motorcycle hitch carrier for less than 100 bucks, but you get what you pay for. If you want to protect your investment, spend a little more money to ensure the product is durable and high-quality.
- $100-$200: You can find a decent-quality motorcycle hitch carrier at this price point. It may have limitations, such as the weight capacity and the number of features.
- $200 and up: Premium motorcycle hitch racks are not cheap. Expect to pay several hundred dollars for a product that is strong, solid, and able to transport a bike with very little movement.
Hitch receivers are grouped into one of five classes based on the vehicle type and load capacity. For example, a class I hitch receiver has a tongue capacity of 300 pounds and can be used by sedans, SUVs, vans, sub-compact vehicles, and light- and heavy-duty trucks. Class IV and V hitch receivers have a tongue capacity up to 2,700 pounds but can only be used with light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks.
A single motorcycle hitch carrier has a weight capacity limit. Most range between 400 and 600 pounds, but some can carry more weight. As we mentioned previously, solid steel-constructed motorcycle hitch carriers are more capable of handling heavier loads than aluminum ones.
- 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 Carrier Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best Overall: VersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier With Ramp
This single motorcycle carrier fits class III and IV hitches. It has a powder-coat finish, reversible rails, and it's easy to store. It includes an anti-tilt lock bracket, four retractable tie-down bars, a wheel stop, two reflectors, one snap pin, and a ramp. It's designed to safely carry 500 pounds.
This heavy, durable, steel carrier is well built, easy to set up, and loading/unloading can be done by a single person. It features a box beam ramp instead of a flimsy "C" channel like other, less expensive brands. It's very sturdy and gives you peace of mind when you're transporting your bike. In addition, the self-storing tie-downs prevent you from hitting your shins when you unload your bike, and the ready-to-use license plate attachment holes are a nice touch.
The VersaHaul main tube extends out of the hitch at the same level, so hitches low to the ground will not work properly. Also, the stabilization bracket and hitch pin aren't the highest quality, and the directions may be difficult to decipher. Finally, the wheel stop and ramp work on only one side.
This aluminum carrier weighs 33.5 pounds and has a 400-pound weight capacity. It's designed for bikes with wheels up to 5 1/2-inches wide and can be used with Class III or IV hitch receivers. The self-storing ramp installs on either side with a roll-on, roll-off design for easy loading and unloading. The rack also includes an anti-rattle device and spacer bar adapter to fit youth 50-80cc bikes.
This nicely constructed carrier is lightweight and easy to assemble, carry, and store. It holds your bike tightly in conjunction with ratcheting tie-downs, and the stabilization system is top-notch. You can easily walk a light bike up the ramp and strap it down unassisted, and the anti-wobble bracket makes this hitch-mount carrier solid.
The front-wheel sinks into the carrier, which makes it really stable, but as a result, it may require two people to safely unload a motorcycle. It does not come with reflectors, and you may need to purchase additional bolts and hardware for assembly. There have also been some complaints that the ramp is flimsy.
Honorable Mention: VersaHaul Sport Bike Carrier with Ramp
This single motorcycle carrier fits class III and IV hitches. It has a powder coating, reversible rails, and it's easy to store. It comes with an anti-tilt lock bracket, four retractable tie-down bars, one wheel stop, and two reflectors. It has a carrying capacity of 500 pounds and is 71.5 inches long by 6.375 inches wide.
This solid carrier is high quality, stable, durable, and works like a charm. It's easy to assemble, the instructions are clear, and it can be used for a variety of different style bikes. Also, the ramp is cleverly attached to the rack, which is very strong and sturdy.
One downside is it's fairly heavy for one person to assemble and/or place in the receiver. If the ramp and vehicle have any difference in incline, the ramp looks like it will fall off. Also, your bike may move while attached to only the carrier extension arms.
- Hitch mounts are made in various sizes and weights, so make sure to use the right one for your vehicle and to support the carrier.
- Choose a hitch carrier that's strong and stable with multiple tie-down points and that won't move during transportation, so your bike isn't damaged.
- For easier loading, choose a hitch carrier with a longer ramp length. However, the benefit of shorter carriers is they are less obtrusive.
- Most trucks and large vehicles come installed with a two-inch hitch receiver. If your vehicle is big enough, it should not be difficult to find a hitch rack that is compatible.
- If you have a vehicle with a spare tire, protruding spoilers, or tube bumpers, a motorcycle hitch ramp and rack will probably not work, and a hauler or trailer may be a better option.
- 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.
Q: What does tongue weight capacity mean?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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.
Our pick for the best motorcycle hitch carrier is the VersaHaul Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier With Ramp. It's very durable, carries up to 500 pounds, is easy to install, and one person can load and unload the bike. It also features self-storing tie-downs and license plate attachment holes.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Black Widow Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier.