The best bike racks for vehicles provide you the freedom to take your bike with you to ride further afield, whether for events and races, a vacation, a trip to the trailhead or bike park, or simply to ride somewhere new.
Whatever you choose, you’ll need to be able to attach your bike quickly enough so that you don’t waste time mounting and dismounting it but securely enough so that it doesn’t work loose on bad roads. You should also make it difficult for a thief to remove if you stop for a break.
Best Bike Racks to Buy in 2023
It’s also worth considering how much lifting you’ll have to perform. If you have a lightweight bike, hoisting it onto the roof of a car may not be too difficult, so one of the finest roof bike racks may be a decent alternative, but if you ride an electric bike and drive an SUV, roof mounting may be back-breaking labor. A hitch-mounted rack may be a preferable alternative in this instance. Of course, those without a tow hitch will benefit the most from the best trunk bike racks.
Whatever you choose, there are many factors that distinguish the finest bike racks from the rest, so making a decision may seem overwhelming at first. Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you. We’ve spent years testing all bike racks to see which ones provide the highest build quality, security, convenience of use, and other features, and we’ve compiled a list of what we believe are the best bike racks available for each type of mount.
Read on to learn more about the best bike racks to buy in 2023:
Thule T2 Pro XTR
- Heavy-Duty Construction
- User-Friendly Tilt Mechanism at the Rear of Rack
- Lots of Space Between Trays
- Tool-Free Attachment and Removal
The Thule T2 Pro XT is hands down the best hitch-mounted rack in our review. This rack has been at the top of the field for some years due to its winning combination of user-friendliness and versatility. From downhill mountain bikes to lightweight carbon fiber road cycles, it will safely and easily transport your bike from point A to point B. Thule created the T2 Pro XT with careful attention to detail, with several simple and ergonomic features such as a low load height and a ratcheting wheel clamp that can be adjusted with a single hand. The rack also has wide wheel trays that are compatible with all tire and wheel sizes, even fat bikes.
Thule has improved the general use of this rack by repositioning the tilt-release mechanism to the end of the main support arm, making it easier to access the rear of your vehicle. We also tried the T2 Pro with the 2 Bike Add-On, which was our preferred option for transporting four bikes.
This rack’s performance and user-friendliness do not come cheap. The T2 Pro XT is a high-priced rack that is also enormous and heavy rack, making it difficult to move or store. Nonetheless, we believe this is the greatest hitch mount rack on the market.
Saris Bone 2-Bike
- Top Tube Style
- Seatpost Strap
- Trunk/Boot Type
- Curved Arm Separates Bikes
If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Saris has adopted this mantra with its Bones 2-Bike trunk/boot car bike rack. The design was debuted in 1996 and hasn’t changed much since then.
It comes in two and three-bike versions and is made entirely of recyclable materials. Everything from the articulating feet to the arms is adjustable, allowing the rack to fit onto almost any automobile, including those with little spoilers.
When everything is attached, the curving arm that supports the bikes provides extra clearance, and the seatpost strap keeps the bikes from bouncing about too much. Unfortunately, the front wheel is still free to move about, which even the best vehicle bike racks of this sort fail to manage well.
- Solid Construction
- Highly Versatile
- Reasonably Priced
- User-Friendly Tilt Release
Even the most affordable hitch racks may be very pricey, but we have uncovered a new hitch-mount rack that we believe is a good value: the RockyMounts MonoRail. It is far less expensive than the most expensive hitch racks while providing comparable features and performance. The MonoRail, like other fantastic platform racks, holds the bike by the wheels, so there is no frame contact. It’s highly adaptable, with well-designed wheel trays and accompanying ladder strap extenders that can take everything from slender road tires to 5-inch fat bike behemoths.
The user-friendliness of this rack, which has a one-hand tilt release mechanism at the end of the main support arm that may be used with bikes loaded, was also praised by testers. It includes a long noose-style cable lock and a hitch pin lock to secure both the rack and the bikes it transports.
The MonoRail appears to be well-constructed, featuring a solid metal reception arm, main support arm, and bike trays. However, it is made of a large amount of plastic, including the folding front wheel and pivoting rear wheel trays, which could cause durability difficulties if used carelessly. It also uses a normal threaded hitch pin to secure the rack to your vehicle’s receiver. Although this works quite well, it is significantly less user-friendly than some of the competition’s tool-free tightening and locking solutions. Regardless, we believe the MonoRail is a superb rack that outperforms its pricing.
B’Twin 320 Car Bike Rack
- Folds Away Neatly for Storage
- Room for Up to Three Bikes
- Sits High Not Obstruct Registration Plate or Lights
Decathlon’s folding bike rack can transport up to three bikes and is designed to sit high enough so it doesn’t interfere with your registration plate or backlights. When not in use, it folds flat and can be conveniently stored until the next time you need it.
It has adjustable straps for a comfortable fit, and the feet in touch with the automobile are rubberized to protect the paintwork. It comes with cushioning to prevent your bike frames from damaging, but we’d recommend adding a bit more just to be safe.
Bikes without a horizontal top tube will require an adaptor to keep them in position.
Thule Outway Hanging 2
- More Stable than Other Trunk Racks
- Folds Small for Transport or Storage
- More Security Features than Other Trunk Racks
Thule’s Outway Hanging 2 trunk rack pleased us with ingenious design elements that assist to overcome some of the concerns that plague most other trunk-mount versions. The horizontal support arms can hold up to 35 pounds per bike and provide lateral flexibility for a more customized fit. It is lightweight (18.3 lbs) and folds down tiny for transport or storage. It is incredibly easy to install and remove after the initial setup thanks to its innovative attachment mechanism, making it the sturdiest and secure trunk rack when in use and loaded with bikes.
Instead of nylon webbing straps, the Outway employs locking steel cables to attach to the vehicle, as well as a locking cable for the bikes, to prevent both the rack and the bikes from being stolen. The ratcheting straps ensure a solid bike hold, and anti-sway stabilizers keep the bikes stable in transit. It is also available in a three-bike configuration.
While we liked the Outway Hanging 2, it has the same restrictions as most trunk racks. Most notably, it has a weight limit of 33 lbs. per bike and works best with bikes having horizontal top tubes (unless you purchase the Thule Frame Adapter). This rack does fit a variety of vehicles. However, it does not work with all automobiles; therefore, check Thule’s Fit my car tool on their website to find out. Bike-on-bike interference, like any trunk rack, may be unavoidable depending on the sizes and designs of bikes you carry. Regardless, we believe this is the greatest trunk rack on the market, assuming it fits your vehicle and bikes.
Allen Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Carrier
- Very Inexpensive
- No Assembly Needed
- Collapses Small for Storage
The Allen Deluxe 2-Bike trunk-mount rack is an excellent value. This basic design is compatible with a wide range of automobiles and SUVs and can handle two bikes and up to 70 pounds of total weight. It comes fully constructed, with only one simple step required to get it ready to use. Five straps with rubber-coated hooks that attach to the trunk’s top, sides, and bottom hold it to the back of the vehicle. Rubber frame cradles connect bikes to the frame with nylon straps and plastic buckles.
When not in use, this lightweight rack weighs only 7 lbs. and 9 oz. and folds up quite small. It works best with bikes with classic frame forms due to the configuration of its support arms.
Given the Allen Deluxe 2-Bike’s ridiculously cheap price, it’s no surprise that it’s incredibly basic. The rack itself, as well as the bike support arms, are fixed, so there is almost no adjustment to fine-tune the fit for your car or bike frame.
The fixed support arms may not be compatible with all bike frame styles, especially full-suspension mountain bikes. It also lacks any form of security features; thus, locking the rack in your vehicle or the bikes to the rack is not an option. Having said that, we believe this is a serviceable alternative for the infrequent user looking for a simple and extremely economical trunk-mount rack.
- Stable and Sturdy
- Security Features
- Optional Ramp for Loading Heavy Bikes
The Yakima StageTwo is a hitch-mount tray rack with a class-leading weight restriction of 70 pounds per bike, a high level of adaptability, and exceptional ease of use. This rack can accommodate a wide range of wheel sizes, wheelbase lengths, and tire widths, allowing you to transport nearly any size and style of bike. With a robust front-wheel clamp and rear-wheel ratchet strap, loading is simple, and a remote tilt-release handle makes folding the rack up and down a breeze. For users with large electric bikes, the RampUp loading ramp makes it simple to roll bikes up onto the trays.
To avoid the bike-on-bike collision, the tiered bike trays can alternatively be centered or offset. The StageTwo is quick and easy to install and remove owing to a SpeedKnob that tightens an anti-wobble cam for stability and locks the rack to the car. Integrated cable locks in the clamp arms secure the bikes to the rack, and a welded lock loop allows you to attach an additional lock. It comes in 1.25-inch and 2-inch receiver sizes, two color options (2-inch only), and a 2-bike add-on that can carry up to four bikes (2-inch only).
While we like StageTwo’s durability, it comes at a weight disadvantage. This rack weighs 63.5 pounds and is not the simplest to remove from the vehicle. It is also rather huge, taking up a lot of storage space when not in use. The 70-pound weight limit will be more than suitable for most users, but for RV use, the limit drops to 60 lbs. Yakima lowers the limit to 42 lbs. per bike for off-road use.
Years of purchasing and testing bike racks and our favorite biking gear have resulted in this comprehensive comparison. There is no doubt that any of these bike racks will serve their purpose admirably. Having said that, each rack has intrinsic strengths and disadvantages. Furthermore, some of the designs we tested genuinely outperform others. Our best suggestion for choosing your bike rack partner is to begin by assessing your vehicle and bicycle type. Certain types of vehicles and bicycles work significantly better with certain types of racks. We hope this review about the best bike racks assists you in making an informed purchase decision.
What Bike Rack is Best for an SUV?
SUVs and pickup vehicles benefit greatly from hitch-mounted bike racks. They are intended to be added to existing tow hitches. These are one of the most popular solutions since their height makes loading and unloading bikes simple.
Are Hanging or Platform Bike Racks Better?
A platform rack is the best option if you intend to load and unload your bikes from the rack regularly. A hanging rack is the best option if you want to remove your bike rack from your vehicle regularly.
Is it OK to Store a Bike on its Wheels?
Unless something extremely unusual occurs, all wheels, even road bike wheels, are intended to withstand massive loads. It’s not difficult to hang a bike by its wheel. The wheel is built to withstand loads significantly greater than the weight of the bike.
Which is Better Trunk or Hitch Bike Rack?
Trunk bike racks have a substantially lower maximum weight capacity than hitch-mounted racks. Most trunk racks are not designed to carry bikes weighing more than 35 pounds. However, a high-quality hitch platform rack can frequently carry bikes weighing up to 60 pounds!