Do you love cycling? Not only is it fun but a great way to keep in shape. Rather than driving your car to the supermarket nearby, go cycling. Paddle away and get your favorite crisps while burning a few calories down the blocks!
For bike enthusiasts, summertime is great fun! You get to plan family cycling trips to your favorite spots. But then, how do you carry so many bikes with you? of course, taking them on multiple trips isn’t feasible, or maybe tow them to the back of your car? This is risky too! If the transportation of bikes has always been an issue for you, you surely need a roof bike rack!
Which roof bike rack should you buy? This article will help you make the best choice!
|Yakima Frontloader Rooftop Bike Rack||Adjustable wheel tray, The tray comes coated with powder for rust-free performance, In-built tie-down system, Can easily accommodate bigger bikes including mountain bicycles, Comes pre-assembled and needs no tools for installation, Uses ratchet straps for tying down bikes, Lifetime warranty||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PRV7H2/?|
|RockyMounts TomaHawk Upright Rack||Perfect to accommodate bikes of every size and type, Heavy-duty aluminum frame, Loads and unloads bike using a small nub, Fits crossbars of different sizes and types, Uses rubber-covered hooks to attach to the car, Streamlined with low height which decreases noise, Affordable||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OCGFIL4/?|
|Yakima HighRoad Bike Mount||Versatile and steady, Uses hoop and cradle to grip bikes, Can accommodate heavier bikes too, Does not require you to remove the front wheel for fitting in, Compatible with most crossbars, Affordable||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N14Z8KU/?|
|Yakima ForkLift Fork mount rooftop bike rack||Lightweight, Versatile and steady, Easy to install, Uses straps to hold the bikes tightly, Comes with three different clamping options, Affordable, Compatible with most crossbars||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PRV7H2/?|
|Swagman Standard Roof Rack||Easy and convenient to install, All the necessary accessories for installation come with the rack, In-built tie down system, Simple design, Not so expensive||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015Q69LM|
|Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount||Corrosion-free aluminum frame, SecureHook for tying down the bikes, It attaches to the vehicle using hooks that makes installation scratch free, Offers tool-free installation that is quick and easy, Compatible with most crossbars, Lightweight||https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QV1WQO|
|Thule ProRide Upright Bike Carrier
|Tool-free installation, Torque limiter dial to manage weight, Ergonomic design for automatic position of your bikes, Uses straps and holders to grab the bikes by the wheels, Sleek and clever design, Does not require you to lift the bikes up high
|CyclingDeal Roof Rack with Lock
|Easy to install, Can fit crossbars of different sizes and shapes, Fork-free design which means no more removing of the front wheel, Affordable
|Thule Criterium Upright Rooftop Carrier||Uses C-clamps to attach to the vehicle, Can carry more than one bike at a time, comes pre-assembled, thus making installation quick and easy, Aluminum wheel tray which is corrosion-resistant, Wheel straps hold down the bikes tightly, Affordable
|Thule Big MouthRooftop Carrier
|Affordable, Can accommodate bicycle with bigger tires, Consists of aluminum wheel tray and straps for tying the bike down, Compatible with most crossbars, Lever for automatic adjustment of the bikes
The Top 10 Roof Bike Racks
Roof bike racks are easy to install sturdy and provide the best solution for your bike carrying problems. But for someone who hasn’t bought one earlier have no idea which one to go for. Thus, to make things easier for you, here is a list laid out with the top-rated roof bike racks, helping you choose one that best suits your needs.
Yakima Frontloader Rooftop Bike Rack
Let’s start off with one of the best rooftop bike rack, the Yakima frontloader. Although is the most expensive one here, but for the price, it provides quality!
This bike rack holds the bikes by its wheel, hence know that it can accommodate studs with tires measuring from 20 to 29 inches which includes adults’ bikes and mountain bicycles. Furthermore, the rack comes pre-assembled which makes installation super easy. It has been designed to fit crossbars shaped round, square, etc without a problem. You don’t even need tools to fix this wonderful equipment in place!
Additionally, the Yakima frontloader comes with a 56 inches removable wheel tray which is coated with powder to keep it safe from rusting. To ensure no dirt from the bike tires fills the rack, the wheel tray comes with a cut in the center of it from where the dirt can fall off easily. Moreover, the front of the rack has an adjustable brace with a cradle that grips the bikes from the wheel, securing it tightly in place. In case you wish to adjust the brace, pull down the levers on the side to do so.
Know that this roof bike rack can accommodate wheels with a width measuring up to 2.5 inches and not more. Also, to secure thing studs carefully in place, the Yakima frontloader consists of ratcheting straps that wrap around the bicycles to get the work done.
And as for the installation, all you need to do is clamp the rack to the roof of your vehicle. Turn the spin handle on it to secure the rack onto the crossbar, make sure it is sturdy with no loose hooks, or else when placing your bikes on it, they may fall hurting those in the way!
Furthermore, the Yakima frontloader comes with a patent tie-down system that promises complete security of your bikes, keeping them tightly fixed in place during transit. And yes, the lifetime warranty that comes with this roof bike rack makes usage easy, fun and stress-free.
- Adjustable wheel tray
- The tray comes coated with powder for rust-free performance
- In-built tie-down system
- Can easily accommodate bigger bikes including mountain bicycles
- Comes pre-assembled and needs no tools for installation
- Uses ratchet straps for tying down bikes
- Lifetime warranty
- Can only hold up to 1 bike at a time
RockyMounts Tomahawk Upright Rack
As clever as a hawk, the Tomahawk by RockyMounts is a unique bike rack that fits bikes of sizes and types that no other rack does!
This roof bike rack manages to fold the bike from both its wheel and fit all types of crossbars, including square, factory, and round, hence proving it to be super sturdy and strong. From children’s bicycles to fat tire mountain bikes, the TomaHawk can accommodate various bike sizes without bending beneath the weight.
Unlike other roof bike racks, this one does not need you to remove the front tire to position it. Moreover, installing it on the roof of your car is super quick and easy, while loading and unloading the bike can be done by using a tiny nub attached to the side of the frame. Also, as the rack uses hooks to attach to the car, that too with complete rubber covering, you’ll know that the vehicle will remain free from scratches and damage.
The TomaHawk by RockyMounts is sturdy, durable, and lightweight. It is constructed from heavy-duty aluminum which promises corrosion-free usage over the years, also making it lightweight so your vehicle remains clean from dents. Furthermore, as the rack is streamlined with low height, it reduces noise caused by wind when driving which can most of the time is pretty annoying.
It offers top-notch quality and great performance with easy installation. But the only thing the TomaHawk lacks is in the rattling noise that it creates during driving. And even when you’re not moving, the rack makes such noise which can be worrisome at times!
- Perfect to accommodate bikes of every size and type
- Heavy-duty aluminum frame
- Loads and unloads bike using a small nub
- Fits crossbars of different sizes and types
- Uses rubber-covered hooks to attach to the car
- Streamlined with low height which decreases noise
- Creates rattling sound when driving or parked in the garage
- Cannot carry more than one bicycle at a time
Yakima HighRoad Bike Mount
The perfect solution to all your bike hauling problems, the Yakima HighRoad roof bike rack is here to help you!
Although, towing your bike at the back of your vehicle may seem easy, but it is no way the safest way to transport you expensive stud. This rack is versatile, strong, and high performing. So when it comes to value for money, this one surely pays off in a great way!
The Yakima HighRoad roof bike rack is user-friendly. It uses an adjustable hoop and cradle to grip anything from a small bicycle to a huge mountain bike pretty effortlessly. And best of all, the rack easily fits most aftermarket crossbars and you don’t even need to remove the front wheel of your bike while putting it on it. How do you ensure the rack securely holds the bikes in place? Well, the front wheel is fixed in place using clamps while the back one stays tightly in position by straps wrapped around it. This way, the bike too remains at a distance from the car, eliminating the chances of scratches and damages.
Although the Yakima HighRoad is one cleverly designed roof bike rack offering great performance, it does have some drawbacks. When you place bikes on the rack, it stands up tall, leaving you in a problem with parking or crossing through low-height spaces.
Moreover, to accommodate bikes that are bigger with fat tires, you’ll need to spend a few extra bucks on buying Yakima Fat strips that do not come cheap. Otherwise, all in all, the HighRoad is secure and steady, offering easy haulage of your bicycles!
- Versatile and steady
- Uses hoop and cradle to grip bikes
- Can accommodate heavier bikes too
- Does not require you to remove the front wheel to fitting in
- Compatible with most crossbars
- Once the bicycle is fixed in the rack, you won’t be able to move through places with low height
- Need to buy Yakima fat strips to hold bigger bikes in place
Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack
Another one of Yakima’s roof bike rack successfully makes its place to the list of the best roof-mounted bike racks!
It weighs around 9.4 pounds with an ergonomic built and heavy-duty steel frame which ensures complete sturdy and high performance. The Yakima Forklift comes with a fork roof mounted design which makes it lightweight and easy to install. Once you position your bike on it, you’ll happily forget having something on top of the roof, because of its less weight. But on the other hand, the fork design comes with its downside too. You need to remove the front wheel every time you plan to haul the bike on the rack.
To make sure everything is well fixed in place, the rack comes with clamps to attach to the vehicle. Furthermore, the straps hanging on the sides grip your studs tightly so they don’t sway during the thrift drive. Remember that with this roof-mounted bike rack, you need to lift the bike high, which can cause a problem with places that have low roofs.
What makes this roof bike rack even better the three different clamping options. When set at the two lower options, the rack perfectly fits factory crossbars. And for the top setting, it becomes highly compatible with both square and round crossbars. Additionally, the installation of a forklift rack is easy and so is taking it off. But you wouldn’t want to de-install it every day!
Hence, if you’re looking for something that will last for much longer, the Yakima forklift fork mount rooftop bike rack is what you need!
- Versatile and steady
- Easy to install
- Uses straps to hold the bikes tightly
- Comes with three different clamping options
- Compatible with most crossbars
- You need to remove the front wheel of the bike when mounting it
- May cause a problem in places with low roofs
Swagman Standard Roof rack
Swagman is not a new name when it comes to quality sports gear! They make some of the best bike racks in the world and that too priced affordably!
Sometimes all you need to haul your bikes is a simple bike rack that comes packed with great features yet looks pretty conventional. The Swagman standard roof bike rack consists of a fork mount design which is why you need to remove the front wheel when hauling and secure it using a 9mm skewer. Moreover, it also fixes to most disc brakes and if your bike has a thru-axle, you might need to buy an adapter to complete the task.
Furthermore, the Swagman as the names suggest attaches to most standard crossbars which are what makes it a fine choice. It also consists of a built-in tie-down system for the secure positioning of the studs. But for those who are new to racks, installation of it can take time. The pack comes with all the necessary accessories, thus all you need to do is follow the instructions and work your way through the installation process.
Just make sure the support arms attach rightly with the front crossbar. Use the bolts and nuts that come along to get the job done. Like other roof-mounted bike racks on the list, this one too requires you to remove the front wheel before mounting the bike and use the fork blade to fix it in place. Apart from having to remove the front wheel, the Swagman Standard rack is easy to use, install and is durable.
- Easy and convenient to install
- All the necessary accessories for installation come with the rack
- In-built tie-down system
- Simple design
- Not so expensive
- Need to remove the front wheel before mounting
Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount
If you’re up to spend some pretty good bucks on an expensive bike rack, then Thule’s Sidearm universal bike mount is not to be missed!
The rack is proudly manufactured from aluminum and consists of a double-wall wheel tray that promises to place your bikes with full steadiness. The use of aluminum in the making ensures that the rack remains corrosion-free, giving you a lifetime of performance to enjoy. Moreover, it can easily accommodate bikes with wheels measuring up to 29 inches.
The Thule Sidearm roof bike rack is an amazing rack when it comes to performance and installation. It is easy to install and uses SecureHooks by Thule to attach to the vehicle. Furthermore, the front wheel is secured in place using the hook while the back one is fixed with a ratchet strap. This way, the rack makes it clear to transport your bike securely and safely.
Moreover, for additional security of your expensive studs, you can purchase One-key lock cylinders that help to lock the bike frame to the rack. The Thule Sidearm universal bike mount is super easy to install as mentioned earlier, but yes, you do need to screw in the bolts and nuts that come along to fix the rack to the vehicle. Does seem a tough job for someone lazy, right? Besides this, the roof bike rack can slide into any crossbars, which makes it highly compatible with most vehicles. A fine choice for sure!
How do you fix it though? Once you have the crossbars positioned in place, lay down the metal brackets and screw them in place using wingnuts and bolts. Thus, it pretty much offers tool-free installation so you won’t have a problem fixing it!
Furthermore, the rack comes with a tie-down system, which gives you complete satisfaction of secure transportation of your studs. a durable bike rack, high performing, and secure, Thule Sidearm is here to stay!
- Corrosion-free aluminum frame
- SecureHook for tying down the bikes
- It attaches to the vehicle using hooks that makes installation scratch-free
- Offers tool-free installation that is quick and easy
- Compatible with most crossbars
- Can only carry one bike at a time
Thule ProRide Upright Bike Carrier
With Thule ProRide Upright bike carrier, now that your bikes are in safe hands!
This is one amazing creating by Thule. The rack is sleekly designed to look modern and fresh yet is packed with fabulous features that make it everyone’s favorite. The rack can conveniently manage weight up to 44 lbs and the ergonomic design allows you to automatically fix in your bikes. If you do not like lifting your bike high, the rack will lower its platform for biking positioning, making it super fun and easy!
Want another amazing feature of the rack that no other on the list offers? The Thule ProRide comes with a torque limiter dial. This dial simply tells you the amount of weight being exerted on the rack, hence, easily managing the balance and security of your studs. This way, you know that the frame is kept safe from damages.
Furthermore, to keep your bikes away from swaying, the rack cleverly fixes the bikes in place using wheel holders. And for additional security, you get a lower extended jaw which smartly holds down the bike from the wheels. But sadly, with all the great features, you need to buy lock cylinders separately as it does not come along.
In short, the Thule ProRide Upright bike rack gives you tool-free installation, offers the safest way of transporting your bicycles, and consists of a modern feature. This one is surely worth spending your money on!
- Tool-free installation
- Torque limiter dial to manage weight
- Ergonomic design for the automatic position of your bikes
- Uses straps and holders to grab the bikes by the wheels
- Sleek and clever design
- Does not require you to lift the bikes high
- You need to buy the lock cylinders separately
CyclingDeal Roof Rack with Lock
If you are in search of a pocket-friendly roof bike rack, the rack by Cycling deal is surely a “good” deal!
Do not be fooled by its price. Thus, unlike a fork roof bike rack, this one offers easier accommodation of bikes. How? The CyclingDeal’s bike rack uses a frame holder to grip them tightly in place. It means, now you won’t be stressing over removing the front whenever mounting the bicycle off the rack. But of course, this doesn’t come with its own set of disadvantages. Once the bike is locked in, it will stand up high causing a problem with air clearance while driving.
On the contrary, the frame holders do not allow the studs to come in direct contact with the rack or vehicle which keeps it clean from scratches. Moreover, it also comes with locks that deliver guaranteed safety from thieves. But can this roof bike rack hold every type of bicycles? Yes, it can! The CyclungDeal’s rack is great with accommodation of kid’s bicycles but when it comes to bigger bikes like mountain ones, the rack may not deliver its 100%.
Apart from causing air clearance with its great height, the rack is superbly versatile. It can easily fit into different shaped crossbars from square to factory ones without having to struggle with the installation. Keeping it short, if you’re not willing to spend too much one something like a bike rack yet want the quality to be delivered, CyclingDeal makes a great choice!
- Easy to install
- Can fit crossbars of different sizes and shapes
- The fork-free design which means no more removal of the front wheel
- Height causes problem with air clearance
Thule Criterium Upright Rooftop Carrier
When talking about one of the greatest creations but Thule, Criterium’s name doesn’t fall behind!
To give you just the right amount of stability with your bike, the rack comes with an aluminum wheel tray, adjustable C-clamps on each end, and wheel straps to tie the bicycles down. The rack guarantees full stability during transit so that your bicycles rack their destination safely.
Furthermore, the Criterium is ideal to transport one or two bikes at a time and thus, this is what makes the rack different from other roof bike racks. Additionally, the carrier comes pre-assembled thus saving you the pain of taking out your tools and spending endless hours on its installation.
And yes, the in-built lock system promises full security of your bikes during transit. the Thule’s Criterium is an absolute beauty, designed to provide stability and security while you enjoy carrying your bicycles down the rugged trail. The only point where the rack lags are that you’ll need to buy an extra adaptor to fix the rack in place.
- Uses C-clamps to attach to the vehicle
- Can carry more than one bike at a time
- It comes pre-assembled, thus making installation quick and easy
- Aluminum wheel tray which is corrosion-resistant
- Wheel straps hold down the bikes tightly
- Need to buy an adaptor
Thule Big MouthRooftop Carrier
As the name says it all, the Thule Big MouthRooftop bike rack gives an unbeatable performance every time!
This sleekly design roof bike rack offers great stability. It is easy to install and can fit various types and sizes of crossbars without a problem. Furthermore, it can also fit The Thule Aero profile, but for it, you might need to buy an adaptor separately.
The Thule’s Big Mouth consists of an aluminum wheel tray and straps that tie down your bikes tightly in the platform. Moreover, it comes with a lever for automatic adjustment of the studs and a one-key lock system for guaranteed security. Also, this roof bike rack can accommodate bikes with wider tires, thus making it a great choice for your heavier bikes which are otherwise easier to mount on an average bike rack.
- Can accommodate bicycle with bigger tires
- Consists of an aluminum wheel tray and straps for tying the bike down
- Compatible with most crossbars
- Lever for automatic adjustment of the bikes
- Need an additional adaptor to mount with Thule Aero profile
The Best Roof Bike Rack- A complete Buying Guide
When purchasing something for the first, everyone tends to become overwhelmed yet confused with the hundreds of options available in the same category. You might have something in mind but with no prior experience of buying that product, you’ll simply end up purchasing something completely different.
Thus, when it comes to buying a roof bike rack, you need to be careful as spending again and again over something this expensive isn’t a feasible option. So, what should you look for in a “good” bike rack? Here is a complete guide to help you.
Before you jump to a decision, sit down, and understand your needs. List down your priorities and then work your way through the final decision. Here is what you should be thinking of:
Bike holding capacity
One of the major factors that will influence your decision is how many bikes do you need to carry in a single trip. If you belong to a family of bike enthusiasts then you surely a roof bike rack that can accommodate more than a single bike in one go, saving both your efforts and time.
The Frequency of use
Next, the number of times you’ll be using the rack in a week or month will surely influence your decision. How? Because if you’re a cyclist who goes for bike riding rarely, you’ll need a rack that can be easily be installed and detached at the same time. on the contrary, for someone who is an avid cyclist, going for a rack with permanent installation won’t be a problem.
Willingness to spend
Well, certainly for someone who is into cycling a lot would never hesitate to spend a few hundred dollars on equipment like a roof bike rack. While for someone who doesn’t go for bike riding that often, spending too much on something like this isn’t very clever. You can find a simple bike rack offering decent quality at an affordable price pretty easily.
Furthermore, what type of car do you know will determine the type of bike rack that you will need to buy. If you have a car with a spare tire at the bike, opting for a roof rack won’t be a good idea. Rather go for a spare tire bike rack or a ladder one which easily attaches to it. Thus, before heading out to buy a rack for yourself, study thoroughly the type of vehicle you own and which rack will go best with it.
Do you plan to use the rack inside the garage or outside? Why is it important? Because if you’re planning to use the rack inside the garage, you can never opt for a roof bike rack because of its increased height but yes it can conveniently be stored and used out the home premises.
Ease of installation
Are you too lazy to spend hours installing a bike rack? If your amongst people who are afraid to follow manuals and written instructions, go for racks that offer tool-free installation.
Why choose a roof bike rack for your Bicycle?
Transporting a bike with proper equipment isn’t easy, especially if you want to carry more than one bike. You’ll either end up making multiple trips to the destination or damage the expensive studs on the way if carried without protection.
This is why; you need a roof-mounted bike rack? But what makes this type of bike rack the best amongst the lot? What makes it a viable option? Roof-mounted bike racks are compatible with most crossbars which makes installation easy, quick, and convenient. Most of the times you do not even need tools to fix it in the car. Moreover, these types of racks are versatile! If just hauling a bike isn’t what’s on your mind, you surely need this rack right away! From kayaks to cargo, the rack can be pretty much used for transportation of anything and everything.
Although roof-mounted bike rack is strong and durable, it can create a problem with air clearance. As it is fixed at top of the car, you’ll find it difficult to use within the garage, thus forcing you to park the car outside every day! But if you’re okay with it, go ahead with a roof-mounted bike rack, because it is one of the safest ways to carry your bikes to the required destination.
- Versatile and strong
- Does not limit the access to the rear or trunk of the car
- Easy to install
- because of the height, it can create problems with spaces where the roofs are low
- increase fuel consumption as you need to push the accelerator harder to win against the wind with the rack on
Other types of Bike Racks
Well, the article revolves around the best roof-mounted bike racks, but of course, these are not the only ones you’ll find in the market. If you aren’t convinced into buying a roof bike rack, here are other types of racks that might grab your attention:
- Hitch-mounted bike rack
Hitch-mounted bike racks use hitch receivers to fix your vehicle. Most of the vehicles come with receivers but if your car doesn’t have one, you’ll need to buy one. If because of a roof clearance problem you do not want to buy a roof-mounted bike rack, the next feasible option is surely a hitch bike rack. Moreover, this rack is easy to install and uses clamps to attach to the vehicle.
To ensure the complete safety of the bicycles, the rack uses straps to tie them down. Also, because it is heightened pretty low as compared to a roof bike rack, you do not have to lift your bikes high, making both loadings and unloading super convenient. But before your impressed with its features and head out to buy one, know that the lighter the rack is in weight, the more expensive it will be.
- Easy to install
- Makes loading and unloading bikes easy
- Offers full security by tying the bicycles down using straps
- Attaches to the vehicle using clamps, giving you tool-free installation to enjoy
- No worries about height clearance
- If your vehicle does not have a receiver, you’ll have to buy one
- May obstruct your view at the back
- Also, cover the license plate
- Trunk-mounted Bike Racks
Next, it is time to discuss the trunk-mounted bike racks another versatile bike rack offering great performance and secure transportation of your bikes.
It is lightweight and easy to install. This bike rack uses no tools for installation rather comes with easy clip-on clamps that attach to the vehicle without a problem. Although the ease of installation makes the rack popular amongst the crowd, one of the biggest downside to the trunk-mounted bike rack is that these do not come with an in-built patented security system that keeps your bike always at a risk of being taken away.
Apart from this, the rack attaches to the back of your car, hence making height clearance no issue at all. But remember, because it fixes at the back, it obstructs the view at the back and limits the access to the rear. Thus, if you have a lot of cargo to carry along with you, this rack might not be a good option to go for.
Furthermore, most trunk-mounted bike racks are designed to accommodate more than one bike at a time is super sturdy and delivers high-quality performance for longer.
- Tool-free installation
- No worries about height clearance
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Can accommodate more than one bike simultaneously
- Cheaper in price as compared to other types of bike racks
- Compatible with most vehicles
- Obstructs the rearview
- Limits access to the back
- Spare Tire Bike Racks
Do you have a car with a spare tire at the back? If yes then you need to buy a spare tire bike rack to carry your bicycles, because other designs will simply make installation a problem.
Spare tire bike racks are designed to fit around the tire pretty easily. It is easy to install and the best part is, the tire keeps the rack away from the car. So what? It means when you’ll position your bike on the rack, it will be at a decent distance from the car, promising scratch-free transit of the studs. This way, both your vehicle and bike remain clean from damages.
Like other racks, the spare tire rack offers you tool-free installation. And even if you come across a rack that requires tightening of the bolts and nuts, you’ll be able to get over it within minutes of unpacking. Moreover, this rack is steady, strong, and durable and offers sway-free haulage of the bikes.
- The strong frame and durable
- Comes with an in-built anti-sway system
- Easily attaches to the spare tire
- Keeps the bikes away from the vehicle, keeping both safes from damage
- May hide the license plate
- Limits the use of the spare tire
- Reduces the access to the rear
A roof bike rack is the quickest solution to your bike hauling problems. It offers stability and security while being much reasonably priced. Although you do have many more alternatives to explore, if you do not have an issue with air clearance because of your vehicle’s height, this one will serve your purpose with the best of outcomes!