IF YOU'RE planning on taking your bike away on holiday with you, or you want to get to and from events or trails by car, a bike rack is a great solution.
A bike rack takes the hassle out of taking your bike on public transport or having to remove wheels to fit in your car.
Which bike rack is best for you will depend on a number of factors, including the type of car you have, whether you have a tow bar or not, what type of bike you have, and how many bikes you’re looking to transport.
There are three main types of bike rack, and each has their pros and cons.
A hitch mount is secured to your car’s tow bar (if it has one), but will make your car’s boot inaccessible; a strap mount is like a hitch but is attached using (you guessed it) straps, and generally takes longer to fit; and a roof mount will solve the accessibility issues, but can be more difficult to load because of the additional height.
It is also possible to get a bike trailer for your car if you have a tow bar, but a bike rack will generally take up less space when not in use.
Still not sure what the best bike rack is for you? Our guide below should provide you with some ideas for all budgets.
1. Halfords Rear Low Mount Cycle Carrier
- Rear Low Mount Cycle Carrier, £49 from Halfords – buy now
This strap mount from UK retailer Halfords is a great entry-level introduction to bike racks.
It is adaptable and will fit most cars, from small hatchbacks to larger SUVs. Two sets of straps secure the rack to the boot of your car, while padded protection will prevent your car’s paint getting damaged at all.
The rack can take two bikes up to a weight of 25kg each (although just one electric bike) and includes another strap to help keep your bikes from moving around during transit.
2. Peruzzo Milano High Rise 3 Bike Boot Fitting Car Carrier / Rack
- Milano High Rise 3 Bike Boot Fitting Car Carrier, £156.99 from Tredz – buy now
The Milano High Rise from Italian brand Peruzzo is similar in stature to the Halfords offering but takes everything up a notch.
The lightweight aluminium construction makes securing to the car a doddle, while three sets of straps keep everything feeling solid in transit.
It can take up to three bikes at any one time and, like the Halfords bike rack, an additional mechanism can be used to keep your load in place and from moving around in transit.
Like most strap mounts, it is necessary to purchase a crossbar convertor for women’s bikes and dual suspension mountain bikes.
3. Thule Xpress 970 Towbar Car Bike Rack
- Xpress 970 Towcar Car Bike Rack, £54.99 from Decathlon – buy now
If your car has a tow bar, it is possible to use a hitch mount. The benefits over a strap mount are that they are generally quicker to secure to your car and the rack itself is lower, making it easier to load the bikes onto the rack.
This entry-level model from Thule can take two bikes up to a maximum load of 90kg.
There are two dedicated slots for each bike and soft rubber frame holders to protect the bike’s paintwork.
Finally, the rack’s scissor action makes it very compact when not in use, making it easy to store.
4. Yakima FrontLoader
- FrontLoader, £119.95 by Yakima – buy now
The FrontLoader by American car rack specialists Yakima is the first in this list that is mounted to the roof. It does require your car to have roof bars, so probably isn’t suitable for smaller vehicles such as hatchbacks.
Unlike the other racks already mentioned in this list, your bike is secured by its wheels alone.
Although it may not sound as trusty as the frame, it leaves your load feeling secure while preventing any damage to carbon frames or external cabling.
It can take all bikes, from BMXs to 29” mountain bikes and everything in between, while an integrated cable lock secures your bike to the rack, making them safe if left on top of your car for short periods.
Unlike the others on this list, the FrontLoader can only fit one bike, but several racks can be fitted to your car’s roof bars at any one time if you need to transport multiple bikes.
5. SeaSucker Talon
- Talon, £296.99 from Tredz – buy now
The Talon by US brand SeaSucker takes the benefits of a roof-mounted system and removes the need for roof bars.
The product stands out for a number of reasons, including the speed of fitting, its compact design and the fact it can’t damage your car or bike’s paint.
Simply remove your front wheel, mount your bike’s fork to the platform secured to the roof, boot or rear window of your car with three vacuum cups. Finally, slot your bike’s rear wheel into another vacuum cup, and that’s job done.
Like Yakima’s FrontLoader, the Talon by SeaSucker is only built for one bike, but other, more expensive models (the Mini-Bomber and Bomber) are available if you plan on carrying multiple bikes.
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