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Biking on a mountain is fun; you can climb the more challenging terrain easily, which is a good exercise. However, taking a bike to the mountain track is not easy.
Since mountain bikes have a solid build, companies tend to avoid making them foldable. A foldable bike can be fit easily inside a car, while for a mountain bike, you’ll require a bike rack.
You can install the bike rack behind your car, fit your bikes on it and go anywhere you want. It is convenient, easy to use, easy to install, and solidly built so your bike won’t fall. “What bike rack fits my car” is the most commonly asked question since everyone has a different car, and they require different bike racks.
A hitch bike rack is an excellent choice if you have no problem spending some dollars. A hitch rack can easily support multiple bikes, but it doesn’t look aesthetically appealing. Nevertheless, it can hold bikes properly, so no matter which road you take, they won’t fall.
One problem with hitch-mounted bike racks is that you cannot install them on small cars. You’ll need a big car since such hitch racks are made for multiple bikes. You can only carry one bike on a small car, but carrying multiple heavy-duty cycles can bend the rack if the support is not strong.
On the other hand, what car you use can also impact your purchase of bike racks. You’ll require a trunk mount bike rack if you have an SUV or a vehicle with a large trunk.
These trunk-mounted bike racks are the most solid, and you can hang any mountain bike on them. They might be a bit expensive, but they are worth every penny. We’ll help you choose the best bike for your car so you can choose the one that correctly fits your car’s size.
Roof Racks vs Hitch Racks
There are two types of bike racks available; one you can install on the roof, and the other you can install at the back of your car. Both have benefits and downsides, but you must choose the one that suits you best.
If unsure, you should choose factors like cargo size, accessibility, price, usage, looks, and how easily you can install it. Let’s see which rack is suitable at which point to make it more convenient for you.
If your car can afford any rack, the roof rack might be best for versatility. However, it is not a good option when it comes to accessibility.
It is not easy to remove a heavy bicycle or a small motorbike from the roof; putting them back is even more complicated. You might hurt yourself or drop the bike and damage it.
Roof Racks are more convenient if you want to carry three or four lightweight bikes simultaneously since it will be easy to take them off.
On the other hand, roof racks are versatile, you can carry language and other stuff easily, and they are cheap. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about keep checking the racks to see if your luggage is still there.
Benefits of Roof Racks
If you lack space while traveling, roof racks are the best option. Apart from carrying lightweight bikes, you can also put lots of other stuff like BBQ grills, tents, bags, etc. This increases the legroom inside your vehicle, and you can carry more people inside.
Moreover, if you have delicate equipment, you can keep them inside the car while the rest goes up.
Modern roof racks come with LED lights, so you can see what to take off at night. They are shock, water, and weather-resistant, so the roof rack won’t get rusty or break even if your car stays outside.
Another good thing about roof racks is they are easy to install, but they remain permanently. Since they don’t interfere with your road experience, it won’t be a hassle to drive with a roof rack attached.
Roof racks also come in handy when you have lots of dirty clothes or fuel cans and don’t want to put them inside your car. They tend to smell a lot, and many people are not comfortable inhaling fuel, which can cause dizziness and even vomiting.
On the other hand, you can add additional lights if the available LED lights are not enough. This is a great convenience if you want to travel at night or go camping; add one extra battery, and you can run those lights for a long time.
Some racks require you to put some material inside your car, which can damage the interior. A roof rack can minimize such damage as all the work is done with your vehicle’s roof. Roof racks are also secure since you can easily lock all your equipment, and if you have a big truck, you can even set a tent on the roof.
Downsides of Roof Racks
The biggest problem with roof racks is that they can be noisy. You must pack everything tightly; otherwise, they’ll keep hitting the roof, meddling with your peace inside the car.
While it won’t be a problem on a smooth road, things could get messy as you hit a cliff or terrain. You can buy a solid rack to minimize this effect, but you can’t reduce the noise to zero.
Even if you tightly screw the roof rack, it will still make contact with the crossbars of your car. The constant friction will remove the paint, leaves aberration, and might even reduce your car’s charm. In contrast, these things do not matter if you have no intention of selling the car, but if you want to, the price will drop drastically.
More weight can increase fuel consumption, so if you have lots of weight on top of your car, you might want to keep extra fuel cans with you. The additional weight also puts pressure on the tires; if you are going for an off-roading experience, remember to keep a spare tire for an emergency.
Rooftops might not be for small cars since they require lots of roof space and are heavy. Also, if you put extra weight on the roof, it might make steering difficult.
Hitch racks are more convenient when taking bikes on a hike. They are expensive, but they are easy to take on and off.
A hitch rack requires one extended solid support attached beneath your car. Since it uses screws and bolts to connect, you can take it off after your adventure is over.
Some hitch racks come with the option to adjust multiple bikes, but you have to lock them correctly; otherwise, they’ll fall. Depending upon the bike’s weight, you’ll need a strong hitch rack.
This is where hitch bike racks are the best; these racks come with extension points, where you can add another extension to put your bike.
Benefits of Hitch Racks
A hitch bicycle rack is pretty convenient when lifting and taking down the bike. Since these hitch bike racks are almost two feet off the ground, two or three people can easily lift down a mountain bike. If your cycles are made from aluminum, things will get even more accessible since they are very lightweight.
This might not feel like a huge benefit, but taking off the bike from the roof is challenging when you are tired. Moreover, since hitch racks are connected to the back, you don’t have to worry about them hitting the garage roof, door, a drive-thru, or an overpass.
Since you can’t carry heavy luggage on a hitch rack, you can save money on gas. Those bikes on the back might have some weight, but a high-tech aero road bike has the same weight as a large brick. You can save more if you cycle to the destination, but that might take days, so a hitch rack is a suitable option.
Another benefit of hitch racks is that they can support up to four bikes. However, you’ll have to find the right trailer hitch to support such weight. Hitch racks can also save your car’s roof paint, keep the interior clean, and make more space for friends or equipment.
For a pickup truck, these bicycle racks are the best; depending upon your tow hitch, they might support up to seven bikes. Also, you can keep an eye on your bikes which you cannot if you have a roof rack installed.
Downsides of Hitch Racks
The biggest complication of these hitch racks is the price, which increases as you add an extension and want more quality. Moreover, you’ll need a trailer hitch that is not part of bike racks and demands more cost. Your support is based on how solid this hitch mount is, so you’ll have to spend some fortune on this one too.
The carrier will block your taillight and number plate, which could be dangerous while traveling at night as the car behind you cannot see your red lights. On the other hand, these racks demand a solid hitch receiver, so the bikes and the carrier won’t move if you are off-roading.
You’ll need to dismount these car bike racks once done, which is unnecessary for rooftop racks. With more weight, these car bike racks start wobbling, which won’t be a big problem unless you have lots of weight on the rack and hit a bumpy road at high speed.
Other Kinds of Bike Racks
Other bike racks are available besides root top racks and hitch racks, but people prefer the above two types more.
Truck Bed Rack
These racks are exclusively designed for trucks and can only be installed on open-backs. The convenient thing about these racks is safety; even if your bike falls, it will stay inside the truck. Moreover, multiple options are available; you can choose the one where you can fit the bikes on top and keep all the other equipment beneath it.
Spare Tire Mount Racks
Spare tire mount racks are the most suitable option if you don’t have an SUV or a truck but own a small family car. You can install them in the space where you carry an extra tire on your car’s back. The downside of these racks is that they support a maximum of two bikes, and you need to take them off every time you return from the trip.
Best Bike Racks
Here are some of the best bike racks available in the market.
|Kuat Sherpa 2.0 - 2" - 2-Bike Rack||Check Lowest Price|
|Kuat Beta Bike Rack, Gray, 2"||Check Lowest Price|
|Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack||Check Lowest Price|
|Saris Bones Car Trunk Bicycle Rack Carrier||Check Lowest Price|
|Saris Superclamp EX 4-Bike Hitch Car Rack||Check Lowest Price|
|YAKIMA Wheel-On Upright Bike Mount||Check Lowest Price|
|INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Rack||Check Lowest Price|
1. Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0-2 Bike Rack
Sherpa 2.0 is a two-bike rack made with a solid build that stands out with its unique and foldable build. Most bike racks will hang at the back even if you park the car; this bike rack folds so you can park your car anywhere you want. Moreover, if you find a matching color rack, it can enhance your car’s look.
It features a semi-integrated bike lock, so you won’t require a separate lock to secure your bikes. However, you might want to double-check the lock before driving to ensure it is tightened correctly. Otherwise, your bikes will keep colliding with each other.
The best thing about this hitch hack is no installation system, and you can tighten the hitch receiver or remove it with your hands. The only downside of this bike rack is that you cannot mount more than two bikes on it. If you have a bigger family, you might look for other options we share below.
The price is reasonable considering the quality of this rack and how convenient it is. It weighs around 32 pounds and can withstand weight up to 80 pounds. A typical mountain bike might weigh approximately 28 to 32 pounds; thus, you can easily carry two bikes.
2. Kuat 2 Bike Beta Rack
Here is another bike rack that can support two bikes, but it is more compact and less expensive than Sherpa 2.0. You also get a gated hitch pin in this package if you want to attach this bike rack to your truck’s gate.
You’ll require to get the hitch adapter separately, which is convenient since it will connect to any 1.25″ to 2″ hitch adapter. You can move it up and down to access the bike quickly. It only weighs 18 pounds, making it the lightest rack on our list.
Since this is a small and compact rack, you can easily load two lightweight bikes on it. The maximum it can withstand is 40 pounds; if you put more weight, it will start hanging and hit the ground.
You can fold it when you are not using it, and since it folds completely flat, you can store it anywhere easily. Keep it inside your car’s trunk, or hang it on the garage wall; the choice is yours.
3. Thule EasyFold XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack
This is the best option if you want a bike rack that gives next-generation looks. Thule EasyFold XT 2 is suitable for heavy mountain bikes, especially for e-bikes with heavy batteries or motors. It features a stable wheelbase with a 9-inch bike-to-bike distance.
The wheelbase is 48-inch wide, but it is foldable, and it won’t take more than 20-minutes for you to install this. Wheel straps are available instead of metal locks; easy to strap in and lock the bike.
However, make sure that the straps are not loose. They are the only things holding your bike tires; even if one is open, both your bikes will slip.
There is another lock to hold the bike body, but it won’t work adequately if the straps are not tightened. It also features a carry handle, and since it has wheels, you can remove the entire rack without dismounting the bike and drag it to the garage.
There is no need to worry about accessing the back trunk. A foot pedal allows you to tilt the bike to open the trunk. However, open the trunk slowly to ensure it won’t hit the bikes and ruin the paint job.
4. Saris Bones Car Bike Rack
This is ideal if you want a rack that can adjust more than two bikes but leaves space to open the trunk. It might not be a good-looking rack, but it does the job brilliantly. You can easily mount and remove it, and it can fit any car due to its wide and adjustable design.
Integrated strap management allows you to adjust the straps without leaving any part for flapping. These straps are made from recyclable material, and you can easily replace them if they are damaged or lose grip.
Another noticeable feature of this rack is that you can attach it to cards with spoilers. However, if you attach it to a vehicle that has a spoiler, you cannot mount more than two bikes on it.
Installing this rack is the easiest; it comes with four dog legs featuring rubberized feet to keep the grip on the mirror. Attach the long straps provided with the rack to connect them to your car. Those straps are strong and stretchable, so they won’t break even if you drive on a rough track.
Saris Bones has a clean, sleep look that won’t make your vehicle look weird, unlike most bike racks. It can support weight up to 70-100 pounds depending upon how much space you left for the bikes.
5. Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike Hitch Rack
This is a dedicated four bike rack, but you cannot install it on every vehicle. Since four bikes will add a lot of weight, this rack is suitable for trucks and SUVs. The rack itself is 190 pounds; if you mount four bikes on it, you’ll add 150-200 pounds to it.
A small car doesn’t have enough power to keep the ride smooth and easy if you go to tough terrains with so much weight. But if you ignore its weight, this rack can carry any bike you mount and securely take it to the destination.
It features Universal wheel trays that go 50 inches beneath your car for extra support. The company also added reflects on the trays to increase the low light visibility.
The tilting feature works even if you mount all four bikes on it. It also features adjustable arms and wheel trays that can fit any bike you have, be it a bike with a fender or an e-bike.
The only downside of this rack is that you’ll need fat tire wheel holders if you want to mount a bike with tires wider than 4.5-inches.
6. YAKIMA – HighRoad Wheel-On Mount
Before anything else, let us clarify that this is not a roof rack; it is a mount you can install over a roof rack. While it is not cheaper than a trunk rack, it serves a good purpose for big families. If you have one bid kid who can ride a bike and you are going on a family trip with lots of other stuff, this roof rack won’t add unnecessary weight to your car.
It can carry any bike regardless of its tire size; a stand in the middle supports your bike so it won’t move back and forth. The rear tire will be locked with an adjustable strap; if you want, you can add additional support in the middle. It won’t be necessary unless you carry an e-bike or a light motorbike.
The downside is that it requires a pre-installed roof rack, making it suitable for cars that already have a roof rack. Another downside is that you cannot mount more than one bike.
7. INNO RT201 Truck Bed Bike Rack
It is the cheapest option we could find and fits any car you have.
All the hardware is included in the box, and no drilling is required to install support. Instead, you attach the clips to the rear bumper of your truck and tighten them. Then insert the long screws on the top, which contains the strap, to lock the bicycle.
There is no need to remove the bike’s front tire to mount it. The straps are easy to open and close, making it quite convenient to lock the bike. The best part is that it won’t take up much space in your car, and you grab sets based on how many bikes you have.
However, you must use this for bikes that weigh less than 20 pounds as the straps are not that strong to hold the support, especially if you want to use them on the back of your car.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Which bike rack is best for my car?
There is no definite answer to this as you need to check your demands and what sort of car you have. You can find bike racks like rooftop, hitch racks, and truck racks, but you’ll need to check how many bikes you want to use and your destination.
You should also consider how often you’ll go hiking as some racks are hard to dismount. If you have a family car and want to go for a small picnic, a root rack would be preferable, but a hitch rack is better if you go to mountains and rough terrains.
2. Do bike racks fit all bikes?
It depends on the wheelbase of a rack and your bike’s tires. Some racks have a narrow wheelbase making them suitable for thin tires, while some have a thick base making them ideal for a bike with wide tires.
Check what bike you have and purchase a rack accordingly. If you have an e-bike, then you’ll need a wide wheelbase.
Ladies’ and kids’ bikes are built differently; they require an additional top-tube adapter to stay fixed on a rack.
3. Do I need a hitch for a bike rack?
You’ll need a trailer hitch on your car if you want to use a hitch rack. You can attach the rack to the trailer hitch or knob and guarantee solid support to mount your bikes. If you avoid using a trailer hitch, we recommend you go for roof or truck racks.
4. How do you transport a bike without a rack?
It is challenging, but you can take your bike anywhere without a rack. You might need to clean your bike, remove the tires, remove the chain, and lay the bike with all this stuff beneath your rear seat.
In short, you have to disassemble your bike if you want to take it somewhere without using a rack. For such instances, you can get a foldable bike, but remember, foldable bikes are not durable for mountains.
Having a bike rack is a great convenience for taking your bike as you go hiking in the mountains. Our article will answer your question, “what bike rack fits my car?” as we provide the benefits and downsides of each kind of rack and even recommend the best racks suitable for every car.
If you hike often, it is better to spend some money and get a quality rack, so your bike and car won’t get damaged on the trip. Additionally, check how much weight your vehicle can easily endure before opting for a rack, as extra weight can increase gas usage.