Whether you’re a road biker, mountain biker, or more leisurely recreational roller who simply prefers taking in the sights on two wheels instead of four, there are few better ways to get in some great exercise and explore your environs than biking. But what to do when our regular, go-to cycling routes start to feel, well, just a little bit tired? Or we head on vacation but only have so much space inside our vehicle for storage? Enter the vehicle bike rack! This simple, relatively low-cost addition to your vehicle’s accessories can open up a whole new world of possibilities to the two-wheeled adventurer, allowing us to venture further afield and take our bikes with us wherever we go.
In this article, we will introduce you to our selection of the top 25 bike racks currently on the market in 2019.
We reviewed dozens of bike racks to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of factors, including type, material, shape, size, cost, and average customer reviews.
Having considered a simply vast number of vehicle bike racks, we chose the BV Tray-Style Bike Rack as our top pick. This rack is simplicity itself, attaching easily to the hitch on cars, trucks, and SUVs and using three connection points to each bike to ensure stability and a rattle-free ride on even the bumpiest of roads. It also features a superbly convenient tilt-back design that lets you access the trunk of your vehicle without detaching the rack.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Bike Racks
|Best Overall||BV Tray-Style Bike Rack||4.5|
|Runner Up||Tyger Auto 4-Bike Carrier Rack||4.3|
|Best Budget Buy||Allen Sports Deluxe Mounted Bike Rack||4.2|
|Best Bike Roof Rack||YAKIMA Raptor Aero Upright Bike Mount||3.8|
|Best Trailer Hitch Bike Rack||Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack||4.4|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: BV Tray-Style Bike Rack
After careful consideration, our favorite bike rack out there in 2019 in the BV Tray-Style Bike Rack. This very tidy and well-made bike rack is compatible with cars, SUVs, and trucks and is available in both a 2- and 4-bike model. At just under $170, it is also a reasonably priced option that offers more in the way of stability and convenience than many of its more expensive competitors.
The tray-style design of the this rack cradles each bike in two lower arms and one padded upper arm to maximize stability and offer a rattle-free ride. It can be attached to the receiver hitch on any vehicle in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, folds up when not in use in order to minimize bulk and aerodynamic drag while driving. But what we love most about this rack is the tilt-back design, a wonderfully convenient and time-saving feature that allows you to access the trunk of your vehicle without having to first dismantle or disconnect the rack.
Other features that scored this rack serious points on the convenience and practicality fronts include an anti-wobble shank design, a high-vis safety reflector panel, padded arms that ensure your bike’s paintwork remains unscathed, and a max weight capacity of 70 lbs.
BV Tray-Style Bike Rack Key Features:
- 70 lbs max weight capacity
- Fold-up design
- Tilt-back design allows access to trunk
- Anti-wobble shank-to-hitch connector
Our Runner Up Pick: Tyger Auto 4-Bike Carrier Rack
Hitting the road on a cycling adventure with the family or a group of friends? If so, you’ll be hard pressed to find model of bike rack that’s more practical or offers better value money than the Tyger Auto 4-Bike Carrier Rack.
This rack works on all vehicles equipped with either a 1.25 or a 2-inch hitch receiver that are under 18 feet in length and can be installed in just a few minutes. It can hold up to 4 bikes and uses a tilt-down design and foldable carry arms that let you access your trunk when the rack is in use and tuck it tidily away when not. The cradle attachment points are also nicely padded and close firmly over the frame of your bikes to prevent rattling and protect the paintwork on your bike while on the move.
Finally, this rack comes with a hitch lock, bike lock, and security straps included, and also a no-hassle lifetime warranty.
Tyger Auto 4-Bike Carrier Rack Key Features:
- Fits all vehicles with 1.25 inch or 2-inch hitch receiver
- 4-bike capacity
- Foldable carry arms
- Tilt-down design allows access to trunk
Best Budget Pick: Allen Sports Deluxe Mounted Bike Rack
If simplicity, fuss-free functionality, and outstanding value for money score high on your list of desirable attributes in a bike rack, the Allen Sports Deluxe Mounted Bike Rack deserves its place on your shortlist of potential purchases.
This strap-mounted rack can carry two bikes and offers exceptional quality given its low cost. While some buyers steer clear of strap-mounted racks on account of their oft-cited lack of stability compared to rooftop or hitch-mounted models, with this rack there need be no such worries. The Allen Sports Deluxe uses a total of five adjustable straps to ensure a solid and stable fit that remains rattle-free even on bumpy roads and when travelling at high speeds. It also has nicely padded attachment points that protect your bike and vehicle from any bumps, bangs, or scratches while on the road.
What we like most about this rack, however, is its versatility and ease of use. The adjustable strap system might not allow access to your trunk like the tilt-down models featured above, but it does mean you can switch between vehicles with the minimum of fuss while maintaining a very stable, tight fit.
Allen Sports Deluxe Mounted Bike Rack Key Features:
- Fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs
- Five-strap design
- Individual tie-downs secure and protect bicycles
- 70 lbs max capacity
Best Bike Roof Rack: YAKIMA Raptor Aero Upright Bike Mount
In the YAKIMA Raptor Aero Upright Bike Mount we find a car roof bike rack that takes the security of your two-wheeled treasure to a whole other level. This might not be the cheapest model of bike rack out there, granted, but in terms of quality of build, practicality, sturdiness, and durability, the Highroad is a downright winner.
This superbly sleek rack can be mounted onto any kind of crossbar and uses an adjustment-free hoop with a TorqueRight knob that tightly secures any mountain or road bike with tires up to 3″ to your vehicle in a matter of seconds.
The Aero scores additional points for its compatibility with bikes with unusual frame geometry, kids bikes, or delicate carbon frames—unlike many models of roof or hitch-mounted racks, with this model there is no contact with anything other than the tires.
YAKIMA Raptor Aero Upright Bike Mount Key Features:
- 30 lbs max weight capacity
- Tool-free mounting
- Adjustable wheel hoops provide ultra-secure fit
Best Trailer Hitch Bike Rack: Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack
In the last decade or so, the brand name Thule has become almost synonymous with quality bike accessories for vehicles, and with the Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack it’s easy to see why.
This two-bike rack might cost a small fortune but the fact that it still represents great value for money despite that lofty price tag tells you all you need to know about this rack’s quality and overall performance.
The T2 Pro XT2 attaches to your vehicle quickly and easily thanks to the tool-free AutoAttach system that also tilts away from the vehicle to allow access to the trunk and folds up compactly when not in use. The frame-free ratcheting arm secures your bike quickly without frame contact and fits 20-29″ wheels and up to 5″ tires, while the integrated 24″ cable lock secures bikes to the rack and retracts into the ratcheting arm when not in use to minimize drag, noise, and keep things tidy up top.
More than any other model of vehicle bike rack we know, the T2 Pro XT2 inspires confidence and offers the user utter peace of mind and a rattle-free ride.
Thule T2 Pro XT2 Bike Rack Key Features:
- 120 lbs max weight capacity
- Tool-free auto-attach system
- Tilt-down design allows access to trunk
- Integrated cable lock and lock knob
Who Should Buy a Bike Rack
Owning a reliable bike rack offers many benefits. The most notable of these is the ability to broaden your horizons and venture further afield to explore new routes or trails on your bike without having to put in the mileage to get there on your own steam. A bike rack also allows avid cyclists to take their own ride with them on vacations and thereby avoid the hassle and added expense of having to rent a set of (potentially inferior) wheels when you arrive at your destination.
If you’re in need of a way to attach a trailer-style bike rack, you won’t want to miss our article on, The Best Trailer Hitches.
Important Features to Consider
A vehicle bike rack should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a bike rack for your vehicle:
- Compatibility. Not all bike racks are compatible with all vehicles. While roof racks can generally be fitted to any base rack or cross bar and strap-mounted systems can be adjusted to fit most cars, sedans, and SUVs, with hitch-mounted systems buyers need to double-check the sizing of their hitch receiver and their would-be rack before buying. Most hitch-mounted racks use a hitch that is compatible with either a 1.25″ or 2″ receiver and, in many cases, cannot be used with trailers, RVs, or campers owing to the positioning of the receiver or lack of a receiver in these vehicles.
- Rack type. The three most common types of bike rack include roof racks, strap-mounted racks, and hitch-mounted racks. Each type has its own pros and cons. Generally speaking, roof racks typically weigh less, leave you with easy access to the trunk, and are easy to install, but cause more aerodynamic drag, do not support multiple bikes, and are less accessible owing to their positioning on top of the vehicle. Hitch-mounted racks generally weight more and require a compatible hitch receiver, but can carry up to 6 bikes, usually allow access to the trunk (if fitted with a tilt-down hinge), and secure your bikes in a more accessible position on your vehicle. Strap-mounted models are usually cheaper than hitch-mounted racks, lighter, and more versatile in terms of compatibility, but occasionally lack the stability of fixed racks and do not allow access to the trunk of your vehicle without being dismounted.
- Capacity. While this may seem like a no-brainer—if you have two bikes your get a rack with a two-bike capacity, right?—it’s always worth opting for a model of rack that provides room for an extra bike or two just in case your friends decide to join you on your adventures.
- Security. Certain models of roof and hitch-mounted bike racks come with integrated locks that can give you added peace of mind when leaving your vehicle outside overnight or at rest stops on your journey. Given that most buyers will want to secure their bikes in such scenarios, before deciding on any of the available options check to see if such locks are included or must be bought separately.
- Stability. Gauging how stable any rack will be when buying online is not easily done, but, as a general rule, bike racks that have multiple connection points to your bike or use adjustable straps, levers or loops are the most likely to provide a rattle-free ride, sway less on curves, and remain secure even when traveling at high speeds.
- Trunk accessibility. If buying a hitch-mounted rack, it’s well worth spending an extra few dollars to kit yourself out with a model that uses a tilt-down design that allows access to the trunk when in use—this small feature can save you a world of frustration should you need to remove anything from the trunk prior to dismounting your rack.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bike rack and how does it work?
Bike racks are devices that can be attached to your vehicle to allow you to transport your bike(s) between locations. Various types of vehicle bike rack exist, with the most common being hitch-mounted racks, strap-mounted racks, and roof racks. Different racks attach to your vehicle in different ways and also have different capacities (usually 1-6 bikes) and different mechanisms that keep your bike(s) in place while driving.
How do you carry four bikes on a car?
Carrying four bikes on a car can be done by using either a four-bike carrier on the rear or roof of your vehicle or two two-bike carriers—one on the roof and one on the back. Which set up will work best for you will largely depend on your vehicle type, but compatible models of bike rack are available for almost all types of vehicle.
Can you open your trunk with a bike rack on it?
While not all models of bike rack allow access to the trunk of your vehicle, certain models use a tilting mechanism that lets you open standard trunks without first detaching the rack. Many tilting models, however, do not allow access to side-opening trunks found on many SUVs. For the most part, strap-mounted rack have to be dismounted in order to gain access to your trunk.
Can you put a bike rack on any car?
Although there are exceptions to the rule and compatibility can vary from model to model, most roof bike racks and strap-mounted racks can be used with almost any type of vehicle. Hitch-mounted racks, on the other hand, require a receiver hitch installed on your vehicle. Some models of hitch-mounted rack are compatible with only either a 1 1/4″ receiver or a 2″ receiver. While these can be installed relatively easily or can be fitted with an adaptor, it’s worth factoring in the added expense entailed in purchasing an adaptor before deciding which model of rack offers the best value for money.
Other Bike Racks We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other bike racks for vehicles. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best bike racks list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your vehicle. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Budget Bike Racks
A very robust, adjustable one-bike roof rack with included locks that secure your bike to the bike carrier and the bike carrier to the load carrier.
- Fits oval frames measuring 65 x 80 mm and round frames measuring 22-70 mm
- Lockable (locks included)
- Adjustable quick straps for wheels
A superbly stable, hitch-mounted, 2-bike rack with a tie-down cradle system and tilt-back design.
- 70 lbs. max weight capacity
- Tilt-back design allows access to trunk
- Fits 1-1/4- and 2-inch receiver hitches
A highly versatile and very well-made strap-mounted bike rack that uses multiple adjustable hold-down points to provide a secure and stabilized fit for your bikes.
- Soft, anti-scratch cradles
- Compatible with most sedans, hatchbacks, and vans
- 6 adjustable straps included
- Lifetime warranty
This rack ticks all the boxes for vehicles with a 2″ receiver hitch, using sturdy steel materials, nicely padded and adjustable cradles, integrated locks, and a tilt-down design that allows easy access to the trunk.
- Tilt-down design
- Compatible with 2″ hitch receivers
- Adjustable cradles
- Fold-away carry arms
A very heavy-duty, versatile, hitch-mounted rack that’s compatible with SUVs, vans, and trucks. It makes up for what it lacks in the way of frills and features with fuss-free functionality and reliability.
- Upright, tray-style design
- Adjustable wheel chocks
- Fits any vehicle with 2″ hitch receiver
This strap-mounted rack with a 2-bike capacity uses six adjustable strapping points and foam padding to provide excellent protection and stability at a very friendly price.
- Six strapping points
- Fits most Sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs
- Adjustable clamps
- Foam padding
For bikers traveling with friends or all the family, this 4-bike hitch-mounted rack offers the perfect balance of security, stability, protection, and value for money.
- 4-bike capacity
- Fits 2″ hitch receiver
- Protective tie-down cradles
- 140 lbs. max weight capacity
Bike Roof Racks
A model made for those cyclists who tend to treat their ride with as much love and care as their first-born child, this pricey one-bike rack offers all but peerless protection and security for your two-wheeled treasure.
- 45 lbs. max weight capacity
- Multiple-locking system: rack to carrier, bike to carrier, and integrated security cable
- Premium aluminium materials
This superbly effective roof-top rack supports both of your bike’s wheels in adjustable holds without touching the frame, calipers, or fork. Ultra-secure and fantastically stable, this is a great choice for those particularly eager to enjoy rattle-free driving.
- Rear ratcheting arm secures and locks bike into position
- Integrated lock
- Foldable when not in use
An outstandingly well-made and easy-to-use rack that fits most 20-29″ wheel bicycles with tires up to 3″ wide.
- No frame contact with holding bars
- Versatile design compatible with various types of bike
- Ratcheting wheel strap secures back wheel to tray quickly and easily
This very easy-to-use roof-top rack offers great stability and is compatible with various types of bike. Its zero-contact design makes it a great choice for those particularly concerned about protecting their bike’s paintwork.
- Zero-contact design
- Holds bike upright while you secure the bike to the mount
- 40 lbs. max weight capacity
- No tools or assembly required
This simple but very secure, robust, one-bike rack is a great choice for buyers on a budget, offering great stability, an integrated lock, and a total of three connection points to ensure a rattle-free ride.
- Fits bars up to 50 mm thick and 85 mm wide
- Integrated lock
- Two tie-down straps
- 1-year warranty
This lightweight roof-top rack uses three adjustable connection points to secure your bike to your vehicle more snugly than almost any other rack we know.
- Three adjustable connection points
- 30 lbs. max weight capacity
- Fits round, square, factory and aerodynamic crossbars and 1″ to 3″ diameter downtubes
The incredibly sturdy, well-made, lightweight alloy rack can accommodate two bikes and offers exceptional stability for bikes with varying frame sizes and designs.
- 2-bike capacity
- 66 lbs. max weight capacity
- Easy installation (no tools needed)
- Three adjustable connection points per bike
Trailer Hitch Bike Racks
This beast of a rack takes hitch-mounted bike hauling to a whole new level, using a platform-style design with movable trays to provide just about the most stable and secure carry-system available.
- 4-bike capacity
- Rack folds flat against vehicle when not in use
- Movable wheel trays with ratcheting straps and padded upright cradles
- 130 lbs. max weight capacity
A platform-style rack with frame-friendly grips, a tilt-down design, and two-bike, 70-pound capacity.
- Compatible with 1 1/4″ and 2″ hitch receivers
- Tilt-down design for easy access to trunk
- Frame-friendly grip arms
- Fully adjustable wheel loops, ratcheting hooks, and wheel straps
This very tough, robust, two-bike rack offers excellent stability and convenience thanks to its platform-style design, integrated anti-wobble mechanism, tilt-down design, and adjustable ratcheting hooks.
- Fits 2” receivers (requires adaptor for 1 1/4” receivers)
- Tilt-down design
- Adjustable ratcheting hooks and wheel straps
- Powder coated high-gloss finish
This platform-style rack uses a locking hitch pin, locking knob on the central arm, rear reflectors, a quick-release tilt-down design, and patented anti-wobble mechanism to bring you almost unparalleled levels of convenience, practicality, and stability.
- Patented anti-wobble system
- Locking hitch pin
- 120 lbs. max weight capacity
- Quick-release tilt design for easy access to trunk
This very versatile and easy-to-use racks offers outstanding stability and is a great option for cyclists looking to haul their bikes behind a RV, 5th wheel, or trailer.
- Fits 2″ receiver
- Adjustable wheel trays, ratcheting hooks, and ratchet straps
- RV Approved
- 90 lbs.max weight capacity
- Locking hitch pin and cable included
A very affordable, three-bike rack that ticks all the boxes that need ticking, using a fold-up and tilt-down design, robust materials, 4″ wheel trays, and adjustable connection points that accommodate both standard and non-standard frames.
- Fits 1 1/4″ and 2″ receivers
- Tilt-down design allow easy access to trunk
- Folds up when not in use
- 105 lbs. max weight capacity