The Five Best Bike Racks for Your Car or Truck in 2017


12347330 - panorama of a couple who have finished mountain biking outdoors and are loading the bicycles onto the car bike rack. large image, lots of copyspace, healthy lifestyle scene.

You’ve heavily researched your new mountain bike and even splurged on some new gear and now all you need is one of the best bike racks on the market. 

But where do you start?

Well, thanks to ListofFit, we’ve made the research much easier for you by scouring the market for the best bike racks available and rating them accordingly.  We have found the best bike rack for cars and trucks to get you and your bike even more mobile so that you can seize the opportunities to go out and enjoy your ride wherever it takes you.

Coined “the new golf” by Business Insider, cycling is becoming ever popular among sports, especially for those looking to improve their fitness by measurable means.  Whether you’re a new cyclist or you consider yourself a serious roadie, you’ve more than likely dreamt about taking your trusty steed out on a new adventure.  If you’ve been jonesin’ for a biking trip for a day, a weekend, or even have full-blown wanderlust like going cycling on the best biking trails in America,

then you need your bike to make it there in pristine condition with the best bike rack to suit your needs.

Here at ListofFit, we are passionate about things sports and fitness and being able to transport your bike safely on the best bike rack for cars and trucks is an obvious priority.  With bicycle tourism on the rise, there is really no better or more appropriate time to be looking into the best bike racks for you and your bike’s next adventure.  So hop on the saddle and let’s go for a ride as we explore the best bike rack for cars and trucks!

The Contenders

thule-helium-slider

  • Dimensions: 23″ x 15″ x 4″
  • Total Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Bike Limit: 2 or 3
  • Designed For: Trucks of SUVs with a hitch
  • Summary: Lightweight and secure, the Thule Helium is our favorite bike rack for trucks and SUVs.
  • Price: ~$375

saris-805-slider

  • Dimensions: 30″ x 8″ x 30″
  • Total Weight: 10 lbs.
  • Bike Limit: 2
  • Designed For: Cars
  • Summary: Great for cars and small SUVs without hitches. The Saris 805 is great for recreational riders.
  • Price: ~$150

allen-sports-slider

  • Dimensions: 3.8" x 16.6" x 25.7"
  • Total Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Bike Limit: 4
  • Designed For: SUVs and Trucks with a hitch
  • Summary: An affordable choice for larger families that plan to take their bikes with them on vacations and day trips.
  • Price: ~$99

yakima-slider

  • Dimensions: 44" x 16" x 12"
  • Total Weight: 52 lbs.
  • Bike Limit: 4
  • Designed For: SUVs and Trucks with a hitch
  • Summary: A Pricier choice meant for serious cyclists who have invested a significant amount of money in their bicycles.
  • Price: ~$400

allen-2-bike-rack-slider

  • Dimensions: 23" x 15" x 4"
  • Total Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Bike Limit: 2
  • Designed For: Cars
  • Summary: A cheaper bare bones option without the frills. Solid for those who want a safe bike rack without spending much.
  • Price: ~$30

Bike Rack Quiz

Answer the questions to our quiz to find the best bike rack for you and your car or truck. [quizz id=”18″]

In-Depth Best Bike Rack Reviews

1.) Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier

Materials:               (5.0 / 5) Value:                     (4.0 / 5) Performance:         (4.8 / 5) Overall:                   (4.6 / 5)

thule-heliumWith products ranging from bike racks, to camera bags, to strollers, Thule knows a thing or two about on-the-go people.  One of the top names in the bicycle rack industry, Thule is known among the cyclist community for stability, security, and simplicity.

In regards to stability, there is little to no sway while driving.  The straps on this bike rack are rubber and adjustable for any bike, whether it’s a road bike or a mountain bike.  Its built-in lock feature keeps the rack locked into place on your vehicle as well as a cable that secures your bike.

When you have paid hundreds if not thousands on the bike of your dreams, the last thing you want is for it to be stolen or damaged.  You need the best bike rack to protect against these threats.  The Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier comes with an awesome built-in cable security feature that locks into the hitch and onto the bikes so you don’t have to worry as much about any sticky fingers while you’re running a quick errand.

Available in a 2 or 3-bike option, and weighing in at only 26 pounds, this lightweight aluminum bike rack is simplicity at its finest, making it easy to operate and install.  Installation is intuitive, with a self-guided pin that aligns itself each time. Originally set up for a 2” hitch, adjusting it for the 1 ¼’ option is also possible by manually taking out some of the bolts on the hitch mount.

A convenient design feature of this back rack is its ability to fold down and away from your vehicle with a very light up and down arm movement.  You may use its carrier arm to pivot at the hitch if you need to get into your trunk or hatch without hitting your vehicle.  This feature supports easy removal of bikes from the carrier as well.  This is the only bike rack on our list that allows access to the back of your car without taking down your bikes!

This is one of the best bike racks on the market, but it does come with a lofty price tag at $394.96.  If you want a hitch type of bike rack and you don’t mind spending more for the security of your bikes, this could be the best bike rack for you.  It’s lightweight, secure, and the hinges allow easy access to the cargo area.  With such an easy and compact design, you don’t even have to take this bike rack off of your car for garage parking.  This bike rack is especially great for low clearance vehicles or hatchback cars, as you are able to open the trunk without even folding down the arm!  Talk about convenient.

Quick Tip

If your bike doesn’t have a standard frame and you need a bike frame adaptor, it may be worth purchasing a platform-type bike rack instead.


2.) Saris 805 Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack

Materials:               (4.0 / 5) Value:                     (4.8 / 5) Performance:         (4.3 / 5) Overall:                   (4.3 / 5)

saris-805The Saris Bones has a carrying capacity of 2 bikes and claims to be the strongest trunk rack frame on the market.  Even more impressive is that it weighs in at just 9 pounds, making it the lightest bike rack in our list.

Saris has taken special care to avoid damage to your bikes and car with injection-molded arms and legs that do a great job separating bikes and keeping them from rubbing or touching during transport.  Rubberized feet protect your car and coated straps protect your bikes so that you can drive in confidence.

With its arc-like design, the Bones fits over most spoilers and is quite easy to setup.  Each bike is secured to the rack with three quick-fasten ratcheting straps, one of which wraps around the seat tube while the other two secure the top tube. The next bike goes on in the opposite direction with the same fastening straps in reverse.

At $149.99, the price is not nearly as high as the other bike racks on this list and you can relax knowing that you purchased a product made of 100% recycled, non-rusting materials.  Is this the best bike rack in our list?  Well, this trunk rack is simple to install, fits nearly all cars and spoilers, and keeps each bike separated.  Anyone with a traditional bike frame that wants a sturdy, mid-priced hitch with a lifetime guarantee will appreciate this model from Saris.

Quick Tip

Some bikes and cars require special accessories that you’ll need to buy from Saris in addition to the trunk rack. For example, most women’s bikes will need a special crossbar adapter for proper fastening. 

3.) Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

Materials:               (3.8 / 5) Value:                     (5.0 / 5) Performance:         (4.0 / 5) Overall:                   (4.3 / 5)

allen-sportsComing in at $99, the Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack is one of the more affordable bike racks on our list.  It can carry up to 4 bikes, although it may prove a tight squeeze at the bike rack’s maximum capacity.  This hitch only fits 2” trailer hitches and the vehicle will require professionally installed Class III or IV hitches.

Hitch requirements aside, the bike rack itself is easy to install as it comes put together out of the box.  All that’s left for you to do is take it out of the packaging, slide it into your hitch, and then insert and tighten the nut and bolt pin. This bike rack is on the lighter side at 22 pounds and folds flat for storage which is a huge advantage for those with limited space.

One disadvantage, however, is that you cannot open the tailgate all the way with the carrier in its “down” position,” as it does not fold down quite far enough.  This can be problematic if you need to get into your trunk often.

This model from Allen is one of the best bike racks if you need to comfortably transport more than two bikes but don’t want to break the bank and spend over $300.  If you can get over not being able to easily access your trunk, this is a great option that is easy to install and incredibly lightweight. While it does not come with the bells and whistles (locking pins, locking cables, etc) as some of the other bike racks on this list, there is no disputing its value.  Do bear in mind, however, this bike rack is only for full-size cars, SUVs, minivans, large SUVs, or trucks. 

4.) Yakima FullTilt 4 Bike Rack

Materials:               (5.0 / 5) Value:                     (4.0 / 5) Performance:         (4.8 / 5) Overall:                   (4.6 / 5)

yakimaAlongside Thule, Yakima is one of the heavyweights in the bike rack scene.  Similar to the Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier, the Yakima FullTilt 4-Bike Rack comes with a locking system to keep your bikes from theft and can fit both the 1 ¼”  and 2’’ hitches.   It’s super simple to install, keeps your bikes secure and away from scratches, and allows for easy access to the back of your vehicle.

One of the things we love best about this Yakima bike rack is its ease of installation as it comes fully assembled and requires no tools. The AutoPin will position the bike rack into your hitch receiver, the tool-free SpeedKnob locks it down, and the removable and replaceable ZipStrips secure your bikes to the bike rack.  Installation for the Yakima can take nearly half the time of the Thule, making it the easiest and maybe the best bike rack you’ll ever assemble.

Fully padded arms prevent scratching and an anti-sway cradle keeps your bikes from rubbing against each other.  There’s also an integrated Same Key Lock System that uses one key to lock the bikes to the rack and the bike rack to your vehicle.

The tilt feature works very well when trying to open the back hatch for easy access to gear and supplies. There are two levers to operate the rack, the top lever, called the “arms” will raise and lower your bikes. There is a black lever on the face of the rack and when pulled up, the entire rack can be angled away from the car.  This is very convenient for getting things from the back of the car, but, unfortunately, the bikes cannot be loaded for this to work.

So what’s the catch?  This rack comes in at 40-50 pounds, making it the heaviest bike rack on our list.  Also, with a price of $419, it should certainly be viewed as an investment.  If you have nice bikes that you want to keep safe and scratch-free, all while allowing easy access to the back of your car, then this may be the best bike rack for you. 

And the coolest part?  There are integrated bottle openers on the arms to help you celebrate the end of your ride with a hard-earned cold one.

5.) Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

Materials:               (3.5 / 5) Value:                     (5.0 / 5) Performance:         (3.8 / 5) Overall:                   (4.1 / 5)

allen-2-bike-rackThe Allen Deluxe 2 is a no frills trunk mount bike rack with a 2-bike capacity that’s ideal for carrying bikes with traditional front triangle design and horizontal top tubes.  Coming in at $34.84, it’s the cheapest on our list and the best bike rack if you’re looking for a basic rack that gets you from A to B.

This model is quite solid and is secured to the vehicle trunk or hatch by nylon straps in a similar manner to other trunk mounted racks. Metal support arms wrapped in soft foam contact the vehicle to help prevent scratches.

This bike rack has fewer features than the others mentioned in the list but is still fully capable when it comes to transporting your bike.  Its metal support arms are fixed in place, so they cannot be adjusted for stability or to avoid contact with latches, lights, or areas that may not be suited to supporting weight. You must also take more precaution during use as it may be easier to scratch your car with the metal hooks.

Overall, it’s very lightweight at 10 pounds and fits most sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs.  If you don’t mind spending a bit of extra time adding padding to areas you think may need a little extra protection from scratching, then this could be the best bike rack for giving you a great bang for your buck.

ListofFit Best Pick: Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier

thule-helium-on-truckAll of the bike racks we have chosen are of high quality and every cyclist, regardless of skill, should be able to find the best bike rack to suit their individual needs.  When making our final decision ListofFit’s best bike rack overall, we really looked for which had the optimal blend of quality, convenience, features and value. 

The bike rack that stands out among the others as the best bike rack is the Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier.  A brand known for quality, this bike rack has been carefully designed to keep both your bikes as well as your vehicle safe from theft and damage.  It’s extremely simple to set up and take down and has the amazing feature of allowing your bikes to swing down and away from your car.  This is perfect for grabbing things out of the back of your vehicle and not having to remove the bikes to do so.

Keep in mind that the other bike racks on our list all have their own strengths and each is capable of doing a great job for any and all cyclists.  For example, if installation and setup isn’t your thing, the Yakima’s seamless installation only takes around 20 seconds.  Or, if you don’t want to drop hundreds on a bike rack, the Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount is extremely economical and serves the basic cyclist’s needs for transporting your bike.

Considerations When Buying the Best Bike Rack

It’s extremely important to double-check that your car make and model is compatible with the best bike rack to fit your needs.  Each company comes with a simple method for checking whether the bike rack will work with your car.  Refer to the following links for each brand’s vehicle to bike compatibility:

1.) Thule Helium Aero Hitch Carrier

https://www.thule.com/en-us/us/fit-my-car?c=bike+carriers

2.) Saris 805 Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack

https://www.saris.com/product/bones2

3.) Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount

https://www.allensportsusa.com/fit-list

4.) Yakima Fulltilt 4-Bike Rack

http://fmc.yakima.com/?partnerId=99

5.) Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

https://www.allensportsusa.com/fit-list

Lastly, if you are a cyclist and are interested in some more of our best product lists related to cycling we recommend you check out our article on the best spin bikes and best stationary bike trainers.