SUV Bike Racks

The Best Bike Racks for SUV

An SUV is a practical and versatile vehicle for larger families who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. These vehicles typically have plenty of luggage and storage space, especially if you have the additional help of a hitch cargo carrier, but adding a bicycle or three to the mix can pose a bit of a problem.

If you have a family of cycling enthusiasts it might be time to consider investing in a bike rack for your SUV.

Our Pick!

Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

Allen Sports Deluxe

The Allen Sports Deluxe delivers over and above expectations, including quick-fold, carry arms, quick-secure straps, and dual compound cradles.


There’s a wide variety of bike racks for SUVs available in all kinds of shapes, capacities, and designs. However, before purchasing an SUV bike rack, weighing all your options is essential in order to determine which bike rack would suit your needs best.

Editor’s Note – This list of the best truck bed bike racks was updated on March 22, 2022.

SUV Bike Rack Types

Bike rack mounting configurations for SUVs can be categorized into four groups.

Roof Mount Rack

Hitch Mount Rack

Spare Tire Mount

Strap-On Mount

Hitch-Mount Bike Racks for SUVs

Hitch mount bike racks for SUVs come in a huge variety of shapes, styles, and sizes and can carry anything from 2 to 5 bikes at a time, depending on the design. They aren’t 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; 1 ¼ inch and 2-inch. The mounts slide into these receivers. They also come with all kinds of solutions to keep the SUV rear door accessible, such as swing, tilt or fold up options. Bikes will either be held in place with Velcro straps, trays, or a vertical staff.

The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Mount Bike Racks

Pros

  • Wide variety of choices to suit each budget
  • Solid sturdy mounting option
  • Easy to install
  • More ergonomic
  • Not permanently attached to SUV
  • More aerodynamic

Cons

  • May block rear door
  • Won’t always fit with spare tires on the back
  • Suspended bikes 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 maneuver
  • May obstruct rear license plate and taillights, or driver’s rearview
  • Alternative frame bikes may need special adapters

Taking A Look At The 3 Best SUV Hitch Mount Racks

Suppose you are looking for something that requires less muscle power when loading and offloading bikes; an SUV hitch-mount rack might be the solution for you if you don’t have a Jeep or one of the other types of SUVs that have the spare tire mounted at the rear.

1. Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Rack

Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions :
26″x 3.5″x 14″

Foldable:
Yes

Capacity:
35 Lbs Per Bike


Our top pick for an SUV hitch-mounted bike rack is the Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack. Your vehicle will need to be fitted with a 2-inch trailer hitch. We suggest you get a Class III or IV hitch professionally installed if you do not have one already.

The carrying arm protrudes 22 inches and is fitted with a tie-down system to secure each bike individually. The arms can drop out of the way when no bikes are fitted. This makes storage much easier. The initial setup and assembly of the rack are pretty straightforward.

Removing the rack from the hitch is simple enough with a single pin. The Allen Sports Deluxe is made from steel (so they do weigh a bit more) but combined with a classy black powder coating and Allen’s lifetime warranty. You have a high-quality piece of equipment that will last for many years.

Take note, that there are two 4-bike models in Allen’s Sports Deluxe series; the Model 542RR and the Model S545. Both these racks carry 4 bikes and up to 140lbs. The S545 has a few extra features, including quick-fold, carry arms, quick-secure straps, and dual compound cradles. It also boasts a rapid tilt-away mast and a dual compound spine shield.

We’re not convinced the additional utility justifies the price difference, so we’d suggest you buy the standard 542RR model. If you prefer to have those features on your bike rack, the Allen Sports Premier Hitch Mounted 4-Bike Carrier S545 may be the answer.

Liked

  • Tilting mast that provides easy access while lifting
  • Easy installation
  • Strong and durable steel construction

Disliked

  • Security features purchased separately
  • Not as easy to fit all 4 bikes at once

2. Swagman XC 2-Bike Hitch Mount

Swagman-Traveler-XCS2

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions :
5″x 34″x 11″

Foldable:
No

Capacity:
35Lbs Per Bike


This stylish rack is exceptionally easy to fit and can even accommodate fat tires; you’ll simply have to purchase an extra tray. The standard rack will take tires between 20’ and 29’. The rack fits onto a 1 ¼ hitch receiver or a 2”; making it possible to use it or more than one SUV; handy if you have two or a friend needs to borrow it. Once in place, there is a ½ inch locking pin to help ensure the rack can’t go missing. Again this is sold separately with a 10mm cable.

The rack can handle a total of 70lbs; that’s 35lbs per bike which should be enough to keep most people happy. More important is the fact that it has a built-in, anti-wobble device. This helps to keep your bikes balanced and the vehicle handling properly while you drive. It is worth noting that the center arm of this rack can be folded down; allowing access to your boot while the rack is in place.

As well as the tire size you need to consider how big a frame this rack can accommodate. Fortunately, it comes with upright arms that have built-in ratchets. This allows you to adjust them to fit the frame of your bike. The maximum height of the frame of your bike is 59cm.

The Swagman XC Cross country 2-Bike rack is made from steel and weighs 32 pounds. When not in use, it can be folded up vertically to minimize the space it takes up at home or on the back of your vehicle. Just don’t forget it’s there when you’re reversing!

It is worth noting that the bikes are secured by their wheels and then the ratchet is closed over the top. This ensures that they cannot move while you are driving. You can even slide the wheel plates to accommodate different size frames. It doesn’t matter if you have a road bike, downhill, full suspension, or a BX; this rack can handle it and make sure it gets where it needs to.

Liked

  • Affordable
  • Easy installation and mounting
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Disliked

  • Thumb switch can be hard to operate

Strap-On Trunk Bike Racks for SUVs

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 another 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 normally very lightweight, making them 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.

The Pros And Cons Of Strap-On Trunk Bike Racks

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Best suited for smaller numbers of bikes
  • Blocks rear access to the vehicle
  • Stability relies on how securely you attach the straps
  • May obstruct your rearview, 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

The 2 Best Strap-On Trunk Bike Racks for SUVs

1. Allen Sports Premier 2-Bike Rack

 Allen Sports Premier 2-Bike Rack

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions :
23″x 13″x 4″

Foldable:
Yes

Capacity:
35 Lbs Per Bike


We’re not going to lie, we’re not the biggest fans of trunk-mount racks; something about all those straps and hooks to the car that just feels weird, but we’re very willing to admit that that’s a personal preference and there are some very well-designed and easy to use trunk mount bike racks for SUVs on the market. We suggest you look at the Allen Sports Premier 2-Bike Trunk Rack.

While you do find four bike trunk mounts on the market the sheer nature of this mount actually dictates that most trunk-mount systems are designed to carry two bikes or less, and that makes sense. Four Bikes on a single rack present quite a weight and we suggest you look at a hitch mount system if you need to carry more bikes.

Allen Sports Premier 2-Bike Trunk Rack fits almost all sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs. They come with Allen’s patented quick snap set-up system, which makes it easy to do your initial fitting and get the rack onto the vehicle. On this rack, the arms are 12 inches long and can accommodate 2 bikes at a combined 70 lbs.

The bikes are held in place by Allen’s dual compound tie-down cradles and once fitted you can rest assured that your bike will be secure and safe on the back of your vehicle. Take the necessary precautions to ensure the two bikes do not bump into each other if you’re going to go onto backroads or gravel roads. The rack also sports some extra-large car pads to ensure the rack doesn’t cause any paint damage where it touches the vehicle.

Our suggestions would be that you consider a strap mount system if you have a single bike to transport – they are relatively easy to fit and the lightweight compliments this design. For that, look at the Allen Sports Ultra Compact Folding 1-Bike Trunk Mount Rack.

Liked

  • Affordable
  • Light-weight
  • Compact folding for storage

Disliked

  • No additional security features
  • Not adjustable

2. Tyger Auto Deluxe Trunk Rack

Tyger Auto Deluxe Trunk Rack

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions :
20″x 15″x 9.02″

Foldable:
No

Capacity:
55 Lbs Per Bike


This small rack is designed to carry just 1 bike; making it the perfect option if you’re planning on completing a sole ride or just meeting some friends. It’s not the best option if you’re ready to start family cycling holidays!

The rack is designed to be secured to the boot of your vehicle. It should fit any sedan, hatchback, minivan, and, of course, SUV. However, it is not designed to be used if your car has a rear spoiler.

The rack is exceptionally sturdy and has been well designed. There is padding on the lower part of the frame to protect your car from the rack as you pull the ratchet straps tight. These are what hold the rack in position. There are also safety straps included to help secure the bike and keep it in position. The rack is well designed, it is powder-coated black to protect it from the elements; this should stop it from rusting. Even the part that the bike sits on and against has padding to protect your bike from harm.

The rack itself is padded with soft cradles to ensure your bike is well looked after in transit. The arms fold in to the main body when not in use. This is designed for convenient storage and carrying when the rack is off the vehicle. However, it is also possible to tie these arms to the main rack whilst it is on your vehicle; minimizing the risk of damaging it when it’s not in use.

There are plenty of instructions with the rack to ensure you can have it fitted to your SUV in minutes. No assembly is required and it comes with a lifetime warranty for the first owner. But, do not try to fit this rack into motorhomes or a trailer.

The rack itself weighs just 8.9 pounds and measures 20 x 15x 9 inches. But, although incredibly easy to install, you won’t be able to open your boot without removing the rack. While this won’t be an issue in many situations, there are times when you can find this a serious inconvenience!

This is a stylish-looking, streamlined rack. However, the rack is still limited to approximately 35 pounds. This is enough to handle most bikes but not much use if you have something a bit heavier.

The real issue is that the springs which allow the arms to fold in are not as big as they could be. This is why some users have reported their bikes falling off as the tiny springs fail.

Liked

  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Easy installation

Disliked

  • Not compatible with rear spoiler vehicles

SUV Spare Tire Bike Racks

If your SUV carries a rear spare tire and you only need to carry one or two bikes, a spare tire bike rack might be a good consideration. Just like the trunk bike racks, these are easy to install. 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.

The Pros And Cons Of Spare Tire Bike Racks

Pros

  • Not too expensive
  • Easy to install and remove
  • No high lifting involved
  • No direct contact between vehicle and bikes

Cons

  • Have to remove tire covers
  • Suspended bikes may sway when traveling
  • Limited anti-theft options
  • May obstruct the rearview or license plate and taillights

The Best Spare Tire Bike Racks for SUVs

1. Yakima SpareRide Bike Carrier

Yakima SpareRide Bike Carrier

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions :
40″x 13″x 19″

Foldable:
No

Capacity:
35 Lbs Per Bike


The Yakima SpareRide bike carrier is an improvement on models like the Yakima Sparetime Bike Rack and is our choice of spare tire mounted bike rack. The bike rack is made of steel for strength and to ensure your rack lasts for many seasons. The SpareRide is equipped with their new “super crush zip strip” cradles and TireTread pads for stability. The design and construction of this rack are of the highest quality and holding it in your hand just installed confidence that your bike will be safe and secure on the back of your SUV.

While fitting the mounting plate of a spare tire-mounted SUV bike rack is often more challenging than some of the other mount options, attaching the rack is very simple once that is done. The Yakima SpareRide sports a universal mounting plate and comes with a handy extension so it fits most spare tire lug patterns on the market. It fits nearly any size spare, including oversized truck tires. Also included is a tool-free locking knob to make fitting the rack to the base plate a total breeze. The cradles on the Yakima have a really nice anti-sway design which ensures minimum movement of the bikes when mounted. We really like the cradle design on this bike rack.

Finally, just to totally knock it out of the park, there’s a signature Yakima bottle opener on the rack… yes, you read that right, a bottle opener! Go buy it.

Liked

  • First thing
  • Includes lock for bike and rack
  • Tool-free installation

Disliked

  • Somewhat expensive

2. Thule 963PRO 2 Bike Carrier

Thule 963PRO 2 Bike Carrier

Material:
Steel

Dimensions :
38.5″x 18.5″x 16″

Foldable:
Yes

Capacity:
37.5 Lbs Per Bike


Thule has been making bike racks and rooftop boxes for many years, and their expertise shows in the way they put this rack together.

The 963 PRO has cages to hold the frames of the bikes; these are designed to be anti-sway; preventing your bike or bikes from moving and banging into each other as you drive. This rack is designed to hook onto your spare tire but, unlike the offering from Allen, it can be used on any size wheel.

This is because it doesn’t hook over the tire. Instead, you install a mounting pylon to the same anchor as the spare wheel. You will need to remove the spare wheel to do this. However, you only have to do this once; you can easily add or remove the rack with the spare wheel in place once the mounting pylon is positioned correctly.

Once the pylon is in place the rack simply screws into position with an easy turn knob. The knob has a built-in lock making it very difficult to remove the rack without the key!

You will also be pleased to find a locking cable that is included; allowing you to lock the bikes to the rack.

It is worth noting that any non-conventional frame, such as a woman’s bike, child’s, or even a full-suspension bike, will need a frame adaptor to allow you to slip it on and off the rack. The rack actually folds down when not in use, giving it dimensions of just 4 x 18 x 38.5 inches and it weighs 34.4 pounds; you could easily forget it is still on your SUV! You can only carry two bikes safely and the maximum load weight is 75 pounds; this is enough for most situations.

When opened up the rack measures 24 x 40 x 26. This should be adequate for the two bikes although if you have odd-sized or large bikes you may find it a tight squeeze.

Of course, the big advantage of this type of bike carrier is that it can be left on and the trunk will still open; whether the bikes are on the rack or not. This is why it is important that it locks into place; once you have taken the 10 minutes you need to install it you can have it ready to use anytime you want! In fact, folded up it looks like a pretty stylish addition to your vehicle! You do need to be aware that the rack cannot be fitted over a tire cover; this will need to be removed first.

Liked

  • Integrated locking cable and locking knob
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Sturdy locking system

Disliked

  • Rubbers straps wear down quickly

Roof Bike Racks for SUVs

Roof racks are very versatile, and with the right accessories, a roof rack not only carries bikes but also just about any other thing you can think of; from kayaks to cargo boxes. But a big downside is that SUVs are typically already high-roofed vehicles and require you to lift the bikes over your head, which is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

If your vehicle is already equipped with a roof rack or crossbars, 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.

The Pros And Cons Of Roof Bike Racks for SUVs

Pros

  • Very versatile solution
  • Can store other cargo as well
  • Often holds up to five bikes
  • Supports alternative-frame bikes
  • Very stable, so bikes won’t sway
  • Don’t obstruct the driver’s rearview
  • Relatively low costs

Cons

  • 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 crosswinds
  • Height restrictions may apply
  • May not fit vehicles with a curved roof

The 2 Best Roof Bike Racks for SUVs

1. Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount

Yakima ForkLift Fork Mount

Material:
Alloy Steel

Dimensions:
54″x 6″x 6″

Foldable:
No

Capacity:
35 Lbs Per Bike


Our choice of roof-mounted bike rack for your SUV is the Yakima Forklift Rooftop Bike Mount. Our choice is strongly influenced by its versatility and the quality of the design and construction. It goes without saying that the Forklift fits Yakima round, square, factory, and aerodynamic crossbars right out of the box, but what makes it special is that it also fits almost any other brand name car rack system with round or square bars as well as most factory crossbars that may come with your SUV. Fitting the bike mount to your car roof rack system is a simple and tool-free process.

The wheel tray on the rack is easy to adjust, which takes the pain out of positioning the rear wheel. The Forklift will comfortably hold a mountain bike with 29″ wheels as well as bikes with a longer wheelbase. A secure and lockable skewer with an integrated adjustment knob for single-handed, easy access holds the bike firmly in place. If your bike has a thru-axle, you will need a thru-axle adapter that can be bought from Yakima or online. The front mount will fit most any disk brake and while some may feel a little tight, it really is hard to find a configuration that cannot be securely mounted on the Yakima Forklift.

The design of the Yakima is elegant and simple and even when compared to similar racks like the one by Thule, you’ll quickly come to understand that they’ve minimized the number of parts (for example, there’s only a single bolt per clamp, but that’s all that’s needed as opposed to four bolts on the Thule) This makes mounting and dismounting the Yakima really easy.

Finally, as expected, the Yakima Forklift is designed not to touch the painted surfaces of your bike and makes for a great bike mount even for modern carbon bikes.

Liked

  • High-quality construction
  • Can transport bikes with disc brakes
  • Light-weight

Disliked

  • The rack is noisy when there is no bike on
  • Plastic parts might become brittle over time

2. Yakima Frontloader Bike Mount

Yakima Frontloader Bike Mount

Material:
Carbon Fiber

Dimensions:
56.5″x 8.5″x 10″

Foldable:
Yes

Capacity:
35 Lbs Per Bike


Your first look at this roof-mounted rack will probably leave you puzzled as to what it actually is! The long, streamlined bar has a clip, wheel holder, an adjuster, and not a lot more! This rack is purposefully designed this way to ensure it is as streamlined as possible, whether your bike is in the rack or not.

It is important to note that you will need to have roof bars already fitted across your car. These are not the ones that run the length of your vehicle. The Yakima Frontloader has adjustable clips that lock around your existing roof bars to hold the rack securely in place. These clamps have locks to ensure the rack cannot be removed without the key. They are sold separately. You will get three keys with the locks to help ensure you always have one to hand when you need it. You don’t want to have to remove the lock without the key!

A large section at the front of the bar flicks upwards and forwards while a slightly smaller section comes backward. Both come out of the front mount. These create a ‘V’ shape that slots around your front wheel, locking it into place.

A smaller clamp goes around the rear wheel, holding your bike upright on the roof of your car without touching the frame. This makes sure you won’t damage your bike while carrying it unless you go under a tall bridge!

The crossbars on your roof must be between 16 and 48 inches apart. If you cannot do this, then you can’t use the Yakima Frontloader to carry a single bike. The rack will support most bikes, providing their wheels are between 20’ and 29 inches. Therefore, this rack is not suitable for children’s bikes. Like so many of the other racks on this list, there is a comprehensive warranty that covers most things apart from wear and tear but only for the first owner.

Although you do need crossbars to mount this roof rack, it is worth noting that you can use any type. Round, square, or any mixture in between will all accommodate this stylish rack; it’s certain to get your friends asking questions!

Of course, this rack accommodates just one bike, but it is possible to add more of them onto the roof of your SUV. The exact number will depend on the size of your vehicle and the sizes of the bikes.

The rack arrives in one piece. All you need to do is mount it to your car and lock it into position (assuming you purchased the locks). It measures 57 x 10 x 9 inches and weighs an amazing 1.6 ounces. Lifting it into position is easy, although lifting your bike onto the roof may be harder.

Liked

  • Very fast assembly
  • No front-wheel removal
  • Allows access to the trunk

Disliked

  • Additional locks must be purchased separately
  • Wheel Straps aren’t compatible with fat bikes

A Buyer’s Guide – Picking The Right Bike Rack for SUVs

If you’re in the market for a bike rack and have an SUV, then this guide to the best bike racks for SUVs should help to highlight the positive qualities of all the different racks available.

The Number Of Bikes To Carry

This is the most obvious starting point. You can’t buy a bike rack for one of two bikes when you need to carry four bikes all the time! Consider the maximum amount of bikes you will need to transport and use that as your guide to choosing the right bike rack.

Do You Need To Access The Trunk?

If you have an SUV, you can have a hitch rack or a spare tire rack and still get into the trunk. Should you need to access the trunk regularly, then a rack that will allow you to do so would be the best choice. When in doubt, it is better to go with this option.

How Often Do You Use The Rack?

Do you use your rack every week or every day? If so, it will be a permanent fixture on your vehicle, and you need one that doesn’t affect your use of the car. It won’t matter if it is complicated to fit as it will stay in place all the time.

Do You Have Storage Space?

Most bike racks fold up reasonably small. However, if you want to keep it off your SUV, you need space to store it. If you don’t, it will be staying on the vehicle, and again, you need to select a rack that will allow you to access the trunk and other parts of your car.

Of course, if the rack stays on your vehicle, you need to choose one that folds when not in use; the more aerodynamic it is, the better for your fuel consumption.

Other Items You Carry

If you often need to carry a roof box for vacations or other reasons, a roof rack for your bike may not be the most sensible solution. It is worth considering how you currently use your vehicle before choosing your bike rack; you don’t want to buy a second one for the annual vacation! You are in no short supply of alternative options, though, and if you do use a lot of roof storage during your trips, a trunk or hitch mount may be just what you need.

Budget

Decide how much you are willing to spend before you start looking for a bike rack. There are many great options available that won’t break the bank. I’m a big believer in investing in a quality brand of bike rack, even if it means saving up a little longer.

Reputation

It is essential to assess the quality of the product and the manufacturer’s reputation. Social media is a great place to get some honest responses.

Conclusion

When looking for an SUV bike rack, you have a lot of options. Your final choice will depend on your vehicle’s design, how many bikes you wish to carry, and how often you transport your bikes. If you and your partner are planning only to go cycling occasionally, a trunk rack or a spare tire SUV bike rack will suffice. Should you and your family go biking all the time, often to faraway 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 and 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.

Our Pick!

Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

Allen Sports Deluxe

The Allen Sports Deluxe delivers over and above expectations, including quick-fold, carry arms, quick-secure straps, and dual compound cradles.