How to Choose Bike Racks for Cars

Biking outdoors at a moderate pace for 30 minutes can help a 155-pound individual burn 298 calories and a 185-pound individual burn 355 calories. Burning calories isn’t the only reason to take your bike out on the trail. It can help you build muscle and reduce stress.

There are thousands of miles of bike trails in the US, including through the nation’s national parks. But getting your bike to these trails isn’t always easy since your bike probably doesn’t fit in the trunk of your car.

Bike racks for cars make it easy to get your bike to your favorite trail. If you don’t know which car bike rack is best for you, read on to learn about the different types of bike racks and how to pick one.

Types of Bike Racks

Cars have very little space to hold bikes unless you take them apart. So, cars need to have exterior bike racks to transport them efficiently. Here are the three main types of bike racks:

Roof Bike Racks

Roof racks are incredibly versatile and customizable for other outdoor equipment like kayaks. They can keep your bike protected while giving you free access to all parts of your car.

Roof racks require you to lift bikes overhead to rack them. They also increase your car’s drag, which affects your fuel efficiency. Since they often hold bikes upright, you have to be mindful of your height clearance.

Hitch Bike Racks

Hitch bike racks require your car to have a hitch receiver for the rack to attach to your vehicle. They don’t touch your vehicle and hold bikes by their tires to protect your car and bike frame. This category includes horizontal and vertical bike racks.

If your car doesn’t have a hitch receiver, you can have one installed, but it is an additional expense to consider. Hitch racks can get in the way of accessing the rear of your car, but today many are made to tilt.

Trunk Bike Racks

Truck bike racks (also called a rear bike rack) attach to the truck of your car with a series of straps and hooks. They are easy to put on and store and don’t require a hitch. While they are simple to use, they aren’t as secure and could damage your bike.

How to Choose the Best Bike Rack

When traveling with bikes, there are numerous factors that you will have to consider to ensure your bike gets to and from the trail in one piece. Here are a few things you will want to consider to pick a bike rack that fits your needs.

What You Want Your Rack to Carry

The different types of racks are suited to certain kinds of bikes. Not all stands will be able to hold specialty bikes like mountain bikes. So, know which rack is best to hold your type of bike.

Also, consider the number of bikes you want to transport. Some bike racks can carry up to seven bikes, but others may only carry one.

Consider Your Car’s Capabilities

Your car type may limit your back rack options. Some cars have roof crossbars or a trailer hitch, making them suitable for roof and hitch bike racks. Whatever rack you choose has to fit your vehicle.

Security, Milage, and Budget

Some bike racks are better at keeping your bike from getting damaged or stolen. Transporting bikes also affects your car’s aerodynamics, causing drag and increasing gas costs.

Bike rack pricing varies widely depending on the features you want and installation. You’ll want to find a balance between price and security.

Explore More With Bike Racks for Cars

Bike racks for cars make it easy to take your bikes on the go. Each type of rack has pros and cons to consider when choosing a bike rack for you. But, you’ll be able to take full advantage of our nation’s beautiful bike trails to improve your well-being.

Are you interested in more guides like this one? Check out the lifestyle and travel sections on our website.

How to Choose Bike Racks for Cars
Scroll to top