In this article, we will be recommending our top picks for the best bike racks.
We tested the vast majority of bike racks available, evaluating the utility, value and any useful features they offer. Our testing focused on real world performance and reliability for each bike rack.
Our top pick for most use cases is Leader Accessories’ 2-Bike Rack. This well built bike rack holds two bikes securely and comes with a number of features that position it above other bike racks.
We have been testing car accessories for over a decade, so we know which ones are worth a second look. Our reviews strive to give you an unbiased opinion on the most popular accessories out there.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at the best bike racks on the market.
Leader Accessories 2-Bike Rack
Leader Accessories’ bike rack holds two bikes, and is a well-built, heavy duty option. Installation is easy and we were impressed by the foldable design.
Starting off with the build, the robust and durable design deserves praise. It is well put together and does not feel flimsy at all.
The whole rack and mounting hardware is coated in a special abrasion resistant layer. We did not notice any rusting or other damage, even when the rack was left out in the rain.
It supports a 2” hitch receiver, making installation a breeze. The actual rack itself is foldable and takes up less space when not in use. Storage is also more convenient thanks to the folding design. Hitch pins provide different levels of adjustment for various types of frames.
As for the carrying capacity, we found that this rack easily holds two bikes at about 70 lbs each. The extra wide wheel holders measure in at around 5 inches, perfect for securing most bikes, including fat tire and electric bikes. The bike hoops are adjustable so you can get a tighter fit.
Bikes are also secured at the frame for added safety while driving. It should be noted that you will require an additional adapter for bikes without the top frame bar.
Furthermore, the rack uses foam lining at the most vulnerable parts to protect the bike from scratches and dents. Adjustment of the cradle is easy and ergonomic thanks to convenient knobs.
Tire straps keep your two-wheeler in position even at speed, and the anti-wobble system reduces body roll. Included reflective stickers are a nice addition.
One of the most convenient features of this rack is the tilt back design which means you don’t have to take the rack off in order to access your cargo area. All you have to do is twist the handle at the base to release a locking mechanism that allows the rack to tilt backwards, bikes and all, and give you access to your trunk.
All said and done, we think the Leader Accessories is the best balance of features, utility, and value for money.
- Solid, durable design
- Coated in abrasion resistant layer
- More resistant to rusting
- 2” inch hitch receiver Quick and easy installation
- One report of package missing pieces
Allen Sports 4-Bikes Bike Rack
Allen Sports’ 4-bike rack is a budget friendly bike rack that holds twice as many bikes as the more premium options. It also has a lot of convenient features that make it easier to haul bikes securely.
This alloy steel bike rack is designed to carry 4 bikes at the same time. To do so, it is built like a tank and uses the best hardware. It has 22 inch long arms that individually secure each bike using Allen Sports’ patented tie down system. It uses a 2 inch trailer hitch and we did not experience any issues while mounting it onto our car.
The carrying arms are foldable and quickly move out of the way when you’re not carrying anything. This bike rack also features a no wobble bolt that eliminates shifting of the bicycles at speed. This is a common problem with bike racks but Allen Sports have made a virtually wobble free bike rack.
Installation is a bit tougher than other bike racks on this list. It is recommended that your vehicle have a professionally installed Class III or IV 2 inch hitch to use this bike rack. Once installed though, it is solid and sturdy without any creaking, or bouncing around.
The bicycles themselves are secured using individual tie down cradles which keep them perfectly in place. The tilt-away main mast allows for easier access to the lift gate even without taking off the bikes.
We tested this rack with a variety of different bicycle shapes and sizes. We were able to mount smaller kid’s bikes just as conveniently as larger adult bikes.
We fully expected this 4-bike rack to make some weird noises or bang against the car in transit. But the truth is that this rack did not so much as make a peep even at highway speeds. The bikes were firmly locked in place and did not bang up against our vehicle’s bodywork.
So that’s the Allen Sports 4-bike rack. It is a durable bike rack that has a ton of features to help you transport your bikes more easily.
But by far our favorite feature of this bike rack is the budget price. It undercuts most of the competition and provides, in our opinion, the most bang for your buck of any bike rack.
- Alloy steel build
- Holds 4 bikes
- Individual tie down system keeps bikes secure
- Tilting main mast
- Professional hitch installment required
Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Rack
Thule’s Apex is another really cool bike rack that offers a lot of utility. It holds 4 bikes, allows for easy access to the cargo area, and also keeps your bikes safely stored while traveling.
This is one of the most well built bike racks we have seen. It uses an all metal construction for added stability and durability. We liked the minimalist approach that Thule has taken. The design is less obtrusive and simpler, while still offering great performance.
It has a load capacity of around 150 lbs, perfect for carrying even 4 larger bikes. The hitch is nice and secure, giving us confidence for longer trips. We can report that the rack does not shift or creak at all, even when weighed down by the bikes.
If you are worried about your bikes banging up against each other, fret not. Thule’s bike rack allows for over 7 inches of space between the individual bikes, and is also positioned away from your car’s bodywork.
As for the bike mounting, Thule opted for an integrated cable lock that allows you to lock the bikes to the rack. The integrated anti-sway cradle prevents the bikes from swaying while you drive and is compact enough to stay out of sight when not in use.
You won’t have to take the bike rack on and off too often. It is outfitted with the HitchSwitch feature, which allows the whole rack to tilt backwards and free up space for the lift gate or hatchback to open.
Installation was surprisingly easy and quick. Thule’s SnugTite Stinger allows for tool-free installation so you can get the rack up and running in a matter of minutes. It also locks the hitch rack to your vehicle, deterring would-be thieves from trying to steal it.
One drawback of this bike rack is the price. It is a good bit more expensive than its competitors, but also offers superior build quality and utility. Furthermore, Thule is one of the most well known brands in this category, so we don’t mind paying a little extra for their high quality accessories.
- All metal build
- Minimalist design
- 150 lbs load capacity
- Holds up to four bikes (5 bike version also available)
- 2 inch hitch receiver is nice and secure
- Does not shift or creak in transit
- Priciest option
VENZO 4 Bike Bicycle Platform
Venzo makes another stellar platform style bike rack. It is made of durable materials and passes a number of tests that make it one of the safest bike racks out there.
This alloy steel bike rack is on the list of most robust and sturdy racks we’ve seen. It is rated for around 130 lbs, and can securely hold 4 bikes with ease. It features foam inserts that can be positioned to protect the bike from scratches or dents while it is being transported.
Personally, we prefer platform style racks as they provide the most secure and confidence inspiring fit. That is why we loved Venzo’s bike rack. It has not one but two wheel hoops for each of the four bikes. So you get the most secure and tight fit of any bike rack. It also prevents the handlebars from turning and possibly scratching the paintwork on your car.
Like any bike rack worth its salt, this one is also foldable and collapses into a smaller footprint when not in use. It can also tilt while loaded up with 4 bikes, allowing you to open the liftgate.
The actual mounting hardware is made completely adjustable. We tested a lot of different bikes and did not face any issues while fitting them onto the rack. Large, small, short, tall, fat tire, skinny tire, electric, you name it, this rack will carry it.
One of the most important features this bike rack offers is the safety testing done behind the scenes. It passed the TUV test standards, with even 1.5 times the maximum capacity loaded onto it, without exhibiting any cracking or bending.
We also performed our own testing just to be on the safe side. Fully loaded with 4 bikes and traveling at highway speeds for an extended period, we did not notice any banging of the bikes against our vehicle. Installing the rack was surprisingly easy and nothing that you can’t do in under 10 minutes.
The bikes did not shift or move around too much, even when we purposefully took the vehicle around some sharp turns. It is all of this and more that gives us the confidence to recommend this bike rack to you.
- Alloy steel build
- 130 lbs load capacity
- Holds 4 bikes
- Has two wheel hoops for each bike
- Not suitable for use with RVs
Types of bike racks
Platform Bike Racks
Platform bike racks are the more secure and sturdy bike racks out there. These usually comprise a running board with a wheel hoop that secures one of the wheels of your bike, keeping it from moving. Some, like the Venzo bike rack, have two wheel hoops for each bike, providing a more secure fit.
Most platform style bike racks will also have a part that attaches to the frame of your bike for added safety and a better fit. Overall, platform style racks are the most secure options on the market.
These types of racks come in a number of styles that can hold anywhere from 1 to 6 or more bikes at a time. How many bikes a rack can hold depends on the load capacity of the hitch and the space available on the rack.
Hanging Bike Racks
Hanging bike racks mostly work by hanging the bike by a solid point on its frame and securing the handlebars with a lock. This type of rack is still very secure and does not let your bikes move around too much. It will usually have a main mast that can fold out and has smaller bars attached to it. These bars are where the bikes hang and are secured.
Adjustable clamps and locking mechanisms make sure you can fit many different sized bikes on the rack. The advantage of hanging bike racks is that they can fit a lot more bikes in a comparatively smaller space.
While these racks are very well built and sturdy, a platform style rack will still be a bit more robust. That said, hanging racks are a lot more compact and low profile, especially when they are folded up. This makes them ideal for the driver who only occasionally needs to carry bikes. On days where the rack isn’t needed, it collapses into a smaller footprint. Out of sight and out of mind.
Swing-away racks come in both platform and hanging styles. These racks are specifically designed to be used with cars like SUVs, hatchbacks, and other vehicles where the cargo area lid needs more space in order to work properly.
Here, you will find a tilting mechanism integrated into the hitch, allowing you to tilt the rack backwards with the bikes still secured on top. By moving the rack out of the way, you can open your lift gate or rear hatch easily and access the cargo.
Swing away racks are a great option for travelling longer distances, as you don’t have to take your rack and bikes off everytime you need to rummage around in the trunk for something.
Another benefit is that these racks are sometimes rated for higher load capacities to accommodate the tilting mechanism. This is because the actual hitch needs to be more solid and heavy duty to let the whole rack tilt several degrees backwards.
Swing away racks also tend to be the most expensive, especially in the platform style. But the convenience of having access to your cargo area with all of your bikes still on the rack is well worth the higher price.
Read more of our articles on bike racks
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