One of the best places to store your bike when you are on a trip is on the roof of your car – using a roof bike rack. It’s highly convenient for you because it frees up the rest of your vehicle, giving you enough storage space and comfortable sitting space in the car.
In addition, bike roof racks are known for their versatility. They have way more uses than other types of racks (like the rear-mounted rack).
Imagine having the ability to take your bikes with you when you go camping. If you are wondering what a great bike roof rack looks like, keep reading, because here comes 10 carefully selected bike roof rack reviews.
Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack
- Max weight capacity: 35 pounds per bike
- Has tie-down straps
- Comes with locking feature
- Minimalist design
- Fits crossbars of up to 3 inches wide
Our Best Roof Bike Racks Reviews
1. Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack
We start of our best roof mounted bike rack reviews with this Swagman roof bike rack. The best thing about it is the ease of assembly and use. Within a period of minutes, you will have installed it fully, provided you follow the instructions. Furthermore, the rack can carry one bike without any wheel removal being necessary.
Secondly, the rack features tie-down straps for your bike’s wheels and that ensures stability. It also has a locking feature that will help ensure your bike stays secured to the rack, when you are on the road as well as when you are parked.
If you are into aesthetics, you will like the sleek, minimalist design of this rack, because it looks great on any vehicle.
In addition, the rack has a construction comprising sturdy plastic and steel, and has a weight of 5 pounds. It is therefore durable and strong, not susceptible to damage, and can handle the weight of your bike.
Finally, this bike rack is versatile and can fit crossbars that are square, round, and even oval, provided their width is 3 inches and under. You can use multiple units (of this rack) on a single vehicle.
- Max weight capacity: 35 pounds per bike
- Has tie-down straps
- Comes with locking feature
- Minimalist design
- Fits crossbars of up to 3 inches wide
2. Yakima FrontLoader Wheel-On Mount Upright Bike Carrier for Roof Rack
For the best rooftop mounted bike rack, consider this Yakima model. First of all, the rack is able to fit practically any type of bike. It has a universal mounting system that can fit virtually any type of crossbar out there. A versatile rack like this one is a perfect buy, because it will be useful in a wide variety of scenarios.
Furthermore, it will carry your entire bike. You won’t have to go through the annoying hassle of removing the bicycle’s wheels. It fits wheels of between 20 and 29 inches. As for tires, the maximum is 3 inches.
As we have said, you will not need to take apart your bicycle for it to fit on the rack. You can simply load it fully assembled on the wheel-on mount. The FrontLoader will keep your bicycle in an upright position as you secure it.
Security (against thieves) is paramount. For that reason, this rack features 2 SKS (Same Key System) locks which you can add. One key is for locking your bike to the mount and the second key is for locking the mount to the base rack. The SKS locks are a separate purchase and is therefore optional.
- Comes fully assembled
- 2 SKS locks
- Front Loader that holds the bicycle by rear and front wheels
- Load bike fully assembled on wheel-on mount
3. RockyMounts TieRod
A bike rack can come greatly in handy when you are driving somewhere and bringing your bike along is non-negotiable. This particular rack has the capacity to carry at most 1 bike of up to 35 pounds.
It can accommodate road tires of up to 2.7 inches in width and mountain bike tires that are between 20 and 29 inches in diameter. As for wheelbases, it is compatible with between 34 and 48 inches.
It has stainless steel mounting straps that wrap crossbars – factory or elliptical.
The rack is pretty easy to install, a procedure that will only take a few minutes. It is also easy to load or unload bikes on it, even when you are in a dark location.
Use with Chevy,Chrysler, Acura, Dodge, Huyundai, Jeep, Maxda, Lexus, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, GMC.
- Maximum capacity: 1 bike, up to 35 pounds
- Road tires up to 2.7 inches (width)
- Locking 9mm QR for standard quick release bikes
- Mountain bike tires from 20 to 29 inches (diameter)
- Compatible with wheelbases 37 to 48 inches
4. Cycling Deal 1 Bike Bicycle Car Roof Rooftop Carrier Fork Mount Rack
Convenience is always a plus, so you will like how easy it is to mount this rack on the crossbars. It is designed to fit bars that have a maximum thickness of 50 mm (1.96 inches) and a maximum width of 85 mm (3.34 inches).
The rack can fit different crossbar brands: Prorack, Rhino, Thule, Ralo. It can fit both aero and square crossbars.
The rack can fit bikes of different sizes. It can handle a maximum load of up to 29 pounds. It is an excellent choice for carbon bikes.
Assembly and installation of the rack is straightforward and easy, something you can do pretty quickly.
- Great for carbon bikes
- Fits crossbars of 1.96 inches max thickness and 3.34 inches max width
- Steel powder coating
- Maximum loads: 29 pounds
5. RockyMounts Tomahawk Fat Bike Ready Upright Mount
Here is another contender for best roof bike rack. One thing about it is it has no bike frame contact. That means all you have to do is simply ratchet the hook over your bike’s front wheel and secure the rear or front wheel straps.
The rack is also compatible with fat bikes, provided their tires are within a width range of 5 inches. The rack comes fat-bike-read straight out of the box. It is able to accommodate fat bikes because of its two wheel strap extensions that are compatible with tires of up to 5 inches in width.
The swingarm adjusts easily to accommodate driver side and passenger side installation.
You can mount the rack to a diverse range of crossbar types. They include aero, factory, round, and square.
It is also capable of holding diverse bike types or styles, provided their wheels are 20 to 29 inches in diameter. The exception is bikes that have front fenders.
Furthermore, the rack features Easy-Load wheel straps that greatly simplify the process of loading bikes, making it way more convenient for you.
- Can accommodate fat bikes
- No bike frame contact
- Mounts square, factory, aero, and round crossbars
- With two-wheel strap extensions
6. Thule UpRide Universal Bike Rack
If you are looking for the best rooftop bike rack, here is a contender. With this rack, bike frame contact is nonexistent. That’s because it has a hook that securely holds the bike’s front wheel.
Secondly, the design is versatile, able to accommodate bicycles of different types. This includes bicycles with non-traditional frame designs, bottle cages, and rear suspension. The rack is also quite compatible with bikes that have carbon frames.
For the sake of security, the rack comes with a locking capability. The locking is on two levels. The first level is locking the rack to the car. The second level is locking the bike to the rack. It’s worth noting, however, that the racks are sold separately.
The rack is able to fit wheels that are 20 to 29 inches in diameter and with tires 3 inches in width. If you have a fat bike, you can still use this rack – if you work with a fat bike adapter (The Thule UpRide Fat Bike Adapter is sold separately)
- No bike frame contact
- Fits 20 to 29 inch wheels and tires of 3 inches in width
- Can accommodate bikes with non-traditional frame design
- Simple interface allows the switching of carrier from one side of vehicle to the other
7. CyclingDeal Alloy Car Roof Bike Bicycle Carrier Rack
With a maximum bike load weight of 66 pounds for a total of 2 bikes, this is a strong contender for best roof bike rack. For someone travelling with the family, this is indispensable. Being able to handle two bikes makes it a way better choice than some which can handle only one bike at a maximum weight capacity of around 30 pounds.
The rack is aesthetic: made of aluminum and has a stunning finish. It does not rust. It is light and strong.
Installation is also pretty easy. You can install it on most square or aero crossbars. The crossbars should have a maximum thickness of 1.18 inches and a maximum width of 4.3 inches. Installation does not require any tools. All you have to is clamp the metal brackets on the crossbars. The rack’s design allows full adjustment of the bracket position.
Best of all, you can load the bike easily all by yourself. This is thanks to the one-hand operation wheel strap that is adjustable and pretty easy to use.
- Aluminum construction
- Max bike load weight: 66 pounds; Max number of bikes: 2
- Fit crossbars with max thickness 1.18 inches and max width 4.3 inches
- Adjustable bracket position
- Adjustable, one-hand operation wheel strap
8. RockyMounts BrassKnuckles
This rack has no contact with the frame of your bike. Its design allows it to secure your bicycle by the front wheel.
Furthermore, you will not need to remove the front wheel in order to use the rack. That provides convenience,
In terms of capacity, it can only hold one bicycle, with the maximum weight it can handle being 45 pounds on Thule, Rocky Mounts, and Yakima bars. In the case of factory crossbars, it can handle up to 35 pounds.
The tires it carries must have a width within 3 inches and a diameter ranging between 20 and 29 inches.
As for wheelbases, the rack is compatible with those that are between 34 and 38 inches. The maximum crossbar spread it can accommodate is 43 inches.
In addition, it has form-fitting stainless steel mounting straps that are compatible with different crossbar types: factory, round, square, and aero.
Assembly and mounting is pretty easy, provided you follow the instructions. You can take care of the whole thing and have your bike up on the car within a matter of about 45 minutes.
- No contact with frame
- No front wheel removal
- Ergonomic brass knuckles shaped handle
- Cast aluminum pivot head
- Don’t use with fender-equipped bicycles.
9. Genuine Subaru SOA567B020 Accessories
One of the great things about this rack: it has a clamp that contains a key lock – for locking the bike. This is very essential for the sake of security. When you are travelling and have to leave your car parked somewhere, there is always the risk that someone is going to come and steal your precious bicycle.
The lock ensures that your bike is safe from thieves. Furthermore, this rack has secure wheel clamps that are very easy to use. In addition, this rooftop carrier is easy to install. In about half an hour, you should be ready to start using it.
Another other thing that makes this the best bike roof rack for car is its sturdiness. It can withstand the dirt roads – where you are more often than not going to have a bumpy ride. The rack is also able to accommodate a range of bicycles.
- Features key lock
- Easy to use wheel clamps
- Easy to install
- Accommodates a wide range of bikes
10. Thule Outride Fork Mount Bike Carrier
This is the last but not least of our rooftop bike rack reviews. It is the versatile Thule Outride, which can work with the Thule Aero blade, the Aero blade edge, square bar, and most aftermarket racks. The rack is lightweight and sleek
Security is highly essential. Theft is a huge risk when you are on the road. Leave your vehicle parked for a minute and when you come back, your bike has disappeared. For that reason, the Thule Outride is equipped with locking capabilities. The key locks are sold separately, though. The locking capability enables you to lock the rack to your car and your bike to the rack.
The rack secures the bicycle by firmly securing the rear wheel using a quick release wheel strap. Being thus firmly secured ensures you have a smooth travel, since the bike is not loosely held.
The Thule Outride features a stylized aluminum wheel tray that has the capacity to handle tires that have a width of up to 3 inches.
- Compatible with 9mm QR axles
- Stylized aluminum wheel tray
- Quick release wheel strap
- Wheel tray max capacity: 3-inch width tires
- T-track compatible
Are Bike Roof Racks Safe?
Provided you don’t have any problem with having to lift your bike onto the top of your car, a rooftop bike rack is an excellent choice of rack. With your bikes on top of the roof, your car’s interior and trunk space are both free for other purposes. Are roof racks safe, though?
Yes, it is safe, but you have to be alert and remember that you have a bike up there. This is common sense, but sometimes when you are driving you might forget.
Let’s give you an example. Picture yourself driving through a low-clearance area. Normally, your vehicle will drive through the place with no problem. However, since your bikes are up there, passing through the area might be impossible without first removing the bikes. If you forget about the bicycles altogether, you are likely to smash up and damage your bike while driving through.
This might actually happen when you are driving in and out of your garage. In the process, you will damage your bike, the garage, and possibly even the vehicle.
However, it is not that roof racks are unsafe. It’s just that you forgot you had a bike up there and you obviously can’t drive through a low-clearance area when the bike is up there. To ensure you are always alert and aware (if you are a forgetful person), leave some reminders for yourself. You can keep the reminders on the dashboard or on the garage remote. These are reminders telling your forgetful self that the bikes are on the roof of your car.
Having done that, you will be able to drive quite smoothly and safely, with all the space you need inside the car. Bike roof racks are highly convenient, but you must never forget the bikes are up there!
Provided you have fitted your rack and the bike correctly, there is no reason to worry. If not fitted correctly, an accident could happen, because either the rack or the bike is loose. It might also damage the bike and your vehicle.
You must also make sure you buy a decent make – Thule, for instance, is a good choice. Cheap roof racks may not be as secure as they should. With a flimsy roof rack, if a strong gale blows, something will come off and this might cause an accident or damage your car (or another driver’s on the road).
Before you purchase a bike roof rack, vet it carefully. How secure is it, how durable, what do other customers have to say about it? Look for forums online and find out what people are saying about the brand or model you are planning to purchase. Some brands like Thule are well-known and trusted, so you won’t need to do a lot of research. For smaller, unknown brands, however, you must do your due diligence to ensure you don’t buy something that might cause a hazard for yourself, other drivers on the road, your vehicle, or your bike.
Things to Check Before Getting One
One of the most obvious things to check is the capacity of the bike rack, How many bikes can it accommodate? How much weight can it handle? Compare that with how many bikes you have and how much they weigh. You can then determine for yourself which rack will give you the best value for your money.
The maximum weight capacity of your car’s roof is also an important consideration. The number of bikes your car can handle will depend on the width of your crossbars.
Width and Thickness of Crossbars
Each bike rack will specify the maximum thickness and width of crossbars it is compatible with. It is therefore necessary for you to find out if your vehicle’s crossbars have a width and thickness that is compatible with the rack you want to purchase
Security is a key consideration. You must protect your bike from theft. If you leave your car parked out in the open for a while, your bike is very visible and vulnerable on top of the roof. This is an invitation to any bicycle thief in the vicinity.
Pick a bike rack that is designed to provide the best protection for your bicycle. Many racks contain built-in locks, for the sake of discouraging thieves from stealing your bike (or even the rack itself).
Other racks provide integrated locking cables, which you wrap around the frame (or through the wheel) and then back to the rack itself so as to lock it.
Other racks feature keyed-alike systems. This is where you provided with a key to lock the rack to the crossbars and the bicycle to the rack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is a roof-mounted bike rack the only bike-carrying option available?
No, there are other options such as truck-mounted and hitch-mounted bike racks. The hitch-mounted bike rack is installed into the receiver of the car’s or truck’s trailer hitch. A truck-mounted bike rack is installed on the vehicle’s rear.
Among these three types of bike racks, the roof-mounted bike rack has the most versatility – but it is also the least easy to use.
While the hitch-mount is the priciest, it also has the easiest operation.
Picking a roof-mounted rack is usually a matter of convenience. For instance, if you pick a roof-mounted rack, you can easily open the vehicle’s rear door or hatch.
Q: Do I have to remove the wheels from my bike when fixing it on the rack?
That will depend on the roof rack you have. Some allow you to fit the bike on them without having to remove any of the wheels. Others will require you to remove the front wheel.
The purpose of front wheel removal is to reduce the height of the bike. This is especially useful when you have a tall SUV. Removing the front wheel makes the bike lighter and easier to load. In fact, this is the classic way to haul a bike on the roof.
On the other hand, bike racks which allow you to keep both wheels on the bike are typically taller, pricier, and might be less stable.
Q: Do I use the roof rack for carrying bikes only?
No, you can mix it up. The beautiful thing about roof racks is that they are incredibly versatile. While they aren’t permanent fixtures on your vehicle, we tend to leave them up there all the time. When not carrying bicycles, we are likely to load other items on them such as sports accessories.
Obviously if you do a lot of outdoorsy trips, you are going to truly get your money’s worth with the roof rack because it is so versatile. This makes it more useful in that regard than the rear-mounted rack.
Another advantage of a roof rack is that you can fit a rooftop cargo box up there. This greatly opens up the space in the car’s interior, because the cargo box is additional luggage space. For a person who owns a small vehicle, this is extremely handy.
The roof box is also a convenient way to safely stow away wet gear instead of putting it in the passenger cabin. A wet suit can really stink up a car! This comes in handy when you go to the beach for a swim with the family or if you get caught in the rain and your clothes are soaked.
Q: Is a roof-mounted bike going to naturally fit on any vehicle?
No, the vehicle must have crossbars on its roof if you want to install a rack there. Not all vehicles have them. On the other hand, if your car doesn’t have crossbars, you can always purchase and install roof bars.
The roof-mounted bike rack is the perfect choice for you if the following is true:
- Your car already has crossbars – or if you are ready to install them.
- Your vehicle does not have a hitch, and you don’t want to install one either. Otherwise, you would go for a hitch-mounted rack.
- You want to retain the ability to open your vehicle’s rear door or hatch. Otherwise you would go for a rear-mounted rack.
- Overhead clearance is not an issue – and you are ready to first remove the bike whenever you come to a low clearance place, like a garage door.
Having read the above bike roof racks reviews, you should have no problem when you go shopping for a bike roof rack. If convenience and versatility are what you look for in a rack, then a bike rack is definitely the rack for you!