HOW TO CHOOSE BICYCLE CAR RACKS – BUYERS GUIDE

Shaun George BOTS Guides

Like most folk, you probably enjoy traveling. Being a biker you’ve also probably realized that your trips would be more enjoyable if you had your bicycle along with you. Carrying your bike along with you, inside the vehicle isn’t the most practical thing to do.

Carrying your bike along with you won’t be a hassle if you invest in a cycle rack to be fit on your car. Bicycle racks are now the most convenient way to carry your bike around

In the market today there are multiple racks that are available for all kinds of bikes and all kinds of cars.

To determine what rack suites your needs, car, and bikes the most have a look at your options below-

5 TYPES OF RACKS

1. TRUNK RACKS

This is your ideal setup in case you own a sedan or a small hatchback. The rack is attached to the trunk via a few straps – it rests on the trunk and protrudes outwards to accommodate your bikes. Unlike hitch racks and roof racks, trunk-mounted bike racks are typically inexpensive, lightweight, and portable. No additional attachment is required.

PROS

  • It will allow you to carry at least 2-3 bikes.
  • Trunk racks are also the cheapest of the lot.
  •  They’re lightweight and fairly versatile as to what vehicles they are compatible with.
  • They offer lower wind resistance than their alternatives as well.
  • Not permanently attached to the vehicle.
  • Easy to mount and dismount bicycles from.

CONS

  • Once attached, bikes and rack obstruct drivers’ view slightly.
  • Adds to the length of the vehicle.
  • Trunk access is blocked.
  • Racks’ stability at speeds or over bumps is questionable.

2. HITCH RACKS

These types of racks are ideal for people with slightly bigger vehicles such as SUVs, MPVs or crossovers. In order for this setup to work your vehicle needs to have a hitch receiver.

Hitches are divided into classes according to towing capacity. It’s important that you ensure your vehicle is capable of towing the required limit. Failure in doing so may damage your vehicle and/or the rack itself.

PROS

  • Can carry 4 bikes
  • Simple installation.
  • A moderate amount of lifting involved.
  • Locks are available keeping your bike safe from theft.
  • Positioned away from the vehicle; fewer chances of scratches on vehicles surface.

CONS

  • Different bike frames may require adaptors
  • Trunk access blocked
  • Can be quite heavy
  • Prone to damage
  • Very lengthy

3. SPARE-WHEEL RACKS

Applicable for vehicles like SUVs that have tailgate-mounted spare wheels. If you do happen to have a spare tire attached to the back of your vehicle, this kind of rack is ideal for you. Usually, a strap goes around your rear-door mounted spare wheel – the bike carrier is held stable this way. These kinds of racks can usually accommodate up to 2-3 bikes.

PROS

  • Moderate cost
  • Simple maintenance   

CONS

  • Carrying limit of only 2 bikes.
  • It cannot be mounted with a tire cover.

4. ROOF RACKS

Probably the most versatile option for any vehicle. There are three main ways that bikes can get attached to a roof rack – via the frame, wheels, fork or a combination of these. Frame-gripping models are the traditional solution, featuring a bar that attaches to the downtube of your bicycle to hold it securely, though these can damage bikes if used incorrectly – typically noisier. The most reliable and sturdy option is a rack that utilizes two or more retention methods.

The bike carrier itself is fit onto crossbars that attach to the roof of the vehicle. These crossbars can be accessorized to also mount kayaks, tents, snowboards or other outdoor gear. The possibilities are endless. Most vehicles these days come equipped with their own roof mounting rails, crossbars or side rails.

PROS

  • It can be mounted on virtually any vehicle.
  • Moderate cost of setup.
  • Lockable mounts.
  • Bikes are secure and stable even at high speeds or bumpy roads.
  • No visual obstruction to the driver.

CONS

  • Mounting bikes not as easy
  • Wind resistance- affects gas mileage
  • Height restrictions
  • Rails and rack permanently attached to the rooftop of the vehicle.

5. CARGO BOXES

This carrying solution could fit smaller framed bikes (BMX’s) in a dismantled manner however this is not recommended as parts may move around as the vehicle moves around. On the other hand, bicycle parts can be stowed in this case as backups on a long trip if you don’t already have something mounted on your vehicle’s rooftop.

PROS

  • Can stow lots of items
  • Does not occupy space inside the vehicle
  • Come in streamlined shapes

CONS

  • Tend to be expensive
  • Are quite heavy
  • Items can move around if now tied down properly

SUMMARY

The intended usage of your bike rack is something to consider before investing in one. Longer hauls require sturdier, heavy-duty racks that can take more abuse. In-city transportation does not require the most rugged rack out there. Before installing a cycle carrier on your vehicle, make sure you read your vehicle’s manual and make sure that the carrier you have in mind is actually compatible with your car. It’s important to know your vehicle’s payload limits as well. Remember, with additional length/height added to your car it’s important to be a bit more cautious when driving around in tight spaces.

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