Reviews

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.

Best Overall
Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • May require tube adapter to mount bikes with smaller frames
  • Not compatible with all vehicles on the road, like the Jeep Wrangler
Best Overall
Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
Best Value
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • Can be difficult to install over spare tire covers
  • Straps require adjusting during longer drives
  • To open tailgate, you may need to remove straps
Best Value
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
Honorable Mention
Malone Spare Tire OS Three-Bike Carrier
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • 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
Honorable Mention
Malone Spare Tire OS Three-Bike Carrier

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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.

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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.

Top Brands

Thule

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

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

Hollywood Racks

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.

Key Features

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.

Weight 

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.

Anti-Theft Protection

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.

Other Considerations

  • 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

Best Overall
Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack

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.

Best Value
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

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.

Premium Pick
Malone Spare Tire OS Three-Bike Carrier

Able to support three bikes simultaneously, the Malone Spare Tire OS Three-Bike Carrier is a solid choice for lengthy trips. Since it can support almost 100 pounds, you can rest easy knowing that your bikes are in good hands. It’s largely due to the oversized steel build. The main structure protrudes distinctly from the vehicle, keeping your bikes firmly away from both the tire and the vehicle. Coming with two anchoring straps, you can easily attach the carrier to your spare tire. Once it’s in position, the bikes affix easily and remain secure despite bumps in the road. Since you can offset the placement to either side and adjust the tire support over three widths, you can travel with bikes of just about any size. 


However, it isn’t compatible with trailers or campers, nor can it support tandem bikes or those with fenders. If you’re looking to set out in your SUV with either mountain or road bikes, its sturdy build makes it a terrific pick. 

Best Universal Fit
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

The Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack is durable and secure enough to carry your bikes on long drives over all types of terrain. But the big advantage of this bike rack is its high-seated design. Able to fit nearly any mounted spare tire, the rack lifts two bikes high to keep them far enough away from the challenges (and dirt) of the road and the hot exhaust coming from your car. In addition to its high position, this bike rack is equipped with 15-inch long carry arms, both of which can easily carry up to 70 pounds of weight. They’re equipped with secure patented tie-down cradles — one for each bike — and an extra-wide bottom foot to support the bikes’ weight. The entire rack is made out of steel, which is durable enough to survive most road scenarios. 


You’ll also love how easy this two-bike rack is to set up and install onto your spare tire. It’ll take just seconds — but with a combination of “Sure Straps” you’ll get all of the stability you need.

Honorable Mention
Futura GP RV Bike Rack

Accommodating your spare tire with ease, the Futura GP RV Bike Rack lets you tow bikes with ease. Though it mounts to the hitch, it’s made to work around spare tires, letting you store and readily access all your supplies. The rack itself is made out of aluminum material, a lightweight material that can still support up to 90 pounds. Made to work with any type of trailer or car, it’s compatible with any two-inch receiver. Since it’s built out of aluminum, you don’t have to worry about issues with either rust or corrosion. Plus, while aluminum is more vulnerable than steel to impact, the hitch placement mitigates this issue.


While this rack does accommodate your spare tires, it doesn’t rely on them to support the bikes. Unlike standard spare tire bike racks, it acts as complimentary storage. If you’re looking to attach something directly to your spare tire, there are better options on the list. However, if you’re focused on accessing your gear, it’s a solid pick.

Honorable Mention
Thule Hangon Bike Rack

The spirit of spare tire bike racks is optimizing storage, hauling both the tire and the bikes concurrently. Keeping to this idea, the Thule Hangon Bike Rack can support both spare tires and your bikes. Able to support up to three bicycles, the flexible utility shows up most in the tilt. Unlike many spare tire bike racks that compromise your access to the trunk, this option lets you get to all your supplies with ease. Featuring an ISO-approved design, the coupling requires no modifications. It folds flat when not in use and comes pre-assembled with straps for simple installation. Lightweight and requiring little effort to set up, it’s compatible with the vast majority of vehicles on the market. 


Keep in mind that this model works in conjunction with your spare tire to keep you fully stocked on the road. It gives smooth access to the trunk, tire, and bikes. However, the benefits truly shine through with the tilt feature. If you rely on your trunk for storage, it’s a worthy candidate. 

Honorable Mention
Swagman RV Approved Around the Spare Deluxe Bike Rack

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 to get 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.

Honorable Mention
Fieryred 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

If you’re looking for a bike rack that’s secure but easy to use, the Fieryred 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack is a great option. Made to fit right over most spare tires, it’s highly durable and reliable. This rack is constructed out of heavy-duty iron, covered in a powder-coated finish, and made with extra-tough rubber straps that can withstand a lot of frequent wear and tear. And you can easily carry two bikes weighing up to 75 pounds right over your spare tire. This rack is adjustable, with a universal fitment that can accommodate oversized spares and bikes. It alone weighs 18.31 pounds, and it measures 31.5 x 13 x 9.3 inches in size. Once the rack is mounted — bolted — into place, the anti-sway design will protect both the bikes and your car from scratches.


However, users claim that the rack doesn’t fit on certain vehicles, such as those with a spare tire backup camera. Also, some question the durability, with the rack breaking during installation. 

Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

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.

Final Thoughts

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.