12 Best Bike Racks for Cars in 2018
As a biking enthusiast, at some point you will probably want to take your bike traveling whether it is to ride along a beach somewhere or to challenge yourself on distant mountain trails; this means you need to have a bike rack.
While it sounds simple, choosing the best bike rack for car use can be daunting due to an overwhelming amount of choice. Let us help you in the pre-purchase phase by teaching you everything you need to know to make the right decision. In this guide, we will show you the most important things to consider when shopping for a bike rack as well as give you some great examples to get you started!
Top 12 Bike Racks for Cars Comparison Table
|Design||Name||# Of Bikes||Mount Type||Rating (1-5)|
|1. TYGER Deluxe Black 1-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack||1||Trunk||4.7|
|2. Road-Max RMBR4 Hitch Mount Tray Style 4 Bike Carrier||4||Hitch||4.5|
|3. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black 2-Inch Sq. 4 Bike Carrier||2||Hitch||4.5|
|4. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack||2||Hitch||4.5|
|5. Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack||2||Trunk||4.3|
|6. Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack||2||Trunk||4.3|
|7. Yakima Products RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack||2,4, or 5||Hitch||4.2|
|8. Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack||2 or 3||Trunk||4.1|
|9. 2 Bike Car Rack by KING||2||Hitch||3.8|
|10. Schwinn 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack||2||Trunk||3.6|
|11. Bell Bike Trunk Rack||3||Trunk||3.5|
|12. Zeny Car Bike Rack 4-Bike Hitch Trunk Mount Rack||4||Trunk||3.0|
Before Buying Your New Bike Rack
If you have looked at any of the bike racks on our list, you’ll see that we weren’t kidding about the number of choices a prospective buyer could face. However, once you know the essential questions to ask when you’re purchasing your own, you will be on your way to finding the best bike rack for car traveling!
What Type of Rack Do You Need? – There are multitudes of bike rack for designs to choose from (roof racks, spare tire racks, etc.) but we are only going to focus on the two designs that are most appropriate for cars, specifically.
- Trunk Mount Racks – These are the most popular bike rack design due to their relative ease of use and low cost, but they are not without their downside.
- Trunk mount racks are not permanently attached to your vehicle.
- Bikes are easily loaded with minimal lifting.
- Because they are attached using simple, paint-friendly hooks and straps, they can usually be moved from vehicle to vehicle with little to no adjustments. This makes them great for sharing within a family or even letting your friends borrow it for a fun weekend.
- You will have to remove the bikes from the rack to gain access to your trunk.
- Not easy to secure. The rack itself can be removed from the vehicle by cutting the straps.
- Rack stability is only as good as the person’s ability to secure the straps. Trunk mount racks have more room for human error than their hitch mount counterparts.
- Hitch Mount Racks – Hitch mount racks are less popular with car owners because they involve installing an aftermarket hitch on most sedans and hatchbacks. However, with the added stability of hitch mount racks, your extra labor is often greatly rewarded.
- Securing your bikes is much easier. Most, if not all, hitch mount racks are
compatible with locking mechanisms.
- Securing your bikes is much easier. Most, if not all, hitch mount racks are
- Like a trunk mount rack, they are not permanently attached to your vehicle.
- Bikes are positioned away from the vehicle, keeping them more secure and allowing regular trunk access.
- Bikes in these racks can sometimes obstruct the view of taillights or license plates.
- They extend the length of your vehicle making it more difficult to maneuver.
- Hitch mount racks, especially swing-aways, will almost always be more expensive than a trunk mount rack.
How Will You Secure Your Bike(s)?
Here are a few security options to consider:
- Purchasing a bike rack with a lock included will be more expensive up front, but the added peace of mind may be worth it.
- Securing the rack to the car is just as important as securing your bikes to the rack. Remember, this can be more difficult with trunk mount racks, but hitch mount racks often come with a locking pin to keep the rack secure.
Last Things to Consider…
When choosing your bike rack, make sure to look at your vehicle’s manual and find out what its load capacity is before making a purchase. Also, with any bike rack, adding extra measures like bungees or extra tie downs, especially for the tires, is never a bad idea!
You are probably starting to get an idea of what the best bike rack for car use is for you, so let’s check out a more in-depth look at some of the most popular bike rack models from our list.
Top 5 Best Bike Rack for Car Reviews
Our number one bike rack pick is also probably the most simply designed. When it comes to bike racks, simple and straightforward is not necessarily a bad thing. This single-bike, trunk mount rack has everything you need to load up and go on an adventure!
- 100% Assembled – This is a huge deal. For those of you who have never assembled a bike rack, let us assure you that any model that comes fully assembled and ready to mount to your vehicle should shoot right to the top of your choice list.
- Foldable Carry Arms – Although the strap and hook design of the TYGER Deluxe makes it easy to remove if need be, it’s also very convenient to leave the rack on when not in use because of the foldable carry arms, which keep the rack compact.
- Lifetime Warranty – Accidents happen, even to the most careful cyclists. TYGER’s lifetime warranty ensures that if your rack is ever damaged or breaks because of something outside of your control, you can get a new one!
Because of its simple design and the fact that it comes 100% assembled, we give the TYGER Deluxe Bike Rack a very high recommendation to those of you who want to hit the road right now.
From simple to a little more complex, we go to the Road-Max tray style, hitch mount bike rack. This set up is perfect for families, especially on long trips, as it is more stable than a trunk mount rack.
- Capacity – This bike rack can carry up to four bikes! We like any rack that gives you more options but as always make sure you think about your specific needs before purchasing.
- Folding Arm – Trunk access is a big issue when it comes to choosing a bike rack, and Road-Max has fixed this problem by allowing the arm of the rack to swing away, enabling you to get in the trunk with ease.
- Mounting System – The padded slots on this rack are designed to fit many different tire and rim sizes. Always make sure to measure for fit, but most likely this rack will do the trick.
Due to its hitch mount design and large bike capacity, the Road-Max RMBR4 Bike Rack definitely stands out as one of the top models.
At our number 3 spot, we have another 4-bike carrier from Pro-Series. This hitch mount bike rack fits any two-inch receiver and with minimal assembly required can be ready to go in no time!
- Tilt Feature – Unlike other swing away designs, the Eclipse has a tilting bar, which makes it easy to get to the trunk, even with the bikes attached! Add this to the already compact design, and it’s one of the most minimalistic bike racks on our list.
- Easy Strapping – The hook and loop strap system make securing your bike frame easy. Just remember to also secure the tires with bungees if you want extra stability and limited shift while driving down the road.
- Soft Rubber Cradles – The cradle layout on this rack allows sufficient spacing between cycles as well as low-impact ride experience to avoid damage to your bike, even on rougher terrain.
We love the Pro-Series Eclipse’s compact design, and its unique tilt feature is definitely a stand-out among the competition.
The Cross-Country Bike Rack by Swagman is yet another unique design to add to our list. It uses tire cradles and a hook of sorts to secure the bikes onto this hitch mount carrier.
- Easy Trunk Access – The “mast” of this rack folds forward so you can access your trunk easily. If you just need to grab a small item, this can probably be done with the bikes mounted, but most of the time they will need to be removed.
- Adjustable Ratchet Arm – The ratchet arm holds the hook that pushes down on the bike, securing it. Its adjustability allows for a snug fit for a wide range of bike sizes and frame types.
- Hitch Compatibility – This Swagman rack has one of the most compatible hitch mounts on our list as well. It fits on 1¼ inch and 2-inch receivers and comes with a built-in anti-wobble hitch device.
The Swagman Cross-Country Bike Rack has one of the most secure mounting systems on our list and would be great for anyone planning on traveling long distances with bikes.
The Saris Bones Trunk Mount Bike Rack really is “bare bones, ” and it looks like it belongs on a spaceship rather than a hatchback!
- Arc-Based Design – The Bones rack was designed in such a way that it can be mounted on most cars, even those with spoilers.
- Durability – The injection-molded carrier arms and mount brackets make this bike rack one of the strongest and most durable available.
- Adjustability – The ratchet-style tie-downs make the Saris Bones Bike Rack very easy to adjust to different frame sizes and models.
Minimal assembly, cool design, and durable materials make the Saris Bones Bike Rack one of the best on the market today!