Whether you’re planning to take your bike on a camping trip or intending to move to another city, a bike rack is a travel necessity that you are bound to purchase sooner or later. Bike racks are useful pieces of equipment, making traveling with your bicycle a breeze and allowing you to free up space in you car.
However, selecting the right bike rack has become difficult due to the sheer selection of racks currently available on the market. Here are some tips on how to select and purchase the right bike rack for your vehicle and your personal needs.
Choosing the Right Bike Rack for You
Choosing the right bike rack has become an increasingly complicated process — what factors should you be considering? What is the price range you should be looking at? What bike rack makes are best for your particular vehicle? In order to choose the right bike rack, it’s important to know how to tell the difference between different racks that are currently on the market as well as ensure that you are not choosing a rack that will be difficult for you to use.
Top 7 Reasons To Choose A Car Hitch Bike Rack
1. How many bikes do you own and do you intend to transport? Consider whether you will be using your bike rack for family trips or only for your personal bike. The size of your rack will be determined by the number of bikes you plan to transport.
2. What is the likelihood that you will be changing your vehicle soon? Will you be using the rack on multiple vehicles? Certain bike racks are designed to fit particular sizes and shapes of cars, so if you are planning to change your car soon or use your rack on multiple cars, make sure to closely examine the different ways in which your car rack is compatible with your vehicle.
3. How high are you able to lift the bicycle yourself? Certain racks require you to lift your bicycle up quite high, so it’s best to avoid them if you are not able to lift the weight of your bike independently.
4. How often do you plan to use your bike rack? This should play a role in determining your overall budget for the bike rack.
5. Where will you be using the bike rack and how secure does it need to be? If security is an important factor, this should play a role in determining which bike rack you choose.
6. Does your garage or parking area have any requirements with respect to space? If you have little overhead space, or limited area in the back, you might want to consider purchasing a rack that takes your storage’s specific characteristics into account.
7. Does your vehicle have a rear tire? If so, this is definitely a factor that you should keep in mind when choosing a rack.
Types of bike racks
Roof carrier rack
A roof carrier rack is the classic option for carrying your bike on your car. The roof carrier rack attaches to your vehicle’s roof rack or crossbars — some cars already have these, but other require that you mount them separately. Some of the disadvantages of this type of rack is that mounting crossbars and a roof rack can be complicated procedure and even significantly bring up the total cost of your rack.
Hitch mounted bike rack
A hitch mounted rack is a versatile bicycle rack that attaches to the hitch of your vehicle. The rack design depends on the number of bicycles you are purchasing it for as well as on your type of car. Hitches come in different classes — for instance, class I hitches are normally designed for small cars, class II hitches are for medium-sized cars, while class III hitches are intended for pickup trucks or large SUV trucks. The prices for these racks range from $100 to over $400, depending on the quality and the brand.
Strap-on trunk mounted rack
The strap-on rack is another rack that attaches to the back side of your car and is basically strapped on to your car’s frame. This rack is not the best option if you are concerned about your bike’s security. On the other hand, however, strap-on racks are relatively inexpensive (with the least expensive option costing well below $100) and able to fit a wide variety of vehicle makes and sizes.
Why Choose A Tow Hitch Bike Rack
The hitch mounted bike rack is one of the most practical types of rack, offering a number of different options and styles that can adapt to your lifestyle and needs. While the types of rack differ for each type of bicycle and size of vehicle, they normally come in three standard types: platform, hanging and hanging with a wheel-only mount. Platform racks are an excellent option because they make very little contact with bike frames, securing you bike in a level and easy way. On the other hand, the hanging rack works best with children’s bikes, standard size bikes and bikes with suspension, and it is able to hold up to 5 bikes on average. Finally, wheel-only mount racks carry your bike by the wheel. They are an excellent option for bikes with suspension because they do not compress the bike’s suspension and hold the bike level irrespective of the frame.
Advantages Of A Trailer Hitch Bike Rack
The trailer hitch rack is currently one of the best types of tow hitch bike racks on the market. It attaches to your vehicle’s trailer hitch, securing your bicycle firmly and steadily. Here are a few advantages of the hitch-mounted rack in comparison to its roof- and trunk-mounted counterparts:
- It is easy to install and mount
- They offer a good deal of security, especially in comparison to trunk-mounted rack
- No accidental damage to the vehicle, scratching its paint
- They make for easy loading and unloading — no heavy lifting is involved
- They are more aerodynamic, especially compared to roof-mounted racks
- Greater loading capacity
- They are available in a wide range of prices — and can be a very affordable option
- Can hold up to 5 bicycles, depending on your personal needs
- Are a great universal option, able to transport most standard mountain and road bicycles