If biking is your sport, you’ve got several options for hauling one or more bikes.
Hitch bike racks: These racks mount on the trailer hitch at the rear and allow you to easily get to your bikes with moderate lifting (unlike roof racks). They’re simple to install and easy to use. They extend the length of your vehicle so backing up or maneuvering may be a concern for some. They also limit rear access but many models tilt down or swing away from the vehicle. Make sure the rack you choose is compatible with the size hitch receiver you have.
There are two types of hitch bike racks:
Bikes are anchored in place on trays, which resist bike sway and minimize risk of bike-to-bike contact during transport. They typically carry two bikes, but you can use extensions to carry up to four bikes. They’re more expensive than the hanging style. They handle a wider variety of bike sizes and shapes; some can haul heavier electric bikes.
These racks have a mast with arms that support bikes by the frame. They’re compact and tend to be cheaper than platform bike racks. Some can haul multiple bikes, even four to five at a time. But they don’t fit as many bike shapes and sizes (such as kids’ bikes) as the platform-style racks.
Rooftop bike racks: You may want to put your bike on the roof because it’s more secure, you need access to your rear trunk or you don’t want to install a trailer hitch. Roof racks are a good choice if you don’t mind lifting the bike onto the roof and low-clearance garages or ceilings aren’t an issue. Some roof rack styles let you secure bikes while keeping both wheels on while others require you to take the front wheel off and secure the fork.
Trunk racks are mounted to the trunk of your sedan or hatchback and secure bikes using a system of straps. They’re the most economical option for hauling bikes and don’t require a hitch or rack system. These racks can carry one to three bikes.
Truck racks: If you have a pickup truck, you have several truck bike rack options for hauling bikes. Using different mounts and other accessories, you can carry your bikes on a protective pad over the tailgate, upright in the truck bed or with bike forks secured onto a bar across the bed, in the bed or on the truck side rail. Some tailgate pads can handle up to seven bikes.
Spare-tire racks: Fewer vehicles have spare tires in the rear these days, but if you do, spare-tire bike racks are affordable options for hauling bikes. They typically carry about two bikes.