How to Buy the Right Bike Rack for your Vehicle?
Know What Type of Biker you are and Love the Rack you Choose!
In this bike rack buyer’s guide, we offer four considerations to ponder that will help you determine which rack is right for you. From your budget to the number of bikes, ease of loading and unloading, and finally, looking at the types of trips you are most likely to take with your bike rack, we cover the most important aspects of buying a bike rack!
Are You Shopping Based on Budget?
First of all, what is your budget? If it’s tight, then a good quality trunk mounted bike rack would be your best choice. These are the most affordable racks and are fine for carrying 1 to 3 bikes on long trips, and up to 4 on around-town trips. If your vehicle is older, and you don’t mind a rub spot or paint nick from a bump, then this is your style.
We recommend, however, that you never buy the low-end model, because you’ll spend more in the end, when you have to replace it. If you need a rack for only one bike, then single roof mounted trays will cost less than a 3-4 bike trunk unit. As your budget increases, your options increase, and other factors are more determinative.
How Many Bikes Will your Rack Need to Carry?
As you begin shopping today, one of the most common errors bike riders make is buying a rack to suit only themselves. In most cases, when you load your bike into the rack, you are going to have a friend who is riding with you, possibly more than one!
We recommend at a minimum, to make sure your bike rack can carry at least 2 bikes! Fortunately, most racks are flexible enough to expand and carry more than one very easily. For a family, you may want to get a 4-bike or 5-bike rack that installs into the hitch mount. These are the strongest bike racks you can get, and ultimately allow the most flexibility to carry extra bikes for longer excursions with friends or family.
How Hard is The Bike Rack to Load a Bike Into?
The second important consideration involves the loading and unloading factor. Trunk mounted and hitch mounted racks are much easier to install and load than roof mounted racks. If you would find it inconvenient or impossible to load a roof rack, then your options are narrowed.
The simplest racks to load are hitch-mounted styles that feature a platform rather than an arm. Minimum lifting is required, and the bikes are easily secured. These racks provide the added benefit of very good stability and are good at preventing your cycles from damaging one another or the vehicle. However, adding some padding between bikes on any type of racks is always a good idea.
How Will You Most Commonly Use Your Bike Rack?
The final consideration centers around how you use your bike rack. If you use it frequently, but take it off after each use for security, a hitch-mounted unit is a choice. No rack is easier on installation/removal. Newer hitch-mounted models also allow the unloaded rack to fold tight against the vehicle, or fold down to allow access to the cargo space.
If you want a rack for long trips on the highway, a roof-mounted rack is perfect, provided you are able to load them. The cycles are secured once and do not get in the way of cargo access or sightlines. Trunk-mounted racks are good for long trips, too, as long as you do not need to open the trunk or hatch.
A little bit of forethought will help you avoid buyer’s regret, and will lead you to a unit that will provide outstanding