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Spare Tire Bicycle Racks Including Graco, Allen, Thule and More

Updated on July 3, 2013

If you have a rear-mounted spare tire on your motor vehicle then many regular 2, 3 and 4 cycle racks are not going to work for you. Most of these are designed to fit flush against the back of a car, jeep, suv or other vehicle and the spare tire gets in the way of their effective operation. You want your bike rack to fit properly both to prevent damage to your vehicle and for both the safety of your bikes and those on the road travelling behind you but unfortunately, a regular tie down strap on bicycle rack or hitch mounted cycle carrier is often obstructed by the spare wheel so you have to look for a more specialized option. That doesn't mean you have to go looking for an expensive custom made solution though, as a number of manufacturers produce a selection of very secure and stable spare tire mounted bike racks designed specifically for those types of road vehicles.

How To Choose A Tire Mounted Bike Rack

So you have decided a bike rack which fits over your spare wheel is the best option for you but you are still confused about which type is going to be the best for you and which get the best reviews. Well, never fear, because help is here. The following outlines why you would want to choose one type over the other and gives recommendations on which are the best spare tire mounted bicycle racks to buy in each category.

Types of Tire Racks For Bikes

Spare tire bike carriers come in two main forms, allowing you to choose between strap on bikes racks or bolt on bicycle racks for spare tires. You do have one more thing to consider however, and that is whether you have a centralized spare tire mounted in the middle or your vehicle or whether yours is offset to the left of to the right. If you spare tire is in the middle then you are good to go with most of the tire mounted bicycle holders out there but for left or right offset tires, you have to give extra thought to balancing the load so your bikes remain stable and secure and there are specialized mounts for that too.

There are also ways to extend a hitch mounted or towbar bike rack in order to provide extra horizontal clearance past the wheel if you prefer to haul bikes that way.

Tie On Strap Mounted Bicycle Racks

These are often the cheapest option and the easiest to both attach and detach when you want to get at the tire for a wheel change or to transfer it from one vehicle to the next. Strap-mounted racks are easy to install and are the most versatile option which can be adjusted to fit the vast majority of jeeps, hummers and other vehicles. They use adjustable nylon straps to securely tie down one or several bikes to the wheel or trunk.

Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Spare Tire Mount Rack
Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Spare Tire Mount Rack

This three bike rack fits over the wheel and uses a patented tie down system to securely fasten everything into place. The design enable this carrier to mount bikes up high leaving them safe from road damage and ensuring your brake lights remain visible at all times. It installs in seconds and is designed to fit virtually all rear mounted tires.

Saris 1060S Spare Tire Rack, for 2 Bikes
Saris 1060S Spare Tire Rack, for 2 Bikes

This is a cinch to install on any spare tire up to a 12' wheel width and will hold up to 2 bikes safely and securely in place as you travel. It holds up to 70lbs in combined weight which should be ample for most bicycles. Its owners love how quick and easy is to install/remove.


Bolted On Bike Rack Carrier For Spare Tire

These are a little harder to install as they bolt on to the nuts holding the tire in place or have a plate which mounts behind the spare to hold the rack in place. This does however make for a much more snug, safe and secure carrier for bikes.

Automotive Bike Carier For Left or Right Mounted Tires

Not every vehicle has their spare tire mounted in the center and this can cause problems when it comes to getting a really snug fit and balancing the load. There are however some adjustable bike racks which fit over the back spare tire and use load balancing or can be adjusted to make this problem go away.

Why Buy A Spare Tire Mount Bike Holder Anyway?

In most vehicles, you can still opt to use hitch mounted bike carrier, with a hitch extender or choose to roof mount bikes if that is more desirable to you. My personal feeling about this is that the spare wheel is available and rarely does anything other than stick out of the back of my vehicle like a big round wart, then I might as well make use of it rather than waste the much more useful space on my roof or towing bar. It is also much more easy to both load and access than a roof mounted bike rack and doesn’t add drag to your vehicle either like using the roof does.

Other Things To Consider

When you choose any rear mounted bike rack, you have to consider the ground clearance once everything is tied or clamped on. You also want to ensure you are not covering up your brake lights. If you choose a strap-on bike rack with adjustable nylon straps you need to make sure you tighten these up properly and regularly check they are still tight whenever you stop your vehicle. On more bumpy terrain, you might want to check more regularly.

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