How to Lock Bikes to Hitch Rack

Do you plan to go to a distant place with your car and still wish to carry your favorite bike? Then,  a hitch rack can be a great solution for you. Hitch racks are famous as bike carriers for distant places. You can quickly attach the hitch rack at the back of your car and lock the bike with it.

This type of hitch rack carrier is useful for picnics and adventure. For this, you must know how to lock bikes to hitch racks accurately. It will allow you to carry the bike wherever you want and then unlock it to use it.

Unfortunately, locking the bike with a hitch rock isn’t an easy task. You will need to disconnect the bike accessories, place the bike on the rack, and also, assess the rack properly. Plus, you must understand the technique to connect the carrier at the back of your car for carrying it.

So, let’s jump into finding ways to lock a bike with a hitch rack.

What Is A Hitch Rack?

A hitch rack is different from the general locks you will use for the safety of your bike. It is mainly used as a carrier at the back of any automobile. A hitch rack can accommodate multiple bikes for easy carrying convenience.

The hitch rack connects with the automobile and has a long surface. On it, you can store the bike to carry it for a long distance. The hitch rack is easy to connect and use with your vehicle. Also, it allows you to place the bike safely on it for long-distance transportation.

Types of Hitch Rack

Depending on the design of the hitch rack and how it connects with the car, it can be of three types. It includes:

  1. Tray bike hitch racks
  2. Hanging hitch bike rack
  3. Vertical hitch bike rack

When transporting the bike, you should choose the right type of hitch rack. So, let’s jump deeper into the discussion of these three types of hitch racks.

Vertical hitch bike rack:

The vertical hitch rack is popular for carrying multiple bikes. Hence, many courier services use it for their bike transportation. It can accommodate five to six bikes. As the hitch rack is positioned vertically, its use becomes convenient.

You won’t find any difficulty in placing the bike on the vertical hitch rack. So, you can load and unload the bike on it with ease. Also, it allows the easiest locking of the bike to it.

Hanging hitch bike rack:

The hanging hitch rack shares its similarities with the vertical hitch bike rack. It helps in assembling the bike by holding the bike. There’s a support beam that will provide security to the bike when assembled. Also, the two arms of the bike will be on the top tube of the hitch rack.

You have to slot the fork of your bike in its position to lock with the hanging hitch bike rack. After slotting the bike fork, it is possible to slide the bike vertically into the rack and secure it. Lastly, we suggest you secure the bike with a strap when carrying it with your car.

Tray bike hitch rack:

Professional bikes choose a tray bike hitch rack because of its easiness to hold the bike. The arm of the hitch rack will catch the front wheel of the bike to secure it. Also, there is an option to strap the rear wheel for secure carrying. On top of it, both wheels can rest on the tray. It makes locking and carrying the bike easier than hanging or vertical hitch racks.

Even you can get a tray hitch rack with dual arms to secure both front and rear wheels. So, you will get maximum safety while carrying the bike. It won’t touch the bike frame and so, your bike will remain cleaner. It safeguards your bike from scratches.

Last but not least, the tray hitch rack allows you to carry multiple bikes. So, it is better for a family outing with many bikes at the back of your vehicle. 

How To Lock Bikes To Hitch Rack

We have already discussed the types of hitch racks you may use to securely lock and carry your bike in distant places. So, you might ask, “How do I lock my bike to hitch rack?”

So, without much ado let’s get to it.

Step 1: Disconnect the accessories and parts of the bike

Many times bikers will assemble many additional accessories with the bike. It may include an extra whistle, bells, bags, lighting items, etc. You need to disconnect these accessories from the bike. It is suggested that you lock the bike with the hitch rack in bare mode.

You need to carry the accessories of the bike separately. It will allow easy locking of the bike to the hitch rack. Also, it secures the additional accessories of the bike.

Step 2: Get some extra straps to secure the bike

Of course, a hitch rack is great for securely locking the bike against the rack. Yet, we suggest you use straps to further safeguard the bike. You will need two types of straps for this purpose:

  1. The basic short-length strap
  2. Another extra-long strap

When you secure the bike with these two extra straps, you can confidently carry the bike to any place on the hitch rack. The bike won’t fall from the rack to cause scratches and damage to it making it unusable.

Step 3: Positioning the bike on the hitch rack

As you have disconnected the bike accessories and got the two straps, you can now place the bicycle on the rack. Nonetheless, we suggest you look at the hitch rack and check it. You must ensure that the hitch rack is securely installed with the car for safe carrying.

The rack mustn’t feel shaky and wobbly. To check the proper attachment of the hitch rack, put pressure on it with your legs. It will help you know if the hitch rack needs any adjustment before you put the bike on it.

  • At first, lift the bike from its frame. As you do it, the bike handle is steady and it mustn’t move.
  • If you have a helping hand, you should ask him to hold the bike handle to stop it from moving.
  • Now, securely position the bike on the rack so that the tire of your bike falls in the right place.

You may need to adjust the placement of the bicycle to lock it securely.

Step 4: Finishing off the bicycle lock with the hitch rack

While placing the bike on the hitch rack, you must position the tires first. It will lock the tire of the bicycle automatically to the hitch rack. One of the best ways to know the security lock is to see the front wheel’s movement. It will have minimal movement with the proper locking.

After that, wrap the bike at its mid-center with the strap. Once you wrap and tie the bike with the short and long straps. Your locking is complete with the hitch rack.

The additional strapping will protect your bike from movement, wobbling, and thieves.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you lock a bike on a hanging rack?

You will need a U-lock to secure the bike with a hanging rack. For this, lock the bike frame using the U-lock with the bicycle front. Finally, secure the back tire and frame of the bike with another U-lock.

Can I lock my bike to the bus rack?

Although it is possible to lock your bike with a bus rack, it is a tricky installation. You must secure the bike frame with the front wheel. Then, you can use a strap to secure the bike with its rack.

  • What is the most secure way to lock your bike?

You must use two locks to securely lock your bike in any parking lot. Also, you should use additional straps to tie the bicycle after locking it.


Although most people perceive that locking the bike in a hitch rack is difficult, it isn’t. You may easily position the bicycle tires on the rack and it will automatically lock the frame. Just ensure that the wheels don’t move on the rack. Finally, secure the bike with the hitch rack using two straps to tie the bike frame.

If you need to carry multiple bikes, choose the tray hitch rack. For a single bike, you can choose between a vertical and hanging hitch rack. Among all these types of hitch racks, the hanging-style one is the cheapest.


Recent Posts