The 4 Best Bike Racks for Long-Distance Road Trips

Cycling is one of the best pastime activities. It’s not only healthy but allows you to visit beautiful destinations without worrying about the inconvenience of car noises. It enhances biodiversity and results in few emissions, which ultimately reduces the rate of air pollution. This is why most people enjoy taking their bikes on their travels.  

Unless you live close to beautiful trails, some of the challenges you’ll face include choosing bike-friendly trails and coordinating time off your normal schedule. Perhaps the most annoying issue you’ll face is safely transporting your bike to your preferred destination. Bikes are often expensive and have high maintenance costs, so you wouldn’t want to ruin yours on long-distance travel. What’s the best solution? Getting a bike rack as a car accessory.

What are the 4 main types of bike racks?

The 4 main types you should consider for your long-distance travel are roof-mounted, trunk-mounted, hitch-mounted, and spare tire-mounted bike racks. These racks are versatile and can even be used to haul jet skis and small boats. 

Trunk mount racks are very affordable and are great for recreational cyclists. Your bike rests on the car trunk and is secured by straps, arms, and cradles. On the other hand, Hitch mount racks are a bit costly but are a great option for frequent travelers. You can either get them in the platform style or hanging cradle style. Spare tire mounts are great for off-road vehicles that have a spare tire on their rear. As the name suggests, when you use a roof mount rack, you tie your bike to the top of your vehicle.

According to The Hobby Biker, the locking hitch-mounted are best for long-distance trips if you can’t fit your bike inside your vehicle.  While roof-mounted racks are more secure, long-distance travels mean extra miles and exposing your bike to more debris. Hitch racks typically offer you more ground clearance and are less expensive.

A quick overview of the top 4 bike racks and their prices


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The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike rack is light and perfect if you’re traveling with three or four heavy bikes. This hitch rack can carry two 60-lbs bikes and two 35-lbs bikes, making it great for a family excursion.  It’s currently retailing at $854 on Amazon

The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 is a high-performance bike rack but is very affordable. It is beautifully designed, lightweight and easy to stow away when not in use. It can handle bikes of up to 40 lbs and is currently retailing at $630 on Amazon

The Thule T2 Pro XTR bike rack is solid and secure, easy to install, and is foldable, making it easy to store. Its load capacity is 120 lbs, can handle most bikes with 20-inch to 29-inch wheels, and is currently retailing at $700 on Thule.

The Yakima OnRamp is highly functional but also budget-friendly. It has a simple design, a unique & efficient loading system, and is e-bike friendly. It’s currently retailing at $649 on the Yakima Site.

Top tips for long-distance travel with your bike 

Before choosing your preferred bike rack, you should conduct extensive research because buying the wrong one for your trip has the potential to ruin it and is also dangerous. Make sure you choose a secure rack for long distances with safety and protective features and preferably a locking bike rack. 

Even though the racks will protect your bike from damage, you should also be prepared for unexpected weather conditions by carrying a bike cover. If you can’t fit the bike in your car, remove the wheels to reduce drag. You should also lubricate your bike generously and flag your rack as a safety precaution.