Bicycle Rack Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Bicycle Rack

If you're a cycling enthusiast, it probably wasn't long before the roads and paths around town started to seem a little old hat. Fortunately, with the help of some of the best bicycle racks available, it's easy to take your bikes and riding toys out to far-flung trails and other places to ride. Just consider a few factors to select the right one from among the many bicycle carriers available for your vehicle and bicycle. You're just a few steps away from a great ride.

>> Consider different types of bicycle racks

Bicycle racks differ mainly in where they attach to your car and how they mount the bicycles. Points of attachment to your car are usually one of the following: the roof, the jamb of the trunk door or on a ball hitch. On pickup trucks, bicycle racks can also be mounted in the bed or sides. A more unique bicycle rack type is that which hooks onto the external frame holding a spare tire, as is typical in certain SUVs. These cool bicycle racks are also easy to attach and remove, making this choice a good one for you if you want convenience and a quick getaway.

The best bicycle rack for you will also vary in terms of where the bicycle rack design grabs onto the bicycle or bicycles. Different bicycle rack brands and models may hook onto your bicycle at the rear wheel or on the top tube, for instance. The location on the bike where the particular type of bicycle rack secures your bicycle can affect how many bicycles can be held at once, as well as how much work it is to get a bicycle into place, so it's good to keep this in mind as you shop.

>> Which kind of bicycle rack is right for you and your car?

In some cases of shopping for automobile bicycle racks, you can immediately eliminate certain types of mounts to your vehicle. For example, if you want to be able to freely access your trunk during the trip, your best choice is a rooftop design.

If you prefer to keep the front wheel of your bicycle attached, you may favor the ball hitch types of bicycle racks or trunk racks for bicycles. The upright-mounted rooftop bicycle rack designs allow you to keep all parts attached to your bicycle during transportation.

Nevertheless, bicycle rack sizes are smallest in the trunk-mounted varieties, and these are the least permanently mounted types of racks, as well. If you're handy with bike tools, removing your front wheel temporarily is not a big deal.

For maximum security of your bicycle among the standard bicycle carrier types, the bicycle rack designs you'll most prefer are, in fact, the roof-mounted types of bicycle rack, where the bicycles are held upright and you do not need to remove their front tires. Not only is this the most reliable design for keeping bicycles from swaying into each other during your trip, but it also can carry other objects, such as snowboards and skis, with safety and ease.

This versatility can make the roof-mount varieties the bicycle rack types to choose if you are able to lift your bicycle to a position where it is standing on your car's roof. Although the bicycle rack dimensions here are the largest of any mentioned, many people mind this much less because they don't otherwise need to use space on their car's roof. Just be extra careful not to drive into a carport or under a low-hanging tree with bikes on your roof as this can cause damage to your bike, your rack, your car and the carport!

Keep in mind that if you drive an SUV, mounting your bicycle to the upright-position rooftop bicycle racks is not as ideal, because it destabilizes those vehicles' already high centers of gravity. However, many SUV owners may already have ball hitches installed, giving them access to what are actually the best types of bicycle racks to use if easy installation is your goal. You can just slip a hitch-mounted bicycle rack over your existing ball hitch, and then just tighten it and you'll be ready to go.

>> Safety considerations for bicycle racks

Among the most common designs, even the best bicycle racks show your bicycle off to the world as you drive by. If you prefer not to have everyone on the road taking a good look at your bicycle, your best bicycle rack may actually be an enclosed carrier, usually carried atop your vehicle's roof. Depending on the style of bicycle you have, there may be cases in which women's bicycles are best served by the rooftop bicycle rack designs. Keep this in mind as you shop for the best bicycle racks for you.

Most of these bicycle rack designs have some kind of secure lock mechanism, although the safest scenario would be not to leave your bicycle in a rack unattended, no matter how high quality that bicycle rack is. As long as you're being careful about your bicycle's safety during transport, make sure it's safe while stored in your garage, too, by using a bike stand. These and other bike accessories can keep your bicycle securely upright during regular storage, no matter what other kinds of activity take place around it.

You can go anywhere with your favorite bicycle these days. A bike rack affords you easy accessibility and the ability to take off to the places you most want to ride. By choosing one from among the many varieties of bicycle racks, then stashing away any needed bike carrier parts, you'll be able to fasten your bicycle handily onto your car and head off for your favorite faraway rides.

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