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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

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PUBLISHED ON September 25, 2019

If you love biking and want a simple way to transport your bicycle to your favorite trail, you may want to consider a spare tire bike rack. These racks are mounted on the spare tire on the rear door of your SUV, Jeep, or another 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 on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
    Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
    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
    This rack is well-made, heavy-duty, and sturdy. The bike does not shake while driving, and the rack’s low-profile design gives you the ability to open some vehicle tailgates.
    Cons
    Cons
    You may need a tube adapter to mount kids’  and ladies-frame bikes on this rack. It does not fit a 2018 Jeep Wrangler or some other makes and models.
  • Best Overall
    Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
    Hollywood Racks Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack
  • Best Value
    Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
    Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
    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
    This rack is very easy to assemble, has a robust construction, is simple to operate, and is very stable and secure. The rack is very durable and reliable for the price.
    Cons
    Cons
    This rack may be difficult to use if you have a cover on the spare tire. The straps may loosen while driving, and they may have to be undone to open the tailgate.
  • Best Value
    Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
    Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack
  • Honorable Mention
    Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack
    Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack
    Summary
    Summary
    This rack holds two bikes and includes Yakima's signature bottle opener for a post-ride drink. It fits nearly any stock size spare and includes a universal mounting plate.
    Pros
    Pros
    The rack is strong and durable, and its anti-sway cradle design minimizes bike-to-bike contact. It's simple to load and unload your bike, and installation is quick and easy.
    Cons
    Cons
    It's very pricey, and it does not accommodate smaller, children's bikes. You may need an adapter to secure bicycles with angled top tubes, such as mountain bikes.
  • Honorable Mention
    Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack
    Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack

    If you love biking and want a simple way to transport your bicycle to your favorite trail, you may want to consider a spare tire bike rack. These racks are mounted on the spare tire on the rear door of your SUV, Jeep, or another 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 on the market.

    Best Spare Tire Bike Rack Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    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

    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.

    Honorable Mention

    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.

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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

    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

    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.

    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 2020

    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.

    Honorable Mention
    <strong>Yakima SpareRide 2 Bike Carrier Rack</strong>

    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.

     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.