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The 7 Best Bike Racks of 2021

Most mountain bikers have to drive to their local trails and to do that, you need a good bike rack. Other types of riders need to transport their bikes, too, be it on vacation or just across town for a playdate. The last thing you want to do is put your expensive bike on a car rack that you don’t trust, and worse yet, one that might drop your bike on the road.

So, it’s important to choose the best bike rack for your car, but what makes one rack better than another? A good car bike rack will hold your bike securely without causing any rubbing or wear, it won’t sway in wind or at high speeds, it's easy & convenient to use, and it will last year after year. We’ve put together this list of our five best bike racks that we think are some of our favorite options on the market right now to help narrow down your search - because a bad rack might just leave your expensive mountain bike smashed on the freeway.


Thule UpRide

Best 2021 bike racks

Thule’s Upride is a simple, reliable roof rack that will fit just about any bike you own. It’s designed to be a set-and-forget option that’s low profile when not in use, but is easy to load and unload, and holds your bike securely, even when you’re cruising at high speeds. The Upride’s dual-clamp front wheel holder cinches down securely on any wheel from 20 to 29” in diameter, and will fit tires up to 3” wide. That means you can use it for your road bike, or your kid’s plus bike without any hassle. It also has an integrated lock system that makes it harder for thieves to make off with your ride.

Because the Upride doesn’t need to latch onto your frame, and instead only clamps your tires, it works with any frame design, and you don’t need to remove water bottle mounts or bags. That also cuts down on rubbing and wear on the road. If you’re looking for a car top rack that’s easy to load, will fit just about any bike, and that you can trust no matter how bumpy the road gets, slap an Upride on your roof and rest easy knowing your bike is in good hands.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
RooftopNo frame contact, 20"-29" wheel size compatible1$249.95

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Küat NV 2.0

Best 2021 bike racks

Küat’s NV series of racks have long been category leaders when it comes to hitch-mounted tray racks, and the NV 2.0 refines that design even further. It’s built burly, but still easy to use, and install. The NV 2.0 comes stock with two bike trays, with an optional add-on that bumps your capacity to three. A common downside of tray racks is that sometimes handlebars and seatposts can rub and interfere. Kuat gets around this by making the tire cradles independently adjustable, so that you can align everything and eliminate rubbing.

The NV 2.0 is also rated for eBikes up to 60 lbs and can fit 20 to 29” tires easily. It has a foot-assisted pivot system that allows you to fold it down so you can access the back doors of your vehicle, and it doesn’t take any tools to install or remove the rack, instead, you can cinch it into your receiver with a hands-tightened system. The NV 2.0 is the cream of the crop when it comes to hitch-mounted tray racks, so if you want to keep your bikes securely on the back of your vehicle, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
HitchFoot-assisted Pivot System2-3 (with optional add on)$649.00 & $319.00 (add on)

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Yakima EXO System

Best 2021 bike racks

Instead of just offering one rear rack with limited carrying options, Yakima has created an entirely modular solution with their EXO System. Basically, they sell all the component parts separately so you can mix and match to get the rack that works best for your unique needs. The EXO SwingBase is the heart of the system, it’s a modular rack that fits into your trailer hitch and can swing out of the way to access the back of your car. From there, you have a variety of options that you can mount to the SwingBase. The DoubleUp Bike Mount holds two bikes securely to the rack, or you can swap them out for the EXO GearLocker or ski rack. You can even mount your bikes above a GearLocker for maximum storage.

That flexibility means you get more bang for your buck if you like to do several different sports out of the same car, you can just swap your rack around to whatever makes sense for each trip. The DoubleUp bike rack has all the features you’d expect from a high-end rack, with capacity for up to 50LB bikes, and 4.5” wide tires. And it includes lock cores to lock your bikes to the rack and the rack to the car. If you want the flexibility of a modular system and the reliability of one of the best bike racks out there, the Yakima EXO System has both.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
HitchModular, adjustable system2$499.00 (Base) & $479.00 (Mount)

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Yakima FrontLoader

Best 2021 bike racks

Yakima’s Frontloader is a simple, affordable rooftop rack. It’s got all the features you’d expect and need, with no extra frills. It locks onto your roof rack, and onto your bike to help deter thieves. The tire tray system is adjustable to just about any wheel size, and it doesn’t contact the fork or frame, so it doesn’t matter what wild suspension design or geometry you have, it will hold your bike securely without marring the paint.

If you want a rack you can trust, that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the Frontloader has your bike covered. So save some cash and spend it on a riding trip. The Frontloader will get there and back again, safely and conveniently.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
RooftopNo frame contact, 20"-29" wheel size compatible1$209

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Yakima HighSpeed

Best 2021 bike racks

The HighSpeed from Yakima is a sleek and simple fork mount rack system that is ready to take you and your bike to the next adventure location. The fork mount system gives the benefit of providing a strong hold on a variety of different bikes. Got some beefy tires? The HighSpeed can accommodate up to 5" wide wheels.

Its fork mount will work with both quick release and thru axles, so no worries about compatibility. The rack's low profile also helps to minimize hatch interference making it one of the best bike racks for hatchbacks.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
RooftopFits tires up to 5" wide1$239

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Thule T2 Pro XT

Best 2021 bike racks

Thule has long been one of the leading names in bike racks, they have a solution for just about any bike and vehicle. What makes the T2 Pro XT one of the best bike racks is its versatility. The rack is available in versions for any hitch receiver size, and it can hold any wheel size securely, from kids bikes all the way up to 27.5x5” fat bike tires. That versatility makes it perfect for families, and anyone looking for an all-season rack that works for their fat bikes, and their road bikes without any adaptors.

The T2’s only contact points are with the tires of your bike, so there’s no frame rubbing or potential wear or damage. It also flips up and down easily so that you can get it out of the way to access the back of your car. In its stock configuration the T2 only fits two bikes, but those with 2” hitches can get an adaptor that fits two more bikes. It’s also got built in cable locks in each arm to help deter thieves. The T2 Pro XT is perfect for anyone who wants a simple, easy to use rack that’s really versatile.

 
Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacity Price
Hitch - tray20-29" up to 5" wide2 or 4 bikes$599

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Thule ThruRide Bike Rack

Best 2021 bike racks

If you don’t have any kind of hitch receiver on the back of your car, you’re going to need to look at roof racks. The Thule ThruRide is our pick for the best rooftop bike rack - it’s simple, easy to use, and very durable.

The ThruRide simply clamps onto any existing car rack, and then locks down the back wheel of your bike with a strap, and the front fork with an axle clamp which is compatible with both skewers and thru-axles. You’ll need to take your front tire off to use the ThruRide, but its secure clamp gently locks down any front axle, so it will work with just about any bike. Unfortunately, the rear strap only fits tires up to 2.6” wide though. The ThruRide isn’t as fancy as some of the tray-style racks, but it is affordable, and a perfect option for anyone who just wants to throw their bike on top of the car and get to the trails.

Rack TypeStandout FeaturesCapacityPrice
RooftopUp to 2.6" wide tires1 bike$229.95

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