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Even if you are lucky enough to have great trails on your doorstep, you will want to travel further from home with your bike at some point. To transport your bike, there are a couple of options. Either you fit it inside your vehicle or attach it to the outside with a rack. The latter is better if you (or your other half!) want to avoid getting dirt inside your vehicle. So how do you find the best mountain bike rack for you?

We have written this guide to help you understand what to look out for and decide which kind of rack you need for your vehicle. We have also made some suggestions of the best racks available to help you make a decision.

For more of our top mountain biking gear recommendations, check out the Best MTB Hydration Packs.

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Quick Answer - The Best Mountain Bike Racks

  1. Thule ProRide
  2. Sea Sucker Talon
  3. Yakima Raptor Aero
  4. Thule 911XT Passage
  5. Yakima Half Back
  6. Kuat Transfer 3
  7. Thule Vertex XT
  8. Thule Insta-Gater
  9. Fox Tailgate Cover

 

Comparison Table - Best MTB Racks

PictureNameBike CapacityPriceRating
Thule ProRide1$$$5.0
Sea Sucker Talon1$$$4.5
Yakima Raptor Aero1$3.8
Thule 911XT Passage3$4.5
Yakima Half Back3$4.0
Kuat Transfer 33$$$4.3
Thule Vertex XT4$$$4.1
Thule Insta-Gater1$4.5
Fox Tailgate Cover6$4.6
PictureNameBike CapacityPriceRating

Reviews - The Best Racks for Mountain Bikes

Thule ProRide

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 1

PROS: Fast and easy mounting, automatic positioning, clamp spreads loads to avoid damage

CONS: Only holds one bike (more can be used alongside each other), unclear installation instructions

Sea Sucker Talon

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 1

PROS: Innovative design uses sucker pads to stick to the roof, can be easily installed on almost any vehicle

CONS: No peace of mind that it is actually attached properly

Yakima Raptor Aero

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 1

PROS: Sturdy and durable, easy to mount bikes, locking devices available

CONS: Tricky assembly

Thule 911XT Passage

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 3

PROS: Low price, carries up to three bikes, easy to install, stable

CONS: No security

Yakima Half Back

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 3

PROS: Easy installation and mounting, anti-sway cradles prevent movement

CONS: Instructions unclear

Kuat Transfer 3

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 3

PROS: Sturdy, will not damage frames, almost any bike will fit, can be pivoted away to allow access to vehicle

CONS: Can be tricky to align wide handlebars

Thule Vertex XT

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 4

PROS: High mast height for extra ground clearance, cable lock adds security, wobble free

CONS: Some clips and mounts are flimsy

Thule Insta-Gater

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 1

PROS: Quick installation and mounting, wheels do not need to be removed and the frame is not clamped, stable even on uneven roads

CONS: Only holds one bike (up to three can be used alongside each other), not compatible with short beds

Fox Tailgate Cover

Specs
  • Bike Capacity: 6

PROS: Easy installation, small and large sizes available

CONS: None

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACK

 

MOUNTING TYPE

 

ROOF MOUNT

Roof mounts are secure and have the advantage of not getting in the way of the trunk. You do have to be careful when driving under bridges because you have extra height on your vehicle.

It is easy to forget this and it is critical that you do not just drive straight into your garage when you get home as the door will almost certainly not be tall enough. The consequences are a seriously damaged or destroyed bike and car. Fortunately, there are some solutions to help remind you.

 

TOW BAR

If you have a tow bar, there are racks that will fit it. They are sturdy but often come with a higher price tag.

 

STRAP MOUNT

If you do not have a tow bar and cannot fit a roof mount to your vehicle, then a strap mount will almost certainly fit on your trunk. Although very compatible, strap mounts are less stable when going over bumps and the stored bikes are easy targets for thieves.

 

TRUCK BED / TAILGATE MOUNTS

Pickup trucks can transport bikes in the bed with more elegant solutions than just throwing them in. There are mounts that fit in the bed itself and mats that lay over the tailgate to which bikes can be attached.

 

STABILITY

Your chosen type of bike rack should have a stable connection to your vehicle and hold the bikes securely in place. You do not want your bikes to be wobbling around as you drive around bends.

It is important that you focus on driving safely rather than thinking about whether your bike is going to stay on the rack or not. Consider additional methods of securing your bike.

 

SECURITY

How easy would it be for a thief to remove a bike and steal it? Some racks have additional security features like locking bars. Regardless, it is a good idea to always keep your vehicle in sight when bikes are mounted on it.

 

EASE OF USE

If you will be loading bikes onto your rack every day, then you are very lucky to be able to ride so often! Regular use means you will enjoy having a rack that is easy to load bikes on to. If you will only use your rack occasionally, then you will probably not mind a longer mounting process.

 

THE VALUE OF YOUR BIKE

If you have spent a lot of money on your bike, then you should think twice about buying a cheap rack. The more you spend, the lower the chances of your pride and joy falling off.

Remember that your bike will be battered by a fair bit of dust and debris while on the rack. It is, therefore, important to clean it once you get home.

READ MORE

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About The Author

Mountain Biking Junkie

Originally from the UK, Richard is a passionate mountain biker and mountain bike guide. He is currently on a never-ending mission to travel the world and ride in as many places as possible. Richard is happiest when he is on a mountain bike and loves to share the experience with others.

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