6 Best Motorcycle Hitch Carrier Review (Plus What You Need to Know)

best motorcycle hitch carrier

If you’re looking for an easy way to transport your bike, but don’t want the extra hassles associated with towing a trailer, a motorcycle hitch carrier may be the answer for you.

A motorcycle hitch carrier is certainly the convenient option if you don’t want a trailer, or have no place to store one. You always have the parking issue with trailers and the cost of registration also.

I’ve been loading and unloading dirt bikes of all types for over 30 years during my time racing and trail riding. I’ve used motorcycle hitch carriers as far back as the eighties, which were ideal for transporting a lightweight dirt bike when the option of a van or trailer wasn’t available.

One of the first things to consider when selecting the right one for you is the ‘Tongue weight Capacity’ which is the maximum weight your vehicle’s hitch can safely carry as a downward force. Check your vehicle’s user manual for this. More on this later.

My 30 years of riding experience have gone into selecting what I regard as the best motorcycle hitch carriers available today. I’ve looked at both steel and aluminum, from 400 to 600-pound capacity.

In my selection process, I cut the list down to the best 6. During my researching I came across user reports of carriers twisting and bending, even bikes falling off on the highway.

You’re trusting you valuable bike with this carrier. Here are the carriers that passed my criteria.

Quick Summary:

Pushed for time? Here is a quick summary of 6 of the Best Motorcycle Carriers being reviewed here:

  1. Black Widow MX-600X Steel Motorcycle Carrier  – Best Bang For Buck
  2. VersaHaul VH-55-RO Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier  – Best Of The Best
  3. TMS T-NS-MRC001 Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier  – Best Budget Carrier
  4. Black Widow AMC-400 Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier  – Best Aluminum Carrier
  5. VersaHaul VH-55DMRO Double Motorcycle Carrier  – Best Dual Motorcycle Carrier
  6. VersaHaul VH-SPORTPRO Sport Bike Carrier  – Best Heavy Bike Carrier

How To Choose A Motorcycle Hitch Carrier:

Here are the top 4 factors to consider when selecting the right motorcycle hitch carrier for your needs:

1. Construction: Steel or Aluminum?

The two main materials used for hitch carriers are steel and aluminum. There are advantages and disadvantages to each:

Steel Carriers: Steel is obviously heavier than aluminum, which makes handling it for installation more difficult. For some of the heavier carriers, it’s a two person job.

Steel is stronger and is generally used for the higher capacity carriers suitable for heavier bikes like cruisers or sport bikes. Steel carriers tend to be less expensive than aluminum.

Corrosion is also a problem with steel once the paint has been scratched. Powder Coating is the way to go here.

Aluminum Carriers: Aluminum is not subject to corrosion, and they weigh less than comparable steel carriers making handling easier. They tend to be more suitable for lighter weight motorcycles.

2. Load Rating of the Carrier:

Before selecting a hitch mounted carrier, you must first know the weight of your motorbike. Generally, a 400-pound capacity carrier is enough if you own a lightweight dirt bike.

Heavier sports bikes or cruisers will probably need a 600-pound carrier. In this review, the carriers range between 400 and 600 pounds capacity.

3. Ease of Installation:

The weight of the carrier has a lot to do with how easy it is to install. This is where aluminum construction makes thing easier and quicker.

There are generally some bolts and nuts to be fitted, the degree of difficulty varies greatly between carriers.

The instruction manuals supplied in some carriers can be confusing at times, unfortunately, it is hard to know till you open the packet.

4. Your Budget:

Obviously, the more features the carrier has, the more expensive it will be. Once you have narrowed down your requirements by knowing the weight and dimensions of your bike, and the features you actually need, selecting the most cost-effective carrier for you will be a lot easier.

You will need to know some dimensions of your bike before selecting a carrier:

Taking these measurements will help:

  • Overall weight (refer to your user manual)
  • Tire width (rear)
  • Length of the bike (overall)
  • Ground clearance

Obstruction Of Tail lights and License Plate:

Depending on your vehicle and the bike you are loading, if you’re lucky the bike won’t be obstructing visibility of your tail lights and license plate.

If your bike does, there are extra light kits available which simply plug into your hitch light socket.

VersaHaul has a kit available for this situation: VersaHaul Taillight Kit

What Is Tongue Weight Capacity?

Sounds silly, but no, it’s nothing to do with dentistry or the mouth.

Tongue Weight (TW) is a towing term that means the downward force that the tongue of the trailer applies to the hitch of the vehicle.

Experts agree that an acceptable Tongue Weight is somewhere between 9 and 15 percent of the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW).

What is a Trailer Hitch?

Also called a Receiver Hitch or a Tow Hitch, it is the metal welded bracket that is attached to the undercarriage of the vehicle for the purpose of towing a trailer or using a hitch rack.

Trailer Hitch Classes:

Trailer hitches are classified into 5 classes based upon the Gross Towing Weight (GTW) and Tongue Weight (TW)

You will need to follow these guidelines when choosing your Motorcycle Hitch Carrier.

Features To Look For:

1. Ramp Inclusion:

This may seem obvious, but some carriers don’t include the ramp. It’s pretty essential to easily load your bike, especially if it’s a heavy bike. Look for a carrier that has the facility to attach the ramp to front or back of the carrier for easy loading and unloading.

Also, look at the ramp length and width. The shorter the length, the harder to push your bike up.  Another factor to consider is how the ramp is stored on the carrier once the bike is loaded. Is it secure, will it rattle?

2. Dual Motorcycle Carriers:

The Dual Motorcycle Hitch Carrier is available, but be aware it does add a huge extra downward force on your hitch, requiring a higher ‘Tongue weight Capacity’ for your hitch. Beefing up your vehicle’s rear suspension may also be required.

It’s a definite advantage, but personally, I would prefer to use a trailer for multiple bikes. The advantage of a hitch carrier is that it is very convenient for easily transporting one bike.

3. Tilting Carriers:

Some carriers feature a tilting track. The whole channel which supports the bike is able to tilt to form its own ramp. This makes loading the bike very easy.

4. Integrated wheel chocks:

Some carriers provide integrated wheel chocks to help stabilize the bike in the upright position once loaded. This makes loading quicker and easier especially for one person loading.

Accessories like an Anti-Tilt Locking device and Locking Hitch pins also help to secure your bike to the carrier and reduce wobble.

 

Here is my review of 6 of the Best Motorcycle Hitch Carriers available today:

1. Black Widow MX-600X Steel Motorcycle Carrier

Black Widow MX-600X

 

The Black Widow MX-600X is a heavy duty powder coated steel carrier with a 600-pound capacity.

This means that you can use it for loading any bike from scooters and dirt bikes or street bikes with wheels up to 5-1/2″ wide.

A great feature with this ramp is the adjustable track spacing pins which allow you to adjust the track to suit smaller wheel sizes, like scooters or smaller MX bikes.

The ramp is extra long at 59-1/2″ which makes rolling your bike up easier, and the ramp can be securely fixed to the carrier with two wing nuts when not in use.

An Anti-tilt device and 5/8″ hitch pin are also included which help reduce wobble with the bike loaded.

The MX-600X is designed for 2″ class III and IV receivers.

Features:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 600lbs
  • Weight: 64lbs
  • Material: Steel, Powder Coated
  • Track Length: 74.75″
  • Track Width: 7″
  • Ramp Length: 59.25″
  • Ramp width: 7″
  • Fits any class III or IV hitch
  • Hitch size: 2″

Pros:

  • Long loading ramp
  • Includes anti-tilt device
  • Powder coated finish

Cons:

  • Inserting bolts on assembly can be a bit tricky

2. VersaHaul VH-55-RO Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier

 

The VersaHaul VH-55-RO Hitch Carrier is a powder-coated steel carrier with a 500-pound capacity.

It has retractable tie-down bars so that you can adjust their position to best suit your bike.

The carrier has a wheel stop to help secure the front wheel, and there are even two reflectors to increase visibility. The ramp secures to the carrier when not in use.

An Anti-tilt device is also included to reduce wobble when loaded. The VH-55 is designed for 2″ class III and IV receivers.

The VH-55 also has a class III hitch on the end of the carrier, so you could also tow a light trailer from the carrier if you choose. It has a maximum towing weight of 3000 pounds regardless of your vehicle.

The VH-55 Motorcycle Carrier is available with or without the loading ramp.

VersaHaul dirt bike hitch carrier

Features:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 500lbs
  • Weight: 82lbs
  • Material: Steel – Powder Coated to resist chipping scratching and fading
  • Dimensions: 71.5″x 30″x 5″ (181cm x 76cm x 13cm) with ramp
  • Track Length: 71.5″
  • Track Width: 6.375″
  • Ramp Length: 57.5″
  • Ramp width: 5.5″
  • Fits any class III or IV hitch
  • Hitch size: 2″
  • Hitch pin to center of the track: 21.5″
  • Comes with an anti-tilt locking device
  • Includes class III hitch on the carrier for light duty towing
  • Four retractable tie-down bars

Pros:

  • Good loading ramp length
  • Includes anti-tilt device
  • Can also tow a light trailer
  • Powder coated finish

Cons:

  • A little pricey
  • Only loads from one side due to wheel stop

3. TMS T-NS-MRC001 Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier

TMS T-NS-MRC001 dirt bike carrier

The TMS T-NS-MRC001 is one of the most affordable hitch carriers on the market.

It is made of steel and is powder-coated to resist chipping and scratching and can handle loads up to 500 pounds.

A feature I like is the adjustable track spacing pins which allow you to adjust the track to suit smaller wheel sizes, like scooters or smaller MX bikes.

Also included is the anti-tilt locking device to help keep your bike from wobbling once loaded.

The ramp fits onto both sides of the carrier, so you can load the bike from either side. Unfortunately, the ramp is shorter than most other carriers, which does make loading a little harder, especially for bigger bikes. The ramp secures to the carrier when not in use.

It is designed to fit a 2″ class II, III, IV or V receivers. The distance from the hitch pin center to the ramps mid-point is approx. 18″

Features:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 500lbs
  • Weight: 48lbs
  • Material: Steel – Powder Coated to resist chipping scratching and fading
  • Ramp Length: 38.5″ Dual Sided
  • Ramp width: Not specified
  • Fits any class II, III, IV or V hitch with 2″ square receiver
  • Comes with an anti-tilt locking device

Pros:

  • Loads from both sides
  • Inexpensive
  • Anti-Tilt lock
  • Powder coated finish

Cons:

  • Short ramp

4. Black Widow AMC-400 Hitch Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier

Black Widow AMC-400 Carrier

The Black Widow AMC-400 Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier is a lightweight alternative to the heavier steel carriers at numbers 1 – 3.

An aluminum motorcycle hitch carrier doesn’t have the durability of the heavy duty steel carriers, but if you own a lightweight dirt bike then you don’t necessarily need the heavy duty construction.

The bonus is that you don’t have any corrosion issues down the track, and the lighter weight means fitting and removing is easier. The hitch frame is steel, however.

The ramp fits onto both sides of the carrier, so you can roll on and roll off forwards, making loading and unloading easy. The ramp is easily stored on the carrier with two wingnuts when not in use.

The AMC-400 also features an anti-tilt locking device to keep the bike from wobbling when loaded, and a spacer bar adaptor for use when loading youth 50-80cc bikes.

It is designed to fit a 2″ class III or IV receivers. The distance from the hitch pin center to the ramp’s mid-point is approx. 18″

Black Widow AMC-400 Carrier fittedFeatures:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 400lbs
  • Weight: 36.5lbs
  • Material: Aluminum track with steel frame
  • Track Length: 75.25″
  • Track Width: 5.5″
  • Ramp Length: 47″
  • Ramp width: 5.5″
  • Fits any class III or IV hitch
  • Hitch size: 2″
  • Comes with an anti-tilt locking device

Pros:

  • Lightweight Aluminum
  • Loads from both sides
  • Inexpensive
  • Anti-Tilt lock
  • Can fit 50-80cc bikes also

Cons:

  • Anti-Tilt lock bolts tend to come loose. Need to add lock washers
  • Bolts supplied are low grade. Need to be replaced with a higher grade.

5. VersaHaul VH-55DMRO Double Motorcycle Carrier

VersaHaul VH-55DMRO Double carrier

If you have two bikes to carry, but really don’t want to use a trailer, this is the best dual motorcycle hitch carrier in my opinion.

The VersaHaul VH-55DMRO Double Motorcycle Carrier is a powder-coated steel carrier designed to carry 600 pounds but is limited to only 500 pounds per rail.

It shares most of the same features as the VH-55RO (at no. 2) including the retractable tie-down bars, wheel stops, anti-tilt device, and reflectors. It doesn’t have the hitch on the end of the carrier like the VH-55, due to the extra weight of the second bike I assume.

Some vehicles may require air shocks or heavier duty springs to stiffen up the rear suspension to prevent sagging. The hitch has to deal with not only the extra weight of the second bike but also the leverage factor of the greater distance from the hitch pin.

A great feature is the adjustability between rails and bumper to allow you to reduce the overhang to a minimum.

The VH-55DMRO Double Motorcycle Carrier is available with or without the loading ramp.

Features:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 600lbs
  • Weight: 135lbs
  • Material: Steel – Powder Coated to resist chipping scratching and fading
  • Dimensions: 71.5″x 36″x 8″ (181cm x 91cm x 20cm) with ramp
  • Track Length: 71.5″
  • Track Width: 6.375″
  • Ramp Length: 57.5″
  • Ramp width: 5.5″
  • Fits any class III or IV hitch
  • Hitch size: 2″
  • Adjustable distance between rails and bumper
  • Comes with an anti-tilt locking device
  • Four retractable tie-down bars

Pros:

  • Good loading ramp length
  • Includes anti-tilt device
  • Powder coated finish

Cons:

  • A little pricey

6. VersaHaul VH-SPORTPRO Sport Bike Carrier

The VersaHaul VH-SPORTPRO Sport Bike Carrier is a powder-coated steel carrier with a 600-pound capacity designed to carrier heavier motorcycles like sports bikes with a tire width up to 7″.

Like the other VersaHaul carriers in this review, it has retractable tie-down bars so that you can adjust their position to best suit your bike.

The carrier has a wheel stop to help secure the front wheel, and there is even two reflectors to increase visibility. The ramp secures to the carrier when not in use.

An Anti-tilt device is also included to reduce wobble when loaded.

The VH-SPORTPRO is designed for 2″ class III and IV receivers. It also has a class III hitch on the end of the carrier, so you could also tow a light trailer from the carrier if you choose.

It is only suitable for towing trailers where there is no tongue weight exerted on the hitch. The towing capacity of the main tube is one-third of the towing capacity of your hitch.
It has a maximum towing weight of 3000 pounds regardless of your vehicle.

Some vehicles may require air shocks or heavier duty springs to stiffen up the rear suspension to prevent sagging.

The VH-SPORTPRO Carrier is available with or without the loading ramp.

VersaHaul VH-Sportpro bike carrier

Features:

  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 600lbs
  • Weight: 98lbs
  • Material: Steel – Powder Coated to resist chipping scratching and fading
  • Dimensions: 77.5″x 36″x 8″ (197cm x 91cm x 20cm) with ramp
  • Track Length: 77.5″
  • Track Width: 7.875″
  • Ramp Length: 71″
  • Ramp width: 7.625″
  • Main tube length: 31.25″
  • Fits any class III or IV hitch
  • Hitch size: 2″
  • Hitch pin to center of the track: 21.5″
  • Comes with an anti-tilt locking device
  • Includes class III hitch on the carrier for light duty towing
  • Four retractable tie-down bars

Pros:

  • Good loading ramp length
  • Includes anti-tilt device
  • Can also tow a light trailer
  • Powder Coated finish

Cons:

  • A little pricey

Summary

During my researching, I eliminated any carrier (and there were plenty) that had any reports of failure, whether twisting, bending or even some cases of releasing the bike.

Putting 10 on this review would have meant including carriers I had serious doubts about. These 6 are what I consider the best available today.

Best Bang For Buck: Black Widow MX-600X Steel Motorcycle Carrier

This 600-pound carrier has features you’d find in a carrier twice the price. Powder-coated heavy-duty steel construction, long ramp, anti-tilt device, all for under $200.

Best Of The Best: VersaHaul VH-55-RO Dirt Bike Hitch Carrier

When top quality is the number one priority, VersaHaul takes a lot of beating. The ability to still tow a light trailer is a feature not often found.

Best Budget Carrier: TMS T-NS-MRC001 Heavy Duty Motorcycle Carrier

A sturdy heavy-duty powder-coated steel carrier for well under $200. Most of the features you find in the higher price carriers, the only drawback is the shorter ramp.

Best Aluminum Carrier: Black Widow AMC-400 Hitch-Mounted Aluminum Motorcycle Carrier

If a light carrier is an important factor to you, or if you have a light dirt bike, an aluminum ramp is all you need. Also in the well under $200 bracket. The Black Widow takes a lot of beating.

Best Dual Motorcycle Carrier: VersaHaul VH-55DMRO Double Motorcycle Carrier

There are a few dual motorcycle carriers on the market, but the VersaHaul, like the single VH-55, is top quality. It’s more expensive but still cheaper than a trailer, and no registration expenses. If you have to two bikes to transport and don’t want a trailer, this is the best option.

Best Heavy Bike Carrier: VersaHaul VH-SPORTPRO Sport Bike Carrier

If you own a heavier street bike or adventure bike, this 600-pound steel carrier is essential. Features the same level of quality as the other VersaHaul carriers in this review, and you can even tow a light trailer behind it.

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Is there a motorcycle hitch carrier that you think should be included in this 6 best list? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

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2 thoughts on “6 Best Motorcycle Hitch Carrier Review (Plus What You Need to Know)

  1. You have used all your years of experience putting this detailed guide and review of the best motorcycle hitch carriers that are available on the market today. You limited it to the top 6 and the reason makes a lot of sense (the models left off the list have had failures), thanks for doing that. I really do not want to take any chances.

    Each of the hitches that you covered has strengths and weaknesses, so I guess it comes down to what each of us may require based on our bike, our vehicle, and what we want to spend. Are these hitches sold in trailer shops as well as online? I would like to see them if possible prior to buying.

    Most definitely I learned a lot from reading through this and also from looking at the best options you have listed. I feel much more ready now to make an informed decision on which will be best. I have bookmarked this website, you have a lot of content that I am interested in (I have been riding since I was a kid – first time on my own was at 12 – I am 63 now!)…  

    1. Hi Dave. If you want to see them before buying I think your best bet would be your local motorcycle dealership. I’ve never seen one in a trailer shop here in Australia, but if you’re in the US you might have a better chance. Compare the price to online, but usually, you’ll get a better price online – like anything.

      You’ve been riding since you were a kid also, good that you’re still able to ride. Thanks for your comments.

      Greg

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