If you want to ride your bike anywhere besides around your block, you simply must have a bike rack. Sure, you can transport your bike in the back seat in a pinch, but this often requires taking the bike apart, folding the seats down, and then ramming it into your car into the trunk door finally closes. Some cars can even fit a bike no matter how much you shove, and those that can are usually left with unsightly grease stains at the end of the trip. Simply put: if you have a bike, you need a bike rack. While you’re at it, you might also want to check out our top list for hybrid bikes. After all, you do need something to put in your bike rack!
We reviewed dozens of bike racks to identify the best of the best. We rated each bike rack based on capacity, ease of use, Customer reviews, weight, security, install time, durability, and construction material.
With an array of features, this bike rack has everything a cyclist might need
The Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack easily took the top spot on our list as the best bike rack available. Its high capacity means that you’ll be able to carry everyone’s bike while a unique tie-down system keeps them all secure. You’ll never have to worry about shoving your bikes into your car again.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Bike Racks for 2018
|Top Pick||Allen Sports DELUXE HITCH MOUNTED BIKE RACK||4.3|
|Runner Up||Critical Cycles Lenox Hitch Mount Bike Rack with 2 Inch Receiver||3.6|
|Budget Pick||Allen Sports ULTRA COMPACT TRUNK MOUNTED BIKE RACK||3.8|
|Best Bike Roof Rack||Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack||4.1|
|Best Hitch-Mount Bike Rack||Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style Bike Rack||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
The Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack comes in a wide array of options to fit anyone’s needs and tastes. One of the most popular options it the 4-bike rack, which allows you to easily transport up to four bikes at a time. This is enough capacity to fit the needs of nearly every cyclist. There are also 2-bike, 3-bike, and 5-bike racks available in both locking and unlocking models. This wide variety means that you can select the bike rack that best fits your situation without compromising on one that is only “good enough.”
On top of the wide variety available, this bike rack set up in less than five minutes. You simply put it into your trailer hitch, and you are good to go. However, this does mean that you have to have the correct trailer hitch in order to use this bike rack, which might eliminate the possibility of you being able to use it. This bike rack only works with a 2-inch trailer hitch. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, then you should look into purchasing one of the other bike racks on our list instead. However, if you do have a vehicle with the correct hitch, then this is the bike rack to get.
This bike rack is created using high-quality steel with a black powder coating to eliminate the possibility of rust.
Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack Key Features:
- Variety of models available
- 22-inch long carry arm
- Folding carry arm
- Installs in less than 5 minutes
Our Runner Up Pick: Critical Cycles Lenox Hitch Mount Bike Rack with 2 Inch Receiver
One of the most trusted bike racks on the market
When we’re transporting our bikes, we want to know that they’re safe and secure. The last thing we want is for one of our beloved bikes to come loose while we’re driving and hit the car behind us or for someone to come along and take it while we aren’t looking. The Critical Cycles Lenox Hitch Mount Bike Rack with 2 Inch Receiver calms these fears by providing a safe and secure bike transportation system. This bike rack features high-quality, individual tie-down straps that keep your bike locked in place and prevent others from simply walking up and taking them. Plus, the high-quality steel frame provides extreme amounts of strength and durability to prevent the rack itself from breaking or falling apart while you’re driving.
Like our top pick, this bike rack requires a 2-inch trailer hitch to work. If you don’t have the correct hitch, it is simply unusable, and you should look at some of our other options on this list for a bike rack that is suited to your situation. Unlike some of the other listings, however, this bike rack tilts down when you need it to, which provides a super convenient way to unmount your bikes and open your trunk. For some other bike racks, installing them means that you basically lose the ability to get into your trunk, not with this one though. You can simply tilt it down whenever you need to access the rear of your vehicle.
Critical Cycles Lenox Hitch Mount Bike Rack with 2 Inch Receiver Key Features:
- Individual tie downs and cradles
- Tilting main mast
- Constructed from steel
- Folds easily when not in use
Best Budget Pick: Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
A wonderful choice for the cycler on a budget
A good bike can be exceedingly expensive, and it is not uncommon for a cyclist to have little money left in their budget for a bike rack. However, just because you don’t have much money to sacrifice for a bike rack doesn’t mean that you can’t afford a high-quality one. The Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack Is a high-quality, durable bike rack available for a fraction of the price of other bike racks. It can hold a single bike or two bikes, depending on the exact version you purchase. What really makes this bike rack stand above many of the other cheaper competitors is that its lower price does not mean a sacrifice of quality. It is constructed out of high-quality steel that can easily transport your bike for years to come and comes equip with a padded spine to protect your bike and your car. If you’re still worried about the quality, this bike rack also comes with a lifetime warranty.
This bike rack also works on most sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, and minivans, no matter whether you have a hitch or not. Unlike many bike racks, that means that you can use it without having a specific type of trailer hitch. Surprisingly, this bike rack can also fold into a size that is small enough to fit in a backpack. Now, not only are your bikes easy to transport, but your bike rack is too.
Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack Key Features:
- Folds for easy storage
- Carry bag included
- Works with a large number of vehicles
- Padded spine to protect your car and bike
Best Bike Roof Rack: Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack
If you have a smaller car or one that just won’t work with traditional bike racks, you might want to look into this one
Not all traditional bike racks work for everyone’s car. Most require a specialized hitch or, even if they don’t, they require an SUV or hatchback to use. If you have a smaller car or one that just doesn’t work with a traditional bike rack, you might want to look into a roof rack. Out of all of those on the market, the Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack is the best bike rack available. It sits on top of your car, which means that it can work on a wider variety of makes and models than other bike racks. It is incredibly secure and comes with tie-down straps for the wheels and a lockable upright arm. The frame itself is made with both steel and plastic, which ensures a sturdy and durable design. You don’t have to worry about your bike being stolen or accidentally tumbling off with this bike rack.
This bike roof rack only holds one bike. But, multiple units can be used with one car. Because this bike rack is so inexpensive, it is hardly a problem to purchase more than one if you have multiple bikes you need to haul around. Customers loved how secure and easy to use this bike rack was without requiring the removal of their bike’s wheels or complex installation of the rack.
Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack Key Features:
- Plastic and steel construction
- Carries one bike
- Multiple racks can be used on a single vehicle
Best Hitch-Mount Bike Rack: Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style Bike Rack
If you’re looking for an easy to use yet sturdy hitch-mount bike rack, this is a great option
If you have the appropriate hitch to install a bike rack, then there isn’t really a reason why you shouldn’t get one. While bike roof racks are a wonderful option for those with smaller cars, needing feet of extra clearance when your car is already quite tall can be difficult. If you drive an SUV or another taller car, your best bet is to purchase a hitch-mount rack. If this sounds like what you need, the Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style Bike Rack is one of the best options on the market. Unlike most other hitch-mount style bike racks, this bike rack sits flush against the car, which can be incredibly useful if you need the extra room behind your car. Plus, this bike rack is easily assembled and installed in a matter of minutes.
This bike rack is designed to make no contact with the back of your car, eliminating the possibility of scratches and scraped paint. It features a locking mechanism that locks the bikes to the rack and the rack to the vehicle. This gets rid of the chance that someone might steal your bike or the whole rack altogether. Without any upgrades, this bike rack holds two bikes, but it can be extended by purchasing the upgraded rack.
Yakima Products Hold Up Tray Style Bike Rack Key Features:
- Carries 2 bikes
- Easy assembly and setup
- Fully integrated security
- Accommodates a wide range of bikes
Who Should Buy a Bike Rack
One of the best parts of owning a bike is being able to ride down scenic trails. However, in order to ride down these trails, you have to get your bike there. While it can be fun to simply ride around the block, seeing the same things over and over again can get rather dull and take the spark out of your bike rides. Eventually, you are probably going to want to seek out a bike trail or visit a different location for your rides. However, this means you’re going to have to transport your bike, and that is often more difficult than it sounds. Taking your bike apart and shoving it into your trunk risks damage to both your car and your bike. Instead of risking the damage, you’re better off simply purchasing a bike rack for these excursions.
If you are planning on going on vacation and want to take your bike, you are probably going to need a bike rack as well. Trying to shove your bike into your trunk or back seat is just a bad idea, and if you’re going on an extended vacation, you’re probably not going to have the room inside your car for your bike anyway. It is simply just in your best interest to invest in a good bike rack.
With an array of features, this bike rack has everything a cyclist might need
Important Features to Consider
A bike rack should have a number of key features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a bike rack for your bike:
- Capacity. If you aren’t the only cyclist in your family, this is going to be an important feature to consider. After all, no one wants to be left out just because the bike rack wasn’t big enough for their bike. Preferably, you should get a bike rack that can fit all of your family’s bikes but isn’t so big that it would be taking up a lot of unnecessary space. You don’t want to get a bike rack that can hold five bikes if you’re the only person in your family who owns a bike, but you don’t want to get a bike rack that only holds 1 bike when your family is full of avid cyclists either.
- Material. The material of your bike rack can radically change how durable it is. Steel bike racks are obviously going to be more durable than a plastic one. Furthermore, a bike rack that is not made with sturdy materials is more likely to bend and bow under the weight of your bikes, which puts both them and your vehicle at risk. While steel bike racks are more expensive than many other types of materials, the durability is absolutely worth it.
- Set up. You are going to have to manual attach the bike rack to your vehicle. How difficult that is can depend a lot on the particular brand and model bike rack you decide to get. Unless you want to spend hours trying to attach your bike rack, we recommend buying one that is easy to assemble, like one of those on our top list.
- Lock. If they wanted to, it is very easy for someone to take your bike off your bike rack unless it is locked. To be as safe as possible, we recommend buying a lockable bike rack. Bikes are expensive investments, after all.
- Accomodation. Bikes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Choosing a bike rack that accommodates your bike and any future bike you might get is extremely important.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a bike rack work?
Bike racks work in a variety of ways depending on the exact model and brand. Many bike racks simply have plastic “buckles” that keep your bike in place while your drive, while others have tie down systems that go around your bike’s wheels. Some bike racks require you to take the wheels of your bike before it fits correctly. However, there are also many that don’t require this and can fit your bike without having to take anything off of it. To figure out how your bike rack works, we recommend reading the owner’s manual completely.
What kind of hitch do you need for a bike rack?
Different bike racks require different hitches. The most common one needed is a 2” trailer hitch, though some bike racks will need different hitches in order to work. If you don’t have a hitch at all, don’t fret because there are some bike roof racks that work without a hitch. For some good bike roof racks, see our top list and the other products we reviewed below.
Can you open your trunk with a bike rack on it?
Generally, no. You will not be able to open your trunk with a bike rack on it. However, some bike racks are designed to allow you to open your trunk when in use. For one such model, see our runner-up pick near the top of this guide.
Do you need a tow bar for a bike rack?
Not usually. Some bike racks, of course, might require a tow bar. But, these are generally rarer than those who do not need one. None of our top picks require a tow rack, so if you need a bike rack that doesn’t require one, check out our top list.
Other Bike Racks We Reviewed
With an array of features, this bike rack has everything a cyclist might need
We also reviewed 20 other racks for your bike. Even though these didn’t make our 5 best bike racks list, they’re still the best of the rest, and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Looking for a bike rack to carry your bike around? Take a look at the Cyclingdeal Bike carrier!
- Easily secured
- Steel powder coating
When it comes to moving your bike from point A to point B you want to be able to trust the bike carrier you are using. This easy to use rack will give you more time to ride.
- Easy to use
- No tangle hooks
- Securely holds bike
Riding your bike is always fun, but when it comes to transporting it long distances, it can be stressful. RockyMounts made a rack to take away all that stress. Give it a look!
- Low profile
- Stainless steel
- Holds skinny road tires
Stop trying to fit that bike in places it won’t fit. Instead, buy yourself a handy bike rack like the Thule Sidearm Roofrack.
- SecureHook holds
- Ratcheting wheel strap
- One-key lock cylinder
Lightweight, durable, and affordable. Check out this awesome bike rack!
- Roof mounted
The Travel Life Alloy Car Roof Bicycle Carrier comes with all the accessories you need to haul two bikes for your next adventure.
- All accessories included
- Fits most cross bars
- One of the best-selling bike racks on the market
Have you been on the hunt for a handy tool that holds a bike on the top of your car, and makes it super convenient to transport that bulky bike? Look no further, the Venzo premium Car Mount rack has just what you need!
- Lock on front wheel
- Fits 24” to 29” rims
- Rubber clamp
Spend more time doing the things you love, like biking through the mountain trails! You can haul five bikes with this easy-to-use bike rack.
- 5-bike rack
- 16 in. long carry arms
- Folding carry arms
On the hunt for just the perfect bike rack for a small family? The durable BUZZRACK Express holds up to four bikes.
- Platform style racks
- Moveable wheel trays
- Heavy duty powder coated steel construction
BV makes a very affordable bike mount that will satisfy all your bike carrying needs, hauling up to two bikes.
- Tilt back design
- Safety reflector
- Tray-style loops
The Critical Cycles 4 Bike Lenox Hitch Mount fits a two-inch trailer hitch and features tie-down cradles and straps to keep your bicycles secure for travel.
- 4-bike hitch mount
- Tie-down cradles
Stop wasting time and money on trying to find ways to transport your bikes. Road-Max has the sturdy solution that you’ve been looking for.
Who doesn’t want a lightweight and well-made bike carrier? The Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-bike is a great product at an affordable price.
- Carries up to 2 bikes
Now, this bike rack is a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. Thule offers premium bike racks that offer countless features – and according to reviewers, it’s well worth the cost.
- Bikes lock to carrier
- Cradles absorb the shock of the road
- Top oriented hitch
Make more space in your garage without having to spend a ton of money. DecoBros offers a five-bike rack that won’t consume your garage.
- Holds 5 bikes
- Fine Powdercoat
Do you hate walking into your garage and finding yourself tripping over bikes? The Dirza Bike Rack won’t break the bank, but it will help you free up space in your garage.
- Anti-scratch rubber
- Lifetime warranty
- Heavy duty
This brilliantly designed bike mount is made to save you both floor space and money.
- Horizontal hanging design
- Suitable for most conventional bike frames
Like a lot of families, you may have some bikes laying around in the way and would like a simple solution. Racor offers just that. This two-bike stand will come in handy when you need to get your bikes out of the way.
- Vinyl coated
- Independent adjustment arms
When you are putting up your bike for the day or putting it up for a week, you most likely want to keep it out of the way and keep it easy to access. Take a look at this easy-to-use bike rack that will optimize your space!
- Easy to use
Needing a little organization in your garage for all those bikes? The Simple Houseware 5-Bike Rack is just what you’ve been looking for.
- Stable floor rack
- Holds 5 bikes
- Easy to assemble