A bike rack helps you safely transport your bicycle with your car, protecting the bike and motor vehicle. A sturdy bike rack is especially important if you have an e-bike since e-bikes weigh much more than normal bikes.
A car bike rack lets you mount your e-bike on your vehicle without scratching or denting it and secures the e-bike so that it doesn’t slip in transit — no matter how many sharp turns you take or potholes you hit.
Read on to learn about the different types of bike racks and what to look for in an e-bike carrier. We also provide a roundup of some of the best electric bike racks on the market.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Bike Rack
Whether a newbie e-bike rider or an experienced cyclist, you want to keep your electric bicycle safe. A bike carrier is the answer. Here’s what to consider when picking an e-bike rack:
- Bike size and weight. The bike rack specs should designate the size and maximum weight capacity. Make sure it can accommodate your bike’s weight. For example, a mountain bike or fat tire e-bike weighs more than a road bike.
- Vehicle compatibility. Not every car can accommodate every type of bike rack. For example, you can load a normal bike on top of your car with a roof rack — but with an e-bike, the load capacity is an issue. For e-bikes, hitch racks that secure the bike behind the car are usually preferable. Plus, they’re compatible with a variety of vehicles.
- Capacity. Some bike racks can hold only one bike. However, there are also 2-bike racks available. Again, consider weight limits when loading more than one bike. If you have multiple heavy e-bikes to load, ensure the rack can accommodate the weight that number of bikes brings.
- User-friendliness. Consider how difficult the car rack is to install, remove, and store. For example, is it easily foldable? Do the arm clamps secure the bike easily? Is there customer support available for issues?
- Security features. An e-bike is a significant financial investment that will generally run you $1,000 at minimum. Protect that investment with a bike rack with security features, like a cable lock.
- Add-ons. Some bike racks have features like loading ramps, locks, and anti-wobble fail-safe straps. While these aren’t must-haves, they can be nice to have!
- Budget. Finally, factor in cost. Also, consider warranty details. The good news? Many bike racks are available to accommodate all sorts of budgets, from platform racks to locking hitch pin racks and more. We cover some of the best e-bike racks below.
Top 3 Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks for Electric Bikes
Hitch-mounted bike racks attach to the back of the vehicle with a trailer hitch (like a hitch receiver). Here are some favorites.
Thule EasyFold XT 2
The Thule EasyFold XT is a 2-bike hitch rack that’s fully foldable. You still have easy access to the car’s trunk, even when the bikes are loaded. Reviewers say it’s user-friendly but also report it’s incompatible with all e-bike types and that the locking mechanism can be confusing.
- Durable thanks to rigorous exposure tests
- Optional loading ramp
- Limited e-bike compatibility
- Can hold max two bikes
- Confusing lock mechanism
Best for: Lightweight e-bikes
Yakima HoldUp EVO+2
The Yakima HoldUp EVO+2 cradles up to four bikes, making it suitable for the entire family. It’s robust and can handle both BMX and fat tire bikes, and the strong-arm hook secures the wheelbase, protecting the bike frame. Reviewers of the Yakima on-ramp system admire its design but suggest an extra lock would be handy.
- Integrated SKS lock system
- Includes a limited lifetime warranty
- Versatile, accommodating diverse bikes
- Laborious assembly
- Thread quality questionable
- Bulky design
Best for: Family bike trips
Kuat NV 2.0
The Kuat NV 2.0 is for drivers who don’t want to ruin their car’s appearance with a bike rack. It features premium gloss metallic powder in multiple colors. It’s practical, too: strong, expandable, and durable. Users like the multiple hitch sizes (2 and 1.25 inches) and appreciate the included trail doc. However, the Kuat rack is tough to load.
- Easy no-tool installation
- Fully integrated hitch lock and cable locks
- Front tire ratchet with user-friendly release
- Difficult loading
- Loading ramp costs extra
- Heavy (52 pounds)
Best for: Style-conscious consumers
Top 3 Roof-Mounted Bike Racks for Electric Bikes
If you’re ready to do some heavy lifting, a roof-mounted bike rack is an option. These are some top contenders.
The Thule UpRide locks bikes securely upright and fits most bicycles with up to 3-inch tire width. There’s an adapter for fat tire bikes sold separately. Users like the easy installation and the fact that the rack doesn’t touch the bike frame, touching only the front wheel and rear wheel. However, some criticize the quality of the lock.
- Can accommodate fat tire bikes with the adapter
- Simple interface for switching the carrier to different sides of the car
- Accommodates nontraditional frames, including rear-suspension bikes
- Only holds lighter bikes
- Poor-quality lock
- Some users report trouble attaching their bikes securely
Best for: Fat tire bikes
Yakima LockNLoad System
Yakima’s LockNLoad System is a heavy-duty aluminum perimeter rail that can be attached with crossbars or roof rack towers. The heavy-duty system can accommodate up to 330 pounds. You then add the front loader bike mount to hold your bike. Reviewers like the robustness but complain about the fixed-point mounts.
- SKS lock
- Tool-free attachment
- Sits high off the vehicle’s top
- Limited placement options
- Fixed-point mounts
Price: Starting at $849
Best for: Versatility
The RockyMounts BrassKnuckles rack carries one bike of up to 45 pounds. There’s no frame contact, and the ergonomic brass knuckles-shaped handle simplifies loading. Users like this rock-solid rack’s robustness and easy installation but complain the articulating arm that ratchets the rack down is very stiff.
- Durable stainless steel mounting straps that last
- Compatible with wheel sizes from 34 to 48 inches
- User-friendly ergonomic design
- Can’t be used for bicycles with front fenders
- Stiff articulating arm
- Tough for shorter users to implement
Best for: Long-term use
Top 3 Trunk-Mounted Bike Racks for Electric Bikes
Finally, rounding out the list, we have some of our favorite trunk-mounted bike racks.
Saris Bones EX 3
The Saris Bones EX 3 fits 20% more popular vehicles than its predecessor, including cars with spoilers. It comes in multiple colors, has a useful strap management system, and has a two-bike model. Users love the easy loading, although they note that rack installation is a two-person job.
- Very stable
- Can accommodate two bikes
- Good customer service
- Side latches can get loose
- Doesn’t fit small-frame bikes
- Tricky installation
Best for: Cars with spoilers
Thule OutWay Hanging
The Thule OutWay Hanging is a two-bike hanging rack that fits cars and trucks. There’s also a three-bike model available (for a higher price). It’s quick and easy to mount thanks to the intuitive interface and tightening system. Users appreciate the rubber protection pads to protect car paint, taillights, and other parts.
- Firm carrier hold and car protection features
- Integrated anti-sway system
- Locks bikes to the rack and the rack to the car
- Hard-to-understand setup instructions
- Bikes too close together on the rack
- Straps aren’t as robust as some users would like
Best for: Bumpy drives
Allen Premier Trunk Rack
The Allen Premier Trunk Rack wins big points for price. It has a simple yet sturdy design. Bikes are kept safe with quick-secure straps and dual compound tie-downs. Users love how easy it is to install and the price. That said, some complain about how heavy the rack is.
- Padded lower frame protects the car
- Fully assembled for fast installation
- Wide profile helps weight distributions
- Tricky to use with kids’ bikes/smaller bikes
- Some users complain about straps getting stuck between rack posts
Best for: Affordability
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