Rack 'Em Up: Guide to Bike Racks

Rack 'Em Up: Guide to Bike Racks

We have seen so many people purchasing new bikes, restoring their old rides, and getting out and riding this year. With so many new people getting into cycling, the need for people to be able to transport their bikes is a common question we get from a lot of our customers. While it’s nice to be able to go out your front door and ride your bike, many of us are looking to explore a bit further from home, or perhaps looking to take our bikes with us on our summer road-trip/vacation. So, here is a quick break down of the different bike racks that are available. 

Trunk Rack

Capacity: 2-3 Bikes
Budget: $160-$400
Pros: Inexpensive, Lightweight, “Universal”-ish fit
Cons: Clamps directly to bike frame (can blemish paint/not suitable for carbon frames). Not suitable for full-suspension mountain bikes or E-Bikes. Can be a bit complicated to install.

These are probably some of our most popular racks, they are inexpensive, and you can put them on almost any vehicle (SUV’s and some hatchbacks may not be compatible). The rack sits on your trunk and is held in place by a series of straps. Sometimes, it can get a bit confusing putting the rack on the vehicle. These are great for hybrid bikes, some road bikes (I would not recommend this rack if you have a carbon fiber frame) and some hardtail mountain bikes. 

Roof Rack

Capacity: 2-4 Bikes
Budget: $500-$2,000
Pros: You look super pro! You still have full access to your trunk
Cons: VERY vehicle specific (Except for Seasucker). May affect gas milage. Not suitable for heavier bikes or E-Bikes. You have to be careful to avoid garage / drive thru’s  / low hanging structures

Roof racks definitely make you look like you know a lot about bikes! They are also great because your bikes sit out of the way and you still have full access to your trunk. You do have to be able to physically lift the bikes over your head to set them on the rack. The biggest downside to a roof rack is they are very specific to the vehicle you put them on, so you can’t easily transfer the rack between vehicles. You also have to be VERY CAREFUL TO AVIOD GARAGES AND LOW HANGING OBSTRUCTIONS! (We are speaking from experience on this one) 

Hitch Rack

Capacity: 2-6 Bikes
Budget: $400-$2,000
Pros: Easy to load and unload bikes, suitable for any bike
Cons: Hitch receiver must be installed in vehicle

These are our favorite bike racks. The bikes sit in a tray and you don’t have to worry about damaging your bike frame or paint. No need to lift the bike up over your head. The even fold up and out of the way, or if you need to remove them its just one bolt in the hitch receiver. Pretty much the only downside is that you have to get a hitch receiver installed in your vehicle, but that should be able to be completed by any auto mechanic.  

Tail Gate

Budget: $150-$300
Pros: Inexpensive, Easy Install
Cons: Only for Pickup Trucks

If you have a pickup truck, a great solution is a tailgate cover. These go over your tailgate and have pads and straps to hold the bike in place with the front wheel hanging over the tail gate. This is a really simple solution, and is especially great or mountain bikes. 

Custom

Budget: $100+
Pros: It’s exactly what you need it to be 
Cons: You have to get creative and build some stuff

Not seeing anything that fits your need? Well then build something! You can absolutely pick up a mount that works for your bike and then mount that directly to your truck bed, van, or even an SUV if you have the space. We have several customers who have build these in the back of their mini-vans so their bikes are out of the elements when traveling.