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4 Different Types of Bike Racks: Which One is Right for Your Car?

Bicycles are undoubtedly one of the most popular, cheapest, and most eco-friendly means of transportation. They have contributed significantly to how we travel short distances and have become a popular means of leisure and sport. As such, they find use in almost all types of terrain. 

Although simple and economical, for the lovers of cycling and nature exploring, sending the bike itself from point A to point B requires special transport. That’s where the bike racks come into play, and we will talk all about it below.

What Are Bike Racks?

Bike racks are simple equipment that facilitates bike transportation. Although seemingly a simple tool, their use makes it possible for people to enhance their cycling experience by finding quieter places in nature, steep mountain terrain, or anything else not provided in the urban areas. 

While even larger surface cars make it possible to transport bicycles, the bicycle rack offers more comfort (and leaves all the space inside for passengers or things).

Types of Bike Racks

While being widely used and highly practical, bike racks have been perfectioned over time based on the needs of the people. Thus, they are divided into several groups according to their qualities. Such a division also comes from the fact that bike racks are placed on various cars with different heights. 

Before choosing the type of bike racks, there are some essential things to take into consideration. The kind of bike racks depends largely on the type of car, the height of the vehicle, the needs of cyclists, and the number of bikes they intend to take with them. Additionally, cycling can occur in different terrains, individually or as a group, frequently or rarely, like leisure or sport; these are also essential points to bear in mind.

Listed below are the main types of bike racks:

Trunk mount


Starting from the simplest and most economical in financial terms, trunk mount bike racks are easy to install and very practical to use; they are light, have a simple design, and can be folded easily for subsequent use. 

This bike rack is placed in the back of the car, in the trunk, utilizing straps. As it is a simple model, it is mainly used by cyclists who see cycling as a hobby or leisure activity. They are widely used as they are easily mounted on almost all types of cars.

While being handy, trunk mount bike racks are limited in the number of bikes placed on them (usually up to three). 

Roof mount


This type of bike rack is a bit special. Bicycles are mounted on the top of the car, as indicated by the name of the rack. In this way, the vehicle is left with all the usual space for passengers and personal belongings. 

Roof bars are needed for their mounting on the car, which are sometimes an already-installed part of the car. Depending on the model, roof mount bike racks hold up to five bikes or up to 40 kg in terms of weight. Based on this and the brand, their prices also vary.

The roof mount bike rack is a secure bike rack because it can be locked. It is suitable for cyclists who frequently go out of urban areas for their cycling activities. It might be slightly tricky to mount and be reached on higher altitude cars. 

Hitch mount


While trunk mount bike racks are used by cyclists who sometimes go out cycling for leisure, hitch mount bike racks are used by more serious cyclists who ride their bikes more often, in various areas, and for various cycling adventures. Hitch mount bike racks are easy to use and reuse, as they are also easy to fold and be stored. 

However, different models within this type of bike rack have their specifications. Specific models can be more expensive, safer to carry (because they can be locked), lighter/heavier, and so on. 

Spare tire 


This type of bike rack is only functional for cars with a spare tire on the back, usually high-altitude vehicles used for rural terrains. Light tire bike racks secure the bikes well, weigh little, are easy to install and reuse.

Spare tire bike racks are a little unsuitable because, when the bikes are placed there, they take up more space together with the spare tire, which adds up to more surface needed in cases when the car is taking a turn or maneuvering through narrow spaces. 

How Many Bikes Can You Carry in a Bike Rack?

Given that each type of bike rack has its own specifics, an important thing for each class is the number of bikes that one can load on them. This is especially important for cyclists who go on outdoor adventures with family and friends and those who are frequent users. 

Depending on the type of bike racks, some may be loaded with more bikes, others with fewer. This is due to their design, the place where they are installed, the type of vehicle, and the space they occupy.

In general, you can say that up to three bicycles can be carried on a bike rack. Anyway, depending on the production and the type of car, even four can be held. Roof-mounted bike racks, for example, can load up to four bikes. This is usually the right solution to carry more bikes around and in a safe manner.

However, even in the case of roof-mounted, some things need to be considered. For instance, if five bikes are placed on it, then the level of security decreases. Secondly, since the bikes are placed in the upper part of the car in the roof-mounted bike rack, the roof bars must be analyzed well because the bike rack is also installed according to them. Based on this, the number of bikes that can be carried and the level of safety offered can be determined. 

Which Bike Rack Is the Right One for You?


To choose the right type of bike racks for you, the qualities, pros, and cons of each type of bike rack ought to be analyzed in detail. In addition, personal needs and desires should be taken into account.

People use cycling for different purposes and in different places. If you use the bike not so often and only for recreation, then a simple bike rack such as the truck-mounted one may be your ideal solution for you. But if you love going out cycling, alone or with friends, and you are passionate about this sport, then a roof-mounted or hitch-mounted rack would suit you better.

To add to that, the type of your vehicle is just as important. If your car has roof bars installed, it is effortless to use a roof-mounted bike rack. If your vehicle has a spare tire part, using a spare tire bike rack is convenient. Also, such vehicles are suitable for mountainous terrain where cycling can be pretty exciting and adventurous.


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