Imagine this scenario: you’re researching the best mountain bikes for your next great outdoor adventure. You want to reach your destination by car, so naturally, you need a bike rack to carry your bicycle.
But before you jump on the first decently-priced rack you find, you should know that not all bike racks are the same. Choosing the best car rack for your bicycle can seem easy with the thousands of different models available on the market.
The perfect bike rack should be of high quality and secure enough to carry your bike over great distances, and it should be able to protect your car from scratching and other damages when you mount and dismount your bike. Finally, you don’t want to break your budget, so make sure to compare the prices of different racks before you buy one.
Keep reading to learn what you should know before you buy a bike rack and how to choose the best one for your needs.
What You Should Know Before You Buy a Bike Racks for Your Car
There are different types of bike racks based on their placement on your car and the how many bikes they can carry.
Also, you should take into consideration the model and size of your car and the necessary safety measures when traveling.
Ideally, your rack should be lightweight so as not to weigh down the entire vehicle but light enough for you to carry it to and from the car.
Bear in mind the type of bike you’ll be transporting. Women’s bikes may be lighter than men’s or mountain bikes, and e-bikes can weigh up to 50 lbs.
Also, the number of bikes is important, as well as their sizes. So transporting two adult and two children’s bikes is not the same as transporting 3 adult bikes.
How to Choose the Best Bike Rack for Your Car
If your car can endure the weight of a bike and a rack, the best place to position it is the roof or the bumper.
Choose your bike rack depending on the bike size and how often you’ll be dismounting it. At the same time, make sure the rack design doesn’t damage your vehicle, especially if it’s rented.
Roof racks are usually the most practical option, especially if you have an SUV or a similar large vehicle. This way, the carrier won’t block the rear view for the driver or the rear lights and you can mount several bikes up there.
The downside of roof racks is that they can sometimes be hard to install, especially if the car doesn’t have built-in crossbars.
On the other hand, bumper racks are fairly easy to set up, but the bike can block out your license plates or tail lights, which in some states is against the law.
However, they’re a lot more convenient if you’re mounting and dismounting your bike more often.
There are also spare-wheel racks that can carry a maximum of 2 bikes and towbar racks that may carry up to 4 bikes at once.
All in all, make sure the type of rack you choose suits your car, budget, bike and personal preferences.
You don’t need to overspend to get a quality bike rack and most of them are versatile enough to carry skis and snowboards.
Often, the bike rack material determines its cost, but if you want a more durable item, go for a rack with an aluminum frame as opposed to a steel one.