How to Choose the Right Bike Rack for Your Car

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Cycling is a fun and exciting sport that gives you the opportunity to connect to your surroundings and gives you a sense of freedom. It helps you meet and interact with different people and improves your overall well-being. Cycling is all about adventures and exercise, but there might be a situation when you’ll need to use a bike carrier and take your bike with you on the road.
When you need to carry your bike by car, you want to do it securely and easily. A bike rack is a type of bicycle accessory that attaches to the outside of your vehicle to transport one or more bikes. For active families or solo adventurers, bike racks for cars Australia retailers offer can be a game-changer. It gives you the ability to take your bike on long-haul trips or afternoon getaways, frees up interior cargo space and makes it easier to pack for your adventure.


How to Choose Bike Racks for Your Car

There are many types of bike carriers and choosing one can be a daunting task. Finding the perfect bike rack depends on your vehicle, bike, budget, riding style and personal preferences. You can choose from a wide range of bike racks for cars Australia cycling retailers sell and find the design that’s right for you. To help you narrow down your options, here are the three main varieties of bike rack mounting systems out there.

Hitch-Mount

hitch-mount bike rack
source: switchbacktravel.com

If your car has a tow ball or hitch and you want to carry your bike at the rear, the best bike rack for you is probably of hitch mounted type. They come in different sizes to match the class of hitch on different vehicles and their position means you won’t need to lift your bike far from the ground. Many of them feature locks, for securing the rack to your vehicle as well as the bike and some are foldable and easy to store away when not in use. 
There are a few different types of hitch mount bike racks, including platform bike racks, spare tire bike racks, tailgate bike racks, bumper bike racks and hanging bike racks. Hitch bike racks are typically designed to haul two to five bikes. They are great for frequent users, easy to install and are incredibly sturdy, compared to other types of bike racks.
Make sure the rack you choose is compatible with the size of the hitch receiver. Here in Australia, if the rack obscures your license plate, you will need an official accessory plate from the RTA and your rack will need to illuminate the plate, so it can be seen from at least 200m away in poor light conditions.

Roof-Mount

Most roof bike racks attach to crossbars, while some use mounting feet and clips that attach to the vehicle’s upper door frame or rain gutters. They are stable, keep gear out of the way and don’t block access to vehicle doors. This type of bike rack is a great choice for serious cycling or outdoor enthusiast, but keep in mind that it requires lifting gear overhead. Some roof rack styles allow you to secure your bike(s) while keeping both wheels on, while others require you to take the front wheel off and secure the fork.

roof mounted bike rack
source: thule.com

Trunk-Mount

Trunk racks are versatile and fit a wide variety of cars, they are smaller than other bike racks and easier to store. They are designed to rest on the back of a car trunk, lock and strap into place around the edges of your trunk lid or door. If you are a recreational cyclist, these racks may be a good choice for you. Trunk bike racks are often limited in their load capacity, and typically, they can carry two to three bikes only. Before choosing your car bike rack, consider a few things, such as the following.

How Many Bikes?

Think about how many bikes you need to transport as you don’t want to stack up a bike on a rack that won’t handle the pressure. Keep in mind that the more bikes a bike rack can handle, the more expensive it’s likely to be. 

What Type of Bike do You Want to Transport?

Consider factors such as bike weight, wheel size and frame material as they can help you decide which type of bike rack best accommodates your needs. 


How is Your Vehicle Outfitted?

Does your vehicle come with roof crossbars or a receiver trailer hitch and what’s their size, or do you need to get those installed? If so, make sure to consider an additional expense for installing a hitch receiver on your car.

Do Bike Racks Damage Your Car?

roof mounted bike rack
source: talitaferraz.com.br

Bike racks are very useful for transporting bikes, but you may be wondering if one can actually damage your car. The truth is that improper installation, use or maintenance of a bike rack can cause damage to your car, so it’s important to make sure you choose the right type, install your bike rack properly and double-check if everything is secure before you hit the road. Be aware of your bike rack as having one attached to your car, whether it’s on the roof or the back, changes the dimension of your vehicle, so you need to be more cautious when driving.