Best Fat Tire Bike Racks of 2019 (Saris, Swagman, Yakima)

The calendar was clear for me last weekend, so I thought it was time for me to check out bikes at the mall. Immediately, one sports store announced it was my lucky day through these:

While fat bikes have been around since the early 1900s, and their modern versions since the 1980s, it was just fairly recently when they really gained their popularity. And, as someone who devours hours of hiking in two wheels, it was just a matter of time before I get my hands on these fat tire bikes. Here are my personal recommendations on the top fat tire bike racks in the market!

Fat Tire Bike Rack Comparison Table

Product Name  Current Price
1. Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE2 2 Bike Platform RackHollywood Racks Platform Racks for Fat Bikes
2. Saris Freedom 2 Bike Platform Rack for Fat BikesSaris Freedom Platform Rack for Fat Bikes
3. Swagman G10 2-Bike Platform RackSwagman G10 Platform Rack
4. Yakima TwoTimer 2 Bike Platform Rack for Fat BikesYakima Two Timer 2 Bike Platform Rack
5. Thule T2 Pro XTS 2 Bike Platform RackThule T2 Pro XTS Bike Platform Rack

Our Top 5 Fat Tire Bike Racks

#1. Hollywood Racks Platform Rack for Fat Bikes – Doesn’t stick far out from the vehicle

Hollywood Racks Platform Racks for Fat Bikes

The Brand

What started out as a small bike store in Hollywood, California is now one of the exported US brands for racks in Europe and in Asia. Aiming to make good quality products, they began making trunk-mounted racks in 1973.

After earning a great reputation with the rack industry, they closed their bike shop to give way and fully focus on producing racks to their customers in the US. It was in 1989 when they expanded their product line that included racks for trailer hitches, pickup trucks, and spare tires.

The Product

Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE2 2 Bike Platform Rack gives you a total of eight cradles. Four of that will hold your fat-tire bikes, up to five inches wide. And, another four cradles that will hold your standard tires up to three inches wide.

This versatile accessory is simple and easy to use. It features locking frame hooks as well as wheel trays that are specifically designed for fat-tire bikes. This allows you to easily load and unload your bikes from the rack.

SE2 2 Bike Platform Rack can accommodate bikes with wheelbases up to 60 inches. All thanks to the adjustable wheel holders that are wider than standard cradles. These wheel holders can be adjusted by sliding the wheel hoops along the horizontal arm.

Worried about rattles? This rack is designed with a locking hitch pin with an anti-rattle system that pulls the rack’s shank to your hitch receiver, preventing rattling around inside the receiver.

Features

  • Hitch-mounted, platform-style rack supports up to 2 fat-tire bikes or 2 standard bikes
  • Ratcheting hooks on center mast grip bikes firmly by the frame
  • Quick-release system has 2 spring pins that allow rack to tilt and fold
  • Keyed-alike hitch lock and frame hooks protect rack to vehicle and vice versa
  • Safety cable wraps through bike frames and fastens to hitch pin to keep thieves away

Customer experiences have proved this rack is well-designed and that it does not bend or flex easily. The integrated anti-rattle system did not require any tools making it a selling point than the other bike rack he was eyeing on.

ProsCons
Heavy duty construction with black powder coat finish resists rustConsumes a lot of space when taken down
No tools necessary to bolt it to the hitchA bit heavy due to its construction
Red safety reflector on shank

#2. Saris Freedom 2 Bike Platform Rack for Fat Bikes – Freedom from worrying fat-tire bikes

Saris Freedom Platform Rack for Fat Bikes

The Brand

Saris’ products have been in the market since 1989 and have been tested to last long. The company recently celebrated its 30th anniversary making it a testament of how reputable their racks are.

Saris wants their customers to know three things about them. Advocacy – their commitment to using their resources to enhance cycling on a local, state, and national level. Longevity – they have been around for 30 years. Passion – everyone involved in the operation of their company has a passion for cycling. No wonder they produce racks that take us and our bikes where we need to go.

The Product

You’ll be worry free knowing that your 2 wheels are securely cradled in Saris’ Cuscinos –  or their patent-pending pillows. Freedom 2 is your liberty to take your bike wherever you need to go. This compact, platform-style rack has wheel trays specifically designed for fat-tire bikes, is easy to use, and weighs no more than 23 pounds.

Now, that’s freedom from spending more time loading and unloading your bikes. More time riding!

Freedom 2’s adjustable wheel trays are injection-molded plastics. They are larger and deeper than most cradles and can hold tires up to 5 inches wide. These trays slide along the rack’s level arm to lodge bikes with various wheelbases.

This rack is ideal for your fat-tire bikes since the cradles can be adjusted along with the platform. This will surely fit a wide variety of bikes.

Features

  • Hitch-mounted, platform-style rack that can carry 1 or 2 fat bikes at the back of your car
  • Soft rubber cradles or cuscinos hold your bikes by the down tubes or top tubes
  • Shank rise allows extra ground clearance
  • Hitch adapter sleeve converts 1-1/4-inch shank for use with 2-inch hitches
  • Rust and corrosion resistant steel base and mast with black powder coat finish

One customer replaced his popular brand bike rack with Freedom 2 and has never had regrets ever since. His choice made him experience a ride that was smooth, steady, with minimal vibration.  No weekend rides missed out with this bike rack.

ProsCons
Can accommodate many different frame typesStraps are short to make around the tire to secure them down
Very easy to assemble and use
Poor packaging
Won’t scratch or scuff your bike frame

#3. Swagman G10 2-Bike Platform Rack – Perfect rack for small hatchback

Swagman G10 Platform Rack

The Brand

Jim and Jan Morris, the founders of Swagman had but one intention when they started out the company in the early 90s – to create a better way to transport your bike. Swagman was one of the first companies that were able to market their hitch style bike rack worldwide.

They have continued to grow, and their progress included expanding their product lines to storage systems, water and winter sport, merchandises, and apparel.

The Product

Swagman G10 Platform-Style two-bike rack allows you to carry up to two of your two-wheelers at the back of your vehicle. Its sliding cradles are adjustable to fit many different bike lengths, including your fat-tire bikes.

While it has the strength to carry your fat bike, you will still have to purchase the G10 Fat Bike Wheel Holder. This substitute wheel holder will allow you to carry 1 fat-tire bike up to 5 inches. Simply replace the original handle with this one, slide onto the crank arm, and then tighten with the knob. No extra tools required.

G10’s sliding cradles have ratcheting straps that hold your bikes in place by its wheels. They easily adjust with hand knobs to make room for bikes with different lengths.

Features

  • Hitch-mounted, platform-style carrier that can haul 2 bicycles on the back of your car
  • Sliding cradles with ratcheting belts protect your bike wheels to the rack
  • Hitch and cable lock keeps the rack to your vehicle and your bikes to the rack safely
  • Solid steel construction finished with gray powder coat making it robust, tough, and rust resistant
  • Cushion protects your bike frames from scuffs and scratches

One consumer testified about Swagman G10 the easiest rack to use and assemble. After ordering a more expensive one and getting disappointed, he took the chance on Swagman G10 and has never had regrets. No noise and rattling from the rack and it being able to fold down and put away when not in use are a huge bonus.

ProsCons
Tilts down to give you access to rear-of-vehicleKey for hitch pin is not the same as key for ratchet arms and are not replaceable
Fits most frame sizes, shapes and styles
Security loop threads onto hitch pin
Folds up nicely

#4. Yakima TwoTimer 2 Bike Platform Rack for Fat Bikes – Excellent rack for fat-tire bikes

Yakima Two Timer 2 Bike Platform Rack

The Brand

People at Yakima have wild souls and are never fond of sitting still. Probably why they have perfected their craft and became leaders in the hauling industry. Their products are a combination of safety, sensible designs, and street smartness.

Since 1979, Yakima is synonymous with safety with the solutions they offer that have transformed the way people travel with their gears.

The Product

Yakima TwoTimer is a platform-style carrier that can hold 2 fat-tire bikes with its adjustable hooks and sliding wheel cradles. Its design allows you to easily load and unload your bikes. The ratcheting hooks and the adjustable wheel cradles with its extra long straps allow you to haul your fat-tire bikes with up to 4 ½ inches wide tires.

Another feature that adds up to its ease of use is its low load height that requires minimal lifting. Its adjustable hooks and wheel cradles are cushioned to make sure your bike frames will be free from scratches and abrasions.

When not in use, Yakima TwoTimer can be easily folded up against the back of your car. Simply pull the pin at the base of the mast to fold it, use the spring-loaded pin to hold it against the back of your vehicle.

Features

  • Hitch-mounted, platform-style carrier that can haul 2 fat-tire bikes at the back of your car
  • Ratcheting, rubberized hooks tightly holds your bikes by the top tubes
  • Spring-loaded pin in base allows you tilt the rack down or fold it up for easy rear access and storage
  • Integrated rung on rack base adds an anchor point for a cable lock
  • Steel construction finished with gray powder coat making it strong, durable, and rust resistant

A consumer who lives in Seattle, where it rains a lot has had no regrets purchasing Yakima TwoTimer. Not only has it shown no signs of rust or wear in the rain, but as well as while he was constantly using it in winter. Used it on a Toyota Camry and had no issues getting the bikes on and off. No part ever came loose. Yakima TwoTimer nailed it 5/5 for this consumer.

ProsCons
Comes with lock to secure rack Rack sways a little on bumpy roads
Folds up out of the way Bike locks sold separately
Fits bikes with fenders

#5. Thule T2 Pro XTS 2 Bike Platform Rack – Must have for traveling with your fat-tire bikes

Thule T2 Pro XTS Bike Platform Rack

The Brand

Established in Sweden in 1942, Thule has since made it their business to bring you closer to the world and your passion for life by helping you with your active outdoor lifestyle.

Thule is committed to helping you transport anything safely, easily, and in style, giving you freedom to live your life. Whatever your passion, your pursuit, wherever you are going, and whatever you are bringing, Thule wants you to be able to bring your life.

The Product

Thule T2 Pro XTS 2 Bike Platform Rack is a hitch-mounted, platform style bike rack that holds the bikes by the wheels with ratcheting hooks and sliding cradles – no frame contact. Its deep wheel cradles matched with the extra-long wheel straps allow you to accommodate fat bikes with tires up to 5 inches wide.

Its bike trays can be adjusted to fully optimize bike spacing and to reduce bike-to-bike contact. They are secured by the ratcheting arms and wheel trays.

Thule T2 adds to its features, easy installation without the need for tools with its AutoAttach solution. At the same time, the front-mounted HitchSwitch lever lets the rack tilt down, even with bikes loaded to gain easy access to the car’s rear area.

Features

  • The multipurpose design mounts most bikes regardless of size, weight, frame design, suspension, or brake style
  • Front-mounted HitchSwitch lever lets a single person to easily tilt and fold the rack
  • Adjustable bike trays that glide 3 inches side to side to improve bike spacing
  • Quick and easy installation with AutoAttach system – no more use of tools
  • Robust steel construction with silver finish

Hooked with fat-tire bikes, another consumer purchased Thule T2 to safely transport his fat bikes to wherever he needs to go. And, he claims that he is not disappointed with his purchase. His recent trip had the rack hold his fat-tire bike as well as his friend’s standard-sized bike. Now, that’s a worthy investment.

ProsCons
Can easily be expanded as 4-bike carrierSome vehicles can have the safety latch not fitting right on the tow hitch
Total stability even at bumpy rides
Too heavy
Easy to use

Our Top Pick

Considering the researches, I have made both for standard-sized and fat-tire bike racks, the top pick is the Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE2 2 Bike Platform Rack for Fat Bikes.

SE 2 is well engineered, displays high-quality and is very easy to assemble. It is solid enough to tolerate the weight of the fat-tire bike while considerably lighter than most brands. Imagine having to lift a heavy rack to set it up, and then lifting a heavy fat-bike again to load? You won’t get to experience that with S2. It is very easy to load bikes. It folds up into a compact package, allowing easy carrying and storing.

All the features mentioned for Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE2 really make transporting your bikes from one place to another a whole lot easier.

Check out this video for assembly information!


What Are Fat Tire Bikes?

As the name suggests, fat bikes or fat-tire bikes are off-road bikes that have oversized tires. These tires are typically 3.8 inches or larger with rims 2.16 inches or wider. Fat-tire bikes were designed for low ground pressure to tolerate riding on unstable terrains like snow, sand, swamps, or mud.

Fat-tire bikes have frames with wide forks that stays to house the wide rims needed to fit the fat tires. To get that smooth ride over rough obstacles, their ideal inflation pressure should be as low as 340 hPa (hectopascals); 0.34 bar (5 psi (pounds of force per square inch)).

Contrary to common notions, fat-tire bikes are not for fat riders. They were designed and invented for snow and sand use. Over time, they have been groomed and improved to traverse various terrain types such as mud, pavements, and mountain biking trails.

With its gaining popularity, events specific for fat-tire bikes have emerged. Such events like the annual Global Fatbike Summit has been running since 2012.


Types of Fat-Tire Bike Racks

It turns out, fat-tire bikes are so popular that you won’t run out of bike rack choices. Manufacturers have been testing, engineering, and coming out with more fat-tire bike racks. There are choices. All with the common goal of safely transporting your bike whether you need them for hiking, trailing, or for a cycling event.

Let’s go back to the types of bike racks before we narrow them down to which can properly accommodate fat-tire bikes.

Hanging Racks

This type attaches to your hitch and is one of the most convenient to use. Once, it’s put up, all there is to do is to lift the bike and hang them up on the racks.

Hanging racks can surely house a fat-tire bike since they carry bikes by the top tube and not by the tires. But, make sure it can tolerate the bike’s weight. Fat-tire bikes are usually heavier than most bikes and most hanging racks may only be strong for standard-sized bikes. Still, there are hanging racks that have been engineered with a considerable weight limit that can make a good fat-tire bike rack.

Truck Bed Mounts

Pickup Trucks are always useful than most vehicles when it comes to hauling large and awkward-sized cargo. So, its no surprise they also come in as one of the numerous options we have for fat-tire bike racks.

If you have a pickup truck, a fork mount for the truck bed is all you need. These mounts allow you to transport your fat-tire bikes simply by removing the front wheel and securing the forks to the mount. Mounts come in different sizes to accommodate various sizes of forks.

Roof Racks

There are three types of roof racks; a complete system that installs to your bare roof, trays that mount to your factory-installed crossbars or side rails, and suction cups that vacuum seal to practically any surface.

When choosing a roof rack to carry a fat-tire bike, make sure to consider the tray width. Inspect whether it connects to the bike’s fork, at the mount size. This may result in switching out parts between transporting your tri bike and carrying your fat-tire bike.

Platform Hitch Racks

Carrying your fat-tire bikes in a pickup truck bed is the best option. Next to it is transporting them with hitch racks on platforms. Such racks accommodate bikes at varying lengths and sizes. Most models are ready for fat-tire bikes out of the box, while some may require you to purchase additional parts prior to fitting them in.

How to Decide?

Fat-tire bikes are the latest addition to the world of cycling and since they are fairly new, there are but just a few selections of bike racks that can specifically accommodate them. So, how do you decide the best fat-tire bike rack?

Getting your fat-tire bike a rack is almost the same as getting yourself a bike rack for your standard-sized bikes. Except for minor differences.

Your checklist for things to consider should include the following;

  • Rack Types
    • Roof
    • Hitch
    • Trunk
  • Security
  • Bike frame compatibility
  • Number of bikes to transport
  • Ease of use

The list includes the most basic of considerations in getting a bike rack. But, for a fat-tire bike rack, you need to focus on the features that accommodate those big, beautiful tires that make fat bikes special.

Most fat-tire bikes have their sizes somewhere between 2.5 to 5 inches. This part already rules out a lot of racks. Find one that can hold the wheel sizes mentioned above. Make sure that this rack has a generous space to accommodate the slimmest and the fattest bike.

Should the rack touch the frame? That’s up to you. Is the frame as delicate as carbon made bikes? Basically, as long as it meets the weight and the size criteria, we’re good to go.


Conclusion

The size of fat-tire bikes makes it a challenge to find the appropriate rack to transport it with. But, if you want the best towing solution for your pride and joy, then I hope that I gave you the idea that the platform carrier is the most fitting. Platform carriers are perfect for fat-tire bikes since it allows the bike to sit on their wheels rather than hanging from their frames.

You wouldn’t want to hang your precious bike frame and tolerate the weight of the fat tire, would you? Quality brands tend to engineer a method to cope up and serve fat-bikes. More perceptive design, the capacity to transport fat bikes, and systems that incorporate security are just a few of the up-to-date innovations in bicycle racks. Don’t just look and buy, really contemplate on it and read comments on retail sites to learn from other people’s experience.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can these fat-tire bike racks be used with a trailer?

A: The hitch rack inserts into the pulling vehicle’s receiver. The only option would be to install another hitch receiver on the back of the trailer.

Q: Can such racks be used on a van?

A: The rack attaches to a trailer hitch, so you would need to have a trailer hitch on your van to be able to use.

Q: Which type of riding best suits fat-tire bikes?

A: They are ideal for All-Mountain, Single-Track, Bikepacking, and Winter Snow-biking.

Q: What are fat-tire bike frames made of?

A: Over the years, the fat bike market has gained popularity resulting to companies offering frames in almost any conceivable material – aluminum, carbon, titanium, even bamboo! Fat-tire bikes are fully rigid gears, and in the past few years, suspension forks have been refined and mass-produced. Several smaller builders started offering fully custom, full-suspension frames.

Relevant Resources

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