What Is A Car Bike Rack?

Being able to take your bike with you wherever a car can drive makes available a whole new world of cycling possibilities.  Bike rallies, sweet singletrack – there’s all sorts of rides you are missing out on if you do not have the means to transport your bicycle.  What is a car bike rack?  It is a rack that attaches to your car, allowing you to secure your bike and safely transport it wherever you drive.

There are three main types of bike racks for cars:

  • Hitch mounted
  • Roof mounted 
  • Trunk mounted

Each rack attaches to a car differently and each provides different benefits and present their own limitations.

Hitch Mounted Racks

Hitch mounted bike racks are made to attached to an existing tow hitch.  If you don’t already have a tow hitch installed on your car, the price of that installation and purchasing this type rack can make it the most expensive option of the three presented here.  That being said, hitch mounted racks are convenient and easy to use.  There’s no overhead lifting, as with roof mounted racks.  And none of the potential damage to the paint and body of your car as with trunk mounted racks.

Roof Mounted Racks

Roof mounted racks are made to attached to the roof of your car via existing roof crossbars, or with special brackets that attach to the frame of your car.  Again, if you don’t already have crossbars installed, it will be more expensive as you will have to buy the special brackets to support the attachment of the rack.  Of the three presented here, roof racks are the most versatile.  Different attachments can be purchased and added to accommodate multiple bikes, as well as different sports equipment like kayaks and snowboards.

Trunk Mounted Racks

Trunk mounted racks are made to attach to the trunk or hatchback of a car via feet that rest on the car, and straps with hooks that are tightened to secure the rack.  These racks require no additional equipment to be installed and as such, are the most economical of the three types of racks discussed here.  However, as the rack rests on the car itself and bears the weight of the attached bikes, sometimes paint and other damage can occur if care is not taken.

If you are ready to extend your riding possibilities, then a car bike rack is the piece of equipment you need.  Being able to safely secure your bike to your car opens up a whole new world of cycling possibilities.


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