Yakima StageTwo Hitch Bike Rack Review, 2023

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Of the many hitch racks on the market, few offer the depth of versatility that the Yakima StageTwo does. From the size of the bike it can carry to the way it loads to the accessories that can be added, this is one hitch rack that can meet a broad variety of challenges. We will show in our Yamima StageTwo review why it is a terrific option.

The Yakima StageTwo can carry e-bikes with a maximum weight of 60 lbs. and with a wheelbase of up to 52 in., long enough to carry some cargo e-bikes. It fits bikes with wheels as small as 20 in. and as large as 29 x 3.25 in.—a very big tire. Thanks to its offset trays two bikes keeping two bikes from interfering with each other, and it folds flat when not in use. Because it hooks the wheels rather than clamping onto the frame, the Yakima StageTwo is ideal for anyone concerned about their paint or own a bike with a carbon fiber frame.

As an added bonus it’s a sturdy rack that can be expanded to accommodate up to four bikes as was the case with the Yakima StageTwo we reviewed. It’s easy to appreciate the freedom this provides you for family and friend group rides.

  • 52-in. max wheelbase length is one of the longest on the market, long enough for some cargo bikes
  • Same Key System locks rack to hitch and bikes to rack with a single key for simplicity
  • Fits both 1.25-in. and 2-in. hitch receivers
  • Secures e-bikes at the wheels, making it better for fragile frames
  • Accessories include ramps to roll heavy e-bikes into place and an add-on to carry up to four e-bikes, as well as an adapter for tires wider than 3.25 in.
  • 60-lb. Max bike weight leaves out many popular e-bikes. Although removing the battery solves that problem for many e-bikes.

On the score of security, the rack secures to the hitch via a lock in the knob that tightens the stinger (the part that inserts into the hitch) to the hitch. The arms that secure the bikes to the rack contain two integrated cable locks that offer decent security. For anyone who needs greater security, a steel look in the rack’s backbone will allow someone to pass another cable or a chain through it in order to further secure the e-bike to rack. Yakima’s SKS (Same Key System) means that one key locks and unlocks the hitch knob as well as the locks for both cables.

Yakima StageTwo Review 2022 - rolling bikes up the rampYakima StageTwo Review 2022 - rolling bikes up the ramp

The Yakima Stage Two comes with an e-bike ramp that stows easily when not in use.

Yakima StageTwo Review 2022 - strapping down the wheelsYakima StageTwo Review 2022 - strapping down the wheels

Wheel straps help to hold the e-bike. You may have to let a little air out of fat tires though.

Yakima StageTwo Review 2022 - clamping arm coming down on the wheelYakima StageTwo Review 2022 - clamping arm coming down on the wheel

The clamping arms provide a very secure hold for the e-bike in the rack. It will push down on fenders though if those are on your e-bike.

Yakima StageTwo Review 2022 - tile down featureYakima StageTwo Review 2022 - tile down feature

Accessing a vehicle’s rear hatch or gate is simple thanks to the forward tilt feature..

As if those features weren’t enough to recommend this hitch rack, the Yakima StageTwo sports a number of accessories. Some of our favorites include the e-bike ramp which allows riders to roll their e-bike up into position rather than lifting it, which is especially handy if someone has an e-bike that approaches that 60 lb. maximum weight. After loading e-bikes, it is easily detached and can be collapsed and put in the vehicle’s storage area or trunk.

If there is something on our wish list to improve it would be with the weight rating. There are a number of e-bikes in the 65 to 75-lb. range and we believe the one change that could make the hitch rack more versatile would be to increase its strength so that it might carry bikes as heavy as 70 or even 75 lbs. Fortunately, most bikes have removable batteries and that chunk of lithium is often around 8-10 lbs. If you drop out the battery (which never hurts to do anyway so it doesn’t hangout in the sun all day) and keep it in the vehicle with you then most e-bikes will then be under the weight limit.

The bottom line of this Yakima StageTwo review: it is one hitch rack that shouldn’t be missed by anyone looking for a hitch rack. It’s among the best options for car racks for electric bikes.

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