12 Best Bike Racks in 2018
There are few things better for cyclists than opening up a box and putting together a brand new bike. The first time you take your new baby on a road trip is just as exciting, but only if you have the best bike rack in your arsenal. The days of throwing your bike in the back up a truck are long gone, as new solutions will keep your cycle free from scratches and dings.
Before you pick the coolest looking rack for your ride, there are some important things to consider. We’ll address most of those below, but before we do here are the top options for consumers with sedans, sports cars, SUVs, and trucks.
Top 12 Bike Racks Comparison Chart
|Design||Name||Mounting Style||# of Bikes||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack with 2-Inch Receiver||Hitch||4||4.5|
|2. Hollywood Racks F1B The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack||Trunk||3||4.5|
|3. Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount||Roof||1||4.4|
|4. Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack||Roof||1||4.4|
|5. Allen Sports Premier 4-Bike Trunk Rack||Trunk||4||4.2|
|6. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black 2-Inch Sq. 4 Bike Carrier||Hitch||2-4||4.2|
|7. Hollywood Racks Traveler Hitch Mounted Bike Rack||Hitch||3-5||4.2|
|8. Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Mounted Rack||Spare Tire||2||4.2|
|9. Saris Bones 801 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack||Trunk||3||4.2|
|10. Allen Sports Ultra Compact Folding 1-Bike Trunk Mount Rack||Trunk||1||4.2|
|11. Thule 963PRO Spare Me 2 Bike Spare Tire Bike Carrier||Spare Tire||2||4.1|
|12. Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack||Trunk||2-3||4.0|
How Big Is Your Bike?
When you’re looking to scoop up a new bike rack, size of your bike is the first thing you’ll want to consider. Some may require you to detach a tire, which is something to keep in mind depending on the style of your bike.
Weight is even more important than length as many bike racks adjust, but you can’t alter their weight limit. Different types of bikes weigh more as MTBs are far heavier than a racer or a bicycle built for kids. Certain types of racks can hold more weight than others due to their design as well, so that trunk rack you have your sights on may not be ideal if you’re hauling around 400 pounds of cycles.
The type of vehicle you drive may simplify this area significantly. If you own a convertible or a jeep, you obviously can’t use a roof rack unless you have a hard top. Even then it’s not ideal, and the same can be said for vehicles that don’t have a traditional trunk. Here are the main styles you will encounter, which will fit almost every vehicle on the road.
- Roof – These put your bike up on the roof and can lock things down in several different ways. They may require a roof rack bar if you don’t already have a system in place, and you will always need to keep overpasses in mind as well.
- Trunk – This is one of the more traditional styles due to affordability and the fact almost every car, even convertibles, have trunks in the rear. The one major drawback is you won’t be able to get in your truck with the rack attached more often than not.
- Hitch – Bike racks that fit on a hitch are a great option if you need to access your trunk – and have a hitch. You will want to check the hitch size against the rack, or you may need to buy an adapter or make a return.
- Spare – Do you own a jeep or sports utility with a spare tire on the back? If so, you are in for a treat with bike racks built for spare tires. As they are hooked to your spare, they are out of the way and are an excellent alternative.
Other Things to Consider
This area’s tied to the type of rack you choose to a degree, but safety is always at the forefront when dealing with the best bike rack of any style. While your bike can be cinched down in a number of ways, any mount worth its salt will also protect your paint and frame. Metal on metal is never a good idea, so pay close attention to the type of padding and protection offered for both your cycle and your vehicle.
Unless you plan on driving straight to your riding destination, it’s also a good idea to consider bike racks with built-in locks. Many top models have a locking mechanism to help keep your bike safe while others will require you to provide your own. Some trunk and hitch-based models are also universal in a sense as they can hold other equipment; a handy perk to have if you enjoy more than just biking outdoors.
Top 5 Best Bike Rack Reviews
This hitch is geared towards consumers that have a receiver tube built into their vehicle. If that’s not you, you will want to skip to our next pick unless you plan on having a hitch put on your car. If you do have a tube at the ready, you’ll be thrilled to know the Allen Sports Deluxe Bike Mount can handle a small army of bikes.
This bike rack is built to hold not one, but four bicycles. Two arms that extend 22” with a strap system to help keep your bikes safe and in place. There is padding in each cradle to protect the paint, while the rack itself is sturdy and covered in powder coating for protection from the elements. It will work with almost any tube hitch, provided it’s 2” and of the Class III or IV variety. If you want that lifetime warranty, make sure you install this one on a proper setup.
Allen’s Deluxe Bike Rack comes with everything you need out of the box, including a 2” receiver to keep the mount away from the back of your car. As a bonus, when not in use you can fold those long arms out of the way or swing the rack up if you need access to the back.
The first option from Hollywood Racks is the F1B; a mount built for consumers with cars, not trucks or SUVs. Crossovers are out as well considering the car needs to have a regular backside, but if your vehicle fits the bill, you’ll quickly find out why this mount is the best bike rack for trunks.
Hollywood makes a rack for every type of vehicle on the road, including cars of all sizes whether they are sporty or 4-door luxury sedans. The F1B “Original” can handle three bicycles with ease and is built to keep your paint safe on both your bikes and your trunk lid. It provides around 14 1/2” of space between each bike on the mount and is foldable so you can stow it away flat in the trunk when not in use. It’s the same classic design the company has been using for over 40 years, and there’s a good reason for that – quality.
This rack is a simple solution for consumers that need to haul multiple bikes but don’t want to roll with a roof rack and have a hitch-less vehicle. It’s very lightweight at a little over 12 pounds, and the design will allow you to carry other types of wheeled contraptions as well.
With a few exceptions, roof racks are the most compatible style of mount for vehicles on the road today. They do have some major drawbacks but are your best options around if you need access to the back of your car. The Thule Sidearm Bike Mount is our top choice for roof racks, and we think you’ll be thrilled with it as well.
Roof racks aren’t for everyone as they add considerable height to your vehicle and can give you a heart attack if you come across a low overpass. Height aside, Thule’s mount can handle bikes with wheels between 20 – 29” in diameter and up to 2.6” wide. You don’t need to take the wheel off as it locks them down with their SecureHook system. It’s tough as nails as well considering it’s constructed from thick double-wall aluminum. The mount is rated to hold bikes up to 50 pounds, but you will obviously need a roof rack pre-installed on top of your car for this one to work.
The Thule Sidearm system lives up to its Universal namesake as you can use it with almost any factory rack or with their lineup if you are sans rack. They also work with a lock which can secure everything together including the mount, bike, and rack. This one is easy to put together, but you’ll still need to have a way to get that bike up onto your vehicle safely – it isn’t a style for everyone.
Our second roof rack comes from Yakima, and works similarly to The Sidearm but with one significant difference. The Yakima Front Loader has a bar that locks all the way around your wheel, which gives consumers a little more peace of mind when they’re cruising down the road at 70 mph.
The Yakima Front Loader will work with a wide variety of bike styles including hardtails, bikes with full suspension setups or even disc brakes. As nothing touches the frame, your paint will be as safe as the bike itself while the rack extends to accommodate longer bikes. The tire hoops are of different sizes, however, and the rear loop may not be broad enough to handle all tires. You can always extend, but 2.4” may max you out although depending on the overall tire size.
Yakima and Thule’s top-loading racks are neck-in-neck when it comes to quality, so it’s down to the style and how they each lock down your front wheel. Their overall weight and the weight of the bike you’ll carry should be considered as well along with the type of vehicle. All roofs are not created equal when it comes to strength.
If you want a bike carrier that is truly universal and built for the back of your car, you’ve found it with this one. It’s the Allen Sports Premier 4-Bike Trunk Rack, which works with any trunk, including vertical ones like you find on modern minivans and SUVs.
At first glance, the Allen Sports Premier rack is a bit of a monstrosity compared to similar racks in this class. That’s because of its versatility, which lets you use it on several types of trunks including those that open from the side. It has 21” long carry arms, which are a bit shorter than other models, and while it can hold four bicycles, the weight limit is a bit of a downer. It’s rated to handle 140 pounds, so you could haul a few different sizes, but not four full-size adult bikes unless they are lightweight cruisers.
This car carrier will definitely do the trick and is well worth a look if you have multiple vehicles, but don’t want several types of bike racks. It’s relatively easy to setup and comes with card pads to protect your paint job while wide feet help to distribute weight. We were not fans of the actual strap system itself however as they went with rubber instead of nylon or a fabric styles strap.