Bike Rack Information
What's Right For You
We will want to assess your current vehicle, and define what your needs are:
- How often will the rack be used?
- How many bikes are you looking to transport?
- Will the rack need to fit more than one vehicle?
- Is the vehicle a rental or do you own/lease it?
- What is your price range?
- How important is security to you?
- Are you able to lift your bike above your head, and hold it steady with one hand?
- Does your bike have a non-standard frame design, or is it tandem?
- Does your vehicle have a rear mounted spare tire that could interfere with certain bike racks?
- Does your vehicle already have a tow hitch, or roof mounted utility rack? What's the load capacity?
- Do you engage in other activities that could make one rack type more useful, or cost effective than another?
Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of the three main types of bike racks:
Roof Mounted Bike Rack(Price ranges from
USD $65 - $400
With 2 basic options; wheel on, wheel off, the roof mounted bike rack is an affordable and safe way to transport your bicycles.
- Most versatile system
- Roof racks can be used for additional cargo transportation, whether it be ski and snowboard racks, kayak racks or cargo boxes for extra storage with the purchase of Thule/Yakima Base Roof Racks
- Can transport more bikes than rear mounted racks
- May purchase a locking system for added security
- Supports non-standard frame designs and tandem bikes
- No obstruction of rear visibility
- No chance of damage from being 'rear-ended'
- Access to trunk/hatch not obstructed
- Requires a Base Roof Rack
- Vehicle may be unable to clear low clearance parking garages
- May generate wind noise
- Requires lifting bike, above car, and onto the rack
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 Rack(Price ranges from
USD $150 - $460
With 4 basic options; Fixed arms, Fold down, Swing-away, and Platform, the hitch mounted bike racks come in 2 different sizes. Most vehicles use what's called a Class I hitch 1.25", this is common on most cars and small suvs. The Class II hitch 1.25" is most common on Vans, wagons and small SUV's. The Class III hitch 2", is found on larger vehicles, like trucks and vans.
- Carry up to 5 bikes with appropriate hitch, provided the hitch and vehicle are rated for it
- Simple installation, slide the rack into the hitch, lock and go
- Easy mounting of bikes to rack
- Can access hatch/trunk with platform, swing-away and tilt-away style racks
- Virtually no chance of scratching the vehicle paint
- Hitch may be used for other purposes, like hauling a trailer or small camper
- *We can provide installation of a hitch if required*
- Requires a hitch
- Certain vehicles cannot have a hitch installed
- Bikes are exposed, leaving them to the mercy of rear collisions
- Padding required to avoid bike-bike contact
- Tandem bikes not recommended for mounting
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 Rack(Price ranges from
USD $70 - $280
The trunk mounted bike rack is the least expensive in the line of bike racks. The strap attaches to the carrier's frame and to the car's trunk, hatch-back or rear bumper. You will need to mount the rack onto the car in the proper fashion making sure everything is snug and secure before mounting the bikes to the rack. You may typically carry 1-3 bikes at one time.
- Good option for occasional usage
- Great option for a rented vehicle
- Easier to hoist bikes into place vs roof mounted racks
- Small sized and can fit into the trunk or small storage space at home
- Fits multiple vehicles right out of the box
- May lead to scratches or chipped paint in the finish or dents in the body
- Spoilers mounted to the trunk may get in the way
- Difficult to lock bikes to car and rack
- Tandem bikes not recommended for mounting
This is a demonstration of a Saris Bones RS trunk mounted bike rack. As you can see it takes little effort to install yourself and offers the added bonus of being able to fit inside your trunk for when you hit the trails.
Hitch vs Roof Mount Bike Racks Video
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to provide you with more information on the best racks for your specific vehicle.