With things like social distancing becoming the new norm comes the need to find alternative activities to take part in that still involve you leaving the house and yet keeps you safe and avoids public places like before.
Recently, many people have discovered biking to be an activity that ticks all of those boxes. It allows you to leave the house for a change of scenery, get some fresh air, and is something that can be enjoyed alone or with the whole family.
With that, comes the dilemma of choosing a bike rack to transport your bike safely from your home to your destination, and with such a vast selection of bike racks to choose from online, it can be daunting to try and find the very best bike rack for SUVs, but not to worry! In this article, we’ll be rounding up 15 of the best bike racks and things to consider before purchasing.
Types of SUV Bike Racks
The primary goal of a bike rack is to get your bikes from point A to B safely without damaging your vehicle and without the hassle of trying to fit your bike inside your car, which can lead to muddy seats, extra steps to remove the wheels, and is just an overall lengthy process. Not to mention that this is virtually impossible to do if you’re looking to take the whole family’s bikes out. But even within bike racks, there are 3 main types which we’ll explain below to help you decide which is the most suited option for you.
Roof mount racks, as the name aptly suggests, are bike racks that are attached to the top of your car. Some of them require you to have base racks and SUVs often already have them factory-installed, but if not, you can always install them yourself later on. Others are complete systems that are attached to your car’s bare roof. Suction cups can be attached to more or less any surface of your car. They’re extremely powerful so you don’t have to worry about them coming loose or not attaching properly. The Seasucker Talon for instance features three 6″ vacuum cups and they each are rated to have a 210-pound pull strength. These are especially great as they can be attached to more or less any part of your car be that your roof, trunk, hatchback, or truck bed, so you can move it around as you see fit.
Trunk ranks attach to your trunk via hooks and strap with added support along the top and bottom to help with stabilization. Because of the straps and hooks, it’s usually the most portable of bike racks.
Something like the Thule Raceway Pro is one of the top high-end examples of a great trunk mount. It’s ratcheting cables are tight to ensure that your bike is secured to your vehicle, while its patented no-sway straps mean that there won’t be any contact between bikes as well as between your bike and car.
It’s also an added bonus that the Thule Raceway Pro supports a high-quality frame with technology that reduces vibration when on the road, ultimately providing a smoother driving experience. It takes into account safety features and includes a lock that secures the bike to the carrier as well as the carrier to your car meaning you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your bike or racks. And when you want to put it away for good, it conveniently packs away flat for easy storage.
Hitch racks are located at the rear of your vehicle and are probably the most convenient of racks, due to their low height, which makes it all the easier to load and unload the bike which might be a great option when you’re out and about with your family. These racks slide into your vehicle’s receiver tube and are generally available for both 1.25 and 2-inch receivers. They usually come in two styles, either hanging or tray style. One of the great things about tray style is that when not in use, they can swing away or fold down, allowing you easy accessibility to the trunk of your car.
The Yakima Holdup EVO 2 for example, has an easy-access tilt mechanism as well as a KickStart foot pedal that allows you to raise and lower the rack with ease, even when the bikes are loaded. Something like this is great for carrying something heavier like a mountain bike, or any other sports bike that might have larger than average tires which might be harder to accommodate on other bike racks, and this rack can hold up to four bikes. The Yakima Holdup EVO 2, in particular, accommodates tire sizes from 20 to 29-inch wheels. Aside from the swing away feature, the trays themselves are also adjustable to reduce bike-to-bike interference which will stop any damage to your bike.
Top 15 Bike Racks for SUVs
1. SeaSucker Talon Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Roof / Trunk / Hatch-back | Number of Bikes: 1
First up, we have the SeaSucker Talon single bike rack which is a great option for those solo adventures. It’s easily attachable to most parts of your SUV including the roof, trunk, and even back glass, and the vacuum mount means that you’ll never have to worry about it damaging your vehicle. And for extra peace of mind, it comes with a rear-wheel strap which can come in handy to secure the back wheel of your bike.
Another bonus is that it’s light enough to travel with, weighing 6lbs, 3 times lighter than most hitch racks, and yet each of its suction cups is rated to have a pull-strength of 210 pounds each, giving you an idea of how powerful this small but mighty rack really is, You can venture out without the worry of it being too bulky or annoying to store away. And with minimal assembly required, you can worry less about the technical fiddly bits and focus more on the fun biking part, making it a great single SUV roof rack.
2. Kuat Sherpa 2 0 Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
Next up, we have the Kuat Sherpa 2.0, a heavy-duty hitch mount bike rack without all the actual heaviness. It’s been redesigned to feature an all-aluminum build to make it lighter than ever before and the additional lever helps you move the rack up and down with ease even with the bike loaded onto it, making it all the easier to position it to your liking.
This sleek bike rack is incredibly sturdy and is available for both 1.25 and 2-inch hitch sizes. It is able to hold up to two bikes with a max weight of 40 pounds each, wheelbases up to 47″, and tire size as large as 3″ meaning your bike will fit more than comfortably, especially as the spacing between the bikes go up to 14 inches. Loading the bike onto the tray couldn’t be easier. The ratcheting strap for the rear wheel ensures it is strapped securely into the cradle and the entire system locks to your hitch for extra safety.
3. Allen Sports Deluxe 4 Bike Hitch Mount Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Mount | Number of Bikes: 4
The Allen Sports Deluxe is one of the biggest hitch racks out there which is perfect for when you want to take more than just one or two bikes with the family. The carry arm accommodates frames of all sizes meaning you can comfortably carry both adult and kid-size bikes alike. Despite its size, it doesn’t compromise on ease of use.
Assembly time takes about 5 minutes with there only being 3 bolts needed to put the whole thing together, you’ll be on the go in just minutes. You won’t have to remove the bike to reach the back of your SUV either, thanks to its easy lift-gate access feature which folds out of the way completely when it’s not in use, making it one of the greatest family-friendly hitch mounts out there.
4. Swagman Upright Roof Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Roof Rack | Number of Bikes: 1
The Swagman Upright Roof Bike Rack is one of the greatest affordable roof racks options out there. It’s easy to assemble without needing to remove the front wheel of your bike saving you time, and multiple units can be attached on top of one vehicle with a maximum weight of 35lbs per bike. It’s versatile in that the rack is able to fit round, square, and oval bars that are up to 3″ wide making it a great addition on top of your SUV.
For added peace of mind, this particular roof rack also comes with tie-down straps for the wheels and a locking feature, so you can be sure that your bike is secured to your SUV when you’re on the go or even when you’re parked.
5. Tyger Auto TG-RK1B204B Deluxe Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk Mounted Bike Rack | Number of Bikes: 3
This Trunk Mounted Bike Rack from Tyger is a level up from the Seasucker Talon we featured earlier. It certainly looks like a more premium model of trunk racks in its design with its black E-Coating against rust resistance and individual soft cradles serving to protect your bike when you’re on the go. Its capacity starts at 1 bike with a maximum weight of 55lbs but you can always upgrade to a two bike or three bike option should you feel the need to do so.
The Tyger Deluxe Rack comes with a safety strap to attach to your SUV so that your bike won’t be rattling around when you’re on the road, and the padded lower frame means they won’t come into contact and with your vehicle and scratch either the car or the bike if that’s something you’re worried about. This additional protective element makes it an amazing option amongst all the trunk racks out there.
6. Allen Sports MT-2 2-Trunk Mount Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk Munt Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
This Allen Sports Trunk Mounted Bike Rack is one of the more affordable trunk racks for a cyclist that has a budget in mind, an alternative option to the Tyger Deluxe we featured before. This two-bike carrier is able to carry up to 70lbs and it is one of the best options due to how compact and easy to use it is. It comes fully assembled for ease of installation and folds up small enough that it can fit inside a backpack, making it perfect for long road trips.
Though it is compact, it does not sacrifice quality and its dual compound cradles mean that your bike will be well protected and secure with side straps for additional stability. The padded spine also means that alongside your bike, your car will also be protected against any nasty scratches or markings.
7. BV Bike Carrier Tray Style Hitch Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Mounted Bike Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
This Tray Style Bike Carrier from BV is truly one of its kind, making the transportation of your bikes oh so smooth and effortless. The design of it not only looks stylish but also effectively saves space as the rack can be folded up and put away when it’s not in use. The addition of the safety reflector makes this truly unique as it allows you to be able to travel safely at night as well as it increases visibility.
The backward tilt feature also means that you can get to the rear of your SUV without needing to detach the whole rack, even with the bikes fastened which give you plenty of options, whether you simply need to grab something from the car, or if you need to put the carrier away in storage for a longer time.
This bike rack is equipped to carry bikes under 35lbs with a tire width of up to 3 inches. You can be sure that your bikes will be attached securely, as each one is secured by a three-point connection system, holding it firmly in place, and the padded arms ensure that your bikes won’t scratch against one another as well.
8. Allen Sports 102DN Deluxe Two Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
This particular trunk-mounted bike rack from Allen Sports is an, even more, budget-friendly option to the one featured earlier. Made of steel, this trunk rack is a great alternative if you don’t have a roof rack. It fits most cars and the 12 inches long carry arms mean that it’s great for a variety of different types of bikes and can carry up to 2 bikes, while the individual tie-down system means that your bikes are securely strapped in.
9. MaxxHaul 70210 4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Mount Rack | Number of Bikes: 4
This Hitch Mounted Bike Rack from MaxxHaul is an ideal option for families wanting to take their bikes on a day out together or even for longer trips, and at that price point, you can’t really go wrong. Its rigid steel construction means that it a sturdy and durable piece of equipment, perfect for carrying up to four bikes securely. And though it may seem to be a heavy bike rack, it solves that problem with its distributed weight capacity.
One of the features that makes it a great option for families, in particular, is the swing down option which allows access to the rear of your car without the hassle of having to remove the bike from the rack and then reattaching them. Meaning that the next time one of the kids leaves something in the trunk of the car, retrieving it won’t be a problem.
10. Allen Sports 3-Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Mount | Number of Bikes: 3
Another model from the Allen Sports range, this 3 bike hitch mount rack is a great option if you don’t need the 4 bike model. A lower bike capacity also means a drop in price too, and if you don’t need 4 then why not go for this one instead?
This specific model fits vehicles with either a 1.25 or 2-inch trailer hitch meaning that you can use this on different vehicles with ease, should you choose to do so. And it’s certainly helpful that setting up and installing the bike rack will take less than 5 minutes, meaning you can load bikes and unload them again just as quickly.
11. Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk Mounted Bike Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
If you were interested in any of Allen Sports’ other bike racks but weren’t sure if they would be able to hold the weight of your bike, then look no further. This Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack is designed to do just that. It’s able to hold a maximum weight of 70lbs and the addition of the extra-large car pads help to distribute the weight of the bikes better, making it one of the best bike racks for transporting your mountain bikes, or perhaps any other sort of sports bikes that are heavier than the average weight.
You can also be on the go as soon as this is delivered to you, thanks to its snap set up that allows for assembly to happen in seconds, and the tie-down system that individually secures your bikes means you can be sure that your bikes are being transported safely, wherever you go.
12. YAKIMA RidgeBack Tilt-Away Hitch Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Hitch Mount Rack | Number of Bikes: 4
The Yakima Ridgeback 4 Bike Rack is another innovatively designed rack that is made with the idea of being able to access the rear of your car with ease in mind. The upper hand lever allows for the rack to be tilted away when you wish to open the back of your car, which can be particularly handy in an emergency situation when you’re out with the family. The zero-hassle ZipStrips ensure that your bikes are mounted securely to the rack and are fully removable as well.
Even if you are mounting four bikes you don’t have to worry about it putting any unnecessary pressure on your car. The anti-sway cradle design minimizes contact between bikes preventing scratches, and when you’re done with it, it can be neatly folded flat for ease of storage too, making it an efficient SUV bike rack for everyone.
13. Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk-Mount Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
This Trunk Mount Rack from Hollywood Racks is particularly good at making sure your bikes stay firmly in place without rattling about, which would probably become very annoying on long car rides and also poses the risk of scratching your bikes should their pedals or handlebars bump into each other. The rubber bike cradles and EPDM rubber straps on this bike rack will mean you can be reassured that (up to) two of your bikes at a maximum capacity of 35lbs each, will be held in place firmly on your vehicle.
14. Yakima High Road
Mounting Type: Roof Rack | Number of Bikes: 1
Another one from Yakima, the High Road roof rack carries almost any bike, fitting wheels from 26 to 29 inches in size, making it a great option for those solo trips. One of the great things about this bike rack is the fact that you don’t need to remove the front wheel like you might need to do on other roof racks. Instead, you simply drop the wheel into the holder and then secure it, with an additional strap that secures your rear wheel to make sure the bike doesn’t move around in the tray.
The low profile tray minimizes hatch interference and there won’t be any contact with the bike frame either which is particularly handy if you’ve got any sort of custom paintwork that you want to keep neat and intact. For extra safety, there are also 2 SKS (same key system) locks that are sold separately that you can purchase. These can be attached between your bike and mount, and the mount to the base of the rack, making it one of the greatest roof racks out there.
15. Allen Sports 102DN-R Deluxe 2-Bike Rack
Mounting Type: Trunk Mounted Rack | Number of Bikes: 2
Another one from the Allen Sports Deluxe range, the 102DN-R model is a slightly lighter bike rack than the 102DB featured earlier. It’s one of the top-selling bike racks out there and at its price point, it definitely performs above and beyond. Its patented design fits most sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs, and the 12″ carry arms means it can two bikes comfortably and safely. This too has a lower padded frame that keeps bikes away from the vehicles and prevents damage to your car as well.
The tie-down system is especially great because although they are fixed in position on the carry arm, they are rotatable allowing for a wide range of bicycle frame sizes and styles to fit comfortably.
Considerations When Choosing Bike Racks for SUVs
So now that you’ve made up your mind about buying a bike rack comes the question of what you should consider before making a purchase. Everyone will have different requirements depending on how many bikes you wish to transport, what type of bike you own and which type of bike rack fits your need the best.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the things you should keep in mind when choosing a bike rack.
Firstly, you should consider the type of bike rack you’re after. Usually, for the everyday person, roof mount racks available to us are limited to two. Most options on roof racks allow for everything to be locked, ensuring that your bike is safe. There’s also no question of it being damaged by any other vehicle as it is mounted to the top of your car as opposed to the rear of it.
Trunk and Hitch racks go on the rear end of your vehicle and are great options if you’re looking to carry more than two bikes, and the latter can usually support more weight than the other two racks as well. Many of the newest designs allow for you to get to your trunk unhindered, even if the bike is still attached which might be an ideal option for long road trips where you might have to make frequent stops.
Of course, you’ll want to purchase a rack that adequately accommodates the right number of bikes, for a fun trip. The Allen Sports Deluxe 4 bike rack is a great option if you want to take both your bike and the children’s bikes as well. The no wobble bolt means you can have a stress free journey when you’re on the road, and the rack is easily set up and installed in 5 minutes, meaning you’ll be on the go in just moments.
Ease of Use
How easy a bike rack is to use primarily depends on how often/how long you plan to use it at any given time. If you plan on installing it and leaving it there for the foreseeable future, then a lengthier installation procedure might be worth it. You may have to attach factory-installed crossbars to the roof of your car for instance if you plan on using a roof rack, and some of them require you to disassemble the front wheel of the bike before you’re able to secure it.
In contrast, a trunk rack is easier to attach and remove because it is secured with hooks and straps making it extremely lightweight without much labor going into the process.
As mentioned before, unless you plan on leaving your bike rack attached to your vehicle for the foreseeable future, you’ll also need to consider where you are going to store your rack once you are done with it.
Something like the Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mount comes with a carry bag so you could even leave it inside your car neatly without it taking up too much space.
You won’t be able to keep an eye on your bike 24/7, and so extra security for your bike (and your rack as well) might be worth investing in especially if you have a high-end bike. Many of the best bike racks like the Yakima High Road have an SKS (same key system) available for purchase separately, which bolts your bike to the mount, as well as the mount to the base of the rack.
Access to the Rear of the Car
If being able to get to the rear of your car quickly and efficiently is an important factor for you, then hitch racks may be your best bet. You don’t have to worry about having to load and unload your bikes, as is the case with the BV Hitch Mount. It features a tilt-back design which means you can open the trunk of your car without needing to detach the rack itself, even with the bikes loaded.
Which Types of Racks are Best Suited to SUVs?
Hitch Racks in particular are ideally suited to SUVs. Not only are they one of the most convenient and easy types of bike racks to use when loading and unloading bikes, but once these are installed, nothing more needs to be done. The bike simply needs to be lifted onto the tray which is much easier and lighter to do than lifting it over your head as you would do for a roof rack for instance.
Will a Roof Rack Damage My Car?
If you have installed the correct rack on your roof, then there shouldn’t be any damage from it. Check the manufacturer guide before purchasing to make sure the particular roof rack is compatible with your specific vehicle and whether you need any additional crossbars if your car doesn’t come with them already installed.
Can I Use a Car Wash with a Bike Rack Fitted?
Generally, it’s not recommended to go through a car wash when you have a bike rack fitted. This is due to the risk of your rack being damaged and often, even companies who offer lifetime warranty won’t cover damage to your bike rack from an automatic car wash. Brands such as Saris for instance, specifically state on their website to not take your bike rack through a car wash, and should you do so, their warranty will not cover any damage.
Will my Bike be Safe on a Rack?
Yes! Provided that you’ve mounted them securely, your bike should be safe on the rack. Many of the best brands include cable locks, so definitely take advantage of a reputable branded bike rack for your own peace of mind. The Thule T2 Pro XT for instance has an integrated cable lock that locks the bike to the rack but also secures the rack to the hitch receiver.