Best Bike Racks

Review & Comparison, Last Update June 20, 2017
Sometimes you need to transport a bicycle or even several bicycles by car. Surely, you want to keep your vehicles safe. It is hard if you don't have special structures for carrying, but the bike racks will be a remedy. We reviewed 5 best bike racks to help you make a choice. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Mounting location
Method of bike fixation
Number of vehicles carried
Material
 
PROS
The optional Yakima SKS locks will protect your bike from burglars, so you'll be able to leave your car with a total peace of mind and go wherever you need.
CONS
SKS locks are not included and should be bought additionally.
OUR VERDICT
This roof bike rack is shipped to a customer assembled and so, it can be mounted on a roof within just 5 mins. Since it doesn't directly contact the frame, the painting of your car isn't going to be damaged or scratched.
detailed parameters
Mounting location
Roof (sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, MPVs)
Method of bike fixation
Hoops with a sliding wheel grip for front wheel and ratcheting strap for rear wheel
Number of vehicles carried
1
Material
Steel
PROS
A space-saving design of this rack will leave the free space on the roof and let you attach a cargo box or carrier. In addition, this roof rack allows sedans to carry up to four bikes, while a large van may be able to carry seven.
CONS
It might be a bit awkward to fix the bike on a roof without a ladder or a tire step. Otherwise, you may scratch your car.
OUR VERDICT
This durable and secure Thule bike rack will be perfect for carrying a single bicycle on the car roof. Owing to a compact design, a large van can carry up to 7 bike racks.
detailed parameters
Mounting location
Roof (sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and MPVs)
Method of bike fixation
SecureHook for the front wheel
Number of vehicles carried
1
Material
Aluminum
PROS
This bike rack is compatible with most types of bicycles. The hook provides secure fastening while the built-in anti-wobble hitch device prevents swaying.
CONS
The locking hitch pin and safety cable are not included and should be purchased additionally.
OUR VERDICT
This model will be perfect for cars with Class 3 hitch. Thanks to reliable fixation, you can carry your vehicles during long trips. Once disassembled, this bike will take little space in your car.
detailed parameters
Mounting location
1.25" and 2" Hitch (sedans, hatchbacks, off-road vehicles)
Method of bike fixation
Cushioned hooks for frame
Number of vehicles carried
2
Material
Steel
PROS
Rack installation and bicycle fastening are very easy. It is compatible with most car trunks.
CONS
This rack may hinder view through the back window, so the spoiler should be removed from the trunk.
OUR VERDICT
The rack is able to carry 3 bicycles. Mounted to the trunk, it will securely stand in place and ensure safe transportation of your vehicles.
detailed parameters
Mounting location
Trunk (sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, MPVs)
Method of bike fixation
Ratcheting anti-sway straps for frame
Number of vehicles carried
3
Material
A high-strength plastic
PROS
The rack comes preassembled, so you won't waste your time on its assembly. The rack always provides easy access to the boot of the car.
CONS
You have to remove the spare tire cover to install this rack. The rack design complicates parking and maneuvering.
OUR VERDICT
This durable bike rack can be installed and removed quickly with just one hand. What's more, reliable patented straps will hold the rack in place even during jolty journeys.
detailed parameters
Mounting location
Spare tire (jeeps, SUVs)
Method of bike fixation
Rubber straps for frame
Number of vehicles carried
3
Material
Plastic and steel

What is a Bike Rack

As a wheeled vehicle, bike gives you freedom from traffic jams, filling stations and even roads. Nevertheless, any bicyclist need to transport his vehicle by car because the purest air and the most interesting riding routes are far from downtown. Carrying a bicycle in the trunk is not convenient. In addition, you can damage or stain the interior of your car. To carry your bicycle by car, it is much better to use a special accessory that is called a bike rack.

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What Features to Compare

First of all, when you choose a bike rack for carrying bicycle, you need to consider the place of installation as various bike racks can be attached to different parts of cars.

Mounting Location

All bike racks can be divided into several types by the mo:

  • Roof bike racks. These bike racks are probably the most widespread. The bike sits into a wheel channel and adjustable clamps are fastened down the tube, to prevent your vehicle from rolling off.
  • Hitch bike racks. The hitch bike racks have a major advantage: it is much easier to fix a bicycle on the hitch than to lift it onto the roof and fasten up. The hitch bike racks are designed to carry two, three, and even four bicycles at a time.
  • Trunk bike racks. These bike racks should be chosen according to the design of a specific vehicle as the manufacturer usually does not specify brands and models of cars that are suitable for specific racks. More flexible bike racks are manufactured for a certain type of car, for example, hatchback or multipurpose vehicle.
  • Spare tire bike racks (for jeeps and minivans). These bike racks are designed for the owners of SUVs and minivans with the open spare tires. The spare tire bike racks have the advantages similar to the above bike racks and can be attached to the hitch or back door of your car. Fastening the bicycles can be done by using the durable straps to hold the spare tire.
  • Truck bed bike racks (for pickups and small trucks). These bike racks are placed in the vehicle body. When you pick a truck bed bike rack, you need to consider the body width of the car as bike racks are fixed with the screws to the sides of the body.

Design 

Design and dimensions are the parameters that must be considered. The material of a bike rack is crucial. Currently, we have different models made of steel, aluminum and plastic or a combination of both materials which make it lighter. If you are looking for a durable, solid frame bike rack, give preference to a bike rack made of corrosion-resistant material. The next thing to consider is the size of a bike rack. The weight of a bike rack is also important since it directly determines the maximum carrying load.

Carrying capacity

Finally, we consider the carrying capacity of bike racks. Here you need to decide on the type of vehicles you carry. If you have a big family fond of bicycling, you should consider the bike racks that will let you transport 3-4 bikes at once. Each bike rack has its own maximum load and the higher it is, the better. The carrying capacity of bike racks is measured in pounds, and some models are capable of carrying from 100 to 150 pounds.

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Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack

Convenience Above All

Yakima FrontLoader is an awesome choice if you have a sedan, hatchback or MPV because it can be universally mounted on the roofs of these cars. A bike is securely fixed on the rack with a few simple motions of hand. Two hoops with a special sliding wheel grip for a front wheel hold a bike in a stable vertical position, while a rear wheel is tied up with a ratcheting strap to prevent swaying. This way of fixation allows you to easily mount your bike and be sure that it won’t slide off or drop out even on a bumpy road. By the way, an aerodynamic shape of the rack allows you to drive fast on the interstates or other roads with high-speed limits.

Review of Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack

Safe and Sound

We have found out that Yakima FrontLoader is designed in a way that totally excludes any contact of your bike with your car's rooftop. No fears, there won't be any scratches on the paint. The rack itself has a length of 56", the width and height are both 7", making it possible to hold the bicycles with a crossbar spread from 16" to 48" and weight up to 40 lbs. Also mark that you can use it for bicycles with the wheels diameter up to 29" and the tires up to 3" width. This is enough for most of the bikes, including mountain ones.

We were pleased with the fact that the rack has holes for the SKS locks. Alas, SKS locks are not included. Still, the fact that you can leave your car with a safely secured bicycle is always welcome.

Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack in the use

Carrying Capacity

As we’ve mentioned above, Yakima FrontLoader has the holes for locks but comes without them. To solve this, grab Yakima SKS Locks that are designed for extra security.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Review of the Yakima FrontLoader Roof-Bike-Racks on a 2015 Subaru Forester - etrailer.com
Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack
Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack
 

Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount

Mounting Location

Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount is designed to be mounted on the top of your car. Set on a roof, the front wheel will be fixed in the tray without actually touching the surface of the car. Thereby, you will protect the painting from peeling. The ratcheting wheel straps secure your vehicle from rolling off, even on bumpy roads. If you're looking for a reliable construction to transport your bike, there's hardly any better, rigid solution than this universal Thule Sidearm bike mount.

Review of Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount

Design

The construction of this bike rack consists of a small bar and a special tray for wheels. The frame of the bike rack is made of two-layer high-technology aluminum alloy, providing the ultimate stiffness, light weight and excellent steadiness of the structure. It should also be noted that the material of this Thule bike rack is corrosion-resistant, therefore, it will be a reliable support on all your trips and journeys. This roof rack for bike fits only the bicycles with the diameter of wheels ranging from 20 to 29 inches and the width up to 2.6 inches.

Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount in the use

Carrying Capacity

This universal bike rack will come in handy for those consumers who don’t expect to transport more than one bike at a time, with the tire width no more than 2,6 inches. Made of solid aluminum alloy, the frame can hold up most kids and adults' vehicles unless they don’t exceed the weight of 35 pounds. Rather than that, this bike rack is a reliable means of transportation of most wheeled vehicles that ensures support and safety on a road.

Detailed review of Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount

VIDEO
Thule Sidearm Roof Mounted Bike Rack Review - etrailer.com
Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount
Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount
 

Swagman XC Cross-Country

Mounting Location

Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack is designed only for bicycles and should be installed on the 1.25" or 2" hitch of your car. Installation is very easy, quick and reliable as your bicycles are fixed with the special hooks that securely hold the frame. Moreover, the length of hooks is adjustable, so you can always customize it according to the size of your bicycle. The hooks are wrapped with soft cushions to protect the paint coating of your vehicles.

Review of Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

Design

This hitch bike rack is designed in the form of the platform with special hoops that can be adjusted according to the size of the bicycle. The frame is manufactured from steel, which provides high reliability and excellent strength. Despite the material type, the entire structure is quite lightweight, so it is easy to carry and install. Furthermore, this bike rack is coated with powder paint that protects the frame from corrosion and damage.

Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack in the use

Carrying capacity

Thanks to the adjustable construction of this bike rack, you will be able to transport bicycles of various sizes without worrying about their safety. Still, the diameter of the wheels of your bicycles should be within the range of 20-29 inches. The maximum carrying capacity of this hitch bike rack allows you to transport two vehicles with the weight of 35 pounds each. So, you will have an opportunity to carry pretty heavy bicycles on the back of your car.

Detailed review of Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

VIDEO
Review of the Swagman XC 2 Bike Rack - etrailer.com
Swagman XC Cross-Country
Swagman XC Cross-Country
 

Saris Bones

Mounting Location

Saris Bones 801 is the bike rack carrier developed by Fabio Pedrini. This trunk mount bike rack meets all EU Standards and is mounted on the trunk of your car. This bike rack fits most cars - the frame can be put on most spoilers. The articulated rubber feet protect the painting of your car from scratching and peeling. Bicycles are fastened to the bike rack with the durable clamps that provide convenient and secure gripping.

Review of Saris Bones 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

Design

Saris Bones 801 is attached to your car with anti-sway straps and vinyl-coated hooks. This bike rack features three arched poles articulated in the middle and ratchet for pole fixing. This bike rack is made of 100% recycled cast polymer, providing convenience and durability of the construction. This bike rack is available in seven colors so you can find the matching one. Saris Bones bike rack can become not only a functional solution but also a stylish addition to your car.

Saris Bones 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack in the use

Carrying capacity

This trunk mount bike rack is able to carry three bicycles at a time. Owing to the bike rack design, bicycles are fastened at a distance and are protected from accidental scratching. This tiltable bike rack gives you easy access to the back end of your car anytime. The carrying capacity of this bike rack carrier is 100 pounds, therefore, you can transport the heavy-duty bicycles with big wheels for long distances.

Detailed review of Saris Bones 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

VIDEO
Review of the Saris Bones Trunk Mount 3 Bike Rack - etrailer.com
Saris Bones
Saris Bones
 

Allen Sports Premier 3

Mounting Location

Allen Sports Premier 3 is a bike rack for car designed to be installed on the rear spare tire. The patented design of this car bike rack allows for mounting on different spare tires. Each bicycle is individually fastened with the snaps providing secure attachment and safe transportation of your vehicles. Installation of this bike rack on your car is easy and will take just a couple of minutes. So, this bike rack is very convenient and can be installed by anyone.

Review of Allen Sports Premier 3 Bike Spare Tire Rack

Design

Allen Sports Premier 3 is designed in the form of a stand with a wide-angle bottom that evenly distributes the load of bicycles. Bicycles are placed on the rack at the adequate distance from your car and each other, so the coating of both bicycles and your car isn't going to peel. The bike rack itself is made of plastic and steel and is quite strong. The dimensions of the ready-to-install bike rack are 32.4 x 21.5 x 5.6 inches and the weight is 15.8 pounds. The construction is small and lightweight, so you can easily remove this bike rack with one hand to get access to the trunk of your car.

Allen Sports Premier 3 Bike Spare Tire Rack in the use

Carrying capacity

This bike rack is used for transporting the bicycles of various modifications and styles. Allen Sports Premier 3 will let you carry up to three bicycles at a time providing the safety and shape of both your car and carried vehicle. The carrying capacity of this bike rack reaches 100 pounds, so it will hold the most heavyweight bicycles without any problems and let you drive your car securely both on and off-road.

Detailed review of Allen Sports Premier 3 Bike Spare Tire Rack

VIDEO
Allen Sports Bike Rack Installation and Setup Guide
Allen Sports Premier 3
Allen Sports Premier 3
 

Sources:

1. TD Wood Car Racks: How to Choose, Rei. June 25, 2015.

2. Curtis Smith How to Choose a Bike Rack, OutdoorGearLab. June 2, 2016.

3. Wally Phillips How To Choose A Bike Rack, backcountry. July 23, 2015.

4. Tips for Choosing the Right Bike Rack for Your Car, ConsumerReports. December 5, 2015.

5. Science of Cycling, Exploratorium. 2016.

6. Rob King Everything You Need To Know About Roof Racks, Micksgarage Blog. May 22, 2016.

7. Joe Bruzek Things to Know Before Buying a Car Rack, Cars.com. September 2, 2011.

8. Paul Smith Bike Racks - a Buyer's Guide, BikeRadar. May 5, 2014.

9. Different Car Bike Racks Explained, EVANS cycles. January 1, 2016.

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