Best Spare Tire Bike Racks: Secure Your Bicycle on a Road Trip
These top spare tire bike racks are sturdy and reliable
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON September 25, 2019
If you want an easy way to transport your bicycle to your favorite trail or park, you may want to purchase a spare tire bike rack. Simply mount the rack on the spare tire on the rear door of your SUV, Jeep, or other vehicle. It's designed to keep both your bike and your vehicle free from scratches. Our guide highlights some of the best spare tire bike racks available.
This rack uses a universal plate that fits most bolt patterns and includes three extension brackets to fit up to 12-inch tires. The maximum capacity is 35 pounds per bike.
- Well-made rack for heavy-duty bikes and long trips
- Not prone to loosening or shaking during drives
- Low-profile This rack is well-made, heavy-duty design gives access to most vehicles’ tailgates
- May require tube adapter to mount bikes with smaller frames
- Not compatible with all vehicles on the road, like the Jeep Wrangler
This rack holds bikes away from the road and hot exhaust. It can accommodate two bicycles up to 70 pounds and fits nearly all spare tires, including those with over-the-tire third brake lights.
- Rack is simple to assemble
- Attaches stably and remains secure on long drives
- Durable structure built out of quality material
- Comes at affordable price point
- Can be difficult to install over spare tire covers
- Straps require adjusting during longer drives
- To open tailgate, you may need to remove straps
Capable of supporting up to 99 pounds, you can safely store three bikes on this spare tire rack. Made of steel alloy, this rack installs easily, and features left and right wheel offset to adjust against variable wheel widths.
- Powerful construction is able to withstand vibrations on the road
- Offset feature works with fat tire bikes
- Not prone to rust or corrosion
- Includes two anchor straps to attach to carrier or spare tire
- Not compatible with trailers or other large recreational vehicles
- Made for highway, not for off-road use
- Will not work with bikes with fenders or for tandem bikes
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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.
Opening its doors in 1942, this Swedish brand began as a fishing gear manufacturer. In the 1960s, it pivoted into the automotive industry. Continuing to move through various industries, it evolved into one of the most prominent outdoor equipment names internationally. Among the many products that fuel its popularity is the Thule Hangon Bike Rack.
Yakima offers a whole host of outdoors supplies ranging from fishing equipment to roof racks to cargo storage. Since its inception in 1979, it has grown into a major name globally. One popular product it offers to help you haul your bikes around is the Yakima LockNLoad Spare Wheel Roof Rack Holder.
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
- 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.