Which bike rack is right for me?
The type of bike rack you choose depends upon how you want to use it. You'll need to ask yourself a few simple questions about your bike rack needs, and then weigh up your options.
The three main bike rack types to choose from are:
These racks mount either in to or around your trailer hitch receiver. Extremely sturdy and secure, you'll be able to carry several bikes to the back of your vehicle - models that mount around your receiver free up your hitch, so that it can still be used to tow a trailer, caravan, boat etc.
A more portable form of bike rack, truck mounts employ padded hooks to attach themselves to your vehicle’s trunk or rear cargo door. They are usually adjustable, meaning that they fit almost any vehicle type.
Spare Tire Mounts:
These racks attach to the spare tire fitted to the back of most SUVs or trucks using a secure steel backing plate. They can hold a couple of bikes and leave your hitch free and unobstructed, leaving you free to tow your caravan, trailer etc.
So which style do you go for?
If you do a lot of cycling and long haul trips with bikes, then a hitch mount model is best. It’s the sturdiest rack type, and although it is more difficult to dismount, if you use your bike a lot then you don’t need to worry about this.
If you need to carry a lot of bikes at once – perhaps for regular cycling trips with friends, or if you have to carry bikes for all the family, then, again, the hitch mount is the option for you. These racks enable you to carry the maximum amount of cycles at once. Alternatively, you can pick a different bike rack type that is compatible with rack extenders, giving you increased space to carry more bikes.
If you’re an occasional cycler, perhaps only requiring a rack at the weekends, then a trunk mount is perfect. Because this rack type is so easy to mount and dismount, it means you can remove it in a jiffy and have your boot freely accessible when you need it through the week.
If you own a 4x4 or SUV, then the spare tire mount rack is ideal. These can only be fitted to vehicles that carry a spare tire on their rear door. Mounting bikes to your spare tire rather than in the boot of your SUV or truck frees up valuable space too.
Most bike racks can be swung round or folded down providing access to your car boot or trunk without the need to remove the rack itself. Each type has its advantages, and these will depend upon your vehicle type:
If your trunk or boot door has a lifting hatch rear door, as is found on most cars, then you should opt for a fold down bike rack.
If your rear car door is a drop-down model, then a swing away bike rack will give you the best stability and easiest access to your car boot or trunk.
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