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It can be tough getting your bicycle ready for the road trip ahead, but it doesn’t have to be with one of the top-rated bike racks for cars. If you’re planning a cycling road trip, you have to find a way to bring your bicycle with you. Carrying one bike, let alone two or three, isn’t all that easy due to their weight and bulky structures. You can’t even tie them on your car’s roof with ratchet straps, as straps can’t accommodate more than one bike.
The answer? Get one of these top-notch bike racks for cars to mount two or more bikes to the rear of your vehicle without compromising safety and stability. The solid frame of these racks can easily handle a load of multiple bikes, making it a piece of cake to carry them to your desired location. Let’s take a look at some of the leading bike racks for cars that we’ve shortlisted for you, along with a helpful buying guide.
The best bike racks for cars models of 2022 in detail
Kuat Sherpa Bike Rack for Cars: Premium pick
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This Kuat Sherpa bike rack has a minimalist design with a light frame that can fit almost all cars, including sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs. This rack is equipped with a foot-lever tilt feature that lets you open your car’s trunk without removing the entire rack, and you can easily mount any bike type weighing up to 40 lbs with a maximum wheel size of three inches. The frame of this car bike rack has a low loading height, letting you quickly mount your bike without straining your arms. This rack also comes with a hitch fastener to secure the frame to your vehicle and prevent it from wobbling, and it’s manufactured with a powder-coated aluminum surface to prevent corrosion and rust damage. Another notable feature of this bike rack that you might love (we sure do) is the two-wheel trays spaced 14 inches apart to prevent collision between mounted bikes.
- Strapped trays secure and stabilize wheels
- Foldable tire cradles make storage hassle-free
- Corrosion- and rust-resistant powder coating
- Powder coating is not scratch-resistant
Allen Sports Bike Rack for Cars: Budget option
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This wallet-friendly bike rack from Allen Sports has a patented design that fits a wide range of cars, including sedans, SUVs, minivans, hatchbacks, and more without hassle. The rack might rattle due to the vibrations of the car, but you can use the two lateral straps that come included to stabilize the entire frame and prevent structural damage. This car bike rack can carry two bicycles of almost any type, including mountain bikes, city bikes, and more, letting you enjoy a cycling trip with someone who might not ride the same kind of bike as you. This bike rack is bolstered with rotatable individual tie-downs that let you secure each bike regardless of frame and size, and its carry arms are narrow, letting you load and unload your bicycles quickly without too much effort.
- Quick and easy setup
- Multiple bike-carrying options are available
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- The bulky structure can create issues while parking
MaxxHaul Bike Rack for Cars: Another great option
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This MaxxHaul car bike rack has a hitch tightener to ensure that the entire frame is stable and won’t wobble or make noise. It comes with movable wheel cradles so that your bikes can have different orientations without colliding with each other, and the inner cradle is smaller than the outer one. You can use the bike rack’s knobs to fine-tune the position of the inner and outer cradles to the same exact distance as your bike wheels, and simply secure them with the rubber strap once you place the bike wheels into the cradle’s hollow space. This car bike rack pack comes with two hooks for securing and stabilizing your bike’s frames to the upright, and since they have foam padding your bike will remain safe from any scratches or surface damage that could otherwise occur due to friction.
- Removable vertical uprights make storage easier
- Adjustable cradles and hooks
- Universal compatibility design
- Multiple hitch pins make installation difficult
IKURAM R Bike Rack for Cars: Also consider
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This IKURAM R bike rack for cars has an all-steel construction with a 258-micrometer coating that makes sure the frame doesn’t suffer any damage from scratches, dents, or anything else. This rack’s upright pipe has a thickness of two-and-a-half millimeters that can easily hold an overall weight of 140 pounds without deformation, and since this bike rack comes with a hitch tightener you can easily prevent the frame from wobbling or making noises. All six of this bike rack’s tie-downs are equipped with a soft cradle bed and rubber straps to keep the bike secure and in place without harming its surface due to friction. It has a swing-down design to help you incline its frame and access the trunk door, and you can also fold down its arms to make the bike rack more compact for easy storage.
- Durable, long-lasting steel design
- Hitch pin holes ensure enhanced stability
- Red LED indicators for road safety
- Lateral fasteners not included
Saris Bones Bike Rack for Cars: Green pick
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This Saris bike rack for cars is compatible with almost all vehicles, including those with a rear spoiler. The bike rack’s core frame has an arch so you can easily mount all your bikes at different levels. Thanks to the rack’s rubber knobbed feet, you won’t have to worry about its stability once you install the frame, and to secure it further you can use the fasteners to keep the frame in place. This car bike rack is bolstered with ratchet tie-down straps to fasten bikes and stabilize them without much hassle. Its legs and arms are made with injection molding technology to ensure that they can retain their structure for years, and something else that’s interesting is that this bike rack is made using 100% recyclable materials — not only is this car bike rack friendly for most vehicles, but it’s environmentally friendly as well.
- Easy-to-use integrated straps
- Arched structure for better mounting
- Environmentally friendly design
- Won’t allow you to open the rear trunk
Buying guide: Bike racks for cars
Bike racks let you transport bicycles on the rear end of a vehicle without having to strap them down or constantly worry about mishaps. Different racks come with many different features, including foam-padded tie-downs, hitch fastener screws, load-bearing uprights, wheel cradles, and more. To get the most out of a car bike rack, you need to find a product that can meet (or even exceed) all your requirements. With so many options out there, our buying guide will help you invest in the right bike rack for your car.
Car bike rack key factors
Capacity and load
Different bike racks for cars come with different abilities when it comes to holding your bikes. You’ll usually be able to load two to four bikes in the rack at once based on their overall weight. If a rack has three mounts with a load endurance of 45 pounds, you can either load two bikes weighing 20 pounds each or three bikes weighing 15 pounds each.
Bike racks for cars usually have steel or aluminum frames, as these materials are highly durable and can last for a long time. Aluminum is lighter than steel and offers you greater leverage in installation, while steel can absorb impact force and resist structural deformation (like dents) that aluminum simply can’t. Some racks have powder-coated frames that can easily prevent rusting and scratch formation, and some bike racks for cars are even equipped with rubber feet to make them more stabilized and ensure that they won’t slide off the car.
Bike racks for cars are often equipped with a hitch fastener, and this makes sure that the rack itself doesn’t wobble or make rumbling sounds due to the vehicle’s movement. A good hitch fastener can give you peace of mind and prevent bikes from colliding with each other regardless of the terrain.
Some bike racks for cars have foam-padded tie-down straps so that your bike can stay safe from frictional damage when coming into contact with a hard surface. These straps also have integrated ratchets to help you tighten them according to the bike’s size and shape.
Even though the wheel cradle and semi-circular mounts are different, you need to make sure that the gap between two adjacent mounts is enough to prevent collision or friction between two bikes. Some bike racks for cars have three or four closely spaced mounts that won’t leave much space between the loaded bikes, and you’ll be left with no choice but to only mount two bikes while leaving the other mounts free for creating the needed gap. This is why you should go for a car bike rack with either wheel trays/cradles spaced at a distance of 14+ inches or adjustable mounts that can be shifted along the lateral bars.
Many bike racks for cars have a base platform that needs to be connected with your vehicle’s hitch, and its upright has a vertical shape that must be connected to the platform perpendicularly. Some bike racks have arms with slanting mounts that increase the loading height, which can make it difficult for short-statured people to load the bikes. Bike racks with lateral wheel cradles or trays, though, have low loading heights for enhanced stability and security. A few bike racks for cars are designed with an arched frame that allows you to mount the bikes at different levels, and these have multiple fastener straps with buckles for attaching them to the trunk door.
Bike racks for cars usually have an upright frame structure that can be inclined backward with a foot lever. You simply push the lever down and the rack will tilt back, and this can help you access the trunk door without having to remove the entire bike rack and re-install it.
Wheel cradles (or trays) have a hollow frame into which bike wheels will sit flush and become more stabilized. They have a lateral platform structure that needs to be connected with the vertical upright, and with the help of knobs, you can adjust the positioning of each cradle/tray so that their intermediate distance is compatible with the space between your bike tires.
How to install a bike rack on your car
To properly install a bike rack on the back of your car, you will need to take into account that each vehicle and bike rack are different, so make sure the bike rack you get aligns with your car make and model and follow the instructions given to you with the product. Once your bike rack arrives, you can follow the tips below to help guide you through the general process:
- Place on the rear or top of your vehicle
- Attach the bike rack to your vehicle using the provided straps or hooks
- Ensure the rack is secured to the vehicle and won’t fall off when you’re driving
- Load your bike onto the rack and see how it fits, check if anything needs adjusting
Car bike rack safety precautions
To use a car bike rack, there are some safety precautions you should follow:
- Do not place the wheel cradles close to each other, as this will cause your bikes to collide
- Make sure to tighten the hitch fastener properly and check whether or not it wobbles
- Always place the bike at the rear mount first, and then after securing it, you can load another bicycle
- If your chosen car bike rack has fastener belts, make sure to use the latch for tightening them
How much does a car bike rack cost?
The average cost of bike racks for cars varies from anywhere around $40 to several hundred, and as you might guess due to the wide range, this is based on many factors. Bike racks with hitch fastener frames are more expensive than regular ones that only need to be secured with straps. Another factor is that if your chosen bike rack has a wheel cradle/tray it will cost more than other bike racks without this feature.
RV Bike Rack FAQs
Q: Can I use the bike rack for the car during rain or windy weather?
Yes, you can use a car bike rack during rain or windy weather, provided it’s attached properly and has a strong and sturdy frame that won’t wobble.
Q: What bikes can I load on the bike rack for a car?
Many bike racks are designed to accommodate different types of bikes, like mountain bikes, road bikes, children’s bicycles, and more. For most, all you’ll have to do is make sure that their overall weight doesn’t exceed the rack’s maximum load handling capacity and you’re all set.
Q: How long can a bike rack for the car last?
If your chosen car bike rack is made from steel or aluminum and has a sturdy build, it can last for years to come.