While you may be lucky enough to live within easy pedaling distance of your favorite trailhead or road cycling location, many cyclists need to travel some distance for the best riding environments.
If you need to travel to ride, there are many different types of bike rack out there allowing you to avoid needing to wrestle your bike inside your vehicle.
For the purposes of today’s guide, we’ll be focusing purely on the best bike racks for SUVs.
You’ll need to look for a rack that you can quickly and easily secure to your vehicle, one that allows you to transport your bikes without dragging dirt and grease inside your SUV. You also need to ensure the rack won’t scratch up the paint job, either on your frame or your vehicle.
While you might imagine buying a bike rack for your truck is one of the easiest buying decisions out there, you should focus on a few simple pointers to streamline that decision.
Before anything else at all, you’ll need to consider the right type of bike rack for your SUV. You’ll find racks in the following styles:
- Roof racks: The most versatile type of bike rack, you’ll need a rail system in place on your truck. While most SUVs are equipped with roof rails, you’ll need to make provision for this if there are no rails in place. Also, establish the weight that your roof can support and don’t exceed this when loading your rack. Additionally, this type of bike rack supposes you have the ability to live your bike overhead and onto the rack. Overall, roof racks are one of the best options for hauling your bikes short or long distances.
- Hitch racks: If your truck has a mount at the rear, you could use a hitch rack to easily transport your bikes without needing to hoist them up onto the roof of the SUV. On the downside, hitch racks are expensive. They also tend to obscure your view and introduce blind spots, as well as blocking trunk access.
- Truck racks: Do you want a specialized rack system for your truck? If so, you could turn the bed of the vehicle into a home for your bicycles with a dedicated truck rack. The flaw of these systems is the way they eat up all the space of the truck bed.
- Trunk racks: For those who only need to carry one or two bikes, a simple trunk rack fastens to the back of your SUV with a strap and hook arrangement. These bike racks are cheap, highly portable, and don’t require much effort when loading your bikes.
- Spare tire racks: Does your SUV have a spare tire mounted on the back door? If so, you can find bike racks that attach to this set-up. You must first remove the tire cover and then you can carry up to two bikes using this method.
Choosing the right style of rack is straightforward, then. Beyond this, you should consider the following areas when you’re comparing the best bike racks:
Bike type: Bikes come in all shapes and sizes. The wheel specs on mountain bikes, for instance, differ from those on road bikes. If you have a smaller bike, consider using a trunk mount rack. A heavier bike, by contrast, calls for a hitch mount rack. Think about the size of your bike tires when establishing the types of wheel trays that make the smoothest fit.
- Number of bikes: While most roof racks only hold one bike safely, hitch racks allow you to carry up to four bikes. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short here.
- Mount position: Bike racks for SUVs can be installed on the trunk, roof, or hitch of the truck. Not all SUVs are equipped with hitches, though. The same applies to rail mount racks. If you’re thinking about one of these, you’ll need the corresponding rail system on the roof of your truck.
- Ease of assembly and set-up: Some bike racks come pre-assembled while others call for more involved user assembly. You should always check that the rack is securely fitted before you load your bikes.
- Access to vehicle: The right bike rack will allow you to easily access the rear side and trunk of your SUV. You should also have an unobscured rear view of the truck. A foldable rack allows you to access the trunk without uninstalling the mount.
OK, with that simple framework in place, you should now be able to confidently navigate our shortlist of the bike SUV bike racks.
The 14 Best Bike Racks for SUV
1. Our Pick: Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0 Bike Rack
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Dimensions: 45 x 12 x 15 inches
First in line and our overall favorite in today’s collection of the most effective bike racks for SUVs comes from premium brand Kuat.
If you’re shopping for bike racks mainly based on the bottom line, this powder-coated aluminum model is not the best bet. If, however, you’re looking for convenience, security, and ease of use, read on.
Construction is impressive. The only real drawback of the aluminum build is the reasonably limited weight capacity.
This rack is especially easy to install thanks to the lightweight build and the easy-snap mounting requiring no tools and no DIY expertise.
Ideal for bikes with tires to 3 inches in diameter and with wheelbases up to 47 inches long, this is a versatile all-rounder ideal for most trucks and SUVs.
One of the primary benefits of this rack is the way it is designed to mount tilted away from your truck. This lets you readily access the vehicle’s rear hatch, even if the rack is loaded with your bikes.
There is a semi-integrated lock with a cable supplied, ideal if you need to leave your SUV momentarily unattended.
A rear tire cradle is equipped with a molded strap to better protect the wheels of your bikes.
The majority of user feedback for this sleek and efficient bike rack is positive. The gripes we encountered centered on customer care and returns issues rather than the rack itself.
As long as you don’t find the weight limit and price tag of this hitch rack restrictive, it’s one of the best models in crowded market segment.
2. Thule T2 Pro Hitch Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy
- Weight: 52 pounds
- Dimensions: 54 x 43 x 15 inches
Thule make a wide variety of bike racks to suit many needs. The T2 Pro XT/XR is a versatile hitch rack that offers an upgrade to the more basic Pro X model.
In its standard configuration, this rack allows you to transport two bikes or, with the purchase of an add-on kit, four bikes. If you load the rack fully, you’ll still get plenty of space between the bikes, preventing any unwanted scratches marring your bikes.
As with all the most effective bike racks, you’ll have the Thule T2 Pro installed with no need for a tool kit or any special skills. Although there is an integrated lock cylinder, we encountered a few complaints from users about the weakness of this lock.
A hitching lever lets you easily manipulate the positioning once the rack is set up. When you’re not using the bike rack, it tilts and folds to streamline storage. If you need to access the rear of your truck without uninstalling the whole mount, tilt the rack down and you’re good to go.
This rack is available with two hitch sizes (1.25-inch and 2-inch). The extension for four-bike transportation is only available on the larger hitch size.
Although the rack is extremely heavy, it’s fitted with wheels to make it easier for you to shift it around when it’s not attached to your SUV.
This rack is another versatile offering, accommodating most fat bikes without requiring any adapters, as well as mountain bikes and road bikes. Remember to buy an additional lock for safety’s sake and enjoy one of the most flexible bike racks out there.
3. Allen Sports Store Mounted Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 23 x 13.6 x 3.9 inches
The Deluxe is the mid-range model from Allen Sports, a brand with a reputation for producing great bike racks at affordable prices.
If you’re looking for a rack that comes pre-assembled and ready to install, this model makes a wise bet. You’ll have the rack set up in less than a minute, maximizing the time you can spend riding.
Ideal for SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks, and minivans, this rack is a wonderfully flexible option for multi-vehicle families who don’t want the hassle or expense of buying more than one bike rack.
Each bike can be individually tied down and the additional side straps mean you won’t have any worries about your road bike flying off mid-journey.
The lower frame of this rack is nicely padded to keep the frame of your bike away from the paintwork of your SUV.
Of the three models in the Allen Sports line, the Deluxe is most suitable for those with smaller bikes and for anyone who owns bikes with non-standard frame designs.
Arguably the key selling point of this model is the way the cradles can independently swivel. This gives you even greater flexibility when you’re mounting your bike.
Although most customer feedback is positive, we found a few complaints concerning the feel of this rack when fully loaded. A handful of consumers suggest it performs much more strongly when carrying a single bike than when loaded with two.
4. Swagman Hitch Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 28 pounds
- Dimensions: 34 x 11 x 5 inches
Swagman offers one of the cheapest bike racks for your SUV, but is it any good?
The answer, as with so many budget products, is nuanced. The main flaw of this rack is the fact it requires an extra strap to keep the bikes in place. If you stick with the recommended set-up, you are liable to find your bikes move around too much when loaded.
The rack is designed to accommodate bikes with frames to 23 inches. The upright arms ratchet into position to house a variety of different frame sizes snugly and securely.
Compatible with both 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitches, you’ll find you can transport one or two bikes with this cost-effective rack from Swagman. This presupposes a weight capacity of 35 pounds per bike. The rack can cope with a range of tire sizes from 20 inches through 29 inches.
One of the leading benefits of the Swagman rack is the ease of assembly. You won’t need any tools at all, and you’ll have the rack installed in minutes flat. Once you have finished using the bike rack, it folds down so you can store it in limited spaces.
The budget pricing means you’ll need to buy some accessories separately, including a security cable, locking hitch pin, and wheel trays for bikes with fat tires. Without the fat tire tray, the rack accommodates tires to 2.5 inches wide.
As long as you remember to use an additional strap to keep your bikes more securely positioned, you’ll find this pocket-friendly bike rack makes a neat fit for most SUVs.
5. Saris Bones Bike Rack
- Material: Composite
- Weight: 12.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 20 x 22 x 9 inches
The Saris Bones EX Trunk is the perfect bike rack if you need to transport up to three heavier bikes at once.
Off the bat, this is perhaps the most flexible of all bike racks when it comes to compatibility. Whether you have a truck, an SUV, a saloon, a sedan, or a vehicle fitted with large spoilers, this rack makes a neat fit.
Saris offers three different variants of this rack allowing you to carry two, three, or four bikes. This is the mid-sized option.
Build quality is robust. The arms and legs of the rack are made from an injection-molded composite, guaranteeing a lengthy lifespan whatever the weather conditions. As an added kicker, you won’t find this rack suffers from corrosion or rusting either.
The ratchet straps on many bike racks are one of the weakest points. This is not so with the Saris Bones model. You can fasten your bikes to the rack quickly and easily, but much more importantly they will stay firmly in position while you drive.
Now fitting even more vehicles than ever in this upgraded version, the Saris Bones rack is handmade in the USA from completely recyclable materials. This lets you do your part for the environment while keeping your bikes securely lashed into place on your next road trip.
6. Allen Sports Store Premier Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 10.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.7 x 13.6 inches
Another solid bike rack from the Allen Sports stable is up next with the Premier, an affordable and reasonably basic rack that gets the job done.
We’ll lead off with one of the only real drawbacks of this model – the rubber straps. Many customers report these straps showing signs of premature wear, so we hope this is an issue the manufacturer addresses in forthcoming generations.
Installation, on the other hand, couldn’t be easier. If you’ve been put off investing in a bike rack for your SUV for fear of tasky set-up, you’ll appreciate the quick-snap fixings that allow you to set this rack up quickly and easily.
The rack is intended to transport up to two bikes with a total weight limit of 70 pounds, ideal if you have heavier road bikes or fat bikes you need to take to your riding locale in the SUV.
Oversized pads ensure the load of the bikes is evenly distributed and that handling of your SUV is not adversely impacted.
Lengthy carry arms on this rack can hold up to two bikes weighing a maximum total of 70 pounds.
As with all bike racks, you should consult the manufacturer’s website to make certain that this rack is compatible with your vehicle. SUV owners are in safe hands here with one of the best user-friendly bike racks out there.
7. YAKIMA Rooftop Bike Rack
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Weight: 18 pounds
- Dimensions: 56.5 x 10 x 8.5 inches
YAKIMA has a wide range of aerodynamic bike racks that are design-driven and made from premium materials without costing the earth.
If you want to fit this bike rack to your SUV, you’ll need to have roof rails in place with a spread of between 16 and 48 inches. Assuming you have this in place, you’ll just need to load your bike onto the carbon fiber assembly. You then pop your bike up on the roof fully loaded.
The rack grips your bike’s front and rear wheels, completely eliminating frame contact and keeping your pride and joy scratch-free. Once your bike is in place, it’s held in place with an upright mount. The rack is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible so you can hit the highway without your progress being hindered.
If you want the added security of locks for this bike rack, they are available at extra cost. You’ll need two locks so you can lock the rack to the SUV and your bike to the rack.
The flexibility of this rack allows you to transport almost any kind of bike, including fat bikes and bikes with unusual frame designs.
While you might expect a carbon fiber bike rack to fall at the premium end of pricing, this model from YAKIMA is available for much less than you might imagine.
8. Tyger Auto Deluxe Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Dimensions: 27 x 3 x 18 inches
Tyger’s bike rack comes in a one-bike, two-bike, or three-bike variant. This model is intended to accommodate two bikes, ideal for you and your loved one to hit some trails far from home.
For all those looking for an assembly-free SUV bike rack, this is one of many seamless options that allows you to get going right out the box.
Made from a durable and long-lasting alloy, the rack is designed to fit most SUVs, hatchbacks, sedans, and minivans. If your vehicle has a rear spoiler, this rack is not suitable, so we suggest exploring some of the many alternatives above and below that will neatly fit a vehicle with a spoiler.
Intended for up to two bikes with a maximum weight capacity of 63 pounds, make sure this meshes with your requirements. That said, we came across a handful of complaints from consumers reporting stability issues when this rack was loaded with a pair of heavy bikes. Do your own due diligence here.
One of the best elements of this rack is the softness of the cradles. If you have an expensive bike and you’re especially concerned about racks scratching the paintwork, you’ll have no such worries with this rack.
Another advantage of this model is the lightweight nature. This means it’s easy to handle and set up, and it doesn’t require much storage space when not in use.
The frame of the rack is coated with a rust-resistant treatment, prolonging lifespan even in hostile climates. The lower frame is padded and engineered to keep the frame of your bikes away from your SUV.
If you’re still in any doubt about investing in this bike rack, you’ll benefit from a lifetime warranty when you buy the Tyger Auto.
9. Allen Sports Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Dimensions: 26 x 14 x 3.5 inches
If you’re looking for a substantial bike rack to accommodate up to four bikes so the whole family can head out riding together, the highly reputable Allen Sports has the perfect solution.
As with all racks from this brand, you’ll benefit from impressive build quality and a commendable lifespan. As an inbuilt bonus, the rack is not as expensive as some of the more premium brands in this niche.
You can choose from a broad spread of configurations. This iteration of the rack is labeled the Deluxe Locking.
If you dislike the idea of fiddling around installing a bike rack, you’ll appreciate the quick install insert, allowing you to get this hitch rack in place in minutes. You won’t need any tools or any special practical expertise either.
Suitable for almost all types of bike frame, the overall weight capacity of this rack is a class-leading 140 pounds.
Unlike many bikes intended for multiple bikes, you can confidently load up the Allen with up to four bikes without suffering any stability or security issues.
An individual tie-down system ensures that you lash each of your bikes firmly into place, allowing you to focus on driving your SUV rather than worrying about your cargo coming loose and causing a catastrophic accident.
We couldn’t find many meaningful complaints about this model, although we can’t say the same about consumer feedback regarding Allen customer care. Overall, this is perhaps the strongest options for families looking for an all-purpose SUV bike rack.
10. Saris Bones Bike Rack
- Material: Plastic
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Dimensions: 22 x 16 x 8 inches
Another rack from the Saris Bone line up next with this plastic and pocket-friendly model intended for SUVs, minivans, and most passenger cars.
Don’t let the plastic build put you off – this rack looks sleek and is built to stay the distance, even if you live somewhere with harsh weather conditions.
The arms and legs of this rack are injection-molded, ensuring rigidity and stability while remaining rust-free.
To secure and stabilize your bikes, just use the simple ratchet straps. You won’t need to use too much physical force and your bikes will be firmly secured ready for the road trip ahead.
Designed to fit over the majority of spoilers, you shouldn’t encounter any issues with installation unless you have a specialty vehicle rather than a regular SUV.
Not only is this rack super-strong and rugged, but the materials are also all recyclable too, reducing your eco-footprint further.
This is one of the few racks we review today that generates a reasonable amount of negative feedback. Many users complain about the flimsiness of the straps, while there are also a number of complaints about the shortness of the arms. Think closely about the layout of your SUV and what kind of use you plan for the rack before committing to purchase.
On a more positive note, exceptional stability is a common theme in user reviews of this rack, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
Overall, this is not a bad bike rack for your SUV, but we review many superior options today.
11. Allen Stores Ultra-Compact Truck Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 5.96 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.6 x 7.3 inches
Of all the Allen bike racks, the Ultra-Compact is one of the most popular models.
You can choose between a one-bike or two-bike variant of the Ultra-Compact. This iteration is designed to accommodate one bike.
The primary benefit of this rack is the way it folds down small enough to fit inside a backpack. No other bike rack on the market can offer this level of convenience.
You get a trio of legs with thick padding that rest up against your vehicle. The rack is ideal for use with SUVs, minivans, and most regular passenger vehicles. You’ll run into trouble if your SUV has a large spoiler, though. You should always consult the manufacturer’s website for compatibility before purchasing any bike rack for your SUV.
To keep your bike in place, just ratchet the three adjustable straps accordingly. Most users report positive experiences with the stability of this rack, surprisingly rigid given its lightweight and compact nature.
If you purchase this rack through a third-party seller, Allen will not honor the terms of the product warranty, so buyer beware. Setting this minor gripe aside, this is a unique bike rack in a crowded vertical, so give it a go if you often head out cycling solo and you want a rack for the back of your SUV.
12. YAKIMA Strap Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.8 inches
We have another offering from the YAKIMA stable next with this premium strap rack ideal for transporting all types of bikes. If you have a slanted top tube bike, you’ll need to purchase an adapter for a smooth fit.
Off the bat, this is one of the easiest racks to install. You can also remove it from your SUV in seconds, giving you a much more flexible solution than a more permanent rack.
As with all the bike racks from this brand, you’ll need to pay more for security. The SKS (same key system) is available at extra cost, but the dual lock is well worth the investment. You get one lock to secure the rack to your SUV and another to secure the bike to the rack. With these simple steps, you can step away from your vehicle without giving thieves the opportunity to strike.
Designed to transport two bikes or three smaller bikes, the trunk-mounted rack won’t obscure your view out of the rear of the SUV, and you won’t find it too tricky to access the rear door either.
Despite the budget pricing, the overall fit and finish of this rack is impressive. The glossy finish means you won’t end up making your shiny new SUV look ugly when you’re shifting your bikes around.
Although installation is relatively straightforward, it is slightly more involved than the manufacturer suggests. Also, you might want a helping hand as installation can be tough alone.
Overall, the convenience and versatility of this bike rack for SUVs are the twin selling points and make it well worth a place on your shortlist.
13. Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
- Material: Rubber
- Weight: 10.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 39 inches
As we near the end of our collection of the best bike racks for SUVs, we have an effective and affordable model from industry heavyweight Thule.
This rubberized rack is intended to transport two or three bikes. This model is the larger of the two designed for a trio of your favorite road bikes or mountain bikes.
While compatibility is broad, some frame types will require an adapter to ensure that they hang securely in place while you’re driving. This is available from the manufacturer, but you’ll need to pay extra for the privilege.
The hanging trunk style gives you a great deal of versatility and also slots into place without creating a potentially dangerous blind spot in your SUV.
Designed to eliminate any contact at all between the bike frames and the paintwork of your SUV, you’ll enjoy a seamless transportation experience and the joy of cycling trailheads further from home than you would otherwise ride.
With the exception of a fragile plastic hub, build quality is otherwise sound, with the price tag making this model even more attractive.
14. YAKIMA Forklift Bike Rack
- Material: Alloy steel
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Dimensions: 54 x 6 x 6 inches
Last but not least is a forklift style bike rack, another offering from the inimitable YAKIMA. As you’ll see from the number of racks we selected from this brand, you get value for money, performance, and durability in one enticing package.
This black alloy steel rack is intended for bike with disc brakes and quick-release hubs. If this doesn’t describe your bike, you can buy adapters to ensure other wheel or frame types fit snugly into position on the rack.
Opting for the discretionary SKS locking system is essential if you want to hit the road without worrying about someone liberating your bikes from your new rack.
The forklift system holds your bike by the rear wheel and the front axle. As such, the frame won’t come into contact with the body of your SUV, protecting both at the same time.
Before investing in this rack, you need to make certain you have a roof rack in place with rail spread of between 16 and 42 inches. Round and square bars are compatible, as well as both factory bars and aerodynamic bars.
Although most user testimony for this bike rack is reasonably positive, we found some scattered issues with lifespan reported, so look elsewhere if you want a bike rack to last for years.
1) How can I choose the best bike rack for my SUV?
The first thing you can do to narrow your options is to focus on the rack type. See our guide above for more help. If your SUV has a sports rack with crossbars fitted, it is worth considering a roof rack compatible with that hardware. Most SUV roof racks are designed to be compatible with the majority of third-party bike racks. Hitch racks will work with any SUV, as long as it is fitted with a hitch. You should always check for compatibility before you invest in any rack. Beyond this, the most important element to consider is the capacity and weight limit of the rack. Does this meet your needs? If not, scratch that model from the shortlist and move on. Additionally, make sure that the racks you are considering will accommodate the frame dimensions and wheel sizes of the bikes you plan to transport with the SUV rack.
2) How should I load my bikes onto a bike rack?
You load a bike onto a bike rack on one of two ways. The bike either sits on the rack secured by a wheel arm or the bike rests on bike arms with channels spaced to accommodate a variety of frame thicknesses. With the second type of rack, you need to make some adjustments when you’re carrying multiple bikes.
3) Will a bike rack automatically lock up my bikes?
While it is easy enough to find lockable bike racks other than trunk racks, not all racks offer this functionality. Some models have integrated cable locks. These allow you to thread a strong cable around the wheels and frames of your bikes, locking them to the rack itself.
4) Will using a bike rack damage my car?
If you use a roof rack or a hitch rack, this might damage the paintwork on your SUV, especially if the straps have metal clips and it touches against the body of the vehicle. We flag any issues in this area throughout our reviews above.
5) Can I transport my e-bike on a bike rack?
If you have an e-bike and you want to transport it using a bike rack, you’ll need to consider three variables: the weight of your e-bike, the ability to load the rack low to the ground, and the ability of the rack to accommodate the geometry of an e-bike frame. The best option for this scenario is a platform hitch rack. This is the only type of rack we recommend for hauling e-bikes around in an SUV.
6) Do I need a trailer hitch for my SUV bike rack?
If you plan to use a hitch mount rack, you’ll need a trailer hitch on your SUV. Roof racks and trunk racks, on the other hand, don’t demand a trailer hitch. If you want to use this type of rack and you don’t have a trailer hitch, fitting one to an SUV is a cheap and easy job.
Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed today’s breakdown of the most efficient and secure bike racks out there for SUV owners.
As long as you make sure the racks on your shortlist will accommodate the type and number of bikes you have in mind, you can start taking rides a lot further from home without needing to worry about pedaling all the way back again.
We’re just starting up here at Florida Cycling, so we would suggest you bookmark our blog and pop back soon. We’ll be adding fresh content daily as we share our love of cycling with you, minus the jargon and snobbery. We’ll see you soon!