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Platform vs Hanging Bike Rack

platform vs hanging bike rack

Storing or transporting your bike from one place to the other needs a bike rack to keep the bike protected and safe all the time. But in doing so, there are two types of bike racks that you can choose: platform bike racks and hanging bike racks. What is the difference between the two? This article will compare platform vs hanging bike rack and its benefits to the user.

Features Platform Bike Rack Hanging Bike Rack
Price Pricey Affordable
Weight Heavier Lighter
Installation Easy Average
Stability Excellent Average
Capacity 2 – 3 Bikes 2 – 5 Bikes

Platform Bike Racks

A platform bike rack provides a platform or should I say, a tray that will be used for the bike to be seated on it. This bike rack is compatible with a wide range of bike styles, including those with unique frames such as full-suspension mountain bikes or even a step-through bike.

A platform bike rack usually sits very low to the ground, which means it is very easy to access your bicycle when putting it or removing it from the hitch. Also, the usual design of a platform bike is simple and practical, which makes it easy to upload or download the bike.

A typical platform bike rack is very sturdy and is normally built with two attaching points: the adjustable straps and the ratcheting arm. The ratcheting arm will help keep the front wheel in place, while the straps will be responsible for securing the wheel.

In a platform bike rack, you will see that there are slots available intended for the bikes. Each of the slots is built for the front wheel to go into and will be secured through a locking mechanism. And the best thing about these lots is they will not make the bike come into contact with each other, especially the frame making them different from the hanging bike rack.

Pros and Cons of a Platform Bike Rack

A bike will be easier to load or unload with a platform bike rack since it sits very low on the ground. Since it is mounted lower, you do not need to carry the bike very high every time you put the bike on the rack. Having a platform also allows this bike rack to accommodate different types of bikes, including the unconventional one.

A platform bike rack is also very gentle on the bike since it only touches the tire or the wheel using protective rubberized cradles. In addition, the bikes are also very secured from the wheels to the bike frame. This bike rack also provides lesser contact between bikes to reduce, if not eliminate, the chance of the bike from scratching against each other.

However, since it uses a platform or tray, this bike rack is expected to be heavier in weight than the hanging bike rack. Platform bike racks also tend to be bulky and are more pricey compared to the hanging type. But the security and the easy usage should negate the high price of this bike rack.

Installation can also be challenging if you have a more extensive and bulkier platform bike rack. Once mounted on the vehicle, the coverage area is larger as it typically extends farther out from the vehicle.

Hanging Bike Racks

platform bike racks

Hanging bike racks are for minimalists who want a cost-effective but straightforward bike rack. This type of bike rack uses a very simple design that will hold the bikes through the bike frames. I should say that this bike rack is an excellent option when transporting road bikes and other light bicycles from one place to the other.

The bike rack mounting mechanism is straightforward but effective. The weight is also very lightweight, which means mounting and removing it from your vehicle will not be an issue. The compact design also makes it easy for you to mount or dismount the bike rack in your vehicle.

Hanging bike racks are also very easy to use, especially for those standard bike frames. All you have to do is mount the rack on your vehicle, and you are good to go. Since they do not weigh that much, they can carry multiple bikes in one trip.

Pros and Cons of Hanging Bike Racks

In terms of weight, the hanging bike rack is lighter compared to the platform type. These racks typically weigh under 15 pounds, making them easy to mount into the vehicle and in storage if it is not being used. They can also be folded up, which makes them easy to store.

Installing and uninstalling this hanging bike rack to the hitch receiver of your vehicle will be easy with its weight. Its compact design also means that it does not extend as far out of your vehicle compared to a platform bike rack. Also, this bike rack is more affordable compared to the platform type.

However, if you are carrying multiple bikes, there is the tendency that the bicycles may bump up against the others, which can cause some scratches if you do not find a way to negate them. It can also be challenging to fit multiple bikes without them rubbing each other.

During the loading of the bike, you will need to raise the bike a little bit higher, which means you will have to exert more. There is also the tendency for the bikes to move more during transport but using an anti-sway bar can solve the issue.


Knowing the difference between platform vs hanging bike rack is important to know which one will be suitable for your vehicle. Of course, there are upsides and downsides between these two bike racks, but regardless of your choice, it is all about looking for the bike rack that fits your needs and your overall preference.

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