LAST UPDATED: September 25, 2019
Best Spare Tire Bike Racks: Secure Your Bicycle on a Road Trip
These top spare tire bike racks are sturdy and reliable
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON September 25, 2019
If you want an easy way to transport your bike to your favorite trail, you may want to purchase a spare tire bike rack. You simply mount the rack on the spare tire on the rear door of your SUV, Jeep, or other vehicle. They are designed to keep both your bike and vehicle free from scratches. Our buying guide highlights some of the best spare tire bike racks available.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Spare Tire Bike Racks
- Useful. Unless you have a park right down the road from your house or trails in your neighborhood, at some point you'll probably want to transport your bicycle to a certain riding location. A spare tire bike rack is a great way to take your bike on an on- or off-road adventure.
- Easy to install. Spare tire bike racks are simple to assemble and take up very little space when they're not in use. It’s also fairly easy to mount and remove a bike from a spare tire bike rack.
- Usually allow trunk access. Once you install a spare tire rack on your trunk, you can usually open the tailgate on many types of vehicles. These devices are also strong and secure and able to function on rough roads and during inclement weather.
- No hitch required. If you don't have a trailer hitch, no problem. Spare tire bike racks don't use a hitch. But if you do have a hitch, you can still tow a trailer while transporting your bikes on the spare tire.
The Swedish company Thule was founded in 1942. It manufactures car roof boxes, bike racks, roof racks, and a wide variety of outdoor equipment, including the Thule 963Pro Spare Me 2 Bike Carrier.
Yakima, Washington natives and cyclists Steve Cole and Don Banducci created this well-known sports company in 1979. Yakima produces a wide range of roof racks, cargo accessories, bike accessories, and more, including the Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack.
California-based Hollywood Racks has been in business since 1973. The company started with the development of trunk-mounted racks before it started designing hitch racks and spare tire racks. One of its top products is the Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack.
Spare Tire Bike Rack Pricing
- $30-$150: Spare tire bike racks in this price range are typically easy to install and generally feature an open-frame design. They may feature tie-down cradles that securely hold the bicycles.
- $150-$300: More expensive bike racks are typically designed to withstand more than one bike and have a higher weight capacity. They often feature a powder coating to resist rust and corrosion.
- $300 and up: Top-end bike racks are typically made of aluminum and are much lighter than their steel counterparts, which can weigh as much as 20 pounds. They are very high-quality and specifically designed to protect bikes from damage during transport.
Type of Bike
Not all bike racks can accommodate all types of bikes. Make sure the rack can hold the type of frame you possess, which varies depending on whether the bike is a mountain bike or made for children and women. Some racks require special adapter bars to secure specific bikes. Also, decide whether you want to transport more than one bike at a time because some racks can only accommodate one or two bikes at once.
Spare tire bike racks and other types of racks are designed to hold a specific amount of weight. Make sure the weight of your bike is compatible with the rack. Also, consider the weight of the rack itself. It is definitely a lot easier to install a light spare tire bike rack versus a heavier one.
Some bike racks have more security features than others. Look for a product that has strap-on devices that secure the bike(s) with a lock and key. Many bolt-on racks have locking mechanisms, and some racks feature tie-down cradles that are designed to protect a bike from theft. If necessary, you can also purchase a cable lock separately to secure your bike.
- Easy Installation: Some spare tire bike racks are easy to assemble, install, and remove, while others are a little trickier to use. The simpler, the better. This also applies to mounting and removing the bike itself. If these actions are challenging, it can lead to frustration and cut into your riding time.
- Tailgate Access: The best bike racks will allow you to access your vehicle while the rack is installed. Best case scenario, you should be able to open the rear door of your truck even when the rack is affixed to the spare tire. Some brands require you to remove the bikes first before using the rear door, which can be inconvenient.
Best Spare Tire Bike Rack Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This product from Hollywood Racks utilizes a hand-tightened knob and features a universal plate that fits most bolt patterns. The bike support arms are adjustable, the rack includes three extension brackets, and it fits up to 12-inch tires. It has a maximum capacity of 35 pounds per bike.
This heavy-duty rack is well-made and sturdy. It's easy to assemble, and the arms collapse down when not in use. Your bike will not shake while driving, and the rack’s low-profile design gives most users the ability to open the vehicle’s tailgate. The rack also has a security feature to prevent theft of the bike carrier.
One problem with this rack is that you may need a tube adapter to mount kids’ and ladies’ frame bikes. Plus, it does not fit a 2018 Jeep Wrangler as well as some other makes and models. There have also been some complaints that the bike makes a rattling sound when in use.
This rack from Allen Sports keeps bikes up and away from the road and hot exhaust pipes. The tie-down cradles secure and protect the bikes, and it has 15-inch-long arms that accommodate two bicycles up to 70 pounds. The rack fits on nearly all spare tires, including those with over-the-tire third brake lights. The foot of the rack supports weight on the tire, not the rim.
This rack has many advantages: It's simple to assemble, has a robust construction, is easy to operate, and is stable and secure. It's simple to take off and put on and is very durable and reliable for the price. It's also easy to take bikes on and off once they're mounted.
One issue with this rack is that it may be difficult to use if you have a cover on the spare tire. Also, the straps may loosen while you're driving, and you may need to undo them in order to open the tailgate.
Yakima's steel rack holds two bikes, fits nearly any stock size spare tire, and includes a universal mounting plate. It also features the company's signature bottle opener in case you get thirsty pre- or post-adventure. Bikes are secured with removable ZipStrips, and TireTread pads provide extra protection and stability. It also has a locking knob to prevent theft.
This rack is durable, rock-solid, and keeps your bike very stable when you're driving. Assembly is quick and easy, and it's simple to load and unload a bike. Its anti-sway cradle design minimizes bike-to-bike contact, and it's one of the only tire-mounted racks that will fit oversized tires yet still provide adequate stability.
However, the rack is very pricey, and it does not accommodate smaller children's bikes. You may also need an adapter to secure bicycles with angled top tubes, such as mountain bikes. In addition, it may sit high on some vehicles, making it difficult to get on and off if you're on the shorter side.
Rhino-Rack has been producing roof racks since 1992, and its American division is based in Colorado where off-roading is a common pastime. If you want a rugged spare tire bike rack that will last, consider the RB025. It's a fold-down model that features two tie down straps, and it accommodates two bicycles.
This bike is popular among Jeep owners and those with four-wheel drive vehicles. The rack is simple to install and has a sleek design with a black powder-coat finish that is corrosion-resistant. One nice feature about this device is you can adjust it so it's offset and hangs on either the right or left side of your tire. And since it folds down, it is less obtrusive when not in use.
Unfortunately, it can interfere with the rear window wiper on certain vehicles, and you may not be able to open the back gate on a Jeep. Also, the rack does not include a lock, and it can be a little challenging to put two bikes on comfortably.
This two-bike spare tire rack is an adjustable, bolt-on option with a weight capacity of 75 pounds. It has a universal plate that's compatible with most spare tire bolt patterns, except for 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler JLs. The rack is constructed of heavy-duty, powder-coated steel and includes long-lasting rubber straps and an anti-theft lock for security and to prevent thieves from stealing your equipment.
The rack has stay-put cradles as well as anti-sway cages that keep the bicycles steady and stable and protect them from damage. The straps also provide protection to prevent them from falling off the rack in bumpy conditions. Overall, it's easy to assemble and fits two bicycles comfortably without any problems.
One downside is that there have been some complaints that the directions can be a little difficult to decipher. Also, it only has one bolt to hold the rack, so you may want to use a larger one for more peace of mind.
The Surco BT300 Spare Tire Rack uses a heavy-duty mounting plate for installation, and users are advised to check with the manufacturer for vehicle compatibility. It holds up to three bikes and secures them with a non-scratch padded channel. This American-made rack is constructed of heavy-duty steel with a durable powder-coated finish. It also comes with a key to lock the bikes to the rack.
The rack is sturdy and solid, but one of its best features is its affordability compared to some rival brands. It's also quick and easy to install and remove, and the bikes don't move once they're tightened down. However, the two bolts can take a while to fully tighten or to loosen when removing the top plate. Overall, it's very well-designed and works well with vehicles such as Honda CRVs.
Unfortunately, while it's designed for three bikes, it can be hard to actually put three bikes on the rack. Also, if you lose the key, you're out of luck because it doesn't come with a spare.
This bike rack is a little different than the others on our list. The Swagman RV Approved Around the Spare Deluxe Bike Rack is designed to carry one or two bikes and can be mounted around most spare tires instead of on them, which is convenient if you drive a camper. You attach it to a 4- to 4.5-inch continuously welded steel bumper, and all hardware is included.
The rack features durable rubber straps that securely hold on to the bikes. The rack is solidly built and comes with anti-sway cradles that keep the two bicycles from coming into contact with each other. It doesn't rub against or crowd the spare tire. It's very secure and does not bounce around. It's also quick and simple to install.
However, it can be a little difficult in getting certain bicycles positioned on the carrier, and some women's bikes don't fit very well. It may also not work properly if your spare tire hangs a little low on the bumper.
The Thule Spare Me two-bike carrier uses a bolt system to affix the carrier to vehicles with spare tires using the existing mount on the tire. The rack features stay-put cradles and anti-sway cages, so the frames of the bikes are stable and protected during motion. The arms of the rack fold down when they're not in use, and the rack also allows you to lock it to the vehicle as well as lock the bikes to the rack.
This hanging-style bike rack has a weight capacity of 75 pounds and can be used on both regular and oversized tires, which you may find on a Jeep. One really nice feature is that it comfortably keeps two bikes out of the way of the trailer hitch if you happen to be towing cargo. It's easy to install, and the rubber straps that hold the bikes down are very strong.
One downside is you may need to be creative when mounting ladies bikes (such as mounting them upside down). Also, the bikes may scrape each other, and the straps may wear down prematurely.
- After you mount your bicycle on the rack, make sure the bike's tires are several inches away from your vehicle's exhaust pipe to avoid damage.
- If the bike rack has straps, make sure to securely tighten them every time you use the rack. Check them frequently when you take a break from driving because they may loosen.
- If you drive on a bumpy or dirt road while transporting a bicycle, reduce your speed. Rough roads and vibrations can jostle the bike and the bike rack, which can loosen them.
- In most cases, we don't recommend opening the gate of your vehicle when a bike is loaded on the spare tire rack unless it’s permitted by the manufacturer. This may damage your car.
Q: What type of spare tire bike rack is best for my vehicle?
A: Many products have multiple ways of installing them, so make sure the rack is compatible with your particular vehicle. The number of bikes you want to transport is also important. Some can handle only one bike at a time, while others can hold two or more.
Q: Does it matter what type of bike I have when it comes to bike racks?
A: Yes. Bike racks are designed to hold a certain amount of weight, and you don't want to overload the rack because it may fail and damage both the bicycle and the vehicle. Also, some racks don’t accommodate smaller, children’s bikes or require adapters for bikes with angled top tubes.
Q: Are spare tire bicycle racks easy to install?
A: Most products come with instructions, and many are not difficult to install. However, you may need specific tools to install certain types of racks, so keep that in mind before you make a purchase.
Our pick for the best spare tire bike rack is the Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack. It's made of high-quality materials, and it keeps your bike from shaking when you're driving.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack.