Best Mountain Bike Racks

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Mountain Bike Racks buying guide

Want to experience excellent off-road cycling? Perhaps a mountain bike is your best companion in that case! However, carrying your mountain bike can be a herculean task if you don't have access to stable mountain bike racks that can easily take your vehicle to your desired destination.

Choosing the best rack for your bike can be tricky. We know that you don't have any knowledge about the right materials and ideal characteristics of the perfect mountain bike rack.

In this buying guide, we have covered full-fledged details about all the necessary information that will help you pick the apt mountain bike rack for your ultimate adventure.

What do you mean by Mountain Bike Racks? Why is it important to have it?

Do you enjoy riding bikes and take part in several cycling events? If yes, then you should own a bike rack.

Mountain bike racks are the useful companions of your vehicle and garage, which offer a safe and convenient environment for the storage and transportation of bikes. They are exclusively designed systems attached to your vehicle.

Other than the attached ones, there are other bike racks available that are stationary and are only for storage and display.

Enthusiastic mountain bikers who frequently go out on rides prefer nice, lightweight quality racks for the hassle-free transportation of their beloved bikes.

Bike racks come in wide varieties that can be attached to the trunk, roof, or hitch of your car when traveling long distances.

Trunk Mountain bike racks provide you with the flexibility to move your racks among similar vehicle models while the roof racks offer you the advantage to carry other equipment as well. Hitch Mountain bike racks allow you to load numerous bikes at a time.

To avoid the extra work that you have to do after every ride like removing the wheels, cleaning dirt off your vehicle, etc. you must have a bike rack to manage your bikes easily.

Types of Mountain Bike Racks

Mountain bike racks are available in two style variants. First, that is only used for storage or display either in the house or the garage. The second type is usually used for transporting the bikes on your car or any other vehicle.

Bike racks for storage

These are further divided into different categories depending on your budget and the amount of space you want to dedicate to your bikes.

  1. Floor standing

If you do not consider space as a factor affecting your bike collection, then you should undoubtedly look out for floor standing bike racks that secure the rear wheel of your bikes.

It is the most inexpensive rack option available in the market. There are various designs out there both for single and multiple bikes.

  1. Wall-mounted

If you have a space crisis at your home, then having a wall-mounted rack will maximize space in your small area.

You can get your bikes up off the ground by hanging it on bike hooks.

Bike racks for transport

Wide range of bike racks are available in the market which is budget-friendly and are categorized distinctly:

  1. Roof racks

A maximum of four bikes can be transported securely and stably in one trip, eliminating the need for continuous fitting and unfitting, which can be annoying.

However, roof racks have some disadvantages. A full set of roof bars and bike racks can be a little heavy on the budget side, and due to numerous bikes on boards, they are not fuel-friendly as well.

Also, lifting heavy bikes onto the roof is a tiring task in itself.

  1. Boot racks

These consist of foldable frames which can be firmly fixed on the boot of the vehicle. With the system of straps, three bikes can be transported in a single trip.

They are popular because they are inexpensive and can be conveniently used on different vehicles. But they are less stable and prevent the access to the boot which other racks allow.

  1. Towbar racks

These are regarded as the most stable of all the racks. Before going for the towbar racks, consider whether your vehicle is already equipped with a towbar. Because if not, then it's worth noticing the extra expense which you will have to bear of having one installed.

Things to deem about while selecting an appropriate Mountain Bike Racks

As the summer season makes its way, mountain biking becomes an appealing outdoor activity. However, sometimes, you don't want to be restricted only to your neighborhood trails but also want to drive away to an exotic location and explore places there.

This is where bike racks come in handy to easily transport your bikes to another location in a safe manner.

Before it's time to travel and you are going to make your purchase of the finest Mountain bike racks for your enjoyable sport, look at the different features of the bike racks, which may help you decide the rack that suits your taste and preference.

Bike weight

To avoid any damage to your favorite bike, it is crucial to take into consideration the maximum weight a bike rack can endure. Ensure that you have a look at the combined weight of all your bikes that you will be transporting at a time.

This helps you in selecting the best rack for supporting your bikes while they are being transported.

Electric bikes weigh more than standard bikes, and to handle their weight, specially designed bike racks are available specifically for the electric ones.

Ease of use

You should always keep in mind that you have a heavy bike with which you are traveling.

To avoid any mishappening on the way, you should always emphasize the ease of use of the Mountain biking racks that you buy. You should ensure that the frame is not too complicated that you always move around with a risk surrounding you.

You should search for racks that are straightforward and way easier to be installed and use while you are on the go because nobody likes to be stuck with their racks for hours and face difficulties.

Mounting types

Bike racks come in different types of mountings, most common of which are the roof, trunk, and rear mounts.

As the name suggests, roof racks are meant to be mounted on the roof of the vehicle. They are very stable and come with cable locks for the wheels. However, one should be careful while driving under low bridges. They can pose difficulty to put the bikes on the roof and also hamper the fuel economy.

Truck racks are meant to be mounted on the trucks and have nylon or metal straps.

Rear mounting racks are most commonly used and are mounted at the back end of your vehicle. They are firm and strong and allow easy access to the rear side of your vehicle.

For rear mounting racks, you may also come across hitch or wheel mounting racks. They can be easily installed and are also capable of carrying snowboards in case you are heading for snowy places.

Besides, there are also Tow racks that are secure and sturdy, but if you do not have a pre-installed tow bar on your vehicle, installing a new one may call for more investment as they are quite expensive.


Security provided by Mountain bike racks can mean two things, how protected are your bikes from thieves and how securely they are attached to the vehicle.

Since you will be traveling across different terrains with differing speeds, your rack should have the ability to withstand the jerks caused due to the bouncing of the vehicle on different road conditions.

Search for bike racks that have an in-built anti-wobble mechanism and designed in a way to ensure that your bikes are always held in their respective places.

Also, look for integrated locks and secure straps to help add security to your bike.

No rack can ever be thief-proof, but a sturdy bar can be used for more security than any fabric barrier.

Though, it is always advisable to keep your bikes in your sight whenever they are in the racks.


While choosing for the best Mountain bike racks, versatility should always be on the top of your list.

Versatile racks can support a wide range of wheel sizes, tire width, bike frames, bike weight, etc.

In case you felt the need to change the model of your bike, or if any friend of yours visits and you and wants to keep his, then you don't have to change the rack because it can accommodate any type of bike.

But before purchasing it out of curiosity, you need to remember that these tools can put a financial weight on you. So, think wisely before you make your decision.


Whether it be carbon fiber or steel, bikes are made of different durable materials to face the rugged terrains, handle different riding styles, and keep in mind the comfort level of the person riding it.

Similarly, to safeguard these heavy bikes, the racks are also made of metals with unique properties.

  1. Steel

Some racks are made from steel because they offer peak strength, but apart from being strong, they are more substantial. You should go for a steel bike rack only if you decide to leave the rack installed on the vehicle for the majority of the time or if you have a heavyweight frame.

  1. Aluminum

There are other racks also which are made out of aluminum. Aluminum racks are lighter than the steel ones, and they are not strong enough compared to their counterpart. Go for aluminum racks if you have lighter bikes, and you frequently take off or put back your stand on the vehicle.


How many bikes do you need to carry?This should be the first question that you should ask yourself before purchasing any bike rack. Racks come with the holding capacity of one bike to five at a time. But remember, it is always better to have room for an extra bike, in case someone joins you.

While picking up the right rack, focus on the weight capacity per bike, as this helps you get an idea if your selection is heading on the right track.

This is because different racks are designed to hold different styles of bikes. Some are designed to hold lightweight bikes while some hold heavy-duty bikes.

Depending on the weight of your bike, you should choose your bike rack.


Due to their heavyweight, some racks, when loaded onto the car, affect your vehicle's fuel efficiency adversely.

It is estimated that if roof racks are used, they will cut the fuel efficiency up to 30% and even some high-mounted boot racks to have similar effects.

If fuel is a matter of concern for you, then you should consider this to be a deciding factor for your rack choices.

Look out for racks that do not have adverse effects on your vehicles' fuel despite carrying heavy loads.


Boot-mounted racks are the least expensive of all the racks available in the market. This is because they do not need any extra tool to attach it to the vehicle.

Roof and tow barracks can be affordable only if you have the means to attach them to the vehicle because installing them will cost you more additionally.


If your number plate and lights are not visible, then it is considered illegal, and you may face a penalty for the same, which you do not want to experience while you are going on an exciting trip.

If your rack is hiding the number plate, then you will have to fit a separate lighting board to overcome the problem.

Though roof racks do not create this problem, boot-mounted racks have been designed in a unique way to abstain from hiding the number plate.

Number of bikes

The number of bikes which a bike rack can carry differs according to the type of frame used.

A hitch bike rack is designed to carry up to five bikes at a time while the roof rack, since it is used with the roof bars, requires a separate stand for each motorcycle and hence can carry four bikes at a time.

Boot mounted racks can carry three bikes in a single trip.While purchasing your choice, you should consider the number of bikes you have with you, the feasibility of installation of the rack on your vehicle, and the effects it has on your vehicle along with the security factor.


The efficiency of the Mountain bike racks is a crucial aspect to emphasize on.The ease of loading and unloading the bikes should be considered. Roof racks affect the overall aerodynamics of your car, thus hampering your fuel efficiency.

If you have a short height, installing a roof rack may be a problem for you. Hence, you should opt for other rack designs that are comfortable for you to install and use.

It should also be built in a way to withstand natural adversities and should prove to be a worthy investment.


Investing in a product that has no durability and gets damaged easily is not worth it.

Before making a purchase, ensure that the rack that you are buying is rust and damage-free. Focus on the reviews of the product you are interested in.

Check whether it has any loose bolt or damaged part, which may go unnoticed at the time of purchase but may cost you more money soon.

It is the most vital factor to be brought under consideration before making any selection in a jiffy and repenting it later.

There are many types of racks that provide you safety, but when it comes to heavier models, they are not efficient enough to withstand the weight and the rough terrain of the location you are diving to. Make sure that they are durable and strong and can endure the harsh weather.


Most vehicles nowadays are compatible with almost all the racks available out in the market. While going for roof racks, make sure that you check the height of the vehicle so that it is comfortable for you to install the rack, and also, it doesn't create problems while passing under low bridges.

Another thing that you must bring to light is the compatibility of the bike rack to the bike frame.

Roof-mounted racks and tow bar racks require additional attachments, and if the racks do not fit the frame, then your money and time spent on buying the rack will be wasted.

Other accessories

To top up your Mountain bike racks, you need to have some accessories which may make your life a little easier while you go out for your adventure.

  1. Hitch extenders

These are used when a spare tire comes in the middle while you are fixing your hitch mount bike rack. To surpass its interference, use the receiver extender to get your frame fixed clearly. This is handy for jeeps and SUVs.

  1. Extra cradles

When you have unexpected riders joining in with you, you need to make space for their bikes. You can use a simple extender piece that can expand the rack to carry extra two bikes.

  1. Conversion bar

A conversion bar allows you to carry other lightweight bikes with you and your standard bikes. It adds a level top-tube to enable extra space for you to take other bikes.

  1. Ski racks

A ski rack adapter makes your bike rack a stable place to accommodate other winter riding equipment like a snowboard etc. during the fall time.

  1. Hitch stabilizer

During rough road travels with a constant high-speed hitch mounted bikes have a chance to fall off or get damaged. This handy part fits over the conjugating part of your rack and the receiver to stabilize the bikes and protect them from falling off.

Installing the Mountain Bikes Racks

If you enjoy riding bikes, you should fall in love with the installation of the bike racks.

Without the racks, you cannot transport your beloved riding tools to your favorite place to experience an extraordinary riding adventure with your family and friends.

Bike racks industry has become so popular that all the brands are facing tough competition among themselves as leading manufacturers are coming up with innovative designs to set themselves apart from others with the ease of installation.

The more ease of installation you have, the more time you save, and the more you enjoy your time.

Nobody wants to fumble around for hours, trying to install the whole rack, and the slightest error can carry tremendous risk, and all your efforts can go in vain.

Rack installation requires the knowledge of understanding the compatibility between your vehicle and the type of rack you are going for. The vehicle you ride decides the type of rack you should purchase.

For a truck, hitch-mounted bike racks are the best choice because they have high roofs and are usually equipped with a hitch receiver.

For a car, you should always opt roof-mounted or trunk-mounted racks because hitch racks are not common in cars.

The hitch mount racks slip into the receiver and carry up to five bikes, and they can be taken off and put back with ease. Roof-mounted racks need to be used with a roof rack. Once the stand is mounted, a separate stand has to be used for each bike.


1. Why is it necessary to check your rack installation frequently?

The rack installation may loosen up with time and there is a high chance that the nuts and bolts may need to be tightened up. Therefore, you must keep an eye on the installation time and again.

2. What is the right size of the rack?

The rack should have at least the size of the bike wheels, as well as the vehicle size.

3. How to prevent car scratching from a bike rack?

The bike rack may cause a little car scratching depending upon its design. You can guard it using a protection film or Scotchgard paint.

4. How to protect your bike from theft while on a rack?

You may use an integrated strap or lock that will protect the bike from getting stolen.

Summing Up

Now that you are well-aware about all the required traits in a long-lasting rack, all you need to do is purchase the best mountain bike rack.

You can go through the FAQs to clear all your queries and doubts related to these racks as well. We are sure you will find this guide as your handy manual and get the perfect rack for yourself! / - © Copyright 2020