In this review, we take a closer look at the best bike racks for the BMW X3.
We tested various different bike racks for the BMW X3, and chose the top performers. These are the racks that exhibit the best build quality, highest load capacity, and also offer a secure place to mount your bikes.
With those features in mind, we think that the Thule Apex XT delivers the sturdiest design, a somewhat compact look, and enough space for holding 4 bikes securely.
After testing and reviewing vehicle accessories for over a decade, we can safely say that we know a thing or two about bike racks. Allow us to help you make the most informed and worthwhile purchase decision.
Keep reading for more of our thoughts on the best bike racks for the BMW X3.
Thule Apex XT Bike Hitch Rack
Thule’s Apex XT is a BMW X3 bike rack that accommodates 4 large sized bikes, has a convenient tilting feature, and offers a secure place to store your bikes and transport them safely.
Thule’s bike racks stand out for their premium build quality and rigid structure. This one has an all metal alloy design, that is both lightweight and firm, providing added stability at highway speed.
It is rated to hold just over 150 lbs of bikes. That is plenty for 4 large road bikes, and can also accommodate some heavier e-bikes and mountain bikes. That said, we found that carrying more than 2 heavy e-bikes or mountain bikes at a time isn’t the best idea.
If you need even more space for bikes, Thule offers a five bike version of the same rack.
Moving onto the hitch mount, we can say with confidence that this is one of the most stable and secure hitch mounts on the market. It does not jump or wobble in the receiver, thanks to the unique stabiliser component that completely eliminates any free space between the rack and the receiver.
You will find that this bike rack has longer carrying arms, which allow you to carry each of the bikes further apart from each other. Not only does this protect the bikes from damage, but also prevents them from interacting with the rear glass or bodywork of your BMW X3.
The bike cradles have what Thule calls the ‘anti sway’ design, and it works as advertised. The rack can be outfitted with cable locks for each bike, preventing them from being stolen. We would have liked to see this included with the package, but you have to buy the accessory separately.
Thule’s patented HitchSwitch feature allows for smoother tilting of the rack, even when it is fully loaded up. This allows the liftgate of the BMW X3 to clear the rack, and open fully.
Installation is about as easy as it gets. Thule’s SnugTite Stinger is included, so you don’t need any tools to get this bike rack installed on your BMW X3. Moreover, the hitch locks with the receiver, for even more stability and ‘theft-proofness’.
- All metal construction
- Minimalist design
150 lbs load capacity
- Can carry 4 adult sized road bikes
- Compatible with a 2” hitch
- Stable at high speeds
- Does not shake or wobble at all
- 7 inches of space between each bike
- Bikes do not interact with one another or the back of your BMW X3
- Anti sway cradles keep bikes firmly in place
- Cable locks for bikes offered
HitchSwitch allows rack to tilt down
- Cable locks are a separate accessory
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
The Allen Sports Deluxe 4-bike rack delivers a sturdy bike mount, impressive carrying capacity, and a steady hitch mounted design that does not shake or wobble.
Durability seems to be the main focus of this BMW X3 bike rack. The high-quality alloy metal construction is quite firm and rigid. It does not bend or flex, even when it is fully loaded up with 4 heavy bicycles.
The surface is coated in a thick black powder that enhances the rust and corrosion resistance of the bike rack. The glossy black texture looks a lot cooler and pleasing to the eye than plain old alloy steel.
It’s a hanging style bike rack with carrying arms that measure 22” long. That means you can mount each of your bicycles and still have space in between them so that they don’t bang up against each other or the back of your BMW X3.
The ratcheting straps on these arms are fully adjustable, and fit most any bike frame shape or size that we tested. The straps have a rubberised lining on the inside, so as to avoid scratching or damaging the paintwork of your bikes.
Load capacity is pretty good for a hanging style bike rack. Allen Sports say that this bike rack can carry around 140 lbs of bikes. This is perfect for the BMW X3 owner who needs to transport heavy e-bikes and mountain bikes in addition to regular road bikes.
The 2” hitch is quite firm and confidence inspiring, even at higher speeds. It also includes a no wobble bolt that completely eliminates any free space between the rack and the hitch receiver, so that you get a flex-free connection.
When you aren’t carrying any bikes on the back of your BMW X3, the carrying arms can be folded up so that the rest flush against the back of your vehicle. This allows for easier manoeuvring and parking of the car. You can also tilt the rack downwards, so that the liftgate of your BMW X3 can be opened to access the cargo area.
Finally, the only downside that we noticed was the lack of a proper way to secure the handlebar and front wheels, such as a heavy duty nylon strap or bungee cord, which we had to source ourselves.
- All metal build
- Thicker powder coating for better rust resistance
- Carries 4 large bikes
- Compatible with most frame shapes and sizes
- Easy installation process
- Anti-wobble stabiliser piece included
- Ratcheting straps hold bikes securely
- Soft inner lining avoids scratching bikes
- Tilts forward for quicker liftgate access
- Carrying arms can be folded up
- We had to buy our own straps to secure the front wheels
KAC K2-RT 2" Hitch Mounted Rack 2-Bike Capacity
Worth having a look at
KAC’s 2-bike platform style rack uses the highest quality metal, and is built with heavier bicycles in mind. It features a secure fitment, and a worry free bike mount.
This BMW X3 bike rack uses a higher grade of alloy steel for the construction. The rack does not flex or bend, even when it is asked to carry too heavy e-bikes.
All of the exposed surfaces are protected by a thick black powder coating that prevents them from rusting or corroding over time. Not to mention, we think it looks a lot more slick than plin old steel.
Load capacity is rated for just over 120 lbs. That means you can transport 2 large, adult sized road bikes without the rack complaining.
It uses KAC’s proprietary bike cradle, which comprises metal wheel loops for each bike, and ratcheting tiedown straps. There are also carrying arms on the main mast, that hold the bike at the frame. These are covered in rubber to avoid damaging the frames of your bikes.
The wheel trays are a bit wider than most, coming in at 5” wide. This means you can also carry fat tire bikes on this BMW X3 bike rack.
It uses a 2” hitch to mount to your BMW X3. We found this hitch connection to be quite stable and secure. It has a special anti-wobble design so that there is no slack between the two components, and your bike stays perfectly stable at speed.
This platform style BMW X3 bike rack is physically larger than others, but is fully foldable for when you aren’t using it. This makes it much more convenient to park in tight spaces such as garageGarage is an underground parking structures.
Laura comes with a tilting mechanism that lets you access the lift gate of your BMWX3.
Installing the rock is no hard task, and we did not need more than 15 minutes to have it fully set up. You will require a frame adapter for some low white frame bikes.
All said and done, this is our favourite part from style bike rack for the BMWX3, and should definitely be on your shortlist
- High grade alloy steel design
- Thicker powder coat
- Resists rust and corrosion
- Can hold up to 120 lbs
- 5” wide wheel trays for fat tire bikes
- Rubber padding on main mast keeps your bike frames free of damage
- Ideal for e-bikes, mountain bikes, etc
- 2” hitch for better stability
- Perfectly stable at speed
- No slack between the rack and receiver
- Foldable design
- Frame adapter needed for some low-Y frame bikes
Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack
Shifting gears into rooftop bike racks, we have the Thule UpRide with its lightweight aluminium build, reasonable carrying capacity, and compatibility with basically every bike out there.
The headlining feature of this Thule rooftop bike rack for the BMW X3 is its high quality construction. It uses aluminium for most of the build, which helps keep weight to a minimum.
Aluminium is also a lot more rigid and firm than alloy steel or high-quality plastics. Not to mention, it is virtually impervious to rust and corrosion.
The load capacity of this rooftop bike rack is in line with other bike racks of this category. It comes in at just over 44 lbs, so you can carry a large adult sized bike, but that’s pretty much it!.
The bike mount system is unique in that it is a ‘no frame contact’ design. This saves your bike from being scratched or otherwise damaged when mounting or taking it off.
As for the actual mount itself, this BMW X3 bike rack uses an adjustable wheel strap and adjustable carrying hook at the front, while the rear wheel is kept in place with a thick strap as well.
As for real world performance, we found that the rack does not shake or jump around, even when moving at speed. It is unfazed by a bit of wind, and we were able to achieve highway speeds with confidence.
It can be outfitted with a locking mechanism that locks your bike to the rack, but as with most of Thule’s products, the locks are sold separately.
Another standout feature of this bike rack is its exceptional compatibility with basically every bike on the planet. Not only does it carry fat tire bikes and regular road bikes, but it is also designed to work with carbon frames, unusual non-conventional frame shapes and sizes, and even bikes that have rear suspension or bottle cages.
Installing this bike rack on the roof of your BMW X3 is simple and quick. You get all of the mounting equipment in the box, and the accompanying instructional video ensures that you can get the bike mounted in under 20 minutes.
Lastly, we found the mechanism that lets you switch the rack from one side of the BMW X3 to the other to be quite useful and convenient.
Additonal information on bike racks for the BMW X3
The BMW X3 is a practical vehicle that works in a number of different road conditions. If you are in the market for a BMW X3 bike rack, you’ll want one that matches the utility and practicality of your BMW.
So what features should you consider when looking for a BMW X3 bike rack? Well, the exact features will vary depending on your particular use case, but we have outlined the most important aspects of a bike rack below, so you can get a better idea of what you need to look for in a BMW X3 bike rack.
Load capacity depends entirely on the type of bikes you want to carry and how many. The best way to figure out whether or not a bike rack meets your requirements for load capacity is to figure out the ‘per bike’ capacity the rack can offer.
To do this, just divide the total load capacity by the number of bikes the rack can hold. So, for example, in the case of the Allen Sports Deluxe bike rack, you have a load capacity of 140 lbs and the rack can hold 4 bikes, so you get a ‘per bike’ capacity of: 140/4=35 lbs.
That means each of the four bikes you carry can be no heavier than 35 lbs.
This is pretty much the standard for most regular road bikes. However, if you want to carry heavier e-bikes or mountain bikes, that number should go up to around 60 or 70 lbs per bike.
Type of bike rack
This is a simple one. You have a couple different choices: hanging style, platform style, and even some trunk mounted bike rack.
Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, hanging style bike racks will offer more space for more bikes, usually up to 4! But they will not be as secure and sturdy as platform racks, or as compact as trunk mounted racks.
Similarly, platform racks will have the most secure and sturdy bike mount, but will only really be able to hold 1 or 2 bikes at a time. Not to mention, they will be heavier than both other types of racks.
Trunk mounted racks are really for the BMW X3 owner who wants something a bit more compact. The security of the bike mount is in line with hanging style bike racks, so it lags behind platform style racks.
While you can find each type of bike rack at any price point, budget or premium, the best bike rack for your BMW X3 is the one that doesn’t nuke your finances! No point in getting a premium bike rack with all the bells and whistles when you just need a smaller, more affordable one.
Conversely, you will want to buy a nicer rack if you plan on driving across the country with heavier bikes safely. No point in cheaping out when you’re planning on carrying bikes that cost a couple thousand dollars each!