We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›
Planning to hit your favorite local bike paths or explore new trails on your mountain bike? No matter where you’re headed, you’re going to need a bicycle rack in order to get yourself and your ride there together. Adding a bicycle rack onto your vehicle is an easy way to be prepared and ready to bring your bike anywhere. Available in a vast variety of different styles and sizes, there are racks made for passenger cars as well as vans and SUVs, racks that can carry one bike or up to four bikes, and racks for rooftop setup or the rear of your vehicle. So, whether you’re carrying-ready with an available hitch or need something that’s a bit more flexible, we’ve rounded up some of the best bicycle racks you can buy right here.
Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack
This bicycle rack can carry anywhere from two to five bikes, all while adapting to bikes of different types, weights, and sizes.
- Sturdy steel construction
- Tilts and folds for added convenience
- Keeps your vehicle aerodynamic even with bikes on board
- Requires some assembly
- May not perfectly fit all hitch receivers
Allen Sports Model 102ND-R Trunk Rack
This trunk rack is ideal for sedans. It holds two bikes and has a weight capacity of 70 pounds.
- Padded to prevent scratches
- Tie downs for security
- Fully assembled
- Easy to install
- May bounce at highway speeds
- Metal hooks may chip vehicle’s paint
Thule Passage Trunk Mount Rack
You’ll keep your bicycle rack and your bikes extra secure with this adjustable and locking option that limits movement and theft.
- Extra-secure details like locking straps prevent theft and movement
- Innovative Road Dampening Technology limits wobble
- Protective features for your car are built in
- Won’t fit station wagon, hatchback, or SUV trunks
- Cradles can be too close together for larger bikes
With so many different types of bicycle racks for cars available, we set out to find the best options by considering and comparing a number of popular styles. We took an in-depth look at hitch mounted bike racks, roof bicycle racks, tilting bicycle racks, and racks that could hold anywhere from one to four bikes at once. To determine which were the best in terms of quality and investment, we looked at the material and construction details of each rack, as well as their functionality and installation method. And we didn’t rule out users’ real-life experiences with these racks, as explained through their reviews.
Best Bicycle Rack Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Bicycle Racks
Our pick for the best bicycle rack is the Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack, which is capable, convenient and easy to use, and completely flexible. It not only folds and tilts, but it can also hold anywhere from 2-5 bikes, giving you plenty of options. However, you also can’t go wrong with the Allen Sports Model 102ND-R Trunk Rack, a product that offers a combination of convenience and affordability.
What to Consider When Buying a Bicycle Rack
Whether you’re looking to carry a single bike or a whole family’s worth of bikes on your car, you need a bicycle rack that’s durable, supportive, and easy to manage. Plus, you’ve got to find a rack that works with your vehicle’s size, hitch (or lack of hitch), and other unique features. We’ve got your guide to picking out the perfect bicycle rack no matter your needs.
Types of Bicycle Racks
Roof racks come in a variety of configurations. You can purchase a total rack system to install on a bare roof or one that attaches to factory-installed crossbars or tracks. You can also buy a rack with suction cups that seal to the surface. As for mounting the bikes on a roof rack, you can either leave the wheels on or remove the front wheel.
If you have a vehicle with a hitch, this type of bicycle rack is very convenient. A hitch rack simply slides into the receiver tube and locks into place. They work with most 1.25 and two-inch receivers. One advantage is that many of them fold out of the way when you're not using them. Some brands have locking systems for security. One drawback is you have to be careful when backing up or parallel parking because they add some length to the back of your vehicle.
You attach this type of rack to your trunk using straps hooks, and stabilizing feet. These racks are very affordable, lightweight, and portable. They are a good temporary option, which is helpful if you live or travel in a questionable area and want to remove the rack when you're not using it. These racks do not lock to your vehicle, can potentially scratch paint, and don't work with all types of bikes.
Bicycle Rack Key Features
If you're going to invest in a bike rack, you want one that will last a long time, particularly if you use it frequently. If you plan on transporting or storing heavy bikes or installing a rack on a vehicle that will traverse bumpy roads, you need a rack that can withstand a little abuse. Look for durable materials and strong designs. For example, powder-coated and aluminum designs are rust-resistant, and stainless steel hardware is also desirable.
Maybe people could leave their bikes unattended in the 1950s, but unfortunately, that's not possible today, particularly if you have a very expensive model. You need a bike rack that has some sort of security system, particularly if it's attached to your car or truck. Look for integrated locks or the ability to add an aftermarket lock to the rack in order to deter thieves.
Before you choose a bike rack, you need to figure out how many bikes you need it to hold. Some racks can only accommodate a bike or two, while others can carry three or more. It doesn't matter if you want a rack for your garage or your vehicle, just make sure it's large enough for your needs.
Bicycle Rack Brands to Know
The Swedish company Thule was founded in 1942 and focused on roof racks and other accessories that enabled people to more easily transport their outdoor gear. One popular product is the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack.
Yakima got its start in Washington state as a machine shop. It began focusing on outdoor accessories, including roof racks and other types of racks, in the early 1980s. Check out the Yakima HoldUp Hitch Mount Tray Bike Rack.
Based in Portsmouth, N.H., Allen Sports was founded by Nick Allen, who worked on aerospace technology for the Apollo program in the 1960s. His prototype was a trunk-mounted bike rack, and by 1971 Allen Bike Racks were sold by several distributors. We recommend the Allen Sports Model 102ND-R Trunk Rack.
If you’re looking for a name that’s synonymous with affordability or good value, Hyper Tough is a great brand to know. This Walmart-owned brand is widely available and makes budget-friendly yet nicely durable and easy-to-use products, including different styles of hitch mount bicycle racks.
When it comes to hauling heavy items, MaxxHaul is one great brand. This company manufactures all kinds of different towing and trailering products and accessories, including hitch-ready bicycle racks so you can easily use your existing hitch with a number of different sizes and styles of racks.
Bicycle Rack Pricing
For under $5, you can get a strap-style or trunk rack. These racks are quite basic, lightweight, and portable and work on a variety of vehicles. Step up to the $100 to $200 price range, however, and you’ll get a bike rack that’ll last a long time. Racks in this price range are built with heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant materials. For more than $200, you’ll have a selection that includes brands such as Thule or Yakima. These racks are well made and can typically accommodate several bikes.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and bicycle racks. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- As we already noted, there are several different styles of bicycle racks. Make sure you look at the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a purchase to ensure you get the right one for your vehicle or your garage.
- When choosing a bike rack, consider how much space it will take up in storage when it’s not in use. Some fold flat, while others may take up a good amount of space in your garage or basement.
- For the most security, choose a well-known brand that has a solid reputation. That way you know you're getting a high-quality product that's built to last.
- When it comes to bike racks, you should only have to assemble it one time, and the easier it is, the better. Some bike racks are simple to install and come with good instructions, while others are more challenging and difficult to assemble.
- Some bike racks are more accessible than others, depending on your size, the weight of the bike, and the type of vehicle you drive. If you're not very tall or very strong, it can be very difficult to lift a bike onto the roof of a large SUV, for example.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q. Why are bike racks so expensive?
If you want to protect your bike, you need a high-quality rack that won't fail you. Good racks are designed with durable materials that last a long time, ensuring your investment stays safe. You don't want a cheap rack that will break and cause any damage to your vehicle or bike.
Q. Can you put a bike rack on any car?
There are so many different types of bike racks that you should be able to find one that suits your particular vehicle. However, you need a hitch for some racks and crossbars/tracks on the roof for other styles. Make sure to read the specs on the rack before making a purchase.
Q. How do you transport a bike without a rack?
You can put some bikes into the trunk or back of your vehicle, but that may require removing the front wheel. Some bikes may be too large to fit in your car. You can also ask a friend with a van to help you transport your bike.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.Learn more