VelociRAX Bike Rack Review

Looking for the best way to transport a lot of bikes? The VelociRAX bike rack should absolutely be on your list! In addition to looking pretty spectacular as you cruise down the road (#redracknation!), the VelociRAX easily hauls up to 7 bikes without breaking a sweat (as long it they are under the total weight capacity of 230 lbs). From loading to unloading, the VelociRAX makes hauling bikes a breeze and does so at a lower cost than other popular bike racks.

In this review, we’ll cover how the VelociRAX works and weigh in with our opinion on its much talked about dampener system. We’ll also show you how it performs with bikes of all sizes (16″ to 29″), fat bikes, and road bikes, as well as on low and high hitch vehicles.

We’ve spent hours loading and unloading this rack with all sorts of bike combinations to help you determine if the VelociRAX bike rack is the best solution for your car, your bike, and your crew!

Fully loaded Velocriax, shown from rear angle

VelociRAX Overview

stars

RATING: Exceptional

MSRP$799 – $985 (3 capacity – 7 capacity)

BEST FOR: Anyone looking to haul more than 4 bikes sized 24″ and up

CAPACITY: 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 bikes

BIKE SIZE: 24″ and larger wheels, including fat tire bikes (upgrade), not a great fit for 16″ or 20″ (even with small basket upgrade)

HITCH SIZE: 2″, Class III only (minimum 500 lb. load)

PROS:

  • Available in a wide variety of bike capacities (3 – 7), currently one of only two racks to hold 7
  • Hydraulic dampening system lowers a loaded rack slowly
  • Roll-in bike loading for 29″ bikes
  • Rear hatch access, even with a fully loaded rack
  • Low profile – can see out the rear window when loaded or unloaded
  • Can convert to an on-wall garage storage rack

CONS:

  • Doesn’t easily fit 20″ kids bikes (even with small bike basket upgrade )
  • 90 degree angle between hitch arm and vertical post make bottoming out in steep driveways more likely for low-hitch cars (vans, smaller SUVs)
  • Lower total weight capacity than other vertical racks (will only matter if you have ebikes)
  • Rack lowering lever can be hard to engage

VelociRAX Video Review

Check out the Velocirax in action in our video review!

**NOTE: This video reviewed was filmed in 2021 and is missing info on the following notable updates:

  • VelociRAX now offers a “small basket” for 16″ and 20″ bikes. We found the basket works with lower-end budget 16″ and 20″ bikes, but is not a great fit on higher-end kids 16″ and 20″ bikes (fork makes contact with basket).
  • Alta Racks released a new “Superior” model rack that can hold up to 7 bikes. The new rack has no ebike limit within its 350 lb. weight capacity, but costs significantly more than the VelociRAX 7 capacity.

VelociRAX Review – Results of our Testing

To see just how well the VelociRAX performs, we put it to the test with a wide range of bikes (16″ to 29″) as well as with a wide range of vehicles (low and high hitch vehicles) in various driving conditions. From speed bumps and potholes to freeway driving and rough dirt roads, we put the VelociRAX to work!

All in all, we were impressed with the quality and performance of the VelociRAX. If you are in need of hauling 5 or more bikes, or love the perks of vertical racks (as compared to platform racks), the VelociRAX is your best bang for your buck.

Shown from side, loaded Velocirax bike rack

What makes it stand out?

High Capacity: The VelociRAX comes in 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 bike capacities for customization to your specific needs. It’s one of only two bike racks on the market to offer a 7 bike option. (The Alta Superior is the other option, but is significantly more expensive.)

Dampening System: The unique dampening system at the rack hinge point provides resistance so that the bikes lower slowly, and will never come crashing down.

Roll-in Loading: When the VelociRAX is tilted down, 29er bikes can be rolled into the wheel baskets – no true lifting required on many cars (like you must do on a Lolo or or Yakima vertical rack). Some lifting is required, however, on trucks with higher hitches as well as on all cars when loading bikes with shorter wheelbases.

No suspension fork required: Because the bike’s tire is the only point of contact, bikes with and without front suspension forks can be carried. (Some vertical racks hang by the suspension fork, like the Yakima Hangover and North Shore Racks.)

Wide Spacing: While all VelociRAX racks offer at least 10″ to 12″ between bikes, VelociRAX 3 and 5 capacity racks are available with 15″ of spacing! This makes getting middle bikes out more practical. 15″ spacing is also a much better fit for transporting multiple bikes with dropper bars.

On-wall Garage Bike Storage: Every VelociRAX comes standard with a wall mounting bar to convert your car rack into a wall-mount garage rack during the off-season.

Who is the VelociRAX best for?

  • Anyone who needs to haul more than 4 bikes, which is where traditional platform (tray) racks max out
  • Those who want an exceptional quality rack, but don’t want to pay over $1,000. For example, the Thule T2 Pro XT 4-capacity is $1,450, while the VelociRAX 6-capacity is only $935.
  • Large biking families (with kids on 24″ or up) as well as those with riders on NICA teams (high school mtb teams)

Who is the VelociRAX not the best fit for?

  • Those who want to carry 20″ kids bikes or smaller on their bike rack
  • People with cars that don’t have a 2″ hitch receiver
  • Road or gravel bike riders with more than five bikes
  • Families with steep driveways and lower placed hitches – the rack may bottom out, even unloaded

How the VelociRAX Bike Rack Works

Velocirax tire loops shown empty from rear

The VelociRAX is one of the most popular hitch mount bike racks in a newer and growing category – the vertical bike rack. While traditional bike car racks store bikes horizontally, vertical bike racks hang bikes… vertically.

Storing bikes this way allows a rack to safely transport more bikes. While horizontal platform and hanging hitch racks max out at 4 bikes, the VelociRAX can carry up to 7 bikes!

Loading and Unloading

Velocirax tire hoops with tires inside, shown from in front

Vertical bike racks have several different styles of hanging bikes – by the handlebars, the front fork, or the front tire. The VelociRAX bike rack uses front tire baskets, so that the only point of contact with your bike is the tire and the rim.

This style of hanging minimizes rack contact with your bike and is also very easy to load bikes onto the rack. In our opinion, it’s easier than loading bikes that hang by the handlebars, like on the Yakima HangTight vertical hitch rack. (We’ve tested both, so we speak from experience.)

Here are the 6 quick steps required to load your bike rack:

(1) Make sure that the hinge locking pin is set to medium or full tilt. (Much more on that below!)

(2) Lower the bike rack towards the ground by pulling the black rack hinge lever on the rack’s vertical post to release the lock, and then pulling down on the red tire baskets. (When empty, the rack will not drop on its own, you need to really pull on it!)

Lever that you pull on the vertical post to lower the Velocirax

(3) After rolling your bike up into a wheelie, roll the front tire into the tire basket. With most bikes, you will need to use push up on the saddle with your knee to give a bike a “boost” into the basket. This is especially true on cars with high hitches and bikes with shorter wheelbases.

woman rolling 29 inch mounting bike into the tire hoop on Velocirax

(4) Secure the rubber tie down straps to the top, then bottom wheels.

Top tire tie down on Velocirax bike rack

(5) Push the rack back up so that it is parallel with the back of the car.

Velocirax bike rack fully loaded on car, shown from rear

(6) Move the hinge locking pin in the lowest position to prevent the rack from tilting while you’re driving. (More on this below.)

SERIOUSLY EASY! To unload, basically do these steps in reverse.

After spending many hours loading and unloading a variety of bike combinations, here are a few tips that will help make your experience as easy as possible.

Tips for Using the VelociRAX Bike Rack

LOADING THE RACK

  • Load the bikes largest to smallest and from left to right. (Unload from right to left.) This is the order that is most likely to prevent spacing issues once the bikes are loaded. If you find that two bikes are touching, you will need to re-adjust your order, even if they end up not being loaded largest to smallest. (More on this below)
  • If the rear tires of your bikes don’t rest against the bottom bar when loading (which can cause the rear tire to swing side to side when loading), adjust the rack to only lower in the medium tilt position
  • Don’t secure the tie down straps until you have all the bikes loaded. You may have to adjust the order of your bikes if handlebars make contact with one another. Be aware, however, that when you do tighten the bikes down, it can shift the wheel a bit and change spacing slightly.
  • To help eliminate some “bouncing” of the bikes while on the rack, use VelociRAX’s rubber bands (or cut up old bike tubes) on the brake levers to engage the brakes on the bikes and prevent any minor rolling of the tires while on the rack
  • After you’ve loaded your VelociRAX with four or more bikes, pushing that fully loaded rack up may likely require two people

UNLOADING THE RACK

  • When attempting to lower a fully loaded rack, it’s helpful to pull the rack’s vertical post toward you to relieve the weight load as you engage the black rack hinge lever. Even when you do that, the lever can still be hard to engage.
  • Make sure to lower the loaded rack away from you, while you are positioned between the rack and the car, with your back to the car. (As shown below.)
Pulling the hinge lever on the Velocirax from behind

Hydraulic Dampeners Slow Down Rack Descent

One of the most talked about features of the VelociRAX is its hydraulic hinge dampening system. The dampeners provide resistance so that when you lower the rack for loading and unloading, the rack descends slowly. This feature is awesome because obviously, you don’t want over 200 pounds of bikes crashing down.

Hydraulic dampening system of Velocirax

Other racks, such as the Yakima HangTight and Lolo Rack cannot be lowered while bikes are loaded. An Alta Rack needs to be supported when lowering. When fully loaded, we can honestly attest to the “coolness” factor of the VelociRAX’s dampening system. After pulling the lever, just step back and watch the rack carefully lower over 200 pounds unassisted!

velocriax vertical bike rack lowered on SUV

It’s important to note that the dampeners only help you on the way down with a loaded rack. It does not assist in relieving the weight load as you’re pushing the rack back up. The dampeners, in fact, work against you on the way up, but not significantly so.

On the downside, the dampeners also makes lowering an empty rack a very slow process. Having to lower an empty rack is pretty common, as it is necessary to access the hatchback on your car (i.e. when loading up groceries, throwing backpacks or sporting equipment in the back), or in order to fully lower the tailgate of a truck.

Lowering the rack isn’t hard, it just takes some time and effort as the dampeners will resist the rack lowering. To lower an empty rack, release the black rack hinge lever and then pull down on the red tire baskets. Due to minimal weight on the rack, we’ve also found the need to pull on the red baskets when only one bike is loaded on the rack.

How Low Can You Go?

There are several different rack tilt settings on the VelociRAX bike rack, determined by where you insert the hinge stop pin.

Three hitch pin holes on hitch hinge of Velocirax bike rack

No tilt: For travel, it’s advised for you to insert the hinge stop pin in the lowest hole. In this setting, the rack cannot tilt at all, even if the black rack hinge lever is engaged. This prevents any possibility for the rack to lower itself while you’re on the road. (Although this would be highly unlikely.)

Full tilt: When inserted in the highest hole, the rack will tilt towards the ground to lower the bike tire baskets for easiest loading and unloading. This is how it is inserted in the photo above.

Medium tilt: When inserted in the middle hole, the VelociRAX will tilt forward, but not to its full capability. While this makes the bikes slightly harder to get in and out of the baskets, it makes it easier to push a fully loaded rack back into place.

As a woman with admittedly weak upper body strength, I was unable to push a fully loaded rack back up by myself when it was tilted fully. But when tilted at this medium position, I could do it.

Medium Tilt vs. Full Tilt

Full and medium tilt settings on Velocirax. Side by side comparison.

While slightly more difficult to roll bikes up into the baskets, the medium tilt does have some benefits when loading the rack with multiple bikes. When used in full tilt mode, in many circumstances, the rear tire of a bike doesn’t make contact with the bottom bar when hanging on the rack (before you strap the bike down). This becomes problematic when loading as the bikes can swing side to side, causing the rear axles of the bikes to bump into with one another.

Rear tire of a mountain bike not making contact with the bottom bar of the Velocirax
Rear wheel of 29er not making contact with the bottom bar while rack in full-tilt mode

Setting the rack to medium-tilt mode will prevent bikes from swinging and making contact while loading.

Camping/Garage mode: Camping mode allows you to lower the VelociRAX all the way to the ground. This would be necessary if you needed to load very long items in the back of your vehicle. It also allows you to use the lowered rack as floor parking for your bikes while camping. The process for lowering the rack to the ground is a bit more complicated, but can be seen in this video.

Velocirax extended all the way to the ground in camping mode

Rear Hatch Access

Whether empty or fully loaded with bikes, the VelociRAX is designed to tilt toward the ground. This provides ample room for opening your rear hatch.

Rear hatch of car open with girl putting bike in the back of the car. Velocriax is tilted forward, offering plenty of space for the hatch door.

Attached to our Honda Pilot as well as a Toyota Highlander, we were able to open the trunk with the VelociRAX set to the full and medium tilt settings as seen above.

The ability to tilt down a fully loaded rack is such a bonus. We forget pretty often to put something in the trunk, and don’t realize it until we’ve spent all the time loading the rack. No one wants to unload a rack just to put something in the trunk.

Bike Compatibility with VelociRAX

How many bikes and what size bikes work with the VelociRAX? This vertical bike rack is highly versatile, so most likely it will fit whatever bike combination you need. (As long as your bikes are 24″ or larger.)

Capacity

Velocirax bike rack fully loaded on car, shown from rear

VelociRAX comes in a wide variety of bike capacities – 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. All standard models have between 10″ and 12″ of spacing between bikes.

The 5-capacity rack actually comes in two different versions. The 5x model has wider 15″ spacing between each bike to make bike contact virtually impossible, and also to allow for unloading bikes out of the middle.

If you decide you want to be able to carry more bikes after purchase, it is not possible to add another front tire basket to the existing rack. However, you can purchase a set of new upper and lower cross bars with holes drilled for a different bike capacity.

Bike Spacing on the Rack

We tested the 6-capacity VelociRAX, which has 10″ of spacing between front tire baskets, but 12″ between the two middle baskets. That wider spacing in the middle will come in handy if you’re having difficulty loading a specific bike without hitting another bike.

We tested a wide variety of 24″, 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ bikes and did run into a few instances where a handlebar or brake lever would touch the frame of the bike next to it. We were always able to fix the issue by re-ordering the bikes.

Handlebar and bike frame contact using a vertical hitch bike rack

If you have one bike that is smaller than all the rest, we found it often easiest to load it as the last bike on the right. That way, its shorter outer handlebar (where contact is very likely), doesn’t have a bike next to it.

We also had success loading it in the third tire basket which as two extra inches of space between it and the fourth basket. (With the 6-capacity.)

For road or gravel bikes with drop bars, VelociRAXrecommends the 5x capacity rack which has 15″ of space between bikes. Four bikes with dropper bars will also fit on the 7-capacity rack, but not on the 6-capacity.

If are unsure of what size rack you need based for your specific combination of bikes (fat tire bikes, road bikes, MTB etc.), be sure to reach out to VelociRAX’s customer service as they can talk you through your best options.

Wheel Size and Tire Width

All VelociRAX racks come shipped with their standard baskets that fit 24″ to 29″ bikes. Velocirax also offers fat bike and small tire baskets (each sold as sets of 2) as an accessory add-on.

Standard Basket (fit 24″ to 29″)

The standard tire baskets of the Velocirax easily accommodate wheels ranging in size from 24″ to 29″, with a width of up to 3.1″. We tested a wide range of bikes, from low end 24″ to high end 29ers without any issues or concerns.

29er on the Velocirax with a standard basket
29er on the Velocirax with standard basket

Although many users have reported using the standard basket to carry 20″ bikes, we found that the basket rubbed on the fork on all the 20″ bikes we tried. Padding the basket with a pool noddle may work in some cases, but we wouldn’t recommend that route for high-end bikes.

20 inch bike frame contact with tire hoops of Velocirax
Velocirax standard basket with 20″ bikes

If you need to haul 20″ bikes, Velocirax now offers a small tire basket which we cover below.

Fat Tire Basket (up to 5″ wide)

If you have a bike with fat tires ranging from 3.1″ – 5.0″, you’ll need the optional Fat Bike Tire Baskets, which worked great for both our 20″ and 27.5″ fat bikes.

20" fat tire in Velocirax's fat tire basket
20″ fat tire in Velocirax’s fat tire basket

Small Tire Basket

While we were excited about Velocirax’s new small tire basket, we found that it still didn’t work with our higher-end 20″ bikes as the forks on our bikes make direct contact with the basket.

20 inch kids bike front fork touching the 20" bike basket on the Velocirax.

Adult 20″ BMX bikes as well as most low-end 20″ kids bikes (such as Huffy and Mongoose) did fit the small basket without any issues. VelociRAX is aware of the problem with high-end 20″ bikes and is working on a solution.

If you are willing to “make it work”, wrapping an extra wheel strap around the basket can prevent the fork from coming into contact with the basket. We didn’t love this solution for our 20″ bikes as it caused the whole bike to be raised even higher on the rack, which prevented the back tire from making good contact with the bottom bar.

Rubber wheel strap wrapped around Velocirax small wheel basket to prevent the front fork of a small 20" kids bike from getting scratched.
20″ bike on small tire basket with wheel strap as padding

On the 16″ bikes, this solution didn’t work at all, as the bike’s head tube then came into contact with the basket. Essentially, the entire bottom portion of the basket would need to be wrapped in order to protect the bike. While certainly possible, it wasn’t something we were comfortable with, especially considering the rear tire already didn’t reach the bottom bar.

16 inch bike in small wheel basket on Velocirax

Placement and Swapping out of Baskets

Switching between basket sizes is relatively quick and easy. It does take a 6mm Allen wrench to loosen the bolts as well as a wrench in the back to hold the nut in place, but from start to finish, each basket takes about 5 minutes or so.

swapping out the tire baskets on the Velocirax vertical bike rack

When loading different size baskets on the rack, we found it best to load the small baskets on the far right-hand side of the rack and the fat tire basket on the far left-hand side of the rack. In the image below, from left to right, the baskets are 1 fat tire basket, 3 standard baskets and then two small tire baskets.

Velocirax fully loaded with fat bikes, mountain bikes and kids bikes

If you do want to attempt to hold a 16″ bike on the VelociRAX, you will need to place the small basket as closest to the center mast as possible. Since the rear tire of the 16″ will not reach the bottom bar, you will need to use a bungee cord to attach the wheel to the center mast.

Bike Weight Capacity

Every Velocirax has the same weight capacity. 55 pounds per tire basket, but only 230 pounds total. If you ride regular bikes, this weight capacity is more than enough.

If you ride ebikes, you’ll need to watch that weight capacity. The VelociRAX website states that its racks can carry four ebikes. However, we spoke with them and it’s completely dependent on the total weight of your specific ebikes.

If you have lighter ebikes or you take out the batteries for transport, you may be able to carry five ebikes, as long as you stay under 55 pounds per basket and less than 230 pounds total.

Also remember that ebikes are heavy and may decrease the total number of non-ebikes you can carry. Your 5, 6, or 7 capacity rack could easily decrease in total bike capacity if carrying ebikes. If you need to carry 6 or 7 full size ebikes, your best bet the 350 lb. weight capacity of the Alta Superior.

VelociRAX and Your Car

Whether you only throw the rack on your car when you’re hitting the trails or you leave it on your car months on end, it’s important to understand how the VelociRAX works with your car, not just with your bikes.

Minimal Profile for Better Rear View

Velocirax on car, shown from rear unloaded

One huge advantage of a vertical bike rack is that it has a very small profile when unloaded. Almost every 4 capacity platform rack will totally cover your rear window when folded up and not in use. With the VelociRAX, you really just see the center mast out the rear window. A huge improvement!

Even when loaded, you have pretty good visibility out your rear window. Because the bikes are hung vertically, you can see through the spacing between them.

Home Garage Parking – Can you do it?

Side shot of the Velocirax on a car, unloaded

The VelociRAX bike rack extends 29.5″ from the hitch lip of our Honda Pilot, giving us just enough space to park in our standard-sized garage and close the garage door.

The VelociRAX is 58 inches tall from the bottom of the hitch bar to the top of the tire basket. On our Honda Pilot (which has a relatively low hitch), the max height of the VelociRAX is approximately 70″ from the ground, which is a few inches taller than the cross bars on the car’s roof. This also provides us just enough room to get in the garage from a vertical clearance perspective.

Whether or not you can park in the garage with a VelociRAX is of course dependent on the length and height of your vehicle and your garage.

Low Hitches and Bottoming Out

One problem we ran into with the VelociRAX on our low-hitch Honda Pilot was that the rack can bottom out and grind on the ground when driving in and out of steep driveways.

90 degree hitch on Velocirax almost bottoming out on sidewalk of steep driveway

The hitch arm and the vertical post form a 90 degree angle that extends a good distance from the vehicle. We have a steep-ish driveway and had to drive very slowly in and out of our driveway to avoid bottoming out when the rack was unloaded. If our entire family of 6 was in the car, we did bottom out from time to time.

When the VelociRAX was fully loaded, we couldn’t pull into our driveway at all. Because of the added weight of the bikes, the bottom of the rack would grind on the street. As a result, we had to load and unload our bikes with our car parked on the street.

While many vertical racks have this 90 degree hinge angle, the Alta Rack angles upward to prevent the bottoming out issue with low-hitch cars.

Side by side comparison of angel of hitch hitch point on Velocirax vs. Alta Rack

Remember, these potential issues are only for cars with low hitches. We tested this with a 2018 Honda Pilot and 2019 Toyota Highlander. Additionally, the clearance issue with steep driveways while the rack is loaded is not specific to VelociRAX. We have this problem with our 4 capacity platform racks as well.

Difficulty with Extra High Hitches

While we did most of our testing on a Honda Pilot and a 2019 Toyota Highlander, we also put the VelociRAX on a raised Toyota Land Cruiser. Its hitch height was 25″ versus the 16″ hitch height on our Honda Pilot. (Hitch height is from bottom of the ground to the top of hitch receiver opening.)

While the extra high hitch certainly alleviated the “bottoming out” issue, raising the overall height of the rack that much created a few potential problems.

If you’re out adventuring with a crew of shredders with great upper body strength, you’ll be just fine. But if you’re a family where just mom takes the kids out regularly, the higher rack will be more difficult to load, and considerably more difficult to push a fully loaded rack back into vertical position.

Mom and two teenagers pushing up fully loaded Velocirax on a Toyota Landcruiser
VelociRAX on Land Cruiser with 25″ tall hitch

We realize a 25″ hitch height is pretty extreme, so for reference, we also measured our friend’s Toyota 4 Runner (19.25″), and Ford Expedition (22.25″), which are more common.

Lowering Hitch Receiver

If you do fall into this category, VelociRAX now makes a receiver adaptor that lowers the rack by 3.5″ while also extending the rack an additional 4″ away from the hitch.

Hitch lowering adapter installed on the Velocirax.

While still tall, we found those extra 3.5″ to be helpful when pushing the rack back up, as well as when loading up bikes with shorter wheelbases.

The hitch adaptor also pushes the rack out 4″ farther from the car. The extra 4″ allows truck tailgates to fully lower when the rack is installed, and also provides extra room for rear-mounted spare tires. We actually found that the rack fit on our 100 series Land Cruiser without the need for the adaptor hitch, but space will certainly vary from car to car.

In the image below, you can see how the adaptor pushes the rack farther from the car (yellow arrow) while also lowering it (the logo drops in relation to the yellow arrow at the top of the spare tire).

Velocirax with hitch lowering adaptor on SUV
VelociRAX w/o and w/ lowering hitch adaptor

Just be aware that if using the hitch adaptor, the rack will have more leverage against the car when loaded, so you are likely to “feel” the rack more when you are driving.

Other VelociRAX Features

Using the VelociRAX as Garage Bike Storage

Every VelociRAX comes with a wall mounting bar that allows you to hang your VelociRAX on the wall. This can be used to free up garage floor space when you’re not using the rack. However, it has the additional benefit that you can hang your bikes on it, and use it as a garage on-wall bike storage solution.

In full disclosure, we didn’t test this because we don’t have room in our garage! However, this short video by Velocirax shows how it’s done.

In our opinion, this is an innovative solution for the off-season when you won’t be needing your car bike rack or your bikes. Get that rack on the wall and put your bikes out of the way!

During biking season, taking our rack off our car so we can store our bikes on the wall isn’t something we would do since we basically leave our rack on the car spring through fall.

Tilt and Pivot 4 Bike Rack Storage Rack

For those who leave their racks on their car all season long and hence need a separate solution for bike storage, VelociRAX’s new tilt and pivot rack is a great solution. The rack mounts underneath the standard rack wall mount, which allows you to store 4 bikes per rack on the wall when the rack is in use (in case you don’t take all the bikes with you). When the rack is not in use, the tilt and fold storage rack folds out of the way to allow the VelociRAX to mount directly above it. As a result, your bikes as well as your rack can all be stored in the same piece of real estate in your garage, whether you are using the rack or not!

In the image below, you can see two silver Tilt and Pivot storage racks folded flat against the wall to allow room for the red VelociRAX 7 capacity rack to mount above it. The bike shown is hanging on the red VelociRAX bike rack, not on the silver Tilt and Pivot rack.

Velocirax Tilt and Pivot garage wall rack installed on garage wall
Two VelociRAX Tilt and Pivot Racks mounted behind a 7 capacity rack

The Tilt and Pivot rack is also great on its own as it allows you to pivot bikes, so they sit closer to the wall (like the popular Steady Rack). Every Tilt and Pivot rack comes with 4 baskets and the space between the baskets is adjustable.

Installing the Rack and Locking Mechanisms

Once assembled, the VelociRAX can be installed on the car by just one person… in a matter of minutes. However, the 6 capacity does weigh about 90 pounds, so you do need quite a bit of upper body strength. (I can’t do it, but my husband can.)

The easiest way to install the rack is to carry it on your shoulders like the image below.

man inserting Velocirax hitch arm into the car's hitch

Once the receiver arm has been inserted into the hitch receiver, there are two steps to lock it in place:

  1. Insert the hitch pin through the rack arm and hitch receiver and lock it.
  2. Tighten the rack’s anti wobble wedge in the receiver with a wrench.
Hitch lock and anti rattle bolt tightening on Velocriax

Don’t lose the keys! We were told by VelociRAX that the keys are each unique and if you lose them, you’d have to cut the hitch pin off to remove the rack!

Integrated Locking System

To help keep your bikes secure while on the go, VelociRAX now makes an integrated locking system that is easily installed inside the rack’s upper horizontal bar. The system consists of two cable locks that extend out of both ends, which are then locked together once threaded through the bikes’ frames.

Velocirax Integrated locking system on fully loaded rack

Like all bike locks, the VelociRAX lock should not be used to lock up your bike for any significant amount of time. It’s really there to “keep honest men honest” and prevent quick crimes of opportunity.

VelociRAX vs Alta Rack

There are many great vertical racks available on the market, but VelociRAX and Alta Racks are the most similar. They are also both quite popular. So if at this point you’re wondering… VelociRAX or Alta Rack… we tested them both to figure out how they’re different, and when or if those differences matter. 

Two cars side by side with Velocirax and Alta Rack vertical bike racks fully loaded. Shown from side, with two cars backed up.

While there are many minor differences between them, they are both exceptional vertical bike racks. Here are the differences that we found to make the biggest impact when trying to choose between the two.

Reasons to Choose the VelociRAX

Price: The most obvious difference is the price. A 6-capacity VelociRAX costs $849. A 6-capacity Alta Rack costs $1,185. (A difference of $336.)

Total Bike Capacity: The VelociRAX can carry up to 7 bikes. In order to fit 7 on the Alta, you need to upgrade to the much more expensive Superior line.

Dampener System: When you have a fully loaded rack, the dampener system of the Velocirax is a huge help.

Garage Storage: The VelociRAX comes with the wall-mounted hooks that easily allow you to convert the rack into garage storage.

Reasons to Choose Alta Racks

20 Inch Kids Bikes: The VelociRAX doesn’t do a good job with 20″ kids bikes. The Alta Rack has an optional 20″ kids bike basket that is a great fit. If you want to carry 20″ bikes, Alta is a better bet.

Ground Clearance with Low-Hitch Cars: The design of the hinge mechanism on the Alta angles up, rather than at a 90 degree angle on the VelociRAX. This makes the Alta Rack less likely to bottom out on steep driveways.

Its top crossbar is also height adjustable, with three settings. If you are having issues with bikes bottoming out, you could raise the crossbar. However, that does make the tire baskets higher and thus harder to load, and also affects vertical clearance.

Vertical Clearance (Rack Height): The Alta Rack has three different height settings for the top crossbar, up to 6″. As a result, you don’t need an adapter in order to lower the rack when placed on high-hitch vehicles (VelociRAX’s optional adapter lowers the rack 4″).

“Feel” of the Rack Behind the Car: We ran several tests with the two racks on the same car, loaded with the same bikes, and with different drivers. We found that you can “feel” the VelociRAX behind the car more than the Alta. Not significantly so, but enough that several drivers pointed it out without prompting. This is most noticeable with higher speeds, bumpy roads and turns. We found the difference to be greater on cars with unibody construction (like minivans, mid-size SUV) versus body on frame cars (trucks, full-size SUV).

Made in the USA: If you’re a champion of “Buy American”, Alta is the rack for you. Built in the USA is a huge reason Alta Racks are more expensive.

Differences that Don’t Make Much Difference

We want to point out the following differences between VelociRAX and Alta, because these are things you may have heard about from other reviews or rack users. But we want to stress that in our opinion, these differences shouldn’t carry much weight when deciding between the two.

Ease of Loading: When the vertical posts are lowered for loading, the VelociRAX tilts down farther, resulting in the tire baskets on the VelociRAX being slightly lower than the Alta Rack for loading. (Given the hitch height of the car remains constant.) In our opinion, this made the VelociRAX slightly easier to load, but not drastically so (tested by two moms, both 5’10).

Bike Spacing: The Alta Rack’s tire baskets can move left or right to adjust spacing between bikes. This is certainly a cool feature, but in head-to-head testing of the Alta 6 and the VelociRAX 6, we were able to fit the same combination of bikes on both racks, without contact.

Tire Strap Tie Downs: The VelociRAX straps are thicker and stiffer, making them harder to pull down and more difficult to fasten. However, the thinner straps of the Alta Rack flap in the wind quite considerably when the rack is empty.

Total Weight Capacity: The Alta Rack has a total weight capacity of 300 pounds versus VelociRAX’s 230 pounds. While this speaks to the overall quality of build of the Alta, it won’t make much functional difference if you are just carrying standard bikes. Also remember that you can only carry 2 ebikes on an Alta Rack, so the extra weight capacity won’t help you there either.

VelociRAX Bike Rack Bottom Line

When it comes to vertical bike racks, VelociRAX is an exceptionally solid option for a very attainable price. For families or bike crews that need to haul a lot of bikes (up to 7!), the VelociRAX is easy to load, easily accommodates wheels 24″ and larger, and will easily stand up to years of use and abuse.

Be aware that for lower-hitch vehicles, bottoming out is a strong possibility on steep driveways or deeper dips in the road.

To get a full rundown of all the car bike racks that we’ve tested, be sure to check out our 9 Best Car Racks for Families.

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are not included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

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