Can Bike Racks Go On Any Car?
If you want to take your bike on vacation, or even on a day trip to a nearby park, you’ll need to have some way of getting it from point A to point B. Now, if you’re an experienced long-distance cyclist, you may just view this as an opportunity to do more riding. For us mere mortals, a car bike rack is a more practical solution.
But what if you’re driving a small economy car to save on gas, or you’re already using your car’s roof rack to transport a cargo carrier? Not to worry. There are a few different styles of car bike racks, and we’re about to go over them all, which will answer the question – can bike racks go on any car?
Roof Racks: The Standard Option
Most full-sized cars and almost all SUVs can be fitted with a roof rack. For the majority of people, this is the go-to option, since it’s the most convenient when you’re not cycling, which is most of the time. The reason for this is simple: a roof rack mounts on top of your car, a little-used space. You won’t need to mount and unmount this type of rack just to load up your weekly groceries.
Another benefit of roof racks is their capacity. Since they can be as wide as your car, most roof racks will accept up to four bicycles, which is enough capacity for the entire family.
So what are the downsides? On trucks and SUVs, the roof can be relatively high off the ground, which makes it a pain to load and unload your bikes. On the other end of the size scale, most compact cars won’t accommodate a roof rack, which makes this option a no-go.
That said, for full-sized cars, a roof rack is the way to go. It’s by far the easiest design to use, and it won’t get in your way while you’re running everyday errands.
Hitch Racks: Easier For Trucks and SUVs
As we mentioned, while a roof rack will work on a truck or SUV, it’s going to be a headache to load. For taller vehicles, a hitch rack is a better option. These racks mount in your truck’s square hitch receiver, and can hold from one to four bicycles depending on the design. Since they support your bicycles near chest height, most truck and SUV drivers will prefer this type of rack.
The downside of hitch racks is that they can make it difficult to access your hatchback. There are two ways to deal with this. The first is to mount and unmount your rack every time you ride, which is easy enough if you only use it a few times a year.
The other option is to spend a few more dollars and buy a swinging model bike rack. These racks pivot out place as needed, so they’re considerably more convenient than a fixed rack.
One other thing that’s worth mentioning about hitch racks is that some lightweight models are available to fit small Class 1 and Class 2 hitches. While these smaller versions typically only hold one or two bikes, they can mount on smaller cars which are equipped with a lightweight tow bar.
Hatchback Racks: The Right Choice For Small Cars
So what do you do if you’re driving a compact car? Tow your bicycle behind you on a rope?
Thankfully, there’s a better way. Hatchback bike racks are lightweight, one or two-bike racks that strap onto your trunk or hatchback. Because all cars are shaped differently, you’ll need to carefully follow your manufacturer’s instructions to adjust a hatchback rack to fit your car properly.
Once these racks are assembled, they’re easy to load and unload, since they support your bicycles at a convenient height. However, some models will prevent you from opening your truck or hatchback. Make sure to look closely at any hatchback rack you buy, including reading a few reviews, to make sure you know whether or not you can open your trunk.
Another thing you’ll want to be careful about before you buy is to make sure the rack you want will fit your car to begin with. They’re adjustable, but none are universal.
If you own a truck, an SUV, or a roof rack-compatible car, you’re probably better off with a different type of rack, like a roof rack or a hitch rack. But if you own a compact car, a hatchback rack will get the job done.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
As you can see, it’s easy to mount a bike rack on almost any car, truck, or SUV. So can bike racks go on any car? Well, you just need to buy the right kind and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a proper fit, and then the answer is – yes!
So what are you waiting for? Order a bike rack, and expand your riding horizons as far as your vehicle can travel.
Got time for one more? Have you seen the inflatable bike helmet?