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Truck bike rack

Choosing the Best Bike Rack for your Vehicle: A Helpful Guide

With a wide selection of bike rack styles and price points available, it can quickly become overwhelming to decide what type of bike rack is best suited to your needs. The Discount Ramp team of product experts wants to ensure you pick the correct bike rack for your vehicle. The correct rack should fit your vehicle properly, providing secure transportation without breaking the bank. Choosing the wrong rack could be a serious safety hazard, or cause damage to your vehicle during transportation.

What types of racks are available?

Type of Bike Rack Price Range Pros Cons
Hitch Mounted $-$$$
  • Easy installation
  • No need to disassemble the bike
  • Requires a trailer hitch
  • Trunk access may be blocked
Trunk Mounted $
  • Versatile to fit most vehicles
  • Compact storage when not in use
  • Trunk access will be blocked
  • Multiple rack-to-vehicle points of contact
Roof Racks $-$$
  • Support bikes with unusual designs
  • Does not obstruct your rear view
  • Vehicle and rack won't fit in structures with low clearance
  • Increased wind resistance may reduce fuel economy
Pickup Truck Bed $
  • Easy use and installation
  • Loading bikes is quick and easy
  • Bikes dominate the entire bed space
  • Will not work with standard truck caps

Hitch Bike Racks

Trailer hitch mounted bike racks are one of the most common types of bike carriers, with options and sizes available for nearly any type of car, truck, van or SUV. Hitch mounted bike racks are popular with families because they are available in many sizes and can tow up to five bikes on the back of your vehicle.

Determining your Hitch Size

The first thing to note is hitches are divided into classes, and the class determines the towing capacity. Most cars accommodate class I and II hitches. SUVs, vans and trucks can usually accommodate class II, III or IV hitches.

To determine the type of hitch on your vehicle, check your owner’s manual. If you bought an aftermarket hitch, check the hitch itself for a stamp or sticker. If you’re brand new to towing and hitches, we recommend checking out our guide to trailer hitch classes and towing, for more in-depth information on choosing the right hitch for your vehicle.

Pros and Cons of Using a Hitch Mounted Bike Rack:

Overall, a hitch mounted rack is a solid investment for transporting bikes. Easy installation and affordable prices make this rack style a popular pick. The Discount Ramps team has the pros and cons of this rack style:

Pros:
  • Easy hitch installation
  • Bikes stay in one piece, no need to remove the front wheel to mount the bike
  • Easy to secure and lift bikes into place
  • Reduced chance of scratching your vehicle’s paint while mounting
Cons:
  • Requires a trailer hitch to be installed on your vehicle
  • Some small cars may not have the hitch capacity to carry a hitch mounted carrier
  • Trunk access may be blocked
  • Extra caution is required when parking or backing into spaces

Discount Ramps Recommends the Apex Piggyback Hitch Bike Rack

Apex hitch bike rack

Our product professionals recommend the Apex Piggyback Hitch Bike Rack which can accommodate up to four bikes, and is compatible with 2" hitch receivers. This rack features a swing-away option, so you can easily gain access to the back of your vehicle, without having to remove and re-install the rack each time. Lightweight and easy to handle, check it out online today!

Hatchback/Trunk Bike Racks

If you’re only planning on transporting one to three bikes, a hatchback or trunk bike rack is a practical and economical choice! Designed to easily fasten to the rear deck of your vehicle, this type of rack uses straps and support arms to keep your bikes secure during transport. Rubber coated hooks or foam pads protect your car’s paint from getting scratched, however you still need to exercise caution during installation and mounting.

Why is a Trunk Mounted Bike Rack so Much Cheaper?

This is a common question many savvy shoppers wonder. Don’t let the affordable price deter you! Trunk mounted bike racks are the most basic type of carrier, which contributes to their lower price point. While there are a few drawbacks to trunk mounted carriers, they do offer a sturdy, reliable way to transport multiple bikes on the back of a smaller vehicle which could not accommodate a larger hitch-mounted bike rack.

Pros and Cons of the Trunk Mounted Bike Rack:

Affordable and easy to store, trunk mounted bike racks are an excellent choice for short trips or small cars. The Discount Ramps team has the pros and cons of this rack style:

Pros:
  • Versatile to fit most vehicles
  • Easy to lift and secure bikes into the carrier
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy and compact storage
  • Excellent for short trips or occasional use
Cons:
  • Multiple rack-to-vehicle points of contact, which could cause damage if not installed properly
  • May not fit on vehicles with tall spoilers
  • Limits trunk access
  • Maintenance required on long trips – it’s highly recommended that you stop occasionally and check to ensure the straps are still tight

A Practical and Affordable Bike Carrier, the Apex Scout Trunk Bike Rack

Apex trunk bike rack

Discount Ramps offers a wide selection of high-quality and affordable trunk mounted bike racks. Our product professionals recommend the Apex Scout Trunk Bike Rack, which can hold up to three bikes and doesn’t require any tools for installation! Featuring rubber-coated cradles with built-in Velcro straps and foam padding, your vehicle’s exterior will be protected from accidental scratching. Shop our wide selection of available trunk mounted bike racks online today, only from Discount Ramps.

Roof Bike Racks

A convenient option which will not obstruct your rear view while driving, roof mounted bike racks are an excellent choice. Roof mounted bike racks typically attach to a vehicle’s existing roof rack cross bars. A small roof bike rack only uses about half your roof space, leaving room for other accessories like roof cargo boxes or kayak racks.

What if my Vehicle doesn’t have an existing Roof Rack or Crossbars?

While many SUVs and minivans come with pre-installed roof racks, there are many aftermarket products available for vehicles lacking them! Discount Ramps offers a large selection of aftermarket roof bars for multiple vehicles. Before installing any after-market roof bars, it is important to check the maximum allowable weight your roof can accommodate.

Pros and Cons of Roof Mounted Bike Racks:

Easily transport your bicycle without blocking trunk access or compromising your vision while driving with a roof mounted bike rack. The Discount Ramps team has the pros and cons of this rack style:

Pros:
  • Lockable for increased security
  • Can support bikes with unusual designs
  • Does not obstruct your rear view
Cons:
  • Your vehicle will not be able to enter garages and other structures with low entryways
  • Increased wind resistance reduces gas mileage
  • Lifting and loading a bike onto a tall vehicle can be difficult

Convenient Single Bike Transportation: the Apex Roof Bike Rack

Apex roof bike rack

The roof bike rack options available on Discount Ramps offer you a full choice of convenient rooftop carriers. We recommend the Apex Roof Bike Rack which easily transports one bike on the roof of your vehicle. Featuring an adjustable wheel tray with tire straps, the Apex Roof Bike Rack can accommodate nearly any size and style of bike. Shop our entire selection of roof mounted bike racks online today!

Truck Bed Bike Racks

There are some specialized products designed to turn the bed of a truck into an effective toy hauling machine. Quick and easy to install, truck bed bike racks are an efficient, stable way to transport your bike. Carry anywhere from one to four bikes, and most truck bed bike racks don’t require any tools or drilling for installation!

What about my Truck Cap?

Depending on the height of the bikes you’re going to be moving, a standard truck cap may not fit. There are extra tall truck caps available that protect your bikes from any inclement weather, and increase security while driving. However, it may be slightly more difficult to load and unload your bikes with a truck cap installed.

Pros and Cons of Truck Bed Bike Racks

Secure and convenient, these rack styles are an excellent and versatile choice for pickup truck beds. The Discount Ramps team has the pros and cons of this rack style:

Pros:
  • Easy use and installation
  • Loading bikes is simple and user friendly
  • Secure bike transportation without changing the size of your vehicle
  • No risk of scratching exterior paint
Cons:
  • Bikes dominate the entire bed space during transport
  • Rear window view may be obstructed depending on your bike height
  • Standard truck caps will not fit while rack is in use

The Apex Truck Bed Bike Rack doesn’t require any Tools for Installation

Apex truck bike rack

Discount Ramps offers a wide selection of bike racks, including specialty truck bike racks. The Apex Truck Bed Bike Rack is designed to carry up to four bikes. This truck rack doesn’t require any tools for installation, and the included plastic stoppers won’t scratch the bed liner. If you have any questions about which bike rack is right for your truck, don’t hesitate to contact our product professionals.

Other Helpful Resources

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