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Five Best Cheap Bike Racks For Cars | 2015 Reviews

Updated on February 02, 2015
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5 Good, Inexpensive Bike Racks for Cars: My Picks

Bicycles are a great way to get a bit of exercise, make your way around town, commute to work and back again, or just enjoy a sunny day outdoors. However, if you need to pack up your bicycle and transport it anywhere, things can get pretty tricky, especially if you're the owner of a small car or other vehicle with limited space. Good news for you, there are many great and cheap bike racks for cars that make transporting them a breeze.

The best bike racks built for cars make use of the external features of your vehicle, allowing you to mount them outside the car, safely and securely holding your cycle on the exterior of the automobile. Each one has a different way of attaching, and different products might suit a different type of car depending on what model you have, or your physical capabilities. We'll talk about each of those factors in a moment.

In this article, we'll be taking a look at five of the best bike racks for cars, reviewing each one and noting their unique features, along with pros and cons. We will also talk a bit about how bicycle hitches and racks for vehicles work, and go over some of the most common models available to you. Hopefully this article will help you make an informed decision, and choose a great bike rack for your car that serves you well.

Different Kinds of Bicycle Racks for Automobiles:

Common styles and features of car hitches, racks and towage

There are many brands that serve this niche, and so you'll find a lot of variations (and innovation) in this field. Luckily for us, most vehicle-based bicycle hitches and racks built nowadays are extremely easy to use and intuitive these days, so even a non-technical person can use and install them. Here is a list of a few of the most common models.

  1. Bicycle Roof Racks:

    The roof mounted bicycle rack for cars is one of the most common types around, and they're pretty popular. The roof of a vehicle is an underused space, so why not put something up there? Bikes mounted in this way are secure, and rarely require much disassembly. The only downside might be getting them up there (if you're short, this can be a challenge).

  2. Trunk Bike Racks for Cars:

    The trunk mounted variety is probably the best choice for cars, because SUVs and vans won't always be able to accommodate them (though SUVs and hatchbacks often work great with these models). These are similar to bicycle roof racks, making use of the top of your trunk to mount the bike and secure it. Many modern vehicle bike racks make use of the trunk just to secure the rack to the back (you secure it by shutting the trunk on the straps).

  3. Hitch Mounted Bike Racks:

    In order to make use of these, you'll need a trailer hitch to be installed. These are extremely useful if you have a hitch on your vehicle already, since they are low to the ground, extremely accessible, strong enough to hold many bikes at once and easy to mount. If you have a trailer hitch or hidden hitch already, definitely go with this model, they're too convenient to miss.

Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

This is a perfect option for anyone with a car, minivan, sedan, hatchback or SUV who wants an easy solution. It's a pre-assembled and cheap bike rack for cars.

 

Allen Deluxe: A cheap bike rack for cars, versatile & easy to install

This is a great option for the casual rider who wants a transportation option. The Allen Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Rack for cars is a great option because it fits on virtually any vehicle, including cars, hatchbacks, SUVs and minivans, and it's super inexpensive.

It has 12 inch carry arms that can accommodate up to two bicycles at a time, along with a patented tie-down system and a lifetime warranty. It doesn't require any construction at all, and arrives pre-assembled.

While it's certainly not a 'bells and whistles' kind of bicycle rack, it fits most cars nicely and it's pretty easy to use. For transporting a couple of bikes, it's hard to find a more affordable option than this one.

Hollywood Racks B2 Baja 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
Hollywood Racks B2 Baja 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

Easy to install, folds flat, padding to protect your bike and your car.

 

Hollywood Racks: A good, trunk-mount rack for cars and SUVs

A deluxe two bike rack for cars, SUVs, vans and more

If you want an easy to install bike rack with great storage capabilities, this is a strong candidate. The Hollywood Racks E3 Express is extremely easy to install. It folds up flat when not in use, and installs in minutes to any vehicle with a rear door or trunk (cars, minivans, SUVs, etc.). Accommodates up to 2 cycles.

It's especially nice because it has a Micro Adjust hub system to accommodate different vehicles, and it is cushioned and padded to avoid scratching either your bicycle or your car's paint. Has anti-sway and bicycle separators. Secure tie downs keep your ride safely in place. This is one of my favorite bike racks for a car, and it's really inexpensive too!

Allen Hitch Mount: A great, 4-bicycle car rack that's strong

Inexpensive, hitch bike racks for cars, trucks and SUVs

The Allen Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Rack is a great option that reviews extremely well. This model is intended to attach to a built-in vehicle hitch system, so be sure your car has one. The great thing about this model is the fact that it's very versatile, giving you great access to your car and your bikes while still being very strong. It installs with a single bolt in under 5 minutes.

It holds up to 4 bikes, and tilts back to allow access to the trunk or rear hatch. With steel construction, tie downs and a key release system, it's one of my absolute favorites. This particular model is compatible with a 2-inch receiver.

It's a bit more expensive, but this hitch mounted option is one of the strongest and best bicycle racks for most cars, hatchbacks and SUVs. I would recommend it to anyone who has a heavier bike and is worried about stability (downhill mountain bikers, this means you!).

Hollywood Racks HR1400 Sport Rider SE 4-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack (2-Inch Receiver)
Hollywood Racks HR1400 Sport Rider SE 4-Bike Platform Style Hitch Mount Rack (2-Inch Receiver)

This bicycle rack carries up to four bikes securely, and folds up when not in use. Tons of safety features.

 

Hollywood: A four bike hitch mount platform rack

A Good, 'platform' style hitch bicycle rack for cars

The Hollywood Racks HR1400 is a deluxe bicycle rack for cars, trucks and SUVs. This is another of the hitch based rack systems, so you'll need to make sure your car has one. This is a 2 + 2 system, meaning it can be quickly adjusted to be a 2 or a 4 bicycle carrier. It folds up near the back of your vehicle when you're not needing it, and it includes a 'no-wobble' construction, along with built in wheel holders, a strong safety cable, and clamps and velcro straps for added security. It's universal so it works for all bike sizes and styles.

One of my favorite bicycle racks for cars and trucks, it reviews really well. I particularly like that it gives a lot more stability than some of the less expensive options, which gives the driver peace of mind. There is also a 2 bicycle car hitch rack version available, follow the link and it should be listed.

Inno: A rooftop bike rack for cars, SUVs and vans

An upright roof-mounted car bicycle rack, compatible with most crossbars

The Inno Locking Upright roof bike rack for cars is a perfect choice if you happen to have crossbars on the roof of your vehicle already. It's compatible with most factory crossbars, and fits square and round systems. What's more, this is cheap, roof mounted bike rack for cars, sedans, station wagons and SUVs that lets you keep the wheels on your ride (many other systems require you to remove the front wheel). The tire holder accommodates wheels up to 2.7 inches wide, and a special calliper holding system fits even large framed bikes. It locks up securely too, so don't worry about your cycle getting grabbed while you're away.

For most people, hitch or rear door mounted bicycle racks for cars are the best option: they're easier to load and unload. However, if your vehicle can't utilize either of those styles, a roof-mounted rack is a great choice to consider.

What's the Best Bicycle Car Rack For Me?

Choosing based on your needs

If you're doing research and reading reviews, you shouldn't necessarily be concerned with finding the most expensive and 'best' bicycle rack for your vehicle. It's better to seek one that suits your particular needs, bikes and requirements.

In particular, look for a bike rack that fits the number of cycles you own. If you have a lot to transport, you'll need to search for a multi-bike mount system. If you just have one or two, you can go with a smaller, less expensive variety. Hitch mounted cycle racks for cars are great because they are very strong, and can hold many bikes at once.

You should also be cognizant of your physical limitations. Roof-mounted bicycle racks are awesome, but if you think you might have difficulty lifting it up there you should reconsider this model. There are some great trunk or hitch mounted racks for your bike out there, so don't limit yourself to just one type.

Another thing to consider is installation. If you're not very handy, go for one that has a quick and easy installation. If there is a lot of drilling, construction and messing around required, it's probably not the right one for you.

More Cheap Bike Racks for Cars on Amazon

Didn't find what you're looking for? Here are a few more to check out. Be sure to read the reviews, and avoid anything that's not name brand or has poor ratings. Either way, Amazon is a safe place to buy due to their cheap shipping and great return policies.

Do you have a bicycle rack on your car? If so, what kind?

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