Shopping for a bike rack for a vehicle

UPDATE (June 2021): Due to supply chain issues, the Hollywood Racks are currently unavailable from most suppliers. For alternatives, please scroll down to “What to do if you don’t have access to a Hollywood Rack”. 


Whether you’re taking your Xtracycle along for the family road trip or just need to haul it over to the bike shop for repairs, having a reliable rack to carry your bike on a vehicle can be key. When shopping for a bike rack to carry your Xtracycle on a vehicle, the two most important things to take into consideration are your bike’s weight (including accessories) and your bike’s wheelbase. Because our bikes are heavier and longer than regular bikes, some extra attention needs to be paid to these rack specifications when shopping. For that reason:

Our top recommendation is the Hollywood Racks Sport Rider.


We recommend the
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider for Electric Bikes. It is uses a 2″ hitch tray rack and is compatible with all of our bike models. A tray rack is a rack that attaches to your bike’s wheels as opposed to a hanging rack where the rack attaches to your bike’s frame. It can carry up to two bikes with a maximum weight of 80 lbs. each and a maximum 60″ wheelbase. Most of our bikes with all accessories installed, the battery removed and the PorterPack removed weigh under 80 lbs. To double check the weight of your bike, please refer to this article. All of our bikes have a wheelbase under 60″. When in stock, we sell this rack on our website.

One thing to keep in mind with this rack is if your bike has a Hooptie and U-tubes installed, you might need to remove the Hooptie rail and U-tube that is facing the other bike on the rack since these accessories might prevent you from being able to carry another bike on the rack on that side. 

What to do if you don’t have a hitch on your vehicle

Carrying your cargo bike on your vehicle will require having a hitch installed. A Class II or Class III hitch will be rated highly enough to carry both the weight of your rack and your bikes. Class II hitches are rated to carry up to 350 lbs. and Class III are weighted to carry up to 800 lbs. There are various sites that sell car hitches, like
etrailer.com. If you aren’t confident in installing a hitch, you can also look up “local car hitch installation” for options in your area. Many U-Haul dealers also offer hitches and installation. 

The reason we only recommend a hitch mounted, tray style rack is these tend to be the only racks rated for bikes as heavy as ours. To see the other styles of racks and why we do not recommend them, please scroll down to the section titled:
styles of racks to avoid when rack shopping. 

Other Hollywood Racks tray style racks that will work with Xtracycle bikes

We are including the rack we recommend for easy comparison between the models

Bike rack model Max. lbs./bike* Max. # bikes Max. tire width Max. wheelbase Xtra models that should fit
Sport Rider for E-bikes
$499.99
80 lbs./bike 2 Any size up to 5″ wide 60″ All Xtracycle models
Sport Rider SE
for cargo bikes

$499.99
  80 lbs./bike 2 3” – 5″ (depending on which option is selected) 60″ All Xtracycle models
Sport Rider
for electric bikes

(1.25″ hitch)

$499.99
  80 lbs./bike 2 Any size up to 5″ wide 60″ All Xtracycle models
RV Rider
$599.99

80 lbs./bike 2 Any size up to 5″ wide 60″ All Xtracycle models

*Please note that most of our bikes with all accessories installed, the battery removed and the PorterPack removed weigh under 80 lbs. To double check the weigh of your bike, please refer to
this article

One other tray Hollywood Rack that will only work for the RFA Sport that does not have fenders installed is the
TRS E-Bike Hitch Rack. It can carry two bikes with a maximum weight of 65 lbs. each and can accommodate up to a 48″ wheelbase. This rack will not work with the RFA Utility, Swoop, Classic or Stoker.

Hollywood Racks that will NOT work with Xtracycle bikes

A few 2″ hitch tray style racks from Hollywood Racks will not work with Xtracycle bikes due to the lower weight limit on these. These include: the Sport Rider SE2 (50 lbs. per bike max.), the Sport Rider 2 (50 lbs. per bike max.), Trail Rider (45 lbs. per bike max.), the Sport Rider SE4 (50 lbs. per bike max.) and any TRS rack (expect the TRS e-bike which can work for the RFA Sport only). 

What to do if you do not have access to a Hollywood Rack

If Hollywood Racks are not an option for you, either because they are out of stock or are not available in your area, there are a few other brands with hitch mounted, tray style (which secure to your bike’s wheels) options that may work. Saris, Thule and Yakima have a wide dealer network and at least one of these brands is likely available in your area. The main downside to one of these other brands is none of them are rated for bikes that weigh over 65 lbs. and some are not long enough to accommodate our longer bikes. Many can still carry our bikes but you will need to remove accessories, like the MagicCarpet, Hooptie rails or U-tubes. 

To see if your bike will fit on another brand’s rack, you will need to know your bike’s weight and wheelbase (the length between the front axel and rear axel). Here are the weights and wheelbases for our current bike models. Please note the weight is the base model weight. If you have accessories like a PorterRack and Hooptie, please refer to
this article to calculate your bike’s weight. Please note that if you have an e-bike, we always advise you remove your bike’s battery for transport.

Xtracycle bike base weights and wheelbase lengths

Bike model Weight w/o battery
and no accessories
Wheelbase  
RFA Utility (Shimano) 57 lbs.  49.8″
eSwoop (Shimano)
59.7 lbs.  56.3″
eStoker (Shimano) 60.9 lbs. 54.75″
Swoop (non-electric) 40.25 lbs.  56.3″  
RFA Sport (Bosch) 52.3 lbs. 49.5″
RFA Utility (Bosch) 55.55 lbs. 49.8″
eSwoop /

eClassic (Bosch)
56.24 lbs.  56.3″  
eStoker (Bosch) 56.24 lbs. 54.75″
Stoker (non-electric) 40.25 lbs. 54.75″
Classic (non-electric) 40.25 lbs. 56.3″

Here are the racks from these manufacturers that likely work with our bikes:

*** IMPORTANT NOTE: We have not personally tested these racks, they just appear to be compatible based off of the specifications. Before purchasing one of these racks, we highly recommend you test the rack in person first or reach out the manufacturer for further support to ensure your bike will fit. ***

Racks from other manufacturers that might work with your bike

Bike rack model Max. lbs./bike Max. # bikes Max. wheelbase Xtra models that should fit
Yakima HoldUp for 1.25″ hitch
$399
  60 lbs./bike two 48″ RFA Sport only
Yakima OnRamp
$549
  66 lbs./bike two 50″ RFA Sport

RFA Utility
Thule EasyFold XT 2
$799.95
  65 lbs./bike two 51″ RFA Sport

RFA Utility
Saris Freedom EX 2
$379.99
  60 lbs./bike two 50″ RFA Sport

RFA Utility
Saris Freedom 2
$319.99
  60 lbs./bike two 57″ with

long wheelbase bar
RFA Sport

RFA Utility

Swoop

Classic

Stoker
Saris Freedom 4
$599.99
  up to 4 bikes

weighing 190 lbs.

(2 bikes weighing

no more than

35 lbs. each)
four 57″ with

long wheelbase bar
RFA Sport

RFA Utility

Swoop

Classic

Stoker

Here are the website and dealer locators for these brands:

Saris website dealer locator
Thule website dealer locator
Yakima website dealer locator

Motorcycle carriers

Another rack style that can work for transporting your Xtracycle is a hitch mounted motorcycle carrier. These racks tend to have a heigh weight capacity which is great for e-bikes but the down side if they can be bulky and might only be able to carry one bike.

One such rack is the Black Widow folding aluminum motorcycle carrier found
here

If you need to carry more than 2 bikes

Outside of the Saris Freedom 4, most racks that can carry an Xtracycle can carry up to a maximum of two bikes. If you need to transport your Xtracycle in addition to various other bikes, your best bet will likely be a rear hitch rack for your Xtracycle and one other bike and a roof top mounted rack for the remaining bikes, as pictured above with the Black Widow motorcycle carrier. 

A few extra bike rack tips

In researching heavy bike compatible bike racks,
this article came up and it is really informative and has a lot of helpful tips.

For easier loading, considering getting a small ramp (sometimes available through the bike rack manufacturer) to help load your bike onto you rack.
Here is a helpful video of a rider using a ramp to load a bike on a Thule EasyFold.

Be sure to lock your bike to the rack. We have team members who have had someone attempt to steal a bike from a rack while they were in a store for just a few minutes. Even a small lock can go a long way in keeping your bike yours.


Styles of racks TO AVOID when rack shopping

We only recommend using a rack that is hitch mounted and tray style (where the rack secures to your bike’s wheels). if you do not have a hitch, please scroll back up the the section titled “What to do if you don’t have a hitch on your vehicle”.

Here are the other styles of bike racks that are commercially available but that we
DO NOT RECOMMEND. We are sharing these pictures here to help you know what types of racks to avoid when rack shopping.

NOT RECOMMENDED
Trunk rack

strap mounted

Typically not rated to carry bikes heavier than 35 lbs.
NOT RECOMMENDED
Horizontal hanging

hitch mounted

Typically not rated to carry bikes heavier than 45 lbs. 
NOT RECOMMENDED
Vertical hanging rack

hitch mounted

Typically not rated bikes heavier than 40 lbs. 
NOT RECOMMENDED
Wheel clamp

hitch mounted

Not compatible with the rear rack on Xtracycle bikes.
NOT RECOMMENDED
Roof mounted

Typically not rated for heavier bikes, 

loading is not practical.
NOT RECOMMENDED
Spare tire mounted

Typically not rated heavier bikes.