(Last Updated On: March 26, 2019)
Once you make an initial investment in a bike and some safety equipment, there isn’t a much healthier or enjoyable hobby than cycling. It doesn’t matter if you head out to ride on mountainous trails, or cruise the streets of your nearest city, riding a bike is a great pursuit for people of all ages and abilities.
If you have a car, the hobby can be that much more enjoyable. You can take your bike along on vacations, drive out to nearby parks, and explore entire networks of trails. All you need is a quality bike attachment for your car.
Fortunately, there is such a wide range of automotive bicycle racks that you are sure to find one that’s perfect for your car. The question is, how do you find the best bike carrier? That’s where we can help. We’ve tested out some of the top rated bike racks mentioned below.
Saris Bones 2 Bike Trunk Rack
- Injection -molded arms and legs are the strongest on the market, Built with 100% recyclable, non-rusting materials, Ratcheting hold downs are easy to adjust, Carries 2 bikes (35lbs/bike)
Swagman XC Cross Country 2 Bike Hitch Mount Bike Rack
- Carries up to 2 bikes. Fat tire wheel trays sold separately (64674). Locking hitch pin 1/2 inch and 10mm security cable sold separately (64031), Fits a 1-1/4" and 2" hitch reciever, Max load capacity: 35lbs per bike
Yakima RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack
- New UpperHand lever tilts rack down for vehicle access and folds it flat for storage; New ZipStrips secure bikes to the rack and are fully removable, Comes fully assembled with no bits and pieces
- New wheel hoop fits 26" to 29" wheels and tires from 23 mm to 3.25 inches with no adjustment needed, New integrated TorqueRight knob quickly and easily secures the bike with precision, Requires no wheel removal and makes no contact with the bike frame
Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack
- Carries up to 4 bikes with Thule T2 Pro XT Bike Add-on, Durable, Affordable
Lets look at in-depth review of each option included in our top pick’s.
Bike Racks For Car Review
1) Saris Bones 2 Bike Trunk Rack
Saris is a big name when it comes to bike racks. So, it should come as no surprise that one of their models earns our top spot. We believe it is the best trunk mount bicycle rack for the casual to daily use cyclist. Based on our testing, this rack is simple to install, easy to use, and a snap to adjust. It’s lightweight thanks to its plastic construction, but deceptively durable at the same time. This is due to its injection molded build that makes this rack quite rigid.
This entire unit weighs about ten pounds which means that the average person can install this themselves. At around 150 dollars, the price here is decently in the middle of the pack. As the name suggests, this rack is sized to fit just two bicycles. It’s also a bike rack for sedan or smaller car. If you need more carrying capacity, or to fit a larger vehicle, keep reading.
2) Swagman XC Cross Country 2 Bike Hitch Mount Bike Rack
If you’re considering your first bike rack, and aren’t ready to commit to a high end model, check out the Swagman XC. It’s easy to use, and fits on both 1.25 and 2 inch hitch balls. It’s a great bike rack for SUV or other vehicle that has a towing package installed.
Of course, we also want to point out that this is a budget priced rack. It isn’t foldable, and you won’t be able to access your trunk without removing it first. You’ll also have to purchase the locking cable separately.
Still, when you consider the low price, ease of installation, and its ability to accomodate a fairly large pair of bikes, this could be a great investment. Definitely add this to your shortlist if your are shopping for your first bike rack.
3) Yakima RidgeBack Hitch Bike Rack
This is a universal hitch mount rack that uses a speedknob attachment for ease of use. It tilts to allow trunk access, and can hold up to 5 bikes. This makes it perfect for family trips. It’s also one of the heavier models on our list at more than 45 pounds. Users can load bikes quickly thanks to the zip strips that are used to secure bikes to the rack.
While other models mount bikes by their wheels, this one has an arm that are attached to the bike’s tubes. If you are looking for a bike hanger for a car to accommodate several bikes, this could be the choice for you.
4) Yakima Top Car Bike Rack
This one earns its position as our favorite car top bike rack. However, before we go into details, it’s important to point out that this bike rack isn’t ideal for everyone. First, it does require a luggage rack. It isn’t a bike rack for a small car. Still, if your car does meet the above criteria, this upright bike carrier is simple to use, and relatively lightweight.
Once your bikes are locked into place via the wheel hoop and easy to use strap down, it’s very stable and secure. Even better, while many top mounted racks aren’t very aerodynamic, this one is quite sleek. Just keep in mind that isn’t a bike rack for families or couples. It’s only designed to hold one bicycle at a time. If you’re interested in a bike rack for women’s bike and men’s bikes, consider a carrier with multi bike capacity.
5) Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack
Of all the bike racks for vehicles on this list, the Thule is the heaviest in terms of price and physical weight. This is an investment that is truly built for the dedicated cycling enthusiast. If you opt for this bike rack, you should expect to spend 500 dollars easily. We realized that this makes this rack unattainable for many, but also felt as if any bike carriers review should have at least one high-end unit.
While there are certainly other, units at this price, we believe this one meets the highest quality standards. This bike rack is exceptionally well made. It’s easy to install, and even easier to use. It comes with a security lock standard. So, you get everything you need for one price, and you can expect this bike rack to last for years to come.
Before You Purchase a Bike Rack
There are a variety of bike racks available to cycling enthusiasts. Each has its own set of features that might or might not work for you. The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of vehicle you own. That will be the major factor in your consideration. For example, you won’t purchase a roof mount rack if you don’t have a luggage rack installed, and you won’t install a front mount rack if the design of your car doesn’t accommodate that.
Next, you’ll want to consider your cycling habits. Are you a solo cyclist who travels frequently? In that case, your needs are going to be much different than a family that simply transports their bikes to the local park a couple of times each month. Finally, there’s the matter of budget. You have to balance your ability to pay for a good bike rack with your desire to get the most for your money. By taking your needs into consideration along with the reviews above, you should be able to find a bike rack that works for you.