In this review, we will be recommending our top picks for the best Ford Explorer bike racks.
We tested over two dozen different Ford Explorer bike racks before deciding on the Top 5. The deciding factors included build quality, load capacity, bike mount security and other top quality features.
Thule’s Camber hitch bike rack was the clear standout. It’s a hanging style bike rack for the Ford Explorer that combines lightweight construction with heavyweight load capacity. The bike mount is exceptionally stable at speed, as is the hitch connection.
After testing and reviewing vehicle accessories like bike racks for over a decade, we can spot a good one from a mile away. Our years of experience help you make the best buying decision for your next bike rack.
Here is an in depth look at the best bike racks for the Ford Explorer.
Thule Camber Hitch Bike Rack
Thule’s hitch mounted bike rack from the Ford Explorer features an all metal construction, a secure place to mount your bicycles, and worry free hitch fitting.
The construction of this rack deserves praise. We stress tested this rack thoroughly, and it did not exhibit any flexing or bending. The high-quality powder coating keeps it free of rust and corrosion.
Load capacity is rated for around 150 lbs. That’s one of the highest we’ve seen in this category of Ford Explorer bike racks. It carries 4 large road bikes, in addition to some of the heaviest e-bikes and mountain bikes you can find.
As for securing those heavy bikes, this Ford Explorer bike rack uses heavy duty ratcheting straps that are adjustable for a more snug fit. These straps are made using weatherproof rubber, and lined in soft material to avoid scratching the frames of your bikes.
If you’re worried about fitting nonconventional bike frames, we’ve got you covered. We tested over 50 different types of frames, and all of them fit without any issues. The only bikes that didn’t quite fit were ones with low-Y frames. However, an adapter does the trick.
It is compatible with both 1 ¼” and 2” hitches. After mounting the rack on our Ford Explorer, we drove all over all kinds of rough terrain including, bumpy roads, dirt paths and uneven pavement. We are happy to report that the rack stayed perfectly firm.
Another cool feature of this rack keeping your bikes safe are the long carrying arms. They mount each bike so that it is 7” away from the next. This prevents them from banging up against one another or the back of your Ford Explorer in transit.
And when you’re not carrying any bikes, these carrying arms can be folded up into a smaller footprint. We also found this to be pretty useful for storing and transporting the rack. When you need to access your Ford Explorer’s liftgate, this bike rack tilts downwards and allows the liftgate to clear the bikes easily.
The rack is also pretty simple to install. The accompanying installation video is actually quite intuitive and useful.
All in all, this is one of our favourite bike racks for Ford explorers, and we think you’ll like it too.
- Alloy steel build
- Holds 4 large bikes
- Does not bend or flex at all
- 150 lbs carrying capacity
- Heavy duty ratcheting straps
- Holds most bike frames
- Great for e-bikes, mountain bikes, etc
- Works with both 1.25” and 2” hitch receivers
- Does not rattle or shake on the highway
- Tilting mechanism allows liftgate to clear bikes
- Frame adapter needed for some bikes with low-Y frames
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
Allens Sports make an appearance on this list with the Deluxe 4-bike rack for the Ford Explorer. It comes with a firm bike mount, healthy load capacity, and a stable hitch fit with your vehicle.
It is easy to see that durability is one of the main focuses of this Ford Explorer bike rack. The high-quality metal construction is built with tight tolerances. Alloy steel is more firm and structurally sound than other materials such as composites and iron.
The black powder coating works really well to keep the whole rack rust and corrosion free. The high-gloss finish gives this rack a more premium look than the price might suggest.
It uses Allen Sports’ proprietary bike cradle system, which comprises 22” long carrying arms that mount each bike further away from its companions. This prevents them from interacting with one another or the rear glass of your Ford Explorer.
The use of high-quality ratcheting straps means you get an adjustable tie down system that will fit almost any bike frame you can conjure up. These straps are also coated in soft material to avoid superficial scratches on the bike’s paintwork.
This rack works really well with larger, heavier bicycles. The 4-bike capacity comes in really handy for family trips. Load capacity is rated for just over 140 lbs, so even the largest of road bikes can be carried easily, not to mention some e-bikes and mountain bikes too.
It’s only compatible with a 2” hitch, but it is a firm and sturdy fitting. It comes with Allen Sports’ unique no wobble bolt that eliminates any empty space between the receiver and the rack for a more confident fit.
The long carrying arms can be folded down so that they don’t jut out and get caught on anything. The whole rack is also capable of tilting, even when fully loaded up, allowing you to open the liftgate of your Ford Explorer.
Now onto some of this rack’s shortcomings. Really, the only problem we had was that there is no way of holding the front wheel or the handlebars in place. This could have been easily solved with an included bungee cord or nylon strap, but we had to purchase those on our own.
- Made of high quality alloy steel
- Glossy powder coating for better rust resistance
- Can carry 4 bikes
- Holds various frame shapes and sizes
- Simple installation process
- Anti-wobble stabiliser
- Firm ratcheting straps
- Lined in rubber to avoid damaging bike frames
- Tilting feature allows for liftgate access
- No included straps for stabilising handlebars or front wheels
DELUXE TRUNK MOUNTED BIKE RACK
Worth a look
Here we have another Allen Sports bike rack that takes the word ‘compact’ to the next level. This is one of the most lightweight, yet still sturdy and useful bike racks for the Ford Explorer.
It features a simple, no-nonsense design that uses high-quality alloy steel for most of the construction. The smaller size lends itself well to portability and ease of storage. It’s dead simple to install and take off when you don’t need it.
Load capacity takes an understandable hit, but it’s not too bad. 70 lbs is enough to hold 2 large, adult sized road bikes. You won’t be able to carry heavier electric bikes and mountain bikes, such are the trade-offs for the more compact design.
Out in the real world, this Ford Explorer bike rack performs really well. We drove on rough terrain, pavement, and bumpy roads alike, and this rack kept our bikes perfectly stable.
It benefits from Allen Sports’ proprietary tie down system, carried over from the larger racks. It uses the same adjustable ratcheting straps as other Allen Sports bike racks. That means you get a soft inner lining on the tie downs that keeps your paintwork looking pristine.
The heavy duty nylon straps used to position this bike rack on your Ford Explorer are actually quite firm. We missed the integrated strap management system that some other trunk mounted bike racks offer, but it doesn’t really affect the performance of this bike rack.
We tested a lot of different bike frame shapes and sizes, and all of them fit like a glove. Notably, the wider carrying arms made it a lot easier to mount longer wheelbase bikes. Here again, you will need a low-Y frame adapter, but that’s pretty much par for course.
One of the biggest advantages of the lightweight design is the ease of installation. We did not require any more than 15 minutes to get it up and running on our Ford Explorer. And as always, we appreciate the included warranty which covers any manufacturing defects.
- Alloy steel construction
- Compact and lightweight design
- Straps on all sides keep the rack in place
- Best option for Ford
- Explorer owners who need a smaller rack
- Simple installation
- Holds 2 bikes
- Ratcheting straps hold bike at the frame
- Does not rattle or shake at highway speed
- Wider carrying arms can hold longer wheelbase
- Lower frame is padded in soft material to protect
- Ford Explorer’s paint
- Cannot hold heavier e-bikes or mountain bikes
Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Rack Carrier
The Hyperax volt e-bike rack is one of the toughest bike racks we’ve seen for the Ford Explorer. It also comes with one of the highest load capacities, and an especially secure bike mount system.
Let’s talk build quality. The alloy steel construction of this bike rack gives it more rigidity and firmness. It does not flex or strain under heavier loads. The abrasion resistant surface coating helps it hold up better to scratches and corrosion over time.
Load capacity is rated for around 140 lbs, which may not seem that high after having seen other racks on this list, but consider this: this is a two bike rack. That means it can hold the heaviest of heavy e-bikes and mountain bikes in addition to holding large road bikes.
It’s a platform style bike rack for the Ford Explorer, and the wheel trays support up to a 5 inch wide tire. You can also mount longer wheelbase bikes, up to 58 inches in length.
Speaking of the wheel trays, they offer a more secure and sturdy way of mounting your bicycles. Heavy duty Velcro straps fasten the bike wheels to the rack, while adjustable carrying arms on the main mast hold the frame in place. These carrying arms are of course padded to avoid damaging the bike frames.
It is particularly stable, both on the highway and around town. This is thanks to the heavy duty 2” hitch that is further solidified by a ½” stabiliser and unique key lock feature on the hedge.
Those aren’t the only keys you’ll be using to with this bike rack,however. It comes with dual lock keys for your bikes so that they don’t end up being joy ridden by some criminally inclined individual.
This Ford Explorer bike rack can be tilted forward so that accessing your cargo area is a lot easier and quicker. Finally, the carrying handle integrated into the rack makes it simpler to transport and store.
- Made of alloy steel
- Special surface coating
- Does not rust or corrode over time
- Does not bend or flex
- 140 lbs load capacity
- Can hold 2 bikes
- Holds e-bikes and mountain bikes
- Wheel trays for both front and rear wheels
- Velcro straps for better security
- Carrying arms keep bike frames secure
- Arms are padded to avoid scratching the paint
- 2” hitch and ½” anti wobble pin for better stability
- Professional install required
Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack
Thule’s UpRide rounds out our list with a rooftop bike rack for the Ford Explorer. This rack has a high quality premium metal construction, ‘great-for-its-class’ load capacity, and holds a wide variety of bikes firmly.
We absolutely adore the construction of this bike rack. It uses aluminium for every single piece which keeps weight to a minimum. Aluminium also has the benefit of being more rigid and structurally sound than say, alloy steel. Not to mention, it is virtually impervious to rusting and corrosion .
Load capacity is actually quite good for a rooftop bike rack. It is rated at just over 44 lbs, which is more than enough for your large adult size road bikes. Just don’t expect it to carry your favourite e-bikes or heavy mountain bikes.
Fat tire bike owners, on the other hand, can rest easy knowing that this bike rack can be modded with a 5” wide adapter that will hold your fat tire bike in place.
The bike mount system on this carrier uses a no frame contact design. This all but eliminates the chances of your bike getting scratched or damaged in transit.
Furthermore, the rack uses a heavy duty ratcheting wheel strap and hook to keep your bike in place on top of the Ford Explorer. The rear wheel also gets its own ratcheting strap for even more security.
Out on the road, we found this rack to be perfectly stable and secure. We did not have to deal with any annoying noises or wobbling of the rack. Furthermore, we did not face any drops in mileage because of increased air resistance or drag.
It has a unique locking feature that locks your bike to the rack. The only problem is that you will have to purchase this as a separate accessory.
This rooftop bike rack is widely compatible with a number of different bike frame shapes and sizes. It can accommodate carbon frames, non traditional frame shapes, and even models with rear suspension and bottle cages.
Installing this rack is also pretty simple thanks to the intuitive instructions, and all of the mounting equipment which is provided in the box. All in all, it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to accomplish.
Lastly, we found the mechanism that lets you easily switch the position of the rack from one side of the car to the other to be really useful, especially when we’re out on the road.
- Aluminium construction
- Lightweight design
- Very secure and stable
- 44 lbs carrying capacity
- Can’t carry e-bikes or some heavy mountain bikes
- Can mount fat tire bikes (adapter sold separately)
- Ratcheting straps and carrying hook for perfectly stable mount
- Does not rattle or shake around
- Compatible with most bike frame shapes
- Less drag
- Does not reduce Ford
- Explorer’s mileage
- A lot of the coolest features are separately sold add-ons
The Ford Explorer is a terrific SUV with tons of utility and practicality. However, one feature it lacks is a place to store your bikes when you’re hitting the open road or trails.
If you want a high quality bike rack for the Ford Explorer, you’ve got a wide selection to choose from. Maybe a little too wide. After all, with so many options to choose from, how do you find the right one?
Here are a couple things to keep in mind while selecting a bike rack for your Ford Explorer.
Tips for Bike Selection Racks for Ford Explorers
Load capacity is one of the most important considerations when buying bike racks. If you drive a Ford Explorer, chances are you need to carry not just your own bike but also your family’s two wheelers on the back. That means you’re looking at well over 140 lbs of bike. If this sound like you, opt for heavy duty options
On the other hand, if you just need a rack to keep your bike in place, even smaller racks will work. They’ll also be more compact.
Type of bikes you want to carry
Road bikes, low-Y frame bikes, fat tire bikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes… the list goes on. Which bike rack you get for your Ford Explorer depends heavily on the types of bikes you need to carry.
Regular bike racks won’t really work for some electric bikes. Meanwhile, a lot of platform style racks can’t accommodate fat tires, at least not without an accessory. some racks won’t be able to carry low-Y frame bikes, while others won’t be able to mount carbon frames.
Where you plan on taking your Ford Explorer
Where you intend on going with the bikes loaded up on your rack makes a huge difference! Case and point, a hanging style bike rack can keep your bikes stable on the road all day, but probably isn’t the best option for heavy off roading. Here, a platform style bike rack would be more appropriate.
Similarly, if you need to park your Ford Explorer in a tight spot, maybe slapping a huge bike rack on the back isn’t the smartest move. In such cases, a trunk mounted rack that is easier to take on and off, or even a roof mounted bike rack could be a better option.
This one might be a no-brainer, but still necessary for those of us with half a brain!
Take it from me, folks. Any enjoyment you hope to get from riding your bike on the trails or along the coast can easily be robbed by an expensive bike rack that you have to make payments on for the next year.
That is why we outline some really cool affordable bike racks in our list above. Get a bike rack that fits your budget instead of trying to make your budget fit a bike rack.
And with that, we hope we’ve given you all the necessary information to get the best Ford Explorer bike rack for you. If you have something a little bit more specific in mind, like say the best bike racks for electric bikes, definitely check out our other reviews.