Bicycle racks are available in many variations today, all with the same objective: transporting your bike safely without having to squeeze it inside your car. The hitch and roof racks attach to your car to become semi-permanent extensions, while the trunk and tailgate racks are more portable.
Choosing the right rack for your bike, vehicle, and budget can be a challenging task, so we’re here to help. We tested hitch, trunk, and roof-mount racks for months with bike-loving testers.
In addition to driving up dirt roads, driving down highways, and parallel parking around town, we rotated between cars, trucks, and SUVs.
The most striking thing about it was how easy it was to load and unload our bikes from each and how securely they held them. Here are the best racks to fit your vehicle, needs, and budget.
|Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack|
|Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack|
|Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack|
|KAC K2 2” Hitch Mounted Rack 2-Bike|
|Saris Superclamp EX Bike Hitch Car Rack|
1. Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
The Allen Spots 4-Bike Hitch Rack is not only affordable, but it also offers a reliable rear-mounted option. Reviewers noted that the bike rack does not have some of the other features that you might find on more expensive bike racks, but the simple design is made of solid steel and is well constructed.
Especially if you plan on doing short trips with your bikes, this bike carrier offers incredible value, and it has over 8,000 perfect five-star ratings.
A customer raves, “This rack met our requirements perfectly. Our van fit 4 bikes easily, including one man’s bike, one woman’s bike, and two children’s bikes. The rack carried all of our bikes easily going from New York to Rhode Island, then to Massachusetts (especially through the mountains), and then back home. We loved it and were able to leave the rack on the van without bikes and access the trunk easily.”
2. Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack
The Sherpa 2.0 strikes a sweet spot between performance and price that sets it apart from the crowd.
Compared to many other tray racks, this lightweight one requires less effort to mount on your car and to stow away. In addition, it’s easier to secure in the hitch than most, and its low lift height makes loading bikes easier.
In addition to holding most types of bikes (up to 40 pounds each), the Sherpa 2.0 tilts out of the way (even when fully loaded) so you can get in your vehicle, and folds compactly when not in use. Its metallic powder-coat finish and anodized accents make it a great choice for style-conscious riders.
3. Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack
You can use the Thule EasyFold XT 2 if you need to transport heavier bikes, such as electric models, or just want a rack that’s easy to load and store.
In addition to being one of the most expensive racks we’ve tested, it comes with a number of luxury features that make it one of the best racks we’ve ever tested.
A foldable ramp lets you roll bikes onto the EasyFold XT instead of picking them up, and it can hold bikes up to 65 pounds each. In addition to being lighter than other heavy-duty racks, this rack folds up as large as a carry-on suitcase when removed from the vehicle.
EasyFold can also be mounted and locked to the vehicle quickly, and cable locks can be used to secure bikes. However, some riders dislike the way the EasyFold holds bikes, which is not by the wheels, and the clamps are somewhat clumsy to use.
4. KAC K2 2” Hitch Mounted Rack 2-Bike
Trucks and standard-sized cars also benefit from a bike rack like the Kac Overdrive Sports K2 Mounted 2-Bike Rack.
There are a variety of bike models that this bestselling hitch rack can accommodate (road bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes, electric bikes – you name it), and it’s made from durable steel with a fast-locking hitch pin that won’t budge.
The bike rack tilts downward at the push of a button to make loading and unloading easy, and it comes with adjustable padded hooks and wide wheel straps to prevent scratching while it’s being transported.
5. Saris Superclamp EX Bike Hitch Car Rack
If you need to transport three or four bikes (or ones that are heavier than what the Sherpa 2.0 can handle), we recommend the Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike.
A four-bike tray-style hitch rack, the SuperClamp EX is among the lightest available on the market. It can accommodate two bikes weighing up to 60 pounds each, and two others weighing up to 35 pounds each.
When empty, you can fold the rack up using a handle at the rear, or when loaded you can tilt it down to access the cargo area. As opposed to just turning a knob by hand, you need a wrench to tighten the lockable bolt in the hitch receiver, and it’s only available for 2-inch receivers.
Things to Consider Before Buying
In order to choose the right bike rack, you must consider a number of factors. What is the frequency of your bike travel? You might consider investing in a heavy-duty rack with features that make loading and unloading easy if you’re a frequent road tripper.
A simpler model might do the trick if you want to attach your car to move bikes for a single trip. Also, you’ll have to consider your type of automobile, how many bikes you’ll be hauling, the type of bikes you’ll be carrying, and whether you’ll need a secure way to lock your bikes while on your journey.
When you go adventuring, you can choose to use one of three types of bike racks, each with a unique set of features that may be ideal for your vehicle setup.
Stowing your wheels on top of your car or SUV is a fantastic, sturdy option that allows full access to all your vehicle’s doors. In contrast, lifting bikes (especially those with heavier frames) overhead can be challenging, especially when you’re not at home with a garage, stepladder, or helping hands.
As well as being expensive to purchase, roof bike racks also need car roof crossbars and proper installation to be secure.
The most popular bike carrier option tends to be hitch racks (also known as towbar racks). It is easier and more convenient to load and unload bikes with a hitch-mount bike rack than with a roof rack once it is installed.
A rear-mounted rack requires a hitch receiver, which many SUVs and larger vehicles already have.
In spite of the fact that you may need a hitch added to your vehicle, it may be worth getting one installed; a wide range of features on hitch racks on the market today allow you to pack multiple bikes of different sizes, haul heavy mountain or e-bikes, lock your bikes securely to your car, and even convert from carrying two to four bikes depending on the trip.
If you fold up a rear-mounted hitch rack when not in use, your vehicle will become a little longer, which is important if you park in a small garage (or just to keep in mind when parallel parking).
A trunk rack is typically attached to the trunk of your car with straps and hooks, regardless of whether you drive a small sedan or a massive SUV.
Truck-mounted bike carriers are usually the most affordable of the options, and they don’t require the installation of a hitch or rack.
Because trunk-mounted racks tend to be cheaper, lighter, and more portable, they can be less sturdy than other options, which means your bikes may sway and scrape against your car.
Furthermore, trunk racks neither lock to your car nor to your bikes, so if you want to leave your rig and bikes unattended in public, they wouldn’t be the best option.