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Published Oct. 7, 2021

If you have a lightweight motorcycle or scooter, and have a long drive ahead of you but don’t want to ride it, one of the best ways to transport it is with a hitch carrier. These carriers are a lot less expensive than full-size trailers and are relatively easy to set up and later store in your garage when you’re done using them. Plus, you don’t have to register a motorcycle hitch carrier; simply install it on your truck or SUV, and you’re good to go. The best motorcycle hitch carriers feature heavy-duty construction and hold bikes securely even on bumpy roads. But where does your buying start? Right here, so check out our top recommendations in the buying guide below.

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Reviews & Recommendations

This hitch carrier from Black Widow accommodates motorcycles up to 400 pounds and comes with an adapter for youth 40-80cc dirt bikes. It’s designed for bikes with wheels up to 5 1/2 inches wide and due to its aluminum construction, it’s lightweight at just 36.5 pounds, making it relatively easy to transport, install, and remove. It’s also less likely to rust compared to its steel counterparts.

Compatible with a Class III or IV 2-inch trailer hitch, the loading ramp can be installed on the front or back of the carrier, so you can unload your bike on either side. Overall, it’s durable, well-constructed, and loading and unloading a motorcycle is fairly straightforward. It’s simple to assemble, too, and the anti-wobble feature works really well. However, it may block your vehicle’s rear lights, so you may want to add reflective tape and/or LED brake lights. You may also want to upgrade the hardware for more security.

Specs
  • Aluminum construction
  • 400-pound capacity
  • Compatible with Class III or IV hitch receivers
  • Weighs 36.5 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Easy to install and remove

Durable and well-constructed

Bike can be loaded on either side of ramp

CONS

May block tow vehicle’s lights

May require a hardware upgrade

Low weight capacity

This motorcycle hitch carrier from Ecotric is constructed of powder-coated, heavy-duty steel and has a 500-pound capacity. It is compatible with Class II, III, IV, or V trailer hitches with 2-inch square receivers and you can transport dirt bikes, scooters, and some normal road-going motorcycles with this strong and durable carrier. It is easy to assemble and comes with eight bolts and nuts and you can also easily load bikes from either side of the loading ramp.

The unit includes an anti-tilt locking device, so it won’t wobble when you’re driving and there are holes that accommodate tie down straps. The whole unit is 76 inches long by 7 inches wide. However, the trailer hitch pin is not included and it can also be a little bit of a hassle to assemble because the instructions aren’t as clear as you’d want, particularly when it comes to the anti-tilt feature. But it’s an excellent option for budget-conscious users.

Specs
  • Steel construction
  • 500-pound capacity
  • Compatible with Class II, III, IV, or V trailer hitches
  • Weighs 48.1 pounds
PROS

Affordable

Anti-tilt feature

Easy to assemble

CONS

Trailer hitch pin not included

Instructions aren’t clear

This Goplus motorcycle hitch carrier is made of durable, high-strength, powder-coated alloy steel and has a 600-pound weight capacity. It’s compatible with a 2-inch receiver and includes a 3/4-inch hitch pin and the carrier is designed to transport sport bikes, enduro bikes, and off-road dirt bikes. The rail is 79 inches long and includes a raised adjustable wheel stop that acts as a wheel chock to keep your bike securely in place.

The loading ramp is 72 inches long and features two quick-release locks to secure it on the carrier when you’re loading or unloading a bike. The ramp also stores on the carrier when not in use. The unit does not take too long to assemble even though the instructions aren’t the best and one person can easily load a bike onto the carrier, and the hitch stabilizer works well and prevents the unit from wobbling too much. The tie down holes are also in good spots, but unfortunately, it’s a little on the heavy side due to its steel construction. You may also need to upgrade the hardware/bolts with sturdier ones.

Specs
  • Alloy steel construction
  • 600-pound capacity
  • Compatible with a 2-inch receiver
  • Weighs 98 pounds
PROS

Features a built-in wheel chock

Easy to load a bike without assistance

Good weight capacity

CONS

Heavy

Bolts could be better quality

Pricier than other options

This heavy-duty, alloy steel motorcycle hitch carrier from Ecotric has a 600-pound weight capacity, is compatible with a 2-inch receiver and comes with a 3/4-inch hitch pin. The rail is 79 inches long and includes a raised adjustable wheel stop/wheel chock for stability. It also features two quick-release locks for added security and has an anti-rust coating to prolong its lifespan.

Overall, it’s sturdy and fairly easy to assemble and the ramp is nice and low, making it easy for one person to load or unload a bike, and you can choose which side you want to load the bike on. It holds your motorcycle firmly and keeps it from shifting even on bumpy dirt roads. One downside is that it’s a little slick, so you may want to purchase skateboard tape for added traction. The instructions are poor and the anti-sway device isn’t particularly helpful, so you may need to purchase a different one that’s more functional.

Specs
  • Alloy steel construction
  • 600-pound capacity
  • Compatible with a 2-inch receiver
PROS

Sturdy and durable

Easy to assemble

Easy to load and unload a bike

Firmly holds onto your bike

CONS

Heavy

Surface is slick

Anti-sway device isn’t very good

Rage Powersports’ steel motorcycle hitch carrier has a 600-pound weight capacity and is powder coated for rust-resistance. It is compatible with Class III or IV 2-inch receivers and the unit comes with a 5/8-inch hitch pin—it’s heavy-duty construction designed to instill confidence when it comes to transporting a dirt bike, scooter, and other types of motorcycles. It has integrated tie-down points as well as a self-storing ramp and anti-rattle device.

The track is adjustable, so it accommodates both large and small wheels, and measures 6 feet 2.75 inches long by 5.5 inches wide, and the ramp measures 5 feet 11.5 inches long by 7 inches wide. It weighs 71 pounds and has built-in reflectors, making it more visible to other motorists. Overall, one person can easily install this hitch carrier, and there are online tutorials that help with assembly and loading instructions. Unfortunately, the bolts aren’t the best quality, so you may need to replace them, and it can also be a little heavy for some people to maneuver, and the ramp isn’t as long as some rival options.

Specs
  • Alloy steel construction
  • 600-pound capacity
  • Compatible with Class III or IV hitch receivers
  • Weighs 64 pounds
PROS

Integrated tie-down points

Track is adjustable

Built-in reflectors

Heavy-duty construction

CONS

Heavy

Bolts are poor quality

Ramp isn’t as long as some rival brands

How We Selected Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

Safety is paramount when towing a motorcycle or other types of equipment, so we made sure to only pick motorcycle hitch carriers that are strongly constructed and built to last. We only chose items from well-known manufacturers with a history of producing good-quality products. We also looked at the carrier’s weight capacity, material construction, and ease of use. Included is a range of products to suit a variety of budgets, and we examined user feedback to get real-life testimonials about their effectiveness. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

Not all motorcycle hitch carriers are created equal and they are constructed of different types of materials, and they accommodate different-sized bikes. It’s also important to make sure that the carrier you choose is compatible with your tow vehicle. Before purchasing a motorcycle hitch carrier, look at the following features to ensure that you find the best one for your needs.

What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

Types of Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

Aluminum vs. Steel

Aluminum hitch carriers are a good option because they’re lighter than their steel counterparts, and they’re rust- and corrosion-resistant. The downside is that they can only accommodate lightweight motorcycles. Steel hitch carriers have a higher tensile strength and can support more weight. They are more prone to rust but are often powder coated for protection. They tend to be pricier and bulkier than their aluminum counterparts, but they are also more versatile in the amount of weight they can carry.

Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Key Features

Weight Capacity

Motorcycle hitch carriers are designed to accommodate a certain amount of weight. Make sure your motorcycle’s weight is compatible with the carrier you choose to purchase. For example, if your bike weighs 450 pounds, you’ll need a carrier that can accommodate around 500 pounds (it’s good to have a little wiggle room). You also need to ensure that the tow vehicle has the ability to safely tow the weight of your bike and the carrier combined. 

Hitch Compatibility 

Hitch receivers are categorized into five classes, and you need to ensure that the hitch on your vehicle is compatible with the motorcycle hitch carrier you choose to purchase. For example, Class I hitches have a tongue weight of 300 pounds and can be used on SUVs and trucks. Other classes of hitches have higher tongue capacities and are designed for pickup trucks but not SUVs. 

Installation

Ideally, a motorcycle hitch carrier should be straightforward to install. A main issue you may encounter is the weight of the carrier as heavier ones are more difficult to install than lighter ones. Look for units that have a detailed set of instructions that are easy to follow and that include all the hardware you need to put the carrier together.

Accessories

Many motorcycle hitch carriers come with some type of anti-sway or anti-rattle device that keeps the unit stable while it’s in motion. Others feature a wheel stop for added stability. Some have built-in reflectors, so it’s more visible to other motorists. 

Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and motorcycle hitch carriers. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • The best carriers allow you to tie down your bike to various points with integrated tie-down slots. This makes them more secure and prevents the bike and the tow vehicle from sustaining any damage.
  • After installing the motorcycle hitch carrier, check to see if your license plate is visible. If it’s not, you may need to put it on the carrier so it’s visible to law enforcement.
  • The carrier may be difficult for other motorists to see at night, so you may want to install LED lights on the back of it. They are available in battery-powered options that are easy to install.

FAQs

Q: Are motorcycle hitch carriers safe?

Yes, motorcycle hitch carriers are safe as long as you stay within the weight parameters of both the vehicle and the carrier.

Q: How does tongue weight capacity affect my towing ability?

The tongue weight capacity is how much weight your truck or SUV can carry on the hitch. To determine the tongue weight capacity, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Q: How do I install a motorcycle hitch carrier on my vehicle?

First, connect the support brackets to the trailer hitch bar. Then put the carrier between the brackets and the bar. Next, add the anti-tilt device on the hitch, put the rack on the hitch, and insert the hitch pin. Then add the ramp.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best motorcycle hitch carrier is the Black Widow Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier. It’s made of lightweight aluminum, making it easy to carry and install. Plus, it’s less likely to rust than its steel counterparts. Overall, it’s a durable and dependable option.

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