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I spent a solid 80 hours researching bike racks to find the best one for an SUV…..
It offers the versatility you need to have a great trip and peace of mind that your bikes are safe.
But its nice to know that you have multiple options so in this post I will be reviewing 5 of the bike racks that are perfect for SUVS!
Lets get into it!
Table of Contents
- 1 RockyMounts Backstage Swing Away Bike Rack
- 2 Hollywood Racks Over-the-Top Trunk Rack
- 3 Allen Sports 5-Bike Hitch Rack
- 4 Yakima Frontloader Upright Bike Rack
- 5 Thule Gateway Pro Trunk Bike Rack
- 6 Best Bike Rack For SUV Ultimate Buyers Guide
- 7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Roof Racks vs Hitch or Rear-Mount Racks
- 8 Conclusion
The swing away rack from RockyMounts is one of the most versatile bike racks on the market.
It’s the first of its kind and provides the ultimate convenience for your travel.
This rack swings 180 degrees around the car towards the passenger side.
This is awesome because…
…it lets you get into the trunk of your car and get all your other gear.
It’s perfect for an SUV because the trunk is bigger than a car trunk. You can let the rack swing away with not have to remove it.
And when you don’t need the swing feature you can fold the rack away from SUV.
It can lean back at about a 30 degree angle!
which can allow access to a hatchback or Jeep window without swinging it out.
You can put 2 bike on this rack with 13 inches of space between them.
The spacing is wide enough so that your bikes don’t crash together while you drive.
The bikes are secured by both the front and back wheels with a very simple design.
It can hold road tires up to 5 inches wide and 20-29 inches in diameter. The the rack can hold a total of 60 lbs.
I like the durability of this rack.
It’s thoughtfully designed, heavy-duty and rust-resistant!
Hollywood Racks Over-the-Top Trunk Rack is a rack is the perfect option for a trunk bike rack.
It attaches using only straps and hooks.
The rack has 6 straps in total that secure to the vehicle:
- 2 to the top
- 2 to the side
- 2 under the hatch.
The straps are rubber coated so they won’t damage the paint on your vehicle.
Read more about protecting your car paint by clicking here.
This rack arrives in the box fully assembled!
No tools are needed for assembly.
It has adjustable arms for you to raise or lower the height where your bikes will sit on the back of the vehicle.
This is especially great if you’re short!
You can fit two bikes on this rack, with a max of 75lbs.
It is not designed for e-bikes.
You also might need an adapter for certain bikes such as children’s bikes, women’s bikes and even some mountain bike frames. Adapters are available for these.
There are three straps for each bike on this rack. There are two straps for the crossbar of the bike to be secured.
There is also one on the left side to keep the bike from swaying back and forth during transit.
All of the straps are rubber coated to protect the frame on your bikes.
The distance between the bikes on the Hollywood Racks bike rack is 14.5iches.
That’s plenty of space to keep them from banging together.
Once you get to your destination, the rack folds completely flat for easy storage.
It’s quite a sight to see 5 bikes hanging on the back of a vehicle on one rack…
…but Allen Sports does a great job of accommodating up to 5 bikes.
It can handle multiple bikes of varying sizes.
It has a 175lb weight capacity!
The hitch part of Allen Sports rack is durable and rust-resistant for easy and continuous use.
It has multiple tie-down cradles so you can lock the rack to the vehicle and the bikes to the rack for security.
It also has a safety pin for extra stability when transporting the bikes to your destination.
Each of the slots has multiple straps for securing the bikes into place.
The arms fold down when not in use!
Keeping them completely out of the way.
The rack also hinges backwards in order to pull it away from the vehicle if you need access to the trunk.
This will give you full access to your trunk once you take your bikes off the rack.
That way you don’t have to climb over the back seat to get into your trunk. I’ve been there and its a complete pain.
Yakima has made one of the greatest roof racks ever.
Your probably wondering why….
Well, the Yakima Frontloader lets you keep both tires on your bike will you drive.
Most roof racks force you to take the front wheel off which is really a pain in the you know where!
The rack comes fully assembled which saves tons of time and has adjustable mounts to fit various roof racks.
It is recommended that you install a Yakima roof rack for the easiest installation of this bike rack, but it can fit others, as well.
The simple installation includes opening the clamps, placing it on your crossbars, and tightening it.
And voila, your done!
Once it’s on your SUV, you can fit a ton of different bikes on this rack. You can put tires up to 29” tall and 3” in width.
Since the wheels are the only things that get strapped in, the shape of your frame is a non-issue.
This rack only carries one bike, so if you have more than one, you’ll need multiple racks to transport them.
Depending on the space between the crossbars, it has a weight limit of 30-40lbs.
The simple knobs on this rack allow for easy adjustment of tension and release. All of the components easily lock into place for stability.
It also features locking mechanisms for bike locks so you can secure your bikes to avoid theft.
If you’re looking for simplicity, this is certainly it!
The minimalist design of this rack is not only function, but also pleasing to the eye.
Thule really went above and beyond with the design and it does the job, too.
It holds two bikes with a max capacity of 70lbs. There’s a distance of 7 inches between the bikes to avoid contact between while your drive.
The arms stick out a total of 33 inches from the vehicle when extended and 21 inches when folded down.
The arms of this rack adjust independently…
…so it’s great for custom frames and unique shapes.
It can fit almost any bike frame. The ratchet-style straps make it easy and safe to secure the bikes to the rack without causing damage to the frame.
The ends of the rack are rubber-coated to protect the windows and the paint on your vehicle.
You can also tuck the straps in while in transit to protect the vehicle. It is easy to install and comes fully assembled in the box.
This rack is very sturdy. Once installed on the back of the vehicle, it doesn’t have much wiggle room.
It doesn’t move very much during transit, which is really important.
Best Bike Rack For SUV Ultimate Buyers Guide
Advantages and Disadvantages of Roof Racks vs Hitch or Rear-Mount Racks
Depending on what you’re looking for in functionality, either type of rack could work for you.
As a general rule, one is more versatile while the other is more accessible.
Roof racks are obviously the clear winner when it comes to getting your bikes out of the way so you can access the rest of your gear through the back end of the vehicle.
However, the accessibility of a roof rack is severely lacking.
If you are short or have any sort of back or shoulder injury, getting your bike on and off the roof rack can be a real challenge.
It could also cause you to injure yourself even more if you don’t have someone to help you access the bikes.
However, getting the bikes up on your roof will allow you to access items in the back of your vehicle with ease.
If you’re traveling with kids or pets, it is almost always ideal to be able to access the rear of the vehicle.
Whether you need the dog’s food and water bowls, or you have food and drinks in a cooler for the kids, you want to be able to get to them without the hassle of taking bikes off of the rack.
Rear mounted racks can either be hitch-mounted or over-the-trunk racks.
They both are secured to the back of the vehicle and provide a greater level of accessibility to your bikes.
However, depending on the make and model of the rack, they can severely hinder the accessibility of the back of the vehicle.
As in the previous scenario, let’s assume you are really short or your have an injury.
If this is the case, a rear-mounted bike rack will work much better for you because the bike is easier to get on and off the rack.
If you’re traveling with kids or pets or really need to be able to access the back of the vehicle, this is not a great option.
The one rack I found that makes accessibility easy for both the bikes and the rear of the vehicle is the RockyMounts Backstage Swing Away Bike Rack, which we discussed earlier.
Things to Look Out For
Cheaper is not always better! I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for.
During my hours of research into these items, I found multiple examples of someone purchasing a cheap rack and then paying dearly for it in damages to their bikes or their vehicle.
Your bikes and vehicle are both an investment.
Protect those investments by also investing in a great bike rack that will deliver accessibility, ease of use, protection and security.
Most bike racks are made of lightweight, molded plastic. This is fine if you’re only carrying one bike and it does not meet or exceed the weight capacity of the bike rack.
I always try to stay under the max capacity to ensure that I don’t overload the rack.
Really dig into the specs of the rack you’re interested in purchasing. You want to purchase one with a higher weight capacity than you intend to use.
You also want to take a look at the straps and how well they are made.
The main concerns are that the bike frame will bend under the weight of the bikes, or that the straps will let loose and your bike will come flying off the back of the vehicle.
Protection for Bikes and Vehicles
The other thing I would recommend is to look for something that will protect both your bikes and your vehicle.
For example, I reviewed a couple of racks in this article and suggested adding some fabric or padding to protect the bikes. That’s fine if you’re comfortable with that.
personally err on the side of more protection rather than less. So My preference is to purchase a rack that has rubber coating on everything that touches either my bikes or my Jeep.
Will it Fit My SUV?
The other obvious thing to look for is a rack that will fit your vehicle. Not all bike racks are universal.
It’s a bummer to order a new rack, get all excited about it and then try to install it and it doesn’t fit.
After you choose a rack that meets your needs in terms of durability and protection, check out the specs to see if it will fit your vehicle.
Hitch-mount racks are great because they basically fit any vehicle that has a trailer hitch.
But if you’re looking at roof racks or over-the-trunk racks, you need to be more careful and more selective.
Most important – DON’T try to force a rack to fit your vehicle if it doesn’t! You will regret this decision because you’re almost guaranteed a catastrophe.
The RockyMounts Backstage Swing Away Rack is by far the best bike rack on the market for SUVs.
It provides versatility, durability and access to the back of your SUV whenever you need it.
If you’re a road-tripper with a lot of road in front of you, I highly recommend that you try this rack.
Once you’ve discovered how easy it is to use and how nice its features are, you are unlikely to go back to anything else.
So which rack are you going to try?