Bike Rack Buying Guide

Regrettably we can’t ride our bikes everywhere. Sometimes we have to transport our bikes to where we want to ride from. In the old days, people would use makeshift methods to tie their bikes to vehicles for transport, but those days are long gone! With the introduction of bike racks, we are now able to transport our bikes safely and securely. 

Bike racks come in many different formats and uses. They also range in price. You should do some investigation to see what fits your needs. You may spend as much as 300 dollars on a high quality bike rack or pick up one really cheap at markets or garage sales. The one you pick will depend on your needs. Ask yourself the following questions.

Bike Rack Buying Guide

1. What vehicle will be used?

Where will the bike rack be going? This is important because you need to know how the rack will attach to your vehicle. Different Racks use different attachment methods. You will have to choose one that fits your vehicle.

2. How many bikes will you need to transport?

Do you have two or more bikes to transport? If so, you will want to buy bike racks that will allow your maximum number of bicycles.

3. Where do you want them to be racked?

Consider whether you want a roof, rear (hitch mount), or sport rack:

– Roof Racks: These racks are attached on top of a vehicle
– Rear Racks: These racks attach to the rear of vehicle. These can be trunk mounted or mounted to a trailer hitch.
– Sport Trailers: These are towed behind a car and are used to carry many bicycles

4. What shape are your bikes?

You must take into consideration the size and shape of your bikes. If you are transporting children’s bikes, for example, you will need racks that will take that size of bicycles. If you are transporting womens bikes you can get a temporary crossbar which clamps on to the seat pole and handlebar stem.

5. Who will load the bicycles on the rack?

It has to be easy and convenient for the loader. The easier the rack is to load onto the more expensive the rack.

6. How strong should your rack be?

If you are loading many bikes or heavy bikes, you will need racks that can withstand the weight of the bike. However, the sturdier the material, the more expensive the rack.

7. Does it need to be lockable?

If you need added security for your bikes you will want to purchase racks that have locks and other security devices. If it is an expensive rack then you might want to ensure that it is secured to the car

8. How often are you likely to use the rack?

You need to know how often you will use the rack so that you can purchase one that can withstand the rigors of travel. You may not have to purchase a heavy-duty, high price rack if you only use it infrequently. If it will be in regular use then you should also consider how easy it is to get into the trunk and whether it obstructs your rear view.

9. How much do you want to spend?

Ultimately, everything boils down to your budget. Try to find a rack that has only the features you need. If it has bells and whistles you don’t need, you might consider a cheaper bike rack. However you should take into consideration features and functionality that you might need in the future.

Consider buying a bike rack second hand. Check your local classified papers, garage sales, Ebay.com, Craigslist.com for used bike racks. You might be lucky enough to find what you are looking for.

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