People have come up with creative ways to get bikes to trailheads ever since mountain biking was invented. There’s no doubt that the easiest way to get there is by bike, but not everyone lives close to the trail system. As far as loading our bikes into or onto our cars securely in order to use them completely just for us to unload them, ride for a few hours, and then repeat the truck, that’s a little easier, just throw the bike in the back, get your helmet, and you’re good to go.
For most of us, however, carrying our bikes is not so easy. By adding a hitch-mounted bike rack to the equation, you can simplify the process and feel more secure while driving on the freeway with your expensive carbon mountain bike strapped to the car.
What are the options?
On the market, there are three main types of best bike racks: hitch bike racks, roof racks, and strap-on racks. Those each have their own pros and cons, which we’ll explore here, but the bottom line is: Hitch racks are the most secure, easiest, and safest option available.
A roof rack mounts directly on your car’s roof rack crossbars. This means your bike rides up on top of your car as you drive. The disadvantages are many. The first thing you have to do every time you ride your bike is lift it on and off of the car twice. Even tall people find it hard to lift a 35-pound bike above their heads and not scratch their cars with it.
You face a completely different set of hazards when your bike is secured to the roof. A strong crosswind can catch your bike and cause it to sway dangerously on the roof. The front of your bike will be covered in bugs if you drive through them on your way to the trailhead. Last but not least, you need to be aware of the bike on top of your car. It’s not visible through your windows or mirrors, but it’s there, and you will ruin it if you drive into an opening that isn’t tall enough, such as a restaurant drive-through, or your garage. The roof racks work, but they can be difficult to use, and they can damage your bike or car.
Bike racks with straps are the cheapest and least reliable way to transport your bike. You strap the bike to the rack and the rack onto the back of your car, as the name implies. It is difficult to load more than one bike with these racks without the bikes rubbing against each other and the car. They also tend to scratch up the paint on your car. Additionally, they aren’t really secure, they are just strapped on. Strap-on racks are inexpensive and easy to use, but they often cause much more damage to vehicles and bikes than they are worth.
We mountain bikers can benefit from bike racks in a number of ways, while they may seem simple at first glance.When you’re transporting bikes to and from a bike park, a XC race, or on the best mountain bike road trip, being able to carry your bike outside the car not only leaves you with more space for passengers but also saves you from having to put a dirty, mud-covered bike back in the car.
So Why are Hitch Racks Better?
This brings us to hitch bike racks. Attached to your bumper are hitch racks with trays for storing bikes. Most bike carriers can be folded and stored out of the way when not in use. They are more convenient than roof racks simply because of where they are located. The bike does not need to be hoisted above your head. It only needs to be lifted by about a foot. The rest of the protection will come from the car.
No Even if you drive through a lot of low arches, you won’t lose your bike. If you are rear-ended, the other car will hit your rack instead of your bike because hitch racks usually extend beyond the bikes.