For cyclists who need a convenient way to transport their bike, look no further than our list of the best bike racks. Whether you’re heading off to the trailhead or participating in a race, a bicycle rack makes it easy to mount your bike outside of your car. This gives you more free space for passengers and it eliminates the worry of getting your car’s interior dirty.
However, not all bike racks for cars have the same designs and features. There are many bike rack brands on the market and each company has their own style. You can find racks that are mounted to your hitch, strapped to your trunk, or attached to your roof. It is important that you take time to sort through the various bike racks to ensure you find a model that suits your needs.
Our guide will help you breakdown six of the best bicycle racks. We also provide a comprehensive buying guide that will check the compatibility of your bike rack with your car and answer all your questions.
How To Choose A Bike Rack – Buying Guide
There are different types of bike racks and one of the options attaches to the roof of your car. A roof car rack is the most aerodynamic option out of all the bike rack designs, but it has its pros and cons.
Some of the pros of using a roof bike rack are that the rack stays out of the way of your trunk. You don’t have to worry about lowering or raising the arms and it gives you completely free access to your car. Most roof racks are also very sleek in their design, so they are more aerodynamic when they are being used.
The downside to a roof bike rack is that it is usually permanently installed onto your bike. Your car will also need to have pre-installed rails on the roof, which are used to attach the rack to your car. Some designs are not permanent and use suction cups to attach to your car, but these are not as secure or popular as having the rack permanently installed.
While the best bike rack for your roof will make it easy to mount your bike, not all roof racks use the same mounting design. Some racks attach to the frame, while others hold the wheel. You may even have to detach your front wheel to lock the bike into the frame. For these reasons, it can be less convenient to use roof rack.
However, many bike rack reviews are generally positive about roof racks and their designs. The permanent installation is more secure, and it eliminates the hassle of having to hang or mount a rack from the back of your car.
Finally, roof racks keep your bikes safe from accidents with other drivers, but you need to be careful about entering garages. Most garages and some structures have roofs that are too low to accommodate the height of a bicycle on top of your car. So, you should be mindful about where you drive your car and remember when your bike is mounted on the roof.
For a more convenient loading process, you should look at hitch racks. Hitch racks are one of the most versatile bike rack designs because they can be used with any vehicle. Many bike racks for cars use a standard hitch mount to attach to your car. The mount is then locked into place using a pin. The vast majority of hitch racks fit a 1 ¼ or 2-inch receiver tube.
The best bike rack that attaches to your hitch will use either a set of arms to hold your bike or it will have a durable platform to place your bike onto. Hitch bicycle racks with arms are the most convenient to use because they can be folded out of the way when it is not being used. A platform may also be foldable, but it is more intrusive to your car’s trunk space than designs that use the arms.
However, the best hitch bike racks will have a tilt feature, which provides you easy access to the trunk of your car. With a tilt, you do not have to remove your bike or the rack to gain access to your trunk. This makes it convenient to keep the rack permanently installed on your car, so you don’t have to always attach or detach it from the hitch.
Cyclists do need to be aware of any bike rack for SUVs or trucks because it will add considerable length to your car. When you are driving with a new bike rack, you must take extra care when parking or reversing. In addition, some states have different laws regarding hitch racks.
You must check with the local laws to ensure that you are following all the rules. In some states, you need to purchase a smaller license plate to place on the rack, if it blocks the view of your main license plate. In other states, it may be illegal to drive around with an empty rack.
It is also important that you ensure that your rack is visible when you are driving. Some top rated hitch bike racks come with visibility features, but others do not. No matter which design you choose, you must be certain that your rack is visible on the road during the day and nighttime hours. You can improve the visibility of your rack by adding reflectors to the back.
Finally, hitch rear car bike racks tend to be more expensive than other designs. The reason is often because of the quality of the material and the sturdiness of the design. While it may be tempting to save money and purchase a bargain rack, you should take the time to find the rack that suits your needs and ensure that it has all the features you want for your bikes.
Similar to hitch racks, but more convenient to install, are trunk bike racks. These types of bike racks will attach to the trunk of your car by using a series of adjustable straps. The rack will then have a set of padded feet, which rest against various points of your car to balance the rack. A set of arms with straps are then used to hold your bikes in position.
These are often the most lightweight bike racks and they have a more affordable price. For cyclists who are traveling with one or two bikes, this is a great choice to transport your equipment. The downside to these types of bike racks it that they can be unstable.
The more bikes you add to the rack, the more unstable it will become. Usually, these racks are designed to hold a maximum of three bicycles. The other flaw to trunk racks is that they are more prone to damaging your car if they are not installed properly.
The strap system relies on the right amount of tension to keep the rack balanced. It is important that you follow all the installation instructions to ensure that you have properly positioned the rack against your car. While some of these are advertised for use as a truck bike rack, most of trunk racks are suitable for use with sedans or hatchback cars.
Bike rack reviews can help you determine whether a trunk rack is worth the investment or if you should consider a different type of rack all together. In general, these racks are great for lightweight bikes such as aluminum road bikes.
Bike and Weight Capacity
When you are looking at bicycle racks for cars, it is important to consider the capacity of the rack in terms of how many bikes and how much weight it can hold. Bike racks come in all sizes and there are designs that fit one bike or multiple bikes. Platform bike racks are the most secure and they can often hold 4-5 bikes.
Hitch racks are also very secure, and some designs can comfortably carry up to four bikes. Roof racks are strong because they use the car’s roof for support, but there is a limited amount of space on top of your car. Most roof racks hold two bikes, but some may be large enough to hold three or four bikes. Trunk racks are the lightest of all the racks and that means that their bike and weight capacity is lower. Most trunk racks can hold two or three bikes, but some designs are meant to hold only one bike.
Most bike rack brands will always provide you with the bike and weight capacity of their design in the product specifications or information. By using the product specs, you can find the right rack for your needs. Oftentimes, the bike and weight capacity that is listed will be the maximum load for the rack. So, you should never try to overload your rack by adding on more bikes or weight.
For some bike racks for cars, the wheel size is important to consider. Most of the racks where the wheel size is an important factor will be hitch mounted designs that use arms to lock onto your bike’s tire. If your bike rack uses a frame-free system, it is important to look at the size of your wheel in comparison to the bike rack’s holding system.
The best bike rack will be universal in size, which means that it can hold tires that are 20-29inches in diameter. For families, this can be a huge benefit because it would allow them to load smaller bikes onto the rack. Nonetheless, you should always be able to find the compatibility of the bike rack and your bike’s wheel size in the product specifications. This will guarantee that your rack will fit properly fit your bike.
Last but not least, you want to ensure that your bike rack is compatible with both your car and your bike. While a bike rack for SUVs and other vehicles should be cross compatible, that is not always the case. If you are using a roof rack, your car needs to have rails pre-installed. For hitch-mounted racks, your car needs to have a hitch receiver installed. The most universally compatible design is the trunk mounted option, but it is sometimes difficult to use with trucks.
Overall, bike rack reviews can help you determine the compatibility of a design. Most bike rack brands will give you suggestions as to what types of cars and bikes their mount is compatible. Universal compatibility may seem great, but you should be careful. Sometimes it’s better to find a rack that is suited for your specific bicycle or car to ensure that you don’t cause any accidental damage. Some bike racks are specific to certain types of cars or bikes, so be certain to check the reviews and product specifications before you make a purchase.
Q: Do Bike Racks Damage Your Car?
No, the best bike rack will cause no damage to your car. While each rack has its own installation system, if the rack is properly installed, it should never scratch or damage your car’s paint. Any bike rack that has direct contact with the trunk of your car, should always have padded feet built into the design. With rubber pads, the frame is less likely to cause damage to the finish on your car. It is also important to follow the installation instructions and take care not to go over the rack’s bike or weight capacity to prevent accidental damage to your car.
Q: Can You Put A Bike Rack On Any Car?
Yes, but some racks are best used with specific types of cars. Bike racks for trucks are often hitch mounted because that is the most secure spot on your vehicle. Trucks do not often have the space on the roof for a roof rack and the strap system can be difficult to install on a tailgate. On the other hand, people that do not have a hitch receiver on their car may find that they have the rails for a roof rack. Or they may simply want the convenience of a trunk mounted design.
Q: Why Are Bike Racks So Expensive?
While bike racks may seem so expensive, the cost of the product is well worth the investment. The best hitch bike rack or any bike rack is designed to keep your bike safe during transportation. Bike racks also allow you to safely take your bikes to new places. While you may want to purchase a bike rack with at a bargain price, it may not be worth the hassle. A top rated bike rack should never cause any damage to your bike and car. It should also allow you to confidently travel with your bike and feel certain that your bike will stay in place while you drive.
Q: Are Platform Bike Racks Better?
For some cyclists a platform bike rack is better, but it will ultimately come down to what you need and how many bikes you are transporting. If you have a hitch receiver, a platform bike rack is a great way to transport multiple bikes. Most platform bike racks have a higher bike and weight capacity, which means that they could carry up to 5 bicycles at one time. But not all riders need to transport that many bikes, nor do they want such a large rack attached to their car.
Q: Can You Open Your Trunk With A Bike Rack On It?
Yes, the best hitch bike rack will have a tilt feature, which will give you access to your trunk with the bike rack installed on the hitch receiver. Most top rated hitch bike racks use a pin lock to release the arm of the rack, so it can be tilted away from your car. The tilt will allow you to open the trunk, even when the rack is installed on your car and there are bikes loaded up. Just be certain that you have properly locked the bike rack back into its upright position once you are done accessing your trunk.
Globo Surf Overview
With the best bike rack, it has never been easier to take your bike on the road. There are plenty of options on the market, so you can find the perfect bike rack for your needs. A good quality bike rack should always be durable, reliable, and long lasting to guarantee that you can go anywhere with your bike. With our guide, we have taken you through everything you need to know about purchasing a bike rack, so you can get out and go on new biking adventures.
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