Are you looking for the best car bike rack you can buy that will make it easier for you to attach your bike to your car and transport it safely? There are plenty of options for you out there, and here we’ll give you some tips on some of the things to consider when shopping for a car bicycle rack. We’ll also feature the top makes and models according to car bike rack reviews.
Types of Bike Racks for Cars
Roof racks are generally more expensive, but you can add accessories to them to repurpose them and make them suitable for transporting other stuff such as a kayak, skis or even lumber. If you have a high car, like an SUV for example, installing a roof rack for your bike on it could make it a bit difficult to place and retrieve your bike.
Some vehicles already have crossbars or a roof rack, upon which a bike rack can be mounted. There are at least two mounting methods to choose from: a fork-mount carrier wherein the bike’s front wheel needs to be removed in order to enable the device to clamp onto the front-wheel fork of the bike. With an upright mount, the bike’s front wheel doesn’t have to be removed in order to secure the bike by its pedal crank or frame.
A receiver-hitch rack or hitch-mounted carrier can be attached to the tow-hitch found behind the rear bumper of many SUVs and cars. They are secure and getting into the back or trunk of your car is no problem since this type of rack can be folded down and pushed out of the way. And unlike a roof rack, it is more accessible since it’s located at a height that’s easy to get to.
Hitch-mounted carriers are available in several different sizes to accommodate the type of automobile with which they will be used and the number of bikes to be carried.
The rear strap rack is popular among a lot of consumers. For one thing, it’s typically the least expensive type of car bike rack. It’s a lightweight system, being less heavy than the receiver-hitch rack. Straps at the top, sides and bottom of the system keep your bike secure and prevent it from bouncing around. This is a preferred device among those who don’t use a bike rack too often, especially since it’s easy to attach and remove and doesn’t take much storage space. Some models have plastic-coated support arms while others have indented or padded arms.
Things to Remember When Shopping for Car Bike Carriers
You want a bike rack that will safely transport your bicycle or bicycles, but you also want one that doesn’t take too much trouble to fasten or unfasten, and one that will not scratch both your bike and your car.
If budget is a big concern, then rear strap racks may be just what you are looking for since these are the least expensive, and some of them are capable of carrying more than one bike, although they aren’t generally recommended for use with tandem bikes.
Keep in mind that all types of bike racks for cars have their upsides and downsides. A rear strap rack, for instance, is easy to use; however, your bike can be damaged if your vehicle is hit from the rear or if you back into another object.
A roof-mounted carrier may accommodate several bikes or tandem bike, but it can be quite difficult to install. Moreover, carrying too heavy a load on a vehicle’s roof can predispose some cars to a rollover accident.
It’s vital to take accurate measurements of your car and bike racks you are considering in order to ensure a tight and secure fit. People who want an extra security measure might also want to consider purchasing a rack that locks since this will make it more difficult for thieves to steal the bike.
In some places, vehicle drivers may be ticketed if their car’s license plates or taillights aren’t in full view. So make sure you get a car bike rack that doesn’t obscure the view of your car’s plates and lights.
It’s also a good idea to learn about what other consumers think about the various car bike racks out on the market and about those with which they have a first-hand experience. You can do this by reading up on car bike rack reviews.
Top 3 Car Bike Carriers According to Customer Ratings and Reviews
Reviews of bike carriers for cars can be found on many large Internet shopping sites. We did some research and here are three of those that have the highest number of positive reviews.
1. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (2-Inch Receiver)
When it comes to hitch bike rack models, this one from Swagman gets plenty of thumbs-ups from consumers. It fits Class III hitches — meaning, it is suitable for pickups and truck-based SUVS that have 2-inch openings on the hitches. It can carry up to two bikes, with the option of accommodating up to four bikes if bought with another module. It can be adjusted to fit different sizes of bike frames, and has a coating that’s designed to protect a bike’s finish. Here are the highlights of some reviews about this Swagman hitch bike rack.
– It’s easy to insert and lock onto a trailer hitch.
– Only minimal lift and support are required to set the bikes and lock them into the rack.
– It folds up for easy storage.
– It supports a bike from below instead of having a bike hang by its frame.
– The vertical bar can be rotated flat to allow quick access into the back of vehicles without having to remove the rack.
– Your fingers can be pinched by the ratcheting top clamps if you aren’t careful.
– There is no rise coming out of the receiver hitch, which could be an issue for a fully loaded car.
– One reviewer said it would be better if the rack had safety straps for the bike’s wheels.
2. Allen 102S Premium 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
This is just one of a number of Allen bike racks available for sale, and it has plenty of five-star reviews from consumers. It’s designed for mounting onto a car’s trunk and can carry two bicycles. It won’t mark or damage a vehicle’s rear spoilers because it has 12-inch-long carry arms for lots of clearance. It secures and protects bicycles through its patented dual compound tie-down cradle system.
– It’s intuitive to install out of the box.
– The padding is beneficial for where the rack comes in contact with the car.
– Set-up and take-down is easy for just one person.
– The straps holding the bike in place can be adjusted to accommodate different bicycle types.
– It’s inexpensive.
– It has only four straps compared to some other rack systems that have six straps.
– A customer observed it seems to be only suitable for larger bikes, although some others said that it works with an adaptor for women’s bikes.
– There is nothing included with the rack to hook onto the wheels to prevent them from spinning.
3. #805 “Bones 2” Bicycle Trunk Rack (2 Bike)
This car bicycle rack enjoys a high rating from Bicycling Magazine. It can easily carry two bikes and has an arc-based design that fits over a car’s spoilers and separates bikes on various levels. The ratcheting anti-sway straps ensure stable and secure fastening of bikes. It is made from 100 percent recyclable and rust-proof materials.
– It folds up into a compact block when not in use.
– It’s designed for all-weather use.
– It comes with a lifetime warranty.
– Setup is very easy.
– It works well even on long road trips.
– It does not secure a bike in a way that can deter theft.
– The plastic screws for turning and securing the main mounts may lose their threading.
– It may take a while to get used to pulling the bike-securing straps.
So whether you’re looking for bike racks for SUVs or those designed for smaller cars, we recommend you take a closer look at the car bike rack reviews for the systems described above. Perhaps you will find that one of them is the best car bike rack for your needs and budget.