For active families or solo adventurers, adding a bike rack to a vehicle can be a game-changer.
It gives you the ability to bring your two-wheeled whip on long-haul trips or afternoon getaways; and frees up interior cargo space, making it easier to pack for your excursion. In 2020, there are so many bike rack options to choose from.
Regardless of the type of vehicle you drive or the frame you ride, there’s a suitable bike rack that’ll work for your lifestyle.
Here are some of the best bike racks available in Canada, plus some advice on choosing and installing the one that works best for you.
Hitch Bike Racks
Pros: Easy to load and unload bikes; often are quite simple to install; allows access to rear.
Cons: Creates several feet of added length to your vehicle, so some may find maneuvering or parking their vehicle trickier; can be expensive.
This all-aluminum bike rack is light as a feather (just 32 lbs), but is incredibly sturdy. First, it can hold up to two bikes that weigh 40 lbs each and comes with external cable locks that can be wound through the frames and then attached to the rack. There’s also a foot-assist system that you can tap with your foot to get the rack to drop in order to easily load up the bikes if you’re holding them.
The Sherpa 2.0 supports wheelbases up to 47 inches and tires up to 3 inches, and there are two models, depending on your hitch size, for either 1.5- or 2-inch hitches.
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 bike rack, $749.99 at Amazon.
Thule T2 Pro XT
Thule has been dominating the cargo box game for years, but roof storage solutions aren’t the only thing they’re good at. Thule bike racks are some of the best on the market, including the brand’s T2 Pro XT model. It’s suitable for a variety of bike frames, including ebikes, fat-tire bikes and mountain bikes, as well as those with carbon-fibre frames, and fits up to 29-inch wheels and 5-inch tires.
Bikes remain safe thanks to added security — frames lock to the rack and the rack is locked to the receiver with a cable lock and knob combo. The T2 Pro XT is designed to hold two bikes, but can be expanded to fit four with an add-on purchased separately.
Thule T2 Pro XT, $775.99 at Thule.
Another hitch bike rack that gets rave reviews: RockyMounts’ MonoRail. This two-bike carrier has an add-on that’ll let you mount three, if you need, and offers an ample 13 inches of space between bikes, so they won’t be jostling against each other while you’re ripping down the highway. There’s also an anti-wobble hitch pin that keeps the device locked in place, so you’re not constantly checking your rearview mirror looking for missing bikes.
RockyMounts MonoRail, $569.99 at Rack Attack.
Roof Bike Racks
Pros: Sleek and minimal designs that are suitable for vehicles big and small; can be used on pre-existing crossbars or aftermarket.
Cons: Takes some effort to get the bike hoisted onto the roof and secured into place.
SportRack’s Upshift roof-mounted bike rack, which holds one unit and doesn’t require the front wheel to be disassembled, is a no-frills option that works. Frames stay put thanks to a wheel tray and adjustable arm that holds everything in place. There’s also a lock that secures the bike to the rack and deters anyone from messing with your gear while you’re away from your vehicle.
Fun fact: SportRack was born in Granby, Quebec in the ’80s and though it has since been acquired by Thule, its local roots make it a solid choice at an affordable price point.
SportRack Upshift Roof-Mounted Rack, $119.95 at TDot Performance.
Another favourite by Kuat is its Trio roof rack. If you’ve got a factory roof rack on your rig, chances are this option will work for you, but it’s also suitable for aftermarket crossbars. That’s kind of the point: this fork-mount rack is versatile and easy to use. It can carry three different axle fork sizes, including 9mm, 15mm and 20mm, and one bike fits per rack. If you ride something more specific, like a fat-tire bike, Kuat does sell an add-on to make it work.
Kuat Trio, $299 at Amazon.
Yakima gear is made for adventures. Its FrontLoader roof bike rack makes transporting frames a breeze since you don’t have to remove the front tire. Not only that, but it works with most crossbars and doesn’t require any tools to install. The FrontLoader accommodates 20-inch kids wheels all the way up to 29-inch mountain bike or road bike wheels and is suitable even for bikes with unique suspensions or disc brakes.
Yakima FrontLoader, $299 at RackAttack.
Trunk Strap Bike Racks
Pros: An excellent choice for budget-conscious drivers as there are many affordable options.
Cons: Trunk access will be hindered; potential risk for thieves to cut fabric straps.
CCM 3-Bike Rack
The price is right for CCM’s 3-Bike trunk-mounted bike rack. It holds up to three bikes (max total weight of 126 lbs) and easily straps to most vehicle’s trunks. Still, this particular model is best suited for sedans. The anti-sway cradles keep each bike secure while six buckles keep the rack snug against the trunk or hatch. When you’re not using it, the rack folds up easily to store away until your next adventure.
CCM 3-Bike Rack, $129 at Canadian Tire.
SportRack 3 Bike Trunk Rack
Another affordable option: the three-bike trunk rack from SportRack. The steel frame straps to the back of most trunks and hatches and the frame of the rack has foam padding on all of the vehicle contact points, which helps avoid any scratching or chafing. Six adjustable straps (two that hook to the bottom of your trunk/hatch, two that hook on top, and one that hooks to either side) can be tightened as necessary to secure the rack into place.
SportRack SR3162 Back Up 3 Bike Trunk Rack, $109.95 at Racks for Cars.
Bonus: Truck Bed Bike Racks
Pros: Designed specifically for truck owners wanting to use their bed to move bikes; easy to remove.
Cons: Takes up precious cargo space unlike roof rack-mounted options.
Thule Bed Rider
The base model of the Thule Bed Rider is made for one bike, but add-on kits make it easy to transport more in the bed of your truck. The rack is simple to install thanks to the rubber feet and aluminum bar, neither of which need to be drilled in order to mount, and it works in most full-sized and small pick-up truck bed liners. Bikes are safely secured to the rack with locking skewer pins.
Thule Bed Rider, $299.95 at Thule.
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