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An SUV is perhaps one of the best vehicle choices for families who love spending time outdoors, since it is a versatile automobile that offers plenty of room for your entire family, including your luggage. It even comes with hitch cargo carriers that let you haul extra items too big to fit inside the car.
That said, bicycles are an entirely different matter. You need a different solution if you want to transport a bicycle or to your preferred off-road trail. The answer? Only the best bike rack for SUVs.
The good news is, there are plenty of options when it comes to bicycle racks in all kinds of designs, shapes, and capacities. You just need to find one that works for your SUV, and we are here to help you out with that. To start, here are our reviews of the best bicycle carriers in 2020, with a detailed insight for each model. There’s also a buying guide at the end to help you.
- 1 Types of Bike Racks for SUVs
- 2 10 Best Bike Racks For SUVs
- 2.1 Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks
- 2.2 Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
- 2.3 Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
- 2.4 MaxxHaul 4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack
- 2.5 Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
- 2.6 BV 2 Bike/4 Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack Carrier
- 2.7 Tyger Auto 1-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
- 2.8 Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
- 2.9 Tyger Auto 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Rack
- 2.10 Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
- 3 SUV Bike Rack Buying Guide
- 3.1 How Many Bikes Will You Carry?
- 3.2 How Often Will You Use The Bike Rack?
- 3.3 Do You Need Trunk Access?
- 3.4 Do You Need To Carry Other Cargo?
- 3.5 Do You Have Storage Space For The Bike Rack?
- 3.6 How Much Are You Willing To Spend On A Bike Rack?
- 3.7 Other Features To Look For
- 3.8 SUV Bike Rack FAQs
- 3.9 How To Install A Bike Rack On Your SUV
- 4 Conclusion
Types of Bike Racks for SUVs
Before we start, let us first talk about the different types of bike racks for SUVs based on their mounting configurations so you can better decide which one works best for your needs.
Hitch Mounted Bike Racks
Hitch mount bike racks offer an easy and convenient way to load and offload bicycles without needing much muscle power. These are a great option if your vehicle has a hitch mount, and doesn’t carry the spare tire at the rear of the vehicle.
These bike carriers work solely for bicycles, though they do make your ride more aerodynamic and make for a better fuel economy since they are rear-mounted and don’t alter the vehicle’s dynamics. These are highly popular since they offer a sturdy and stable platform while also giving you easy access to your bicycles.
Now, hitch mounted bike racks come in various styles, shapes, and sizes. They can also carry anywhere from two to five bicycles simultaneously, which can be held up either by a vertical staff, trays, or velcro straps. You just need to figure out which class your vehicle hitch is in so you can find the correct fit. To give you an idea, the hitch receiver will either be 1.25 or 2 inches.
- Available in tilt, swing, and fold up options
- Ergonomic and aerodynamic
- Removable sliding hitch receiver
- Study, solid, and easy to install
- Wide range of options in various price points
- Blocks rear door access and prevents carrying a spare tire in the rear
- May obstruct rearview, taillights, and rear license plate
- May reduce ground clearance and make maneuvering difficult
- Specialized designs are more expensive
- Alternative bicycle frames require special adapters
Roof Bike Racks
A roof bike rack for SUVs is a versatile option that allows you to carry more than just bicycles, but many other things such as kayaks, skis, and cargo boxes, as long as you have the right accessories. This may be a suitable choice if your vehicle comes with no hitch.
However, a roof mount cycle rack comes with its downsides. For one thing, SUVs are high roofed vehicles in adding a roof mount bike rack can be problematic in two ways: loading and unloading your bike will be quite difficult especially if you have to do it often, and your vehicle may not meet height restrictions of parking garages and drive-thrus.
If your SUV already has crossbars or a roof rack, a good compromise is to make the most of it by utilizing different types of mounts to either hold the bike upright or clamp onto the front wheel.
- Versatile solution that is relatively affordable
- Can be used for alternative bike frames and other cargo
- Stable and will not obstruct your rearview
- Relatively affordable
- High capacity of up to 5 bicycles
- Physically straining to utilize
- Increases wind resistance
- Impairs aerodynamics and fuel economy
- May make the vehicle unstable
- May not work with height restrictions
Strap-on Trunk Bike Racks
A great solution for vehicles without hitch mounts and won’t require roof mounting are strap-on trunk bike racks for SUVs. These are a simple solution that is easy to install and is suitable for different bicycle frames. These are also lightweight and removable so you can change from one car to another.
However, these can only carry up to two bikes due to the weight limit. That said, trunk mount racks are better for hatchbacks and sedans. If you do decide to install one on your SUV, you’ll need to be mindful of a few things.
First, get a design that won’t damage your paint job, or create dents and scratches to your trunk. Next, figure out a solution against theft, since you’ll only be dealing with hooked nylon straps or some cables.
- Versatile and works for various vehicles
- Easy to install and unmount, ideal for occasional use
- Portable and allows for compact storage
- Improves aerodynamics
- Relatively affordable
- Blocks rear access, tail lights, rear license plate, and rear view
- Will not allow the carrying of a spare tire at the rear
- Not the most stable, secure, and safe option
- The rack may shift during transit
- May scratch or dent the trunk
Spare Tire Bike Racks
Finally, another option would be a spare tire bike rack, which would work if you only need to haul a couple of bicycles on your SUV already carrying a rear spare tire. This type of bicycle rack is easy to install since it’s lightweight and conveniently straps onto the rear wheel. It’s also compact and therefore easy to store.
Most likely, your spare tire is either attached to the rear door or tilts away to give you rear access. This is where high-quality spare tire bike racks are beneficial since they enable you to enjoy easy rear access even when the bike is still mounted on the rack.
Having said that, you still need to make sure that you are buying a decent car rack that works for your vehicle and won’t result in the mounted bicycle scratching or causing damage to your car when it swings open.
- Easy to install and unmount
- No direct contact between your bike and car
- Does not require high and heavy lifting
- Relatively affordable
- Obstructs rear view, tail lights, and license plate
- Suspended bike can sway during transit
- Tire covers need to be removed prior to use
- Not the most safe and secure option
10 Best Bike Racks For SUVs
Without further ado, here are the ten best bike racks for SUVs in 2020:
Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Racks
Our favorite, and also a top-rated option, is the Allen Sports 4-bike hitch rack, a deluxe hitch mounted bike rack for SUVs that is compatible with a Class III or IV 2-inch trailer hitch. It features a 22-inch protruding carrying arm, along with a tie-down system that individually secures each bicycle.
You can also drop the quick-fold carry arms out of the way when the rack is not in use to make for easy storage. Plus, it comes with a few extra features such as a rapid tilt-away mast, quick-secure straps, dual compound spine shield, and dual compound cradles.
The rack itself is quite heavy as it’s made of steel, but it’s also coated with a classy black powder so it’s definitely durable and long-lasting. This bike rack is also easy to assemble and remove with the use of one pin.
- Available in 2 models
- Can carry up to 4 bikes
- 140 lb carrying capacity
- Lifetime warranty
Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
We also really like the Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack, which makes installation, fitting, and use exceptionally easy. It can even be used for fat-tire bikes with the addition of an extra tray, although the rack on its own can fit bike tires size 20 to 29 inches.
This is also a hitch mount bike rack and makes use of a bike rack hitch that fits on a 1.25 to the 2-inch receiver. It locks in place with a ½ inch locking pin and is easy to remove if ever you need to mount it on a different vehicle or just put it in storage.
One thing we really love about this model is that it features an anti-wobble device built into the rack in order to keep your bicycles balanced and make handling your vehicle easier. Its center arm also folds down to give you easy access to your rear space while the rack is in use.
- Upright arm with built-in ratchet
- Relatively lightweight steel construction
- Can carry up to 2 bikes
- 70 lb carrying capacity
Want something different? Head on to the Swagman website to see their entire selection.
Allen Sports Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
Another option from Allen Sports is the Ultra Compact Trunk Mounted Bike Rack, which is ideal for vehicles without a tow hitch and anyone looking for an easy-to-use option. This is a compact carrier that is packed with amazing features, such as the brand’s patented folding design.
This means that this 1-bike rack is convenient and easy to use. It’s also easy to transport and store thanks to the rugged steel frame construction. Moreover, there are tie-down cradles made with dual-compound engineering to secure and protect your bike. See, it’s quite perfect for your best BMX bike!
It’s designed to fit a variety of mid-size vehicles, folds into a shoebox-sized package for storage, can be used for a wide range of bicycle frame and tire styles, and offers excellent protection to your bike frames with the use of the large and soft, TPR landing pad. Not to mention, it’s also fully assembled to make for easy installation.
- Can carry a single bike
- TPR padded spine/ landing pad
- Comes with a nylon carry bag
- Lifetime warranty
MaxxHaul 4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack
Taking the fourth spot is the MaxxHaul 4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack, which is an ideal option for families and a group of cyclists traveling together since it offers a four bicycle capacity and ensures that all four bikes are securely transported throughout your trip.
This bike rack boasts of a swing down feature that lets you enjoy easy access to the rear of your vehicle. It also features an adjustable padded bike cradle complete with hook-and-loop straps to fully secure all bicycles without risking any swaying or damage.
To add to that, this hitch-mounted carrier is compatible with two-inch hitch receivers and is made with a rigid and durable all-steel construction so it’s resistant to dents, bending, and damage, and it’s sure to last a long time.
- Convenient fold-down top bar design
- Quick-release pins and built-in reflector
- Can carry up to 4 bikes
- 150 lb carrying capacity
Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
Our third Allen Sports product on this list is the Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack, which is, like the second model, a trunk-mounted rack that is easy to use and well designed, making it great for those who want a simple, no-frills solution to carrying their bikes.
This is one of your best options if you want a 2 bike rack for SUVs, though it also fits a wide range of minivans, sedans, and hatchbacks. It features a quick snapping set-up system that makes initial fitting and installation easy and straightforward.
It also comes with 12-inch arms and dual compound tie-down cradles that hold the bicycles in place by securing them firmly on to the backside of your vehicle. More than that, it even comes with extra-large pads to prevent your bikes from coming into contact with your car’s paint job.
- Can carry up to 2 bikes
- 70 lb carrying capacity
- Fully assembled and easy to set up
- Lifetime warranty
BV 2 Bike/4 Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack Carrier
You should also check out the BV 2 Bike/4 Bike Bicycle Hitch Mount Rack Carrier, which is an effortless yet effective solution that lets you transport several bikes with its unique backward design that lets you gain access to your rear door without unmounting the hitch rack.
This hitch mounted 4 bike rack makes use of a three-point connection system consisting of one top vertical arm and two bottom tray style arms to fully secure each bicycle and also prevent them from swaying as you drive.
All in all, it’s a great and affordable option that lets you carry all your (and your friends’) bicycles wherever you want to go. The smart anti-wobble, tilt back, and fold-up design is certainly unique and innovative, for one thing.
- Padded arms to prevent scratching
- Designed with a rear safety reflector
- Can carry up to 4 bikes
- 150 lb carrying capacity
Tyger Auto 1-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
If you are looking for a 1-bike rack, try the Tyger Auto trunk mount bicycle carrier rack, a small solution that serves as the perfect accompaniment for solo rides. It easily secures to the boot of an SUV, sedan, minivan, and hatchback. It’s just not suitable for cars with rear spoilers.
That said, it’s well designed and exceptionally sturdy. The frame’s lower part comes with enough padding to protect your vehicle (and bikes) against scratches and dents while you’re pulling tight the ratchet straps in order to keep the rack in place.
It also comes with safety straps to hold your bicycles in a secure position. The rack even features a black powder coating for added protection against the elements, as well as from rust and corrosion.
- Folding arms for convenient storage
- Rust and corrosion resistance
- Padded soft cradles
- Can carry a single bike
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
Our final pick from Allen Sports is the Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack, which boasts of an easy-to-set-up patented design to safely transport your precious bikes around. It conveniently fits SUVs, sedans, minivans, and hatchbacks.
This bicycle rack comes with two side straps that promise exceptional lateral stability, along with a patented tie-down system that individually protects and secures your bicycles. These tie-downs are fixed on the carry arm, though they can rotate to accommodate various bike frame styles and sizes.
Furthermore, it features a middle frame that keeps your bikes from coming into contact with the vehicle in order to prevent damage. It’s also easy and straightforward to install, and the narrow set carry arms make loading your bikes easy.
- Fully assembled and easy to set up
- High quality, rugged components
- Can carry up to 2 bikes
- Lifetime warranty
Want to find even more options from Allen Sports? Check out their website, Allen.Bike.
Tyger Auto 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Rack
We also have an alternative option from Tyger Auto, the 3-bike trunk mount bicycle rack, which, like most of the other options on this list, is also easy to install and set-up. It primarily makes use of straps supported with tiny sprung metal clips to hold your bikes securely.
This 3 bike rack for SUVs features a quick open and close system that releases and tightens the straps as needed. If you want an extra layer of security, however, you can opt to add extra tighteners to further secure the straps.
Finally, this bike rack also comes fully assembled for easy installation, and can fit most SUVs, sedans, minivans, and hatchbacks. The only downsides are that it can’t fit vehicles with rear spoilers, and it may not be sturdy enough for particularly heavy bicycles.
- Padded lower frame and soft cradles
- Black powder-coated for rust resistance
- Can fit up to 3 bikes
- 99 lb carrying capacity
Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
Last but not least is the Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier, which is a seemingly simple and basic bike rack that actually comes with a lot of bells and whistles to guarantee a safe, secure, and reliable way to transport your bicycles.
For one thing, it comes with soft rubber cradles that effectively hold your bikes securely while also protecting them from damage. The anti-sway, stay-put cages also prohibit bike to vehicle and bike to bike contact so there’s no risk of scratches and dents whatsoever.
Also, this rack features a patented FitDial that guarantees a perfect fit at all times. It also boasts of fold-down arms that make for easy storage, as well as soft cushion leg padding that protects your hatch and trunk.
- Works with vehicles with rear spoilers
- 6 strap system and vinyl-coated buckles
- Can fit up to 2 bikes
- 105 lb carrying capacity
You can find more bike racks and other amazing car accessories from the Thule website.
SUV Bike Rack Buying Guide
Riding a bike is a fun and energizing activity, but if you’re planning to ride on a trail, enter a race or cycling competition, or perform tricks at a bike park, you may not want to ride your bike all the way there, unless you want to arrive exhausted and dripping in sweat before you even begin.
This is where bike racks for SUVs come in. Speaking of, how do you find the best one for your specific needs? Sure, there are plenty of options on the market, but not all of them are made equal, and some are simply better than others.
Plus, there are lots of different things to consider, such as what type of bike rack you prefer, what kind of bicycle frame your bike has, how many bikes you will carry, and so on. This buying guide answers all your questions when it comes to buying a bicycle rack.
How Many Bikes Will You Carry?
The first thing you really need to determine is how many bicycles you need to carry on the bike rack since this will help you figure out which type of rack will be most suitable for your needs, as well as what capacity you require from the bike rack.
For instance, if you only have one entry-level mountain bike, then you can pretty much go with any available solution, from spare tire bike racks and trunk mount bike racks, to simply hauling your bike on your crossbars, or even trying to fit the bike inside the vehicle.
On the other hand, if you are hauling rides for the entire family, you will need a heavy-duty and high capacity solution, such as a hitch-mounted 5 bike rack.
Now, if you have more than one bicycle, but typically only bring one along most of the time, you’ll need to decide between the easy portability of a single bike rack, or if you’d prefer the convenience of having another option if and when you do need to carry more than one bike.
How Often Will You Use The Bike Rack?
You also need to figure out how often you will likely be using the bike rack, whether it’s every day, every week, once a month, or less. For example, if you need to train daily or just like to ride your bike in the afternoons, you will benefit from a more permanent fixture that you don’t need to constantly remove from your vehicle and one that also lets you enjoy uninhibited rear access.
Permanent bike racks may be a little difficult to assemble and install, but that only means they are harder to steal even when they are sitting on the outside of your vehicle 24/7. They’ll likely also have better security and anti-theft features built into the rack’s frame.
On the other hand, if you just need a bicycle rack for occasional use such as family trips and vacations, you need to look for a more convenient option that is removable, easy to install and fit, and just as easy (if not easier) to remove. This bike rack should also come with certain features that make storage easy, such as a compact fold-down system.
Do You Need Trunk Access?
There are many different kinds of bicycle racks out there, and if you want something that can give you unimpeded rear hatch access, the obvious solution may be to go with a roof mount bike rack. However, other rack types are also often capable of giving you access to your trunk.
As a matter of fact, there are lots of hitch mount, spare tire, and trunk mount bike racks that still let you utilize your rear hatch while the bike rack is mounted- sometimes even when there are bicycles loaded onto the rack.
You just need to weigh the pros and cons of each option, find a great quality model that won’t cause you problems such as swaying, unsecured bikes and go from there.
Do You Need To Carry Other Cargo?
You should also take the time to consider how you are currently using your vehicle. How many people often ride with you? Do you often carry a lot of luggage and other cargo? Is there space inside the vehicle? How about on top? Do you already have a roof rack installed? Maybe you have a trailer or a hitch cargo carrier that you sometimes tow along?
These are important questions to answer as they also help you determine what kind of solution would work best for hauling your bicycles. If the trunk is always in use, you’ll want constant, easy access to it.
If the roof rack tends to get full, don’t buy a roof mount bike rack. Alternatively, if you don’t have a roof rack yet, consider a roof mount rack that lets you use it for other cargo.
Do You Have Storage Space For The Bike Rack?
The thing is, if you want a removable bike rack, you need to make sure that you have the space for it in your garage, or else you will find yourself constantly leaving it mounted on your vehicle due to the lack of storage space.
The good news is, most bike racks fold into a compact unit, but even so, the smaller the better, especially if you’re pressed for space.
Actually, even if you buy a permanent bike rack, you’ll still want to make sure that it has some sort of folding mechanism that you can activate when you’re not using the rack so you can enjoy better aerodynamics and fuel efficiency with less wind resistance while you’re driving.
How Much Are You Willing To Spend On A Bike Rack?
Of course, you also need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your bicycle carrier, then stick to this budget. Now, you will be able to find plenty of reliable options in various price points, so you can definitely buy a bike rack without breaking the bank.
But know that the high-end ones with better features will obviously cost more. These features may or may not be worth the extra money depending on how you intend to use the bike rack.
Other Features To Look For
Aside from the ones we already talked about above, there are a few other features you need to take into account to really make sure that you’re buying the best bike rack for you. These include the construction material used in building the bicycle rack.
Any decent bike carrier will be made from high-quality materials like heavy-duty steel that withstands constant use and abuse while remaining durable and long-lasting. Try to avoid racks made with cheap plastic parts and components as these won’t hold your bike securely. Breakage is also an issue, and you don’t want that happening in the middle of the road.
The rack should also have rubber or foam contacts to protect both your vehicle and your bicycle from getting scratched or dented due to bumping into each other. Even better if the rack comes with a black powder coating to enhance its resistance against the elements and keep corrosion and rust at bay, thereby extending the rack’s lifespan.
A good bike rack will also come with a few security features to keep the rack in position while it’s mounted on your vehicle, as well as to securely hold the bicycles throughout your drive. This means you won’t have to worry about your bikes or the rack itself suddenly falling onto the road.
Security features also include protective measures against possible theft of both your bicycles and the bike carrier. Certain components such as locking cables and locks are a must to keep your belongings safe from unwanted hands.
Ease Of Installation And Use
Again, the bicycle carrier should be fairly easy to assemble and install, especially if it’s the removable kind. You don’t want to spend hours just trying to get the rack-mounted in place each and every time you need to use it.
What will give you this convenience are racks that come fully or almost fully assembled, and those that don’t require the use of special tools during installation. It’s also nice if the rack is versatile enough to fit on a variety of vehicles in case you need to drive a different car.
And when it comes to dismounting, tilting designs are great for easy rear access, while fold-down racks are ideal for compact storage.
SUV Bike Rack FAQs
- Do bicycle racks fit all types of cars?
Some bike racks are versatile in that they are intended for use on a wide range of vehicles, while others have a more specific purpose in mind. For example, hitch mount racks won’t work with cars without a hitch, roof mount racks won’t work with curved SUV roofs, trunk mount racks won’t work with cars that have rear spoilers.
- Do I need to drill holes in my car?
For most bike holders, installation is easy and does not require drilling any holes. The only time it becomes necessary is when you are installing extra fittings such as wing mirrors, aerials, and towbars, in which case you need to be careful to avoid causing damage to your vehicle.
- Do bike racks damage the car?
As long as you install and use a bike rack properly, there’s little chance that your vehicle will get damaged. Even roof racks won’t damage your car provided that you are using the correct model for your specific vehicle. Do make sure that you’re following installation instructions and only using the included accessories.
- How can I protect my car from the bike rack?
Make sure that your bicycles are properly mounted and secured on the rack. You can also add extra padding and protective films in between the rack and the vehicle, as well as between the rack and the bikes to further prevent scratches and dents. A clean car is also safer from damage. Finally, never overload your bike.
- My bike is heavier than most, how can I further protect my car?
Protective elements such as foams, paddings, and a spacious design with plenty of space between the rack and your vehicle are a must to keep everything safe from damage. Securely attaching your bike onto the rack is also important to reduce the wobble room, which also prevents the bike from bumping into the car.
That said, particularly heavy bicycle frames can benefit from extra large protective pads that cover more surface area and reduce the risk of damage while also evenly distributing the weight of the bicycle across the rack to make it safer and more secure during transit.
- Can bicycle racks be stolen?
Yes, especially the cheaper models with little to no security features such as locking mechanisms. Removable racks like trunk and hitch mounts are also easier to dismount. Even the most high-end racks can still be stolen if the thief is patient and creative enough, though it’s less likely to happen.
- What if I change cars?
As you have seen from our review and buying guide above, most bicycle holders are available in versatile configurations that can fit a wide range of vehicles, so changing from one car to another should not be an issue. You can also better ensure proper fitment and secure mounting by adding some accessories like crossbar towers.
- What can I do with the bike rack when I’m not using it?
There are actually plenty of options to address bike racks that are not in use. While there are some bike racks that can only be left alone when they are not being utilized, plenty of models offer fold down or fold away designs so the rack can be laid flat, making your road safety and parking ability significantly better. These also improve your aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
Some bike racks can even be reconfigured into a tiny and compact unit that is easy and convenient to store inside your garage, or sometimes even in the car, so that you can safely put away the rack without risking it getting stolen, then take it out once you need to use it.
- Can I go through a car wash with roof racks?
It is not recommended to enter a car wash or any tight, low clearance environment with a bicycle rack mounted on your vehicle, especially a roof mount bike rack, as it may get snagged on certain items and equipment, thereby causing damage to your vehicle, the bike rack, and the car wash as well. The Yakima brand specifically advises against this.
- How can I prolong the service life of my bike rack?
The best thing you can actually do is to buy the best possible rack in the first place, which, in this case, means one that has excellent resistance to the elements so it doesn’t easily succumb to rust and corrosion. This is usually achievable with the use of a black powder E-coating.
This means you won’t have to worry about exposing the bike rack to less than stellar conditions such as inclement weather, particularly dirty and muddy roads, and the like. This is actually particularly important for permanently fixed bike racks since you can’t really remove them to store in your garage whenever it rains.
The rack itself should be made with durable and hard wearing materials to protect itself against dents and damages. And of course, you should never go above the bike holder’s maximum load capacity so as to not risk damage and breakage.
How To Install A Bike Rack On Your SUV
Before you go, here is a simple and easy to follow guide on how to install your new bike rack onto your SUV. This guide focuses on installing a hitch mount bike rack (including how to mount, transport, and unload your bicycles), mainly because it’s the most commonly used bike rack preferred by vehicle owners all over the world.
If you are planning to buy a different type of bike rack for your SUV, there are also plenty of easy to follow instructions that you can find online. That said, it’s always best to follow the instruction manual provided by the bike rack manufacturer in order to ensure proper mounting and avoid costly mistakes.
Step 1: Ensure Hitch Compatibility
Before you install the bike rack, you should first check whether its hitch mount is actually compatible with your car’s receiver hitch. This is a step that you should actually do before you purchase the bike rack, but it never hurts to check again once you receive your package.
To give you an idea, hitches are categorized into different hitch classes, aka Class I to IV, but most hitch mount bike racks are only compatible with Class III to IV receivers, with the rare Class II compatible bike rack hitches.
Step 2. Slide The Rack Into The Receiver
To begin actually installing the bike rack, you need to fit the rack into your vehicle’s receiver hitch. Do this by sliding the bike rack arm while making sure that its mount hole is correctly lined up with the receiver.
Once it’s in place, take the bolt, insert the locking washer and the flat washer, align the bolt through the hole, then firmly screw it in tightly using a wrench. Then, take a pin and insert it into the bolt in order to lock it in place.
Step 3: Correctly Position The Carry Arms
Moving on, focus on the wheel trays or support arms of the bike carrier and position them properly, then locking them into position by using security pins which should be included in the package.
Once everything is secure, make any necessary adjustments to the wheel trays so that they perfectly accommodate your bicycle/s. You should also prepare the tie-downs as well if any.
Step 4: Load Your Bicycles
After setting everything up correctly, it’s now time to load your bicycles onto the bike rack. Do this one at a time, proceeding carefully by loading the bike onto the wheel trays or supporting arms then securing the frame or wheels with the tie-downs. Do these same steps for all your bicycles.
Step 5: Transport and Unloading
Don’t go riding off into the sunset just yet. After driving for a few miles, stop and inspect the rack so you can assess whether everything is still correctly anchored and firmly secured- both the bike rack and your bicycles.
Stop and do one more inspection before going into highway speeds, which is what can really loosen straps that are improperly fastened. Then, when you get to your destination, unload your bikes by removing them one at a time and setting them aside safely before unloading the next bike. Finally, fold and pack up your bike rack and store it in a safe place.
There are hundreds of options when it comes to bike racks, but fewer if you’re looking for the best bike racks for SUVs. At the end of the day, it all boils down to a few factors: what vehicle you drive, what and how many bikes you have, how often you want to use the bike rack, where you want to install and then store it, and whether you want to get more uses out of it.
See, bike racks are versatile solutions for hauling not just bicycles for you and the rest of the family. They can sometimes also be used for other things, such as surfboards, skis, and even kayaks, as long as you have the right accessories to make it happen.
Bike racks aren’t just limited to SUVs, either. In fact, you’ll easily find a lot of truck bed bike racks online.