SUV Bike Racks: The Last Guide You’ll Ever Need
Find your bike rack today. Explore the greatest hitch, roof, and trunk mount bike carriers that will fit any SUV or car, bike style, budget or other needs.
What is the best bike rack for SUV?
There are a large variety of bike styles and many bike carriers available – different designs and capacities. All have the same goal: to transport your bikes safely to your destination. However, not all bicycle racks are suitable for SUVs, and even the ones that are, have different features available and are built with different intentions in mind.
For example, Sport Rider from Hollywood Racks is exceptional when it comes to electric bikes with fat-tire, while it can be used for fat or mountain bikes as well. RockyMounts Tomahawk is a roof carrier that fits bikes with up to 5″ tires and one of the top bike racks for fat bikes. RockyMounts Backstage or Yakima Full-Swing are one of the best swing-away bike racks, while Thule T2 Pro XT can be named one of the best bike racks of all time. Saris Bones 2-bike is one of the most adjustable, and so on.
12 Unparalleled SUV Bike Racks
- Thule T2 Pro XT (best overall)
- Hollywood Racks Sport Rider (best for fat tire electric bikes)
- Rocky Mounts Backstage (swing-away)
- BuzzRack Approach (best for fat bikes)
- RockyMounts Tomahawk (best roof rack for fat bikes)
- Yakima Dr. Tray
- Yakima RidgeBack
- Kuat NV 2.0
- Yakima HoldUp
- Saris Freedom
- Kuat Sherpa
Find more details about each carrier mentioned above on our dedicated article, 10 Outstanding Hitch Bike Racks in 2020.
Looking for the best bike rack for your SUV or car?
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are great for sport traveling and are made with versatility that helps bikers to access different sites to enjoy their hobbies. SUVs are actually designed with plenty of room but if you are bringing your family and friends with luggage and their bikes, finding space for all of those items becomes problematic.
At the very least, you may require you to take the bikes apart, fold down some seats, and cross your fingers with the hope that they will all fit in; nobody wants all that hassle. This is where an SUV bike rack comes to your rescue. It offers you great bike carrying functionality and helps you avoid soiling your car with bike grease and mud.
There are different bike rack models suited for various SUVs. Making the right choice is very important as they come in different weights, shapes, prices, and types of mounts among other factors that may affect you, your SUV, your bike or even your adventure.
BEST SELLER in 2020
KAC Overdrive K2 2″ Hitch-Mounted 2-bike
- Heavy-duty 5” wide trays are adjustable to fit most e-bikes, fat tire, road and mountain bikes, and more
- Patented Anti-Wobble System
- Quick Release Tilt Design makes it easy to access rear cargo and fold up the bike rack when not in use
- Supports 2 bikes up to 60 lbs each using durable powder-coated steel tubing
Swing-away design allows you to access your car’s trunk or hatch with the bikes loaded. Fits all types of bikes with traditional frame geometry. 40 lbs. maximum weight per bike.
BEST FOR FAT BIKES
Platform hitch carrier with padded clamps to hold bikes in place and 5″ wide heavy duty wheel holders are all adjustable to fit most bikes. Quick-release tilt design.Anti-wobble system. Up to 60 lbs each bike.
BEST FOR E-BIKES
It carries two electric bikes (up to 5″wide tires) with up to a 60″ wheelbase. Maximum capacity: 80 lbs per bicycle. Fits 2″ hitches only. Folds flat against car and tilts down for cargo access.
BEST ROOF FOR FAT BIKES
Carries fat bike with up to 5″ tire. Includes two wheel strap extensions. Holds all styles of bikes, 20 – 29″ wheels. No bike frame contact. Mounts to all styles of crossbars.
BEST TRUNK RACK
Thule Raceway Pro
One of the top trunk bike carriers. It is durable and most secure trunk rack. Compact storage design. Patented FitDial guarantees a “perfect fit” to your vehicle. Prevents bike-to-bike contact
BEST-SELLER ROOF RACK
Fits virtually any type of bike, including disc brakes, thru-axles, and full suspension bikes; Fits 20″ to 29″ wheels and tires up to 3″. No frame contact. Load your bike fully assembled.
Having the best bike rack for your vehicle and bikes is what you need. But it really depends on other factors too, like: is it for occasional use or long distances? is your bike larger than average? what’s your budget? how many bikes will you transport? Try to answer these questions first and then have a look at the bike carriers below – you might find what you need.
Best for full suspension, disc brakes and through axles bikes
Yakima HoldUp 2-bike Platform Hitch Rack
Best for long distances
Swagman Chinook 2-bike Platform Hitch Rack
Best for families
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider 4-bike Platform
Best for mountain bikes
RockyMounts Backstage Swing-Away 2-bike rack
Best roof rack
Kuat Trio Roof Mount Bike Carrier 1-bike
Best compact rack
Allen Sports Ultra Compact Folding 1-bike
Great trunk rack
Thule Raceway Pro 2-bike Trunk Mount Rack
Best for low budget
Allen Sports Deluxe 4-bike Hitch Rack
Most beautiful rack
Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack
Best for cars with spoilers
Hollywood Racks F2 Trunk Mount Rack
Best when going solo
Yakima Frontloader 1-bike Roof Mount Rack
Best for a quick ride
Hollywood Racks Trail Rider Hitch Rack
Here are the best SUV Bike Racks in 2021
Let’s have a look at the best SUV bike racks in 2021 – hitch, roof and trunk carriers.
1. Thule T2 Pro XT 2-bike Tray-Style Bike Rack
It is considered one of the best hitch bike racks on the market, today. It weighs 51 lbs and it’s actually an upgraded version of its predecessor – Thule T2 Classic. T2 Pro XT allows mounting of virtually any kind of bikes, with its 20-29” supported wheelbase and 5” thickness of the tire, without any adapters.
Versatility is further enhanced at this rack by the fitting of 1.25 and 2” receivers and the possibility to extend it’s capacity to 4 bikes with Pro XT add-on. It is best suited for those who intend to leave their carrier in place, due to its weight. Well-suited to carry almost any type of bike.
- Premium platform hitch bike rack for 2-4 bikes
- Carry up to 4 bikes with the Thule XT Pro XT Bike Add-on (sold separately, 2″ receiver only)
- Fits 20 – 29 ” wheels, fat bikes with up to 5″ tires, and hub spacing up to 197 mm
- Ideal for carbon frames, mountain, downhill and fat bikes (does not fit 27.5″ fat bikes)
- Load capacity: 120 lbs (60lb max per bike)
- Dimensions: 54 x 15 x 43 inches; Folded dimensions: 54.7 x 22.5 x 33.8 inches
2. Allen Deluxe 4-bike Hitch Rack
It is a wallet-friendly hitch bicycle carrier for SUV and a good choice for those who do not use the bike rack on a daily basis. It is lightweight and durable, plus it makes use of the frame as an attachment point; however, it is not overly flexible. Security features and vehicle access are limited, but this can be corrected by adding some foam between the bikes.
Fits 2-inch trailer hitch and minor assembly is required. The design limits its ability to carry most of the full suspension bikes, but if you are not a frequent rider, this could be a good option.
- 4-bike rack fits vehicles with a 2-inch trailer hitch only . Vehicle will require professionally installed Class III or IV 2″ hitch to use this product
- 22-inch long carry arms individually secure bicycles with Allen’s patented tie-down system
- Folding carry arms quickly drop out of the way when rack is not in use
- Rack sets up and installs in less than 5 minutes
- Sturdy steel construction with black powder coat finish; Lifetime warranty
3. Yakima HoldUp 2-bike Platform Hitch Rack
This hitch bike rack can be attached to almost any SUV or car. Even if it’s not that user-friendly like Thule T2 Pro XT or Kuat NV 2.0, it offers excellent ergonomics, it is versatile and accommodates heavier bikes.
The Yakima Holdup is a relatively affordable hitch mount bike rack which tilts up and down by pulling a spring-loaded pin located back near the hinge of the carrier. It stands out with a compact design, due to the trays being hinged on the clamp end. When not in use, the wheel trays can be folded in towards the center of the rack, making it more compact for storage.
Well suited for heavy bikes and different bike styles. It is an excellent SUV bike rack and a great alternative to roof carriers.
- The Hold Up is Yakima’s fastest, easiest way to load bikes; Its beefed-up arm pivot makes it stronger than ever and the side-to-side adjustability reduces the chance for bike-to-bike interference; It’s a road trip companion for life
- StrongArm design enables you to load your bike quickly whether it’s a 20″ wheel or a 29’er
- Zero contact with the bike frame; Accommodates carbon road bikes as well as disc brakes, thru axles and full suspension bikes
- Weight 49.0 pounds, load capacity 60 pounds weight maximum per bike
- Carries 2 bikes out of the box, or 4 bikes with optional Hold Up +2. 1-1/4” or 2″ Hitch Receiver Required.
4. Allen Sports Ultra Compact Folding 1-bike Trunk Mount Rack
The Allen Sports ultra-compact trunk bike carrier delivers all of the benefits of a full-featured bike rack, built on a rugged steel frame. It is easy to transport and storage when not in use. It is made in USA and fits SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks, and minivans. It is relatively cheap and easy to install.
- Made in the USA or Imported
- Ultra-compact 1-bike carrier for traveling and commuting
- Folds up small and fits inside carrying bag or backpack
- 3 padded legs rest against vehicle; 3 adjustable security straps
- Tie-downs and padding keep bike secure and separate from vehicle
- Fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs
5. Swagman Chinook 2-bike Platform Hitch Rack
Best suited for lighter duty use, Chinook is a hitch mount bike rack that fits SUVs and cars. It fits both 2-inch and 1.25-inch receivers and accommodates a large variety of bike styles, tire widths and wheels. It comes with a locking hitch pin and locking clamps. Some people say it is not extremely stable, but since it comes at an affordable price, we can’t compare with other more expensive options.
If you will be using this tray-style bike carrier infrequently and drive on smooth roads, then this could be a nice option to consider.
- Carries 2 bikes. Fits most frame sizes, shapes and styles. Wheel ratchet straps firmly hold bikes and secure wheels
- Fits 1-1/4″ and 2″ hitch receiver
- Tilts down to allow access to rear-of-vehicle, even while bikes are loaded
- Adjustable locking hooks secure frame to rack
- Locking hitch pin included
6. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-bike Hitch Mount Rack
A versatile hitch-mount rack built for a variety of bike sizes (e.g., cruiser bikes, full-suspension bikes, men/women bikes, etc.) providing a no-hassle way of carrying or transporting bicycles. When not in use, the rack folds up for easy storage.
The XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack from Swagman is a versatile hitch-mount rack that can easily accommodate children’s and adult bikes, downhill bikes, cruiser bikes, full-suspension bikes, BMX bikes, “Y” frame designs, and much more (and without the hassle of removing wheels). The XC slides into a two-inch receiver and carries up to two bikes.
- Carries up to 2 bikes. Fat tire wheel trays sold separately (64674). Locking hitch pin 1/2 inch and 10mm security cable sold separately (64031)
- Fits a 1-1/4″ and 2″ hitch reciever
- Max load capacity: 35lbs per bike
- Center arm folds down to allow access to the rear-of-vehicle without removing the rack
- Upright ratcheting arms easily adjust to different bike frame sizes
- Transports up to 2 bikes, compatible with 1 1/4″ and 2″ receiver hitch also has a built in anti woble hitch device. Takes only a few minutes to assemble. | Max Load 35lbs per bike
- Upright ratchet arms easily adjust to different bike frame sizes, will accommodate bike frames up to 59 cm.
7. Kuat NV 2.0 Platform Hitch Bike Rack
Three words: versatile, durable, secure. This is how we would describe Kuat NV 2.0, maybe one of the best bike racks for SUV today. It is an updated version of Kuat NV and also contains an integrated work stand. However, this comes with the high price.
Well suited to carry downhill, road and mountain bikes and basically almost any type of bike. If you care about aesthetics, then NV 2.0 is the right choice for you.
- Adjustable front tire cradle system
- Re-designed pivot with optional foot assist
- Fully integrated cable locks
- Trail Doc included
- Front tire ratchet design with intuitive release
8. Saris Bones 801 3-bike Trunk Mount Rack
The Saris Bones 3-bike SUV trunk bike rack highlights a vaulted or arched-design which is capable of fitting just about any vehicle. The exclusive anti-sway straps and articulated rubber feet protect both your bike and your vehicle. It folds up into a small size for storage, the design is intelligent and the bicycle carrier is lightweight.
Overall, most buyers of the Saris Bones 801 agreed that this trunk mounted bike rack is well worth the money spent. The rack is well-built, easy to install, and fits a variety of vehicles.
- Trunk mounted rack carries up to three bikes, up to 35 pounds each
- Arc-based design fits over most spoilers, and separates bikes on different levels
- Most popular trunk rack ever sold. With more than one million in use, the simple design sets the standard for trunk racks.
- Injection -molded arms and legs are the strongest on the market
- Built in Madison, Wisconsin; limited lifetime
9. Rocky Mounts Backstage Swing-Away Platform Hitch Rack
If you are a traveler that likes riding his bike in distant places and like to get there in your van, the Backstage hitch mount bike rack is the one for you, with its swing away function, the only system that allows you full access to the back doors.
The Rocky Mounts is a bicycle hitch rack for SUV and cars alike, that can carry 2 bikes, with no extension possibilities, but that does not mean it isn’t versatile. You can mount 20” to 29” wheel bikes and this platform, tray-style hitch rack will even get well with your fat bike, as it supports up to 5” wide tires.
- The industry’s first 180 degree swing away platform hitch rack
- Carries 2 bikes, up to 60 lbs each. Not compatible with Add-On
- Tray can be adjusted 2” side-to-side to avoid bike interference
- No contact with frame, secures bicycle by front wheel
- Carries road tires up to 5. 0” wide fat bike tires, and diameters from 20” to 29”
- Compatible with bicycles’ wheelbases from 34” to 49”
- Folds flat against the vehicle, and tilts down 30 degrees to allow for hatch access
10. Yakima Frontloader 1-bike Roof Mount Rack
The design of Yakima FrontLoader makes it capable to carry almost any type of bike, regardless of axle standard. There is no need to remove the front wheel. The FrontLoader is shipped fully assembled. The only set up involved is placing the rack on your roof for attachment to the crossbars.
FrontLoader is one of the most popular roof bike rack, suited for vehicles with low roofs. It can work with an SUV but the height will increase considerably. An alternative for SUVs is Kuat Trio. All in all, the design is proven and if you don’t have any problem with height, then this is a good option.
- Fits Yakima round, square, factory or aerodynamic crossbars; Accommodates disc brakes, thru axles, and full suspension bikes
- Zero contact with frame; carbon fiber and custom paint jobs are protected; Holds bike upright while you secure the bike to the mount
- 1 bike, up to 40 lbs at min of 18″ crossbar spread; or up to 30 lbs at min of 16″ crossbar spread; Fits 20″ to 29″ wheels with tire widths up to 3″
- Leave your front wheel on for easy loading; No tools or assembly required; SKS Locks sold separately
- Minimum and maximum crossbar spreads: 16″ – 48″
11. Kuat Trio Roof Bike Rack
A fork mount bike rack that can carry almost any type of bike. This contender arrives mostly assembled right out of the box. It includes a sturdy large diameter cable lock that deploys from the rear of the tray.
The Trio is a beautifully constructed fork mount roof rack that provides an elegant solution to the multiple axle standards found on bikes. It is secure, durable, easy to use, and it will fit on the vast majority of cross bars. Well suited for those who have vehicles with high roofs, like SUVs.
- 3 Way Mount-Fits 9, 15, & 20 mm forks out of the box
- Mounts to most factory & all aftermarket cross bars
- Integrated Cable Lock (locks both frame and rear wheel)
- Optional adapter kit for fat bikes
- No Worries Warranty
12. Yakima Dr. Tray 2-bike Hitch Mount Rack
Dr. Tray comes with an innovative design, making it one of the best SUV platform hitch bike carrier today for its versatility. It can carry almost any type of bikes, including fat, road or mountain bikes that are up to 5 inches. Versatility is unmatched due to the variety of bikes supported, the load capacity extension possibility, through the Ez+1 accessory that allows you to carry a third bike.
Yakima’s Dr. Tray will suit most of the users that seek a hitch mount tray rack, due to the amazing adjustability, versatility and ease of use, and providing a great clearance.
- Securely carries 26″ to 29″ wheels and tires up to 5″ wide; Unrivaled spacing between bikes – up to 18″ between each bike
- QuickChange lever provides tool-free adjustment while bikes are loaded, minimizing the potential for bike-to-bike interference
- Easy-to-use RemoteControl tilt lever and lightweight, aluminum design makes raising and lowering the rack a breeze
- Tool-free locking SpeedKnob for a secure and easy install to your vehicle; Extra burly SKS cable lock system for each bike secures both wheels and frame
- 40lbs weight maximum per bike; Add the EZ+1 and carry a third bike (sold separately)
13. Thule Raceway Pro 2-bike Trunk Mount Rack
Thule Raceway pro is considered one of the best trunk bike racks in 2018 due to its versatility and security. It is stable and fits a wide range of vehicles. The primary support arms are individually adjustable thus the compatibility with full suspension bikes is increased.
Raceway Pro will fit sedans, vans, and SUVs, while it can carry 2 bikes with a 35lb per bike weight limit. It is designed to carry bikes with traditional open front triangle, road and commuter bikes. Individually adjustable arms allow the arms to be in different positions, so it can help when trying to accommodate bicycles such as full suspension mountain bikes. The arms are also adjustable in a span from a 6.5″ to 10.5″ thus increasing compatibility with smaller bikes.
- Sure-Tight ratcheting cables provide maximum fastening security to your vehicle.
- Patented FitDial guarantees a “perfect fit” to your vehicle.
- Patented No-Sway Cage prevents bike-to-bike contact.Folded dimensions 23 x 24 x 21 inches
- Lockable cable secures bike to carrier and carrier locks to vehicle (locks included)
14. Hollywood Racks F2 Trunk Mount Rack
Hollywood Racks Over-the-Top might be a great choice in 2018 for those who opt for an alternative to the standard trunk mount bike rack. This style benefits from a high risen frame that prevent strap damage to the vehicle body paint. It works by using the roof rack as an anchor over the top of the trunk. It is the best trunk mount bike rack for cars with spoilers so it won’t damage them.
- Features high rise adjustable frame designed for SUV’s, Hatchbacks and cars with spoilers. Includes 3 different types of attachment straps to ensure the right fit for your vehicle
- Rubber anti-sway bike cradles and EPDM rubber straps hold up to 3 bikes firmly in place; Comes fully pre-assembled; Folds flat for easy storage in your trunk or garage
- Max Capacity: 35lbs per bike
- Kids bikes, ladies frame bikes and some mountain bikes may require a top tube adapter to fit on the rack
- Check vehicle Fit guide to ensure the rack will work for your vehicle
- Adjustable high rise frame prevents strap contact with vehicle’s spoiler
- Includes hatch anchors and quick connect hooks for secure attachment to hatches, trunks and roof racks
15. Kuat Sherpa 2-bike Platform Bike Carrier
A lightweight bike carrier which can be a nice option for your SUV. Sherpa 2.0 is a powerful contender and should be on your shortlist because it is the lightest rack in its class (32 lbs.), it is easy to use and offers a secure transportation to your bike.
Security is present with this bicycle hitch carrier too, as it comes with a locking hitch pin (a little harder to handle than the knob on T2 Pro XT and Dr. Tray), a semi-integrated cable locking system (easier to use than Dr. Tray’s) and an increased 14” space within trays. This way, both the rack is firmly secured to the rack and the bike is safely carried.
Well suited for standard tire sizes and a viable alternative for Thule T2 Pro XT or Kuat NV 2.0.
- Re-designed pivot with optional foot assist
- Semi integrated bike lock
- Front tire ratchet design with intuitive release
- Rear tire cradle features co-molded strap to protect wheels
- Folding front cradle adds space between rack and vehicle
16. Hollywood Racks F4 Heavy-Duty Trunk Mount Carrier
An exclusive dual positioning trunk/bumper bike carrier that allows a custom fit on most sedans, SUVs, and minivans. High strength tie down buckles and straps ensure a secure fit for heavy loads and up to 4 bikes.
For the most part, this is a great bike rack for short or long distance travel. Customers stated that it was sturdy even over rocky terrains and bumpy roads. They also liked the ease at which it is able to be assembled but stressed that you should check for compatibility even though it states that it fits most vehicles.
- Dual positioning trunk/bumper system allows this bike rack to fit on most cars, van’s and suv; Carries up to 4 bikes
- Comes fully pre-assembled; Folds flat for easy storage in your trunk or garage
- Max Capacity: 35lbs per bicycle
- Kids bikes, ladies frame bikes and some mountain bikes may require a top tube adapter to fit on the bike rack
- Check vehicle Fitguide to ensure the bike rack will work for your vehicle
- Hollywood Racks F4 Heavy Duty 4-Bike Trunk Mount Rack carries up to four bikes and comes with a day glow safety flag
- Exclusive dual positioning trunk/bumper system allows a custom fit on most sedans, SUVs, and minivans
17. Yakima RidgeBack 4-bike Hanging Bike Carrier
The best buy for SUVs, Yakima RidgeBack hitch mount bike rack is the perfect hitch mount bike rack for those who want to carry up to 4 bikes. It features UpperHand lever that tilts down for vehicle access, Zero-hassle ZipStrips that secure your bicycle to the rack and comes fully assembled. It the way you transport bikes at a higher level. It comes fully assembled right out of the box, tilts down, easily secure your bikes and folds flat for easy storage. Fits 1.25″ and 2″ hitch receiver.
- Over-molded stainless steel strap to accommodate a variety of raised rail Profiles
- Risk-free torque set installation; Tool included
- Excellent roof clearance to allow full range of Yakima gear mounts
- RoundBar SL Adapter required to use Yakima’s classic RoundBar with StreamLine System Towers (sold separately)
- Intended for mounting to vehicles with raised siderails
18. Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
A stable trunk mount rack built for family-oriented cyclists that features anti-sway functionality, soft rubber cradles, six-strap system, patented FitDial for a perfect fit and it folds down when not in use.
Arms fold down when not in use and arms hold a wider range of bike frames including smaller frames for kids bikes. It has a classic black finish that looks amazing on any vehicle and a maximum carrying capacity of 70 lbs.
- Soft Rubber cradles protect bike frame while holding it securely
- Stay-Put anti-sway cages prevent bike to bike and bike to vehicle contact
- Patented FitDial provides the perfect fit to your vehicle
- Arms fold down when not in use
- SoftCushion leg pads protect trunk and hatch;Dimensions:22 x 17 x 34 in,Folded dimensions:22 x 17 x 24 in
What is a bike rack?
A traditional parking bicycle rack is used for securing stationary bicycles. However, a car bike rack is a bicycle carrier attachable to a vehicle on which you mount your bike(s) for transportation.
It doesn’t come with the vehicle though; it is an aftermarket accessory that you buy separately.It can be mounted on different vehicles such as cars, buses and SUVs. Depending on your vehicle, the type of your bike and your preferences, you can choose a roof, trunk, or hitch mounted bike rack.
Why a bike rack?
Having understood what a bike rack is, you will find enough reasons to acquire one. On the other hand it is only fair to acquaint you with enough details to enable you weigh between getting a bike rack and not getting one. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using bike racks.
- They Enable You To Carry More Bicycles With The Same Vehicle. With a single bike rack, you can carry 4-5 bikes. If you weren’t using one, the space in an SUV would only accommodate a maximum of two, probably disassembled, bikes.
- They Free Up Space That Would Have Been Used Inside The Vehicle. Since bike racks are mounted outside your vehicle, you can use storage space inside your SUV to carry other necessary bike riding gears such as spares and repair tools. When you go bike riding with your family, you will get more space to keep their luggage and personal belongings.
- They Are Budget Friendly. With some bike racks costing around $100 – give or take, it is not a very big price to pay compared to the functionality and service you receive with one. In the long run, say 2 years, this amounts to only 4 dollars a month. If you go bike riding every weekend you incur only a single dollar for every trip to and fro –that’s great value.
- They Prevent You From Soiling Your SUV. If you go biking in an area that has lots of dust or where you encounter mud, you don’t need to worry about this dirt getting in your SUV. For enjoyable biking, you need to properly grease your gear, but with a bike rack all this grease with be outside your vehicle.
- Usable For Other Attachments Such As Ski Boxes, And Surfboard Attachments. The best thing about bikes racks is that they can be used for carrying other sporting gear too. Do you also go surfing and skiing? Well, your bike rack can be used to carry equipment for these activities too. Most people buy SUVs because of their versatility; with a bike rack you get more versatility.
- No Need for Disassembling Of Bikes. Without a bike rack, you need to disassemble them into parts that can fit in the back of your vehicle. A bike rack is meant to save you from such actions. With a bike rack, you just need to attach your bike as it is and get on the move. That’s a great inconvenience for people without the know-how of disassembling bikes.
- Portable And Easy To Use. Bike racks aren’t big or heavy, they are very portable. In addition to that, they are very easy to use. They don’t require specialized tools and know how. This means with a little initial guidance you will get to grips with their usage.
- They Can Be Used On Different Vehicles. A bike rack is just an attachable device, it’s not welded on a vehicle. It can be removed any time you want to change the SUV you are going with. You need not to worry about a bike rack limiting your choice of car.
- They provide a Stable Way of Carrying Bicycles. With other vehicle carrying options, you don’t get stability. If you put your bike in the back, it will have unwanted noises from movements and friction on rough roads. When using a bike rack, you only need to attach the bike firmly and you will get a stable and enjoyable ride.
- They May Block Your Rearward Visibility or access to the Trunk. As a driver, even with side mirrors, looking through a rear mirror is very important for safety. With hitch-mounted and trunk mounted bike racks, your visibility might be blocked. They may also hinder you from accessing your trunk which makes getting other items through you trunk difficult. However, some high-end SUV models can tilt to allow access to your trunk.
- A Roof Top Rack Restricts Access To Parking In Low-Level Garages. Since the bikes are mounted on top, you SUV becomes a tall vehicle. This means it can’t access places it would have been able without the bike rack.
- Bike Racks Slightly Increases Your Vehicles Fuel Consumption. Roof mounted bike racks are a good way of expressing that you are an outdoorsy, planet-loving biker. But they may increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption due to an aerodynamic drag effect. According to a study done in 2015, roof mounted racks increased fuel consumption by 100 million gallons in the USA alone that year.
- The Close Proximity Of The Bikes Can Spoil Your Vehicles Body. Since the racks are near your vehicle, the bike may rub against the surface removing paint or spoiling the vehicle body. Also, if multiple bikes are carried, the friction between them may cause wearing off of paint and spoiling of different bike parts.
Factors to consider when buying a SUV Bike Rack
Safety of Bike(s) and Your Car
When on the road, the safety of both your vehicle and your bikes is very important.
For the safety of your car, ensure you choose a rack that doesn’t:
- Hide your license plate
- Obscure the rearview mirror of your vehicle,
- Block other vehicles
- Hide your light indicators.They are very important when braking or taking a corner.
As for your bike’s safety, it is preferable to get a bike rack that:
- Firmly holds your bike even in windy conditions.
- Has strong wheel hooks that can secure multiple bikes.
- Has locks for keeping your bikes safe.
- Has long locking cables.
You bike racks also need to be influenced by the type of bikes you have; a wrong choice could bring safety and stability problems. Whether you are going to use road bikes, cyclotrons, touring, time fitness, mountain or dual-sport to satisfy your hobby, there exists racks that can be used for each type of bike.
Stability of Your Car
The stability of Your SUV is also very important. Roof racks make the vehicle more unstable by increasing the height and weight on the top. Don’t carry a lot of bikes when using a roof rack, the car may get shaky with a certain speed. Not only is stability important in safety, but it also affects your inside comfort.
Most bike racks offer just enough stability, but if you have heavy bikes you should look for durable and firm racks. They should be stable enough to withstand heavy rain and windy conditions Avoid racks prone to cracks, rust, and loosening of bolts.
Bike racks are popular and fast-growing vehicle add-ons, but they come with a cost. This especially so for the roof racks which requires your vehicle to expend more energy because of aerodynamic drag. To save on fuel it is important to choose racks with little wind resistance such as hitch racks.
When moving with your bikes, it is important to make sure they are protected. This will be determined by the rack you will be using. It is very advisable to choose a bike rack that
- Includes a lock and a locking cable for your bikes
- Includes a lock for attaching the rack to your SUV
You wouldn’t want to reach your destination without your bikes go for one with superior security features.
Due to how bike racks are made, they cause road inconveniences to other users and safety risks too. This is why the legality of the bike rack you are using is important.
Before purchasing a rack or choosing one for the trip, do some research on the laws and traffic rules of the state or place which you will be going to.Find a rack that doesn’t obscure taillights and number plates –it is considered illegal in some places.
A bike rack’s versatility pertains to the different uses it can have and different styles that it comes in. If you have multiple bikes, choose a bike rack that can carry different and multiple types of bike at the same time. If you are going with your family, a 4-bike car is versatile enough.
The versatility of a bike rack also means that it can be used to carry other sporting gear like boats, surfboards, skis, snowboards, cargo boxes and, paddleboards.
Ease of Assembly
When it comes to sporting activities, most people choose a product based on its ease of use – you should too. Find a bike rack with a design that is easy to mount onto your SUV, remove it and mount bikes on. Select one that
- Doesn’t require specialized tools to be used.
- Can be installed easily out of the box
- Can easily be mounted on different vehicles at different times
The durability of bike racks is important as it saves you money in the long run. You need to look for a rack made of high-quality materials. For a durable rack, consider the following
- A rack that comes from a well-known and reputable brand
- Made with materials that support heavy-duty application
- One with a sturdy tubing preferably made of steel.
- With a good paint coating – powder coat finish. It adds to the look and durability
Removability and Storage
When buying a bike rack always ask yourself, apart from the features it brings, how easy will its removal? Is it too big for easy storage?
If you don’t have a lot of storage space in their garage, find one that you can easily fit in your garage’s corner.
When it comes to removability look for a rack that requires fewer tools, less technicalknowhow, and less energy when being removed. If removal is cumbersome you may find yourself leaving it on your car after a long tiring bike ride.
The value of a bike rack is the comparison of the quality of the rack and the features it comes to the price of the item. Everyone likes to get a good deal when shopping for racks always be on the lookout for good deals too. To find value think of the bike rack as an investment. Set a budget for it and look for a bang for your buck.
Types of SUV Bike Racks
Hitch Mount Bike Racks
These type of bike racks are connected to a hitch at the back of your vehicle. They are categorized into three classes namely class I, class II, class III hitches. They come with mounting trays for securing your bikes. They are easy to mount on but expensive too. There are two different types of hitch racks
- Tray Style Hitch Mount – They use a tray to support the weight of bikes. For securing the bikes, they clamp the front wheels or the bike frame.
- Arm Support Hitch Mount – They use the bicycle frame to support and secure it to the arm of the rack.
The hitch mount bike rack is the most versatile while it can carry up to 5 bikes. It is required a hitch receiver though. It is the easiest way to carry multiple bikes and it will not damage the car paint. You have two main types to choose from: hanging (support arm) and platform (tray-style). Explore the full range of hitch bike racks.
Hitch bicycle racks for SUV require a hitch receiver (which can be installed if needed) and the cost for these carriers is a bit higher as they offer more sophisticated materials and features. Platform-style carriers can hold 2 bikes and can be extended to 4 bikes; these type of bicycle carriers offer a higher weight limit and Amazon offers a wide range from which you can choose. Trailer hitch bike carrier for SUV can transport 2 to 5 bikes, the installation and removal are easy, minimum effort is required for lifting, compared with roof bike racks, locks are available and some fold flat against the vehicle.
However, the price is a bit higher, the trunk or rear door might be blocked, bikes may partially obstruct license plate and taillights and the driver must remain aware of SUV’s extended length. Tray style hitch mounts have some ergonomic advantages when it comes to loading and you can carry mainly any type of bicycle. Hitch mounted bike racks for SUV keep bicycles out of the wind but can make parking in tight places difficult. Some bike racks from Amazon can respond to your needs, like Thule T2 Pro XT or Yakima RidgeBack.
- Pros: can transport up to 5 bikes, generally the installation is simple, fuel consumption is not that high, it is not permanently attached to the vehicle, locks are available, easy to load and unload, bikes can be strong secured, some fold flat against vehicle to provide clearance to the trunk, bicycles attach with a moderate amount of lifting.
- Cons: a receiver hitch is needed, swing-away models which offer the easiest access, are also the most expensive, the driver must be aware of SUV’s extended length, bicycles may partially obstruct taillights or rear license plate.
The best swing away bike racks
Trunk Mount Bike Racks
If your vehicle lacks a hitch, trunk bike rack comes in handy. These racks work by fastening your bikes to your vehicle with hooks and nylon straps. They are not expensive but are they are the least secure. The low-end trunk racks are not locked to your vehicle and can easily be stolen. They are lightweight –hence not ideal for heavy or many bikes.
Trunk mount bike racks may be an alternative for your SUV especially if you don’t prefer roof racks. They involve the least amount of installation and the least expensive way to transport your bike to the desired destination. SUV trunk bike racks are lightweight, can transport 2-3 bikes and are an economical choice. The same bike carrier can be easily moved between vehicles.
Straps with hooks are used to secure them to the SUV and the attachment system will prevent you from being able to open the hatch when needed. Bikes rest on support arms equipped with cradles. Also, security from theft is limited. The design limits rack’s ability to carry full suspension mountain bikes for example. Maximum allowed weight capacity per bike is around 30-35lbs so could not be a good option for massive bicycles. You will notice that some bike racks for SUV carry the same nr of bicycles but the price is different; this happens due to extra versatility to fit more vehicles, extra features (like anti-sway cradles, or fold-away), locking options, better materials. Amazon offers a wide range of bike carriers which are very good, like Saris Bones 801 or Hollywood Racks Heavy Duty. Explore the full range of trunk bike racks.
- Pros: easy installation, lightweight, moderate amount of lifting is needed, least expensive option, fold for easy storage, handy for occasional use.
- Cons: least secure, the trunk is blocked, bikes may sway during transport if are not properly fixed, SUV’s finish may be affected if you do not pay attention while attaching hooks, requires some maintenance during transit just to be sure you are not losing them.
Roof Mount Bike Racks
Roof-mounted bike carriers are placed on the car roof where they clamp on to bars. If your SUV comes with mounting bars they will be very suitable. So how do they hold your bikes in place? There are many ways but here are the most common.
- Using a pivoting arm which clamps around your bikes down tube
- Using a front bar on which you attach fork dropouts – that is with the front wheel removed.
For tall SUVs, the wheel method is great because it keeps the bikes lower, and enables easier lifting of your bikes. For shorter SUV the double wheel method is the best. Roof bike racks are taller, less stable and are more expensive. They use integrated locks for locking your bike to the rack which is locked to the bars.
One of the best bike racks for SUV is the roof mounted styles due to its versatility. However, take into account that mounted onto an SUV will require lifting the bicycle over your head. If you will manage to do that you may consider that you will likely only be able to carry 2 bikes since the center of the crossbars will be out of reach. Many people appreciate their stability while driving. It is recommended to check your vehicle’s manual or contact the manufacturer directly to understand the max allowable weight the roof can maintain. Bike carriers for roof racks vary between ones that allow both wheels to remain on the bicycle and the ones that require front wheel removal. Car bike racks that keep both wheels on the bicycle are taller, can be less stable and cost more while those with front wheel removal are great for SUVs and can be easier to load and unload.
Crossbars can be used to carry other equipment like kayaks or cargo boxes. Roof SUV bike racks are versatile, generate moderate cost, there is no bike-to-bike contact and no visual obstruction to driver’s view. However, the aerodynamics of SUV is reduced, some noise may be caused by wind resistance, can be hard to load the bicycles, the driver must be aware of height restrictions. Some Amazon bike racks may be perfect for your needs, like Yakima FrontLoader or Yakima ForkLift. Explore the full range of roof bike racks.
- Pros: versatile for all kinds of gear hauling, moderate cost, bikes do not sway, no obstructions to driver’s view, bike-to-rack lockers available, one of the most secure carriers, access to any doors/hatch/tailgate.
- Cons: wind resistance reduce aerodynamics, the driver must be always aware of height restrictions, may be hard to load and unload items, fuel consumption will likely increase.
Specialty racks are racks made for virtually every type of vehicle (SUV). They are made in a way to enable you to carry your specialty bikes that come in different shapes and sizes. They offer convenience while considering the type of car and the types of bikes to be carried.
Some popular features in most include having hook and loop tie downs for keeping bikes separated and secure.Most specialty racks have a special skewer type that swivels. Their arms are also widely spaced, a feature that enables them to hold bikes with long frames such as tandem bikes.
- Pros: Their carrying capacity is not limited because they don’t conform to a specific type. They are most secure and safe because they’ve been made depending both on the vehicle and the type of bikes they are meant for. They don’t block access to the back as they can be fitted even on spare tires. They are made for easy use, removal, and installation. They do not spoil your vehicle or cause damage to your bikes.
- Cons: They cost more than the other rack types. They may become obsolete if you change your bike or vehicle. They cannot be used to carry other sporting gear like surfing boards and boats like roof racks.
Key features to consider when buying bike racks for SUVs
Choosing bicycle racks with a good locking cable is very important yet difficult. There are loads of them to choose from. Consider locking cables that are:
- Long and flexible (foldable) enough to carry the multiple bikes.
- Strong enough to keep your bikes secure.
- Inbuilt into the rack.
- Made of durable materials
The securing point of the rack on your SUV should be at a place that doesn’t block access and cause damage. A good bike rack will have a secure point that’s strong and firm to avoid bikes getting in contact with your car’s body on full load.
They are used to prevent bicycles from swaying and scratching each other from the rack. Choose a rack with anti-sway cages that:
- Completely prevent and stabilize bike-to-bike contact
- Are compatible with your bikes tube.
- Are easy to use
- Inbuilt into the rack to avoid theft or can be attached firmly
- Don’t scratch the frame tube of your bike
For your bike to be secure on a rack, the attachment points have to be multiple and on its frame. A rack with good bike securing points should at least.
- Supports the bicycle in two places for a firm secure.
- The bike rack supports the frame at spots that are vertically and horizontally balanced. This helps to keep the bicycle from falling over.
Tilt Function (For Hitch Racks)
Hitch racks block access to the rear of your SUV. This is a great inconvenience that can be avoided by the use of a hitch-mounted bike rack with a tilt function. The tilt is mostly downwards and still functions with loaded bikes. If you store luggage at the back and need unrestricted access, get a rack with tilt function.
Choosing a high-quality rack with a load capacity that accommodates several bikes is very important especially if you have a family. Overloading or using inferior racks might leave you with a damaged automobile or bikes
It is not recommended that you take your car through a car wash with a roof rack on your vehicle. This is especially for tall SUVs. The bike racks will most likely get damaged.
Most back up sensors are affected by hitch mounted bike racks. It is good to consider this when installing one. However, SUVs differ and some may not be affected.
It is recommended you check with your dealership first before using a bike rack on their vehicle. However, this is mostly not an issue since most racks are removable.They also don’t leave or cause any damage.
The load capacity of a bike rack is tested and recommended by experts. They ensure that the weight won’t exceed and spoil the body of your SUV or spoil the rack.
A rack can withstand a heavier load than the recommended but with varying factors such a wind conditions, it is wise not to take the risk. If you overload a bike rack, it exerts more than required pressure on your car and may damage the body.
There are always instructions that are used when loading multiple bicycles such as you need to always alternate the next bikes direction to avoid peddles colliding.
Alternatively, you can place one bike a little bit higher than the previous one depending on your rack type.
If your vehicle has a spoiler, do not use a trunk mounted bike rack. Spoilers are weak and trunk racks should not come or be in contact with the spoilers. For most boot mounted spoilers, try using a highly mounted rack. For SUVs with a high mounted spoiler, a roof rack will be a better choice.
Lady bikes have a different frame which makes them harder to install onto a trunk bike carrier. You will be required to use a bike beam and it will work just fine.