Why Does Research Matter?
There are a lot of decisions to be made when considering a bike rack, particularly if you want a good one. The best bike rack should be easy and quick to assemble and mount onto your car. It should obviously keep your bike secure. They should be easy to fold away and store when not in use. Additionally, you want to make sure that the bike rack doesn't leave any marks or damage to your car. Some bike racks carry more bikes than others. For this comparison, we focused on hitch racks. These racks tend to be easy to install and can even be adapted to carry other gear such as skis or snowboards. It's easy to load your bikes since there isn't as much heavy lifting as is involved with a rooftop rack. Some models allow you to still access the trunk or rear door which is another big plus. They can typically carry between two and five bikes and because the bikes are positioned further away from the vehicle than trunk racks, you're less likely to have damage to your vehicle's finish. These racks aren't permanently attached to your car, but some people find them heavy so prefer to leave them on throughout the cycling season. Some hitch racks also can fold flat against your car for tight parking spaces.
Why is the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Worth the Splurge?
The Thule T2 Pro XT 2 is a tray-style hitch bike rack that is on the pricey side but totally worth it according to reviewers. This hitch rack is incredibly easy to install, with no tools needed! It is very robust and solid, so you won't have any fear of your bikes falling and being damaged. The tilt mechanism is simple to use via a handle that you pull for providing access to the rear of your vehicle. Users also like that you have the option to increase the load capacity of this rack from two to four bikes with an add-on that is sold separately.
What Makes Us Recommend the Kuat Sherpa 2.0?
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 bike rack is a tray-style hitch rack that is lightweight and easy to mount. The instructions made it easy to assemble, unlike some other bike racks. Because of its low loading height, users found this bike rack very easy to load their bikes onto without strenuous lifting. There is a foot-activated pivot that is simple to use, enabling you to lower it. Tilting the rack will provide you with access to your trunk, which is another aspect that users love. Bikes are held securely in place while driving.
What Does the Yakima HoldUp Have to Offer?
The Yakima HoldUp has a number of nice features that users love, including a bottle opener at the end of the rack so you can pop open a cold one after your ride. This high-quality durable bike rack is designed for two bikes but offers the option of expansion to up to four bikes. The space between your bikes can be adjusted to ensure that they don't touch each other while loaded on the rack. The wheel tray can be folded when not in use, so this is great news for those who are short on space! The versatility of this rack is also appreciated, as it can accommodate all different types of bikes and tires with ease.
Why Should You Check Out the Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack?
The Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack is a budget-friendly bike rack that is easy to set up. Because it is a more affordable option, it doesn't offer all of the high-end features of more expensive bike racks. This choice is best for those who use a bike rack infrequently, otherwise, you should consider investing extra money in a premium bike rack. What users love about this bike rack is that there are a number of different choices in terms of bike accommodations. For example, you can choose between a 2-bike rack all the way up to a 5-bike rack, plus you can get the locking version, which is recommended. The low loading height makes it easy to use.
How Will the Kuat Transfer Universal Hitch Rack Will Impress You?
The Kuat Transfer Universal Hitch Rack is a two-bike rack made of solid steel construction. It features the Perfect Fit adjustment system which ensures that no matter the model of your bike, it is guaranteed to fit in this rack. This bike rack is compatible with a range of tire options and also fits both 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers.
What Stands Out About the Bell Right Up 350 Bike Rack?
The Bell Right Up 350 is a versatile bike rack that can hold up to three bikes. This bike rack is available in a platform-style that connects to both 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitches. Whether you ride a 12-inch bike or a 29-inch bike, this hitch bike rack can accommodate it thanks to its adjustable design! This budget-friendly pick won't let you down!
Why Will Cyclists Want the Swagman Chinook Hitch Bike Rack?
The Swagman Chinook Hitch Bike Rack can carry two bikes of almost any frame size, style, and shape. It tilts in a way so that you can still conveniently access the rear of your vehicle, even when bikes are loaded to the rack. This hitch-style bike rack also comes with security features included to give you extra peace of mind.
How Will the Road-Max Hitch Mount Support Your Bikes?
The Road-Max Hitch Mount is a tray style bike rack that is big enough for the whole family, offering the ability to support four bikes at once! Even though it can hold four bikes, this bike rack remains compact and lightweight for its capabilities. It is designed to fit 2-inch hitch receivers. It includes a number of features to keep your bikes safe and secure.
How Did the Thule Vertex XT Make Our List?
The Thule Vertex XT is a hitch-style bike rack with available support in 2-bike, 4-bike, and 5-bike models. This hitch rack features a unique design intended to make it easier for users to load and unload bikes. Each model can fit both 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers for more flexibility with use. The anti-sway cages prevent your bikes from colliding with each other and your car.
What Will Wow You About the Yakima FullTilt Bike Rack?
The Yakima FullTilt Bike Rack is a premium hitch-style bike rack that can hold four bikes. It comes fully assembled straight out of the box. Installation to the car’s hitch is tool-free, and it can fit both 1.25-inch and 2-inch receivers. This rack can support bikes of up to 40 pounds each, with a combined total weight of 150 pounds together.
How to Choose a Bike Rack
If you own both a bicycle and a car, chances are that you should consider getting a bike rack. Owning a bike rack gives you a way to easily transport your bicycle from one place to another, particularly if your destination is too far to transport your bike to. This is a great choice if you want to take your bike to check out some trails, bring your bike with you for that beach vacation, or even if you want to quickly take your bike across town or to the next city to ride with friends. If you have kids, you can also use the bike rack to transport your children’s bikes to their play dates. You’ll soon find out that there are a lot of factors to consider before purchasing a bike rack. This guide will provide you with the lowdown.
Types of Bike Racks
The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are multiple types of bike racks available.
- Hitch bike rack: Hitch bike racks are available in two styles: hanging and tray. Both connect to a trailer hitch, so in order to use this rack, you need to have a trailer hitch available on your vehicle. They can usually support up to four or five bikes at once. A tray hitch usually allows access to the rear of the car with your bikes loaded, whereas the hanging variety typically requires you to unload the bikes first to gain access.
- Trunk bike rack: A trunk bike rack attaches to the trunk or hatch of your car. These bike racks typically can hold up to three bikes. You usually have to unload the bikes to access the trunk of your car.
- Roof bike rack: A roof bike rack goes on the roof of your car. Keep in mind that you have to lift your bike overhead to load this type of rack, which can be difficult if you’re not very strong. You can fit one bike per rack, so you’ll need to purchase multiple if you want to secure more than one bike to your roof.
- Truck bed bike rack: A truck bed bike rack, obviously, requires that you have a truck with a bed. One bike can fit per rack, and you can purchase as many as your truck bed can hold.
One of the most important aspects to research when considering a bike rack is security. You definitely do not want your bikes to fall off the rack in the middle of transport! The bike rack itself should remain stable while driving, without your bikes swaying from side to side. Some come with special locks and straps to keep your bikes in place. Make sure that these are easy to use. Make sure the distance between the bikes and the bikes from your car is enough so that they don’t collide and cause paint damage. Some bike racks offer padding for additional protection.
How many bikes do you generally plan to transport? The price of the bike rack tends to go up with each additional bike it can hold. If you prefer to bike solo, you won’t need a large bike rack, but if you like to bike with friends or family, get a bike rack that can accommodate multiple bikes. You also need to make sure the bike rack is compatible with your type of bicycle in terms of frame size, tires, and style.
How easy is it to assemble and install the bike rack? If this is a rack that you plan to leave on the car, you may not mind a one-time difficult setup. If you plan to remove it from your car when not in use or want to use it with different cars, easy setup will be an important feature.
Access to Rear of Vehicle
You don’t want to never be able to use your trunk or hatch again. We prefer bike racks that allow easy access to the rear of your vehicle, even when loaded with bicycles.
Ease of Loading
It should be easy to get your bikes on and off the bike rack. This is particularly important to consider if you’re lacking in upper body strength. Typically, a tray-style hitch bike rack will offer the easiest loading and unloading process.
The ability of your bike rack to fold flat when not in use is a convenient feature we love. It helps you squeeze into crowded garages and tight parking spaces.
Your bike rack should not interfere with your rear view while driving to the point that you are unsafe. Make sure you feel comfortable driving with your bike rack in place.
Decades ago, people primarily owned smaller cars and chose trunk racks for their bikes. With so many Americans living large with SUVs and other hitch-friendly vehicles, hitch racks have become a favored bike rack option. They are incredibly sturdy, offer a lot of security, and because of their low loading height, are easier to get bikes onto and off of than trunk and roof racks. They also keep your bikes at a safe distance from your car so as not to damage the finish. While these racks tend to be on the pricier side, the ones we've recommended all offer some type of lifetime warranty so you can feel reassured that you're getting your money's worth.
Stay safe while you ride! Check out our review of the best bike helmets!