If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to transport your bike on your next road trip, a trunk-mounted bike rack is a way to go. These bikes racks are easy to install and can hold bikes of all sizes, making them the perfect option for anyone on the go. Plus, they keep your bike out of the way, so you can still access your gear in the trunk.
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Need a car bike rack but don’t have a hitch? Trunk bike racks to the rescue!
A trunk-mounted bike rack rests on the boot or back of your vehicle, held in place by straps that connect to the trunk, hatch, or bumper. Whether you have a sedan, hatchback, SUV, or van, there’s a trunk bike rack that should fit your vehicle. But be aware that every trunk rack doesn’t fit every car. A trunk-mounted rack is a great choice if:
- You don’t have a hitch (towbar) or crossbars on your vehicle (and you don’t want to install them)
- Let you load your bikes at a convenient height
- You have standard bike types
- You don’t use a bike mount very often
- You want the most affordable option for transporting your bikes
Things to Consider When buying a Trunk Bike Rack
- Always Check if fit Your Car
- Check Bike Compatibility
- Weight Capacity of Trunk mount Bike Racks
- Number of bikes that you want to carry
- Importance of Support Bars Spacing
- Storage of Bike Rack
- Cradle Straps
- Purchase Velcro Straps
Always Check for Fit for Your Car
It is impossible for one bike rack to fit every different type of car. Always verify that the trunk bike rack will be compatible with your car’s make, model and year before you purchase it. Also, remember that even within the same brand some trunk racks may not be compatible with your car. Most trunk bike racks are not designed to attach to cars with spoilers. A car spoiler can get in the way of a standard bike rack preventing it from fitting properly on your vehicle. Most trunk mounts will not fit on a car with a spoiler. A vehicle spoiler can get in the way of a bike rack, resulting in the rack’s mounting straps pushing against it, which can cause damage to your car.
But some bike racks are designed to be mounted on cars that have spoilers.
Check if your Bike is Compatibil with your Trunk mount rack.
With a wide variety of bike frames, some bikes simply aren’t a good fit for trunk-mount racks or even any type of hanging bike rack. Kid’s bikes, cruiser-style, and adult mountain bikes with modern design tend to be the most problematic.
This adapter bar is often called a “tube adapter” because it replaces a horizontal top tube for loading. All three of these styles of bikes frames typically do not have a long, flat top tube for the cradles to attach to and usually need an adapter bar for loading. As a result, we recommend buying a rack with a higher capacity than you need. With an adapter bar, the front wheel of the bike can hang over a foot below the bumper of the car, which places the wheel at a much greater risk of being damaged. So if you have two styles of bikes, buy at least a 3-capacity rack so you can leave the cradles in between the bicycles empty. This is especially problematic with low cars (small sedans) when you are transporting larger bikes with 27.
If you have a carbon frame always use a platform rack!
The bend-back handlebars on cruiser-style bikes can cause problems as the handlebars often block the space for a bike to be loaded directly next to it.
Importance of Support Bars Spacing
The spacing of the support bars of the rack must be taken into consideration. The support bars are the two bars that stick out from the rack that the bikes rest on.
Trunk racks with closer-set support bars tend to fit a wider variety of bikes, while wider-set bars can better assist larger and heavier bikes.
Racks with wider-set bars allow the weight of the bikes to become more evenly distributed on the car. If you plan on the vehicle trying plenty of heavy bikes, a rack with wider support pubs will be more stable, especially going longer distances.
Trunk-mounted bike racks work best with bikes that have a large normal frame and a horizontal crossbar. The rack’s arms will easily fit in the frame and the horizontal crossbar will ensure that the bike rides level. Remember that your bikes should ride as level as you possibly can, and they should have adequate ground clearance so they won’t contact the bottom while you’re transporting them.
If you cannot mount your bicycle on a trunk-mounted bike rack because its frame is too small or it lacks horizontal crossbars, you may still be able to take your bicycle by using an adapter bar. An adapter bar is placed at the seat post and head tube of your bike and provides support that rests on the arm of a standard trunk-mounted bike rack. Most adapter bars can change in length to fit different types of bikes. To make sure that a specific adaptor bar will work for you, measure from your seat post to the top tube of your bike, then check the dimensions of an adaptor bar.
Have you checked ground clearance?
If the rack mounts are low on the car the more this is a problem but even racks that mount higher up could be an issue when paired with a bike that has a sloping top tube. If the top tube is the issue, then you need an adapter bar. Before buying a different bike rack, first, start by checking to see if you can attach the bike differently. This will again depend on the bike and frame but you may be able to place one of the support mounts under the top tube and the other under the downtube.
Weight Capacity of Trunk mount Bike Racks
Most trunk racks are not manufactured to hold bikes bigger than 35 pounds, while a hitch platform rack can often carry bikes as heavy as 60 pounds!
Always check the max weight capacity of a trunk rack.
While most bikes do weigh less than 35 pounds, cruiser-style bikes, e-bikes, and mountain bikes can easily get close to and even exceed that weight limit.
Be sure to check the weight of your bikes before you purchase a trunk mount rack!
Number of bikes
Trunk-Mount bike rack features:
Some bike racks have extra features that make them more useful.
- Bike rack construction and material
- Theft protection
- Ease to fit on the car
- Number of straps
- Adjustable arms
Always Protect Your Bike and Rack from Theft
Unsecured bikes and racks are definitely an easy target for thieves. If you need to leave your bikes on your own rack unattended or even keep your rack on while you go riding, you might like to consider locking your rack and bikes. Cables can be found to lock your bikes to your rack. Always use enough straps to lock your rack to your vehicle. These straps usually have a steel core to resist cutting and a puck- or tube-shaped anchor using one end. The anchor is positioned inside your trunk or hatch, and once the trunk or hatch is closed, the anchor can not be pulled out.
Some racks have built-in locks, which will make locking your rack and bikes far more convenient.
The motion of your vehicle accelerating, slowing, and turning can cause bikes that are mounted on a rack to rock back and forth, possibly scratching each other or your car. These cradles usually have extra mounting straps that grasp a downward bar of one’s bike to hold it securely.
Ease of Installation
Some racks are easier to adjust and fit your vehicle. The following information can help point you to racks that are better to install.
Bike racks have to be adjustable so that they can fit the many different shapes and sizes of vehicles on the market. When you install a bike mount rack, you must always adjust it to fit your car. In most cases, you have to work with the enhancements before the rack fits correctly. To make installation easier, some manufacturers design their racks with vehicle-specific settings to make it an easy task to fit your exact vehicle. You can adjust these racks to the correct position (just follow the manufacturer’s instructions), and you’ll understand that you have the best match without any guesswork.
Number of Straps
Most racks use 6 straps to hold the bike rack to your car. Some racks, however, have only 4, which can make the installation of a bike rack simpler and easier.
One of the big differences between low to medium range trunk bike racks and good quality trunk bike racks is the cradle strap. Low-quality racks have nylon webbing while good racks have flexible rubber straps. The rubber straps are easier and faster to strap in and also help prevent the bike from moving and shifting in the cradles.
Purchase Velcro Straps
If you’re buying a trunk bike mount rack, do yourself a favor and buy a pack of Velcro straps extra. You will need four to help the extra mounting straps so they’re not flapping all over the place.
You’ll also want to have one extra Velcro strap for each bike, which can secure the front tire in place to prevent it from swinging. The Velcro straps can also be used as padding between two bikes and can even hold two bikes closely together to prevent them from moving and bouncing into each other while on the road.
Adjustable and Folding Arms
The supporting arms on some bike racks can be adjusted. This useful feature lets you position the arms to hold the bike’s level. And some racks enable you to fold the arms down taken care of once you don’t have bikes loaded.
TIPS FOR LOADING A TRUNK-MOUNTED BIKE RACK
Load bikes heaviest to lightest
The closer the heaviest bike is to the car, the less strain on the mounting straps, especially on bouncy roads.
Always try to load your heavy bikes and then the lightest.
Load small bikes last and differently than larger bikes
With smaller or not standard bikes, always placing the downtube on the front cradle and the top tube on the rear cradle provides for a much better fit without the need for an adapter bar.
Remove the saddles if there is no space.
If you’re having trouble getting your bikes to all fit on the bike rack, try taking off the saddles!
Expect your bikes to get scratched
Add foam padding with Velcro straps between two bikes to prevent scratching.
Check vertical clearance
Bikes that need to be mounted with adapter bars always tend to hang very low when mounted on trunk bike racks on sedans, especially bikes with large frames or wheels. If your bicycle is too low, lowering the handlebars as well as the seat post can help raise the bike.
Have you checked ground clearance?
The lower the rack mounts on the car the more this is a problem but even racks that mount higher up could be an issue when paired with a bike that has a sloping top tube. If the top tube is the issue, then you might need one of the adapter bars.
Before you buy anything extra, start by checking to see if you can mount the bike differently. This will again depend on the bike and frame but you may be able to position one of the support mounts under the top tube and the other under the downtube.
Always try to center larger bikes on the car
Bikes, especially larger bikes, should be centered on the rack to prevent the bike’s rear wheel from getting hit while on the rack. To fix an “off-centered” bike, try to move the bike all the way towards one side until one of the rack’s mounting bars touches the seat tube of the bike. Even after you move the bike to the center, allow for extra room on both sides of the car, especially sedans.
If you’re looking for an easy, no-fuss way to take your bike with you on the go, a trunk-mounted bike rack is an answer. These racks are easy to use and install, and they keep your bike stable and secure while you’re driving. Plus, they take up minimal space in your trunk, so you can still fit all your gear in there. So if you’re planning on hitting the open road this summer, be sure to bring your bike with you – and for easy transport, use a trunk-mounted bike rack!