The 8 Best Car Bike Racks to Buy in 2017

Keep your bike secure while driving on the road

Driving a bike to the starting line, trailhead, or park is a hassle without the right bike rack. The latest generation of racks are engineered to make moving your bike a cinch—you just need to pick the right one for your cycling lifestyle. If you’re also the type to haul skis, kayaks and/or surfboards, invest in a roof rack crossbar system enabling multiple carry options. If you’re looking for an easy-load bike rack that fits up to four bikes, new hitch racks insert into Class II hitches for simple and safe rear carry. If you have a sedan and carry bikes infrequently, a trunk rack is a simple solution; those with spare tires on their rear can even attach a rack to that. Think about how frequently you’ll be transporting bikes and what types of bikes you’ll be hauling, and be sure to measure your vehicle’s roof, rear, and clearance so you can find a rack that fits your ride.

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Best Do-It-All Roof Rack: Yakima HighRoller

Yakima HighRoller
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Yakima’s flagship roof rack is strong and versatile enough to carry just about any bike in your garage, from the full-suspension downhill ride to the carbon-fiber road rig, to Junior’s first mountain bike. Best of all, the rack holds your bike by its front tire, not the frame, so there's no need to take it off for transport, as well as no risk of damage to your frame or paint job. The HighRoller’s burly front wheel tray firmly grips wheel sizes 20 to 29 inches and up to 3 inches wide. It also slides so you can position the rear wheel for lockdown and it’s designed to work around disc brakes, thru axles and suspension systems. The integrated cable lock will keep your bike safe on the pre-ride coffee stop, but you’ll have to buy the actual lock core separately. The HighRoller requires a roof rack, and it fits Yakima’s round and square crossbars and is compatible with factory rack crossbars when you add Universal MightyMounts (Buy on Amazon) or MightyMounts (Buy on Amazon)(each sold separately). Buy from Amazon »

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Best Trunk Bike Rack: Thule Raceway Pro 2

Thule Raceway Pro 2
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Trunk racks used to be synonymous with cheap materials, poor design and instability. They might make it to the park, but you don’t want to put your road ride on it. The Raceway Pro 2 is designed to attach to just about any sized sedan trunk in a snap, anchored at four points with high-strength, retractable cables and molded rubber pads to protect your paint job. Those aluminum wheel trays slope to minimize lifting and adjust to accommodate most bike sizes, including children’s sizes. The adjustable frame clamp grabs the top tube or seat post to keep bikes separated. Buy from Amazon »

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Best Budget Trunk Bike Rack: Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount

Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you’re occasionally driving your family’s bikes to the park or moving a bike to a new residence, The Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount will get the job done without breaking the bank. It fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and SUVs, and it comes fully assembled and mounts in seconds. The tie-down systems are fixed in position on the carry arm, but rotate so that they can fit most bike frames and sizes. In addition to top and bottom straps, two side straps hold the entire system stable for highway driving. Buy from Amazon »

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Best Do-It-All Hitch Rack: Thule T2 Pro 2

Thule T2 Pro 2
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Bike transport doesn’t get any easier than the Thule T2 Pro 2 Hitch Rack. It starts with Thule’s AutoAttach system, which clicks into your ride’s hitch sans tools and strife. A wheel-only lockdown system will fit wheels sizes 20 through 29 inches and up to 5 inches wide without any adaptors. This rack fits two bikes, and the wheel trays also adjust laterally to leave plenty of space between your rides. If you have to access your rear hatch, the rack’s HitchSwitch level allows it to tilt away from the vehicle. When you have to stop at the store, integrated cable and knob locks keep your bikes safe, and when not in use the rack folds into a small package. Buy from Amazon »

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Best Truck Bed Bike Rack: Yakima BikerBar

Yakima BikerBar
Courtesy of Amazon.com

There comes a time when you’ve invested too much time and money on your bike to just throw it in the flatbed. Install the Yakima BikerBar in your pickup truck to rack your rigs right. The BikerBar includes the crossbar and two lockable bike mounts and the drill-free installation system pops on and off with quick release levers. This rack requires removal of your front wheel, and it locks your bike down with Yakima SKS locks. Buy from Amazon »

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Best Road Trip Bike Rack: Yakima SwingDaddy

Yakima SwingDaddy
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Who doesn’t want to bring the bikes along on the road trip? Problem is, most hitch racks block access to your trunk, cutting off a vital supply line to your ride. Yakima engineers the solution in the SwingDaddy. The rack attaches to your hitch in a snap, and the hinged arm swings away from your vehicle for easy rear access. Up to four bikes can be strapped down on the padded arms, which are fully adjustable to fit most bikes and added anti-sway cradles eliminate instability, scuffs and scratches. If you’re planning on transporting step-through bikes, you’ll need to pick up an adapter from Yakima (sold separately). Buy from Amazon »

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Best Spare Tire Bike Rack: Thule Spare Me 2

Thule Spare Me 2
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Most hitch mounts can’t provide the separation to accommodate Jeeps or SUVs with a bolt-on spare tire on the back. Thule’s Spare Me 2 is a great option for those vehicles because it uses the existing mounting to secure the carrier and bikes. The Spare Me 2 adds Stay-Put cradles and detachable anti-sway cages to eliminate bike-on-bike and bike-on-Jeep contact. Integrated Locking Cable and Locking Knob secure bikes to the carrier and the carrier to vehicle, and the rack arms fold against the spare tire when not in use. Buy from Amazon »

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Best Fat Bike Roof Rack: Rocky Mounts BrassKnuckles

Rocky Mounts BrassKnuckles with Rocky Mounts The Fattie Kit
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Fat Bikes are all the rage in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains for their ability to power over packed powder. Hop on a fat bike to pedal the snowy streets of Aspen or traverse single track. These off-road snow bikes are built with wide forks that fit oversized tires and rims — as wide as 5 inches. They won’t fit most conventional roof racks. Boulder-based Rocky Mounts solves the problem with their BrassKnuckles rack and The Fattie Kit (Buy on Amazon). On its own, BrassKnuckles can handle your road or 29-inch trail bike without clamping down on your frame. When the snow starts flying, add The Fattie Kit for a larger wheel chock and two ratchet strap extenders that accommodate your fat bike’s girth all winter long. Buy from Amazon »

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