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:
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.
Fork Mounted Rooftop Bike Racks
Fork Mount Pros
- 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
Fork Mount Cons
- 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
The Thule 535 ThruRide Fork Mount Carrier is a premium thru-axle fork mount bike carrier the fits a complete range of thru-axle diameters and has universal roof rack compatibility.
The energies of the universe have collided and created Yakima's first-ever direct to factory crossbar fork-mount bike carrier, the Yakima ForkLift. The Yakima ForkLift is simple as pie to install and fits most forks with disc brakes.
The Thule Circuit Fork Mount low-profile carrier is designed for those looking for security, convenience and aerodynamic styling. Fitting most factory and 3rd party bars, this rack is the perfect way to carry 1 bike on your car.
Upright Mounted Rooftop Bike Racks
Upright Mount Pros
- 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
Upright Mount Cons
- 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
The Yakima FrontLoader fits to multiple types of crossbars. FrontLoader is the most versatile bike rack ever. Bikes stay vertical as they roll onto the rack for quick and easy loading. Best-in-class consumer-focused design and security.
The Yakima HighRoad is a premium roof-top bike rack that holds nearly any bike without taking off the wheels.
The RockyMounts Brass Knuckles Black is the lowest profile upright bike mount on the market. Versatility is its middle name; mounts on all crossbars, accommodates 20"-29" bike tires, and road to downhill bikes.