One of the best things about having an electric bike is that even if you’re not in the best of shapes, its motor will assist you and propel you forward. Unfortunately, if you frequently travel around, the motor can’t help you fit your electric bike onto the car. Electric bikes are much heavier than traditional ones, so you’ll need a durable mounting platform to securely support them. That being said, when looking for a bike rack for electric bikes, here are a few important factors to consider:
- Get a hitch rack, preferably;
- Pay attention to how the bike will be held;
- Scrutinise the specs;
- See whether it comes with a ramp or not.
Hitch racks are preferable as roof-top racks are too difficult to load an electric bike on. Platform hitch racks are ideal, as long as they are capable of withstanding the weight of the electric bike. And ramps simply make loading and unloading easier. Some racks feature integrated ramps while others don’t, so you might need to buy one separately.
Most models of user friendly bike rack for electric bikes are nowadays compatible with traditional bikes too which is great news if you also own these. Just be sure to keep in mind that for a rack to be useful it should support the bike’s construction, weight as well as size. Let’s go into more detail about the important factors.
Why Hitch Racks?
As you can imagine, roof racks are not ideal for heavy electric bikes. An electric bike can weigh 20-30kg, making it difficult to lift over your shoulders to load on a roof rack. Unless you’re a powerlifter who’s tall enough, it can be straight-up impossible to do it on your own. Trunk racks also aren’t ideal, as they load close to the ground, and they generally don’t have enough capacity to handle most electric bikes. Hitch racks, on the other hand, have none of these problems. They’re easy to load and unload the bikes onto, and they don’t put a strain on your vehicle as much.
Type of Bike Mount
There are two types of hitch electric bike racks: hanging and platform. Platform racks are considered better, as they can handle a variety of frame styles, unlike hanging hitch racks that may require an adapter. Moreover, platform racks come with a greater weight capacity. Some platform racks come with wheel hooks that clamp over the top of the tyres to secure the bike. If your bike has fenders, a rack with a hook might not be able to hold it properly, in which case you’ll want a rack that clamps directly onto the bike’s frame.
Key Specs to Pay Mind to
Obviously, the maximum weight it can hold is the most important spec to pay mind to. If you ignore this spec and place a heavier bike on the rack, you risk damaging your bike, your vehicle, and harming people who drive behind you. While removing the battery during transport can make a small difference, look for a rack that can hold at least 1.5 times the weight of your bike.
Next, you have to consider the hitch tongue weight capacity. This is the maximum weight the hitch can handle. if the weight of the rack plus bike exceeds this number, you need to consider getting a stronger hitch. Last but not least, consider the tyre size and the wheelbase. The rack will have a maximum acceptable tyre width and wheelbase.
Consider Racks with Ramps
Even though platform-mounted hitch racks are close to the ground, lifting a heavy electric bike onto them can be difficult. If your rack comes with a ramp, you can simply roll your bike onto it. That being said, a ramp can come in very handy, especially for those who struggle to lift and carry heavy things like electric bikes.
Some ramps can be stowed within the rack during transport, while other ramps are available as separate accessories. Some premium-priced racks come with a lift-assist-powered mechanism that hoists the bike onto the rack. However, the hitch on your vehicle will need to be set up electronically.
Some hitch racks allow you to lock the hitch onto the rack. Some have rack-integrated cable locks to help you secure the electric bike to the rack. Still, the high price of electric bikes makes them a target for many low-life thieves who can easily steal the bike. That being said, don’t leave the electric bike on a rack unattended in public for too long. Bring it inside your garage overnight, or in your motel room if you’re travelling. Consider getting a beefy chain lock for extra security.
Your electric bike costs a fortune, so it only makes sense that you’d invest in a quality bike rack to transport it safely from point A to point B. Electric bike racks come in a range of shapes and forms, but the most popular are hitch-mounted racks simply because they’re the most convenient and safe to use.