Our Tips for Buying the Best Car Bike Carriers for Your Needs

Outdoor lovers know how important and beneficial a car bike carrier for their adventures can be. With this convenient accessory, you can travel anywhere and easily take your bike with you. You’ve cycled the streets close to you for a long time now, and you want to try some new trails? No problem, this accessory will help you explore every destination you can imagine. Car bike carriers are practical and enable you to transport multiple bikes with you at the same time. Plus, they’re easy to install and lightweight.

The Different Types of Racks

car with trunk mounted bike carrier on road
source: etrailer.com

When exploring the wide range of car bike carriers Australia has to offer, there are a few things to consider. Think about how often you will use it, will it be compatible with your car, how many bikes you transport, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Trunk-Mount Racks

Trunk-mounted racks are designed to sit on the rear of a car trunk while straps keep the bike in place. They are the most affordable bike rack systems. The bike is supported by arms and cradles, which keep it in position. These racks are perfect for amateur riders, and the fit is adjustable, so they can be used on almost every vehicle. When you don’t use them, you can easily store them away because they’re lightweight and portable. They are also easy to mount and dismount.

On the other hand, they can have some disadvantages as well. The main one is that you’re limited to 2 bikes to carry or, in some cases 3. Once you’ve installed the rack, it may obstruct the trunk space, leaving you limited access. And the last thing is that the security of the bikes depends entirely on you. If you don’t tighten the straps as you should, the bikes might slide or sway while you drive.

Hitch-Mount Racks

bikes mounted on car bike carriers in forest
source: backcountry.com

These racks are more expensive than the trunk-mount ones but are an excellent choice for people that travel more often and have to carry more bikes. They can store 2-5 bikes simultaneously and have two styles: platform style and hanging cradle style.

Hanging Cradle Style

With this style, you can hang your bikes from the rack. These racks are cheaper than the platform style, usually weigh less and have more space between the vehicle and the ground, making them safer and more practical. One downside is that if you don’t make them secure enough, they can sway and damage themselves while in transport.

Platform Style

woman mounting bike to hitch bike rack
source: switchbacktravel.com

This is where the bikes are stationed on a platform on the back of the car. This is the safest and easiest way for the bikes to stay in one place and not get damaged during transport. Even though these secure car bike carriers Australia offers can be on the more expensive side, they are worth the extra dollars. This way, you’ll know your bike won’t get scraped. They can also be heavy to carry on your own and a bit awkward to store because of their shape.

Before buying hitch-mount bike carriers, check your car’s load capacity because sometimes more weight than allowed can cause damage to the hitch by bending or breaking it. These racks are easy to install and very sturdy and durable. They may be big but are easy to take off. Some models even come with a lock. The only disadvantage is that when you’re carrying 4-5 bikes, you might feel a slight sway in the car.

Roof-Mount Racks

man mounting bike on car roof
source: tdotperformance.ca

If you’re strong enough to load your bike on the roof and don’t mind it, these racks will be perfect. Bike enthusiasts widely use them because of their versatility. They go by a moderate price, but things can get expensive if you start adding new cradles for extra bikes. Usually, cars and trucks come with rails on the roof for this purpose, but if your car doesn’t have them, you’ll need to build and install them on your own. This will also bring you additional expenses.

Besides being suitable for bikes, these racks can serve as a securement for small boats, skis or even cargo boxes. With these racks, you’ll have trunk space available at any time, plus your bikes will be secure because they won’t sway or move quickly. The tricky thing is that you have to lift your bike every time you want to use it, and it may not be as easy as the rest of the racks to install.

Spare Tire Mount Racks

Like trunk-mounted ones, these racks are easy to install and relatively inexpensive. They are great for vehicles that have spare tires hung on their back. You can screw them on the tire itself or the tire mount. You’ll need the essential bike tools for the second option. They are easy to install but can hold up to 2 bikes and give extra length to your vehicle.

How to Choose a Bike Rack

man mounting bike on car roof
source: ageas.co.uk

The first thing you need to consider before buying racks is the number of bikes you want to transport. Regardless of the model, each bike rack features a different number of cradles, each designed to carry only one bike at a time. So, once you’ve decided how many bikes you’ll be transporting, look for a rack that can handle the task. The maximum weight that the rack can carry is just as crucial as the number of bikes it can transport. You don’t want to overlook this consideration.

The second thing is the type of car you drive. Many car owners still struggle to determine which bike rack is ideal for their vehicle and wind up with an unsuitable bike rack. Understand that the model of your car will have a significant impact on your options. You should also inspect your vehicle’s inside. What is the receiver trailer hitch or crossbar size, if it has one?

The third thing is the security of the rack. Some racks come with security locks, and for some, you’ll have to provide one yourself. For the ones that have, make sure you read the whole manual and follow every step, so you’ll get the lock to work properly. And the last thing is your budget. You’ll need to determine how much you’re willing to spend and then go shopping for a rack.