As a motorcycle owner, there are plenty of situations that will arise where you need to transport your two-wheeler from point A to point B. Throwing it in the bed of your pickup truck isn’t always the safest, and can actually damage your vehicle.
Getting a motorcycle hitch carrier is your best bet when it comes to transporting a sports bike or dirt bike. Motorcycle carrier racks are an essential add-on for those who frequent the outdoors and are a secure, space-saving attachment to the back of your car. With enough load capacity, and cool features that make life a whole lot easier — hitch carriers are definitely an underrated motorcycle accessory.
I personally own a TMS T-NS-MRC001 Carrier, and I think it’s the best in the market. But your needs might be different than mine, and that’s why I’ve put together an ultimate guide for the best motorcycle hitch carriers. After the list of reviews, you’ll also find a buyer’s guide which gives you insight into factors we recommend you to consider.
Top 6 Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers 2021
Our Top Pick
This is a carrier that is designed to transport not just motorcycles but even scooters. We chose the TMS T-NS-MRC001 Hitch Carrier as our top pick because it is the perfect reliable solution if the motorcycle you want to transport is around 500 pounds.
Just like other hitch carriers in this price range, it is made from steel but has a coating that protects it against rust and rain. When it comes to the loading ramp, it can only be turned towards one side and used for loading, which is a bit of a letdown in tight spaces.
The manufacturers included an anti-tilt locking device so that the vibration of your motorcycle reduces to a minimum. We really liked this feature since it protects your two-wheeler, and is much less volatile when compared to other hitch carriers.
The receiver is 2 inches in size which will suffice for most bikes under 500 pounds. With class two, three four, and five compatibilities, you can mount it on basically all types of cars (except hatchbacks!).
- Anti-tilt locking device that minimizes vibration
- Affordable price point
- Anti-corrosion finish to prevent rust
- Class 2-5 compatibilities
- Easy to install
- Loading ramp only turns one side
- Can’t handle more than 500 lbs weight
This is the perfect hitch carrier for someone who wants to make a quick and reliable decision. It’s worth the money, extremely durable for years together, and protects your motorcycle. This carrier rack might not have unique cutting-edge features, but it is definitely a high-quality hitch carrier that does the job well.
Best Double Hitch Carrier
This hitch carrier from Versahaul is super unique since it can carry two motorcycles at the same time. This extra storage space is a big lifesaver. The maximum weight capacity of this Versahaul hitch carrier is 600 lbs. If your motorcycles are both around 300 lbs, you should be able to safely transport both of them cross country.
Moreover, it is one of the few that is made with aluminum, with heavy-duty steel construction.
Since the total capacity is 600 lbs, it is considered a class three or higher carrier and cannot be joined to minivans or hatchbacks. Also if your vehicle is designed to pull class iii hitch carriers only, it is better to install better suspension setups or upgrade the existing ones.
As the hitch carrier itself is made up of aluminum it weighs just 135 pounds. This is very less considering it has two cradles and doesn’t take a toll on the car’s total towing capacity. So, if you want to transport two motorcycles at once, this would be the best motorcycle hitch carrier.
- Lighteight aluminum build
- Two motorcycles storage space
- Easy to operate loading ramp
- Great for dirt bikes and lightweight bikes
- Class iii carrier compatibility
- Class iv carrier compatibility
- No anti-rattle device
- Not compatible with class ii hitch receivers
- Low weight capacity
This is perfect for someone who has multiple lightweight motorcycles or bikes. While you can’t load on a heavy sports bike with wide tires, you can easily carry two dirt bikes in this hitch carrier. If you’re keen on the extra storage space, this hitch carrier is for you.
Best Value for Money
Another double hitch on our list! This hitch is made by MotoGroup, a reputed brand in motorcycle accessories. This carrier is specially designed for people who race at dirt tracks and have to take their bikes from one track to another. This is made from aluminum and is super lightweight considering the weight it can sustain.
The company prides itself on using a 3/4th inch hook as opposed to the 1/4th or ½ inch hooks that other manufacturers use. This they say provides more stability and there are fewer chances of you hurting yourself or the bike getting damaged when loading or unloading.
Coming to the carrying capacity, it can carry 600 pounds or weight combined. That means, one bike cannot be heavier than 300 pounds.
The weight capacity seems like a letdown but considering it is built only to serve motocross and dirt bike riders, it’s more than enough. It’s also great for electric bikes that tend to be more lightweight. You can transport most scooters on this bike if the tire dimensions can fit into the cradles, and if they fall into the weight capacity.
Additional features that did impress us are class ii or iv compatibility and that you can load it from both sides, which is greatly appreciated for the convenience it brings. There are also anti-tilt locking devices for extra security for your bikes. The best part? This hitch carrier is a breeze to assemble.
- Two motorcycle capacity
- Lightweight aluminum build
- It fits 5 1/2″ wide tires
- Class iii or iv compatibility
- Anti-rattle device
- Low weight capacity
- Can’t fit sports bikes on this carrier
- No anti-corrosion finish
We gave this product the Best Value for Money prize because of how ‘worth it’ the investment feels. It feels like a steal to get a great high-quality aluminum build hitch carrier with two motorcycle slots at this price point. While it is specifically designed for someone who owns dirt bikes, you can also get away with this hitch carrier if you own a lightweight motorcycle or a light sports bike that fits the tire and length dimensions.
Best Sportsbike Hitch
The first of its kind in this list, we have a product here that is solely made to transport sports bikes from one track to another.
Till now, we could only find hitch carriers that had enough capacity to transport just dirt motocross or enduro bikes. However, if you want a hitch carrier for a sports bike, then this is the best motorcycle hitch carrier.
It doesn’t have the usual railings that you find on other carriers but small-sized grills. This is in order to protect the fairings that all sports bikes have. Also, the loading ramp is very big in size, this also helps in protecting the fairing of the bike when loading and unloading.
Moreover, instead of using cables and wires, there is a wheel stop provided in the hitch carrier itself where the wheel can be locked.
The one thing to keep in mind is that it also has a load capacity of 600 pounds and hence, you can only transport small to medium capacity bikes. On the brighter side, the wheelbase is adjustable for each different bike.
Since sports bikes require larger ramp width as their wheels are wider, the company has provided an 8-inch thick ramp.
- Large loading ramp
- Wide wheelbase adjustable for different bikes
- Wheel stop feature to lock motorcycle wheels for stability
- Adjustable wheel chock for lateral support
- Zero wobble hitch carrier for shockproofing your bike
- Weight capacity is only 600lbs
- No anti-corrosion or anti-rust feature
- Only attaches with 2″ receivers
- Not suitable for heavier sports bikes
This is great for someone with a decently sized sports bike who needs to travel with it. Keep in mind that you must have a 2″ receiver on your vehicle and your sports bike cannot weigh more than 600lbs. However, it’s still suitable for many bike owners since the wheelbase is adjustable for different-sized tires.
Best Lightweight Bike Hitch
This hitch carrier may not be able to carry the heaviest bikes around, but it’s one of the most cleverly designed hitch carriers we’ve ever seen. It’s especially great for mountain bikes when you’re out on your adventures.
This hitch carrier can support tires up to 5 inches wide, and actually has separate spaces for not one, but two bikes. Installing efficiently, it connects to any standard 2-inch hitch.
Here’s the catch — the maximum weight capacity for this hitch carrier is 120lbs. You might think that’s on the lower side, and it is, but it works perfectly for most dirtbikes, e-bikes, and mountain bikes.
It’s also priced very reasonably considering the storage space and convenience you get. We really like the quick-release tilt feature, it works smoothly and helps you get your bikes on and off the hitch with ease. The overall build of the hitch carrier is very sturdy, and this is definitely the kind of carrier that will last you years together.
- Quick-release tilt feature
- Plenty of storage space
- Great for lightweight bikes
- Reflective attachments
- Easy to install
- Reasonable price
- Low weight capacity
- Not suitable for heavy engine motorcycles
This hitch carrier has an outdoor adventurer’s name written all over it. If you plan to be adventure cycling or just venturing out for a camping trip, you’ll love this carrier. It won’t work for someone with a motorcycle above 120 lbs.
Best Dirt Bike Hitch
Lastly, we had to tell you which hitch carrier is our absolute favorite dirt bike hitch.
While we do have a lot of lightweight motorcycle hitch carriers on our list, this one is an aluminum build that is durable, easy to install, and can handle a decent amount of weight.
For example, the ramp itself is 6 inches wide, which works for most bikes with a tire width of under 6 inches. Also, the ramp can be used on both sides, which is a boon in congested places, and definitely makes unloading easier.
The length is restricted to 75.25 inches and since it is an aluminum build, the maximum load capacity is 400 pounds. This means, at most, you can transport dirt bikes on this.
There is also an anti-tilt locking device which is a big deal on bumpy roads. It minimizes the wobbling around and protects your motorcycle from damage. Also, you get a small opening where you can station some mini dirt bikes between 70-90 cc.
- The ramp opens on both sides
- Great for dirt bikes
- Anti-tilt locking device
- Aluminum sturdy build
- High maximum weight capacity 400 lbs
- No facility for multiple bikes
- No anti-corrosion finish
This hitch carrier is perfect for you if you love your dirt bike and want to give it the best hitch carrier in the market. Your dirt bike is stable and supported, with minimal shock damage for those long bumpy rides. It’s definitely worth the price point.
Why You Should Use Hitch Carriers
1. Ease Of Use
Compared to other forms of motorcycle transport that you can choose, hitch carriers are by far the easiest to use. In case you are using a trailer or a truck, stationing your beloved motorbike and fastening them can be a time-consuming and difficult task to carry out.
Once you attach the hitch carrier to your car, minivan, or pickup truck, loading the bike can be as easy and fast.
Hitch carriers are substantially less in price when you compare them with trailers or other forms of motorcycle transporting accessories.
Depending on whether you opt for an entry-level hitch carrier or a top-end one, you can enjoy high-quality steel construction that lasts for years and gives you a return on your investment.
3. Document-Free Travel
If you attach a trailer or hauler to your car, you would need to get a license from the DMV. This would be time-consuming and would also need renewals from time to time.
Also, the chances of you getting pulled over frequently by cops are higher when you have a trailer or hauler.
You don’t have to worry about this when you’ve installed a hitch carrier. They require zero documentation and fit as a secure attachment to your vehicle.
Things To Consider While Buying The Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers
1. Type Of Material
Hitch Carriers usually come in two types of materials. They will be either made of steel or aluminum. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Steel ones are considerably bulkier and hence, holes are provided in non-essential places to keep the weight down. On the brighter side, you can carry heavier motorcycles on steel hitch carriers with ease.
Aluminum hitch carriers are obviously lighter than steel ones. However, you can only carry motorcycles that are lightweight on these hitch carriers. They are also easier to mount on the back of your car due to lower mass.
Another advantage is that aluminum cannot rust or corrode easily as opposed to steel, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance. The only precaution you need to take is about how heavy a load you are putting on it.
Hitch compatibility refers to the type of vehicle the hitch is made for. There are five classes of hitch carriers, each for a different type of vehicle. Also, different classes of carriers have different load capacities.
For example, the class one hitch carrier has a capacity of just 300 pounds and can be fitted to cars such as hatchbacks, sedans, compact SUVs, and minivans. As you increase in class, the size of the car that it is compatible with also increases.
Class four and five carriers have a capacity of 2700 pounds and are suitable for pickup trucks.
3. Load Capacity
Load capacity is the maximum weight that a hitch carrier can be subjected to. As we have discussed there are many factors involved like the class of the hitch carrier or the type of material etc. The most common range across which you will find the maximum number of hitch carriers is between 400-600 pounds.
If you do need higher or lower capacities, you can get that too. The spectrum lies between 300-2700 pounds. Most of the higher load carriers are made of steel rather than aluminum.
Durability in the case of the best motorcycle carrier doesn’t only mean how good the quality is and how long it will last. It also means how well the carrier can handle the motorbike that is placed on it.
That means it includes how stable the carrier is on the back of your car, how minimal the movement or shaking of the bike is, what features it has to stop your bike from moving too much etc.
Needless to say, it should also be resistant to damage in worst-case scenarios like too much movement of the bike, traveling on unpaved and uneven roads, traveling at high speed, etc.
5. Bike Weight
Buying a hitch carrier that has a higher or lower load capacity than the one that your motorbike actually requires is not a good thing.
It can lead to various problems like unreliable fastening, more vibrations and moving around, and even damage to your car and the carrier.
To avoid such situations, it is better to check the mass of your motorcycle and then decide on the class and load capacity of the hitch carrier.
You also need to consider the material of the carrier depending on the weight of your bike. If it is heavy, go with a steel frame. On the other hand, if it is low in weight, aluminum will suffice.
6. Ease Of Use
The sole reason why typical hitch carriers are so popular is that they can be very easy to use.
Right from installing them on a normal car, to loading and unloading of the motorbike, hitch carriers provide a simple solution for transporting a motorcycle. Therefore, while buying one, you need to consider how easy it would be to use.
Unless the mass of your bike demands it, you should refrain from buying steel or other bulky hitch carriers.
The weight range of the hitch carriers ranges from 30 pounds to 100 pounds, with the latter requiring two people to install. So, be prepared for that.
Price would be a sensitive factor for a lot of buyers. As with every commercial product, the price range is quite vast and as the price increases, normally the quality also does increase.
You can get hitch carriers for as low as $70 and as high as $300. However, the usual range is between $100-$200.
To help you choose the best motorcycle hitch carrier, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the best options available in the market.
FAQs on Motorcycle Hitch Carriers
1. Are Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Safe To Use?
Yes, motorcycle hitch carriers are completely safe. In fact, they are safer than trailers as there is less wobbling and more steadiness in hitch carriers. However, you have to drive carefully under a speed limit recommended by the hitch carrier company to avoid mishaps and lessen the impact on your motorcycle.
2. Are Hitch Carriers Legal?
Yes, definitely they are legal. The only time you can run into trouble is if the hitch carrier or the bike is covering your license plate. For obvious reasons, your license plate should not be covered at any given point in time. Most hitch carriers do, in fact, block the license plate. Your best bet is to search for a hitch carrier with a license plate relocation bracket. Remember that the number plate also needs to be illuminated during the night so that it’s visible.
3. How Do I Know If My Bike Is Compatible With The Hitch Carrier?
First look at the size of the receiver and if it matches, move on to the load capacity of the carrier. It should be higher than the weight of your bike. If both these factors are OK, then the bike and carrier are compatible.
4. What Material Is Preferable? Steel Or Aluminum?
If you want your hitch carrier to be light in weight, then aluminum is better. However, keep in mind they usually don’t have good load capacity. If that’s what you want, steel hitch carriers are better. Also, there is always a risk of steel rusting. If you’re going to be picking a steel carrier, choose one with an anti-corrosive finish.
5. Should I Install Lights On My Hitch Carrier?
A lot of hitch carriers come with a cool feature: their own lights. However, these lights only serve the purpose of a tail light and are supposed to be a replacement in case the hitch carrier is blocking your vehicle’s taillights. So if your tail lights are already visible, there’s no need to opt for a hitch carrier with its own lights.
You might need to install lights on your hitch carrier in order for your number plate to be more visible, particularly if you drive a lot at night. Always check with your state laws before moving around the number plate.
A good hitch carrier is always worth the investment, and much safer than any other alternative.
Even if you choose not to delve into the specifics of build material and bonus features: you can easily choose the right hitch carrier for yourself based on whether you own a sports motorcycle or a dirt bike. You can’t go wrong by choosing any of the carefully curated hitch carriers on our list.
If you want my recommendation — the TMS T-NS-MRC001 Carrier is a solid choice.
Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Picks for Hitch Carriers
|TMS T-NS-MRC001 Carrier||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Versa Haul VH-55DMRO||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|MotoGroup Hitch Carrier||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Mototote MTX Hitch Carrier||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|KAC Overdrive Sports K2 2” Hitch Mounted Rack||VIEW ON AMAZON →|