How to Attach a Bike to a Bike Hitch

How to Attach a Bike to a Bike Hitch
Bike hitch racks are popular for transporting bikes to trail heads, parks and other destinations. Hitch racks are designed to be used with the receiver hitch installed on a vehicle. The base of the rack fits into the square receiver hole of the hitch and is secured with a hitch pin. Bikes are loaded onto the support arms of the hitch and secured. Hitch carriers are available to carry one or several bikes and may be purchased direct from the manufacturer or through distributors.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bike
  • Bike rack
  • Bungee or shock cord
Step 1
Inspect the hitch mount bike rack to make sure that it is securely mounted and attached to the hitch of your vehicle. Check to see that the hitch pin is inserted into the receiver and is secured with a clip. Also make sure all adjustment knobs and bolts are secure.
Step 2
Load the largest or heaviest bike onto the rack first. Position the bike all the way to the back of the mount. This will be the mounting position which is closest to the vehicle.
Step 3
Position the bike so that it sits securely in the cradle rests of the hitch carrier. Adjust any supports in the cradle to provide the most support for the bike during transport. Also make sure the bike is sitting in the carrier as close to level as possible.
Step 4
Pull the rubber restraining strap across the top tube of the bike frame and secure. There will typically be two straps, one on each support arm, for stabilizing the bike. Pull the straps down tightly over the bike frame and secure back to the support arm.
Step 5
Load the next bike, if necessary, on to the rack. Position the handle bars in the opposite direction to allow the bikes to stack easier on the rack. Adjust any supports and secure with the rubber straps on the support arms.

Tips & Warnings

Use additional bungee or shock cords to secure the lower frame of the bike to the rack to help prevent bounce or sway while transporting.
Position the rubber straps underneath any cables mounted to the top support tube of the bike.
Make sure all straps are secure. Double check the bikes and rack periodically when transporting for long distances.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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