The best bike racks to bring your bike with you everywhere you go

Marcelle Huels
  Nov 27, 2022 2:19 AM

The majority of cyclists have to travel to the places they wish to ride, but a fortunate handful lives within riding distance of their preferred trailhead or excellent road-cycle location. And the importance of a sturdy bike rack is clear if you've ever struggled to fit your bike into your car or SUV only to fully appreciate how uncomfortable such activity is. They are simply the simplest, safest, and most reliable method of transporting bikes, whether for a short road trip or a lengthy outing.

In this article, let’s introduce you to the best bike racks there are on the market to never worry about your bike getting scratched or dirtying your car again.
 

Our Top Picks 

1. YAKIMA HoldUp Two Bike Hitch Rack - From $515-$569

This heavy-duty rack can easily fit lighter road or mountain bikes but is meant to transport large electric bikes. According to Yakima, this rack can transport two bikes, each weighing 66 pounds. The inbuilt ramp, which enables riders to roll their bikes directly onto the rack as opposed to lifting them, is, nevertheless, its best feature. It's a wise decision to choose this one for starter.

2. Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack - From $825-$849

One of the best two-bike racks on the market, the Kuat NV 2.0 is expertly made and well-thought-out. The tire cradles of this hitch-style rack can be secured into three different configurations, allowing it to comfortably fit two bikes without the handlebars or saddles catching on anything. It pivots up and down with a foot pedal. One of the safest racks on the market, the integrated cable locks are long enough to wrap around even the largest bike frame. 

Thanks to a no-tool tight hitches cam system, installation is simple. The rack also looks great with its premium gloss metallic powder coat, water-transferred logos, and two color options. It’s pricier than other options for good reasons.

3. Thule ProRide XT Roof Bike Rack -  $199.95

The Thule ProRide XT is an excellent choice if you don't like taking your bike's wheels off but still want it to ride on the roof. It can easily fit cyclocross, road, mountain, and gravel bikes. Additionally, it can accommodate tires up to five inches wide with the installation of the fat bike adaptor. 

The clamp mechanism grips the down tube, tightens with a dial, and functions with many different tube cross-sections. If your bike is lighter than that and you feel confident hoisting it onto the roof, this rack will work for you. Thule advertises a maximum weight capacity of 44 pounds.

But keep in mind that installing a bike on top of your car with both wheels attached significantly increases the height of your automobile, making drive-through windows and garages dangerous for the safety of your beloved bike. Wheels-on racks are typically not the best choice for tall vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs. 

4. Saris Freedom Bike Hitch Rack - From $284.95

The design of the Saris Freedom two-bike hitch rack is a little odd. It uses a strap to grip the frame with both wheels in cradles rather than arms and hooks to grab the front wheel. The rack is really easy to assemble and reasonably priced thanks to this design. 

The rack's disadvantage is that switching between multiple bikes might be challenging in practice. The bike isn't particularly compact when folded, so some people might find it difficult to leave it in the car all the time. However, users who frequently carry the same bikes and don't mind the rack's inability to fold up will like this reliable, USA-made hitch rack.

5. Kupper Mounts Suction Cup Bike Rack System - $200

The initial offering from Kupper Mounts is a single bike rack that fastens to the top of your car using a vacuum seal, exactly like SeaSucker. However, this one feels more substantial, has bigger vacuum cups, and is significantly less expensive. In fact, they are surprisingly comparable. 

A rack like this has the remarkable ability to be swiftly and simply mounted onto almost any hard-top car. Place the rack on the roof, wipe the area clean, and continuously push the plunger until the cup is securely sealed. Only a few pounds each, the fork mount and rear wheel holder are shipped in a plastic carrying bag to protect the vacuum cups when not in use.

Compare Products

TOP Choice
1
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.2
  • Brand
    YAKIMA
TOP Choice
2
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.6
  • Brand
    Kuat
TOP Choice
3
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    8.8
  • Brand
    Thule
Most Saving
4
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    8.4
  • Brand
    Saris
Most Saving
5
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    6.2
  • Brand
    Kupper Mount
Most Saving
6
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.6
  • Brand
    Kuat
Most Saving
7
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.2
  • Brand
    Thule
Most Saving
8
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.2
  • Brand
    Allen Sports
Most Saving
9
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.2
  • Brand
    KAC
Most Saving
10
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.2
  • Brand
    Allen Sports
11
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.0
  • Brand
    Saris
12
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.0
  • Brand
    HYPERAX
13
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.0
  • Brand
    Swagman
14
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    9.0
  • Brand
    Thule
15
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    8.8
  • Brand
    MAXXHAUL
16
  • HD Score

    HD Score is measured by a unique method. Our experts base on various aspects such as price, quality, popularity, customer reviews, and more to discover what is the best outdoor products for consumers. Factor's priority can be changed when evaluating different items. HD Score is not affected by any manufacturer or seller. Learn more

    8.8
  • Brand
    Allen Sports

Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of bike racks

1. Roof racks

This type is pretty self-explanatory. Employing a roof rack means everything locking on the majority of options (bikes to rack, rack to roof), so there is no risk that your bike will be harmed if you are rear-ended on the highway. But be careful since it's possible that as you pull into the garage, you'll forget that your bike is up there.

2. Hitch racks

The hitch rack is the most practical of the three types. Nothing else needs to be done after installation, and loading bikes onto the trays is simpler than raising them above your head as you would with a roof rack. Most hitch racks are available for 1.25- and/or two-inch receivers, and they slip into your vehicle's receiver tube. 

The majority of more recent choices are hinged to fold up and out of the way when not in use, lock to your hitch, and feature a cam to firm up the rack inside the receiver tube for a connection that doesn't wiggle. Many now also use arms that extend up and over the front wheel and an integrated lock to secure bikes to the rack.

3. Trunk racks

Upper and lower feet on this style of rack balance it against the car, and straps and hooks secure it to your trunk. Generally speaking, it is the most portable and least expensive of the three options. The process of taking the rack off and putting it back on is made simpler once you understand how the straps and hooks connect to your automobile. Additionally, if you park in a location with a high crime rate, you should take it out and hide it in your house or vehicle. Other drawbacks include the possibility that a pedal or wheel will flop around and scratch the paint on your car, restrictions on where the hooks can be attached, and the possibility that it won't work with some bikes with unusual shapes because it holds them up by the top tube.

Buying Guide

When buying a bike rack, consider these:

1. The number of bikes the rack has to support

Consider the maximum number of bikes you might be going with because bike racks can hold up to six bikes. Some two-bike hitch-mounted racks also allow you to install an additional rack to increase your carrying capacity without having to purchase an entirely new set of accessories, such as the Saris

2. Whether you’ll remove the wheels

Some racks require the removal of a tire to thread through the fork of the bike to secure the front of the bicycle. It improves the aerodynamics of the ride slightly for roof racks. Because the locking mechanism used with the bike's fork is so secure, racks with this function also often sway less than ones that do not require you to remove the front wheel. However, those models also entail dealing with the minor inconveniences of taking off and re-installing your wheels as well as the necessity for additional storage space (in your trunk, truck bed, or within the car) to carry the wheels.

3. Ease of setup

Because a web of straps must be secured to the vehicle for the rack to be secure, trunk-mounted models of the three types of racks are often the most difficult to set up. Hitch and roof racks can be mounted to the car rather quickly and have more user-friendly hardware and tool-free installation. Choose a rack with integrated locks if you intend to leave it in place (and, better still, those with cable locks for your bikes as well). However, if you want to take the rack down after use, think about lighter models that you can do when you reach home.

The Kupper Mount is the easiest choice here if you’re looking for a no-sweat option. The Thule ProRide can be a tad more difficult but convenient.

4. Ease of accessing the bike

Because you don't need to hoist the bike onto the hood of your car before positioning it on the rack, trunk and hitch-mounted bike racks are simpler to load and unload than roof racks. Otherwise, the methods for attaching the bike to the rack are simple, safe, and dependable. The Kuat and Kupper Mount are the most dependable here.

FAQs

1. How do I choose the right bike rack for my car?

Start by limiting your choices by rack type. Consider a roof rack if your vehicle already has a sports rack with crossbars because those models are compatible with that hardware. Most roof racks are compatible with most third-party roof racks, so you are not required to match the brands of the two products if you don't want to. As long as you have a hitch installed, hitch racks are compatible with any type of car. Almost all makes and models of trunk racks can often be altered to fit them, but verify with the manufacturer to be sure it will fit your particular vehicle.

Then, choose a rack that can hold as many bikes as you're likely to transport, and confirm that it will work with the bikes' characteristics, including the maximum weight, wheel size, and frame dimensions that the rack can support. Additionally, if you decide on a roof rack or hitch, be sure it will fit your crossbar's diameter and hitch's dimensions.

2. How do I load my bike onto a rack?

Bikes attach to the rack in one of two ways: they either sit on the rack, secured up front by a wheel arm that wraps around your front tire, or locks to the front fork and uses a quick-release strap at the back. 

Or, they rest on bike arms, which have evenly-spaced channels that accommodate a variety of bike frame widths, and use elastic straps to secure the bike's frame to the rack itself. The latter system can occasionally require a bit of adjustment when hauling more than one bike because this model doesn't stop the front wheel and handlebars from moving. But if that's a concern, a bungee cord can help lock everything in place.

3. Do bike racks lock up my bikes?

Bikes can be secured to the rack in one of two ways: either they sit on it and are fastened at the front by a wheel arm that encircles your front tire, or they lock to the front fork and are fastened at the back using a quick-release strap.

Or, they can rest on bike arms with uniformly spaced channels that can handle a range of bike frame sizes, and then be fastened to the rack by elastic straps. Because the latter technique doesn't prohibit the front wheel and handlebars from moving, it may occasionally be necessary to make a little adjustment when towing more than one bike. A bungee cord, though, can assist secure things in place if that's a problem.

4. Is it okay for the rack to touch the bike’s frame?

The majority of bike owners have strong opinions on whether they feel comfortable having their bicycle's frame in contact with a car rack. We produce bike carriers to accommodate both viewpoints: those that transport bicycles by their wheels and those that hang bicycles by their frames (also known as hanging, or mast-style) on vehicle racks (aka: platform, or tray-style).

5. Does a bike rack require a trailer hitch?

A trailer hitch must be installed on your car to use a hitch mount bike rack; roof and trunk racks don't. A trailer hitch can be mounted on almost any car, including little hatchbacks, minivans, and large SUVs.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Kupper Mount satisfies all of your needs. It’s more affordable than the other products, portable, lightweight yet sturdy, quick to mount, and can haul your bike on the roof or by the trunk. You can’t quite go wrong with such a versatile product. It really is the best bike rack out there. 

For more information about other products, check out our related articles below.