Cycling is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors while getting exercise. But there’s not always a great ride outside your front door.
Often, you need to haul your bike to a group ride or the start of some fabulous dirt trail. That’s why you need a bike rack. Larger SUVs or trucks store bikes in large rear cargo areas or truck beds, but even that means fumbling with a bike’s awkward size and shape.
No matter where on your vehicle you choose to mount it, several rack options are available. From roof-mounted systems to trailer-hitch models, these are the best bike racks for any cyclist.
Best Overall: SeaSucker Mini Bomber 2
Don’t let the silly name fool you. This is a serious bike rack for people who love their bikes as much as the vehicles they’re strapped to.
As the name suggests, the SeaSucker Mini Bomber 2 is a two-bike rack that uses suction cups instead of permanent mounts. It carries bikes weighing up to 45 pounds each and features a pull strength – how hard it is to pull off – of 210 pounds, so a racked bike’s fork is likely to give way before the mount itself.
At $489, the SeaSucker is a steep initial investment, but the ability to carry bikes without permanently mounting anything to your vehicle is worth the price. It weighs just 12 pounds, so almost anyone is capable of installing and using it.
Best Hitch-Mounted Rack: Kuat Sherpa 2.0
A vehicle with a trailer hitch has the advantage of using hitch-mounted racks, which tend to carry more bikes than similarly priced roof-mounted racks.
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 promises a low-profile design, lightweight construction and three colors from which to choose. It costs $498 but easily undercuts competitive racks from Thule ($600) and Yakima ($649).
Its lower price does come at the expense of usability for some, however, as its level of adjustability takes a hit to save money. For example, it only accommodates up to a 3-inch tire size, meaning fat tire riders will need to look elsewhere.
Still, with a lightweight construction and foot-operated folding design, the Sherpa 2.0 is a worthy contender in the hitch-mounted segment.
Best Roof Rail Bike Rack: Yakima Forklift
Yakima’s Forklift is an easy, affordable way to quickly attach bikes to the roof rails on nearly any vehicle. The rack promises tool-free installation, weighs only 7 pounds and carries bikes that weigh up to 35 pounds. Its adjustable slide wheel allows it to accommodate a variety of bike lengths and sizes.
The Forklift’s basic nature comes with a few caveats, however. First, it’s compatible with vehicles that have crossbars already installed, and it carries just one bike at a time, limiting its use for larger groups. It also requires the removal of the bike’s front wheel before mounting.
Users will need to hoist their bike to the top of their vehicle to strap it down, meaning owners of taller SUVs or vans may want to opt for an easier system. It’s the cheapest rack on our list at $189 and comes with Yakima’s limited lifetime warranty, which covers manufacturer and material defects.