Best Bike Racks Review

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Are you looking for a new bike rack for your car, truck or SUV? We spent an absurd amount of time looking for the best options on the market and bought a whopping 30 models for our comparative analysis. It is important to find a high-quality bike rack that meets your needs and at the same time fits your vehicle, budget, and bike well. If you carry your bike around frequently, it is important to get a user-friendly and safe option. We have tested all types of luggage carriers from roof racks to trailer carriers on various vehicles. Each rack is rated based on predetermined metrics, with every design aspect carefully analyzed. Read on to find the best bike rack for your car, truck, or SUV.

Thule T2 Pro XT
The Thule T2 Pro XT sets the standard for racks mounted on the tow bar. It’s the winner of our Editors Choice Award for towbars.

Best Overall Hitch Mount Bike Rack
Thule T2 Pro XT

Style: Hitch | Capacity: 2 (can add up to four)

We think that’s the one. The Thule T2 Pro XT is undoubtedly the best all-round bike carrier for the tow bar in our test selection. As a repeat offender, the T2 Pro XT took the top spot in our test for the second year in a row with this updated version of the T2 Pro. There was undoubtedly strong competition from other new models on the market, yet it remained the product with the highest score in almost every valuation metric and again proved to be everything we could hope for from a bike rack and a few more. The “XT” is the latest version of Thule’s popular T2 with notable changes in distance and side adjustability that reduce the likelihood of bicycles coming into contact with each other during transportation. We also tested this with the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 bike add-on and found that the combo was also our editorial team’s choice for carrying four bikes.

Overall, we found the ergonomics excellent with the one-hand adjustable pawl arms and the low loading height. Well-thought-out design features can be found everywhere, including the wide wheel arches that offer fat motorcycle enthusiasts a viable option for the tow bar and compatibility with tires and wheels of all sizes. Thule has further improved the overall usability of this rack by moving the tilt release mechanism to the end of the main support arm. The rack can now be tilted up or down with one hand, making it easier than ever to access the rear of your vehicle. Add the tool-less attachment (trust us, you won’t miss playing with a set screw and lock) and you have our clear winner.

Kuat trio
The Kuat Trio is a roof rack for fork mounting that can accommodate almost all types of bicycles, regardless of the axle standard. It is the winner of our Editors’ Choice roof rack award for its great durability and ease of use.

Best Overall Roof Rack
Kuat Trio

Style: Roof | Capacity: 1

With its trio, Kuat maintains the top spot on our podium for roof racks for the second year in a row. True to its name, it is immediately ready for use with the three most common axis configurations. To improve the tried and tested the design of the fork carriage, Kuat has developed an innovative solution that can be used to transport bicycles with any axle standard on the fork. The trio is ready for 9 mm, 15 mm and 20 mm axle forks and does not require an expensive adapter to hold your bike equipped with thru-axles. However, an additional adapter can be purchased to take into account the larger fork spacing of fat bicycles and bicycles with large tires.

Versatility is at the top of the list for trio attributes. They can be attached to almost any crossbar with a clamp and offer a practical cutout for removing disc brake calipers that are common in many modern mountains, road and gravel bikes. A cable lock that extends from the back of the rack completes the great design and makes the trio the most versatile, secure and easy to load roof rack on the market. We think it’s great when Kuat integrates Boost-compatible components into the trio, but they are available as accessories for the aftermarket.

Thule Raceway Pro 2
The Thule Raceway Pro 2 is the winner of the Editors’ Choice luggage rack that dethrones its predecessor, the Raceway.

Best Overall Trunk Rack
Thule Raceway Pro2

Style: Trunk | Capacity: 2

The Thule Raceway Pro 2 is our top choice for a bike rack mounted on the trunk. Thule has the only luggage rack in our test group that uses rubberized steel cables for attachment, unlike the standard nylon straps of other models that have broken the shape. The steel cables increase both safety and durability and are easy to adjust in length and tighten with built-in, user-friendly buttons. Setting up the Raceway Pro 2 is easy with Thule Fit Guide, which includes numbering for all compatible vehicles.

By turning the Fit control on the luggage rack to the appropriate number, the optimal arm angle for your vehicle is achieved, so that you have to make virtually no guesswork. The support arms are adjustable both in inclination and in lateral expansion, which increases the ability to carry a variety of frame types and sizes. The Raceway Pro is also the only trunk holder in our test selection that comes standard with locking cables to secure the luggage rack to the vehicle and an extendable cable locking system for the bikes.

RockyMounts MonoRail
The RockyMounts MonoRail is an affordable newcomer to our bike rack test and has impressed our testers across the board with our Best Buy Award.

Best Overall Hitch Rack
RockyMounts MonoRail

Style: Hitch | Capacity: 2

We recently discovered a new platform hitch-mount rack in the RockyMounts MonoRail. It costs a considerable amount less than its most expensive and top-rated competitors but offers similar features and performance. Like most large platform carriers, the MonoRail holds the bike by the wheels so that there is no frame contact. It offers a high degree of versatility with well-designed wheel arches, which are suitable for thin road tires up to fat 5-inch bicycle tires with the included ladder strap extenders. The testers were impressed with the ease of use of this rack, including one-handed tilt release mechanism at the end of the main support arm that can be used with loaded bicycles, and a long cable lock and a coupling pin that locks to secure both the luggage rack and the bicycles it contains,

The MonoRail is very well made and has a stable metal support arm, the main support arm, and a bike rack. However, the construction contains a sufficient amount of plastic in both the collapsible front wheel and the swiveling rear wheel, which can lead to problems with the service life if used improperly. A standard grub screw is also used to attach the rack to your receiver. This works fine, but is far less user-friendly than the tool-free locking and locking buttons that some of the competitors can find. Regardless of this, the MonoRail is an excellent rack that is above the requested price and has won our Best Buy Award.

Kuat Highline
Kuat is a major player in the bike rack market. It was therefore no surprise to our testers that their Highline model for trunk assembly was well thought out and user-friendly.

Best Bang for the Buck Trunk Rack
Kuat Highline

Style: Trunk | Capacity: 2

The Kuat Highline is new in our bike rack test and falls right in the middle of the range of luggage racks that we have priced. It is significantly cheaper than our Editors’ Choice luggage rack but significantly more expensive than the super basic, low-end models. Regardless of the price, Kuat has developed an elegant and relatively user-friendly rack that is suitable for a wide range of vehicles. The Highline can be adapted to your limousine, station wagon, van or SUV to a high degree and easily and is supplied with a protective film that is located between the luggage rack and the paint on your vehicle. It is attached to the vehicle with 6 straps and stable buckles. Like most luggage racks, the Highline has two horizontal arms and flat brackets that hold the bikes to the top tube of the frame. Kuat used adjustable ladder straps with quick-release fasteners that secure the bike to the top tube with an additional pendulum protection belt. The Highline weighs only 30 kg and can be folded up when not in use to be stored or transported.

As with any luggage rack with trunk attachment, the versatility of the Highline is limited due to the nature of the design. The support arms hold the bicycles on the frame and make the frame contact. They are best suited for traditionally shaped frames for road and hardtail mountain bikes. It can be difficult to assemble unusually shaped hoses or full spring constructions. The Highline also has no security features. Therefore, this is not a great option for those who need to lock their bikes. In addition, we believe that this is a well-designed and high-quality option for the casual user.

RockyMounts Jetline
The RockyMounts JetLine, which received the Best Buy Award, stands out from the crowd.

Best Bang for the Buck Roof Rack
RockyMounts JetLine

Style: Roof | Capacity: 1

The RockyMounts JetLine is the winner of our Best Buy price for a roof rack. The Jetline isn’t the cheapest roof rack in our test selection, but we believe you get a lot for your money. The JetLine is a fork carriage on the roof, and we have found that it is suitable for both Thule, Yakima, Aero and many factory-mounted cross members with the hardware supplied. A user-friendly quick release lever clamps every bicycle fork with 9 mm dropouts and the additional adapter for the drive shaft (thru-axle) from RockyMounts makes this luggage rack compatible with bicycles with 15 mm and 20 mm thru-axles.

The holder is equipped with a recess for disc brake calipers and a sliding ratchet strap, with which the rear wheel is attached to the holder. If safety is a problem, the JetLine requires two locking cores, one secures the luggage rack to the crossbars and one secures the quick-release lever to secure the bike to the rack. We believe the JetLine is a good value for money, offering security and versatility, along with aftermarket add-ons that you can purchase as a fund approval.

RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away platform
The new RockyMounts BackStage is one of the few pivoting platform towbars on the market. This unique design improves access to the rear load space of a vehicle.

Top Pick for #Vanlife
RockyMounts BackStage Swing Away Platform

Style: Hitch| Capacity: 2

If you’ve identified the travel mistake and have been drawn into the #vanlife circle and bought a van to embark on your cycling adventure, you already know or are about to face the potential challenges of transporting bicycles on your travel rig discover. Fortunately, RockyMounts has you in mind with a well-designed platform towbar that is specifically tailored to the needs of modern mobile home nomads. All other models of towbar-mounted luggage carriers we tested interfere with the use of the rear doors of a van, even if they are tilted down.

Of course, the backstage has an impressive tilt function that you can access on the back of the rack. The show stop function is the arm that moves away from the rear doors and outwards, removing both the bikes and the luggage rack from the reach of the door. We do not believe that the backstage is perfectly perfect, the distance to the vehicle is a bit narrow, so bicycles with 800 mm poles have to be stored in the outer compartment and it is cumbersome due to its weight and size. Despite its shortcomings, we still believe that the pivoting concept makes it the # vanlife crowd the most suitable option on the market.

Thule UpRide
The Thule UpRide is an impressive rooftop bike rack that takes a unique approach to carrying bikes.

Top Pick for Realy Expensive Bikes-Roof-Mounted
Thule UpRide

Style: Roof| Capacity: 1

The Thule UpRide is an impressive bike rack for roof mounting that offers an exceptionally secure hold for your bike. This rack uses two counter holders that apply opposite forces to the front wheel. This front wheel compression is extremely safe and there is very little chance of failure. In addition, the cradles have no contact with the bicycle frame or the fork. As a result, there is no chance that your bike will be scratched or rubbed with paint. This is a great choice for owners of really expensive motorcycles that are easy on their rig.

The UpRide is not quite perfect. The dual cradle design is a bit over-complicated. Loading a bike is much more time-consuming compared to other rooftop options. The whole system feels a little overworked and is not the best choice to carry your bike around all the time. If you carry bicycles with different wheel sizes, you must adjust the luggage rack to the appropriate wheel size before loading. This is problematic and only further affects usability. Given the loading process, this rack is not a good option for smaller drivers or larger vehicles, as this is definitely a two-handed attempt. Heavier bicycles can also be problematic.

Our tests started with buying the racks we selected and using them on many trips.
Our tests started with buying the racks we selected and using them on many trips.

Why You Should Trust Us

Five key performance indicators were defined as the evaluation criteria for the evaluation of our bike carriers. We believe that these criteria adequately rank the most important properties of each rack. The metrics are easy removal and storage, versatility, easy assembly, security, and durability. We used each bike rack as often as possible and loaded and unloaded the bikes countless times. We also had people who weren’t familiar with how the products worked, who used the racks to evaluate how intuitive the process was for newcomers. Yes, the process was lengthy, but it’s all about finding the right luggage rack for you, your bike, and your wallet.

Add on the two bike extension, the the Thule T2 Pro become our favorite 4 bike carrier.
Add on the two bike extension, the Thule T2 Pro become our favorite 4 bike carrier.

Analysis and Test Results

During the tests, we used these bike racks for a variety of vehicles. We have used them in wagons, trucks, SUVs, and vans. We carefully evaluated each rack for the small details, as well as the larger, more obvious attributes. We have carefully checked the versatility, durability, ease of use, ease of assembly and easy removal and storage of each model. We have kept detailed records of each model’s inherent strengths and weaknesses. Once the dust settled, we rated each rack with our given metric to get our final results. While the reviews rate these products excellent, you should read the details of each rack, as the overall rating can sometimes be a bit deceptive. Even if a bike rack scores in the middle of the pack, it may be the best option for you and your needs.

Value

Bicycle racks come in a variety of price ranges. Some users may want to get the best of the best, while others may just be looking for the best value for their dollar. The RockyMounts Jetline, Kuat Highline and RockyMounts MonoRail models took home our Best Buy Awards, while the Kuat Trio won an Editors’ Choice Award.

Simple everyday use

In general, the easier it is to use something, the more likely you are to use it. With bike racks, you waste less time loading and unloading bicycles and have more time to shred. We believe that ease of use affects two things: how easy is it to load bicycles and whether or not the luggage rack interferes with access to your vehicle. (We discuss locking systems in our security metrics). The main aspects that we took into account when evaluating the load on bicycles are the loading height and the type of attachment. In general, problems with access to the vehicle are usually associated with a tow bar and a trunk rack, and the remedial method applied by the manufacturer and its effectiveness have led us to our result. The towbar we tested with the highest rating is the Thule T2 Pro XT.

Loading bikes on the T2 Pro XT couldn’t be easier. The low loading height and well-designed front wheel clamps make it easier to balance a bike while trying to place it in the luggage rack. Other models we’ve tested, such as the 1 Up Quick Rack, require a more choreographic way of loading the bike to avoid the uncomfortable moments when the bike shakes and your hands run out. In our opinion, one of the most outstanding features of the T2 Pro XT is the well-designed one-handed tilt release lever at the end of the rack, which makes lowering or lifting the rack easier than we ever imagined. A similar system was developed for the new Yakima Dr. Tray used, but we found that the lever is sticky and often requires two hands and rough handling to release it. RockyMounts has also joined the user-friendly rocker club with its MonoRail and BackStage racks. Thule was the first to launch a rack with this function, and his expertise is evident in this new design.

Would you like to take a lot of bicycles with you? And we mean a lot of bicycles. The North Shore NSR-6 and Yakima HangOver 6 do just that. These two racks are aligned vertically and can store up to six bicycles near the bumper. These vertically mounted racks are a great option for the gravity and enduro crowd. However, it should be noted that these luggage racks are only suitable for bicycles with suspension forks. The NSR-6 is the more user-friendly of the two. This luggage rack has a higher payload and can accommodate e-bikes and heavy downhill bikes. In addition, there are no cumbersome straps to mess around with, just a small piece of rope to secure the rear wheel. The Yakima is a little less user-friendly overall, although the tilt mechanism is better.

The awesome tilt release lever on the Thule T2 Pro XT can be manipulated with one hand
The awesome tilt release lever on the Thule T2 Pro XT can be manipulated with one hand.

Roof racks, as the name suggests, are mounted on the roof of your vehicle. consequently, the loading height is always higher. This higher and less convenient loading height automatically lowers the score for ease of use compared to towbars that are closer to the ground. Roof-mounted models are certainly not all the same, and we found the Kuat Trio to be the leader of the pack. The fork mount design is a little easier to load than a wheel mount roof rack like the Yakima FrontLoader or the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles because the bike doesn’t need to be raised that high even though the front wheel needs to be removed. The trio and the innovative system that makes it compatible with thru-axle forks without additional adapters have also helped to outperform other fork carriers such as the RockyMounts Jetline.

We believe that the Thule UpRide is a high-end roof rack. Riders looking for the safest hold of their bike will love the UpRide. The front wheel is extremely securely gripped by two cradles with opposing forces. This results in a firm, secure hold with little chance of this rack falling on the highway. In addition, there is no contact with your frame or fork. The problem with the UpRide is that it is not very user-friendly. The usability metric hit this rack pretty hard. The loading and unloading process is cumbersome and quite complex. In addition, loading heavier bikes with medium-sized vehicles is quite difficult, especially for smaller riders. Yes, this rack works well but is inherently difficult to use.

The orange piece on the Kuat Trio is removable, allowing different axle adaptors to be inserted to accommodate virtually any type of bike.
The orange piece on the Kuat Trio is removable, allowing different axle adaptors to be inserted to accommodate virtually any type of bike.

The Thule Raceway Pro 2 was a leader in luggage racks for the trunk due to its ease of use. Thule intelligently used a ratchet selection system to compensate for the sagging of the steel mounting cables. This is the only luggage rack that is equipped with rubberized steel cables, which makes assembly easier. The unique Fit Dial system helps you achieve the perfect fit for your vehicle by listing the corresponding dial indicators for almost all vehicles to take the guesswork out of the equation. It also has support arms that are laterally adjustable to improve the fit for your bikes.

Ease of Removal and Storage

It would be nice if we could leave our bike racks on our vehicles all the time, but unfortunately, for most of us, cycling is just a hobby and not a full-time job. Bicycle racks are often assembled as needed or in different seasons and removed from our vehicles. How easy this process depends on a variety of factors. The size, weight and attachment method of a rack are the main factors that affect easy removal and storage.

The Yakima Dr. Tray is by far our best-rated towbar frame in this evaluation metric. It is the only rack we tested that was rated with 10 points; Testers could even carry it around with one hand. Yakima’s SpeedKnob locking system makes attaching Dr. Tray on your vehicle as easy as possible. At the same time, wobbling movements are eliminated and the rack is locked to your trailer coupling. The Kuat Sherpa performed well here too, largely due to its impressively light 32-pound weight, and Kuat’s use of a knob and cam system that eliminates jiggle even though locking the rack on your vehicle requires a coupling pin. The 1 Up USA high-performance fast luggage rack impressed us with its small size, one of only two luggage racks we tested with collapsible bike racks for storage. If you need a towbar that you can pull off and install in the trunk, the 1 UP is worth a look.

The two vertically aligned roof racks achieved relatively low values ​​in the acceptance measurement. Why? Well, these racks are huge and very heavy. The north coast weighs 70 pounds while the Yakima weighs almost 80 pounds. When you add the sheer size of these racks, it can be quite difficult to move them in and out through a door into a shed or garage. The second set of hands makes the process much easier. These are not frames that you would like to install and remove weekly or even monthly… Your back will thank you.

The manufacturers of roof racks assume that they are less likely to be removed regularly. Roof racks are more of a set-it-and-forget-it item that consumers leave on the roof for a long time after the initial installation. Due to the more permanent nature of this rack type, the installation and removal of most racks take some effort. Of all the competitors tested, the Yakima FrontLoader proved to be the easiest to accept and remove. All other roof racks require tools and a little time to install and remove.

At the front of the rack, a knob is turned until the jaws make firm contact with the crossbar, while a clamp with a tensioning button provides for the rear crossbar attachment. Other models in our test selection, such as the Kuat Trio, use a U-bolt system in which hex keys have to be put on and taken off. In terms of storage, none of the roof racks we tested are collapsible, but most are long and thin. Therefore, you need a place to put them up or lay them on the floor when you are not using them.

The hand knob on the Yakima FrontLoader makes for easy removal and installation.
The hand knob on the Yakima FrontLoader makes for easy removal and installation. 

A typical advantage of luggage racks for trunk assembly is that they can usually be removed from the vehicle quite easily and normally take up less space when not in use. Our top-rated luggage rack housing, Thule Raceway Pro, is packaged small and is the easiest to attach to and remove from a vehicle with its Fit Dial system and ratchet cables.

The Thule Raceway Pro folds up into a nice compact size when not in use.
The Thule Raceway Pro folds up into a nice compact size when not in use.

Versatility

We assessed the versatility of the various bike carrier models based on their ability to carry several different types of bikes. Wheel size, tire width, bike frame shape, and size can cause problems for some luggage carriers. Luggage racks that use the frame of a bicycle as a primary point of contact and safety point often suffer from this metric because there are different frame shapes and sizes on the market. Luggage racks with which the bicycles are secured in a different way, for example by means of trays mounted on wheels, generally offer a wide range of adjustment options and the possibility of accommodating a large number of wheel sizes and tire widths. The Yakima Dr. Tray was rated as the most versatile due to its extensive tray adjustments and the ability to transport bikes with tires up to 5 inches wide.

The Thule T2 Pro XT takes a narrow second place in the versatility ranking and is also suitable for tires with a width of up to five inches, although the tray settings compared to Dr. Tray are somewhat limited. Ratchet arms that are clamped to the front wheel of the bike are used by most of the racks we tested that are mounted on the tow bar to avoid contact with the frame and increase versatility. A small sliding belt secures the rear wheel and can be adjusted depending on the wheelbase of the bike being carried. With this design, the shape or size of the frame doesn’t matter. All of the tray-style towbars we tested have a capacity of two bicycles. However, many of them can be expanded to three or four bicycles by purchasing an extension for the bracket.

Some models, such as the Thule Apex Swing, claim that they can hold four bikes, but we thought the design had limitations in this regard. We found it difficult to find the perfect combination of four bikes that could be loaded onto this luggage rack, and even if we did, it would result in increased contact between the bikes and potential damage. The maximum capacity for many vehicles can be achieved by using a roof mounting structure with several individual roof racks. Please note that roof racks like our Editors’ Choice Kuat Trio can only hold one bike per unit. However, the possibility of placing several units on the roof obviously increases your load-bearing capacity. Other roof racks such as the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles and the Yakima FrontLoader are characterized by their versatility, as they can accommodate bikes with different axle standards by being clamped on the front tires instead of being attached to the front axle of the bike.

The vertical luggage carriers such as the Yakima HangOver 6 and the North Shore NSR-6 are in the trend of the mountain bike world. Yes, you can load these racks with a lot of mountain bikes, but the versatility is very low. These carriers only work with bikes with suspension forks. It’s a big deal. Bicycles with rigid forks such as road/gravel bicycles, BMX bicycles, rigid children’s bicycles, and rigid hybrid bicycles do not work. There is simply not enough space between the clevis and the tire. The shape of the crown is problematic despite the game. The North Shore NSR-6 achieved a slightly higher result because it has a higher payload and can carry 360 pounds, making it e-bike friendly. The Yakima has a weight limit of 37.5 pounds per bike, which limits its use with e-bikes and downhill bikes.

Easy construction

Assembling and setting up your bike rack is usually a task that only needs to be done once. Therefore, this rating metric is not weighted as much as some of the others, but only 10 percent of the total score. However, we believe it is worth your attention. Some models of racks were easy to set up, with easy-to-follow instructions and high-quality craftsmanship, while others didn’t, which made us frustrated and confused.

Hitch Racks:

The 1 Up USA Heavy Duty Quick Rack turned out to be our best result in this metric. The 1 Up is one of only two towbars we tested with collapsible bike carriers, but it was the only carrier that came fully assembled. Take it out of the box, fold the trays into the open position, and it can be mounted and used on your vehicle. It’s that easy. Every other trailer coupling in our test selection required different assembly stages. The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 requires a lot of assemblies, but scores with a particularly well-designed shipping box, with which you can support the trays during assembly. The Kuat NV 2.0, however, is a bear to assemble and requires a lot of time and effort.

The two vertically mounted towbars were quite complex to assemble. Given the size of these racks, they need to be disassembled to fit into a box for shipping. The Yakima HangOver 6 was an easier task, while the North Shore NSR-6 was far more difficult. Make sure you have a full hour to assemble. In addition, the second set of hands is beneficial.

This is how the 1Up USA Heavy Duty Quik Rack comes out of the box. No assembly required.
This is how the 1Up USA Heavy Duty Quik Rack comes out of the box. No assembly required. 

Roof Mount Racks:
Our roof racks with the highest number of points, the Yakima FrontLoader and the Thule UpRide, prevailed against the competition because they were fully assembled and prepared for installation on practically any crossbar. Simply pull the luggage rack out of the box, place it on the roof rails, clamp it there and off you go. It’s a breath of fresh air. Other roof rack models in our test selection required tools that had to be assembled before assembly.

The Yakima Front Loader comes fully assembled.
The Yakima FrontLoader comes fully assembled.

Trunk mount racks:
Our top pick luggage rack, the Thule Raceway Pro 2, has arrived fully assembled and therefore our luggage rack with the highest score in this metric. The other racks in our test selection required tools, although assembly was minimal.

Safety

Unfortunately, bicycle theft is a problem in our modern world, and fancy bikes attached to the outside of vehicles can be easy targets. Bicycle carriers are equipped with different levels of security, none of which are available, to integrated locks, which are used to attach the carrier to your vehicle and the wheels to the carrier. With the right tools and enough time, a determined thief can endanger even the safest bike rack.

We believe that the safest bike racks are those that use cable locks like the Kuat Sherpa. The long rubber-coated steel cable of the Sherpa is attached to a metal bolt on the rack. The cable is long enough to pass through the wheels and prevent theft. A similar system is used for the Rockymounts BackStage and MonoRail. Both the Thule T2 Pro XT and the Yakima Dr. Tray use shorter cables that are only long enough to pass through the frame and the wheels are prone to theft. Most of the towbar racks in our test selection have a locking bolt or lock that secures the wobble button like the Thule T2 Pro XT to prevent potential thieves from coming to terms with the rack itself.

While they can carry half a dozen bicycles, the vertically mounted towbars do poorly in this performance metric. The North Shore NSR-6 has no safety features, it doesn’t even have a locking pin. The Yakima HangOver 6 performed only slightly better with a locking bolt. It’s best to take a long cable lock with you if you plan to stop after a ride.

The Kuat Sherpa has a semi-integrated noose style cable lock that can be looped through frames and wheels.
The Kuat Sherpa has a semi-integrated noose style cable lock that can be looped through frames and wheels.

Roof Mount Racks:
For safety reasons, the best of the roof racks we tested use a cable lock that secures the rear wheel and can lock the fork bracket. Both the Editors’ Choice Kuat Trio and the RockyMount SwitchHitter are characterized by this safer design. Lower scoring shelves in our test selection only allow the fork bracket to be locked and leave the rear wheel unsecured and prone to theft.

Trunk-Mount Racks:
Of all the racks we tested, the trunk assembly racks are most susceptible to theft. Most luggage racks are attached to the vehicle with nylon webbing straps that can be easily cut with scissors or a knife. The only trunk-mounted model we’ve tested with security features is the Thule Raceway Pro, which is attached to the vehicle with steel cables and has a tensioning system with key locks to prevent unwanted removal of the Rack. In addition, the arms that hold the bikes have a cable lock to secure your bike to the luggage rack. Although this cable is relatively thin, the safety features of the Raceway are significant compared to other carriers in our test selection.

Durability

To test durability, we did our best to put all products through their paces. During the tests, we tried to push each model to the edge of its performance to see how they stood the test of time and heavy use.

Fortunately for our motorcycles, we had no catastrophic failures during our test phase. All of the models we tested were provided with the small print “Not suitable for off-road use”. While we respect the manufacturers who need to protect themselves legally, we did not heed this warning to leave these frames and our vehicles on the sidewalk. That said, some of the products in our test selection really shouldn’t be used off-road, and we’ve given details about them in our test results.

 The 1Up USA Heavy Duty Quik Rack is nearly impervious to corrosion with an all-aluminum construction.
The 1Up USA Heavy Duty Quik Rack is nearly impervious to corrosion with an all-aluminum construction. 

From the point of view of durability, 1 Up USA Heavy Duty Quick Rack stood out from our test team due to its robust, if not overbuilt design. Alleged weight capacity of 50 pounds per tray means you have a hard time overloading it. The 1 Up is made entirely of aluminum with stainless steel fittings and has no plastic parts. Despite an unfortunate contact with a tree during the reset, which resulted in a bent ratchet mechanism, the Heavy Duty Quick Rack continued to work without problems. The 1 Up’s aluminum finish is also remarkable, it can scratch, but there is no paint that could be broken off and it does not rust. The overall appearance of the rack does not change significantly over time. Both the Kuat NV 2.0 and the Kuat Sherpa are also top products. with scratch-resistant powder coatings that are particularly resistant to weather influences.

The NorthShore NSR-6 is another Rack with a long-lasting character. The NSR-6 is made entirely of metal. It is assembled with broad gauge screws that will not be released. The triple trees are strong and the rope rear wheel attachments are simple and far more durable than the rubber or plastic ratchet systems. If the rope brakes, just replace it. The tilt mechanism maybe a little more complex than other models, but the durability factor is sky-high.

Get the Wiggles Out
Most towbars have a little play. This isn’t ideal for the durability of the towbar, and if it’s really loose, the bikes jerk around. A quick fix is ​​a tensioner.

Hitch tightener on a Kuat bike rack.
Hitch tightener on a Kuat bike rack.

Conclusion

After several months of intensive testing, we believe that testing a bike rack is one of the most extensive. We have loaded bicycles onto these racks hundreds if not thousands of times, ridden on the roughest roads and paid attention to all the little details that are so important. Some may say that our testing process is over the top. We believe it is worth spending the countless hours you spend testing the smallest function to find the right bike rack for you, your wallet, your bike, and your vehicle.

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