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Best Bike Racks of 2020

Explore a bike trail near you with ease with the help of these products

Best Overall Choice
Allen Sports Deluxe 2 Bike Trunk Rack

Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount

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Best Premium Choice
Thule T2 Pro Bike Hitch Rack

Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Rack for Hitch

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Best Budget Choice
CyclingDeal Roof Bike Rack for One

CyclingDeal 1-Bike Roof Carrier Rack

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Roof bike rack with bikes

Biking has become more popular over the years. New trails open up regularly and you can easily find awesome locations online to take your bike for a spin. If you’ve ever tried taking your bicycle on a road trip, you know how hard it can get if you don’t have the proper equipment. That’s why getting a bike rack is an awesome idea.

These car accessories make loading up your bike onto the car a piece of cake. Not only that, but you can rest assured that everything will get to your destination in one piece. No damage done to your expensive bike or vehicle.

Today, we’re reviewing the best bike rack items of 2020. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each. Then, you’ll find a buying guide that will help you find the best bike rack for your needs. We’re sure you’ll feel much more confident about choosing the bike rack of your dreams on your own.

Best Overall Choice

1. Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount

Allen Sports Deluxe 2 Bike Trunk Rack

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We’re starting strong with this fantastic trunk mounted rack for bikes. We love it due to how easy it is to set up, how affordable it is, and how well it supports bikes in place.

First things first, the Allen Sports Trunk Mount rack fits a wide selection of vehicles. You can install it on a sedan, hatchback, minivan, and SUV. Since it is fixed in place using fabric straps, your vehicle doesn’t need to have a hitch for it to work.

You can also choose which rack you want from three models available. Allen Sports made a 2-bike trunk rack, a 3-bike trunk rack, and a 4-bike trunk rack. This is great news for larger families, as everyone can ride their bikes during the same trip.

As we’ve mentioned, the rack is held in place by four fabric straps. Don’t worry, they’re very sturdy, offering good support. Moreover, the side straps provide extra stability.

There are individual carry arms that rotate to accommodate pretty much any bike model out there. This patented technology guarantees your bike stays in place thanks to its extra security adjustable straps. It also allows for easy mounting, which is always a plus in our book.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and install on the back of most vehicles
  • Holds virtually all bikes in place, both adult’s and children’s
  • Very affordable for its quality and ease of installation

Cons: 

  • If not set up properly, it can damage your car
  • You can’t access the trunk while the rack is mounted

 

Best Premium Choice

2. Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Rack for Hitch

Thule T2 Pro Bike Hitch Rack

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This is a hitch mount bike tray rack that has gathered plenty of positive reviews on Amazon. The materials used to build it are incredible, which justifies the steep price tag it comes with.

One of the reasons why we like this rack is because of how versatile it is. The tray is prepared to accommodate a variety of bikes. From mountain bikes with thick tires to small children’s bikes, the Thule Pro rack can hold them all in place.

The “bike clearance” is another great feature. You can always make sure your bikes don’t touch (and eventually damage) each other by spacing them out on the tray. Since it’s an adjustable setting, it’ll always keep your thicker and thinner bikes safe.

As if all that weren’t enough, the Thule T2 Pro rack comes with a HitchSwitch lever. This allows you to angle it up or down. If you tilt the rack upward, it will fold on itself when the rack isn’t being used. This is particularly useful if you’re pinched for space when parking. If you angle it downward, you can access the trunk of your car without having the bikes in your way.

Lastly, we love how easy it is to install this rack on your vehicle’s hitch. The “Auto Attach” knob allows you to put the rack in place without ever needing to fumble around with tools.

Pros:

  • Holds up to four bikes of all kinds and sizes, including mountain bikes
  • Will keep bikes safe and scratch-free with the bike clearance feature
  • Tool-free and hassle-free hitch mount installation
  • Allows access to the trunk of the car while bikes are mounted

Cons: 

  • Some complain that the cable lock isn’t sturdy enough

3. Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack

Saris Bones Trunk Rack for Bike

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This is yet another trunk bike that makes the life of those without a hitch vehicle much easier. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and it has a cool design. We can’t ask for much more.

The whole structure is held in place by six fabric straps. You lace these around the inside of your car trunk so that the tension keeps them in place. It may not seem like a lot, but the strong down-facing plastic arms make it even more secure.

Something we like about this product is how lightweight it is. It only weighs around ten pounds, which is not a lot compared to similar products. Thus, it won’t cause a lot of strain on your car’s frame.

It can carry up to two bikes in total. Unfortunately, Saris Bones hasn’t made any adaptors to allow you to carry additional bikes. Each bike must weigh under 35 pounds for security reasons, too.

Lastly, mounting each bike is a breeze. All you have to do is place them in the individual slots and fasten the adjustable straps. It’s that simple.

Pros:

  • Trunk rack fits safely and securely on the trunk
  • Reliable fastening system keeps bikes in place
  • No-tool quick installation

Cons: 

  • Can only support two bikes (or 70 pounds) at a time
  • Can’t access the trunk while the rack is in use

4. Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Thule Vertex Hitch Carrier

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When you need to carry up to five bikes on your car, the Thule Vertex hitch mount rack is here to help you. It is a high-quality product that holds up the well-respected Thule brand name.

This hitch bike carrier has a new-and-improved mounting mechanism. It holds bicycles by the crossbar, instead of by the wheels, like other hitch mount racks. Thus, loading up your bikes becomes easier and makes for a more simplistic design.

Another great feature is the integrated lock cable. The built-in heavy-duty cable lock stops your bikes from being stolen by securing them to the rack itself. When it’s not being used, the cable can be stored inside the rack.

This hitch bike carrier is also more stable than other models on the market. The individual carry arms are sturdy and padded to prevent any bike damage, even when driving at high speeds.

Lastly, when the rack isn’t being used, it can be folded up without needing to uninstall it from the hitch. This saves you a ton of rear space. On top of that, if you want to reach into the trunk, you can angle the hitch adaptor downward out of your way.

Pros:

  • Folds up and down for easy access to the trunk and to save room
  • Carries up to five bikes, perfect for a larger family
  • Has a sturdy, thief-proof locking cable to protect the bikes

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t secure non-conventional bikes in place without an additional adaptor

5. Yakima Holdup Hitch Mounted Bike Rack

Yakima Hold Up Tray Style Hitch Bike Rack

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We love the Yakima hitch rack because of how sturdy and supportive it is. Whether you’re carrying two or four bikes, it keeps them in place and stops them from falling off, even when driving through potholes.

While it does come with a heftier price tag, we think it’s well worth every dime spent. The frame of the rack is one of the strongest and most durable you’ll find on the market. Not to mention it won’t get rusty and whittle away with time.

Mounting the bikes in place is also easy. Since this is a hanging hitch rack, you only need to place the crossbar of the bike on the individual slot and close the carry arm around it. It’s worth pointing out that a wide variety of bikes will fit on the rack, including larger ones such as cross-country and mountain bikes.

Additionally, this item comes with an excellent locking mechanism to prevent your bicycles from getting stolen. You can unlock all slots with the same key. On top of that, there’s also a sturdy locking mechanism keeping the rack and the hitch together. This ensures no one can easily steak your bikes.

Perhaps our favorite feature is the adjustable spacing between bikes. You can move the hook arms away from one another to allow more room for each bike on the rack. Thus, you won’t have any problems with the bikes hitting one another and potentially getting their paint job damaged.

Pros:

  • With an adaptor, it can carry up to four bikes
  • Padded, strong, spaced out carry arms to safeguard bikes
  • The rack locks to both hitch and bikes to prevent theft

Cons: 

  • It may be hard fitting children’s and women’s bikes without an adaptor

6. Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Rack

Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount Receiver

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We always recommend the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount Bike carrier for those on a budget. It costs under $120 despite having features that make it worth a lot more. This is the rack to get if you want great quality for your budget.

For starters, when you purchase this item, you will get the hardware you need to install it. There’s a no-wobble knob to attach the rack to your vehicle’s hitch and to keep it from shifting around. That’s really all you need to do in terms of installation. Quick and easy, only taking most customers under 10 minutes.

When the carrier arm isn’t in use, it can fold up to save room. This means you can back up and park conveniently without worrying about hitting whatever is behind you. Thus, you don’t have to constantly install and uninstall it.

If you want to have access to the rear of your vehicle while the bikes are mounted, that is also not a problem with the Allen Sports hitch mount. Simply fold down the mast and you’ll be able to open and close the trunk.

This product holds up to four bikes in place. It’s a great choice for biking-loving families. Each bicycle is held in place by an individual tie-down system. Allen Sports designed them so they could secure bikes in place by the crossbar. However, to hold women’s and children’s bikes in place, you can rotate the individual carry arm to fit their non-conventional design.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and conveniently folds up and down according to your needs
  • Carries non-conventional bikes as well as bigger bikes (i.e. mountain bikes)
  • No-wobble bolt prevents swaying of the mast when attached to the hitch

Cons: 

  • Does not have a locking system to prevent theft

 

Best Budget Choice

7. CyclingDeal 1-Bike Roof Carrier Rack

CyclingDeal Roof Bike Rack for One

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The CyclingDeal roof bike rack is a no-frills approach to taking your bicycle with you on the go. It’s great for solo adventurers who don’t want to spend a fortune on a bulky item.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it can only carry one bike at a time. That’s great for those who don’t need a bulky bike carrier when they’re going solo. However, if you want to carry additional bikes with you, simply buy the same product another time. They can be put side by side on the vehicle’s roof bars.

Unlike other roof mount racks, the CyclingDeal doesn’t require you to remove the bicycle’s front wheel. You can mount it as is on the sliding tray. Then, use the clamp to lock around your bike’s down tube to hold it in place and stop it from getting stolen.

Your bike will be held in place by the two red fabric straps attached to the roof rack. They go around the rim of the front and back wheels. This may not seem like much support to some, but customers swear by its stability when going the speed limit in the reviews they’ve written about the product.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and doesn’t take up much room when mounted
  • Affordable pick great for solo travelers or for a couple
  • No need to remove the front wheel to mount bikes on the roof

Cons: 

  • Taller bikes may wobble with just the clamp and straps on

8. BV Bike Hitch Mount Rack Carrier

BV 2-Bike Bicycle Hitch Carrier

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The BV hitch rack for bikes takes a different approach than its competitors. It has more of a tray-like design than others and comes with built-in padded support points.

Like other hitch mount carriers, the BV model can be folded up when not in use. It will give you more room for maneuvers when backing up. You can also angle it down when the bikes are mounted on it so that you can access the trunk.

A key feature is its two-way no-wobble installation kit. When you use the screw that comes with the item to secure the rack to the hitch of your vehicle, your mounted bikes won’t move as much even when driving at highway speeds. This is especially important if you’re concerned with stability.

At the rear of the hitch tray, there is a red reflector. This way, when driving at night, other drivers can see clearly where your vehicle ends, thus preventing accidents. It’s also useful for when you park your vehicle with the bikes mounted on the rack in low-light settings.

All of these features are great. However, our favorite one is how many support points there are to keep your bike safe. Your bicycle will be supported in three different points, which is not true for most other hitch bike carriers. On top of that, the three padded arms are padded so that the paint job on your bike doesn’t get damaged.

Pros:

  • Great support in three distinct points with padded protection
  • The rack folds up and down out of the way both with bikes on and off
  • No-wobble installation prevents accidents and damage to bikes

Cons: 

  • May not hold non-conventional bikes in place safely

9. Tyger Auto Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Receiver

Tyger Auto TG Carrier for Bikes

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The Tyger hitch mount doesn’t have a ton of fancy features. However, it excels at the ones it does have. The best part is that it is affordable, with a four-bike receiver costing under $150.

It is built out of durable, heavy-weight, sturdy materials and accommodates up to four bikes. The hooks that secure the bike in place are made from hardened plastic and can be tightened as needed. Thus, virtually every bike (from mountain bikes to children’s bikes) will fit perfectly in its individual slots.

Most reviewers mention how easy the installation process it is. In a nutshell, all you need to do is screw on a bolt and tighten it. In fact, this product comes with a DIY installation manual to guide you through the process.

On top of all that, when you order the Tyger hitch mount carrier, you get a cable lock to secure your bikes. It works like any other number-combination lock but it is super handy in preventing thefts.

Pros:

  • Affordable for a 4-bike hitch rack with all the main features you’ll need
  • Soft cradles and protection pads prevent the bike from getting damaged
  • Allows you to lock your bikes to the rack, thus preventing theft

Cons: 

  • Access to the trunk is possible but you need to untighten a hitch bolt

10. Demon United Tailgate Pad for Bikes

Demon United Tailgate Pad for Bikes

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The last item on our list is very different from the previous ones. It’s the most temporary and hassle-free item on our list and perfect for any kind of truck with an open truck bed.

There is no metal or steel in this pad. Rather, it is a piece of reinforced waterproof fabric that drapes over the back of a truck bed. Instead of having to mount your bicycle on a separate rack, you place it on the truck bed and trust the tailgate pad to keep it organized and secured.

The Demon United pad has seven separate loops. Each loop goes around the stem of the bike and prevents the bike from shifting around in your pickup.

While it doesn’t provide the same kind of security, say, hitch racks do, it’s still a decent way of keeping your bikes safe on long trips. Moreover, your truck bed more than likely has rifts that will keep the back tire lined up and in place.

There is an access handle that allows you to open the tailgate while the pad is still draped over it.

Pros:

  • Temporary and affordable alternative to a metal rack for bikes
  • Holds up to seven bikes in place all lined up

Cons: 

  • Isn’t as secure or stable as hitch, roof, or trunk racks


What Are Bike Racks Used For?

Bike racks, no matter what kind, are pretty self-explanatory. They help you transport bikes on a car. Not everyone has the room (or patience) to load up bikes into their car. What if you want to go on a long family road trip and take the bikes with you? This is the most useful invention that will get you there all in one piece.

Another thing to point out is that you should never transport unstable loads on your car. Strapping a bike to the roof of your car with cables, for example, could lead to an accident. Not to mention that, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it’s illegal to add unstable loads to a car or truck!

 

Different Types of Car Bike Racks

There are many kinds of racks for bikes out there. We’re even willing to bet there’s a rack for every kind of vehicle driven in the United States. Yup, that’s how diverse this product really is.

 

Hitch Mount Bike Rack

These may be the most popular rack style for bikes. Hitch mount bike racks attach to the hitch (or “ball”) at the back of your vehicle. You can then load up the bikes on top of the tray-like bicycle carrier attachment and secure them in place.

The most recent hitch mount racks can be folded up and out of the way when you’re not using them. This is particularly handy if you don’t want to frequently mount and dismount the rack.

Their only disadvantage is that they elongate the length of your vehicle. Thus, if you’re parking, you have to be mindful of the added cargo you have at the back.

Hitch Rack with Four Bikes Mounted

 

Roof Bike Rack

Roof mount racks are also very popular and come in three types. The first is known as a complete rack system, meaning that you attach it to the bare roof of your vehicle. The second looks like a tray and you should mount it on your vehicle’s factory roof crossbars. The third and last type has suction cups to hold it in place.

No matter which one you choose, roof racks are incredibly useful. You can place your bike up there wheels-first, normally, or upside down. Either way, there are locking systems to keep it from falling off as you drive.

There are only two downsides to getting this rack, in our expert opinion. The first is that you’ll need some muscles to load it on top of your vehicle’s roof. The second is that, when you’re driving into a garage with a low ceiling, you will need to remember you still have the bikes up there. But these things aren’t really dealbreakers.

Bike on a Roof Mount Rack

 

Trunk Mounted Rack

There are also trunk mounted racks. They attach to your vehicle using a system of straps and hooks. Together, they create enough tension to hold the rack (and the bikes) safely in place. These are typically the cheapest and most hassle-free options.

Since they’re the most temporary racks, they come with a fair amount of disadvantages. For starters, they don’t lock to the car, which puts your bikes more at risk of getting stolen. Secondly, when the rack is mounted you lose access to your vehicle’s trunk. It will also be harder to see through your rear-view mirror (which a backup camera should take care of). Lastly, if the bike shifts around while you’re driving, there’s a chance it can scratch your vehicle.

All that said, they’re still a great low-investment alternative to carrying your bikes inside your car. They may not be the best racks but they get the job done.

Trunk Racks without Bikes Mounted

Tailgate Pads

Obviously, carrying your bike in your truck bed is an option. But if you want to keep that brand-new expensive bike intact, you would do well getting a tailgate pad.

Installing them is a piece of cake: you simply drape it over the tailgate and place your bicycle in the truck bed with the front wheel hanging out. Then, you loop the security straps around the metal bar connecting the two bike wheels and that’s that.

The clear disadvantage is that tailgate pads don’t offer as much protection and support as propper racks. They also put your bike at a higher risk of being stolen. Yet, these pads are still a very solid way of driving several bikes around.

Tailgate Bicycle Rack

 

What Bike Rack to Buy?: Buying Guide

Now that we’ve shown you our favorite bike racks, it’s time for you to learn what features to be on the lookout for. After all, only you can answer the question “What bike rack do I need?” Different people use their racks for different things. The best bike rack you will ever find is the one that perfectly caters to your needs.

 

Type of Installation

Firstly, ask yourself, “Will a bike rack fit my car?” With all the different types that exist (hitch, roof, trunk, and pad), you need to find the one that works with your vehicle’s design. This is the first step in finding the best bike rack for you.

For example, if you drive a hatchback without a hitch, hitch mount racks and truck bed pads are out of the question for you. You’ll have to narrow down your search to roof or trunk racks.

 

Number of Bike Slots

How many bikes will you need to take with you on the go? Most bicycle rack companies make products that accommodate anywhere between two and four bikes at a time.

If you plan on taking your whole family camping and want to ride your bikes while you’re there, you should look for a spacious rack. Tailgate pads are the roomiest and they usually hold up to seven bikes in place at once.

 

Ease of Use

It’s also important to think of how easy it will be to use the rack you get. You don’t want one that’ll give you a headache every time you try to mount your bike on it. Simplicity always rules.

 

Convenience

Some racks are more convenient than others. By that, we mean that putting them on your car and going about your day is much easier with some models than with others.

For example, getting to your vehicle’s trunk while a trunk mounted rack is installed is a huge pain. That isn’t a problem when your hitch rack allows you to angle down the bikes, freeing up your trunk.

Think of how much these things would affect you and keep that in mind. You may not find a perfect solution, but at least you’ll be aware of the problems you could run into.

Angling down bicycle tray on hitch

 

Sturdiness and Stability

This is one of the most important things to look out for. You need to have a rack that’s stable and holds in place. The last thing you want is a swaying bike on a highway!

Sturdiness is another thing to take into consideration. You want to get a rack that will hold its shape for years and years to come. Thus, look for one made from heavy-duty materials that look durable.

 

Padded Security Points

In order to keep your bike pristine, you’ll need a rack with padded security points. This will ensure the security points don’t eat away your precious bike’s paint job.

 

Locking Cables

The locking cables are the built-in devices that wrap around your bike to keep it in place. They can either be made from fabric, plastic, or metal. Invest in durable, sturdy locking cables to lower the chances of a thief stealing your bike.

 

Price

Lastly, don’t forget to stay within budget. We’re firm believers you can get amazing bike racks for a car at low prices. Although we feature higher-end products, know that there’s a budget pick worth considering, too.

Mounting a bike on a bicycle carrier



Frequently Asked Questions

Are bike racks universal?

Bike carriers are not universal. Depending on what kind of vehicle you have, you’ll need a specific rack. For instance, if you have a pickup, you can’t expect a trunk-mounted rack to work.

Does your car have a hitch? What about roof crossbars? That is to say, you need to think of your vehicle’s design before committing to a purchase.

Can bike racks damage cars?

If you aren’t careful when installing the rack, yes, a rack for bikes could damage your car.

Putting too much cargo on a hitch mount rack will damage the hitch. Not mounting a roof rack correctly can make your bike slip off and fall on your vehicle’s roof. Your bike can swing forward and break the rearview window if you don’t ensure there is enough tension in the straps on a trunk mounted rack.

As you can tell, all racks can damage your car. That’s why you should follow the installation guide to a T.

Can bike racks be stolen?

Technically, thieves can always steal bike racks, as long as they have the right tools. They can unscrew the bolts keeping the rack in place and take off with them.

Some racks do come with a locking mechanism that attaches the rack to your vehicle. You can only open it with a key. It’s the best way to keep bikes safe when on the road.

Can a bike rack rest on glass?

This is usually a question that comes up when talking about trunk mounted racks. If you install them correctly and ensure the tension on the straps is correct, then you don’t have to worry about the rack resting on glass.

In these cases, the weight of the bike rests mostly on the lower portion of the rack, meaning the glass barely has any pressure applied to it.

Can a bike rack hold a wheelchair?

The answer to this question is that it really depends on the kind of rack you own. Some (most notoriously the ones made by Thule) can hold a wheelchair safely in place. But most cannot.

Can you put a bike rack on a rental car?

Yes, you can. None of the bike racks for bikes we have reviewed need you to drill any holes anywhere. They’re all installed using simple tools that cause no damage to a car’s frame. If you mount a bike carrier on a rental car, our guess is that no one will ever know.

Where to buy a bike rack?

All the racks we reviewed are available on Amazon. Is there a more convenient retailer out there? You’ll also find these items at Home Depot, bike shops, Walmart, Target, and other similar retail stores. Alternatively, you can order them directly from the brand’s website.



Rita Cunha
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