Whether you’re headed on a weekend trip, to the local trail system for a lunch ride or the top of your favorite descent, a good bike rack is crucial. It’s no fun to have to fold down your back seat to wrestle your bike inside, twisting the handlebars and taking off the front wheel in the process. Just returned from a particularly muddy ride? Hope you brought a tarp.
Enter the humble yet handy bike rack, your headache-sparing, space-saving alternative. It’ll free up your car’s interior for the rest of your gear, your dog, or a riding partner, depending on the capacity of your vehicle and your rack.
BEST OVERALLKuat Sherpa 2.0 Bike Rack Read More
BEST UPGRADEKuat Piston Pro X Hitch Rack - 2-Bike Read More
BEST AFFORDABLE BIKE RACKSaris Bones 2-Bike Rack Read More
BEST ROOF RACKYakima HighRoad Bike Mount Read More
BEST FOR BIG BIKESThule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack Read More
What to Look for in a Bike Rack
There are five main types of bike racks: a tray hitch mount, hanging hitch mount, trunk, roof and truck bed. Which rack you choose depends on your preferred method of loading your bikes, as well as your vehicle. With each style, there are considerations. Access to the rear of your vehicle, number of bikes, ease of loading and unloading said bikes, weight capacity, locking ability and of course, price all factor into your choice.
Trunk-mounted bike racks rest on the trunk of your vehicle and are ideal for those with smaller cars or sedans that need to get their bike from point A to point B. Truck-mounted bike racks are great if you don't already have crossbars on your vehicle or the ability to mount a hitch. Popular brands include Thule and Saris, among others. The benefit of a trunk-mounted bike rack is that you can still transport your bike, even if you don't have a beefy rig to throw it into. The drawback? Accessing your trunk becomes a hassle, and if you're already short on space, this can be a deal breaker.
Hitch mounts, which include both tray and hanging models, are probably the most accessible and quickest way to transport multiple bikes. The benefit of a hitch-mounted bike rack is that you've got your bikes right at your fingertips and can load and unload without hoisting heavy rides over your head to a roof rack. Hitch-mounted racks aren't all sunshine though — for one, you've got to, you know, actually have a hitch to use one. Also, unless it's a folding rack, hitch-mounted bike racks can still make it tricky to access your trunk (which likely has all your bike gear in it.)
Finally, roof racks: These mounts save the most space, keep bikes out of harm's way (unless you're in a parking garage) and if you've got the height, are easy to load and unload bikes. Today's roof racks feature the capacity to carry 1-6 bikes at a time and are composed of feet that attach to your vehicle's roof and crossbars where the rack itself attaches. Roof racks include models that require front-wheel removal and racks that lock onto both wheels: the latter is more expensive, taller and less stable but removes the hassle of removing the front wheel every time you want to throw your bike on the rack.
How to Choose the Right Bike Rack for You
If you've got a truck and want high weight capacity and don't mind slightly impeded vision, a truck bed bike rack may be ideal for you. If you've got a smaller vehicle and want to transport as many bikes as possible, a hanging hitch rack may be your best bet. Because bike racks are an investment not only in and of themselves but also for your bike, it pays to be diligent as you research your purchase.
There are many options out there, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But relax. The bike racks that follow are the best available right now.