How to choose the right bike rack

There are lots of different bike racks on the market. Rear mounted, roof mounted, tow bar mounted… it can be difficult to know what to choose. So, start by asking yourself some essential questions:

  1. What type of bike rack is suitable for my vehicle?
  2. How many bikes do I want to carry and what type of bike are they?
  3. How often will I be using my bike rack?

The answers will help you to narrow down the options and identify which of the following types of bike rack matches your requirements.

Choose the right bike rack for your car.

Rear  Mount
Rear Mount Bike Rack
  • Carry 1 - 3  bikes
  • Small & easy to store
Tow  Bar
Rear Mount Bike Rack
  • Carry 1 - 4 bikes
  • Easy to load, more secure
Roof  Mount
Rear Mount Bike Rack
  • Carry 1 - 4 bikes
  • Keep access to your boot

Rear mounted bike racks

Rear mounted bike racks attach to the back of your car, over the boot. Some cars may not be compatible with some types of rear mounted bike racks, so make sure you that you use our online registration checker to find the right one for your vehicle.

Rear mounted bike racks

Benefits

  • Rear mounted bike racks are the most cost-effective option, particularly if your car doesn’t already have roofbars or a tow bar.
  • Some models are compatible with electronic bikes, allowing you to carry one e-bike.
  • Rear mounted bike racks can be easily removed when they’re not in use and some can be folded away for easy storage.

Drawbacks

  • Rear mounted bike racks can typically carry up to three bikes only.
  • They can obstruct the view out of the rear window.
  • Depending on the model, you may not be able to open the boot.
  • Lifting bikes onto a rear mounted rack can be challenging depending on their number and weight.

Our recommendations

Roof mounted bike racks

Roof mounted bike racks need to be mounted on roof bars that are fitted to the top of your car. If this is your preferred option but you don’t currently have roof bars, you can use our vehicle registration system to find a set for your car.

Roof mounted bike racks

Benefits

  • Roof mounted bike racks give you uninterrupted access to your car boot.
  • They’re quick and easy to fit (as are the bars, if you don’t already have them).
  • You can typically fit up to four bikes on a roof mounted bike rack, which is particularly useful for large families or groups of friends (please note that the size of your car will influence how many bikes your rack can carry).
  • Your bikes are out-of-sight and therefore don’t restrict your view in any way.

Drawbacks

  • Roof mounted bike racks don’t currently support e-bikes. This is due to the weight of e-bikes and how difficult they are to lift onto the roof.
  • You may need to purchase roof bars if you don’t already have them.
  • Lifting bikes onto a roof mounted bike rack can be particularly challenging depending on their number and weight.

Our recommendations

Tow bar mounted bike racks

Tow bar mounted bike racks attach to the tow bar of your car, making them a simple solution if you’ve already got a tow bar or are happy to add one.

Tow bar mounted bike racks

Benefits

  • Tow bar mounted bike racks are easy to attach and remove from your tow bar.
  • They’re the easiest option when it comes to lifting bikes on and off a rack.
  • They’re compatible with e-bikes and can generally carry up to four standard bikes, three e-bikes (20kg each) or a mixture of both.
  • They don’t restrict your view while driving.
  • Some have a tilt mechanism that means you can still access your boot even when there are bikes on your rack.
  • Some can be folded down when not in use to minimise the storage space required.

Drawbacks

  • Not all cars can accommodate a tow bar fitting, so it’s important to check that first.
  • Tow bars can be expensive to fit, although they can also offer long-term benefits and flexibility.

Our recommendations

How we can help you

Here at Halfords, our expert colleagues are on-hand to provide advice, answer any questions you may have and support with bike rack installation. We provide a dedicated fitting service for just £20, which also includes a demonstration, so you can be confident that your new purchase has been fitted correctly and safely.

We offer a large range of bike racks to ensure that we have products that suit your car, personal needs and tastes. We have a strong partnership with top brands such as Thule and Saris, and have also developed our own Halfords and Halfords Advanced ranges using our huge knowledge base and decades of experience.

All our bike racks go through vigorous testing to ensure they’re safe and we offer market-leading guarantees to give you peace of mind. We also offer finance options so that you can get outside and start exploring now.