1 bike trunk rack

1 bike trunk rack DEFAULT

Tyger Auto Trunk Mount Bicycle Rack, 1-Bike

When you are ready to pack up and head out of town, you want to be confident about the bike rack you’ve attached your bikes to for the drive. With countless bike racks on the market, it is not always easy to know which are the best fit for you. It may take some digging but with a few things to keep in mind and a good review of each rack, you’ll surely be able to find a rack that is a good fit for you.

There are several key things that you must know in order to buy the right bike rack. There are three main types of bike racks: roof racks, hitch racks and trunk racks. You will want to decide what will work best with your vehicle. Then consider the type of bikes you have. Most racks will note how much weight they can handle so be sure to opt for a heftier rack if you have heavy bikes. The size of your tires is another thing to check. Last of all you need to know how many bikes you’ll be hauling on the rack. All of these factors will help you determine the bike rack you need for your vehicle.

Of course, you will always have a budget in mind when you are buying a bike rack. They can range anywhere from low hundreds to over a thousand dollars. When you want to keep a reasonable budget, you’ll most likely turn to the trunk racks. This type is usually the most affordable and will get the job done.

If you are only transporting one bike, you can easily find a trunk bike rack for that. Look for a model that is fit for most vehicles that do not have rear spoilers and one that offers easy installation. For a two-bike rack, you’ll want to take a look at the Allen Sports Trunk Mounted Bike Rack, 2-Bike. The larger Tyger Auto Deluxe 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bike Rack is ideal for three bikes in transit.

There is another type of modern racks designed for trucks. These tailgate pads are a cushy pad that drapes over the tailgate and features a massive web that contains and locks the front tires in place against the tailgate. You can haul several bikes at once with this system.

Sours: https://www.dontwasteyourmoney.com/products/tyger-auto-trunk-mount-bicycle-rackbike/

There are a vast number of bike racks on sale today, all variations of the same idea with the same end goal: to safely transport your bike to your destination without having to contort it to fit inside your vehicle. Some racks attach to become semi-permanent extensions of your car (think hitch and roof), while others are designed to be more portable (trunk or tailgate pad).

Some, like the Thule ProRide XT, for example, attach to factory crossbars on a roof, while others—the Saris Bones 2-Bike—hook onto your trunk and can be removed when not in use. The best rack for you will depend on a few things: the type of mount (your car may not have a hitch), the type of bike (all racks come with weight limits), tire size (if you want to haul a fat bike, keep that in mind), number of bikes you want to carry (most racks accommodate two), and your budget (the racks in this list range from $ to $1,). First decide what kind of rack you want, then narrow down within that category to find the right one for your needs.

Scroll down for a snapshot of five of the best racks, then keep reading for buying advice and in-depth reviews of these and other great options.


Küat Sherpa

Küat Sherpa



Stays tight in the receiver tube for a jiggle-free connection


Saris Bones 2-Bike

Saris Bones 2-Bike


Quickly adjusts without tools to fit the contours of your vehicle


Thule ProRide XT

Thule ProRide XT


Easiest rack to use when loading bikes onto the roof of tall vehicles


1UP Equip-D Double

1UP Equip-D Double


Ratcheting arms eliminate the need for straps


Kupper Mounts

Kupper Mounts


Vacuum seal cups attach to most vehicles in a matter of minutes

Roof Racks

Courtesy of RockyMounts

There are three types of roof racks: complete rack systems that mount to your bare roof, trays that attach to your factory-installed crossbars/side rails/tracks, and suction cups that vacuum seal to almost any surface. And there are two ways to carry bikes on them: with or without the front wheel attached. Remove the wheel and you lower the height and lighten the bike, but that may not be so easy with some disc brake-equipped bikes. Adapters are available for thru-axles, though it’s wise to check compatibility before you buy. Leave the wheel on and you eliminate any concern regarding disc brakes and having to stash a muddy tire in your car, even if you sacrifice a bit of stability. Other bonuses of using a roof rack: On most options, everything locks (bikes to rack, rack to roof), and there’s no chance of a damaged bike should you get rear-ended on the highway. But there is the possibility that you’ll forget that your bike is up there as you pull into the garage, so beware.

Hitch Racks

Courtesy of Yakima

Of the three styles here, the hitch rack is the most convenient. Once it’s installed, nothing more needs to be done, and lifting bikes up and onto the trays (or, in some cases, hanging them from the top tube) is easier than lifting them over your head the way you do with a roof rack. Hitch racks slide into your vehicle’s receiver tube, and most are available for and/or two-inch receivers. Most newer options lock to your hitch, are hinged to fold up and out of the way when not in use, and have a cam to firm up the rack inside the receiver tube for a jiggle-free connection. Many also now have an integrated lock to secure bikes to the rack and use arms that extend up and over the front wheel. A downside to hitch racks: They effectively make your car longer, so you’ll have to be extra cautious when backing up and parallel parking.

Trunk Racks

Courtesy of Kuat

This type of rack attaches to your trunk using straps and hooks, and upper and lower feet stabilize it against the car. It’s typically the cheapest and lightest option of the three and the most portable. Once you get the hang of how the straps and hooks work with your car, removing and installing the rack becomes easier. And if you park in a high-crime area, you’ll want to remove it and stash it inside your car or house (trunk racks don’t lock to your car). Other downsides include the potential for a pedal or wheel to flop around and scratch your car’s paint, limitations with where the hooks attach (weather stripping and spoilers may present a problem, for example), and that it may not work with some funky-shaped bikes (think mountain bikes) since it holds them up by the top tube.

Tailgate Pads


A tailgate pad, which attaches to and covers both sides of the gate on your pickup, lets you safely drive with multiple bikes (up to seven with the Dakine Pickup Pad). Simply drape the pad over the tailgate and attach it via a series of webbing straps that loop around the gate. Load bikes in rear-wheel first so only the front wheel hangs over the tailgate, and use the looped straps to secure each bike by its down tube. The grooves in the bed liner act as natural trays for the rear wheel.

How We Tested These Racks and Pads

Our bike-crazed editors have driven hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles with their bikes entrusted to these racks. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience to determine the best options for you. We haul road bikes, mountain bikes, e-bikes, and city bikes, as well as bikes with disc brakes, big wheels, fat tires, and more. We keep these racks and pads on our vehicles for months, using and abusing them until we know what works and what doesn’t. If we weren’t satisfied with a particular rack, we didn’t include it. So far, these are the 14—divided into roof, hitch, trunk, and tailgate categories—that earned their spots as the best.

Why It May Be Harder to Find a Rack Right Now

Ever since terms like “shelter in place,” “stay at home,” and “social distancing” took root in our daily lexicon, we’ve had to find alternative forms of entertainment that don’t involve large crowds, indoor activities, or risky situations (such as travel). More people have caught on to the idea that outdoor escapes like hiking, running, and cycling are safe, sanity-saving ways to get out and do something—away from others. This has led to a surge in bike and bike accessory sales and, thus, a depletion of stock. That’s a good thing, because it means more people have discovered bikes. But it’s also frustrating if your goal today is to place an online order only to find out that you may have to wait weeks or even months for delivery. If you see something on this list that catches your eye, and you hit the out-of-stock roadblock, patience (waiting until inventory is fulfilled again), perseverance (it may be available somewhere else online or even somewhere locally), or just being proactive (pre-order is available for many out-of-stock models) might be the way to go. We’ll keep our eye on inventory and update links as often as we can.

Roof Racks


SeaSucker Komodo


Komodo Bike Rack


  • Quick and easy to install and remove
  • Can't be locked onto your vehicle

The Komodo doesn’t look or operate like a traditional roof rack, but our tester thought that was a good thing. Designed to work with either thru-axles or quick releases, it attaches to the roof of a car with four “vacuum cups” that are locked into place by repeatedly pressing the plunger on the side of each until the orange band isn’t visible. To release it, simply pull up on the tabs of each cup and remove the rack. Our conservative tester reached speeds of over 60 mph on the highway, while a more adventurous SeaSucker user put the pedal to the metal on the Autobahn. Neither had any noticeable issues. A bonus is the rack can be fixed to any surface on which you can get a vacuum seal—it doesn’t have to be just the roof, the trunk and back of van doors are also fair game. SeaSucker claims there shouldn’t be any issue with where you place the rack on your roof, but the company cautions against adhering it to any area that’s prone to flexing a lot. While it doesn’t explicitly advise not placing the rack completely on a sun or moonroof, you may want to avoid testing the strength of your windows, and at least fix the front cups to the metal portion of your roof. Still, the only two downsides are there’s no way to lock you bike to guard against theft and the price.


Kupper Mounts

Kupper Mounts


  • Attaches to roof in a matter of minutes
  • Small and light enough to travel with, great for use on rental cars
  • Thru-axle bikes require purchase of a separate adapter

The first product from Kupper Mounts is a single bike rack that uses a vacuum seal, just like SeaSucker, to attach to the roof of your car. In fact, this one is remarkably similar except it feels more robust, has larger vacuum cups, and is much cheaper. The great thing about a rack like this is it can be quickly and easily installed onto just about any hard-top vehicle. Simply wipe the area clean, place the rack on the roof, and repeatedly depress the plunger until the cup is firmly sealed. The fork mount and rear wheel holder weigh only a few pounds, and they ship in a plastic carrying case that keeps the vacuum cups from getting damaged when not in use. When we get to travel again, a rack like this will be great to throw in our suitcase for use on rental cars. Kupper Mounts recommends a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour and a bike weight of no more than 45 pounds. We didn’t put either of those limits to the test, but felt very confident both driving around town and on the freeways with our babies entrusted to this rack. The obvious flaw with a system like this is security. There’s a strap to clamp inside the door frame—although it’s nowhere near as secure as the built-in cable locks of a hitch rack, it might be enough to deter the casual thief.


Thule ProRide XT


Thule ProRide XT



  • No need to remove wheels
  • Easy to operate downtube clamp mechanism
  • Not great for tall vehicles

If you don’t like removing wheels but still want your bike to ride on the roof, the Thule ProRide XT is a great option. It will easily accommodate gravel, road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes. And with the addition of the fat bike adapter, it can also work with tires up to five inches wide. The clamp mechanism holds onto the down tube, tightens with a dial, and works with a wide variety of tube cross sections. Thule states a maximum load capacity of 44 pounds; if your e-bike is lighter than that and you’re comfortable heaving it onto the roof, this rack will work for you. But don’t forget that mounting a bike on top of your car with both wheels on adds significant height to your vehicle, making drive-through windows and garages hazardous to the health of your beloved bike. Generally speaking, wheels-on racks aren’t great options for tall vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs. But of all the roof racks we’ve tried of this style, we found this one the easiest to use while standing on our tiptoes and reaching far overhead. We also suggest using a small cloth rag to pad the frame against the clamp. It’s lined with rubber, but our tester recently discovered some wear marks on the frame after driving across the country with a bike mounted on this rack.

Hitch Racks


1UP Equip-D Double


Equip-D Double Bike Rack


  • Wider and taller arms work better with fat tires and inch wheels
  • Improved release lever

1Up has built a cult-like following with its industrial-looking racks that take a simplistic approach to securing your bike. Two ratcheting arms clamp down on the wheels—no hooks, straps, or adjustments for different sizes or bases necessary. This one specifically features wider and taller arms to work better with inch wheels and fat tires. The Equip-D’s pivot mechanism is smoother, and a T-handle release positioned at the end of the hitch bar doesn’t require reaching through the rack to fold it up. Tiered trays allow bikes to sit closer together, and the rack rides high enough to be out of the way of most exhaust pipes.


Küat Sherpa





  • Hitch cam tightens by hand for a secure fit in the receiver
  • Integrated cable lock
  • Trays aren’t staggered

You’re officially free to forget every complaint you’ve ever had about hitch racks. The Küat Sherpa is as intuitive and convenient as it is sturdy and stylish. Available for both and two-inch hitch sizes and in three colors, the Sherpa pivots up and down with ease via a large lever and fits two bikes (max: 40 pounds each, inch wheelbase, three-inch tires) on its lightweight aluminum platform. Assembly is fairly simple (make sure you follow the directions when removing parts, as the packaging acts as an assembly fixture), and a hitch cam lets you hand-tighten the rack to the receiver for a secure connection. Loading bikes on the trays is a breeze: A ratcheting strap secures the rear wheel in its cradle, while an adjustable, hooked arm battens down the front. The entire system locks to your hitch, and a semi-integrated cable lets you lock your bikes to the rack.


Küat NV





  • Adjustable cradles stagger bikes when fully loaded
  • Integrated repair stand
  • Repair stand isn’t very robust

The last thing you want to see in your rearview mirror as you hurtle down the road is thousands of dollars worth of bikes rattling behind your bumper. Thanks to an expanding-wedge design that secures the rack in your vehicle’s receiver hitch and locks in place with a theft-preventing thru-bolt, the NV stayed wobble-free throughout our testing. A stout pivot lets you flip the rack up when you’re not hauling bikes, deploy it flat for when you are, or drop it to a degree angle for easy access to trunks and pickup beds. Other nice features: integrated cable locks and a repair stand, and adjustable cradles that offer better clearance for stacked bikes when loaded. The only hiccup we noticed is the ratcheting system can get gunked up, making it hard to remove bikes. But as long as we were diligent with cleaning dirt and grime off the ratcheting system after driving on dirty or dusty roads, that was a non-issue. The NV is available for and two-inch receivers; extras include a inch-wheel adaptor for $10 and the $ two-bike add-on (for two-inch receivers only).


Thule T2 Pro XT


T2 Pro XT




  • Wide trigger handle is easy to operate when folding up and lowering the rack
  • Holds tires up to five inches wide
  • More expensive than most other hitch racks

It’s uncommon for a bike rack to elicit awe, but the T2 Pro XT has a series of features that make it, well, awesome. Topping the list is a handle with a wide trigger that allows you, with a single hand, to raise and lower the rack (and dip it out of the way for access to rear hatches). Integrated cable locks keep your bikes from growing legs, and the rack’s arms have a wide, comfortable grip and slide easily to secure the front wheel, with tires up to five inches wide. Instead of using a bolt, the T2 secures to your hitch receiver with an expansion wedge that tightens with a locking knob. The system makes installing and removing the T2 easier (though it weighs 52 pounds, so you might still need an assist). But it’s not foolproof. We didn’t read the instructions carefully enough upon installation and watched in horror as the rack slid away on a six-lane highway; amazingly the bike, the rack, and all vehicles were undamaged, and proper installation has prevented a repeat performance. The T2 is heavier and costs more than most racks, and the convenience features mean it requires a little more care. But the same was said when we moved from hardtails to full-suspension bikes, and few have looked back.


RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away

BackStage Swing Away




  • Wide trigger handle is easy to operate when folding up and lowering the rack
  • Holds tires up to five inches wide

Even hitch racks that tilt down can get in the way of accessing some trunks. The BackStage solves this problem with a design that pivots the bike trays (loaded or unloaded) to the passenger side of the vehicle. While this mechanism makes the rack noticeably heavier to lift on and off your car, the extra weight is one of the only drawbacks we encountered. Quick-release, spring-loaded locking pins keep the rack secure in both the extended and closed positions, while a screw-type clamp keeps it stable and rattle-free while driving. The BackStage fits on two-inch receivers and can carry two bikes that weigh up to 60 pounds each, with tires up to five inches wide. A locking hitch pin and cable-style lock deter theft.


Saris MTR 2

competitive cyclist





  • Staggered trays fit most combinations of bikes
  • Heavy-duty rack that holds up to years of abuse
  • Rack is heavy, requiring more effort to fold up and lower

This is a heavy-duty, hard-working rack that can be relied on day in and day out. Constructed from aluminum and steel, the MTR 2 isn’t light but is strong enough to carry bikes that weigh up to 60 pounds and works on bikes with wheelbases up to 53 inches long. In over a year and a half of regular use, including a cross-country trip, we’ve transported all manner of rigs, like track bikes with skinny, 23mm tires, trail bikes, electric mountain bikes, fat bikes, and even a few cargo bikes. Like most hitch racks, it folds up and out of the way when not in use. The release handle is positioned on the outside of the rack, and although it requires a firm grip to activate, the action is crisp and has yet to jam up on us. Although this rack has just one tray, you can buy single tray add-ons should you need extra capacity in the future.


Yakima Dr. Tray

competitive cyclist

Dr. Tray




  • Lighter than most hitch racks
  • Won’t work with wheels smaller than 26 inches

In two months of testing Yakima’s new, sturdy-yet-light Dr. Tray, we hauled everything from ultralight road bikes to a super-long, mm-travel plus bike to a tight-wheelbase dirt jumper. It held them securely, with little slop and sway on bumpy, switchback dirt roads. Features are well designed: The integrated locks aren’t very sturdy but do add some peace of mind, and the lever that tilts the rack down to provide access to your trunk is at the back end of the rack for ease of use. Still, the Dr. Tray isn’t perfect. Its wheel straps barely fit fat-bike tires, and the pound total weight limit and minimum inch wheel size make it less than ideal for families. But at just 34 pounds, the Dr. Tray is almost a third lighter than similar racks from other brands—helpful when you’re trying to wrestle it on and off your car. If you carry mostly adult-size bikes in various styles and remove your rack often, it’s a great choice.


Thule Helium Platform 2


Thule Helium Platform 2



  • Ratcheting arms fit a wide range of wheel and tire sizes
  • Doesn”’t work for bikes with wheels smaller than 26 inches
  • Not ideal for e-bikes

Add Thule to the list of brands that have adopted the system of dual ratcheting arms made popular by 1UP. But as you’d expect from Thule, the Helium Platform 2 is polished, refined, and very user-friendly. Aluminum construction keeps it as light as possible without sacrificing load capacity. Once you wrestle it into your hitch receiver, it fits snug and secure without wiggling or bouncing. The ratcheting arms make it mindless and easy to load bikes of varying wheel base lengths, as there are no straps to adjust. Simply place the bike on the rack, push the arms over the wheels, and away you go. The only drawback with the Helium Platform 2 is the trays aren’t tiered or staggered, so you can run into fit issues from time to time, with the handlebar from one bike running into the saddle from the bike next to it. However, since there are no fixed places to mount the bikes, we found it easy to shift bikes side to side in order to fit them together when the bar from one bike ran into the rear wheel of the other.

Trunk Racks


Saris Bones 2-Bike


Bones 2-Bike


  • Easy to install and adjust without tools
  • Adapts to a wide range of trunk shapes
  • Not great for bikes with untraditional frame shapes

The Saris Bones 2-Bike is a lightweight, easily adjustable trunk rack that goes on quick and stays put. At $, that’s plenty to make it enticing, but Saris’s consideration of minor details makes operating the Bones even easier. You can adjust the position of the arms and legs quickly and without tools, thanks to the center spline design, and the mounts accommodate narrow and wide top tubes. Because it’s a trunk rack, you might not be able to mount a curvy, full-suspension bike, although the narrow profile of the arms and mounts meant we were able to haul a (full-suspension) Marin Hawk Hill 3 with ease. One of our editors, who doesn’t have a hitch on his car, commented: “I found my life was easier when using the Saris Bones 2-Bike.”

Tailgate Pads


Dakine Pickup Pad


Pickup Pad


  • Quick to install and remove
  • Good protection for bikes and tailgate
  • Blocks some rearview cameras

With the Pickup, the Velcro straps that wrap around the frame of your bike are held securely to the pad with a separate Velcro tab that passes through a fabric loop. They can be fully removed if you don’t need them and won’t get lost if you forget to secure the main strap after removing your bike from your truck bed. Three webbing straps with a ladder buckle keep the pad in position on the tailgate so it can be removed quickly. To keep your tailgate free of damage, the Pickup has a thick dual-density foam padding and a micro-fleece lining. And the pad comes in two sizes: The small version fits midsize trucks and has space for five bikes, and the large is for full-size trucks and can accommodate seven bikes. A flap allows access to the tailgate handle but can block your rear-view camera if it’s in that position. That said, if you have an old-school pickup, this won’t be an issue. But those with modern, wider trucks that have a camera near the tailgate handle should opt for the Pickup Pad DLX.


Fox Racing Tailgate Cover


Racing Tailgate Cover


The Fox Tailgate Cover comes in two sizes (small and large) and two colors (black and camo). The small pad fits midsize trucks and holds five bikes, and the large pad fits full-size vehicles and accommodates six bikes. A series of three webbing straps that loop around the tailgate make attaching and removing the pad a three-minute operation. The Tailgate Cover’s plastic outer shell is easy to wipe down. But it doesn’t have separation pads, so bikes tend to slide a little if not secured, though none that were left unattached fell during our testing.

Bobby LeaTest Editor, BicyclingBobby is part of the Bicycling Test Team and brings with him over a decade of professional racing experience, including 3 Olympic Team berths.

Sours: https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a/best-bike-racks/
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The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks

Why you should trust us

Eric Evarts, who has tested roof racks, hitch racks, trunk racks, and pickup-bed carriers for Wirecutter, has been a fervent cyclist since childhood. He’s also a seasoned auto journalist, with articles and reviews appearing in Cars.com, The Christian Science Monitor, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, AAA, Fortune magazine, Green Car Reports, and elsewhere.

Rik Paul, who tested tray-style hitch racks and trunk racks, served as Wirecutter’s autos editor and edited previous versions of this guide going back to its beginning. He was previously the automotive editor for Consumer Reports and the senior feature editor for Motor Trend.

Jack Smith, who also tested trunk racks, has also been cycling since he was a child. As an editorial assistant at Wirecutter, he strapped nine racks (one at a time, of course) on the back of his Acura TSX and tested them during drives around Los Angeles.

This guide also draws on the expertise of several bike-rack experts we’ve interviewed, on the results of a survey we sent to more than 20 bike clubs across the country, and on input from several other Wirecutter editors who are voracious cyclists and experienced competitors.

Types of bike racks: How to choose

Four images of different types of bike racks mounted on cars, suvs and trucks.

There are many types of bike racks, each with its own pros and cons. Finding one that’s right for you will depend on your vehicle, bike, budget, riding style, and personal priorities. The types we tested included:

  • tray-style (platform) hitch racks, which mount to a vehicle’s trailer hitch and support bikes from underneath
  • hanging-style hitch racks, which support bikes by the frame
  • trunk racks, which strap to the back of almost any vehicle and support bikes by the frame
  • roof racks, which attach to a base crossbar system on the top of a vehicle and hold bikes by the front wheel, front forks, or frame
  • pickup-truck carriers, which let you securely carry a bike in a truck’s bed

After testing scores of racks, we’ve determined that a tray-style hitch rack is the easiest to use and the most versatile, but the vehicle (or vehicles) and bike (or bikes) you own may limit your choices:

  • Does your vehicle have a trailer hitch (or can you have one installed)? If you have a hitch, we recommend a hitch rack; if not (and if installing one isn’t in the cards), you’ll have to consider another style. The size of the hitch receiver tube also affects your choice: Most racks have versions for a 2-inch receiver; fewer have 1¼-inch versions (and many smaller cars can’t accommodate a 2-inch receiver). If you don’t already have a tow hitch, you can have one installed on most vehicles for about $ to $, but if you have a small car, you should check with a pro installer to make sure that installation is advisable. A hitch can reduce a vehicle’s ground clearance, causing it to scrape on the ground at times. You can also check the websites of U-Haul, Curt Manufacturing, eTrailer.com, and Amazon to see if tow hitches are available for your vehicle.
  • How many bikes do you want to carry? If you’re carrying one to three bikes, any type of rack will do. If you want to carry four or five, and you can’t put any inside the vehicle, you’ll need to use a hitch rack or a combination of trunk and roof racks (or go all out and use a bike trailer). We don’t recommend carrying four or more bikes on a trunk rack because it puts too much stress on the attachment points with your car. With some wider vehicles, you may be able to fit four bikes on the roof.
  • Do you need to access the rear of your vehicle while carrying bikes? Most hitch racks tilt down or swing to the side to let you open the rear hatch or trunk of your vehicle (although you’ll have to remove the bikes with most hanging-hitch racks). Roof racks, by their nature, don’t block a vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk, though they can be noisy when loaded and can cut gas mileage significantly on the highway. If you mount a trunk rack on a vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk lid, you can often lift the hatch or lid with the rack in place once the bikes are removed. But on some vehicles, you have to remove the rack as well.
  • Do you want a rack that doesn’t contact your bike’s frame? Some cyclists are wary of hanging racks that support bikes by the frame (and of some roof and tray racks that use a stabilizer bar that contacts the frame) because the clamps could scratch a bike’s paint or damage a fragile carbon-fiber frame. Hanging racks can also make it harder to mount oddly shaped mountain bike frames and kids bikes. Most tray-style hitch racks and most roof racks hold bikes by the wheels rather than by the frame, making them safer for finishes and compatible with more kinds of bikes (although they may not work well on bikes with fenders).
A close up of integrated cables for locking your bike rack
  • Is theft a concern? Many hitch and roof racks can be locked to the vehicle to prevent theft. And many higher-priced racks also have an integrated locking system to secure bikes to the rack. Trunk racks are the most vulnerable because most models are held to a vehicle only with straps that can be cut relatively easily. If theft is a prime concern, Christine Ryan, Wirecutter’s senior editor for travel and outdoors, says you shouldn’t depend only on a rack’s integrated lock systems. She recommends you also use a third-party bike lock that’s harder to defeat. Thule and Yakima sell optional locking cables for trunk racks; they are secured from inside the trunk lid or rear hatch.

Types of bike racks, compared

Hitch, trayHitch, hangingTrunkRoofTruck bed
Mounting methodConnects to trailer hitchConnects to trailer hitchStraps on rear hatch or trunkConnects to roof crossbarsVaries by model
Number of bikesUp to fourUp to fiveUp to threeOne per rack; can usually fit three to four on a carOne per rack; can use multiple racks
Access to rear of vehicleMostMost, usually with bikes unloadedWith bikes unloaded (and possibly rack removed)Yesn/a
Ease of loading bikesEasiestModerateModerateHardestModerate
Contact pointsFront wheel for most; frame for someFrameFrameFront wheel or forks for most; frame for someFront wheel or forks for most; frame for some
Limited rear visibilityPotentiallyPotentiallyYesNoPotentially
Extends vehicle dimensionsLongerLongerLongerTallerNo
LockableRack and bikes (varies by model)Rack and bikes (varies by model)No for most modelsRack and bikes (varies by model)Rack and bikes (varies by model)
Weight capacity per bike, pounds40 to 6535 to 403535 to 50n/a
Rack weight, pounds20 to 6818 to 62 to 226 to 184 to 10
Price$ to $$ to $$35 to $$ to $ per bike$80 to $

The weight capacities, rack weights, and prices are those of the tested models; n/a = not applicable.

How we picked

To understand the pros and cons of different types of racks, we talked with the experts at a number of top bike and bike-rack shops across the country, including Rack Attack stores in Boston, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon; East Burke Sports in East Burke, Vermont; Chile Pepper Bike Shop in Moab, Utah; Backcountry Bike & Ski in Palmer, Alaska; Roscoe Village Bikes in Chicago; and Ridgefield Bicycle Company in Fairfield County, Connecticut. We also talked to experts at REI’s headquarters, and we surveyed more than 20 bike clubs across the country. We asked which types of racks were better for different types of people, which ones were the easiest to mount and use, and lots more.

For each update to this guide, we’ve also performed a thorough scan of the latest models available from all of the major manufacturers, selecting the most promising for hands-on evaluations. Though we expect all bike racks to mount securely to your vehicle and hold your bikes tightly, here are the other things we look for:

  • Easy installation: Installing a rack on your vehicle should be straightforward and fuss-free, needing a minimum of tools and adjustments. Weight is also a big focus. The lighter the rack, the easier it is to carry and mount. This is especially important if you can’t park close to where you store your rack. Moreover, if a heavy rack is difficult to remove, carry, and reinstall, you can end up leaving it on the vehicle, even when it’s not being used, which burns extra gas and can unnecessarily stress the metal of some aluminum racks over time.
  • Access to the rear of a vehicle: With a hitch rack you should be able to tilt or swing the rack out of the way so that you can open a vehicle’s rear door or trunk—ideally without having to unload the bikes. (A trunk rack, by necessity, requires you to remove the bikes—and sometimes the rack itself—to open the trunk.)
  • Ability to fold up (on the vehicle) when not being used: When you’re not transporting bikes, the arms of a trunk or hanging-hitch rack should be able to fold down and out of the way. Similarly, a tray rack should easily fold up vertically to minimize how far it sticks out behind the vehicle. And roof racks should lie flat.
  • Ability to be locked: When on the road, you should be able to leave your bikes for a few minutes when you stop for food or other necessities. We preferred models that allow you to lock the rack to the vehicle and the bikes to the rack, although you can often buy the locks or cables separately.
  • Easy storage: A rack that folds flat, or nearly flat, without having to be disassembled is much easier to store and takes up less space in your garage or home. We also greatly appreciated well-weighted hitch racks that could sit upright on their own instead of falling over and creating a tripping hazard or needing to be braced.
  • Simple assembly: Although this is something you typically have to do only once (or at least only once per riding season), we preferred models that assembled easily, included clear instructions, and included any necessary tools.

How we tested

For each of the 70 bike racks we tested for this guide, we went through the whole ownership experience. During assembly, we noted whether the necessary tools were included and how easy the instructions were to follow (most directions needed improvement). We evaluated how easy it was to mount each rack on one or more vehicles, placing a premium on ones that were lightweight and could be mounted solidly with little fuss. We loaded bikes, noting how high we had to lift them and how easily they could be secured on the rack.

We then drove through a mix of conditions, including along curvy, two-lane back roads, on the highway, and over rough pavement or dirt roads, making frequent quick stops and sharp turns to assess how much the rack and mounted bikes moved. When possible, we folded, tilted, or swung the rack to see how easily we could access a vehicle’s rear cargo area. Then we removed the bikes and rack, and folded the rack (if possible) for storage.

Our test vehicles included sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and pickup trucks. For hitch racks, we used vehicles with 2-inch hitch receivers, and we tried each roof rack on four sets of crossbars, including the factory bars on our Toyota RAV4 test vehicle as well as on a Thule AeroBlade Edge system and a Yakima JetStream system.

Our pick for hitch racks: Kuat Sherpa

The Kuat Sherpa installed on the back of a toyota rav four.

Of the 70 bike racks we’ve tested, the Kuat Sherpa tray-style hitch rack is the best overall for transporting one or two bikes. As long as your vehicle has a trailer hitch, this lightweight model is one of the easiest to mount on your vehicle and is simple to load bikes onto. And it holds bikes securely by the front wheel, with minimal side-to-side movement and without contacting the frame. Even with bikes loaded, it easily tilts down so you can open your vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk. When you’re not carrying bikes, it easily folds up and out of the way; to fold it back down, you just step on a convenient foot release. The Sherpa is available for 1¼-inch and 2-inch tow hitches.

Two images of the kuat sherpa installed on a red suv, tilted down to allow access to the rear of the car.

Weighing less than 32 pounds, the Sherpa is the lightest two-bike tray rack we tested (most others ranged from 45 pounds to 56 pounds), so it’s especially easy to install in the hitch receiver or remove for storage. It’s also easy to use: After inserting a lockable pin through the receiver tube, you simply turn a knob to tighten the rack in the receiver hitch—a much simpler and quicker process than for most other models, which make you crouch down near the hitch to tighten a nut on the receiver bolt. The Sherpa also has one of the lowest lift heights—only 26½ inches, compared with 29 inches or more for most other tray racks (and even higher for other types of racks), so you don’t have to strain to load your bikes. And the Sherpa provides ample space between bikes—we measured 12 inches, compared with 8 inches to 10 inches for most other tray racks—which minimizes the chances of bikes damaging each other.

In our tests, assembling the Sherpa was relatively easy. A nifty touch: The shipping box doubles as a platform for assembly. The Sherpa has a beautiful finish, with a metallic powder-coated frame, and like most of the tray racks we tested, it comes with locking systems for securing the rack to the vehicle and the bikes to the rack. When it’s not on the vehicle, it’s also nicely balanced, so it stands on its own, without needing supports. Although the Sherpa is more expensive than other types of racks, its price is about average among our test group of tray racks.

Two photos showing the receiver hitch nob and foot releases on the sherpa

Flaws but not dealbreakers

A potential drawback for some cyclists: The Sherpa can’t expand to hold more than two bikes (although nearly 70 percent of our survey respondents told us they carry only up to two bikes). Also, it holds bikes up to only 40 pounds each, which is similar to what most hanging-style hitch racks support, but it’s less than what most other two-bike tray racks we tested support (many of them can hold two pound bikes). So it’s not suitable for carrying some specialty and electric bikes, but the vast majority of modern bikes come in well under that weight limit. Finally, the hook that holds the front wheel may not work if a bike has a front fender.

A two-bike hanging hitch rack on a budget: Kuat Beta

A Kuat Beta mounted with a bike on the back of an SUV

If you’re on a budget, want to carry two bikes, and don’t mind giving up some of the convenience of the Kuat Sherpa , we recommend the Kuat Beta, a hanging-style hitch rack. At just a couple hundred dollars, the Beta is one of the least expensive hitch racks we tested—a genuine bargain. As is true of any hanging model, though, it isn’t as easy to load and secure bikes on the Kuat Beta as it is on the Sherpa , and you must unload your bikes to access the rear of your vehicle. But at only 18 pounds, the Beta is the lightest hitch rack we tested, making it easy to tote around and install. And it folds flat and small for storage, which makes it perfect for apartment dwellers and others who have limited space for their cycling gear.

As with the Sherpa , with the Beta you just insert a pin and turn a knob to secure it in the hitch receiver (a hitch lock is optional). The Beta doesn’t hold bikes quite as solidly as the Sherpa does—during our test drives, the bikes swung a little more on the rack’s arms, but we never worried that they’d come loose. And the straps that secure the bikes are the easiest to use of any hanging-style hitch rack we tested: You just set the bike in the cradle, pull the straps over the top tube, and cinch them down.

A view of the Kuat Beta's arm mounted on an SUV

The Kuat Beta’s arms fold down when not in use, and the rack folds flat for storage. Photo: Rik Paul

A person tightening the knob of the Beta in the hitch receiver

To secure the Beta easily in the hitch receiver, you tighten a knob. Photo: Rik Paul

When the Beta is empty, its arms can fold down and out of the way. It can also tilt down so you are able to access a vehicle’s rear cargo compartment, but this is more of a hassle than with a tray-style rack because you have to remove the bikes first. This process isn’t even as seamless as on some more expensive hanging hitch racks—you have to unclasp a wire retainer and remove a pin, rather than just using a one-step latch—but we didn’t find it difficult.

As you’d expect for its low price, the Beta doesn’t include integrated locks for the bikes. And as with any hanging-style rack, you may need an optional bar, such as the Kuat Ubar, to mount a bike with a step-through or other frame without a horizontal top tube. As with the Sherpa , the Beta is available for 1¼-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers.

The best rack for carrying electric bikes: Thule EasyFold XT 2

Thule EasyFold XT 2 attached to back of an SUV

Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s one of the best bike racks we’ve tested. And if you need to carry electric or other heavy bikes, or you just want a tray-style hitch rack that’s a cinch to install, load a bike onto, transport, and store, you may find the Thule EasyFold XT 2 worth the price.

The EasyFold XT can carry two bikes weighing up to 65 pounds each, which would include some of the heaviest e-bikes. To help load them, this rack comes with a ramp that unfolds out of a center storage area and snaps onto the end of the platforms, so you don’t have to lift the bikes up.

The foldable ramp of the XT extended towards the ground

The EasyFold XT comes with a foldable ramp that’s handy for loading heavier bikes. Photo: Rik Paul

The XT ramp storage compartment

The ramp is stored in a compartment inside the rack. To access a vehicle’s rear, you step on a release lever to tilt the rack down, which is easy to do. Photo: Rik Paul

The XT tilted down on the rear of a vehicle

The EasyFold XT tilts down so you can access the rear of a vehicle. Photo: Rik Paul

At 45 pounds, the EasyFold XT is manageably light for a heavy-duty rack, and—unique to this Thule—it folds up to the size of a large airline carry-on bag (and it comes with wheels and a handle). This makes it relatively easy to get the rack on and off the car. Thule’s hitch-locking system makes this hitch rack simpler than most to secure: Just slide the rack into a 1¼-inch or 2-inch receiver, close a pinch arm into the receiver’s hole, turn the tension knob to cinch it down, and use a key to lock the knob. The integrated cable locks also allow you to secure bikes to the rack.

To access a vehicle’s cargo area, you can step on a wide release lever at the rear and tilt the rack down. (This works well on most hatches that lift upward, but it didn’t provide enough clearance to allow the side-opening rear door of our Toyota RAV4 to open.) When the EasyFold is empty, the sides fold up. But unlike other racks, it doesn’t fold flat against the back of the vehicle; it still extends rearward by its full length, so you may need to be mindful when backing up. That said, the EasyFold XT has built-in reflectors and even a license-plate mount to keep things visible and legal.

A bike rack positioned on the rear of a vehicle

Bikes are held by padded clamps—with integrated locks—that grip the frame. You may find that positioning these can be the trickiest part of loading bikes, especially the first time you do it. Photo: Rik Paul

A bike rack folded vertically on the rear of a vehicle

When it’s not carrying bikes, the EasyFold XT can be folded up vertically. A handle on top makes it easy to install this rack in the hitch receiver and to remove it. Photo: Rik Paul

An XT bike rack standing on a wheelable position on the ground

When it’s not on a vehicle, the EasyFold XT can be easily wheeled around like a piece of luggage, making it simpler to store than most other tray-style hitch racks. Photo: Rik Paul

Bikes are held by padded clamps that grip onto the frame, which is something that may make some owners—especially owners of carbon-fiber bikes—flinch. But they held our bikes securely. The two clamp arms can be a little challenging to attach, especially if one has to be routed around another bike, but they offer a lot of flexibility. And if you tend to carry the same bikes, you probably have to sort out the positioning only once.

The best trunk rack: Saris Bones EX 3-Bike

The saris bones installed on the back of a small hatchback

If your car doesn’t have a trailer hitch, or you want something you can easily move between vehicles, we recommend the Saris Bones EX 3-Bike. It can adjust to fit almost any vehicle (except for pickup trucks), and the new EX design is ever more versatile, able to reach over even the biggest factory truck or hatchback rear spoiler. The Bones is also one of the lightest, easiest-to-use, and most solidly built racks we’ve tested. The experts we talked to at Rack Attack, Roscoe Village Bikes, and Backcountry Bike & Ski all recommend the Bones, too, and it was one of the highest-rated racks of any type in our survey of bike clubs. (The older, non-EX version remains a great rack, and available for less money; it just won’t fit on as many cars, though it’s still light and secure as well as affordable.) Like its predecessor, the Bones EX comes in two- and three-bike versions; the three-bike version of the EX is available in a variety of colors, with a portion of the sales of some colors going to charities.

Like all trunk racks, the Bones can work on nearly any kind of vehicle (pickups being the exception) without needing the extra hardware required by roof and hitch racks. Weighing only 11 pounds, the Bones EX 3-Bike is one of the lightest trunk racks we tested, which made getting it onto the back of a vehicle especially easy. Once mounted, the Bones is sturdy and stable. The straps connecting the rack to the car are simple to tighten, and the hold-downs that keep the bikes in place are coated to protect the bike frames. The curved arms, with their molded-in strap guides, help keep the straps and arms clear of even the biggest spoilers. The Bones provides anti-sway straps that you can tighten around the bikes’ seat tubes to reduce the amount of swing while you’re driving. And when you’re done biking, the Bones EX folds up tightly for storage.

The Bones’s arms are made of injection-molded plastic, which makes the rack lighter than competitive aluminum racks we tested. (The company claims the Bones has the strongest frame on the market, but we couldn’t verify or disprove that claim.) The Bones’s center leg extends upward onto the trunk or hatch, and the other two extend down to sit on or against the car’s bumper. All three legs end in huge, pivoting rubber feet—larger than what you get on other racks—which help protect the car and provide serious grip.

Three photos of the rubber feet, adjustment grip and installed saris bones bike rack.

The Bones’s innovative design makes it easy to adjust its legs for any vehicle. The legs attach to the central tube with toothed rings. A plastic knob on each leg allows you to loosen its grip on the toothed part of the tube to slide it over to a smooth section, where you can freely spin the leg to the perfect position. Then you slide it back onto the toothed section and tighten the knob. In our tests, getting the rack set up and onto the car took 4½ minutes, less than half the time it took for some other trunk racks.

The saris bones EX folded compact and resting on cement.

The straps that hold the rack to the car feed through the central tube, so you can place the anchors at the top, sides, and bottom of the car and pull on both sides at once for a tight, even fit. The other trunk racks we tested required tightening each strap individually, which often resulted in a lopsided rack in need of adjustments. With the Bones, we grabbed the straps, gave them a couple of good yanks, and voilà—the rack was on straight and tight. The top straps go through new, specially designed slots on the top bars to keep them high enough to clear big spoilers. The top arms also bend significantly, letting them stand up off the trunk or far enough back from the rear window of hatchbacks so that they can clear large rear spoilers.

The straps are coated on the underside to protect the bike’s finish, and the stabilizer strap that holds the bike’s seat tube moves quite a bit to accommodate different sizes and styles of bikes. The curve of the arms also spaces multiple bikes out to keep them from knocking into one another as you drive. (Speaking of which, once the bikes are on the rack, we recommend giving the straps that attach to the car another good tug.)

Folding the rack itself up is also easy: The curved arms and legs collapse to make the rack pretty compact.

Saris has even considered how to manage the long straps once you take the rack off the car and fold it up to carry it to the garage for storage: The Bones EX has shorter Velcro straps that wrap around the longer straps to corral them once they’re folded.

Folding the rack itself up is also easy: The curved arms and legs collapse to make the rack pretty compact. If you want to leave the rack on the car, the arms fold all the way down and out of the way.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Trunk racks of all kinds have one unavoidable flaw: They make contact with the finish on your car, and over time the contact points are likely to cause scratches. Tyler Carlson of Rack Attack told us that he recommends putting small patches of ClearBra (or a similar protective substance) on the car where the rack attaches; when you’re ready to sell the car, you just peel off the ClearBra to reveal unscratched paint (depending on how long the film is left on, though, the car’s paint may show inconsistent fading). We also recommend removing any debris between the rubber feet and your bumper to avoid scratches.

If you need to carry more than two bikes: Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike rack on the back of a pickup truck

If you need to carry three or four bikes, we recommend the Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike, which provides a nice balance of ease of use, features, and price. The SuperClamp EX held our bikes securely with clamps on the front and rear tires, without contacting their frames. And it can accommodate bikes up to 60 pounds each in the two positions nearest to the car, and 35 pounds each in the two positions farthest from the car.

At only 63 pounds, the SuperClamp is one of the lightest four-bike tray racks available, so it’s easier to get on and off of the vehicle than its competitors. By using a nifty pull handle at the rear, you can easily fold the rack up when it’s empty or tilt it down for access to a vehicle’s cargo area. The SuperClamp has integrated cables for locking bikes to the rack, and it comes with a hitch lock for securing the rack to the vehicle.

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike adjustment clamps

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike easily tilts or folds up with a simple push of a handle at the rear. Photo: Rik Paul

The locking mechanism of a bike rack

For security, you can lock each bike to the rack by pulling out an integrated cable and locking it to the frame. Photo: Rik Paul

As with all four-bike tray-style racks, the SuperClamp EX is available only for 2-inch hitch receivers. (If you need to carry four bikes with a 1¼-inch hitch, you’ll have to use a hanging-hitch rack, such as the Yakima RidgeBack.) Securing the SuperClamp to the hitch isn’t as easy as with the Kuat Sherpa —you need to go old-school and use a wrench to tighten a (lockable) bolt in the hitch receiver, instead of simply turning a knob. The Saris also doesn’t have that Kuat model’s convenient foot release.

The best roof rack: Yakima HighRoad

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-bike-rack-for-cars/
Saris Solo Installation

Need to transport your bikes on a car rack but you don&#;t have a hitch on your car? Trunk bike racks to the rescue! Designed to attach to the rear of a vehicle with a strap system, a trunk-mounted bike rack makes using a car rack possible for basically any car &#; no hitch required!

Whether you have a sedan, hatchback, SUV, or van, there&#;s a trunk bike rack that should fit your vehicle. But be aware that every trunk rack doesn&#;t fit every car. While basically any hitch rack will fit your car as long as you have a hitch receiver, trunk racks aren&#;t as simple. Bike rack manufacturers have &#;fit guides&#; to help you determine if your desired rack will fit your vehicle.

Bike racks for car trunks are generally much more affordable than other styles of car racks, which is a huge bonus for families trying to get to the trails without breaking the bank. Here are our 5 favorites, all under $!

Saris Bones trunk bike rack on the back of an SUV

Best Bike Racks for Car Trunks

All trunk racks listed will fit 20&#; kids bikes, and some will fit 16&#;bikes. There are very few racks that will accommodate a bike smaller than 20&#;. Balance bikes and 12&#; to 16&#; pedal bikes are usually transported inside the trunk of the car.

Always check rack compatibility with your specific car before purchase. While these racks are called &#;trunk&#; racks, many are designed for the rear of any vehicle, whether it has a traditional trunk or not &#; sedan, van, SUV, hatchback, etc.


More in-depth info in Buying Guide below

  • GROUND CLEARANCE: Low cars and tall bikes (&#;+ wheel sizes) are a bad combination. Clearance between large wheels and the ground is minimal when loaded on on a sedan.
  • KIDS BIKES: Narrow-set support bars (~11 &#; 12&#;) are better for hauling smaller bikes.
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY: Not suitable for ebikes or any bike weighing over 35 lb.
  • CAR COMPATIBILITY: Always consult a brand&#;s &#;rack fit guide&#; before purchase

Saris BonesEX

Bike Rack for Hatchback

Boy loading up a bike on the Saris Bones EX rack

MSRP: $+, many bikes also require an adaptor bar to mount (must be purchased separately)

CAPACITY: 2 &#; 3, not compatible with bikes smaller than 20&#;

FEATURES: Unique mounting legs fit over most spoilers, arced arms stagger bikes for spacing, easy-to-use ratcheting cradle straps, anti-sway cradles, vinyl-coated car hooks, arms fold down when not in use on car

SUPPORT BAR WIDTH: Variable &#; &#; to 11&#;

COMPLETE REVIEW: Saris Bones Review


Exceptional quality, super stable, and fast and easy to load, the Saris Bones has been popular for decades for many great reasons. If you want the best quality trunk rack on the market and you&#;re hauling 20&#; bikes and larger, its hard to get better than the Bones.

The Bones family recently expanded to include the Saris Bones EX. This more expensive model has uniquely-shaped car mounting legs that make it compatible with 20% more cars than the original Bones.

Hatchbacks and their spoilers can be particularly problematic with trunk racks, but the Bones EX was designed with this purpose in mind. Compared to all the other trunk bike racks on this list, the EX is the best bike rack for hatchbacks. Out of 12 top hatchbacks on the car market, the Bones EX was compatible with 11 of them.


While some 16&#; bikes may fit on the Bones with the use of a top tube adapter, most won&#;t. If you need to haul 16&#; bikes, go for the Allen Deluxe.

Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount Rack

Best for 16&#; Bikes and Oddly Shaped Frames

Adult bike loaded on Allen Sports Deluxe trunk mount rack

MSRP: $59 &#; $79

CAPACITY: 2 &#; 4, compatible with most 16&#; bikes


STANDOUT FEATURES: Fits most 16&#; and 20&#; bikes without an adapter bar, rotating cradles to fit more bikes, great value for a low price

COMPLETE REVIEW: Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount


The Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount Rack is a solid choice for those who want to carry kids bikes 16&#; and larger. With narrower-set support bars compared to other racks, the Allen Deluxe (as well as the Ultra Compact) were the only trunk racks we tested that could fit a 16&#; and 20&#; bike without an adaptor bar.

The Deluxe&#;s narrow support bars, paired with Allen&#;s unique twisting cradles, allow you to mount small and odd -framed bikes via the top tube, down tube, or even the seat tube of the bike&#;s frame! This wide range of adjustability also allows bikes to be loaded without adapter bars, saving you time and money.

The Allen Deluxe is also a sought-after option for those on a budget. Although it doesn&#;t have nicer features like rubber cradle straps (found on the Allen Premier, Thule, and Saris), it easily and securely gets the job done for almost half the price as other racks.


Those who want to carry several large, heavy bikes. The narrow bars of the Deluxe do not distribute the bikes&#; weight on the trunk as well as racks with wider bars, such as the Thule Passage. The extra stability in the wider base of other racks, will help to minimize sway and bounce, especially with heavier loads.

Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

Best for 4 Bikes

4 capacity Allen Sports Premier trunk mounted bike rack on back of Jetta.

MSRP: $+

CAPACITY: 2 &#; 4 bikes


FEATURES: Rotating cradles with rubber straps, durable rubber mounting feet, wider base

COMPLETE REVIEW: Allen Premier Trunk Mount


Those who want an affordable, easy-to-use trunk rack with time-saving upgrades. As an upgrade from the Allen Deluxe, the Premier features rubber cradle straps (instead of nylon) and a wider profile to better distribute the weight of the bikes on the trunk.

With better weight distribution comes better stability, which is essential for those who want to haul 4 bikes. While the Thule Passage and the Saris Bones also have a wide base, they are not available in a 4-capacity rack. The Allen Premier 4-capacity was specifically engineered to withstand the extra forces present when hauling four bikes on the back of a car.

As additional upgrades, the Premier features a&#;quick snap&#; set-up that makes it easier to fold and unfold than the Deluxe. The car-mounting straps also get an upgrade as they are not as stiff as the webbing on the Allen Deluxe.


The wider support bars prevent smaller bikes from loading on the bars. We were able to fit a 20&#;, but not a 16&#; bike. The Premier doesn&#;t fold down as small as the Allen Deluxe, so if storage is a concern, the smaller Deluxe may be a better option.

Thule Passage

Great Stability and Less Bike Sway

MSRP: $+

CAPACITY: 2 &#; 4 bikes


FEATURES: No-sway cradles, wide base for hauling heavy loads, rubber cradle straps, vinyl-coated car hooks, support arms can fold down when the rack is empty while on car

COMPLETE REVIEW: Thule Passage Bike Rack


With the widest base of the racks we tested, the Thule excels at distributing the weight of the bikes on the rack, which increases its stability on the road.

Taking stability one step further, the Passage also features large, high-wall rubber cradles that provide additional support and protection to the bikes&#; frames while loaded. The rubber cradle straps also help keep the bikes snug on the trays while the anti-sway cradles minimize bikes from swaying. 

Like the Saris, the Thule allows the support arms to fold down when bikes are not loaded. If you plan on storing your rack on your car for a while, folding arms will prevent you (or someone else) from unexpectedly running into the bars!


Due to the large cradle base, bikes with small triangles (on which the top tube is close to the down tube), are very difficult or not compatible to load onto the Passage. We had no problem loading our lower-end adult and kids 20&#; and 24&#; bikes, but our high-end woom 20&#; would not fit over the cradles.

Adult mountain bikes with more &#;modern geometry&#; will likely have the same problem but are able to load with the purchase of an adapter bar.

Allen Sports Ultra Compact

Incredibly Compact, Easy to Store

Allen Sports Ultra Compact bike rack mounted on back of car

MSRP: $69+

CAPACITY: 1 or 2


FEATURES: Folds down super small for easy storage, rotating cradles

COMPLETE REVIEW: Allen Sports Ultra Compact


Those who have limited space to store the rack when not in use. While other racks are big and cumbersome to store, the Ultra Compact easily folds down to fit in a small bag for storage in your trunk or even in your backpack!


Those who want to haul more than 2 bikes or relatively heavy bikes. The Ultra Compact&#;s narrow build &#; especially its smaller foot base (the bottom portion that rests on the car) &#; make it less ideal for larger, heavier bikes. If you have heavy bikes and room to store a slightly bigger rack, we would recommend moving up to the Allen Deluxe 2 capacity.

Bike rack for car trunks loaded with three bikes

Check for Fit for Your Car

Because there are so many variables in car body shape, window angles, spoiler placement, etc., it&#;s impossible for one trunk bike rack to fit every car. Always always always verify that a trunk rack is compatible with your car make, model, and year before you make a purchase.

Also remember that even within the same rack brand, some trunk rack models may not be compatible with your car. For example, the Allen Premier fits on our 3-series BMW, but the Allen Deluxe won&#;t.

Most trunk racks will not fit on a car with a spoiler (sedans and SUVs). If you have a spoiler, check out the Saris Bones EX or the Hollywood Racks &#;Over the Top&#;, which are specifically designed to be compatible with more cars with spoilers.

Check Bike Compatibility

With a wide variety of bike frame designs and sizes, some bikes simply aren&#;t a good fit for trunk racks or even any type of hanging bike rack. Kids bikes, cruiser-style bikes, and adult mountain bikes with modern geometry tend to be the most problematic.

All three of these styles of bikes typically do not have a long, flat top tube for the cradles to attach to and usually need an adapter bar to facilitate loading. This adapter bar is often called a &#;top tube adapter&#; because it mimics a horizontal top tube for easier loading.

XL mountain bike loaded on Saris Bones EX and 16 inch kids bike loaded up.

Be aware, however, that using an adapter bar does lower the bike on the rack. This is especially problematic with low cars (such as small sedans) when you are hauling larger bikes with or 29&#; tires. With an adapter bar, the front wheel of the bike can hang over a foot below the bumper of the car, which puts the wheel at a much greater risk of being damaged.

Purchasing a rack with cradles that swivel (all the Allens on this list swivel), can in some cases prevent the need for an adaptor bar. All the racks on this list (except the Saris) also allow you to load a bike via their top tube and their downtube, versus just on their downtube, which can also greatly increase a bike&#;s vertical clearance.

The swept-back handlebars on cruiser-style bikes can cause issues as the handlebars often block cradles or the space for a bike to be loaded directly next to it. As a result, we recommend purchasing a rack with a higher capacity than you need. So if you have two cruiser styles bikes, buy at least a 3-capacity rack so you can leave the cradles in between the bikes empty.

Also, most carbon bike manufacturers will not warranty bikes due to damage on hanging racks. Definitely stick to a platform rack if you have a carbon frame!

Weight Capacity of Trunk Bike Racks

The maximum weight capacity of trunk bike racks is much lower than hitch-mounted racks. Most trunk racks are not built to hold bikes weighing more than 35 pounds, while a high-quality hitch platform rack can often carry bikes as heavy as 60 pounds!

As a result, the max weight capacity of a trunk rack can quickly be reached if you aren&#;t being careful. While most bikes do weigh less than 35 pounds, cruiser-style bikes, e-bikes and &#;recreational mountain bikes&#; can easily get close to, and even exceed, that weight limit.

Be sure to check the weight of your bikes before you purchase a rack!

Importance of Support Bars Spacing

The spacing of the support bars of the rack needs to be taken into consideration. The support bars are the two bars that extend out from the rack that the bikes rest on.

Measuring tape showing distance between the two support bars on a trunk mount hanging rack

Trunk racks with closer-set support bars tend to fit a wider variety of bikes, while wider-set bars can better support larger and heavier bikes.

For example, we were able to fit a 16&#; bike on the Allen Sports Deluxe&#;s bars which are set 11&#; apart.

16 inch bike loaded on an Allen trunk rack

But the same bike did not fit on the Thule Passage, which has support bars that are 15&#; apart &#; the bike&#;s smaller frame just didn&#;t work with its wider-set bars.

Same 16 inch bike unable to fit on a different trunk bike rack

Racks with wider-set bars allow the weight of the bikes to be more evenly distributed on the car. So if you plan on carrying a lot of heavy bikes, a rack with wider support bars (like the Thule Passage) will likely be more stable, especially going longer distances.

Storage of Bike Rack

If you live in an apartment or have very little storage space, you will want to take the overall size of the rack into consideration. In the image below, you can see the size difference between the Allen Ultra Compact, Allen Deluxe, and Allen Premier. The Compact is by far the smallest and if you only need to haul 1 or 2 bikes, it&#;s a great option!

Three different Allen trunk bike racks, side by side to show sizing for storage

Cradle Straps

One of the major differences between low to mid-range trunk racks and high-end trunk racks is the cradle strap. Lower-end racks have nylon webbing while higher-end racks have flexible rubber straps. The rubber straps are easier and faster to strap in and also help prevent the bike from shifting in the cradles.

Nylon cradle straps vs rubber cradle straps

After testing both, we much-preferred rubber straps, but the style of straps shouldn&#;t be a dealbreaker.

Purchase Velcro Straps

If you&#;re buying a trunk rack, do yourself a favor and buy a pack of Velcro straps. You will need four to secure the extra mounting straps so they&#;re not flapping all over the place. Some higher-end racks, like the Saris Bones, come with the Velcro straps already!

You&#;ll also want to have one Velcro strap for each bike, which can be used to hold the front tire in place to prevent it from swinging (like shown below). The Velcro straps can also be used as padding between two bikes in a pinch or even to hold two bikes closely together to prevent them from bouncing into each other while on the road.

Velcro straps attached to bike on trunk rack to prevent it from swaying

You Get What you Paid For

Trunk bike racks are much cheaper than hitch racks, but they are also more problematic. If you are serious about hauling bikes on a regular basis or on longer trips on the freeway, considering investing in a hitch rack.

If your car doesn&#;t have a hitch, you may be able to add one on aftermarket. Your local U-haul (yes, the same company that rents trunks) is a great resource to help you figure out what you need.


Always read the instructions when installing the rack. While the process is similar for most racks, placement of the mounting straps (especially the bottom strap) vary from rack to rack. As a basic outline, you place the rack on the trunk, attach and tighten the upper hooks and the lower and bottom hooks. Tools are not needed to attach a trunk rack.

Always re-tighten straps once the bikes are loaded and every time you stop. Loading the bikes can pull the rack down, which loosens the straps, especially the lower and side straps.

Be extra mindful of use on long trips at high speeds. Trunk racks are best for use around town.

Allow plenty of time for the initial install

The first time you mount the rack to your car can be very tricky and confusing, but mounting gets easier and faster with subsequent use. Also, be sure NOT to throw away the box when you are done. Every trunk rack has six very long straps with hooks that can be hard to manage. The box helps to keep them contained and will prevent straps from being damaged while being stored.

Buy car scratch protectors

Although hooks on some high-end racks (like the Thule Passage) are vinyl coated, all hooks are likely to scratch your car. As a result, we absolutely recommend purchasing and using car scratch protectors.

There are a wide variety of options out there. They are inexpensive and worked great for us. We used these car protectors.

Trunk track mounting hook with and without a plastic paint protector


Load bikes heaviest to lightest

The closer the heaviest load is to the car, the less strain on the mounting straps, especially on bouncy roads. Always try to load your bikes heaviest to lightest.

Load small bikes differently than larger bikes

With most bikes, both cradles on the rack should be placed under the top tube of the bike (black adult bike shown below).

Adult bike loaded nicely onto an Allen trunk bike rack

With smaller or hard-to-fit bikes, oftentimes placing the downtube on the forward-most cradle and the top tube on the rear cradle provides for a much better fit without the need for an adapter bar (green bike shown below).

16" kids bike loaded nicely onto an Allen trunk bike rack

Remove the saddles when things get tight

If you&#;re having trouble getting your bikes to all fit on the rack, try taking off the saddles! Saddles are quick and easy to take off and can make it much easier to load bikes. Just remember to put the saddles in the car before you go!

Four bikes loaded on a trunk bike rack. One bike has the saddle removed for easier loading.

Expect your bikes to get scratched

With trunk racks, bikes are typically spaced much closer together than on a platform rack. As a result, bike pedals and handlebars are notorious for hitting the frames/seat/rims, etc. of the bike next to it.

In the image below, you can see how to add foam padding with Velcro straps between two bikes to prevent scratching. Cut-up pool noodles are also a great option.

Padding between bikes to prevent scratching

Check vertical clearance

Bikes that need to be mounted with adapter bars tend to hang very low when mounted on trunk racks on sedans, especially bikes with large frames or wheels. If your bike is too low, lowering the handlebars as well as the seat post can help raise the bike.

Adult bike with large wheels has front wheel very close to ground when loaded on a trunk rack with a top tube adapter bar.

Always try to center larger bikes on the car

Is it really easy to load a bike so that the rear wheel extends over a foot past one side of the car. (Top image below). Not ideal! Bikes, especially larger bikes, should be centered on the rack to protect the bike&#;s rear wheel from getting hit while on the rack.

To fix an &#;off-centered&#; bike, try to slide the bike all the way towards one side until one of the rack&#;s mounting bars touches the seat tube of the bike. (Bottom image below.)

Bike shifted left and right to center the bike on a trunk rack.

Even after centered, allow for extra room on both sides of the car, especially sedans. Large adult bikes can extend over a foot past the width of the car, so be sure to allow for plenty of space when navigating tight spaces.

Tie a knot below the sliding adjuster on every strap

Don&#;t assume the mounting strap adjusters will hold. It&#;s entirely possible for a trunk rack to fall off the car as a result of straps coming loose from bouncing or vibrations during travel. We found the clove hitch knot to work the best.

Knot tied on mounting strap to prevent it from coming loose.
Sours: https://www.twowheelingtots.com/best-trunk-bike-racks/

Rack trunk 1 bike

The 10 Best Trunk Bike Racks

You’ve probably been hearing ad nauseam how riding a bike is good for you, and with good reason. Not only does it help you get in shape and/or stay fit, but it also allows you to catch a breath in this modernized, urban landscape. This rings especially true if you get away from the cities and seek “trails less traveled”. Of course, to reach these trails, oftentimes you’ll have to drive to be able to ride, so it’s not like the modern world is without its merits, at least when cars are involved. This is where a trunk bike rack comes into play, as an efficient storage solution for transporting your bike to the desired location.

Best Overall

The Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack is pretty much what it promises on the can – a rack that can carry up to two bikes provided their combined weight doesn’t exceed 70 lbs.

Best Value for Money

The Allen 2 Bike Trunk Mount is the simplest version of the Allen trunk bike rack offerings but in some ways, it is the best rack for car trunk that you’ll find. The reason is simple; it is affordable, well made, and incredibly easy to use.

Best Single Bike Rack

Although incredibly small the Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack is made from steel and is incredibly rugged. Even more impressive is the fact that it can be folded; making it barely bigger than the palm of your hand!

Best Two Bike Rack

The Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack is pretty much what it promises on the can – a rack that can carry up to two bikes provided their combined weight doesn’t exceed 70 lbs.

How many bikes do you need to carry?

The first step is obvious. How many bikes do you intend to carry? This ultimately determines the way you want to mount your bike rack. As we&#;ll discuss in the buyers guide below, a trunk-mounted rack fits a maximum of three, and even then that&#;s pushing it.

A trunk rack, if overloaded, can potentially damage your vehicle. For those looking at carrying four bikes or more, a roof or hitch based carrier would suite your needs perfectly.

Our Selection of the 10 Best Trunk Bike Racks:

Just so that you don’t have to bother with wading through the depths of the internet, we prepared a list of the 10 best trunk bike racks, with an added bonus at the end.

What is my Budget?

It is important to consider the number of funds you have available. In most cases, the strap on the trunk bike rack is the cheapest option and will do the job very well. Of course, you can purchase a premium trunk bike rack such as the Thule. This is more expensive and could cost more than a basic hitch-mounted rack.

The important consideration here is to know that if you are wishing to transport more than 3 bikes, a platform-based hitch carrier is probably your best option, in terms of ease of use, as well as the safety of the bikes and your vehicle.

Height of the Rack

The type of rack you purchase will dictate the height your bike sits on your vehicle. This doesn’t just apply to the roof systems. Depending on the type of vehicle you have you may find that your bike support bars are at arm level or higher. If this is the case you’ll need to consider how easy it will be to fit the bikes and secure them in position.

Your decision should be based on your height and strength; there is little point in getting the best looking rack if it will be difficult to fasten your bikes to it.


It is always a good idea to check with your family and friends to see if they have any experience with a specific bike rack. Their advice can be used to help you make a decision;

Perhaps even better is the fact that a friend or family member will probably be prepared to lend you their bike rack so that you can test it out for yourself. This will certainly make it easier to decide if it is the right rack for you and your vehicle.

Reputation of the Manufacturer

You should also consider the reputation of the company making the trunk bike rack. Thule is a well-known brand with high-quality products and generally process to match. This can lead you to be tempted by some of the cheapest offerings on the market. However, these may use inferior materials or not offer the support or longevity that other, slightly more expensive bike racks will give you.

This is why there are so many Allen Sports bike racks on this list; they offer a great balance between price and durability. They are also made by a company that has been making bike racks for a very long time.

If you’re not sure about a specific product then you can always take a look at the social media sites. You’ll find plenty of people who have purchased a specific bike rack and will give their honest opinion of how well it works. You can use this information to help ensure you choose the best one for your needs.

Ease Of Fitting

The majority of the trunk bike racks on this list are extremely easy to fit. They generally use hooks that clip around your trunk and then ratchet straps to secure them in place.

However, not all bike racks are easy to fit. If you’re looking to purchase a trunk-mounted bike rack then you’re probably going to be taking it on and off as and when you need to. This means you need to consider how easy it is to take it on and off. The last thing you want to do is take half an hour just to fit a bike rack; this won’t put you in the right frame of mind to do it again!

Ease of Storage

If you’re planning to take the rack off regularly then you also need to consider where you are going to store it when you’re not using it. Some of the best trunk bike rack options on this list actually fold up; making it exceptionally easy to find a storage space for them. This is true even if you don’t have a lot of space!

However, if they don’t fold you’ll need to find a pace in the corner of your garage or shed; perhaps even a spot to hang the rack.

Consider this before you spend your money!

Security Concerns

The majority of trunk bike rack options don’t offer a huge amount in security. This means if you’re planning to leave the bikes secured to the bike rack you’re going to need to consider how safe they are.

The easiest solution is to lock the bikes to the rack; this will make it difficult for someone to take them unless they remove the rack. Fortunately, this is not an easy option when the rack clips inside your boot. Since it&#;s still possible to cut the straps.

In this instance you may need to consider securing the chain around the bikes and round the vehicle; perhaps on a roof rail or under your vehicle.

If neither of these is possible and you need to leave the vehicle with the bikes attached you may need to consider an alternative type of rack. Both the hitch mount and the roof system usually have locks to secure the bike to the racks and the racks to your vehicle.

Do You Need To Access Your Trunk?

It is also important to consider if you need to get into your trunk once the bikes are on. It is not a good idea to open your trunk with the rack and the bikes in position. It will place too much strain on your vehicle and may even cause you an injury when the trunk swings back down; fast.

It is advisable to remove the bikes before you open the trunk; leaving the rack on shouldn’t pose a problem. However, if you have to do this regularly you’ll soon get fed up with your chosen bike rack. That’s why you need to consider this possibility before you buy; then you’ll choose the right trunk bike rack for your needs.

Multi-Vehicle Usage

It is also worth considering if you have more than one vehicle whether you’ll want to use the rack on either of your vehicles. If this is the case you’ll need to ensure you choose a trunk bike rack that can fit both vehicles!

Don’t forget that a trunk bike rack can causes scratches on your car if you don’t ensure all the clamps and pads are in good condition and in the right place before you use it.

This type of rack is also very easy to install and remove as and when you need to.

  • A Trunk Bike Rack is often the cheapest solution for bike transportation.
  • Many trunk racks suite hatchbacks just as well, just make sure it fits your specs first!
  • Truck racks are the perfect carrier for short distance journeys.
  • Most Trunk Racks are really easy to install.
  • A Trunk Bike Rack can potentially chip your car&#;s paint.
  • There are potential theft concerns. Many Trunk Racks do not feature security devices.
  • It can easily prove difficult to install properly and may not even fit your vehicle at all.
  • Long journeys require you to stop every few miles to readjust your straps due to shaking.

Are You Ready To Mount Your Trunk Bike Rack?

Providing you follow the guide to purchasing a trunk bike rack you should be able to find the best trunk bike rack for your needs. By taking the time to look at all the options available before you choose you are certain to choose a bike rack for a car trunk that satisfies your needs both now and in the future.

If you’ve done all of that then all that’s left to do is order the trunk bike rack on this list that fits all your criteria. Do it today and you’ll be hitting the trails in no time!

Sours: https://www.rackmaven.com/trunk-bike-racks/
Allen Sports MT-1 Ultra Compact Folding 1-Bike Trunk Mount Rack Review

I wanted to protest and tried to get up, but a heavy hand lowered me into place - it was loving daddy. I gritted my teeth. Yyyyaaa: - burst out of me. It was a different pain, as if I had been pulled onto a disc, the wrong size.

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