- Buying Guide
- Types of Bike Racks
- 1. Roof Bike Racks
- 2. Hitch Bike Racks
- 3. Trunk Mount Bike Racks
- How to Choose The Best Bike Rack for You
- Top 6 Hitch Bike Racks
- 1. Kuat 2 Bike NV Rack
- 2. Thule T2 Original Bike Rack
- 3. Hollywood Racks HR1400 Sport Rider SE 4-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack
- 4. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
- 5. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black 2-Inch Sq. 4 Bike Carrier
- 6. Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
- Top 5 Trunk Mount Bike Racks
- 7. Saris 805 Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack
- 8. Hollywood Racks F4 Heavy Duty 4-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
- 9. Yakima KingJoe 2-Bike Trunk Rack
- 10. Hollywood Racks F1B The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
- 11. TYGER Deluxe Black 1-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
- Top 3 Roof Bike Racks
- 12. Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack
- 13. Genuine Subaru E361SAJ300 Bike Carrier
- 14. 1 Bike Bicycle Car Roof Carrier Fork Mount Rack
Cyclists the world over are discovering just how convenient and accessible more and more riding spots are becoming with the simple addition of car bike racks to their vehicles. This neat little piece of technology has been around in some form or another for many years, but has really seen a boost in popularity as more and more people find ways to harmonize the use of bikes and cars for a green, more economical as well as healthier world. Truly one of the few essential accessories that most modern bikers just can’t live without, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right option from all the car bike racks available.
If you’ve been looking to make the difficult decision between car bike racks, then hopefully this short little primer will give you the information you need to make the best informed purchase possible. Instead of focusing on price points, makes and models I’ve decided to take a “type” based approach. The form factor and design of your new bike rack is going to be one of the most important decisions you make, and so selecting the right one should be top of the list. You’ll also be able to find budget and basic based all the way to high end, high speed solutions in every single form, so this list is perfect for any economic situation.
Types of Bike Racks
1. Roof Bike Racks
One of the most commonly seen form factors on cars, trucks, and SUVs all across the world, the roof rack is a favorite of many. Basically a car rack system that snaps right onto the already installed roof bars of your vehicle, this is a fantastic option for people who are looking for a cheap and simple set up. You’re basically leveraging parts of your car that you didn’t have to pay for or install on your own, and setup is a breeze.
There are a couple of problems going with a roof rack for your selection though. One, your vehicle may not have the installed roof racks already and an aftermarket upgrade could be pretty expensive. You’d also have to leave your car at the shop for an indeterminate time, which is a major inconvenience. And even if your vehicle does have the included racks, your bikes will most likely need to be strapped in vertically – a problem for any person of a shorter stature. Loading and unloading bikes will take place above your shoulders and could get potentially dangerous in heavily wooded areas or inclement weather, not to mention you’ll need to be constantly on the lookout for low hanging obstructions as you drive.
2. Hitch Bike Racks
These are super simple to install and very easy to use car bike racks. Attaching directly to your vehicles tow hitch in just a matter of seconds, you have an amazingly strong platform for securing and transporting your bikes. No heavy lifting, no odd contortions you need to put your body through to load and unload, this is a dream system and set up for many people in the biking community. The bikes are safe and sound securely behind your vehicle.
There are a couple of problem areas here too that need to be addressed. For one, there is a ground clearance issue that you’ll need to be constantly aware of as well as a lengthening of your vehicle that may not be apparent when you don’t have bikes in the rack but it’s still installed. Parking is especially affected, as is turning and reversing your vehicle. You may also suffer from loss of rear view out the back window when you’re driving with loaded hitch car bike racks.
3. Trunk Mount Bike Racks
Super minimalist, these simple little car bike racks attach with some straps directly to your car’s trunk portion with a couple of arms or a tie down system coming out and up for attaching your bike for transport. Easy to unload and load as well as being relatively cheap and inexpensive (with the added bonus of a super easy installation) this makes these car bike racks a very smart buying decisions.
But there are a couple risks entailed, and many of them similar to the hitch systems. You’ll definitely loose a bit of rear window visibility when this system is in use, but driving and parking while empty shouldn’t be affected. The other problem is that with your bike or bikes bouncing around there could be some serious cosmetic damage done to the rear of your vehicle – and even though there are some innovative systems to minimize the risk they are never 100%.
How to Choose The Best Bike Rack for You
Most people think that shopping for the best bike rack is simple, but with an astounding array of styles, sizes, prices, and accessories, shopping for one can be as complex as shopping for the vehicle that you’re mounting it to. Not to worry, though: we will guide you through the ins and outs of bike rack selection.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of best bike rack facts, you should consider the needs that will define which rack works best for you. To figure this out, we have broken your possible needs into three categories: safety, utility, and complexity.
Safety is the most important thing that you need to consider when searching for a bike rack, and here are the reasons:
- Security: if your rack is not securely attached to your vehicle, you bike may fall off while it is in tow, potentially damaging your bike and creating a hazardous situation if the vehicle is in motion or someone is standing there. Some racks are less theft-resistant than others.
- Vehicle Damage: attaching the wrong rack can scratch your paint, or crack a window.
Riddle of the day: How useful is a bike rack that you can’t use? Answer: it isn’t. Being able to install and use your bike rack is just as important as the quality. Here are some utilitarian questions to ask before buying your new rack:
- How Difficult is Assembly? some bike racks are more difficult to assemble and attach than others, so if you don’t have a DIY personality, you may wish to opt for the more easily attachable rack.
- Will my bike fit? some racks simply do not possess the real estate to fully secure your bike.
- Can I lift my bike high enough? some racks set your bike in the back of the car; others on the roof. Keep this in mind.
- Can I afford it? sike rack prices are as varied as their styles.
Not all bike racks are just bike racks. If you’re shopping for the best bike rack, then you may want to consider multipurpose type racks. Some of them have the ability to transform into racks for canoes, skis or rafts; others require extra attachments to be used. Consider these things before buying:
- Other Possible Uses: if you need a rack for other large outdoor activity gear, consider purchasing a versatile bike rack that can be transformed into a rack to suit your changing needs. Following this course of action will be less expensive, and much simpler than buying a rack for each piece of equipment.
- Additional Parts may be Required: some bike racks won’t attach to your vehicle until you buy a special accessory to make it fit.
Top 6 Hitch Bike Racks
1. Kuat 2 Bike NV Rack
2. Thule T2 Original Bike Rack
3. Hollywood Racks HR1400 Sport Rider SE 4-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack
4. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
5. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black 2-Inch Sq. 4 Bike Carrier
6. Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
Top 5 Trunk Mount Bike Racks
7. Saris 805 Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack
8. Hollywood Racks F4 Heavy Duty 4-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
9. Yakima KingJoe 2-Bike Trunk Rack
10. Hollywood Racks F1B The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
11. TYGER Deluxe Black 1-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
Top 3 Roof Bike Racks
12. Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack
13. Genuine Subaru E361SAJ300 Bike Carrier