Any cyclist knows that he or she at some point will be faced with the daunting task of choosing something for his or her car that will get the bike from Point A to Point B safely and without car roof rack damaging the car. This may be for a family trip or a desire to try a new bike path in the middle of nowhere. Regardless of the reason for the trip, the bike will have to be moved.
There are a number of types of bike racks for cars. Roof-top racks and back racks are the two biggest categories. There are also bike racks designed to allow a cyclist to carry his or her bike in the bed of a truck. All of these options have positives and negatives. In the end, it pretty much comes down to personal preference.
Roof-top racks are bike racks that anchor the bike to the roof of the car for transport. They typically require that the front wheel be taken off of the bike for it to be anchored correctly. There are two main categories here as well. There are bike rack attachments for base roof racks and then there are factory crossbar mounted bike racks.
Bike rack attachments for base roof racks allow the family to carry its bikes on top of the car. These are great for multi-sport families who may be using the trailer hitch to haul a boat or camper. As families continue to downsize their car size, roof-mounted bike racks are becoming more popular. Unfortunately, people with taller vehicles probably won’t be too keen on this idea. A tall vehicle can make getting the bikes up and down really difficult and not a lot of fun.
This bike rack option utilizes the factory crossbars that are already on a vehicle. The good news is that this option allows a car owner to take advantage of the factory roof rack that was purchased from the car manufacturer! These bike racks attach directly to the factory crossbars and include everything that is needed right in one box. Unfortunately, they only allow a person to move two bikes on the roof because of the limitations of the factory crossbars. Overall, this type of bike rack is an inexpensive option for those who want to move one or two bikes on a low vehicle. If the vehicle is tall, skipping this option in favor of a rack off the trailer hitch is probably a better idea.