Having the ultimate MX hauler or a dirt bike trailer can often be the way to go, but sometimes you just want a dirt bike rack to quickly throw your bike on and go riding.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using and buying a dirt bike rack.
Dirt Bike Rack
A dirt bike rack is a convenient transportation aid to transport your bike to the track or trails. You’ve probably seen them around sometime.
The dirt bike rack is also sometimes called a dirt bike tow hitch.
Dirt bike racks or dirt bike tow hitches are like mini trailers or stands that are mounted in a vehicle’s hitch. For a dirt bike tow hitch, they typically can hold one or two dirt bikes at a time.
For mountain bikes, road bikes, or other types of bicycles, you can get these racks and hitches for 3-5+ bikes.
Dirt Bike Tow Hitch Features
A dirt bike rack can be constructed from either aluminum or steel. Aluminum dirt bike racks are lightweight and easy to mount to a vehicle. They are cheaper than steel and highly resistant to rust and corrosion.
Unfortunately, aluminum racks are not as sturdy as those made from steel, which may result in the rack bending under heavier loads or bumps on the road. They are also not suitable for heavier motorcycles, but are fine for scooters or dirt bikes.
On the other hand, steel racks are sturdy, and you will not have to worry about them bending under heavy loads. However, they are more susceptible to rust and corrosion, so manufacturers coat them with powder coating. They are also more expensive than aluminum ones and are heavier to mount and handle on a vehicle.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the weight. If you have to move this dirt bike rack or dirt bike tow hitch around, which you will since I doubt you’ll leave it in your vehicle 24/7, you might want something that is a bit lighter.
Build quality and design
When we talk about build quality and design, we mean that a good-quality dirt bike rack must be sturdy and built to handle heavy loads. This means that it must be welded together properly, using strong welds that won’t break under tension.
At the same time, the design of the rack is also important, as it must not be much wider than the vehicle nor extend too far behind it.
It should be compact and foldable so that you can easily take it off and store it when not in use. Loading your bike onto the dirt bike rack should also be hassle-free so one person can easily do it.
If you’re buying a dirt bike tow hitch, you’re likely doing it for ease and convenience, so being able to do it with one person is important.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dirt Bike Rack
One of the first things you should be aware of is how much weight the dirt bike rack is designed to carry.
As we’ve stated earlier, aluminum racks are less durable and usually aren’t recommended for bikes above 400 pounds. Most dirt bikes are considered “lightweight” by that standard as they’re usually between 200-300 pounds.
Steel racks provide more stability and can handle heavier bikes up to 600 pounds.
If you’re looking to frequently haul two full-size dirt bikes with your dirt bike tow hitch, you probably should consider steel.
This term might be confusing to some, so let us give you a short explanation first. The tongue weight is the force that a trailer, dirt bike rack, or dirt bike tow hitch, exerts on the towing hitch ball. Measuring the proper tongue weight is important to ensure a safe towing experience.
A general rule is that the right tongue weight should not exceed 10-15 percent of the towing vehicle’s overall weight.
For example, if your car is around 3,500 pounds, the tongue weight should be around 350-450 pounds for safe towing. Heavier vehicles, such as an SUV or pickup truck, which are around 5,000 pounds, can carry a motorcycle of over 600 pounds.
An average dirt bike usually weighs between 200-300 pounds, so you should be able to transport it on a dirt bike rack with most vehicles.
Ease of use
You must also consider whether you can easily handle the rack in terms of mounting and dismounting it on the vehicle. There are many complicated rack designs on the market that one person alone would struggle to handle.
Try to go for a design that is easily foldable, lightweight, and doesn’t have many parts.
It is also a good idea to consider how the bike loads onto the rack. A tilting ramp is a better idea since it will allow you to load the dirt bike by yourself easier.
Integrated front wheel chock
This is optional, but it’s not something you should neglect when purchasing a dirt bike tow hitch.
A front wheel chock will provide more stability for the dirt bike, as it locks the front wheel, helping prevent the handlebars from tilting.
The downside of a front wheel chock is that it may take up more vertical space, and it can be quite bulky, depending on the design.
It also wouldn’t be necessary for transporting dirt bikes since they are lightweight, but if you feel it’s better to be safe than sorry, then choose a rack with an integrated chock.
The last thing to consider is the price. As with any other product, generally, the lower the price, the lower the quality, and vice versa. (This is why we don’t prefer Chinese vs Japanese dirt bikes.)
If you’re in the market for a high-quality dirt bike rack, don’t look at cheaper options and hope they will do the job while safely securing your bike.
A dirt bike tow hitch is worth spending a little bit extra money on. How would you feel seeing your dirt bike fall off the rack going down the highway because you chose to say $50-$100?
Buying a cheaper dirt bike rack could end up costing you more in repairs in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dirt Bike Racks, Dirt Bike Tow Hitches, and Dirt Bike Hitch Carriers
Yes, dirt bike hitch carriers are safe if you purchase a good-quality dirt bike rack and mount the hitch and bike correctly.
The easiest way to transport a dirt bike on a car is to install a hitch on the rear of the car and then use a dirt bike rack.
Yes, you can put a dirt bike rack on a car. When doing so, pay attention to the car’s towing capacity and the dirt bike rack tongue weight.
An average dirt bike weighs between 200 and 300 pounds.
Technically, in a pinch, you can transport a dirtbike laying down. Be sure to drain the fuel from the gas tank and turn off the fuel on the carb.
Yes, motorcycle racks are safe if you purchase a good-quality motorcycle rack and mount the hitch and bike correctly.
Yes, you can put a motorcycle on a hitch carrier as long as the weight of the motorcycle doesn’t exceed the towing vehicle’s tongue capacity.
You can easily transport a dirt bike without a trailer by using a dirt bike rack or dirt bike tow hitch. Simply install the dirt bike rack into the hitch of the vehicle, load the dirt bike onto the rack, and tie it down.
You can haul a dirt bike on an SUV easily by using a dirt bike rack or dirt bike tow hitch. Install the dirt bike rack into the hitch of the SUV, load the dirt bike onto the dirt bike rack, and tie it down.
A Honda Civic can tow a small dirt bike with a dirt bike rack installed, but should not really be used for full-size dirt bikes.