Skip to main content

How to Choose a Bike Rack for Your Vehicle

You've got a bike and now you and your bicycle are ready to hit the road and explore. Welcome to the club! You're almost done making all these big, bike-related buying decisions – almost. Now it's time to buy a bike  rack. We've developed this guide to help you find the right rack for you, your bike and your lifestyle.

  • What do you want to carry? This is one of the most important questions in buying a car rack. If you are just looking to carry bikes - and bikes only - we suggest carrying bikes on the back of your car either on a trunk or hitch rack.

  • If you are looking for a multi-sport rack, you'll need to investigate a roof-rack. Note though, that these tend to be much more expensive, affect vehicle mileage, and are more difficult when mounting bicycles, especially for shorter people.

  • What type of bike do you want to transport? Factors such as bike weight, wheel size and frame material can all dictate which type of bike rack best accommodates your needs. Electric assist bike enthusiasts will want a car rack that can support the weight of an e-bike (most of which weigh upwards of 50 lbs.), while fat bike owners will be looking for wheel scoops that can hold Fatbike treads. And if you have a collection of women's bikes, know that some racks will require the use of an accessory, like the Bike Beam to properly fit your bike on the rack. Similarly, if you have a family of bikes such as a tall adult bike and very small child's bike you'll want to take rack versatility into consideration. In short: take stock of your bike collection and think about how your fleet will impact your rack usage. 

At Michael's Cycles, we recommend using a tray-style hitch rack if possible. A hitch rack, such as the Saris Freedom 

Saris Freedom 

Saris Freedom Superclamp

 or the Saris Freedom Superclamp is easy to install on your vehicle as it requires no straps or specific placement as is necessary on a trunk mounted rack. If you have a  traditional step-through framed bike or a smaller children's bike, tray-style hitch racks can much easier carry those. In addition, to use these types of racks requires only lifting your bike about a foot off the ground. Smaller folks will appreciate that they don't have to lift their 30-lbs. bike 3 feet into the air!  Stop by today and let us show you these great racks! We even pre-build them and (most of the time) have them ready to install right on your vehicle.

Saris Bones 3-bike trunk rack

And then, there are trunk racks! Trunk racks fit a  wide variety of cars, are often smaller and easier to store and can even  can be stowed away inside a car's trunk when not in use. However, they work best on sedans. Much of your bikes weight will be held in place by straps which will need monitoring and occasional tightening.  Trunk racks such as the Saris Bones series will fit a large variety of cars and are often more affordable. 

Confused? Don't be! Let the experts at Michael's Cycles guide you to the proper bike rack for your vehicle!