5 Best ROOF Bike Racks in 2018

Searching for the best roof bike rack in 2018?

So are we. To help, we analyzed 5 models before purchasing any of them. The bicycle may be the most efficient means of transportation ever created, if you are an adventurer and also a nature lover, you likely use your bike for recreation as well. Our wanderlust has driven us to load up ours, by any means necessary, and head off in search of the next epic ride. Using multiple vehicles and bikes of every variety, we loaded, unloaded and drove thousands of miles on highways, dirt roads and everything in between, in a quest to find the perfect one. Keep reading to see what types of rooftop bike racks are and to find out which one fits best for your needs.

Top 5 Best Roof Bike Racks

  1. Kuat Trio
  2. Yakima FrontLoader
  3. Rocky Mounts Jetline
  4. Yakima ForkLift
  5. Rocky Mounts Tomahawk
Yakima FrontLoader
$$

Easy installation
Holds any axle type
Easy removal
See details
RockyMounts Tomahawk
$

Versatile
Secure
Easy to load/unload
See details

1. Kuat Trio Roof Fork Mount

The Trio eliminates the need for axle adapters and can carry nearly any type of bike on the market. Due to its awesome durability and ease of use, top quality construction and materials are what we have come to expect from Kuat, and the Trio is no exception. Now maybe you’re wondering if this rack includes locks and if not how do you get ones that match your hitch bike rack? Well, to your happiness, it has a pull out cable on the back that can be wrapped around the roof rack.

Ease of Assembly

This contender arrives mostly assembled right out of the box. You will need to select the correct axle adaptor for the bike you will be mounting and slide it into the tube on the tray, tightening the fixing bolt by using the skewer tube wrench (it is a 4mm Allen key).

Security

The Trio includes a sturdy large diameter cable lock that deploys from the rear of the tray; the lock is similar to the one found on the Kuat NV rack.

Ease of Removal and Storage

The Trio takes up a limited amount of space when not in use, but removal is a pain. The dual u-bolt design of the front crossbar clamp requires tools for removal and takes a fair bit of time because all four bolts must be completely unthreaded to remove the rack. If you are looking for a rack that goes on and comes off easily, then the Yakima FrontLoader is a great option. Click here for more information about Kuat Trio.

Pros: High-end construction, capable of carrying a wide range of bikes, easy to load.

Cons: Ease of assembly could be easier, boost hub adapters not included.

Conclusion: 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. All of these attributes have earned it our Top Pick award, making one of the best roof bike carrier ever.

2. Yakima FrontLoader

Friends will double-take when they see the most versatile, aerodynamic bike mount on your car. It carries your complete bike — no wheel removal needed. The universal mounting system fits nearly any crossbars you can think of.

The design makes it capable of carrying almost any bike, regardless of axle standard. The main downside of the design is a relatively higher loading height compared to fork mount racks.

Ease of Assembly

The FrontLoader is shipped fully assembled. The only set up involved is placing the rack on your roof for attachment to the crossbars. The model does not come with lock cores installed so if you choose to use the security system you will need to install Yakima lock cores which are a one time job that takes about 5 minutes.

Security

As mentioned above the FrontLoader does not come with lock cores. To secure the rack and make the included cable lock functional you will need to purchase lock cores from Amazon. Two cores are required, one for the front crossbar clamp which secures the rack to your vehicle, and one for the cable lock that extends from the lower wheel clamp bar. We like the cable lock system, but the cable is not that long so it can not be used to loop through wheels like the cable on the Kuat Trio.

Ease of Removal and Storage

The FrontLoader has an excellent clamp system and does not require tools for installation like the Trio. The rack attaches to almost any type of crossbar. A large hand knob on the front end of the rack is turned which draws the front clamp up snugly around the crossbar. This system is much easier to use than the U-Bolt set up on the Kuat Trio. The rear crossbar clamp is also engaged by turning and easy to access hand knob. The FrontLoader will eat up marginally more space stored in your garage, and it is heavier than other fork mount rack options. Click here for more information about Yakima FrontLoader.

Pros: No front wheel removal, holds any axle type, easy install.

Cons: No locks included, difficult to load, not fat bike compatible.

Conclusion: Not having to remove and store the front wheel during transport is worth the strenuous task of getting a bike into a rack like the FrontLoader! If you prefer to keep the wheel on your bike then we can say the FrontLoader is one of the best roof mounted bike rack.

3. RockyMounts Jetline

It is a simple, easy-to-use fork mount roof rack, with most of the bells and whistles of much higher priced models. A new update made on this rack are the color variations you can choose. The JetLine is no longer offered in the bright yellow color, but you can take your pick from the current Black, Silver, or Red. Nice, right?

Ease of Assembly

The directions provided by RockyMounts are easy to read and make attachment relatively painless. It is not quite as simple as the Yakima ForkLift for installation, requiring a 4mm hex key. The front crossbar clamp is ready to fit either square or round crossbars, right out of the box. Two 4mm Hex bolts drop through the top of the clamp and thread into the bottom portion of the clamp. The two-piece skewer is then inserted into the clamp and the two ends thread together by hand. The rear clamp comes ready for round crossbars; if you are using square crossbars, a small plastic plug needs to be removed before installation. For factory crossbars and aero-shaped bars, a different lower clamp is utilized, which is included with the rack.

Security

The JetLine does not come with lock cylinders, but they can be purchased from Amazon. With the addition of lock cylinders, the JetLine is quite secure. One lock cylinder is required to lock the rack to the vehicle when not in use, and another locks the quick release skewer in place once a bike is loaded. The rear wheel is vulnerable to theft, as it could be removed from the bike while the bike is locked in the rack; a cable lock can be used to secure the rear wheel for added security. We would like to see lock cores included with the model, but given the exceptionally low price of the JetLine, we are not complaining.

Ease of Removal and Storage

The JetLine was not designed to be taken on and off frequently, but it does not take up much room and is easily stored in the corner of the garage. Most roof rack users tend to leave their racks on roof most of the time. To remove the JetLine, you will need a 4mm Hex wrench.

Pros: Affordable, easy to load.

Cons: Adapters needed for through axle bikes, no locks included.

Conclusion:  The JetLine is a great low price option, but the rack looks anything but cheap. Is true that it is simple and easy to use and provides a secure and provides stability while transportation – with the lack of moving parts and quality construction, it may outlast your vehicle.

4. Yakima ForkLift

Experts agree the ForkLift is the way to carry your bike and could be one of the best car roof rack ever. The fork-style roof rack bike mount fits nearly every crossbar right out of the box — no tools necessary. It keeps your bike pristine, not touching any painted surface.The thing is, it’s all too easy to forget you have a bike on the roof of your car, and this makes gauging any clearance a risky proposition. Having a fork mount rack helps in this regard, as it somewhat lowers the height.

Ease of Assembly

Assembly is quick and straightforward with this contender, as the directions are clear and concise. Mounting the rack to a vehicle is also simple. The model arrived mostly assembled, and putting it in service is a matter of attaching it to your crossbars.

Ease of Removal and Storage

While the installation and removal of this bike rack are relatively painless, it’s not advisable to take it on and off every day. It’s also important to note that if your vehicle’s rear hatch wings upwards, you should ensure that the hatch doesn’t hit the back end of the bike rack once opened. Otherwise, you will have to reverse the orientation of the bike rack or move the cross bars forward.

The clamp lever can be oriented to the left or the right, allowing you to mount the rack on either side of your vehicle and no tools are required to install or remove it.

Security

The rack can be locked to the vehicle when not in use by locking the quick release. If you plan to use 15mm or 20mm through axle adaptors, the rapid locking release will not secure your bike. The only way to secure a bike when using adapters is with a cable lock.

Versatility

This model receives high scores for versatility due to a crossbar clamp design that is compatible with round, square and almost any factory crossbars. Click here to see more information about Yakima ForkLift.

Pros: Secure, stable in wind, versatile, will clamp to any type of crossbar, easy to assemble.

Cons: Lock cores not included, will not hold bikes with 15mm or 20mm through axles without purchasing an adapter.

Conclusion: The Yakima ForkLift is a fork mount roof rack that excels at transporting bikes with standard quick release forks. It is secure, stable and easy to install. If you are looking for a fork mount roof rack to complement your vehicle with factory equipped crossbars, look no further!

 

5. RockyMounts Tomahawk

One good thing about this bike carrier is that it’s made of a lightweight corrosion-resistant aluminum. Additionally, this aluminum is coated with black powder finish, and thus, the rack’s frame will last for many years. Besides, the rack is streamlined with a low height profile which is likely to reduce the noise by wind and also minimize height clearance issues. It is also updatable for all bikes styles, including mountain, bike, children’s bikes, cruisers, and even fat bikes with a maximum of 5 inches rubber.

Ease of Assembly

The process of mounting and unloading the bike is simple. This rack comes with a small nub to keep wheel straps out of the way. The arm offers this rack a sense of confidence being strong enough to pull in place. Note that this confidence is bolstered by the noisy ratcheting click as you snug the hook over the front wheel. One unique thing about this grip is that it doesn’t interfere with the bike frame and thus, you don’t have to worry about scratches and dents. This means fewer expenses on repainting the bike or correcting dents.

Ease of Removal and Storage

Unloading your bike from the rack is simple too. All you need to do is to squeeze the release button. Note that you need to apply a lot of force when pressing the release button especially if you squashed your front tire downwards.

Pros: fits almost any bike size, secure, easy to load and unload.

Cons: requires some strength to release the button.

Conclusion: An amazing rack and one of the best roof bike carrier if you have a lot of different bikes.

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