Bike racks can be a useful addition to your home garage or your vehicle and, depending on your needs and budget, these are the things to consider before purchasing one.
What is a Bike Rack?
A bike rack generally refers to a special device attached to your vehicle to help transport bicycles from one place to another. There are also stationary bike racks, which are intended for storage or display.
If you are a keen cyclist who enjoys taking part in all kinds of races and cycling events, or you simply like bike rides on your family holidays, you need a nice, quality bike rack to secure bikes to your vehicle.
Bicycle racks come in a wide variety of styles to suit different types of vehicles and bikes. First, you have to know what options your vehicle offers and decide how many bicycles at a time you want to transport. Afterwards, decide on a type of bike rack that best suits your needs and budget limitations.
Roof Mount Bike Rack
This type is a good option for vehicles that are lower to the ground. That is because bikes mounted to the roof will add up to the overall height of your vehicle, making some drive-through restaurants and garages unreachable. To mount this type of bike rack, you will need to have crossbars on your roof.
Search for low impact bike racks for your car roof and once you have installed them, you will be able to carry other equipment, such as skis, surfboards and cargo boxes, as well.
Hitch Mount Bike Racks
Hitch mount bike racks lock directly into a drawbar receiving tube or hitch tube, holding the bikes several inches out from the vehicle and keeping them safe from possible damages.
They add up to your vehicle’s overall length and additionally, a car with insufficient rear suspension may struggle with the additional weight. On the other hand, this type of bike rack offers the most ergonomically sound options in terms of loading and are designed to carry up to six bikes at a time.
Trunk Mount Bike Racks
This is a lightweight type of bike rack that is simply strapped in place around the edges of your trunk lid door. The same rack can be moved between several compatible vehicle models.
However, the major drawback is the limited access to your trunk. This rack can carry two bikes at a time and the carrying capacity is usually limited to around 35lbs per bike.
Bike racks are available at a wide range of prices, but the most affordable ones are usually designed for one or two lightweight bikes that you don’t have to transport very far. When deciding on the budget, you will also want to consider the following:
- Stability – some types of bike racks offer a fair amount of stability for the lightweight bikes. However, when it comes to heavier models, you have to make sure your rack will keep them in place
- Efficiency – some types, such as roof-mounted bike racks, may affect the overall aerodynamics of your vehicle, lowering the fuel efficiency up to 30%
- Safety and legality – some types of bike racks can obscure the rearview mirror or hide your license number plate. You are able to alter the design to overcome these problems, but keep in mind that customization always comes with additional costs
Most vehicles are suitable for bike racks, but make sure to measure the roof of your vehicle before buying a roof-mounted model.
Another thing you have to take in consideration is the compatibility of your bike frame to the bike rack. With many new types of frames hitting the market each year, it is difficult to keep track of the corresponding bike rack types.
Security is a big consideration when deciding on the right bike rack. In general, trunk mount types offer minimum security, as the bikes are held in place by straps and hooks.
Even if you don’t plan on leaving your bikes unattended, unpredictable outcomes are very possible when on the road. Buying a rack with locks will cost you a bit more, but it is a good, sensible investment for your bike’s future security.
If you are a passionate cyclist, there is a strong chance you might need a bike rack for your vehicle. It allows you to safely transport your bicycle to any event or race you wish to attend.
There are many types and price ranges to choose from, but be careful and think about your needs, security as well as compatibility before you decide on a budget for your purchase. Be informed about all the pros and cons of each type of bike rack and opt for the best cost-effective and appropriate type on the market.