From my experiences, I personally believe that there is no such thing a better rack. Hence, the only reason why you should choose one over the other is based on specific products and your personal preferences.
That being said, in this post, I’ll be talking about the advantages and disadvantage of having each of these racks. Depending on your requirements, you can find out what type of rack is more suitable.
Here you’ll find the most common advantages of having a trunk strap mounted bike rack and hitch bike rack, respectively.
Trunk strap mounted bike rack
The best thing about trunk mounted bike racks is that they tend to come with minimal requirements. All you’ll need to do is mount the two upper hooks on your trunks, then move to the side hooks. Tighten all the strap and you’re done setting up the trunk strap mounted bike rack. No additional equipment is required to complete the setup.
In additions, this type of rack often come with minimal sizes. Hence, they can easily fit on your trunk and can be taken out whenever you want to mount your bikes on. The racks are also relatively light, thus reducing the pressures and tensions at the back of your cars.
Made for easily disassemble
And since it’s connected to your trunk using nothing but metal hooks, you can easily disassemble the rack from your car by loosening the straps and remove the hook from your trunk. In facts, due to its lightweight, you might not have to take down your bike before removing the rack.
Can carry more than one bike
For most of the time, the strap mounted racks are capable of carrying more than one bikes. Hence, you can keep prepare for even a family trip on certain racks. However, due to their strap-mounted nature, the total sustainable weight would be a little less impressive compared to hitch mounted bike racks.
You can open your trunk (most of the time)
One of my favorite features on trunk strap mounted bike rack is that it allows users to open their trunk whenever they want. The reason is that all the hooks are connected to edges of the trunk so they won’t likely to get in the way when you open it. This is extremely useful whenever you want to open your trunk and take out the important stuffs that you forget to prepare.
Hitch mounted bike rack
Simple setup with hitch already installed
Like the trunk strap mounted bike racks, hitch mounted bike racks are mostly love due to its convenient uses, and most notably, the setup. With your hitch already installed, all you’ll have to do is connect the rack using the hitch connector.
This can be easily done by holding your rack above the ground and using your leg to adjust the angle. Once the hitch is positioned near the receiver, you just need to give it a simple push and it’ll slide right in. The last step is to carefully adjust the nob at the bottom of your rack to secure its position.
Due to the strong hitch-mounted mechanics, most hitch-mounted bike racks are more reliable compared to strap-mounted products. This allows you to carry your bikes on tough and bumpy terrains without worrying that your rack might fall off your car.
Carry multiple bikes
In additions, thanks to the reliable hitch-mount functionality, these racks are usually capable of carrying more bikes on it. As long as your bikes are safely secured on the rack, you won’t have to worry a thing about it, even when you’re traveling on a bumpy road.
Due to its slide-in design, hitch mounted bike racks are super easy to disassemble. All you’ll need to do is to loosen the nob at the bottom of your rack and quickly remove the rack from the hitch. This makes it extremely useful whenever you want to make quick adjustments.
Trunk strap mounted bike rack
Not doing well in bumpy terrains
One of the thing that makes me dislike the strap-mounted bike rack is that it tends to do poorly whenever you run into bumpy roads. This makes the car constantly jumping up and down, which might accidentally loosen the hooks. This is extremely inconvenient as you might even lose your bike without your notice.
The thing with strap mounted bike rack is that you must always remember to tighten the strap correctly, this means that the rack must be perfectly positioned so that the bikes won’t shift around when you’re riding.
In additions, if you’re going to mount more than 3 bikes on your car, it’s better to go for a hitch mounted rack. The reason being that with strap-mounted racks, you’ll put a lot of weights on the strap. Thus making them less reliable when carrying heavy weights, even when you’ve tightened the strap carefully.
Might scratch your car
Since it uses metal hooks to grab on your trunks, the equipment will put a lot of strains and tensions on the back of your car. Thus you might accidentally damage your car’s painting when using this type of rack.
Hitch mounted bike rack
Must have a hitch installed on your vehicle
The most notable disadvantage with hitch-mounted racks is that they require you to have the hitch pre-installed on your vehicles. Otherwise, you will never be able to attach the rack on your car.
Make cars a lot longer
And since they’re usually longer than strap-mounted racks to be able to carry more bikes, your car will become a little bit longer when using this type of rack. This makes it a lot more difficult driving in the city or other crowded areas. Not to mention that the excess length also reduces the car’s balance.
Can’t open your trunk (most of the time)
And last but not least, the most irritating experiences for me when it comes to hitch-mounted bike racks always involve with the trunk. You might not notice this, but for most of the time, you won’t be able to open your trunk after you’ve installed the rack and load it up with your bikes.
Still, there are certain racks that come with the drop down option which allows you to lower the bikes and create space to open the trunk. However, this is only available if you only have one bike on the rack, and it’s must also be position far away from the trunk.
Even with all the discussions and conclusions about whether you should choose trunk strap mounted bike rack over hitch mounted bike rack, the most important factor would always come down to the quality and pricing of the products.
Having said that, if you find a product that’s clearly not what you’re looking for after reading this post, but it comes with a good price and great functionality, I would definitely still recommend you to get it. After all, we’re looking for good racks regardless of their contraptions.
And that’s our opinions on which is better trunk strap mounted bike rack or hitch mounted bike rack. Hope you like the post and we’ll see you in our future posts.