The very first time I used the Hangtight 6 bike rack by Yakima, I had it fully loaded with six beefy mountain bikes. Maybe I was showing off a bit, but it seemed like everyone I drove past in town gave me a thumbs up or shaka. What does this have to do with a bike rack? Well, the purpose of getting a large bike rack is more than just shuttling rides with friends. You’re also buying into all the other tangential experiences: after-ride tailgate sessions, group singalongs on the way to the trail, and party laps on the local favorites, to name a few. So when folks around town see a rack loaded up to the brim with six bikes, they know what’s about to go down. My experience has been no less rewarding.
The Hangtight is capable of carrying most different styles of bikes—including children’s bikes and drop bars—thanks to its unique “cradle” mount. Though I don’t really associate with road riders, I’ve come to find out that gravel bikers aren’t actually that abrasive once you get to know them; their bikes fit just fine, too. And I find that even with the burliest of mountain bikes, having enough space on the rack hardly becomes an issue. All of the bikes still fit snugly on the rack and don’t jostle around on bumpy back-roads.
The rack is delivered disassembled, so set aside some time to put it together. Once I had all the parts laid out and accounted for, it only took about 30 minutes. The rack is designed for a two-inch hitch and weighs 85 pounds, while the four-bike version weighs 73 pounds. The hitch bolt screws in tightly to ensure a solid connection and comes with Yakima’s HitchLock to keep greedy thieves at bay. It’s important to take your vehicle’s “tongue weight” into account when deciding which rack is the best option. With some bikes weighing upwards of 30 pounds, you could start getting close to capacity quickly. Maybe you’ll need some road-riding friends after all, to cut down on weight.
My favorite feature is the rack’s tilt mechanism, which allows you to lower the rack down from 90 degrees to about 30 degrees. The lowered position is the perfect height to load bikes on and off, so I don’t need to hoist them all the way up. The tilt feature can be engaged by foot, allowing for one person to operate the rack unassisted—although it starts to get tough with a few bikes hooked up. Good thing you have a few friends with to help! The tilt feature also comes in handy for those after-ride tailgate sessions. Just lower the rack out of the way to open up some extra seating in the back. Yakima was even clever enough to design an integrated bottle opener on the rack right where you need it, while sitting on your truck’s tailgate after the ride.
Available at yakima.com; $1,099.