The Village Bike & Fitness quick guide to bicycle racks for your car.
There are three main types of bike racks: hitch mount, roof mount, and trunk/spare tire mount
Here’a a summary of the benefits and limitations of each type.
-Stable. The rack is basically bolted into the frame of your car, so it’s going to feel very solid.
-No Contact. It doesn’t touch the body of your car at all, so there's no risk of scratching or denting.
-Capacity. Some models can hold up to 5 bikes.
-Ease of Use. Some models like the Yakima Hold-Up make it extremely easy to load up your bikes.
-Security. Some models come with built-in locks. Nearly all models have the option to lock bikes to the rack and lock the rack to your car.
-You'll need to get a hitch installed (if you don’t already have one)
-Mast-style hitch racks (like the Yakima Ridgeback and Fullswing) often require the use of a tube-top adaptor to accomodate kids' bikes or bikes with a low-step frame design.
Our favorite models of hitch racks include:
Yakima Dr. Tray (NEW premium hitch rack. Ultra versatile, light weight, and easy to use)
Yakima Hold-Up (the classic favorite with built in locks and super easy bike loading)
Yakima TwoTimer and FourTimer (cost effective and easy to use)
-Versatile. Once you have a new base rack, you can use it to carry bikes, cargo boxes, skis and snowboards, kayaks and canoes, ladders and more!
-High Capacity. Depending on the vehicle, you can carry from 4 to 6 bikes on top of your car.
-It can be dificult for some people to lift their bikes to the top of their car. (A step ladder can help)
-If you’re not careful, you can smash your bikes into your garage or the drive thru at a restaurant. :(
Our favorite brand of roof mount racks is Yakima:
We love Yakima brand because they do a great job testing each rack on each vehicle to ensure a good fit. They’ve also proven over and over that they stand behind their warranty and take customer service very seriously. Yakima makes specific adaptors to hold the crossbars which form the base rack. Use this link to find the right roof rack for your vehicle.
Trunk Mount and Spare Tire Mount Bike Racks:
-Good for occasional use.
-Light weight and compact for easy storage.
-Can only carry 3 bikes (and it can be challenging to fit thee sometimes)
-Can scratch or dent your trunk if you're not careful.
-Often require the use of a tube-top adaptor to accomodate kids' bikes or bikes with a low-step frame design.
One of our favorite models of trunk mount is the Yakima FullBack 3. This rack offers the most versatility (the angle of the mast arm is adjustable). It's also the most stable and includes the ability to lock rack to car and bikes to rack. We always recommend getting the 3 bike rack since it will give you more space to work with, even if you're only carrying two bikes.
Check the Yakima fit tool to see which trunk-mount racks fit your vehicle.
Q & A
Do you install bike racks on my car?
It depends on the rack.
Hitch mount racks: Installed at no charge on the spot.
Trunk mount racks: We'll show you how everything works and walk you through the process, but we won't actually clamp it on your trunk.
Roof mount racks: We install roof racks by appointment. Installation of a base rack is $40-60.
Do you install hitches?
No. Call a dealership or garage that you trust for a recommendation.
Can you special order a rack that you don't have in stock.
Sure. We stock what we believe to be the best options in each category, but we're happy to special order another brand or model.
What do I do if my rack stops working right a few years after purchase?
Bring it to any Vilage Bike & Fitness location and we'll work with Yakima to repair or replace it.