- 1 The best bike rack
- 2 Less expensive, harder to use
- 3 The best rack for electric bikes
- 4 The best trunk rack
- 5 If you need to carry more than two bikes
- 6 The best roof rack
- 7 The best bike carrier for pickup-truck beds
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Although we think this tray-style hitch rack is the easiest to load and use overall, we also have picks for cyclists with other needs. These include the less expensive Kuat Beta, the Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike, and the e-bike-friendly Thule EasyFold XT 2, as well as the Saris Bones EX 3-Bike trunk rack, the Yakima HighRoad roof rack, and the Inno Velo Gripper pickup-bed carrier.
Kuat Sherpa 2.0
The best bike rack
Of the tray-style hitch racks we tested, this is one of the easiest to install and use. It’s lightweight, holds one or two bikes securely, and lets you access your vehicle even when the rack is loaded.
The Sherpa 2.0 hits a sweet spot in performance and price that makes it stand out. This lightweight model is easier to mount on your car and to stow away than most other tray racks. It’s also easier than most to secure in the hitch, and its low lift height makes mounting bikes easier. The Sherpa 2.0 holds most types of bikes (up to 40 pounds each), tilts out of the way (even when fully loaded) so you can get in your vehicle, and folds up compactly when you aren’t using it. And for style-conscious riders, the Sherpa 2.0 looks great, with its metallic powder-coat finish and anodized accents. There are versions available to fit both 1¼-inch and 2-inch receiver tubes.
Less expensive, harder to use
This hanging-style, two-bike hitch rack costs less than our top pick, is light and simple to install, and easily folds flat for storage. It’s not as easy to use overall, though.
If you have budget constraints or storage space is at a premium, the two-bike, hanging-style Kuat Beta is a good, less expensive alternative to the Kuat Sherpa 2.0. Because it’s a hanging rack, it isn’t as easy to load as the Sherpa 2.0, and you must unload your bikes to tilt the rack down for vehicle access. But the Beta is solidly constructed and holds bikes securely, and it’s one of the lightest hitch racks we’ve tested, at only 18 pounds, which makes it easy to install on or take off a vehicle. And unlike most hitch racks, the Beta folds completely flat when it’s not on the car, making it simple to store anywhere—you can hang it on a garage wall hook or stash it in the back of an apartment closet. It’s available for 1¼-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers.
Thule EasyFold XT 2
The best rack for electric bikes
This rack, which is super-easy to install, load bikes onto, and store, can carry two bikes up to 65 pounds each. It’s great for electric bikes, but it is quite a bit more expensive than our top pick.
May be out of stock
Whether you need to transport heavier bikes, such as electric models, or you just want a rack that’s easy to load and store, the Thule EasyFold XT 2 is hard to beat. It’s one of the most expensive models we’ve tested, but its premium price includes luxury-like features that also make it one of the best overall racks we’ve tested. The EasyFold XT can hold bikes up to 65 pounds each, and it comes with a foldable ramp that lets you roll bikes onto it instead of having to lift them up. It’s lighter than other heavy-duty racks, and when it’s off the vehicle, it folds up to the size of a large airline carry-on bag. The EasyFold is also quick to install and lock to the vehicle, and integrated cable locks let you secure bikes to the rack. The EasyFold holds bikes by the frame, rather than by the wheels, however, which some riders don’t prefer, and the clamps can be a little awkward to use. It fits 1¼-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers.
Saris Bones EX
The best trunk rack
This upgraded model offers a versatile design, sturdy construction, light weight, and affordable price, which make it a great value.
The three-bike Saris Bones EX 3-Bike stands out because it’s solidly built, lightweight, easy to mount and to store when you aren’t using it, and fits on almost any car. Made of lightweight molded plastic, the Bones is easier to lift onto the back of a vehicle and strap on than its competitors. Despite its light weight, it was sturdy and stable during our driving tests, even at higher speeds and with quick stops. The fully adjustable curved arms fit over even the most massive factory rear trunk spoilers, and the whole contraption folds nearly flat for storage. The Bones also garnered one of the highest ratings from bike owners in a survey we fielded to more than 20 bike clubs across the country. (The Bones 2-Bike model that we tested previously is still available and even cheaper, but the new EX, which also comes in a two-bike version, is a significant upgrade, especially if your car has a big trunk or hatchback spoiler.)
Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike
If you need to carry more than two bikes
This tray-style hitch rack is lighter than most similar models, easy to use, and reasonably priced for a four-bike rack.
We recommend the Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike if you need to carry three or four bikes (or ones that are heavier than the Sherpa 2.0 can hold). The SuperClamp EX is one of the lightest four-bike tray-style hitch racks available, and it can accommodate two bikes up to 60 pounds each, along with two others up to 35 pounds each. You can easily fold the rack up when it’s empty, using a handle at the rear, or tilt it down when loaded to gain access to a vehicle’s cargo area. It isn’t as easy to secure in the hitch as the Kuat is—you need a wrench to tighten a lockable bolt in the hitch receiver, instead of just turning a knob by hand—and it’s available only for 2-inch receivers.
The best roof rack
This roof rack is another option if you don’t have a hitch mount. It’s easy to install, holds the bike securely without contacting the frame, and allows easy access to your car. Like all roof racks, though, the HighRoad is harder to load bikes onto than our other picks, and it can dramatically reduce your car’s highway gas mileage.
Although they’re more expensive than trunk racks and not as easy to use as hitch racks, roof racks give you unimpeded access to your vehicle’s cargo area, and they’re the only option for some car designs. Of the roof racks we tested, the Yakima HighRoad was the easiest to work with—both when mounting it on the vehicle and when loading bikes. It holds your bike solidly by the front wheel, which we like better than fork-mount designs because the rack doesn’t contact your bike’s frame, and you don’t have to take off the bike’s front wheel and carry it separately. The HighRoad fits a wide variety of bikes, and it lets you lock your bikes to the rack as well as lock the rack to the vehicle’s roof, which not all roof racks do. Your vehicle needs to have roof rails to mount the rack onto (something that’s true of all roof racks). If your car didn’t come with them, you can buy them from Thule or Yakima (this also gives you the option of carrying other gear, from skis to canoes to a cargo carrier).
Inno Velo Gripper
The best bike carrier for pickup-truck beds
A simple design, easy portability, and low price make this the best choice for carrying a bike in a pickup truck’s bed.
Trunk and roof racks won’t work on a pickup, and you may want to keep the hitch free for towing. The Inno Velo Gripper is easy to install, and it secures a bike to the side of a pickup truck’s bed. This position keeps the bike safe and, unlike other pickup carriers we tested, out of the driver’s rear line of sight. The Velo Gripper’s clamps are also compact enough that you can simply toss them in a toolbox when you aren’t toting a bike. You don’t have to remove the front wheel, but if your bike won’t fit in your pickup’s bed with the wheels on, you may have to lower the tailgate. The Velo Gripper doesn’t come with a way to lock the clamps or the bike, although you can often lock your bike to the truck directly. The Velo Gripper is available in two versions: The RT201 is designed to fit regular pickup-bed sides, and the RT202 is designed for use with C-channel bed-rail systems.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks