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Looking for the best bike racks to buy this year? A bike rack is helpful when you need to drive to get to a trail where you can ride your bike. They offer a convenient and safe way to carry your bike while on the road. The best bike racks are designed to be lightweight and sturdy. And there are a lot of options available!
Which cycling rack is the best for you? We hope you’ll find this best bike rack buying guide helpful.
Choosing Your Bike Rack
You need to consider a couple of things when buying a bike rack. The wrong rack can damage your vehicle, compromise safety, or even lead to a damaged or lost bike. Note that all bike racks, no matter how cleverly designed, will negatively affect the fuel economy of your vehicle. And that’s normal.
Below are some questions you need to answer when choosing a bike rack:
- How often will you use your bike rack?
- How many bikes do you need to transport?
- Do you need to switch vehicles every now and then?
- Is the vehicle rented? Leased?
- What’s your budget?
- How serious are you about security?
- Without any help, how high can you lift your bike? Can you hold your bike in that position with just one hand?
- Do you have non-standard bikes (e.g. tandem bikes, recumbents, etc.)?
- Does your vehicle come with a roof-mounted utility rack or tow hitch? If yes, what are their respective capacities?
- Do you bring a rear-mounted spare tire that could interfere with your bike rack?
- Do you engage in other activities where another type of rack is more suitable?
The Best Bike Racks to Buy in 2021
CyclingDeal Roof Carrier Bike Rack
The CyclingDeal Roof Carrier Bike Rack is made from high-quality solid steel. It comes with a clamp that will fit most bars (max. thickness of 1.96″ and max width of 3.34″) of your car’s roof-mounted utility rack.
The CyclingDeal Roof Carrier Bike Rack is for one bike only. It’s lockable and very easy to use. No need to remove the front wheel off your bike. This car rack also comes with several accessories like tie-down straps to secure your bike’s wheels.
The CyclingDeal Roof Carrier Bike Rack comes with a one-year warranty from its manufacturers.
Allen Deluxe Trunk Bike Rack
Allen is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of bike racks and bike accessories. The Allen Deluxe Trunk Bike Rack comes with 2, 3, and 4-bike options. It features the company’s patented design and fits SUVs, minivans, hatchbacks, and sedans. This cycling rack comes with side straps for increased lateral stability when transporting your bike. This tie-down system individually secures and protects your bikes. The rack also has a padded lower frame to keep the bike from scratching your vehicle.
The Allen Deluxe Trunk Bike Rack is made from high-quality components with rugged construction. Its narrow set carries arms can carry a wide range of bicycles of varying sizes and frame styles. And for your ultimate peace of mind, this bicycle rack is backed by Allen’s lifetime warranty.
Allen Sports Hitch Bicycle Rack
Another quality product Allen, this bike rack is designed to carry up to 2 bikes. It’s hitch-mounted and the insert can fit either 1 1/4 “ or 2” receiver hitches. The Allen Sports Hitch Bicycle Rack is easy to install. It comes with two keys that you use to lock yours securely in place.
The Allen Sports Hitch Bicycle Rack has arms that can fold out of the way when you are not using them. They can also be tilted forward if you need to access your lift gate. This cycling rack comes with side straps to individually tie down and secure your bikes laterally.
This biking rack can accommodate various types of bicycles and has a maximum carrying capacity of 70 lbs.
Allen Ultra Compact Bike Rack
The Allen Ultra Compact Bike Rack is made from high-quality steel. This compact bicycle car rack is designed to carry one bike for commuting and traveling. It’s very portable! In fact, it can be folded small enough to fit your backpack! It comes with dual compound cradles to protect and secure your bicycle when driving.
The Allen Ultra Compact Bike Rack’s patented design can fit a wide range of vehicles. It features a padded spine pad to keep your bike away from the vehicle, thus avoiding scratches and dents. It even comes with tie-downs to secure your bike even further.
This compact bike rack fits SUVs, sedans, minivans, and hatchbacks. Included in the package are a carrying bag and Allen Sport’s lifetime warranty.
Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
The Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted Bike Rack is designed to carry 2 bikes. It fits cars, minivans, trucks, and SUVs with its 2-inches hitch receiver, with no-wobble bolts. This bicycle rack can tilt down, providing you easy access to the rear of the vehicle. When not in use, you can easily fold the carrying arms — a very handy feature for easy storage and compact transport.
The Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted Bike Rack features a dual-arm mounting design with adjustable mounting saddles. The spacing is wide enough to accommodate a variety of bikes with varying frame sizes. For utmost stability, this bike rack comes with dual compound tie-down cradles as well.
This heavy-duty bike rack can carry up to 80 lbs.
BV Bike Hitch Rack
The BV Bike Hitch Rack boasts a tilt-back design which allows you to open the rear gate of your vehicle without removing the bike rack. Need more storage space? This bike rack can be easily folded when not in use. It also comes with a rear safety reflector to make sure you’ll get to your destination safely at night.
The BV Bike Hitch Rack features a non-wobble design. Thanks to its patented 2-way anti-wobble system. To securely hold your bike in place, this bike rack comes with padded arms (to prevent scratches) and tray-styled loops.
Swagman Cross Country Bike Rack
The Swagman Cross Country Bike Rack can carry up to 2 bikes. If you have fat wheel bikes, you can also get wheels trays as add-ons. This cross-country bicycle rack snugly fits 1 ¼” and 2” hitch receivers without any wobbles. If you need to access the rear of the vehicle, just fold the center arms.
This bike rack can accommodate various frame sizes (up to 59 cm). Thanks to its adjustable upright ratcheting arms. Each arm can carry a maximum of 35lbs per bike — that’s total carrying capacity of up to 70 lbs.
The Swagman Cross Country Bike Rack is made from high-quality steel.
Thule Apex XT Bike Rack
The Thule Apex XT Bike Rack is a premium bike rack that can carry up to 4 bikes. It comes with anti sway cradles for superior stability and locking knobs to secure your precious bikes on to the vehicle.
This rack’s bike arms can fold when not in use for easy storage. It also also tilts downward so you can access the rear of your vehicle. The Thule Apex XT Bike Rack is perfect for any bike frames and sizes.
Swagman Chinook Bike Rack
The Swagman Chinook Bike Rack is easy to install and use. You can unload your bike in less than 2 minutes! This bike rack comes with adjustable hooks that lock your bike onto the rack to keep it from swaying.
Easy to store, the Swagman Chinook Bike Rack folds effortlessly when you don’t need it. This bike rack can easily carry 2 bikes and fits most frame sizes and styles. This bike rack is compatible with 1 1/4″ and 2″ hitch receivers.
Hollywood Heavy Duty Bike Rack
The Hollywood Heavy Duty Bike Rack can be mounted on the trunk or bumper of your vehicle. This dual-positioning feature makes this bicycle rack ideal for most cars, SUVs, and vans. It can carry up to 4 bikes and come pre-assembled so you don’t have to worry about installation when it arrives.
This bike rack folds flat when not in use — a handy feature for transport and storage! The Hollywood Heavy Duty Bike Rack has a maximum carrying capacity of 35lbs per bike. That’s a total of 140 lbs. This product comes with a day glow safety flag for increased visibility on the road.
The rack fits most bike although ladies’ frame bikes and kids’ bike may require a top tube adapter.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Bike Racks
How many types of bike racks are there?
Bicycle racks have 3 major types. These are:
Hitch-mounted – mounts to your vehicle in 1 ¼” or 2” receivers. Although more expensive than other types of bike racks, the ease of use and the fact that you don’t have to lift your bike onto the roof makes it a crowd favorite. Also, fuel consumption doesn’t suffer a lot because the rack is out of the way of the car’s airflow. The only downside to this is when you forget about the rack when backing up!
Roof-mounted – these usually have feet that attach to your cars roof and cross bars for attaching accessories. Roof-mounted bike racks vary greatly from ones that requires removing the front wheels to one that allows both wheels on the roof. The former is ideal for tall SUVs because it makes the bike lighter and easier to load. The former is more expensive and less stable.
The advantage of roof racks is that they don’t hinder access to your car’s doors and tailgate. The downside is that you’re adding aero-drag to your vehicle which increases fuel consumption. Also, when you are driving under something low and you forget about your bike rack can be catastrophic.
Trunk-mounted – these are the cheapest and most adjustable but also the least secure. The only thing holding the bike rack to your car are straps that hook around your vehicle’s trunk or bumper. Trunk mounted bike racks rely heavily on how well you installed it. Not to mention it can also damage paintwork. If you have the money to spare, stay away from these bicycle racks — you’ll be more grateful in the long run.
Anything to keep in mind when installing a roof or hitch rack system?
Yes! Make sure to determine the maximum weight that your roof can carry. For hitch mounts, verify your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. All the extra weight can affect your vehicle negatively so make sure you stay within the allowable limits.
I own a tandem bike, which type of rack system is better?
For tandem bikes and other specialized bicycles, roof-mounted bike racks are your best shot.
How do I prevent sway-induced bumping when carrying 2 or more bikes?
Sway-induced bumping is a common concern for trunks and hitch racks. A good precaution would be to secure the tires of each bike with a strap (often comes with the bike racks) or a bungee cord. You can also wrap a towel on parts of the frame that are prone.