Rack Roundup! Best new hitch, roof & home bike racks
My final roundup from Sea Otter (yes, it takes that long to do everything from the world’s largest consumer cycling festival) has all the new racks, rigs, and cargo boxes for bringing bikes and gear along. There were the usual big brands, plus some upstarts and updates with killer new ideas and products worth a look.
Above, Kuat introduced their Ibex overland collection for pickup trucks, with a telescoping design and multiple frames to fit different trucks from Toyota, Dodge/RAM, Ford, Chevy/GMC, Nissan, and more. It’s designed as a shell, with plenty of accessories to customize it however you want.
Cross bars fit any of their roof trays, holding bikes, skis, snowboards, etc., and MOLLE-style side panels can be added to fit other gear on the inside and outside. You can even attach a single-bike tray to the side to keep it lower for (slightly) better gas mileage and (much) easier loading.
Their new HUK tailgate pad comes in five sizes to hold from 2 to 6 bikes, with straight and curved models to fit different truck beds more precisely. It has a soft-touch backing with and extra 1″ of padding along the top to keep your bike safer, and a flip-up panel maintains back-up camera visibility when needed.
A looped strap system lets you position the bikes where you want, and have metal G-Hook buckles for quick attachment and release. It’s a welded construction with smooth-touch finish, has a 3-year warranty, and when it’s finally worn out, it’s fully recyclable and biodegradable!
The new Piston rear hitch rack launched prior to Sea Otter and uses their easy-release pneumatic wheel cradles, just without the Kashima coating and rear lights to bring the price down. Check our full coverage for all the details, but here’s a closeup of the quick-adjust arms that let it fit everything from full-size mountain bikes to 20″ kids bikes, with a fender adapter placement to more easily hold bikes with a front (or rear) fender.
There’s an e-bike ramp accessory that telescopes to provide an easy way to roll heavier bikes onto the ramp, and Kuat’s smooth, consistent tray shape makes it really easy to roll the bike all the way into place. Then just pop the ramp off and throw it in your trunk. If you have e-bikes and routinely carry more than 2 bikes, this makes it much, much easier to get those first bikes on versus trying to maneuver the bike and yourself around a 3-4 bike rack.
Upstart Railias has a unique take on the truck tailgate pad. You can use it like normal, with soft, shaped cradles cuddling your downtube as it rests on the tailgate. Or, use their strap in mounts to attach fork mounts, a shade tent, or a repair stand:
The repair stand clamp telescopes, and can pop in and out of the mounting tray easily, so you can secure it inside the vehicle when you’re out riding, but make easy repairs when necessary. Note the small storage pockets integrated into the padding, too…great for keeping brake pad spacers on hand.
The design is more clever than it looks. Without the repair stand there, you can position the fork’s axle higher up on the tailgate (or not), and then just close the tailgate and it rolls your bike backward into the bed. So, you don’t have to drive with the tailgate open if you’re storing other stuff in the bed, too. Other accessories let you mount base plates to a wall or van floor, too, so you can use the same fork mounts and accessories elsewhere.
Inno Racks has a new base rack system coming, using a modular approach that makes it really easy to move and remove bike trays, letting you position them to more easily nest two bikes together. But, it also lets you use the same base for cargo:
Using lockable quick release clamps, you can add a storage box to the rack, too.
A similar system is coming for their roof rails, too, starting with a base tray that can hold bike trays or this locking cargo box that…
…slides off and has wheels and a handle for easy transport. Sized like a large suitcase, it could make family travel and camp setup a lot easier by being able to take everything down for easier access, or just rolling it right into the hotel or rental. Price and availability TBD.
North Shore Racks
North Shore Racks had a few new items and updates, like this small two-bike model of their original hanging hitch rack.
Their proprietary fork crown cradle gets updated to fit the larger diameter crowns coming on enduro and e-MTBs, reinforced to handle heavier bikes.
That cradle design has always been specifically for suspension forks, leaving roadies out of the picture. But now they have a fork-mount adapter that lets you attach your road bike with the thru axle, then hang the adapter in their cradle and strap it into place. Works for gravel bikes, too…or any bike with a thru axle front and non-suspension fork.
Yakima wasn’t showing brand new racks, but had a few things I hadn’t seen before, like the SafetyMate light-and-license plate kit for their StageTwo hitch mount bike rack. You’ll want (need) a trailer wiring harness to make it work, but it adds better visibility (and possibly legality) to your tray rack.
Their OnRamp is designed specifically for e-bikes, with a 66lb-per-tray load capacity and single-pole clamp system that can be adjusted for oddly shaped and sized bikes. That design works particularly well for the popular compact cargo e-bikes that have fenders, lights, racks, and other things that make wheel cradles unusable. A built-in ramp makes loading easy.
The new SkyBox NX has an easy-mount system that fits almost any cross bar, but its real trick is the nearly perfectly flat bottom. A full metal handle and SKS locking system secures things inside and makes it easy to open and close, and it holds 16 cubic feet of stuff.
Thru.bike isn’t a rack company, it’s a bicycle shipping and delivery service. Originally created for triathletes that didn’t want to pack and ship their bike, they’ve now expanded their van network to carry any bike for anyone, even brands. They pick up the complete bike, load it into their custom-outfitted moving vans, and deliver it where needed, fully intact.
Brands can use it to deliver customer bikes fully built, and you can use it to get your bike to a race or vacation destination without having to do so much as loosen a single bolt. They use a hub-and-spoke delivery system, much like UPS or FedEx, so it may move between multiple vans, but their custom-built wall racks keep the bike safe and secure in transit.
The new Thule Epos rear rack has a very European look, with integrated lights and a folding design with wheels to make it easier to transport and store when not on your car.
Rather than the usual wheel cradles, it straps an arm to the top of the rear wheel to stabilize the bike, with wheel straps in the tray to keep the bike on board. Longer straps are available separately for fat bike wheels.
Abus cable locks, e-bike ramps, and other goodies are available to customize the rack to your needs. Hit that link for our full tech coverage.
If you love hanging racks but have heavy e-bikes (or even motos!!!), the Bike eRack has a wireless remote controlled electric rack that lowers to make it easy to load them, then raises with the flick of a switch.
It lowers to the ground so you can just roll your front wheel into the cradle, strap it in, then effortlessly raise it up until the rear wheels come to rest on the bottom bar. Strap those on and you’re ready to go. You can even partially lower it with bikes fully attached to access a rear lift gate, and they offer a variety of anodized colors to match your rig.
Saris’ MHS Rack uses clamp-on attachments to make it really easy to add or remove bike trays, cargo baskets, and anything else they think of down the road. We reviewed this a while back, but the cargo basket is new (and coming soon).
The other big news for their MHS (Modular Hitch System) racks is that they’re now rated to carry bikes up to 80lbs when put on a standard vehicle with 2″ hitch, or up to 230lbs total with the three-bike base plus 1 bike attachment (4 bikes total). The bolt-on extra bike mount is limited to 35lbs. And it’s also now rated for RV use with up to two bikes (160lbs total).
The rack itself didn’t change, they just put it through more testing to see what it was capable of, so if you already own one, go nuts.
The Bike Rac claims to be the most versatile wall-mounted bike rack in the world. It’s angle adjustable and uses a simple two-bar, gravity-fueled design to hold your bike without clamps. The base bolts into your wall studs (or anywhere you feel secure bolting it).
1UP’s new XD Rack’s name means “Xtreme Duty”, and to test that, they took their modified Porsche Cayenne off-roading for the photo shoot. Designed to carry up to 150lbs per tray, it’s overbuilt and rated for holding e-motos while overlanding.
Deeper trays, thicker ratchets, and extra bolts and thicker beams give the all-aluminum tray a much bigger, stronger appearance to match its capability. Price and availability are TBD.
Wanna check out that Porsche? We have a full roundup of overland, vanlife, RV, and tricked out show cars from Sea Otter!