For some reason, you decided to purchase a two-wheeled vehicle without an engine. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t do so well at getting hard to reach places, like the middle of the woods where there might be the start of a nice and smooth trail. For that, you might need (you guessed it) a vehicle with an engine, and if that’s the case and your car isn’t big enough to fit a bicycle in the trunk, you’ll need to spring for a bike rack.
The harsh truth is there is no way to transport a bicycle on the outside of a car without it being inconvenient in some way, obscure or common. Either the bicycle will block some rear-vision, or will make the car too tall that you can’t go into a parking garage.
However, the good news is if you pick the rack that’s right for you and your car it won’t be too much of a problem. It might not even be all that noticeable. There are various options depending on what brand and features you want, vs. how many bicycles you’re going to take. Luckily bicycle racks don’t reach above the $100 mark very often, rather, it’s probable you’ll find a bicycle rack that exceeds your expectations for less than $100.
There are a few different ways a bike rack can mount onto the rear of your car. They can either lock into a hitch, which is a separate piece you’ll need to buy and install if you haven’t already, or they can latch onto the trunk lid via hooks and straps.
Hitching the bike rack is probably a lot more secure than simply latching it to the trunk lid, however, the trunk lid way is just as common and those products have been well-received. So if you don’t have a hitch, don’t worry too much. If you do have one, you might want to get the hitch mounted rack, but bear in mind neither option strays far from the other in terms of price. Another thing to consider about the hitch-mounted rack is the extra weight that it brings.
Mounting the rack on your car’s roof is another option, but it seems to have more grievances than praises. The advantage of a roof rack is being able to access the trunk, and not having your rear-view blocked in any way.
The problem with roof racks is the bicycle is harder to load, it’s not as secure because the bike is balanced on its own tires, and the roof mounted rack requires cross bars. It’s a much cheaper option overall if you already have the crossbars, but it’s not necessarily worth losing your bicycle over, especially if you paid $13,000 for it.
Allen seems to be the dominant force in bicycle rack making. This particular model attaches to the trunk lid and holds up to 3 bicycles, has been highly rated and is not very expensive.
For those motorists looking for a hitch-mount bike rack, Critical Cycles provides a decent option that’s also highly regarded like the trunk-mounted rack by Allen. There are a few different options in regards to how many bicycles you intend to carry, but no matter which one you choose it’s not going to set you back much further than the Allen.
You can also lower this particular rack so it can stay out of your vision, or at least take up less rear-vision. While it is more secure, don’t forget about the weight difference which also makes it more difficult to store, and it also requires the hitch itself.
Here is an example of what you can expect from a roof rack. While this particular model gives an option to lock in the front fork after removing the front wheel, others do not. A plus for this roof rack is that you don’t need to remove it from the car because it doesn’t get in your way like a trunk mounted rack would. Again, you’ll need the cross bars if you don’t already have them.
Some of these bike racks come with straps for securing the bicycles further, however they tend to be of not as good quality as specialty straps you can buy separately. We recommend ratcheting straps as they are easy to use.
For bike racks, Yakima is a very popular brand that claims some of their roof rack mountings are universal. A bit on the pricey side (you won't find a new one for less than $100), Yakima offers a wide variety of bike racks for the trunk or the roof, and offer hardware as well.
No matter what rack you end up going with, keep in mind the factors of convenience, construction, and security. Make sure the rack itself is sturdy, that it’s secure, and can be easily removed (if necessary) and stored without a lot of difficulty. Probably the best part about bike racks is they aren’t expensive, whichever one you choose.
Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.