Motorcycle Hitch Carriers – Are They Safe? [Different Types]

are motorcycle hitch carriers safe

One of a bike enthusiast’s desires is to be able to ride their bike anywhere they want, whenever they want. But you cannot ride your bike everywhere, which is why you need to drag your bike with a hitch carrier. So if you bought your dream bike, then you better invest in a motorcycle hitch carrier. But if you don’t know whether it’s a safe investment or if you should get one, read on.

Are motorcycle hitch carriers safe? When you have the right product, yes, motorcycle hitch carriers are safe. You won’t have any problems as long as you don’t exceed the vehicle’s weight capacity.

What Are Motorcycle Hitch Carriers?

safety of motorcycle hitch carriers

A motorcycle hitch carrier is a type of storage device that is installed on the back of your car to help you transport large items such as dirt bikes and motorcycles. When it comes to buying a hitch carrier for your bike, you better consider what type of motorcycle you have before choosing your carrier. We will explain this later in detail. These carriers come in several shapes and sizes, but below are some of the common types: 

  • Heavy duty
  • Single motorcycle carrier
  • Double motorcycle carrier
  • Long motorcycle carrier
  • Folding carriers
  • Rack style
  • Carriers featuring tracks


  • Helps transport bikes and other cargo (of various sizes)
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to use
  • Helps keep your bike in pristine condition
  • Compact design


  • Noisy
  • Incompatibility with certain models
  • Most carriers carry only one unit at a time

How to Choose a Motorcycle Hitch Carrier?

When it comes to buying a motorcycle hitch carrier, the following are several things you need to consider:


Are motorcycle hitch carriers safe? Well, it depends if you bought the right class according to your bike. See the different classes below as it shows their corresponding weight capacity. They are categorized as Class I to Class V. 

These carriers have a label that mentions their weight carrying capacity. There is another weight rating called tongue weight rating. It shows the maximum weight limit. And as a general rule, the tongue weight rating shouldn’t go beyond 10% of the vehicle’s gross weight rating. With this information, you can keep the combined weight, hitch carriers, and bikes under the given limit. 

Bike Weight and Dimensions

On average, a bike weighs around 400 pounds, so check your bike’s maximum weight. Ensure that your vehicle can handle the weight without any issue. Apart from the bike’s weight, also add the fuel weight because a full fuel tank can add another 30 pounds.

Refer to the manual to learn more about the bike, including its weight, dry weight (without fuel), and wet weight (with fuel). 

Apart from weight, you also need to measure the bike’s dimensions, including these details:

  • Tire width
  • Vehicle’s ground clearance
  • Bike’s overall length

Some carriers are designed for small bikes, while some can carry large and heavy bikes. Once you learn these details, it helps you make the right decision.


motorcycle hitch carriers

Hitch carriers are made using either steel or aluminum. Aluminum carriers tend to be lightweight, don’t need much maintenance, and never rust. Steel carriers are cost-effective, sleek, compact, and better designed. Also, steel is more rigid when compared to aluminum. Yes, most carriers available on the market are tried and tested, but you have a wide variety of options to choose from. 


The two options for the ramp are the integrated ramp and the tilting ramp. The integrated ramp is easy to remove and store when not in use, whereas the tilting ramp extends in and out and tilts down with the carrier. This helps both in loading and unloading.

Wheel Chocks

These carriers are made for heavier bikes and feature an integrated chock to keep the front wheel immobile in transit and for additional stability.


Once you pick the right hitch carrier for your bike, it’s time to choose accessories. Some accessories that you may need are tie-down straps and soft loops, including locking and silencing hitch pins. These accessories will help make transit safe for your vehicle. If you want better stability and security from wear and tear, then it pays off to invest in these accessories.

What Are Hitch Carrier Classes?

motorcycle hitch carriers safety

Hitch classes are defined by their weight carrying capacity and opening size of the receiver. Here are 5 of these classes with their specs:

Class I

Class I hitches feature an opening size of 1 and 1 ¼ inches and a weight capacity of 200 pounds (might be more). These hitch types are designed to be pulled by sedans, hatch batches, crossovers, and SUVs.

Class II

Class II motorcycle hatches feature a weight capacity of 350 pounds with a receiver size of 1 and 1 ¼. These hitches are designed to be pulled by minivans, small trucks, and midsize sedans.

Class III

These hitches are mostly driven away by pickup trucks, minivans, and full-size SUVs. Class III hitches feature a 2-inch opening size and can carry a weight capacity of 350 pounds to 600 pounds.

Class IV

Class IV motorcycle hitch carriers feature an opening size of 2 inches and can support a weight capacity of 600 pounds to 1,000 pounds. These carriers are designed for heavy-duty pickup trucks and large SUVs.

Class V

This class supports a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds to 1,200 pounds with an opening size of 2 inches and 2 and a half inches. These carriers are ideal for two vehicles and commercial trucks.

Conclusion – Are Motorcycle Hitch Carriers Safe?

Higher carriers are perfectly safe for transporting bikes, and they are a better alternative to trailers. For starters, these carriers come equipped with an anti-rattling device that prevents the bike from wobbling during transport. 

When you use a hitch carrier, your vehicle won’t get damaged if you carefully follow the safety guidelines. Just make sure you cross the weight limit and safely load and unload your bike with ease. It doesn’t matter whether you are carrying a scooter, a chopper, a superbike, or a dirt bike, as long as you have the right carrier according to your bike’s weight and size.