A good bike rack is a must if your goal is to ride your bike all over the place. If you like to travel from place to place and participate in races or group bike rides, you’ll need a good rack to keep your bicycle secure and safe as you travel.
Fortunately, there are numerous bike racks that come in various sizes and designs so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your car or van securely.
- Best Overall - Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack
- Best On A Budget - CyclingDeal Bike Car Roof Carrier Rack with Lock
We’ve put this guide together to help you choose the perfect way of transporting your bikes, as there are a number of different options available depending on your circumstances.
So, if you’re looking for details on choosing a great bike rack, read on.
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Compare The Best Mounted Bike Racks
Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What to Look for in a Bike Rack
If you’re trying to find a great bike rack, there are things that you should consider so you get the best one in the end. These tips can help ensure that you get a bike rack that suits your needs and they revolve around the following:
1. Consider which style of bike rack you want
The two main types include the tray type, which usually sits on the roof of the vehicle and does a great job holding the bike in place as you drive; and the hanging type, which is usually found in hitch- or spare tire-mounted racks and is usually easier to use when you have a mountain bike or road bike.
2. How many bikes to accommodate?
Take into consideration how many bikes you need accommodated because different racks will have different limits on the number of racks they can handle.
Let’s face it; you never want to use duct tape or a similar attachment tool just because your rack isn’t able to hold more than one bike. For two or more bikes, you need a rack specially made to accommodate that many bikes.
3. Decide whether or not you need a lock
Only you can answer this question honestly but if you want your bikes extra secure because you live in a dangerous area or you paid a lot of money for them, you may need a bike rack that is made to be locked with a lock-and-key system.
You can also purchase lock cores separately if the rack you want doesn’t already have a way to keep the bikes locked up and secure.
4. Consider the type of bike and vehicle you have
Some bikes have frames that make it more convenient to choose a tray-style rack and you’ll also need to make sure that your vehicle can handle the type of bike roof carrier you’re interested in.
In other words, everything has to be compatible so do some research ahead of time and make sure that they are, including the rack, the vehicle, and any accessories you might wish to add to the collection.
Not all racks or carriers are the same and there is no real standard size or design. This means that doing your due diligence is important so that you get a high-quality, durable product that can keep your bike safe as you carry it around on the top of your vehicle.
The Best Roof Racks and Carriers for Bicycles: Find the One That Is Right for You
When you need a rack for your bicycle, you naturally want one that is high in quality and built to last, not to mention one that does what it’s supposed to do. Below are some of the top-rated bike carriers that will make you wish that you had started bicycling before now.
Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack
One of the things that makes this roof rack so invaluable is the fact that it is so lightweight and easy to install. At a weight of only 9.4 pounds, anyone can lift it up and place it on the back of a car or SUV and its ergonomic design makes it simple and convenient to hook your bike up to it.
It is also made out of a sturdy steel that allows it to accommodate bikes of many sizes, designs, and weights. Made to clamp on the bike’s front fork, this bike rack has versatility and is easy to use.
Whether your crossbars are round, square, or flat, the rack can be installed quickly and easily regardless of your car’s make or model. It is also easy to install and doesn’t even require tools, just a little elbow grease and help from the instructions. In fact, you can place it on the top of your vehicle in a matter of minutes. It even comes with a lock to keep your bike more secure.
The clamp for the Yakima ForkLift comes with three different settings. They include two lower settings that accommodate factory crossbars and a top setting that works best for round and square bars.
There are also T-bolts and hand-tightened knobs that will fit snugly by simply using your hand. Of course, even though the installation and removal of this bike roof carrier are simple and fast, the manufacturer doesn’t recommend that you perform this action every day.
The ForkLift also has an adjustable length that allows for a wide range of bike lengths and it can carry one bike that weighs up to 35 pounds. If you have brakes that use standard 100-mm x 9-mm quick-release front hubs, you can easily utilize this bike carrier and take advantage of its many benefits.
In addition, because of the way the carrier is installed — with no contact with the frame — you’ll never have to worry about the bike or the vehicle being scratched or damaged in any way. The total size for the rack is 6” x 6” x 54”, making it small enough not to take up too much room yet big and sturdy enough to do its job.
Since it can accommodate virtually any vehicle and any type of bike, this universal bike rack is a great product to have, particularly since it can be used on sedans, minivans, SUVs, and many other vehicles. It is a great all-around bike carrier that makes it super easy to take your bike with you on your next outing.
Since it is a strong, long-lasting bike carrier that is meant to handle the elements well, this is one product that you’ll never regret purchasing.
Swagman Standard Roof Rack
This is yet another roof rack that attaches to the fork of your bicycle, which means that you’ll have to remove the front tire of the bike before attaching it to your roof.
It fits most disc brakes and even attaches to crossbars that are round, oval, or square. The carrier comes with detailed instructions that are simple to understand and provide you with a step-by-step way to make sure that it is attached properly to your vehicle.
This bike roof carrier comes complete with everything that you need to install and utilize it, including tie-down and quick-release straps. You can easily install it without using any tools and its solid design allows for excellent securing of the bicycle so that you don’t have to worry about the bike falling off as you drive. It fits nearly every make and model of vehicle and is even ready to go within minutes.
With this carrier, you can carry one bicycle weighing up to 35 pounds, which means that it can accommodate most bikes. There is even a strap with a cam buckle to make sure that the rear wheel of your bicycle is secure and safe during your travels.
Moreover, at a weight of just one pound, it is easy to maneuver and to install and remove regardless of your own personal strength. Once it’s installed, you simply place your bike on it and go!
Easy to install and even easier to use, this fork mount rack for bicycles is also inexpensive at around $50, making it affordable for nearly everyone. With a 9-mm skewer to attach the front of the carrier and a solidly built belt to secure the back, you’ll never have to worry about the security of your bicycle as you travel from Point A to Point B.
The carrier is even made to withstand the elements so you can leave it on your vehicle long-term without worrying about rust or damages to your vehicle. When you think about it, finding a great bike rack that lasts but isn’t expensive is sometimes a challenge but this roof carrier is both reasonably priced and high in quality.
It is solidly made and affordable for nearly everyone so you can pay one low price and rely on the carrier for many years to come. Although the carrier doesn’t lock, you can easily purchase a bike lock if that’s what you want — it is just that versatile!
Whether you get a lock or not, this carrier is still one of the most reliable and easy-to-use bike racks on the market, making it a popular choice for millions of bicyclists.
It is also found in more than a few places and it can even be ordered on websites such as Amazon and many others.It also accommodates bikes of many different types as long as the weight doesn’t go above 35 pounds.
Even a road bike can be held down securely with this type of carrier and it certainly provides a lot of bang for the buck.
Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack
This high-quality bike rack requires a roof rack with crossbars with a spread of between 16” and 48”. It fits round, square, factory, and even aerodynamic crossbars with ease.
It is also super easy to put together because as soon as you get it out of the box, it is almost ready to go. In fact, you can easily install it on your vehicle without using any tools, which makes it a very convenient item to add to your vehicle.
The Yakima FrontLoader is a bike roof carrier that holds the bicycle in an upright position by securing both the front and back wheels so there is no need to remove the front wheel just to have the bike installed properly.
It is an especially good option if you have a bike with carbon fiber or custom paint jobs, thanks to the fact that you can install your bicycle without the bike ever touching the frame itself. This also means less chance of scratching or damaging your bike, which is important to all bike owners.
Best of all, nearly all bikes can be accommodated with this carrier, including through axles, disc brakes, and full-suspension bikes. In fact, it can accommodate bikes with 20” to 29” wheels and tires that are up to three inches in width. Furthermore, with a price that is roughly $200, it is not unreasonably priced; therefore, nearly everyone can afford this high-quality, long-lasting bike carrier.
If you want to protect your bike even further, the system lets you add two same-key-system (SKS) locks to make it even easier to take care of your bike. You can use this lock to lock your bike to the mount and lock the mount to the base rack.
In addition, the rack’s aerodynamic design makes it very attractive and eye-catching so it is an item that you’ll be proud to show off to family and friends.
Of course, its attractiveness isn’t its best feature because this is one bike rack that does a great job helping you transport your bicycle from one location to another every time. Just think about how much easier your travels will be once you purchase this type of bike carrier.
It is installed quickly and can accommodate many types of bikes, from mountain bikes to road bikes. Since it carries the entire bike including both wheels, you never have to worry about where to keep the front wheel or about accidentally misplacing it.
The carrier also comes in a mirror black finish that makes it look great and match the décor of most vehicles. The neutral color means that it will match almost anything and the double-sided wheel strap means that loading access is much easier and faster.
Once you understand all of the many benefits of this bike rack, you’ll immediately want one. Considering all of its many advantages, it is all but guaranteed to be a purchase that you never regret.
CyclingDeal Bike Car Roof Carrier Rack with Lock
One of the cheapest bike racks on the market at around $45, the CyclingDeal roof carrier offers solid steel construction for longevity and clamps easily onto bars that are up to 2” thick and 3” in width.
It also includes a key that you can use to keep your bicycle secure at all times. Best of all, there is no need to take off the front wheel of your bike because the rack is made to accommodate both the front and the back wheels.
The steel powder coating means the rack has a surface that is all but impossible to damage and it even comes with a one-year warranty to give you the peace of mind that all bike owners need and deserve.
It even comes with tie-down straps for a lot more security so there is never a need to worry about your bike flying off of the roof of your car as you travel along to your destination. Simply put, it is a bike roof carrier that is both reliable and works the way that it’s supposed to work.
It is also a lightweight carrier. At only a little more than seven pounds, it is easy to install regardless of the strength of the user. Since it holds the bike in an upright position, the carrier gets great wind resistance and allows your bike to remain steady and secure the entire time you’re driving. Best of all, when you have no bicycle on the rack, it lays flat and out of the way, which provides for a less cumbersome arrangement.
If you don’t particularly care for hitch or spare-wheel bike racks, the CyclingDeal bike carrier is for you. It holds a variety of bicycle types and provides a lot of bang for your buck.
It may not compare to those carriers that cost four or five times more but it is nonetheless a high-quality, long-lasting rack that is certain to provide you with years of reliable service.
Both square and aero crossbars are perfect for this type of carrier so if you have crossbars made by Rhino, Thule, ProRack, or Rola, you can likely use the carrier with no problems. Yet another advantage to a carrier that doesn’t allow the bike to touch the frame is that the carrier is super easy to set up and utilize, not to mention safe because it won’t allow your bike to become damaged with use.
Indeed, the most difficult part of the entire installation process is making sure that you have the rack installed first. Once this is accomplished, the rest is easy. Not only does the locking mechanism keep would-be thieves away from your bicycle but it also allows the bike itself to sit up straight while you’re traveling, meaning that it won’t tilt over or fall off as you travel from Point A to Point B.
For this and many other reasons, the CyclingDeal bike rack is a great investment that you won’t regret purchasing.
Thule Side Arm Universal Bike Mount
Made by a company with a great reputation for making high-quality, durable roof racks for all types of purposes, this universal bike mount accommodates nearly all types of bicycles and almost all makes and models of vehicles.
Both the back and the front wheels are secured firmly; therefore, there is never a need to remove the bike’s front tire just to secure everything in place. Also, since the securing hook doesn’t come into contact with the frame but only the wheel, there is never any damage or destruction of paint as there are with some other products.
The double-wall aluminum tray means that the carrier is sturdy and rigid without being too heavy. In fact, it weighs around 13 pounds; therefore, it isn’t difficult to install or handle. It does require the use of crossbars for the bike to be installed properly, but it can be installed quickly and easily without the use of any complicated tools or other devices.
It is easy to remove the bike as well so even if you go biking in a different location every day, loading and unloading your bike is never time-consuming.There is a ratcheting wheel strap that allows you to secure the back tire firmly in place as well as an optional one-key lock system that will keep your bike even more secure.
For bike riders who travel to unknown areas, this can provide you with the peace of mind that you deserve. After all, no one wants to spend a large sum of money on a high-quality bicycle and then have it stolen at the first bike race or competition.
This bike roof carrier is also made out of corrosion-resistant double-wall aluminum for extra sturdiness and longevity. It fits most bikes with wheels that are 20” to 29” in diameter and most tires that are roughly 3” in width.
If your roof currently has round or factory-mounted racks installed, this is a great bike carrier to include because it will fit the racks perfectly and make it simple to ensure that your bike will be safe the entire time you’re in the vehicle.
The Thule Side Arm bike mount is perfect for all types of bikes, including many mountain and off-road bikes, and it is easy to install and use even for those people who aren’t particularly good with mechanical things. The manufacturer provides easy-to-understand instructions that thoroughly explain each step of the process so you’ll know that you have the device installed properly every time.
Yet another advantage of the Side Arm is that it works regardless of the speed you’re going or the weather conditions as you travel. It keeps your bike safe and secure even if you’re traveling at high speeds or even if it is raining, sleeting, or snowing. This is a very reliable and well-built bike rack that you can depend on year after year regardless of what you put it through.
The company that makes the product stands by all of their products, not just this one. This means that you can count on their customer service to make sure that you’re happy with this product every time.