Car Rack Guide

Even if you don’t have one now, you never know when a bike rack may come in handy. Whether for a spur of the moment escapade or to move house, a rack means you can transport your bikes easily whenever you want, but there are so many makes and models out there, we thought a handy guide might help you make sense of what’s what.

Choosing the right cycle rack

The most important things to consider when choosing a car rack is how many bikes you want to carry. Always better to be able to add additional bikes easily rather than add another rack later on. Also, you need to decide where on your vehicle you want the rack to go. There are three types of car rack, which are explained below.

Types of car rack

Boot Mounted Bike Rack

The first and most basic type is the boot mounted bike rack, consisting of locking arms and adjustable hooking straps to hold bikes in place on the back of your car. Boot mounted racks can be adjusted to fit most vehicles and accept 1 to 4 bikes.



  • Portable
  • Low cost
  • Easy to mount to the car and remove
  • Easy to put bikes on and off
  • Once the top straps are adjusted to the correct length they should only need adjusting if used on a different car.


  • Can obscure the vehicle lights and number plate (a light board can remedy this)
  • Take extra care when reversing to allow for the extra length or width of your car
  • Potential damage to paintwork if fitted incorrectly
  • An adaptor may be required for glass or fibreglass boots.

Tow Bar Mounted Bike Rack

First things first, you’ll need a tow bar on your car for this one, as it connects to either a standard tow ball or tow ball-mounting plate. Great load-carrying ability, strength and quality make Tow Bar Mounted racks a little more pricey, but they can be locked with a standard U-Lock or chain for theft prevention and removed easily for storage when not in use.




  • Because these racks hold the bikes away from the vehicle, you don’t have to worry about paint scratches
  • Available in 2, 3 or 4 bike models (although 4 bike models can be very expensive)
  • Clever designs enable almost one-handed fitting
  • Easy-access height makes them the best option for taller vehicles where a roof rack would be challenging to use.


  • Your vehicle needs to have a trailer hitch to use one
  • With some models. while the bike rack is in use, you won’t be able to haul a trailer
  • Although the solidity of these racks is great for durability, it does make them more difficult to attach, detach, and store when not in use.

Roof Mounted Bike Rack

The most visibly striking, versatile and expensive type of rack is the Roof-mount. Attaching your bike(s) to the roof of your vehicle securely and safely whilst leaving the rear of your car clear so you can access your boot troublefree. There are models that cater for just about every bike however you want to carry it (with or without wheels, for example). Integrated locks are also available for added security.



  • Secure and versatile
  • Vehicle space isn’t sacrificed as your bikes and sports gear are on the roof, and access to the boot/tailgate/hatch is clear
  • Roof-mounted racks can be left on the roof, or removed and (with a few small parts), used on different vehicles, too.


  • Can be expensive
  • You need to be aware of the extra height of your vehicle. These racks aren’t visible, so they are easy to forget when driving into your garage at the end of a journey or clearing car park barriers…
  • Fuel consumption will be higher due to the aero-drag your car will experience.

Cycle rack accessories

There’s a wide range of accessories available to make your car rack secure, protect your bike or to carry extra bikes. Glass boot hatch adaptors, light boards and top tube adaptors might all come in handy, along with cables, straps, convertors, locks and nets. VIEW All


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