Best Roof-Mounted Bike Racks: Practical and Safe Transportation
Free up some luggage space with these top three roof-mounted bike racks.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON February 16, 2020
There are several types of bike racks you can use to transport your bike to a specific destination. However, if you want to save storage space, a roof-mounted bike rack might be the best solution. It's a versatile and easy way to transport a bike that doesn't obscure your rear view. Also, your bike will be safe and secure during the ride, and you won't even know that it's there. Check out the best roof-mounted bike racks in our guide below.
This bike rack features high-quality construction and strength that ensures your bike stays safe in some of the harshest weather conditions. It’s a single-bike roof rack that can accommodate different bike types.
- This cleverly designed rack can accommodate your bike fully assembled
- Mounts securely without touching the bike frame
- It can accommodate a wide variety of adult and kids’ bikes
- Not compatible with recumbent or tandem bikes
- It’s a little pricey, considering it’s a single-bike system
This ultra-lightweight, yet durable roof rack is constructed from rust-resistant and sturdy aluminum that is quick and simple to mount on most oval, round, or square crossbars up to 3 inches wide.
- This bike rack is super affordable, yet still durable
- Can fit your bike fully assembled, without the need for removing the front wheel
- Has an impressive 35-pound weight limit
- This rack won’t work with tandem or recumbent bikes
- Uses the down tube as the main anchor point, which might not be best for carbon fiber or custom paint jobs
This rack offers a different take on the typical roof-mounted bike rack design. It uses an ergonomically shaped adjustable handle with a trigger release and locking system to secure your front tire.
- This rack has a generous 45-pound weight capacity
- Can accommodate most bikes, including fat tire bikes with the addition of a simple adapter
- Will mount with crossbars up to 3.5 inches in width
- Ratcheting mount on the front tire doesn’t secure to both sides of the rack, making it somewhat less stable than other models
- Rack is on the pricier side
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Best Roof-Mounted Bike Rack Reviews & Recommendations
- Pick the type of rack that is suitable for your vehicle. Some vehicles can only accommodate hitch racks, while others do better with roof rack systems.
- Make sure that your bike can fit a particular rooftop bike rack. Check the tire size, especially the tire width, and compare it to the rack size before making a purchase.
- Make sure the rack is properly attached to the car's roof. Also, pay attention to the rack and bike frame and make sure your bike is safely positioned.
- When using a roof-mounted rack, you must lift the bike onto the top of the car. This can be quite challenging. Look for a rack that allows for easy loading and has intuitive tie-down options.
Q: What is a roof-mounted bike rack?
A: It's a bike carrier that attaches to the car’s crossbars. The rack either clamps around the bike's down tube or it holds the fork dropouts (which requires removing the front wheel). A roof rack is a safe and secure transportation option that works on most vehicle types. It can also accommodate almost any type of bike.
Q: Will a roof-mounted bike rack fit on every vehicle?
A: No, you have to have crossbars on the top of your vehicle if you want to install a roof bike rack. The good thing is that you can get and install roof bars on most types of vehicles.
Q: Why choose a roof-mounted bike rack?
A: Choosing between a hitch-mounted and roof type of rack is largely a matter of preference. The main benefits of a roof bike rack are free storage space, versatility, and ease of use. Unlike a hitch bike rack, a roof rack doesn't block trunk access or obscure the rearview. You can use it to transport bikes, surfboards, snowboards, kayaks, and more.
The YAKIMA — FrontLoader Wheel-On Mount Upright Bike Carrier for Roof Racks is hands down our top pick for the best overall roof-mounted bike rack. It features high-quality construction and strength that ensures your bike stays safe in some of the harshest weather conditions. It’s a single-bike roof rack that can accommodate different bike types.
Our favorite budget-friendly pick is the Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack. This ultra-lightweight, yet durable roof rack is constructed from rust-resistant and sturdy aluminum that is quick and simple to mount on most oval, round, or square crossbars up to 3 inches wide.