Bike racks are available in various models
If you want to take your bike with you on a trip, it’s important to check out the different models and options beforehand. Because there are various different types of bike racks – also called bike carriers – there’s a lot to think about.
Bike racks are available for the roof, the tow hitch, the boot or hatch area, and for the inside of the vehicle.
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The advantages of a bike rack
You don't want to be without your bicycle when you go on holiday. But, besides the family and mountains of luggage, you also need an appropriate solution so that you can transport your bike on or in the car. The best bike rack for your specific needs depends on the type of car you drive and the applicable weight limits.
Bicycle carriers have established themselves firmly on the market in recent years, with a wide range of models to choose from – for the roof, the rear, the tow hitch and the interior of the vehicle. When making your decision, you should ensure that you choose a bike rack that is suitable for your car.
Bike carriers can carry up to four bikes
Regular bikes, mountain bikes and racing bikes can all be easily mounted on the bike rack. There are corresponding adapters and holders for all types of bicycle which allow you to fix them in place easily. We recommend that you also use extra tensioning straps, and that you avoid exceeding 120 kph while carrying bikes.
Most bike racks are designed to carry one or two bicycles, but there are also models that can be expanded to carry up to four. However, the possibilities are limited by weight issues, so we recommend a special bike trailer if you want to transport several bicycles at once.
Be careful when transporting an e-bike on a bike rack!
E-bikes are much heavier and sometimes a bit longer than regular bicycles, which you should bear in mind when transporting them or choosing an appropriate bike carrier.
Some e-bike manufacturers also offer special bicycle racks that can be attached to the tow hitch at the rear, or alternatively placed on the roof. A bike rack on the tow hitch can carry around 60 kg, which corresponds to the weight of two e-bikes. They have an extra bracket for the wheels.
There are also racks for e-bikes that have a lift function, so that you can simply put the bike on the bike carrier, instead of having to lift the heavy bike onto the rack.
If you decide to get roof racks, it’s essential you don’t exceed the load that the roof of your car can bear. Since e-bikes are heavier than normal bicycles, lifting them up and attaching them to the roof racks requires a lot of effort, and you might even damage the car in the process.
We therefore recommend looking into all the options in advance. After all, you want to get a lot of joy out of your bike rack, taking your bike with you on your travels without any complications and with the bare minimum of bother.
Types of bike racks and the differences between them
Finding the best bike rack for your specific needs also depends on your car to a large extent. Think about how many bikes you want to transport on the bike rack and how often you want to use it. If you want to transport your bike regularly, you’ll want to make sure the rack is quick and easy to use.
The various different categories of bike racks are:
- Roof racks
- Hitch racks
- Boot/hatch racks
- Interior racks
Roof racks for bicycles
Bike roof racks are only suitable for cars that have roof rails or corresponding brackets. The height of the car also has a certain influence – it’s harder to reach the roof of an SUV or a van, which makes mounting more difficult.
In principle, up to four bicycles can be transported on a roof rack. That said, the maximum roof load of the car must always be taken into account. The wheels are placed in special holders and locked in place and/or secured with tensioning straps. With this type of bike rack, it’s unnecessary to remove the front wheels.
Hitch racks for bicycles
In recent years, more and more cycling enthusiasts are opting for a tow hitch rack to transport their bikes. The basic requirement is that the vehicle must have a tow hitch!
The greatest advantage of a tow hitch bike rack is ease of installation. With most models, the bike carrier is simply placed on the trailer hitch and fixed in place. Loading is also easy and uncomplicated, thanks to the rack’s proximity to the ground.
A tow hitch rack is ready for use in no time, and it’s the perfect option if you transport your bike frequently. There are now also models that can be folded down, making it possible to open the boot.
Boot/hatch racks for bicycles
Another alternative for transporting a bicycle is a rear carrier that is mounted on the boot lid or hatchback. However, rear bike racks usually have to be individually adapted to suit the car, which is why you often see these models on minibuses.
Transporting a bicycle on a rear carrier is complicated. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the paintwork when loading the bike, because it’s harder to fix the bicycle to the rear carrier than to other kinds of rack.
Interior racks for bicycles
Interior bike racks are a good alternative to racks that are mounted on the outside of your vehicle. Obviously, if you want to use this option, you need to have enough space inside the vehicle, for example in an SUV or van.
These models are easy to mount and enable you to transport your bike safely, while simultaneously protecting it from the rain. Another advantage is that you don’t have to limit your speed, and wind isn’t an issue. But an interior bicycle carrier reduces the amount of luggage space in the car considerably, so you might also have to fold down the back seat.
Summary: When choosing a bike carrier, you should first find out which type is suitable for your car and whether you’ll need to make any adjustments to your vehicle, such as fitting a tow hitch. It’s also important to think about how often you plan to use the bike rack and how many bicycles you are going to transport.