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Bike Rack Buying Guide

by Levi Bloom

Sooner or later you'll have to go somewhere that's not within riding distance, or you'll want to take your bike with you on vacation. (Few people are lucky enough to live in the middle of a great cycling region. For that reason, a bike rack for your car is a must.)

What rack you buy will depend on what type of vehicle you have, how many bikes you have, and how often you plan to use the rack. Other factors are ease of use, strength, versatility and overall value for price.

The three main rack types to consider are:

Roof Mounted Rack

Safest location for your bike and your car. Avoids damage if you get rear-ended. Very versatile for carrying other toys like skis and kayaks.

Protects bikes from scratching each other with wheel trays and clamps that keep them separated.

Provides a very strong platform and stable attachment for your bicycles.

Can be somewhat difficult to load the bicycles, especially if you have a tall car/SUV and you are short!

Hitch Rack

A very popular choice for SUVs and mini-vans.

Easy to install and can usually carry between 2 and 5 bikes. The bikes also do not come in contact with the car.

Look for a rack that swings out of the way so you can access the rear hatch without having to open the door.

Trunk Rack

The most compact, inexpensive way to carry your bikes. The rack hangs from your trunk lid or your rear hatch and is fastened with a variety of straps, hooks, and pads.

You must be careful to make sure all the straps are tight and that the bike is fastened to the rack (usually with a bungee cord). Bikes tend to bounce around and can scratch the car or each other if you're not careful.


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