The 5 Best Roof Mounted Bike Racks 2017

Biking is a great way to stay in shape, but it can also help with your mental health. For a start, it lets you enjoy the scenery in a much more relaxed way than a car wood, and you can always do it in a pair. Still, to enjoy the best of scenery and try yourself on some unusual and difficult trails, sometimes you have to go there by car, and this is where bike racks come into play.

Depending on what you drive and ride, there are several ways to go about shopping a bike rack.It mostly boils down to this – if you drive a nice, not-too-tall sedan, and want to keep the trunk functional, then what you need is a roof mounted bike rack. As far as your ride goes, it impinges on the way the rack clamps onto the bike. The choice basically goes like this: fork-mount vs. frame-mount vs. wheel-mount, and there’s a sampling of each below.

Rackmaven’s best picks:

To make life as easy as possible for you, we’ve listed and reviewed, what we believe to be, the 5 best value for money roof mounted bike racks below. Each one is different in some way, so make sure you get the best option for your specific requirements.

1. Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack

Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount Rooftop Bike Rack

The Yakima ForkLift for Mount Rooftop Bike Rack is pretty much what it says on the tin–it’s a type of bike rack that clamps on your bike’s front fork. This is both a benefit and a drawback. The thing is, it’s all too easy to forget you have a bike on the roof of your car, and this makes gauging any clearance a risky proposition. Having a fork mount rack helps in this regard, as it somewhat lowers the height.

However, this is also a problem, as it requires that you take the front wheel off every time you mount the bike. You can see how this can be a nuisance, right? Uncharacteristically of this type of racks, the Yakima ForkLift works well with most disc brakes, but thru-axles are still off the table unless you get an adapter, which is sold separately.

Still, this is a great, versatile rack, as it fits almost any rack with flat, round or square crossbars, without any modifications. Speaking of fitting, it’s worth noting that the Yakima ForkLift requires no tools for installation, just some previous experience with Legos. Seriously, though, the rack installs in minutes and locks using a skewer with an integrated adjustment knob for single-handed quick release. Sadly, the lock cores are sold separately.

Read Our Full Review.

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2. CyclingDeal Bike Car Roof Carrier Rack Bicycle Racks with Lock

CyclingDeal Bike Car Roof Carrier Rack Bicycle Racks with Lock

The Bike Car Roof Carrier Rack from Cycling Deal is a nice choice for folks looking to get a nice, budget-friendly rack to carry their two-wheelers everywhere. It’s a frame mount model, meaning it clamps onto your bike’s frame rather than the fork or front wheel, which is great, as you don’t have to take wheel off every time you mount it. On the flipside, though, this means that you’ll have a bit more trouble with clearance, as the profile will be taller. Moreover, this also puts greater stress on the frame, so it’s not quite recommendable if you ride a carbon fiber frame.

Still, the rack is more than affordable and even comes with a lock that’s supposed to protect your bike from theft. It’s not a hundred percent safe, but it will deter any but the most tenacious thieves (then again, they’re more likely to steal the car rather than just the bike, so the lock does its work).

Granted, the rack can’t really measure up to products that cost 4 to 5 times as much, but you do get a decent bang for the buck. If nothing else, it does a great job holding kids’ bikes, though not so great with road bikes, especially if you’re tall and have a matching bike.

Read Our Full Review.

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3. Swagman Standard Roof Rack

Swagman Standard Roof Rack

You’d expect that a company named Swagman would be more imaginative when naming a product, but then you get something like Standard Roof Rack. Still, it’s pretty much what it is, and the only thing we can do is get to know it a little better. So, living up to the name, the rack carries a single bike, irrespective of type, size, and purpose. It’s a fork mount model, so you do need to remove the front wheel before mounting the bike and securing it with a 9mm skewer that attaches to the fork. It should fit most disc brakes, though if your bike has a thru-axle, you’ll probably need an adapter.

The rack attaches to a variety of crossbars, be it square, round or oval, and should tackle anything up to 3 inches. Speaking of attaching, the rack comes with quick-release and tie-down straps for the wheels, so there’s no need to buy separately.

You may notice that the rack costs only a fraction of a similar high-end product (about a quarter to half the price). Despite what it might imply, the rack is quite stable, and more than able to hold onto a road bike.In short, it’s probably one of the best bangs for the buck you’ll find.

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4. Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount

Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount

Thule is one of the major players in the bike industry, especially when it comes to bike racks.Their Sidearm Universal Bike Mount is definitely up to the game in justifying this reputation. Granted, it does cost a pretty penny, but rest assured you (or, rather, your bike) will feel where each and every penny went. If you’re not afraid to splash out some (comparatively) serious money, the Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount is definitely the way to go.

First and foremost, this is a wheel mount model, which means it grabs a hold of the bike by securing the front wheel using what Thule named SecureHook (their spelling). The hook does not come in contact with the frame at all, only the wheel. The back wheel, as usual, is secured with a ratcheting wheel strap for a tight and secure hold.

The whole structure is based on a double-wall aluminum tray which provides more than enough strength and rigidity without being heavy. Of course, the tray is resistant to corrosion and should last you a good long while.For added security, as well as an anti-theft measure, the rack locks with a One-key lock cylinder (sells separately), which locks the bike to the carrier and the carrier to the rack. It should be good for most 20 to 29-inch wheel bikes, with tires going up to 2.6 inches in width. On a similar note, it should fit any proprietary rack systems, as well as any round or factory-mounted crossbars.

Read Our Full Review.

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5. Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack

Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack

The Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Bike Rack may not be the best roof mounted bike rack, but it comes pretty damn close! Granted, it’s got a price to match, but you do get the ultimate quality. Besides, if you shell out in excess of 2k for a superior bike, you’d want something that’s going to keep it secure.

It’s a wheel mount model, meaning it can accommodate disc brakes, thru axles and full suspension. While we’re on the subject, the rack can fit any bike with 20 to 29-inch wheels, whether it’s road, mountain or hybrid. It comes fully assembled right out of the box, and will sit comfortably on any Yakima racking system, round, square, factory and/or aerodynamic crossbars. It won’t have any contact with the bike frame, just the wheel.

Besides the versatility and quality of the components, the Yakima FrontLoader has one other major selling point – its lifetime warranty.With this kind of backing from the manufacturer, you can pretty much rest assured you’re getting the best quality there is.

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