A SUV is a great, versatile vehicle for families who love to spend time in the great outdoors. These vehicles typically have plenty of room for the entire family and their luggage, but adding a bicycle or two or three to the mix may pose a problem. If your family is fond of biking and want to go on cycling adventures that stretch further than a few blocks from your home, it might be time to start looking for a bike rack for your SUV.
A wide variety of bike racks exist, in all kinds of shapes, capacities and designs. However, not all of them are suitable for SUVs, and even the ones that are, might not fit your specific vehicle. Before purchasing an SUV bike rack, it is very important to weigh all of your options and to know the pros and the cons of each model. Our favorite SUV bike rack manufacturers include Thule, Allen, Yakima and Swagman. Bike rack mounting configurations for SUVs can be categorized into 4 groups and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each below.
Note: If you’ve read this far and are in a rush to just get something, we suggest you grab one of the 5 SUV bike racks below. These are the current bestsellers on Amazon.com. They sport some solid discounts and have been tested and reviewed to the hilt!
The Five Best Selling Bike Racks for SUV:
- Patent pending design fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans and SUV's - consult manufacturer web site for specific vehicle fit information
- Ultra-light 6061 Aluminum construction weighs approximately 3.5 LB
- Folds down to extremely small package (smaller than a shoe box); quickly unfolds to safely carry 2 bicycles (Max capacity 70 LB)
- Individual tie-downs secure and protect bicycles
- Padded lower frame keeps bicycle away from vehicle
- Ultra-compact 2-bike carrier for traveling and commuting
- Folds up small and fits inside carrying bag or backpack
- 3 padded legs rest against vehicle; 3 adjustable security straps
- Tie-downs and padding keep bike secure and separate from vehicle
- Fits sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs
- STURDY HANDY CONSTRUCTION - Super strong & durable steel material rustless can load capacity 88LB. And the structure can hold and transport 1 to 3 bicycles in one time. ideal for take the children's bike on the trip.
- CONVENIENCE & SAVING - Lightweight and adjustable cycle rack carrier, Folds flat for convenient storage when you not in use. Do not need any tools easy to assemble follow instructions in minutes. And it's just the right height for easy loading and unloading.
- SAFETY PROTECTION FUNCTION - Soft rubber cradles & straps to securely hold the bicycle from rotating without damaging the trunk or marring the paint. Ultra Compact Racks feature a large soft TPR landing pad on the main spine to protect your bicycles during transport and to keep the bicycles away from your vehicle. so it doesn't scratch your vehicle in any way.
- PERFECT COMPATIBILITY - Fits most modern vehicles ,SUV's, hatchbacks and minivans. (except 4x4 with rear mounted wheel.) Pls contact me if you cannot make sure it fits your vehicle or not.
- WTAT YOU GET - Tacklife Bicycle Carrier, Bolts, M6 Washers, Steel Anchor Loops, Plastic Strap Buckles, 3.9feet straps, 3.05feet straps, Cycle retaining straps, English User's Manual,24 Months Warranty.
- 2-bike carrier hitch ideal for road trips and camping excursions
- Fits 1-1/4- and 2-inch receiver hitches, with no-wobble bolt
- Tie-down cradle system individually secures and protects bikes
- Accommodates wide range of frame sizes and designs
- Rack tilts back for easy lift-gate access; black powder-coat finish
- 100% assembled. Fits most Sedans/Hatchbacks/Minivans and SUV's. (Not recommended for vehicles equipped with rear spoilers.)
- 3 bike capacity with sturdy and handy construction. Padded lower frame keeps bicycles away from vehicle. (Safety strap included.)
- Individual soft cradles made to protect your bike frame and secure your bikes. OE standard black E-Coating for rust resistance. Foldable carry arms when not in use.
- Easy installation in minutes. (DIY instruction included in package.)
- TYGER No-Hassle Limited Lifetime Warranty!
Roof Bike Racks for SUV
Roof racks are very versatile, and with the right accessories a roof rack can not only carry bikes, but just about any other thing you can think of, from kayaks to cargo boxes. Roof racks are very stable and allow you to carry the bikes out of sight. But a big downside is that SUVs are typically already high-roofed vehicles and require you to lift the bikes over your head. If your name is Chuck Norris, or you look like Arnie in his golden days, you may be able to do it with one hand behind your back, but a roof rack is certainly not for the faint hearted.
This is especially true if you are planning on going on biking trips regularly. Also keep in mind that, with bicycles on the roof, your SUV might not make the height restrictions of many restaurant drive-throughs and parking garages. If your vehicle is already equipped with a roof rack or cross bars, simply getting an adapter for bikes may be a cost effective solution. You get different types of mounts, some will clamp onto the bike’s front wheel while others hold the bikes upright by their frames.
Our SUV Roof Mount Rack Pick: Yakima Forklift Rooftop Bike Mount
- Very versatile solution
- Can store other cargo as well
- Often holds up to 5 bikes
- Supports alternative-frame bikes
- Very stable, so bikes won’t sway
- Don’t obstruct the driver’s rear view
- Relatively low costs
- Need to lift bicycles overhead
- SUV will be less aerodynamic, which will make it heavier on gas
- More wind resistance may make for a more noisy drive
- Vehicle may become unstable in high cross winds
- Height restrictions may apply
- Won’t fit vehicles with a curved roof
SUV Hitch Mount Racks
If you are looking for something that require less muscle power from you to load and offload the bikes, an SUV hitch mount rack might just be the solution for you. That is if you don’t have a Jeep or one of the other types of SUVs that have the spare tyre mounted at the rear. Most vehicles come with a hitch mount, but you need to figure out what class your hitch belongs to, to ensure you get the right fit.
Hitch mount bike racks come in a huge variety shapes, styles and sizes and can carry anything from 2 to 5 bikes at a time, depending on the design. Although they are not as multipurpose as a roof rack, hitch mount bike racks for SUVs will keep the bicycles out of the wind, so your vehicle will be more aerodynamic and consume less gas. Hitch receivers come in two main sizes, the 1 ¼ inch and 2 inch size, with the mounts simply sliding into these receivers. They also come with all kinds of solutions to keep the SUV rear door accessible, with swing, tilt or fold up options. Bikes will either be held in place with Velcro straps, trays or a vertical staff. Hitch mounts are arguably the most popular way to fit a bike rack to a vehicle at the moment. there’s a good reason for this as you are working from a very sturdy stable platform and the number of options and ease of access really works in favor of this configuration.
Our SUV Hitch Mount Rack Pick: Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
- Wide variety to suit each budget
- Easy to install
- More ergonomic
- Not permanently attached to SUV
- More aerodynamic
- May block rear door
- Won’t always fit with spare tires on the back
- Bikes in trays are prone to sway
- Swing-away models are expensive
- Ground clearance might be an issue with some models
- Extends vehicle length, making it harder to manoeuvre
- May obstruct rear license plate and taillights, or driver’s rear view
- Alternative frame bikes may need special adapters
SUV Strap-On Trunk Bike Racks
If you don’t have a hitch receiver on your vehicle and don’t want to carry bikes on the roof, a trunk rack is a simple solution. They are usually very easy to install and don’t require many accessories to make them work for different bike frames. Trunk style racks are also usually very lightweight, making it easy to use on different vehicles in one family, but they can typically only carry one or two bikes at a time and have a weight limit.
These racks are definitely a better solution for a sedan or hatchback than an SUV. Most trunk mounts only use cables or nylon straps with hooks, so security against theft may be a concern. You will also not be able to access the rear door with the rack installed. Also, be sure to gather some feedback from friends or online sources and look for a design that will not damage the paint on your car. While most trunk bike racks are designed in a way that mitigates this potential hazard, you can unfortunately get an unhappy surprise in the form of small scratches or even dents to your trunk if not careful.
Our SUV Trunk Mount Rack Pick: Allen Sports Aluminum Folding 2-Bike Rack
- Versatile, can fit many different vehicles
- Easy to install and remove
- Compact storage (usually fold away)
- More portable
- Less expensive
- Great for occasional use and short trips
- More aerodynamic than a roof rack
- Block rear access to vehicle
- Stability relies on how securely you attach the straps
- May obstruct your rear view, or taillights and license plate
- Won’t work with a rear spare tire installed
- Not always lockable
- Risk of scratching the vehicle when attaching the hooks
- Require constant checkups during transit to ensure rack hasn’t shifted
SUV Spare Tire Bike Racks
If your SUV carries the spare tire at the back and you only need to carry one or two bikes at a time, a spare tire bike rack might be a good solution. Most spare tire racks can carry only two bicycles at a time and are easy to install. Just like the trunk bike racks, spare tire racks also strap onto the back wheel and are light, compact and easy to store. Chances are your spare tire tilts away before you can access your car from the rear or in some cases the tire is attached to your rear door. Some spare tire bike racks are actually designed to allow you easy access to the rear of your vehicle even with the bike mounted. This is pretty important. Be sure to to test or evaluate and potential tire rack purchase with your specific vehicle. Besides being able to access the car make sure the bike will not scratch or damage other unexpected parts of the cars when swung open while mounted. There are some good reasons to choose an emergency wheel mounted bike rack though.
Our SUV Spare Tire Mount Rack Pick: Yakima Sparetime Bike Rack
- Not too expensive
- Easy to install and remove
- No high lifting involved
- No direct contact between vehicle and bikes
- Carry only two bikes
- Have to remove tire covers
- Not very stable, bikes may sway
- Limited anti-theft options
- May obstruct rear view or license plate and taillights
When looking for a SUV bike rack, you have a lot of options, but your final choice will depend on your vehicle’s design, how many bikes you wish to carry and how often you will transport your bikes. If you and your partner are planning to only go cycling occasionally, a trunk rack or a spare tire SUV bike rack will suffice. If you and your whole family go biking all the time, often to far away locations, you will probably have to look into a hitch bike rack with adapters for alternative frame bikes.
If you don’t need to carry bikes very often but also enjoy other outdoor sports such as kayaking, surfing or skiing, a roof rack is just the thing for you. Whatever you choose, be sure to do some thorough research and read the reviews for the specific product you have in mind.