Bike Rack Information
Rack Attack offers many different types of Bike Racks. We can help you decide which model will fit your lifestyle best by answering a few questions:
- On what vehicle(s) do you want to use the rack?
- How many bikes do you need to transport?
- What types of bikes do you need to carry?
- Is access to the rear of your vehicle important?
- Is security of the rack and/or security of the bikes important?
- Does your vehicle have any special features that may interfere with the rack, such as a rear-mounted spare tire, panoramic sunroof, spoiler or aftermarket bumper/exhaust?
Roof Mounted Bike Racks
All Roof Mount Bike Racks will require your car to have a Base Roof Rack, which can be factory installed or aftermarket. Roof bike racks come in two styles: fork mount (front tire removed) or upright (front tire left on). There are several roof bike rack models available in each style, and almost all models have optional locks to keep your bike secure to the rack, and the rack secure to the vehicle. Here are some pros and cons of each style:
- Bike's profile is lower with front wheel removed, and weight is lighter with wheel off
- Locking forks into rack is most secure and stable
- Fork mount racks tend to be less bulky than uprights, and use less of your crossbar
- Must put front wheel in vehicle or purchase roof mount wheel holder
- May not be compatible with some bike fenders
- May not be compatible with some forks, however, axle adapters are available for many new mountain bikes
- Compatible with almost any bicycle from 20" tire to 29" tire
- No need to remove the front wheel
- Some models can accommodate unusual frame geometry and full-suspensions
- Rack is bulkier than fork mount and uses more crossbar space
- Must lift entire weight of bike since front tire stays on
- Vehicle & load height is generally taller compared to using fork mount
Roof Mount Bike Rack Pros
- Bikes do not obstruct road visibility
- Bike roof racks can be swapped out seasonally with ski, watersport or cargo racks
- Depending on size of vehicle, it may be possible to carry more bikes on roof than on rear of vehicle
- Access to trunk/hatchback is not compromised
Roof Mount Bike Rack Cons
- Additional noise & drag created with bikes on top of vehicle
- Requires lifting bike onto top of vehicle
- Added height can cause conflict with garages, drive-throughs, tree branches, etc.
In this demonstration we can see that the roof mounted bike rack can be an easy installation with some lifting required. This addition to any sports enthusiast's vehicle is a must as it makes transporting bicycles easy and hassle free.
Hitch Mounted Bike Racks
Hitch Mount Bike Racks can be a very convenient option, provided your vehicle already has a hitch capable of handling the load (if not, Rack Attack offers trailer hitches for most vehicles). We have two styles of hitch racks available: hanging and platform. Hanging racks sling the bikes by their frame and hold them in place with rubber or Velcro straps. With platform racks, the bike tires sit in a tray similar to a upright roof rack, and are held in place with a hooked arm over the frame or front tire. Most models have security features as standard or optional. Here are pros and cons of each style:
- Carry up to 5 bikes with appropriate hitch, provided the hitch and vehicle are rated for it
- Easily removed from trailer hitch and reasonably compact during storage
- Chest-level bike load height on most vehicles
- Some models tilt down or pivot away from the vehicle to allow access to trunk or hatch
- Some models allow for ski carrier add-on to be attached
- Bikes might make contact with each other
- Some bike frames have unusual geometry and can be challenging to mount. However, top-tube adapters are available to alleviate the issue on most bikes
- Bikes on the back of a vehicle are susceptible to road grime
- On lower vehicles bikes could possibly make contact with the ground causing bike damage in extreme circumstances
- Carry up to 4 bikes with appropriate hitch, provided the hitch and vehicle are rated for it
- Quick to load/unload bikes
- Accommodates virtually any bike, including downhill, kids and some recumbents depending on wheelbase
- Platform protects bikes by keeping them better separated from each other, and gives better protection from the ground compared to hanging racks
- Some models are generally heavier-duty compared to hanging racks
- Rack tends to be bulkier and heavier than hanging style
- Access to hatchbacks can be challenging, however, bikes can be quickly removed
- 2 bikes maximum on light-duty hitches
Hitch Mount Bike Rack Pros
- Loading/unloading bikes at a lower height than roof mounted racks
- Trailer hitch may also be used for towing
- Vehicle can still access low clearance areas like garages and parkades
- Keep your roof rack free for cargo boxes, watersports or ski racks
Hitch Mount Bike Rack Cons
- Access to rear of vehicle may be impeded
- Vehicle hitch required
- Bikes and/or rack may obstruct rear of vehicle visibility
- Increased overall vehicle length
This is a demonstration on a hitch mounted bike rack. As you can see this video demonstrates the necessity for installing a swing-away style of rack so that you may access the trunk of the vehicle.
Trunk Mounted Bike Racks
Trunk Mount Bike Racks are the most basic way to carry bikes on most vehicles. This type of rack clamps to the vehicle with 4-6 rubber-dipped metal hooks, and has rubber or foam pads that press against the bumper, trunk or rear window for support. These racks tend to be less expensive than the other options, but the user must be cautious so as to not scratch the vehicle's finish during installation/removal.
- Easy to store when off the vehicle, and can even be stored in the trunk of many vehicles
- May be able to move from one vehicle to another with minimal adjustment
- Great option for rental cars
- Many points of contact on the vehicle
- Least secure, though some models include passive security features
- Maximum of 2 or 3 bikes, depending on vehicle
- May not work if vehicle has spoiler at top of hatchback
Spare Tire Mounted Bike Racks
Spare Tire Mount Bike Racks only come in 2-bike versions since the load is transmitted to the spare tire bracket. These racks feature locking systems to secure your bikes to the rack, as well as a lock to secure the rack to the tire. A simple twist of a knob will remove the rack when you are not using it, and they are reasonably compact for storage. It will be obvious if this is an option for you. However if you need to transport more than two bikes, we may be able to add a trailer hitch to your vehicle so you can use a hitch rack. This gets tricky because the rack must sit far back enough to clear the spare tire, so feel free to call us if you'd like more details about this option.
Hitch vs Roof Mount Video