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The best bike racks for your car

Unless you drive a van or a pickup, putting a bike in your car is a bit of a hassle. It normally requires taking the wheels off, folding down the seats, and shoving the pieces into the cabin until the trunk lid closes. There’s a good chance you’ll end up with grease or mud stains on your nice upholstery. The simple solution is getting a bike rack.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of racks: Carriers mounted on top of your car, those that hang from the back with straps, and those that attach to your hitch. Which route you take depends on the type of car you drive, how often you need to carry a bike, and, of course, how much you want to spend. Regardless, these are your best options.

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Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike

Allen Sports Bike Rack

The Allen Sports Deluxe is the lowest common denominator in the bike rack world. It won’t break the bank, it takes seconds to install, and it’s designed to fit a wide variety of cars, including SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks, and minivans. The manufacturer notes that the 12-inch-long arms make it easy to accommodate just about any type of bike. And, like all strap-style racks, it won’t take up much space in your garage.

Tyger Deluxe Black 1-Bike

Tyger bike rack

Tyger’s Deluxe Black 1-Bike is great if you’re the lone rider in your household. It’s a sturdy, compact unit built to carry a single bike on the back of a car. Individual soft cradles protect the bike’s frame, while a protective coating ensures the rack won’t rust to pieces after just a year’s worth of use. Note that bikes without a top frame bar will require an extra-cost adapter bar before they’re mounted to the rack.

Saris Bones EX trunk carrier

Saris claims the Bones’ arms are among the strongest ones on the market, so users don’t need to worry about the rack bending under the weight of three bikes, and it fits 90% of America’s bestselling cars. It’s built entirely with recyclable materials, and it’s guaranteed not to rust. Its arc-shaped design means it can even be mounted on cars equipped with a trunk-mounted spoiler. Saris Bones is more of a premium product than basic options like Allen’s rack, but it will make your life considerably easier if you’re a frequent rider.

Thule Camber

Thule Camber rack

The Swedes take bike racks seriously. Sweden-based Thule is one of the biggest names in the rack industry; it’s the company that manufactures the bike racks you see on the front of buses in some cities. The Camber is a hanging carrier that attaches to your car’s hitch. That means you need a hitch, of course. It tilts down when users need to open the trunk, and it features clever anti-sway cradles that prevent the bikes from rubbing against each other.

Allen 2-Bike Hitch Rack

Allen’s hitch-mounted Sports Deluxe is a good option for users who occasionally need to carry bikes. It’s similar in design to other hitch-mounted racks, but it’s a more basic product with a wallet-friendly price tag. You get a lot for the money: It can carry up to 70 pounds, it’s powder-coated, and it boasts a no-wobble bolt. It fits 1 1/4-inch and 2-inch receivers. For extra peace of mind, Allen offers locking and non-locking models.

Tyger 3-Bike Hitch Mount

Tyger hitch rack

The Tyger hitch-mounted bike rack is a step up from Allen’s comparable unit, due to its features and price. Both companies built these mounts with the same idea: The rack mounts directly into the hitch. It tilts down to provide unobstructed access to the trunk. For added convenience, the arms fold down when they’re not in use. This rack includes a cable lock to ensure no one steals your bikes in addition to a hitch lock to ensure no one steals your rack. The Tyger mount can hold three city bikes, but only two mountain bikes.

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

Kuat Sherpa 2.0

This hitch-mounted rack will appeal to serious cyclists. This rack isn’t cheap, but it offers high-quality construction and useful features you won’t find anywhere else. Made entirely out of aluminum, the Sherpa 2.0 is one of the lightest among its competitors. 

Kuat redesigned the Sherpa, adding features to make this system easier to use. One new addition is a foot-actuated pivot lever, allowing users to lower the rack even if their hands are full. 

If you’re looking for a hitch-mounted rack system’s convenience and durability, the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 is an excellent choice. The Kuat Sherpa rack comes in three colors, and Kuat promises a tool-free installation process.

CyclingDeal 1-Bike Roof Carrier

Cyclingdeal car carrier

The CyclingDeal is your traditional roof-rack design. This rack mounts to your existing roof rails, making it a great addition to any roof rack. If you don’t have a roof rack, don’t worry. You can always add them to your vehicle.

You’ll find a standard quick-release on the front of the CyclingDeal 1-Bike Roof Carrier and an easy-to-use ratchet strap to secure your rear wheel to the tray. Before driving off with your bike on the roof, make sure you don’t have one of the newer models of mountain bike that also needs a thru-axle adapter to secure the front axle.

Thule UpRide

Thule UpRide

Thule’s UpRide rack is as close as it comes to a universal solution, accomodating a wide range of bikes without risking damage to your frame. The UpRide is made to carry any type of bike as-is, no matter the axle configuration, so you won’t have to remove a wheel to secure transport your bike. Clamps secure the bike on both wheels, meaning both wheels stay on your bike, leaving room in your vehicle for your other gear.

You can install this rack on factory-fitted crossbars, order aftermarket bars, or buy a set from Thule. Be sure you’re conscious of the new height of your car after you attach your bike rack; you don’t want to damage it or your car when driving into garages, car washes, or under low clearance bridges.

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