LAST UPDATED: January 13, 2021

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers: Haul Your Bike Safely

Best Choice Mockins Gray Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier Mockins Gray Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier
Best Value Calhome Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier.jpeg Calhome Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier
Premium Pick Goplus 500 LBS Motorcycle Carrier Goplus 500 LBS Motorcycle Carrier

If you’re an avid rider, chances are you need to transport your gear. That’s where a motorcycle hitch carrier comes into play. It is designed to attach to your vehicle so that you can take your bike wherever you need to go. A great way to save space, a motorcycle carrier rack can drastically improve your experience when moving around with your gear. You’ve probably seen them before, whether it’s on the road or online. These products are designed for convenience and range in size, brand, and features, giving you ample opportunity to make the right choice. 

Differing in load capacity and vehicle compatibility, it’s important to find something that works for you. It should be able to store your items easily and have a sufficient load capacity. The best motorcycle hitch carriers are made out of heavy-duty steel and let you haul all your dirt bikes and sports bikes efficiently. There’s a variety of good choices out there, offering ease of use and a full menu of features. To help you track down the best motorcycle carrier racks and hitch carriers on the market, we’ve broken down the top options. 

The Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers

Haul your bike everywhere with this hitch-mounted rack. It’s made of durable alloy steel and measures 73.5 x 31.5 x 5.5 inches. It has a maximum load rating of 500 pounds, while the rack itself weighs 55 pounds. The hitch mount fits 2-inch receivers. A standout feature is an anti-tilt mechanism that keeps your bike stable and upright. The rack comes with a loading ramp that you can attach to the rack during transport. Another nice feature of this rack is that it comes with a carry bag that holds four loop straps and four ratchet straps.

Unfortunately, assembly is required before you can begin using it. It also has a narrow track, so you’re limited to carrying smaller bikes that have skinnier tires. This makes it ideal for dirt or adventure bikes.

Key Features
  • 73.5 x 31.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Maximum load rating: 500 pounds
  • 2-inch hitch receiver
  • Anti-tilt feature
  • Four loop and ratchet straps included
Specification
  • Brand Mockins
  • Model MADRTBKCARSTN40
  • Weight 55 pounds

This durable motorcycle carrier is constructed of heavy-duty steel. It’s also powder-coated to give it a sleek black look that helps it to be more durable. The powder coating protects it from corrosion and damage. The track measures 76 x 20 x 2 inches for plenty of versatility in the length of bikes you carry. It has an anti-tilt locking device to stabilize the rack while your bike is on it. The mount fits a hitch receiver that measures 2 inches or is a Class III, IV, or V receiver. It has a maximum load capacity of 500 pounds.

The downside of this rack is that it doesn’t have a solid base or wheel chock. You’ll have to roll it over the spaced-out bars to get your bike in place. This can be harder to do than those with a smooth base.

Key Features
  • Maximum load rating: 500 pounds
  • Powder-coated steel
  • Fits a standard 2-inch square class III, IV, or V receiver
  • Anti-tilt locking device
  • Dimensions: 76 x 20 x 2.50 inches
Specification
  • Brand ‎Calhome
  • Model ‎T-NS-MRC001-DIR
  • Weight N/A

Goplus have chosen to make their motorcycle carrier from heavy-duty steel, which offers unrivaled strength and capacity. In fact, this carrier can take the largest load on our list so far—up to 600 pounds!

Easily mounted onto your vehicle’s 2-inch receiver, the carrier is equipped with an adjustable wheel stop that also acts to keep your bike stable on the move. It also features quick-release ramps, letting you load and unload rapidly and safely. It’s so simple to use that customers report the whole operation being a one-man job. Finally, and most importantly, the devices hold your bike securely in place even over rough terrain—whether you’re traveling 40 miles or 400.

Key Features
  • 500 pound capacity
  • Suitable for 2-inch hitch receivers
  • Solid steel design
  • Easy to assemble
  • Quick release ramps make for easy usage
  • Extremely secure hold for no wobble
Specification
  • Brand Goplus
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 91 pounds

If you prefer to stick to the basics when moving your bike from point A to point B, then the TMS Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier Hitch Rack is a fantastic selection. What it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in functionality. So long as you make sure that it can accommodate the tire width on your motorcycle, the steel construction ensures that it supports the weight of your bike. It comes with an anti-tilt locking device. This anti-wobble feature is a necessary component to preventing damage to both your hitch carrier and the motorcycle itself. It’s small enough to leave on your vehicle in between uses and versatile enough as a tool to work with a variety of different bikes.

The only downside is the somewhat tricky installation process. However, since it comes with all the necessary hardware, as long as you plan ahead and make sure you have time to complete the install, this is a terrific option.

Key Features
  • Compatible with Class III and IV hitches
  • Load capacity of 500 pounds
  • Made of powder coated steel
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Compact in size
Specification
  • Brand TMS
  • Model T-NS-MRC001
  • Weight 48 pounds

This large basket isn’t specifically a bike hauler, but it can be used to carry smaller bikes and scooters. It’s constructed of a heavy-duty tubular steel frame with a mesh platform base and raised railing. The sides are 6 inches tall. The carrier measures 60 x 24 x 6 inches. The folding shank mounts onto 2-inch receivers. You can load up to 500 pounds on your carrier. What makes this carrier stand out is that it has a durable black powder-coated finish for corrosion prevention.

Unfortunately, this carrier isn’t specifically meant for carrying motorcycles. This can make it challenging to secure your bike with ratchet straps. It also lacks safety features, such as anti-tilt.

Key Features
  • Maximum load rating: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 60 x 24 x 6 inches
  • 6-inch tall sides
  • Durable black powder-coated finish
  • Heavy-duty tubular steel construction
Specification
  • Brand Curt
  • Model CUR18153
  • Weight 70 pounds

Take your bike anywhere with this lightweight hitch carrier. It has a maximum load rating of 400 pounds and is constructed of lightweight aluminum. A standout feature is the 6-foot loading ramp, which gives it a long and gentle slope for easier loading and unloading. You’ll also appreciate that the ramp works on either side of the carrier for loading flexibility. The mount fits a 2-inch receiver. The track measures 6 feet 3.5 inches long and 5.5 inches wide, with evenly spaced bars for the platform. On either side of the track are two conveniently placed tie-down loops for securing your bike.

Unfortunately, the maximum load rating is quite low, making this carrier not strong enough for the majority of bikes. Stick with small scooters, dirt bikes, and 250-300cc bikes.

Key Features
  • 6-foot ramp
  • Maximum load rating: 400 pounds
  • Mounts on 2-inch hitch receiver
  • Ramp installs either side
  • Aluminum construction
Specification
  • Brand Black Widow
  • Model AMC-400L
  • Weight 38 pounds

You can carry bikes with an extra long stance thanks to the uniquely long track on this motorcycle carrier. It measures 84 x 8 x 2 inches to accommodate oversized off road bikes. The rack is constructed of lightweight aluminum. Its design eliminates the need for hauling a separate ramp for loading and unloading. You’ll deploy the ramp extender and the entire track will tilt with it. As you roll your bike up the ramp, its weight will cause the track to lower back down. Then slide the ramp portion back into the carrier under the track. There are three maximum load capacities to suit your hauling needs: 200, 400, and 600 pounds.

The downside of this carrier is that it doesn’t have an anti-wobble mechanism. This can cause it to shake and move while driving. Most people need help from another person while loading and unloading, making this carrier hard to use by yourself.

Key Features
  • Carrier dimensions: 84 x 8 x 2 inches
  • Tilting design for easy loading and unloading
  • Maximum load rating: 200, 400, and 600 pounds
  • 19-inch clearance from hitch pin to carrier
  • Mounts on a 2-inch receiver
Specification
  • Brand Tilt-A-Rack
  • Model ‎610ACR
  • Weight N/A

Haul your sport bike, smaller cruiser, or scooter on this heavy-duty hitch carrier. It has an impressive maximum load capacity of 600 pounds. The steel construction is powder-coated for an attractive look and durability. The track is 71 inches long, making it ideal for longer bikes. The track measures 6 feet 7 inches long and 8 inches wide. The included ramp measures 6 feet 11 inches long. This makes it long enough to easily load and unload the larger bikes. A standout feature is the adjustable wheel chock and anti-rattle device to prevent tilting and wobbling.

Unfortunately, you can only attach the ramp from the right side, which can limit how you load and unload your bike. You’ll also find that it sits close to the back of your vehicle, which can limit how wide the bikes can be.

Key Features
  • Powder-coated steel construction
  • Maximum load rating: 600 pounds
  • Accommodates wheels up to 8 inches wide
  • Extra-long 71 inch loading ramp
  • Designed for Class III or IV 2-inch hitch receivers
Specification
  • Brand Black Widow
  • Model ‎MCC-600
  • Weight 95 pounds

Haul your bikes with this lightweight aluminum hitch carrier. It fits 2-inch receivers. It has a maximum load capacity of 400 pounds. A unique feature is a drop-down design and clamp-on device of the front tire. This gives it more stability and security during transport. You can also adjust the platform to accommodate different-sized bikes for more hauling versatility. Security pins stabilize the carrier to prevent wobbling, shaking, and tilting. The platform measures 8.63 inches wide and fits tires up to 6.5 inches wide.

Unfortunately, the maximum weight capacity is low, which limits your carrying ability. The loading ramp is short, creating a steep incline when loading and unloading.

Key Features
  • Maximum load rating: 400 pounds
  • Drop-down tire design
  • Includes security pins
  • Fits any 2-inch receiver
  • Platform adjusts to almost any bike
Specification
  • Brand Haul Master
  • Model ‎62837, 99721
  • Weight 51 pounds

Transport your bike with this carrier that hooks into Class III or Class IV trailer hitches. It has an all-steel construction for increased strength and durability. You can use the included loading ramp on either end of the track for loading ease. It has a maximum load capacity of 500 pounds and can accommodate tires that are up to 4.75 inches wide. A unique feature of this carrier is that you can adjust the tire position by moving the wheel track carrier bolts. This lets you carry a variety of bikes and have each one be secure.

The downside of this carrier is that the steel construction makes the actual carrier bulky and heavy to maneuver. This makes it hard to hook onto your hitch receiver.

Key Features
  • Use with a Class III or Class IV trailer hitch only
  • All steel construction
  • Powder-coated finish
  • Maximum load rating: 500 pounds
  • Can be loaded or unloaded from either side
Specification
  • Brand ‎Trackside
  • Model ‎NS-MRC001
  • Weight N/A

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carrier Buying Guide & FAQ

Equipped with any of these hitch carriers, you can easily take your motorcycle from point A to point B. It’s just a matter of figuring out what you need from the carrier; how it will match up with your existing motorcycle hitch setup and ensuring that the carrying capacity is sufficient. These products tout sturdy steel construction and metal framework, it’s pretty easy to find motorcycle hitch carriers to meet your needs. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

You want to ensure that the carriers you’re looking at are easy to load from either side and have the tongue weight capacity to withstand the force of your dirt bike. To help you along, we’ve broken down the information you need to make the right selection from the motorcycle hitch carriers on the market.

bike on a carrier

Types

Aluminum 

Choosing a carrier made of aluminum is a smart option if you have smaller and lightweight bikes. This metal is lightweight, making your carrier easy to carry, mount on your hitch, and store. It’s also corrosion-resistant, making it durable to weather elements. The drawback of aluminum is that it isn’t as strong as steel. Under too much pressure or weight, it will bend and break.

Steel 

If you have a larger and heavier bike, then you’ll want to consider steel carriers. These are larger and heavier but also have much higher maximum weight capacities. If you choose steel, it should be high-quality and powder-coated. This will help prevent it from being susceptible to corrosion. You may find steel carriers to be hard to maneuver due to their larger size and heavier weight. 

Pricing

  • Under $200: You will find small and lightweight carriers in this price range. They are typically made of aluminum and will have the basic feature of a loading ramp. This is perfect for those on a budget or looking to carry a small bike. 
  • $200 to $300: These affordable carriers can be made from either aluminum or steel. They will have a few nice features, such as a longer track and loading ramp. They may have an anti-tilt mechanism or a loading ramp that works on either side of the track. 
  • $300 and up: Carriers in this price range tend to be made of steel with a powder-coated finish. They have several nice features that make the track versatile. They also tend to be larger with the highest maximum load capacity. 

Top Brands

Black Widow

Established in 2003, the team at Black Widow dedicates themselves to producing high-quality carriers. Its carriers are designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts to give you a safe and reliable way of transporting your motorcycle without a trailer. The Black Widow Steel Motorcycle Carrier has a high weight capacity for transporting larger bikes. 

Mockins

The broad line of products produced by Mockins is intended to make your life more fun and convenient. Its team strives to create innovative and creative products at affordable prices. The Mockins Black Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier has a streamlined design that makes it easy to transport your bike. 

Haul Master 

The Haul Master brand is produced and distributed by Harbor Freight Tools. Under this brand, you’ll find utility trailers, hydraulic jacks, trailer hitches, tow chains, axles, lighting, and wiring harnesses. This gives you everything you need to transport your motorcycle. The Haul Master Receiver-Mount Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier is a lightweight yet durable carrier that easily mounts on your hitch.

What to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle Hitch Carrier

Although each of the carriers mentioned on this list has the same basic features, there are still some nuances to keep your eye on. The products have some differences which you should keep in mind when selecting your hitch carrier. The most important criteria good motorcycle hitch carriers must meet include:

Aluminum or Powder Coated Steel Construction

Ideal motorcycle hitch carriers are made out of either steel or aluminum. While steel construction lends itself to heavy-duty performance, aluminum is far lighter weight. The powder coating on the steel gives it an edge against rust and corrosion. Aluminum, however, is naturally resistant to these issues. A good rule of thumb is choosing aluminum if you are hauling lighter weight gear like a dirt bike or other sports bikes. For longer treks and heavier loads, steel is a better way to go. The steel frame usually touts a more substantial carrying capacity, making it safer for longer journeys. 

Weight Capacity

The carrying capacity of your motorcycle hitch carrier is possibly the most significant factor in making your choice. Sure, if you’re hauling sports bikes it is less of a concern, but if your motorcycle is on the heavier end, you want to make sure the hitch carriers you are looking at can keep up. Most options range somewhere between 400 and 600 pounds. Check the owner’s manual for your bike against the carrying capacity of the carriers. Be sure to account for any gear on the motorcycle and the weight of fuel. Generally, the higher the load capacity, the better.

Hitch Receiver Compatibility

In order to ensure that the motorcycle hitch carriers will work with your vehicle, you need to check the size. Generally, hitch carriers will work with a 2-inch setup. This means you can use it on anything from a truck to an RV. Take a look at the class and the hitch receiver specifications to be sure that you can install it on your vehicle. All products are a bit different, and you want to make sure that you won’t need a new hitch to put the carrier in position.

Ramp Length

Many motorcycle hitch carriers come with a loading ramp. This way, if you need to load and unload your ride without help (or a scissor lift), you can. In order to make it as easy as possible on yourself, the loading ramp should be as long as possible. This requires you to apply a minimal amount of force and achieve the same results. If you’re hauling a dirt bike, you can probably do it with a shorter loading ramp. However, if you’re transporting a heavier motorcycle, having a long loading ramp is super important.

Size and Dimensions

While the majority of carriers work with various tire widths and sizes of bikes, each motorcycle hitch setup is different. To be sure that the carrier will accommodate your ride, check its measurements against the bike’s. Be sure to also check the size of the carrier against the width of your vehicle to avoid issues with bulk. 

Tongue Weight Capacity

The tongue weight capacity of the vehicle refers to how heavy of a motorcycle hitch the vehicle can safely tow. Be sure to consult this specification prior to installing your carrier. Ensure that you add together the weight of the carrier and the weight of the motorcycle when running your numbers. Provided the tongue weight capacity exceeds the total weight of the objects, you are good to go. 

Working within Budget

When choosing any product, you want to be sure that you are staying within your budget. While hitch carriers tend to be relatively affordable, those with more advanced features like an anti-rattle device and anti-tilt locking may cost a bit extra. However, in most cases, opting for high-quality steel construction and the ability to load from either side is worth the extra few dollars. Plus, heavy-duty carriers tend to last longer, thus costing less over the long haul.

Benefits of Using a Motorcycle Carrier

There are a whole host of benefits to using a motorcycle hitch carrier, starting with the compact nature and going all the way to the versatility of the product. These carriers are a great way to transport your ride without breaking the bank, and without sacrificing quality and convenience. Among the tons of benefits are: 

  • Motorcycle trailer hitch carriers let you safely and efficiently bring your bike from point A to point B.
  • These hitch carriers are more fuel-efficient than towing a trailer along with your vehicle.
  • By using one of these carriers you can free up storage inside of the vehicle.
  • In most cases, you can install the hitch carrier on your vehicle in your own garage.
  • Motorcycle hitch carriers are easy to load and unload, usually working from either side.
  • High-quality hitch carriers come with anti-wobble and anti-tilt locking devices.
  • Opting for a hitch carrier for your motorcycle tends to be a more cost-effective approach.

How to Install a Motorcycle Hitch Carrier

You can install a motorcycle hitch carrier yourself at home with only a smattering of DIY knowledge and a couple of tools. Each manufacturer will provide their own instructions, which you should follow carefully, but the general installation steps are as follows:

You will need a 13mm wrench and a 17mm wrench.

  • Attach the support brackets to the hitch bar using the supplied bolts
  • Place the motorcycle rack between these two support brackets, and secure with bolts, washers, and nuts
  • Slide the anti-tilt bracket over your vehicle’s hitch bar, with its flat side toward the vehicle
  • Slide the rack into the trailer hitch, and install the hitch pin to keep it in place
  • Stow the ramp on the carrier (unless it slides away, as with some models), attaching with the supplied bolt and nut

If in doubt, seek advice from the manufacturer or a trusted professional.

carry a motorcycle

Best Motorcycle Hitch Carrier FAQ:

Q: What is a motorcycle hitch carrier?

A motorcycle hitch carrier is a product that you attach to the hitch receiver on your vehicle. Usually, it will fit with everything from a van to a truck to an SUV, provided it has a 2-inch hitch. It’s different from trailers and other bulkier methods. They tend to be fairly compact and help prevent wobbling and tilting while on the road. By working with other parts like a wheel chock or a wheel stop (and some straps), these carriers let you move your motorcycles over long distances. 

Q: Are motorcycle racks legal?

Motorcycle racks are a perfectly legal way to transport your motorcycle. Provided the hitch pin is secured properly and you use straps and a wheel stop or wheel chock, it is safe and legal. Keep in mind that your license plate still needs to be visible. If the bike obscures the plate, you may need to get a separate plate to ensure that fellow drivers can see it. Motorcycle hitch carrier reviews mention a somewhat impeded view of the road behind you, even with the best options. You can compensate for this with extra mirrors to ensure that you are safe on the road.

Q: Are motorcycle hitch carriers safe? 

So long as you install it properly and load the motorcycle safely, yes, these hitch carriers are safe. Take a look at all the components when doing your pre-drive check. Look at the hitch pin to make sure it is in good condition. Add a wheel chock or a wheel stop to act as an anti-rattle device and help you drive more easily. Whether you’re driving with street bikes or a dirt bike, it will likely be difficult to see the bike in the dark. To ensure safety, add LED lights to your setup. Basically, so long as you are cautious and the carrier, the hitch pin, and the bike are all secured, this is a very safe mode of transportation.

Q: What kind of bike can I haul with my motorcycle hauler?

So long as you choose a carrier that can accommodate different tire widths, you can work with a whole bunch of rides. Most can support street bikes as well as anything from a dirt bike to a road motorcycle. Check the specifications (and the weight) to be sure. 

  • How heavy is my bike?

All bikes have a different weight, and hitch carriers (even those with steel construction) have a limit. To be sure that your bike can be supported, consult your owner’s manual. The weight of your ride will be clearly stated. Add a few pounds for gear and fluids to be safe. Compare this number to the hitch carrier capacity.

  • How large is my bike?

When it comes to getting a hitch carrier for your bike, size is a major factor. The carrier absolutely must be larger than the size of the bike. If you are unsure (and can’t find the owner’s manual) you can either check online for the make and model of your bike or use a measuring tape. Compare this measurement to the dimensions of the hitch carrier. 

  • How much weight can my vehicle’s hitch accommodate?

The tongue weight capacity of your vehicle’s hitch is a hugely important metric, not only for functionality but safety as well. Hitches use heavy-duty steel construction in conjunction with a secure hitch pin to secure the carrier. Check the tongue weight capacity in your owner’s manual to prevent your hitch carrier from falling off simply because it’s a few pounds too heavy.

Q: Will it damage my vehicle or hitch?

If installed correctly and onto a compatible hitch, no, you won’t damage the vehicle. To facilitate this, use a wheel stop or wheel chock when loading the bike. Pay careful attention to the hitch pin since it has such an important role. So long as you drive carefully and secure your ride carefully, your vehicle and hitch will remain in good condition. 

Q: What is the best motorcycle hitch carrier? 

The best motorcycle hitch carrier is one that works for your specific needs. If you plan to tow a dirt bike, you might need a different set up than to haul a Harley. It all comes down to the vehicle you drive and the size of the carrier. A versatile and user-friendly option is the MaxxHaul Compact Hitch Carrier

Q: How do you use a hitch carrier on a motorcycle? 

First, check that it’s compatible. Be sure that your vehicle’s setup, including everything from the mount to the hitch pin. Is in good condition. Then, install the carrier. Use a loading ramp to place the motorcycle on the carrier. Place a wheel chock or a wheel stop to secure it and place the straps. Drive to point b and reverse the steps to remove the motorcycle and get to riding. 

Q: How do I keep my hitch bike rack from swaying? 

The vast majority of hitch carriers come with an anti tilt locking device or an anti rattle device. These features stabilize the bike and prevent it from swaying back and forth. If you need a bit of extra security, fasten the motorcycle with straps directly to the carrier.

motorcycle on a car

Our Top Pick

After careful consideration, we’ve named Mockins Gray Hitch Mounted Motorcycle Carrier our top pick for the best hitch motorcycle carrier. The carrier itself is only 55 pounds, making it easily maneuverable. The carrier track is a nice length at 73 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. Finally, the maximum load capacity of 500 pounds makes it functional and versatile. You’ll also appreciate that it comes with loops and ratchet straps, so you’ll have everything you need to get hauling.

Sources:

  1. How Motorcycle Towing Safety Works – howstuffworks
  2. How to Trailer a Motorcycle – wikiHow