The Best Bike Racks for Different Car Types

If you like to go on cycling trips, a bike rack can be a real boon and help make loading easier, keep your car interior clean and save more space for luggage or passengers. There are three main types on the market: rear-mounted, tow-bar mounted and roof-bar mounted. When choosing the right one, you'll need to consider your car type and which option will best suit your needs. Read on for our guide to the different bike racks available.

The best bike racks for different car types

Rear-mounted bike racks

One of the cheapest and easiest ways carry one or more bikes is a rear-mounted rack. These simply fasten onto the back of your car with straps, making them quite easy to fit. They’ll work well with different car types, particularly hatchbacks and estates, but you’ll need to check before buying whether the rack you’re considering is compatible with your car. Access to your boot will be compromised, but you could always fit a roof box.


  • Easy to fit and remove
  • Can carry a large roof box too


  • May prevent access to the boot while attached
  • Can cover lights and/or number plate

Tow-bar mounted bike racks

If you have a tow-bar fitted, a simple solution can be to fit a tow-bar mounted bike rack, which can hold enough bikes for small families. Installation is easy, too, and they’re generally a lot more stable and secure than rear-mounted racks. Many racks also slide away from the boot when needed to allow access, so storage space isn’t compromised. Of course, all off this depends on you having a tow-bar; you can easily get one fitted professionally if you don’t, but this will add an extra (albeit one-off) cost. As larger cars such as SUVs are generally more likely to come with a tow-bar already installed, a tow-bar mounted bike rack can be a good pairing with these.


  • Secure and stable
  • Space for a roof box


  • Need a tow-bar
  • No good if you need to tow as well

Roof-bar mounted bike racks

If you’ve got roof bars on your car, you can fit a bike rack onto the roof to transport a number of bikes. You might even be able to fit a small roof box on there as well. This means your boot and cabin remain uncluttered, so you won’t lose storage space or ease of access. What’s more, they’ll keep your tow-bar free, too – handy if you need that for towing. Most estates or SUVs will already have roof bars as standard, but these can be retrofitted if your car doesn’t have them.


  • Maximises storage and access
  • Keeps your tow-bar free
  • Easy to fit
  • Secure


  • May not be able to fit a roof box as well

Regardless of your vehicle or needs, you should be able to find a rear-mounted, tow-bar mounted or roof-mounted bike rack that best suits you. Each has its pros and cons, so choose carefully and consider what’s important for your particular situation. Need a helping hand deciding on your next car? Take a look at our guide to the best cars for cyclists.

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