How To Choose The Right Bike Rack For Your Car

Transporting your bicycle from one place to another when you are not riding it can be a hassle, that’s why the bike rack was founded in the first place. Your bike won’t fit into the boot, and if you try to force it in, you will just end up damaging your car and the bicycle. 

The incredible news about this is that several bike racks can carry one bicycle or more than one bicycle, all you need is to look for the right bike rack that suits your needs and your car. These racks let you have a safe and secure way to haul your bike or bikes to different outdoor locations.

Before we dive deep into how to choose the right bike rack for your car, there are different types of car racks, and they include; 

Read also: The Benefits Of Cycling For Heart Health And Disease Prevention

1. Hitch Back Ride

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This bike rack slides into the receiver of a trailer hitch which is usually installed in a vehicle that is not equipped with one. 

2. Roof Racks

Roof Mounted Bike Rack

Roof racks are usually the most versatile bike racks there are. This is because you can easily customize accessories to transport just about any outdoor toy, including kayaks, surfboards, snowboards, bikes, and cargo boxes. They are stable and keep gear out of the way by not blocking access to the vehicle’s door. 

3. Cargo Boxes, Baskets, Bags

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They are hard containers mounted to a roof rack to keep all your gears out of sight. The Cargo Boxes, Baskets, and Bags are ideal for skis, snowboards, and large amounts of gear because they hold loose, odd-size gear in an enclosed system.

4. Trunk Bike Racks

Trunk Rack

The Trunk Bike Racks are fasted to car trunks or hatches with a system of straps and hooks. These racks carry one to three bikes that rest on support arms and are easy to use, economical, and lightweight. The only downside to this rack is that they only transport bikes and limit access to the trunk.

5. Truck Bed Bike Racks

Bike truck rack

These racks use internal rails or support bars that can be temporarily installed in a truck bed to anchor bikes in place. They are available to haul boats and cargo boxes.

6. Spare-Tire Bike Racks

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The spare-tire bike racks are lightweight, affordable options for vehicles with exterior spare tire racks. 

Read also: The Best Bicycle Commuting Tips For A Safe And Stress-Free Ride

Now you know the different types of bike racks there are for your car, the following are tips on how to choose the right one for you;

1. Location For The Rack


There are 3 places you can attach a bike rack; the boot lid, the tow bar, or the roof. If your car can fit roof bars, then you will have a wide choice of racks to attach to them. Some of these racks may require you to remove the front wheels, so keep in mind that you’ll need to store them inside the car unless you’re good at wheelies. You’ll also need to lift the bikes onto the roof, so think carefully if you’re short, or if you have a tall car like an SUV or crossover.

For a boot-mounted rack, it will need to be attached to the boot with straps and are generally highly adjustable. This is one of the cheapest options, although they’re more likely to cause damage to the car if you don’t fit the bike carefully.

For a tow bars, they are easier to fit and remove and keep bikes more secure, both while driving and when parked. They tend to either hang the bikes from the crossbar/top tube or have a platform that the bikes sit on and arms with clamps to hold them in place. The latter type is generally more secure but also more expensive.

2. The Kind Of Car You Have

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The kind of car you have is also a great factor. This is because some cars, for example, certain sports cars, may not be able to fit a bike rack, so check if your car can fit a rack first. There are plenty of companies offering boot-mounted and tie-on racks, but before buying anything, it’s important to check it’ll fit your car. 

If your car doesn’t have roof bars, a tow bar, or a boot to fit a strap-on rack, you may want to consider buying industrial-strength suction cups. Many manufacturers sell official accessories for cars, so check if there are any bespoke bike racks designed to fit your car. 

3. The Number Of Bikes You Have

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After you have decided where the bikes should go, you need to decide how many bikes you need to carry. It is possible to carry up to four bikes using off-the-shelf racks. For this, you could combine roof-mounted carriers with a rear or tow bar-mounted carrier or a cycle-carrying trailer. You should also consider what type of bike you are going to carry as some bike racks may not be able to carry an e-bike due to the extra weight.

But for this, you will have to think of how to stop your bikes from hitting each other on the rack. Using a barrier like a detachable bike bumper can help in preventing your bikes from bumping into each other. 

4. Your Budget

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Looking for a cheap flexible solution to carrying your bike in your car, a clip-on rack is an option. Although, it’s advisable to get a bike rack that offers more safety, especially if your bikes are expensive. A bike rack that fits your car well will ensure that your bike is properly secured, if you carry multiple bikes then they don’t rub against each other or scratch the car, and the bikes are risk-free from being stolen.

5. Your Needs

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One of the things to think about is which rack are you physically strong enough and comfortable with lifting your bike into position. A rear-mounted rack may not be the best for you if you need to access your boot during your journey. If you’re carrying a car roof box to store additional bits and bobs, you’ll need to make sure there’s space on your roof bars to carry a roof-mounted cycle carrier as well.

6. Your Security 

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If you value security as much as you appreciate cycling, you may wonder if bike racks have some anti-theft features. Well, some do, some don’t. Those that have feature locking systems that hinder thieves from stealing, so you have the confidence that your item is always going to be safe. How effective a security feature is depends on how you install the rack in the first place. So don’t take chances. 

Read also: How To Choose The Right Bike Pump For Your Tires

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