Best single bike rack hitch and hitchless for Cars and SUVs in 2022

Published by Bike Scientist on

While searching for a bike rack, you might have come across numerous multi-bike car racks with great features but would they suit your biking requirement? If you own a single bike and want to invest in a cost-effective solution for it, you should look for single bike racks. 

As a biking enthusiast, you would not like to compromise the safety of your valuable bike. Some single bike hitch racks prevent frame contact with the bike but require a hitch receiver. While other single bike racks include trunk and roof mount racks.

In this article, we have reviewed the top five single bike rack hitches (and hitchless). We have compared their security mechanisms, customer satisfaction, aesthetics, brand value, and price based on our rack score rating system. This will help you choose the right single bike rack based on your specific requirement. 

5 Best single bike rack hitch and hitchless

Thule t1 hitch rack| Best Single Bike Rack

  • Features…. 9
  • Price………. 8
  • Feedback…. 8.6
  • Brand……… 9
  • Looks……… 9.2
  • Security…… 9
  • Capacity…… 7
  • Security and overall features
  • Compatibility with most bikes
  • No frame contact
  • Load capacity of 60 pounds
  • Assembly is time-consuming and requires directions

Thule T1 single bike hitch rack is a durable and sturdy solution for carrying only one bike at the back of your vehicle. This premium platform bike rack is made for use with a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver. It will also protect your expensive bike with a contact-free security mechanism. 

Not all single bike racks come with locks for securing both the bike and rack. The Thule T1 single bike rack (hitch) has an integrated locking cable to lock the bike on the rack and also has an STL2 lock to secure the bike rack with the hitch receiver. 

The rack is highly compatible with various bike types such as mountain bikes, fat tire bikes, downhill, and e-bikes. It provides a safe experience that will enable you to carry the most valuable bikes including carbon frames. All bikes with tires up to 5″ and bike frames of 20-29″ would fit. Also, the bike should not weigh more than 60 pounds.

The rack weighs around 29 pounds but it can be folded into a compact design when not in use. Moreover, the Thule T1 single bike hitch rack is available in black and has an overall graceful look as compared to most carriers. You can get this 1 bike hitch rack at around $380.

Saris solo trunk rack | Best hitchless single bike rack 

  • 1 Bike
  • Trunk
  • Features….8
  • Price……… 8
  • Feedback.. 7.6
  • Brand……. 8
  • Looks……. 10
  • Security…. 6
  • Capacity.. 7
  • Small and super lightweight
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Quick-release straps for easy mounting
  • Sturdy structure
  • Zero mechanical frame adjustments
  • Hitchless
  • Easy to store
  • Affordable
  • The plastic frame flexes and the feet slip
  • Not very secure
  • Might need to remove the front tire for small vehicles
  • Might scratch the paint off your vehicle

The smallest and lightest trunk bike rack is the Saris single bike rack, weighing just about 2.2 pounds. Installing this compact bike rack couldn’t be simpler. It is very easy to install thanks to the quick-release straps which would save a lot of your time.

The only downside of this rack is that since is so light in weight and simple, it is more likely to be stolen. So you will need to come up with another solution to secure your bikes as it lacks an inbuilt locking system. For instance, you may use locking cables that are easily available at stores.

This Saris single bike rack would only be suitable if your bike weighs less than or up to 35 pounds. The anti-sway system and ratcheting straps protect the bike. It is not foldable but that is not a problem because it is already so compact that you can easily keep it in your car when not being used.  

It works with a variety of automobiles and bicycles. Simply check to see whether your automobile has a spoiler. You will not have to get a hitch receiver for this rack in contrast to some single bike hitch racks. Due to its small size and low weight, the Saris Solo looks incredibly smart and is available for about $70 ...Review Saris Solo Trunk Bike Rack

Yakima SingleSpeed 1-bike hitch rack| Second best hitch bike rack for a single bike

  • 1 Bike
  • Hitch
Yakima SingleSpeed 1-bike hitch rack
Yakima SingleSpeed
  • Features…. 9
  • Price……… 8
  • Feedback.. 8.6
  • Brand……. 9
  • Looks……. 9
  • Security…. 9
  • Capacity.. 7
  • Security and Features
  • It fits all bikes and no dream contact
  • Relatively Light for hitch bike rack
  • Folds when not in use
  • Max weight up to the 40-pound bike
  • No attachment for an additional bike

Yakima single-speed 1-bike hitch rack weighs around 20 pounds which makes it lightweight as compared to most hitch bike racks. But still, it is quite sturdy and strong. This rack has a very compact design but you can save more space by folding it if bikes are not loaded. You can fold the wheel cup and even open the tailgate on most vehicles. 

Once you purchase the Yakima single bike rack hitch you will not have to worry about ruining the paint on your bikes because the rack holds the bikes without frame contact. This makes it highly suitable for carbon-frame bikes. You may go for this 1 bike hitch rack if you have a 1.25″ or 2″ hitch receiver. 

This single bike hitch rack is easy to install and fits almost all bike types such as thru-axles or bikes with disc brakes. You may also get it for your suspension bike but make sure that whatever bike you carry, it should have a wheelbase of 20″ to 29″ and a tire width of not more than 4.8″. But since the rack only accommodates a bike up to 40 pounds, it might not be able to carry some e-bikes that mostly weigh around 60 pounds or more. 

The Yakima single-speed hitch rack comes with a locking system for securing bikes. The integrated SKS lock will protect your bike if you have to park the vehicle and get out for some time during a road trip.

In case you have a spare tire at the rear end of the vehicle you might need to purchase a hitch extender normally required for a Jeep Wrangler bike rack. Note this is built for a 2-inch receiver and that is the size it fits.

Thule UpRide Best single bike rack for roof of your car or SUV

  • 1 Bike
  • Roof
Thule UpRide Roof
Thule UpRide Roof
  • Features…. 8
  • Price……… 7
  • Feedback.. 8.8
  • Brand……. 9
  • Looks……. 7
  • Security…. 8
  • Capacity.. 7
  • No contact with the bike frame
  • Compatible with most roof rails
  • Leaves hitch and trunk free for other uses
  • Requires roof rails
  • Lift bike to the roof

Like most roof bike racks, the UpRide from Thule is made to accommodate only one bike. You can purchase it for any bike type including expensive carbon frame bikes, rear suspension bikes, or simple bikes. But the only thing that you need to consider is that it has a weight capacity of 44 pounds and which might make it useless in the case of some heavy bikes.

This bike rack works with 3 inches-wide tires but in case you have a bike with up to 5-inch tires, you will need to purchase a fat bike adaptor. The UpRide Thule roof bike rack is among the strap-mount single bike racks and ensures zero frame contact. 

The front tire remains secured in a hook while the rack can be swapped between one side of the automobile to the other and is quite simple to operate. The UpRide Thule roof bike rack is pricey for only one bike at roughly $300. You can add locks to protect your bike and rack. But these locks have to be bought separately and this makes the rack more costly. …Comparison Roof Bike Racks

Kuat single bike hitch rack

  • 1 Bike
  • Hitch
Kuat single bike
Kuat single bike
  • Features…. 9
  • Price……… 9
  • Feedback.. 9.4
  • Brand……. 8
  • Looks……. 9
  • Security…. 7
  • Capacity.. 7
  • Price for a premium hitch rack
  • Features and customer reviews
  • Security

Kuat single bike rack hitch fits both 1.25” & 2” receivers. It is compatible with 20-29” tires and prevents any frame contact. It will suit most vehicles with a hitch but is not compatible with RVs.  This hitch bike rack will also protect the bike thanks to the integrated cable locks while it also contains a  locking hitch pin. 

This Kuat single bike hitch rack has some exceptional features such as a spring-based system that can be operated by foot to drop the rack. In this way, you would be able to load the bike easily if your hands are not free. This 1 bike hitch rack also has a PerfectFit system for fitting the bike perfectly in less time.

Kuat single bike hitch rack can be bought for around $3000 and weighs around 32 pounds. It has a ratchet arm that can be adjusted to secure your bike perfectly. Moreover, you can easily access the rear of the vehicle due to the 45-degree tilting feature of this bike rack.

Comparison of car bike racks for a single bike

Thule T1 Saris soloYakima Single Speed Thule UpRideKuat single bike hitch rack
Features 98989
Value of money 88879
Customer Satisfaction8.
Brand value 98998
Aesthetics 9.210979
Security 96987
Capacity 77777
Weighted rack score

Advantages of a single bike rack versus multi-bike rack

Pros of bike rack for one bike 

  • These bike racks weigh less than bike racks made for multiple bikes. This largely affects the ease of installation since some bigger bike racks require more than one person for installation. 
  • Getting a multi-bike rack if you own only a single bike is unnecessary. You will be carrying extra weight during installation for no reason. 
  • Mult-bike racks are expensive. Why would you want to spend a hefty amount on something that you are not going to use often?
  • The more bikes, the greater the chance of frame contact. Although multi-bike rack owners put a lot of thought into anti-sway features, still bikes move and collide on some bumpy roads. Single bike racks are perfect for your expensive bike. 
  • Hitch bike racks and trunk bike racks are mounted on the rear side of the car. As the number of bike cradles or bike capacity increases, the total length of the vehicle increases. This can be an issue while you are driving at high speed or while making turns. 

Cons of bike rack for one bike 

  • Once you get a single bike rack, you cannot adjust more bikes with time. While a multi-bike rack will always allow you to carry single or multiple bikes. 
  • Cannot travel in the same vehicle with friends and family interested in biking. 

Installing a single bike rack hitch

Here is a video to help you understand the steps required to install a single bike rack hitch – Kuat Transfer

steps required to install a single bike rack hitch
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Bike Scientist

S Chaudhry is the founder and the first writer for BikesRacks. He covers almost all the bike reviews after doing a lot of secondary and primary (hands on) research on the products. Apart from that he is the author of a number of how to do articles as well on the website. He is an avid road bike cyclists who is dealing in a lot of areas related to biking. Currently he has gained experience fixing bikes to retailing accessories related to them as well. His eventual goal is to build an authority site on cycling and also become a profession bike fitter.