In this article, we’ll be discussing our top picks for rooftop bike racks.
We looked at the vast majority of rooftop bike rack options on the market, and narrowed down the best ones. The build quality, carrying capacity, and security of the mount were all major considerations in our testing.
We found the CyclingDeal 2-bike roof rack provides the best balance of features and utility. It has a sturdy construction, and holds even heavier bikes without a problem. The fitment is also very secure.
We have been testing and reviewing vehicle accessories for over a decade, so we know all the ins and outs of rooftop bike racks. Check out our reviews if you want an authoritative and reliable recommendation.
Keep reading for more information about the best rooftop bike racks.
CyclingDeal 2 Bike Rack
Cycling Deals 2-bike roof rack is an excellent deal. It features an all metal build and high load capacity that would put even hitch mounted racks to shame. The secure installation is also worthy of praise.
Build quality is the first thing we consider, and boy does the CyclingDeal deliver. It is made entirely of high quality 6063 aluminium, for added rigidity and durability. Aluminium is less prone to rusting and corrosion compared to alloy steel. And we just love the silver finish on the whole rack!
It is also less dense, which is good news for this rooftop bike rack as it keeps weight down. In fact, the whole rack comes in at just over 12 lbs, which is one of the lightest rooftop bike racks we’ve seen.
It can carry two large, adult-sized road bikes with ease. It is rated for a reasonable 66 lbs of weight and we are happy to report that it is plenty for most road bikes. Some e-bikes and mountain bikes might prove too heavy though.
The bikes will be held in place with sturdy tube clamps that are lined in soft material to avoid scratching or denting the bike frames. These clamps are adjustable, so they’ll fit a wide variety of frame sizes and shapes.
Your bikes are kept even more stable thanks to the wheel tie down strap that secures each wheel individually. One problem with this is that the te downs only support up to a 2.4” wide wheel, so fat tire bikes won’t fit.
The actual arm that holds your bikes in place is foldable so it can rest flush with the roofline of your car when no bikes are being carried. Fitment is also top notch. The rack uses metal brackets to clamp onto your crossbars. The mount is very stable and does not move around at speed.
Testing it out on the open road, we were very confident carrying two bikes at highway speed. The rack does not creak or rattle and there is minimal wind noise to deal with.
Finally, the included 1 year warranty makes this rack one of the easiest to recommend.
- 6063 aluminium build
- No rusting
- Cool silver finish
- 66 lbs load capacity
- Holds two large bikes
- Very stable frame and tire clamps
- Clamps are lined in soft material to avoid scratching bikes
- Bikes don’t shift around at speed
- Metal brackets clamp rack to crossbars securely
- Folds into a smaller size for portability
- No rattling or wind noise at highway speed
- 1 year warranty is provided
- Can’t hold fat tire bikes
Swagman Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Carrier
If you are looking for a budget friendly rooftop bike carrier, then Swagman’s rooftop carrier provides exceptional build quality and a decent load capacity at an affordable price.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that this budget rack is made from the same high quality aluminium we see in higher priced options. It is relatively lightweight and resistant to rusting and corrosion.
It uses U-bolts to clamp onto your crossbars. That means it is dead simple to mount and stays firmly in place at highway speed. You won’t need any extra tools and all of the mountain hardware is provided with the rack.
Moving on to the rack itself, we have a decent 35 lbs carrying capacity. While that won’t hold any mountain bikes or heavy e-bikes, it is plenty for large sized road bikes. It can only hold one bike at a time though, which is something to keep in mind.
As for securing the bike, there is a cam buckle on the back which holds the rear tire in place. We stress tested this piece and it took everything like a champ. There is a 9mm skewer up front which holds the bike’s frame right up against the rack for added safety.
We mounted up a large road bike and took our car out for a spin to see how well this rack performs in the real world. We did not notice any shifting of the bike and there were no annoying noises coming from anywhere on the rack.
The whole rack stays very stable, even with a slight headwind. Furthermore, there isn’t any wobbling to be worried about either. We were very confident carrying our bike on this rack for longer journeys.
When you’re ready to take the bike off, you’ll find a convenient quick release function on the front fork skewer that makes unloading the bike a lot easier and quicker.
All in all, this is a solid rooftop bike bike and provides a lot of value.
- Aluminium construction
- No rusting or corrosion
- Holds one bike
- 35 lbs load capacity
- 9mm skewer holds bike at the front fork
- Heavy duty clamp keeps the rear wheel in place
- U-bolts for secure fitment
- Easy to install
- No extra tools necessary
- All mounting hardware provided
- Quick release mechanism for easier unloading
- Very stable at speed
- Budget friendly option
- Can’t hold e-bikes or heavier mountain bikes
Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack
Thule’s UpRide rooftop bike rack is one of our favourite bike carriers. It has an impressive all metal build, a high load capacity, and also supports a wider range of bikes. ‘
The construction of this bike rack is something else. Aluminium is used in every nook and cranny, helping keep the weight down. At the same time, the rack is also very rigid and sturdy. The unique design of this rack makes it very structurally sound and firm.
Load capacity is on the higher side as well. 44 lbs is plenty for large, adult sized road bikes, but it will also hold some heavier mountain bikes, e-bikes, etc. And fat tire bike enthusiasts rejoice! This bike carrier can be outfitted with an adapter that makes it possible to hold upto 5” wide tires with ease.
Speaking of, the actual bike securing feature is an ingenious ‘no-frame contact’ design. This dramatically reduces chances of your bike’s frame getting scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged.
Instead of clamping the bike at the frame, this rack holds the bike using a ratcheting front wheel strap and hook. The rear wheel is also secured using a sturdy strap for added stability.
On the road, the rack stays very firm and secure. It does not wobble or move around and air resistance does not cause any noticeable buffeting or drop in mileage.
There is a special locking mechanism on this rack that locks the bike to the rack. However, we were disappointed to find that it is sold separately.
A huge upside of the UpRide (pun intended) is that it will support every bike you can think of. It is designed to work well with carbon frames, non-traditional frame shapes, and even rear suspension models and bottle cages.
Installing the Thule rooftop bike carrier is also pretty straightforward. All of the mounting hardware is provided in the box and instructions are easy to follow. All said and done, it didn’t take us more than 20 minutes.
Finally, there is an easy to use mechanism that lets you quickly switch the carrier from one side of the car to the other.
- Aluminium design
- Lightweight build
- Very rigid and stable
- 44 lbs load capacity
- Can hold heavier e-bikes, mountain bikes
- Can hold fat tire bikes (adapter sold separately)
- Ratcheting straps and hook for very secure bike mount
- Does not wobble or shake around in transit
- Can carry more different bike shapes and sizes than any other rack
- Not much wind resistance
- Mileage is not affected
- Easy to install
- Locking mechanism locks sold separately