If this is the first time your have even considered transporting your bike on your car then this article is for you. It’s a simple and concise overview of bike racks for cars, what you need to look out for, where they fit, how they fit and what may be best for you and your vehicle.
Car bike racks fit the car in one of three places either on the boot – trunk mounted, on the tow bar – hitch mounted or on the roof – roof mounted.
Trunk Mounted (less than $100 or £65)
Trunk mounted bike racks are the most common and consequently the cheapest types of bike racks on the market. The way that they hook on makes them almost universal. Many bike racks for SUVs are trunk mounted. The biggest advantage of rear mounted bike carriers for cars is that they are easy to load and easy to unload. There are two big disadvantages of rear mounted bike racks and that is they can restrict the view out of the rear window and you can’t open the rear of your vehicle when they are in place. If you can live with these restrictions the key features to look out for with these types of racks are:
- Wherever they come in to contact with your car there is a rubber or vinyl present so they will not scratch or damage your car.
- You can fasten your bikes easily to the rack.
- The bike or bikes when on the rack do not come in to contact with the car.
- If the bike rack carries two or more bikes make sure the bikes do not rub together in transit and damage each other.
The saris bike rack – Bones comes highly recommended by many users.
Hitch Mounted ($100 – $450 (£66 – £300)
Hitch or tow bar mounted bike racks are obviously dependent on you having a hitch or tow bar. They tend to be rather more expensive than trunk mounted racks but do have some good features. In some cases they are low enough to not restrict the view out of your rear window and if you have enough money you can buy a hitch mounted car bike rack which pivots out of the way so that you can get access to the rear of your vehicle. A hitch mounted bike racks for cars significantly reduce the chances of bicycle scratching your car and also if you carrying more than one, damaging each other in transit.
Hitch mounted racks are expensive and if you don’t already have a hitch fitted unless you are serious about transporting your bikes the costs are prohibitive.
Please take note that with both trunk and hitch mounted racks if your number plate/license plate and lights are obscure you will need to get a lighting board to hang of the back of the rack – failure to do so could result in a fine…
Roof Mounted (less than $40 (£26) per bike if you’ve already got roof bars, if not add around $200 (£133) to that cost)
If you already have roof bars on your vehicle then roof mounted bicycle carriers for cars can be the cheapest way for your to transport your bike(s). Just find the contact details of the manufacturer of your roof bars to find the part number of the bicycle carrier component that you need to order.
Thule bike racks do a massive range of fittings to put bikes on the roof of your car. If your car does not have roof bars then you will need to buy a complete kit and this can work out to be expensive. As a quick overview to put bike on the roof of your car you will need the following:
- A feet pack – this is the part that connects to your car.
- The roof bars – Thule and Yakima bike racks do at least three different types between them some are square and some are a more aerodynamic shape that intends to improve fuel consumption.
- The Bicycle Mount – This is the part that connects the bicycle to the roof bars – there are many different types available; with some, you will need to remove the front wheel of your bike and others the bike just fits on complete.
There are however two disadvantages of roof mounted carrier – one of which is really dependent on your vehicle. If you have a tall car with a high roof then getting your bike on to the rack can be a challenge and the second disadvantage is that your fuel consumption can go up as your bikes create maximum drag when they are placed on the roof.
Allen Deluxe 4 Bike 2 Inch Hitch Mount Bike Racks for Cars Review
What do you get when a rocket scientist designs your bicycle rack? Something similar to the Allen Deluxe 4 Bike 2-Inch rack I would imagine.
Allen Bike Racks have a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the best-designed bike racks on the market today. The design lead focus of Allen Bike Racks is thanks to founder Dick Allen’s own background as an engineer for the Apollo Space program.
Dick Allen, who was a cyclist, found himself out of a job and so he set his sights on designing the best bike rack possible. And this mission is firmly engrained in the culture of Allen bike racks to this day.
This fine tradition of producing the highest quality bicycle racks continues with the Allen Deluxe 4 Bike Rack that is being reviewed here. This review will look at some of the main benefits of this bicycle rack as well as a couple of it negative points.
Allen Deluxe Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
Allen Racks use their own patented tie-down system and an individual cradle for each of the four bicycles this is designed for. It also comes down with a separate tie down strap which stops any lower bicycle movement. One of the nicest features of the Allen Bicycle racks is how easy they are to install. The rack can be set up in a matter of minutes and doesn’t take an expert to install. When you have finished using the bicycle rack for the day you can drop the carry arms down and fold it flat for easy storage.
This bicycle rack is also very nicely priced at under $150 for the rack. Given the design features of this bicycle it is competitive with much more expensive bicycle models. This bicycle rack is perfect for families on vacation or who do a lot of cycling together. More serious cyclists may want to look at more expensive rack but for most people the Allen Rack will do a fine job. It is not surprising given the engineer-driven culture of Allen Racks that this is a very durable rack. If you are taking a long trip you want to be sure that your rack is going to be able to handle the weight of four bicycles. With the Allen Rack you can rest easy.
The downsides of this rack include that fact that while it is designed for four bicycles actually fitting that many on the rack can be quite difficult. Four bicycles do fit but it would be nice to have a little more room.
The Allen Deluxe 4 Bike Rack is one of the best bicycle racks in its class. All but the most dedicated cyclists will be impressed with the quality of this rack especially considering its price. Being able to carry four bicycles at the same time is great for families. And this well designed rack is easy to store when it is not in use. This is the perfect bicycle rack for vacations and other long trips where you want to take all your bicycles with you.
Yakima Fork Lift Bike Carrier Review
For serious cyclists, bike enthusiasts or any vehicle owner who wants to be able to bring their bicycle on the road with them for spur-of-the-moment trail rides, bike racks for cars are definitely something worth investing in.
Most car types today already have them installed—from regular cars that don’t have enough room inside for a whole bike to an SUV or minivan that have big enough roof space for multiple bikes for the whole family. One of the popular brands in the market today is the Yakima Fork Lift Bike Carrier.
This particular model is actually the manufacturer’s first direct-to-factory-crossbar fork mount type of bike rack. An important aspect for considering bike racks for cars is its ease of installation and the Yakima Fork Lift Bike Carrier has that covered with flying colors. It matches round bars, square bars, and factory bars alike and is compatible with any fork with disc-brakes. It has an adjustable sliding tray that enables easier positioning for the rear wheel.
Yakima Fork Lift Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
- Can carry a single bike
- Matches a variety of bars, including round, square, and most factory makes
- Locks are not included (See our selection of the best bike locks here)
- Best used for bike transport
- Lifetime manufacturer warranty
The Good And The Bad: What Cyclists Are Saying About The Yakima Fork Lift Bike Carrier
There are a lot of reviews for bike racks for cars that recommend this particular brand, mainly because of its compatibility with many kinds of bars, making it a good choice no matter what car you have.
Its sturdiness is also considered a feature, enabling the driver to drive as fast as 80 MPH and above and not worry that the Yakima ForkLift Bike Carrier will come undone. Its easy installation makes it a great choice for customers who don’t want to spend too much time building bike racks for cars, and its fork-mounted design seems like a more secure way to mount a bike over other types.
It might be important to note that the Yakima ForkLift Bike Carrier is for single use only, one fork for one bike. This particular brand also does not have locks included in the package—Yakima sells SKS lock cores separately. It also doesn’t have a front wheel holder, so detaching it is essential and might be a hassle for some consumers.
Furthermore, though Yakima provides a lifetime warranty for its products including this one, the manufacturer doesn’t handle warranty issues on products bought through other online portals, like Amazon.
Despite these things, for its compatibility with many car makes and bars, the Yakima Fort Lift Bike Carrier is probably one of the best choices to make in terms of bike racks for cars.
Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier Review
Among the many bike racks for cars in the manufacturer’s product line, the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier has the largest capacity for transportation. This multi-purpose carrier can safely transport and support 4 to 5 bikes, with a total maximum weight of 150 pounds. It can be attached to the rear of your car through the use of a 2-inch hitch receiver, so you, your friends and your family can all attach your bicycles to your vehicle and be on your way to a fun-filled biking expedition.
We found Amazon.com have the best prices on the Thule 914XT Hitch Carrier. Click here to check it out.
Thule 914XT 4 Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
- Can carry up to 4 bikes, maximum weight of 150 lbs.
- Hard-wearing steel construction
- Hitch switch lever that permits tilting for better tailgate or hatch access
- Anti-sway cages for safe multiple bike transport
- Locking functional mechanisms sold separately
Pros And Cons: Customer Comments About The Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier
Many consumers hail the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier as the mother of bike racks for cars because it accommodates the most number of bicycles in one trip, carrying up to 4 bikes safely and securely. Not all bike racks for cars have stay-put cradles that put the car owner’s mind at ease as well as the people who own the bikes being carried because it prevents bike-to-car contact and lessens the chance of scratches to all vehicles.
Another favorite feature among satisfied customers is the hitch switch lever that comes with the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier. It provides the option to fold its carrier arms when not in use and tilt the entire carrier structure away from the car to allow for both tailgate and hatch access, but bikes must be removed first. Assembling the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier is very easy and requires almost no tools.
But like most bike racks for cars, there are always things to consider when using the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier. The package doesn’t have a locking hitch pin included—all it has is a screw on pin that might be a safety issue for more experienced bike carrier owners. And although the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier can carry up to 4 bikes at a time, positioning them might be a tiresome affair that may or may not require more than one person. Despite this, the Thule 914XT Roadway 4-Bike Hitch Carrier is still pretty much one of the most trusted bike racks in the market today.
Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack
With bike racks for cars like the Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack, it’s not just possible for you to transport your own bike safely and securely, but it also allows you to bring a bike buddy and his bike with you!
The Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack is a durable platform-style bike rack that uses a 2-inch hitch. It is very easy to assemble and can be folded flat against your car’s rear when not in use. Bike racks for cars are considered for design that will keep the bikes safe and damage-free, and the Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack uses padded universal top clamps and adjustable wheel holders as well as Velcro wheel straps to ensure bike security.
The best price we could find for the Hollywood Racks HR1000 is from Amazon.com. You can get up to 10% off and also free shipping. Click here to check it out.
Hollywood Rack Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
- Easy-loading platform-style rack can carry up to 2 bikes
- Versatile, adjustable and hardwearing
- Fits both 1.25 and 2-inch hitches
- Threaded hitch pin for bike sway or wobble prevention
Rants And Raves: Customer Reviews On The Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack
Among the many bike racks for cars that accommodate 2 bikes, the Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack is one of the most reliable ones in terms of keeping the bikes safe and steady during transport. The platform-style that it features is considered more reliable and hassle-free compared to ones that have the bikes hanging, making them more prone to bike-to-car contact. Its super-sturdy steel design is perfect for hard use—you can go on rough roads and not worry about your bikes popping off.
One thing to note about platform-style bike racks for cars like the Hollywood Racks HR1000 Sport Rider 2-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack though—it might be secure and can hold your bikes in place with no problem, but depending on the road conditions and how fast you are driving, the bikes might naturally sway a bit from left to right. That’s normal for most bike racks for cars. It can be distracting for the driver, but as long as you follow the assembly instructions, ensure the quality of the parts and double-check all safety precautions that come with the product, you can rest assured of your bike’s safety.
Saris Bones 805 2-Bike Rack
The versatile design of the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack allows for safe transport of various bike sizes and makes. Its easy assembly and curved adjustable plastic arms and legs make loading the bikes onto the rack a manageable feat, keeping two bikes at slightly different levels to avoid accidental bike-to-bike contact.
Each bike is safely secured with three quick-fasten ratcheting straps, and its foldable feature makes it easy to store and keep away when not in use. Easy to use, stylish, and fully functional, the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack is probably one of the best dual bike racks for cars available.
As in the case with most Bike Racks for Cars, Amazon.com has the best price on Saris Bones 805. CLICK HERE to check it out.
Saris Bones 805 2-Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
- Can easily carry 2 bikes
- Strong and sturdy injection-molded arms and legs
- Made with 100% recyclable and non-rusting materials
- Includes all necessary tools for fast installation
- Highly recommended by Bicycling Magazine
- Lifetime warranty
Pros And Cons: Things To Consider About The Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack
An important feature for bike racks for cars is the ease of use and installation that comes with the rack’s design, and the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack passes that factor with flying colors. It even folds up easily for times when it is not needed, making it easier and more hassle-free to open the trunk or hatchback. The materials used for the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack is durable and recommended for use in all types of weather. The lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer is also a great perk, leaving you no room for worry. Not all bike racks for cars offer that.
However, more experienced bike users that have bike racks for cars that mount off the trailer hitch dislike how the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack attaches to the car because it has a high possibility of banging against the back of the vehicle and scratching or damaging both transportation devices in the process. Though the Saris Bones 2 Trunk Bicycle Rack is recommended for cars that have roof space and don’t have trailer hitches, people with newly bought cars might have more peace of mind with a rack type that minimizes bike-to-car contact.
With the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack, you can bring both your bike and theirs, no problem!
The Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack is an all-around hitch-mount rack that can carry bikes of all designs, types, and sizes. From children and adult to racer and hybrid, from downhill and cruiser to full-suspension, BMX, and mountain bikes, the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack can support them sans the hassle of having to remove the wheels to make space. An important factor in considering bike racks for cars is its flexibility in use, and the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack can easily be adjusted to whatever bike frame size is at hand and can also be easily disassembled to be kept in storage for later use.
Amazon.com have the best prices on Swagman XC. They also offer free shipping. Click Here to check it out.
Swagman XC Bike Racks for Cars Features and Specifications:
- Can accommodate up to 2 bikes
- Adjustable quick-release tire hoops and ratcheting top arm that allows for bike frames of all sizes
- Carrier arms and base are easily collapsible when not in use
- Soft-frame coating for bike finish protection
- Easy to assemble
Among the many bike racks for cars available in popular retail websites like Amazon, the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack is said to be one of the most best priced models. Assembling the rack takes minimal effort, which makes it a favorite among costumers that value ease of use in their products. The fact that it supports the bikes from under as opposed to having them hang by their frames is also appreciated by more experienced bike users who are particular with their choice in bike racks for cars. Its versatile design makes it even possible to attach an extension to enable the user to carry two more bikes, and the manufacturer sells this attachment extension separately.
Like other bike racks for cars that feature multiple bike carriage, extreme precaution is advised when using the Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack for transporting more than one bike. Another thing to note is that the newer Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack package has a proprietary threaded bolt instead of the standard 5/8 pin that it used to have.