Automobile

Bike Racks for the Car: Everything You Need to Know

You’ve been cruising the streets of your neighborhood for months, and you’re ready to take your cycling hobby to the next level. Bike racks for the car provide the opportunity to see new places on the back of your bicycle while enjoying fitness and fresh air. Review our recommendations based on industry expert analysis, customer ratings, and buyer reviews.

    What Are Bike Racks for the Car?

    Bike racks allow you to bring your bicycle wherever you go, whether you’re seeking solo treks or family fun on vacation. The benefits of adding a bike rack to your vehicle include:

    • Saving money on cycling outfitters while traveling.
    • Enjoying exercise, tourism, or pleasure riding with the comfort and convenience of your own bike.
    • Exploring cycling trails throughout your area and beyond.
    • Expanding your horizons with racks that can hold other types of equipment, such as kayaks and paddleboards.

      Types of Bike Racks for the Car

      Cyclists can select from these main types of car bike racks:

      Trunk Bike Racks

      Trunk bike racks attach to the vehicle’s trunk or hatchback. The New York Times names the Saris Bones EX Trunk Bike Rack Carrier as the top pick in this category. You can transport three bikes on this versatile rack that fits most vehicles. It’s built in the United States from completely recyclable, rust-resistant materials.

      Saris Bones Hitch Bike Rack Carrier, Mount 3 Bikes, Black

      Hitch Bike Racks

      Hitch bike racks can accommodate up to five bikes on the vehicle’s receiver hitch. In this category, the Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack boasts high ratings on Amazon and a compact foldable design. It features high-quality aluminum construction, simple trunk access, easy tool-free installation, and an ergonomic design. It has built-in theft prevention and can transport up to two bikes. The New York Times named the Thule its top rack for electric bikes.

      Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack

      Platform Bike Racks

      Platform bike racks are a subtype of hitch bike racks. The Thule Helium Platform, a top choice of both Amazon and Bicycling magazine, comes in both one-bike and two-bike versions. The no-contact aluminum design looks cool and keeps your frame pristine. It features easy, tool-free installation and a compact, foldable design that stows away when you aren’t transporting your bicycles.

      Thule Helium Platform Hitch Bike Rack, 2 Bike

      Roof Bike Racks

      Roof bike racks mount bikes on top of the vehicle. Within this category, options include suction mounts that attach to the flat surface, full roof rail kits with bike mounts, and mounts that attach to existing roof rails. The RockyMounts Tomahawk Roof Bike Rack is one of the top recommendations in this category from Cycling News magazine and has an overall Amazon buyer rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a versatile choice that fits most vehicles with existing crossbars and can hold bikes with 20- to 29-inch wheels and up to 5-inch wide tires.

      RockyMounts Tomahawk upright roof bike rack

      RockyMounts
      amazon.com

      $199.95

      How to Choose Bike Racks for the Car

      These questions can help you decide on the right bike rack for your cycling adventures:

      • Does your car have a receiver or tow hitch, or do you need to use a trunk or roof rack? For a hitch mount, consider the Yakima Dr. Tray Hitch Mount 2-Bike Tray Rack. It received the Amazon’s Choice award for its light weight and durability and can easily carry road, mountain, and fat tire bikes. It also features a unique remote control lift for easy access to your trunk.
      • How many bikes do you plan to transport? Named the greatest value for 2020 by Bicycling Magazine, the Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack is a good choice for couples and traveling buddies who need to transport two bicycles. You’ll appreciate the user-friendly design and tight connections that prevent shifting during the ride. The New York Times named the Sherpa the ideal option for transporting two bicycles.
      • Has the bike rack been safety tested? Review details from the manufacturer about how it ensures the rack and bicycles will remain secure.
      • Does the rack come with a warranty? You might want this feature if you have concerns about the life span of the bike rack equipment.
      • Does the rack fit your vehicle make and model? Some bike racks are designed to carry a certain body type, while others are more universal. Bicycling magazine recommends Kupper Mounts for travel. This unique system comprises two suction-cup mounts that can attach to any flat 10-inch vehicle surface. The mounts are made from weather-resistant plastic and come with a convenient carry case you can throw in your checked luggage for use with a rental car.
      • How much does it cost? On a budget, it’s hard to beat the Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack, currently the top-selling option on Amazon and New York magazine’s recommend pick for value. For less than $40, this durable steel rack lets you transport two bikes on just about any vehicle with the peace of mind of a patented secure tie-down system from this decades-old brand. Allen backs its bike equipment with a lifetime warranty.

        Even without warranty protection, make sure you can return any bike rack you buy. You’ll need to test it with both your vehicle and your bikes for a safe, secure fit.

        YAKIMA – Dr.Tray Hitch Mount Tray Bike Rack, 2 Bike Capacity, 1-1/4

        YAKIMA
        amazon.com

        $599.00

        Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0 – 1.25

        Kupper Mounts Suction Cup Bike Rack System – Bike Rack for SUVs, Cars, Trucks and More – Bike Roof Rack or Bike Rack for Car Trunk – Portable Travel Bicycle Rack – Vacuum Cup Bike Carrier for 1 Bike

        Kupper Mount
        amazon.com

        $199.99

        Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack, Model 102DB, Black/ Silver, 23 x 15 x 4 inches

        Allen Sports
        amazon.com

        $39.93

        How to Replace/Install Bike Racks for the Car

        Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide for your specific bike rack model and vehicle before attempting repairs.

        In most cases, you can install or mount a bike rack on a vehicle without professional help. After installation, test the fit to confirm the rack can accommodate your bike.

        REI stresses the importance of checking your vehicle’s manual before installing a roof rack system for your bike to ensure you don’t exceed the maximum capacity. The same goes for the towing capacity of your vehicle if you select a hitch mount. Safety must be the first consideration when installing a bike rack.

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