Should I Use a Top or Rear Mounted Bike Rack?

One of the questions people ask me the most is whether they should get a top or rear mounted bike rack. Both types will allow you to safely transport your bikes, however there are advantages and disadvantages to using each of them.

Top Mounted Bikes Racks

The first type of bike rack we’ll look at are the top mounted racks that attach to the roof of your vehicle. Depending on which model you get, it should come with a bar system and screws for assembly. Once you have it installed, you can then securely place anywhere between 1 and 4 bikes on the roof of your vehicle.

With your bikes on top of your vehicle, you’ll have easier access to your trunk and tailgate. This alone is reason enough why many people choose this type of bike rack over hitch mounted ones. However, the downside to using a roof mounted bike rack is that some vehicles won’t be compatible with them. If your vehicle is too tall, then you may have to stick with a hitch mounted rack.

Another problem some people run into with top mounted bike racks is their height clearance. I know it sounds like common sense, but you need to be aware of how high your vehicle is with bikes on top. Don’t go flying into a garage or fast food drive-through with bikes on top of your car, as low passes could hit and damage them. Still, as long as you’re careful and aware while driving, top mounted bike racks are excellent choice.

Rear Mounted Bike Racks

The other type of bike racks, rear mounted, attach to the hitch or trunk of your car. You’ll probably find that most of these are a bit easier to assemble and use, as they simply clutch on the corners of your vehicle.

Many bikers prefer this type of bike rack because it’s easier to drive and travel with. Since they aren’t attached to the roof, there’s less wind resistance and less bugs smashing into your bikes. While most people shouldn’t have a problem with either of these, certain locations can be super windy and/or filled with insects.

The one drawback to some types of rear mounted bike racks is that it limits the use of your trunk. Certain ones will still allow you to life the trunk up, but you’ll have to take your bikes off for most of them. When you’re going on a long trip and need access to your trunk, taking all of your bikes off can be a pain.

Which One Should I Choose?

Both rear and top mounted bike racks will safely and effectively transport your bikes if used correctly. The most important factor in your decision should be the compatibility with your vehicle. First and foremost, make sure your truck, car or SUV will support the rack you want. Also, find one with the ability to support enough bikes for your needs. Hopefully the tips here will allow you to make a better purchasing decision for your bike rack.