This is the perfect combination of a Subaru Forester + friends and family + a bike rack + a few bikes + one ride that rules them all.
In order to make this recipe a reality, you need the best Subaru Forester bike rack. If you want to get the best results, you must get the Subaru Forester bike rack. Any model of this versatile cross-platform SUV will do the trick. Nevertheless, if you get a poor rack, you can expect not only to damage your expensive bikes but also your Subaru to get a few scratches as well.
I’ve tried more bike racks than I can count. I’ve almost lost my bike once. There just may be a way to solve this problem with a simple, elegant, and proven solution- a quality bike rack. Years of nurturing my cycling hobby have given me a huge advantage. I’ve tried more bike racks than I would like to admit.
It’s important to note that I’ve covered all the top-tier bike racks that work with different Subaru Forester models. Plus, I’ve made sure to give you enough options to choose from the various types of racks. So, let’s take a look and stay tuned until the end of the article to see what my preferred bike rack is!
Reviews of the top-rated bike racks for Subaru Foresters
There are five racks that I have handpicked for this article, each of which can be used with a Subaru Forester. I have mentioned what each rack has to offer, but this does not imply that I sugarcoat the shortcomings. This way, you will be aware of the ins and outs of bike racks before you ever put your finger on one.
1. Hollywood Racks Destination Hitch Bike Rack
The first bike rack on my list had to be something that sits between the premium range and the budget-oriented range. I had to try out a lot of racks before I had the perfect balance. In the Hollywood Racks Destination Platform Hitch Bike Rack, all of the factors I was looking for in a semi-pro bike rack came together.
If you know what you’re doing when it comes to bike racks, you’re aware that hitch bike racks are typically sturdier and more stable than the alternatives, so the Hollywood Racks Destination has a one-up over many other bike racks by virtue of the fact that it’s a hitch bike rack.
In my opinion, one of the most outstanding features of this bike rack is the multi-layered locking system. After you set it up, you will find straps for your crossbars and wheels. All you have to do is place the straps on the crossbars and the wheels and the bikes will be ready to go.
My Subaru Forester 2019 has a universal hitch receiver, so I will be able to use this rack with two different hitch sizes- the universal 2-inch and the 1.25-inch.
Fortunately, I never had to use the latter of the two, however it is nice to have additional options just in case. It is also worth noting that this two-bike rack can carry up to 70 pounds (that would be 35 pounds per bike). More points for flexibility.
I was able to adjust the position of the center post in order to accommodate a variety of bicycles. Also, I found that the design choice of using a wrench-like locking mechanism to secure the center post was a great choice as it prevents it from tilting while riding.
The best part of the rack is that you just fold it up whenever you don’t feel like taking it out. There is nothing easier than folding it up. Just take the key out of the hitch tube and it’s done. If, for example, you want to park your Forester in a garage but don’t want to remove the rack, you can simply fold it up and you’re done.
During the trip, the bikes did not sway during the trip due to the threaded bolts locking the hitch tube in place. You may not know this, but threaded bolts work a lot better than flatline bolts when it comes to holding down the rack. You should always keep your speed moderate when using any kind of bike rack. Even the best ones will give out if you drive like you’re at someone’s funeral.
Furthermore, the Hollywood Racks Destination is available in two different styles, two platforms and four platforms, so you have the choice of which one you prefer depending on how many people and bikes will be joining you on your trip.
The only thing I would criticize about this bike rack is that it does not allow you to get into the trunk when it’s mounted on my bike. Normally, I expect hitch mount bike racks to give me trunk access while they’re mounted. However, this rack does not provide that feature. In order to open the trunk, I had to take the bikes down.
As far as I am concerned, the Hollywood Racks Destination bike rack is a great deal for the price I paid. It comes with some of the great features you get with premium bike racks. However, that would cost you $500. Consequently, this bike rack is a good balance in terms of value that you get a lot out of your investment for your money.
2. Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack
I browsed through some cost-effective bike racks while I was running a little low on budget, and after going through a few of them, I came across the Restrospec Lenox Hitch Mount bike rack. Like you, my first thought was, something so cheap can’t be of good quality. That’s why I’m here to tell you that you’re going to be surprised when you take a look at it. I’m sure you will be shocked after you try it out.
There are some cool features that come with the rack in addition to the cheap price. The steel construction of the rack ensures durability and long-term use. Despite the fact that I have used the carrier for over a year now, the frame still looks relatively new, although there are some minor scratches. I think it might be because I am overprotective, or perhaps because of the quality of the construction.
There are several versions of the rack available: one for two, three, four, and five bikes. The rack I have used is the one that can accommodate three bikes. With a maximum weight capacity of 110 pounds, this version is more than adequate to transport three bikes easily with ease. It is important to keep in mind that there is a 35 pound weight limit on each bicycle, so be sure not to exceed the maximum weight capacity on your bicycles.
My Subaru Forester 2019 is equipped with a 2-inch receiver, which is compatible with the carrier’s hitch. The rack only takes a few minutes to assemble and attach to the receiver. The vehicle you are using must come with either a Class II or IV hitch. If it does not, then you’ll probably have to use an adapter if it doesn’t.
The weakest point of the rack is the rubber straps, which are supposed to keep the bikes in position, but they do not. Originally, I thought the rubber straps would hold the bikes in place on their own, but it turns out that they do not. As a result of learning my lesson, I started using nylon zip ties and sometimes bungee cords to hold the bikes in place.
I was also concerned about the rack’s wobbling sound during transport, which also bothered me. Despite the fact that the rack makes the sound of falling off during transport, you do not need to worry because it doesn’t. You can, however, reduce the wobbling with the included adapter, so there is no need to spend a lot of money on it.
I also made sure to mention that you will also need a bike frame adapter if your bicycles have step-through frames. If not, forget what I said. Other than that, the rack itself is very compact and you can fold it easily when you are not using it.
Aside from that, you can tilt the rack downwards to gain access to the vehicle’s trunk. This can come in handy when you are on the run and don’t wish to remove the whole thing just to get a look at the trunk of your car.
There are some problems with this rack, but it is still a great purchase. For the amount of money you are spending, you can’t expect to get something like this. Usually with the same amount, you’ll get a cheap knockoff that’s going to fail in a short amount of time. Having considered the price and features of the Retrospec Lenox, I have come to the conclusion that it is the best bike rack for the Subaru Forester in terms of budget.
3. Allen Sports Premier Trunk Mount Bike Rack
I thought I would try something different this time around. I had already tried out a few hitch-mounted racks; therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to give trunk-mounted racks a shot. After trying out a few of them, I’ve finally decided that Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack is the best fit for my Subaru Forester 2019. Let me give you a quick overview of my experience with the carrier as well as describe what I learned about it.
There is a common belief that trunk mounted racks are not designed to carry heavy bikes, and this rack is no different. This rack has a weight capacity of around 100 lbs, but it is not advised to carry a bike that weighs around 70-80 lbs on its own. There are, however, three slots in the rack, which means that you can easily carry up to three bikes on it.
I tested carrying three bikes, all of which weighed less than 100 pounds in total. The 16-inch-long arms with a narrow design were able to accommodate them easily. I used bikes of various styles, but I made sure not to exceed the weight rating of the carrier.
Its frame, on the other hand, is made from steel. As far as I know, the frame looks and feels quite sturdy and durable. It looks and feels quite sturdy and durable. Considering the price of the bike, I thought it would feature cheap hollow metal tubing. To my surprise, I have discovered that each and every part of the machine seems to be well-built and made to last a lifetime.
Moreover, the rack comes fully assembled and ready to use right out of the box.
The first few times I tried to set it up, it took me a little while to figure it out, but as soon as I got over the learning curve, I was able to attach it to the trunk of my SUV in under 2-3 minutes. Whenever you are not planning to use the carrier, it can be folded easily with just one hand.
There are ruble cradle straps which come as part of the rack. They are durable and UV-resistant and were easy to use to secure my bicycles. I have also noticed that the carrier also came along with a soft cradle bed in order to keep my bikes safe and secure during transportation.
Apart from that, the rack is equipped with dual-compound feet made up of a soft gray material and a hard plastic material that help to protect your vehicle’s finish.
I have to point out, however, that the included clips, which are intended to stabilize the rig, are made from metal, which means that your vehicle’s finish may be at risk; however, I always took an extra 5-10 minutes to install the clips before installing the rig.
Considering the rack is trunk mounted, the straps that hold it in place tend to become loose over time, making it necessary to retighten the straps after every 150 to 200 miles of the journey. The straps would have stayed on for a much longer time, but I didn’t want to take that chance.
My overall impression of the rack is that it is a good choice when you are on a budget or if your vehicle does not come with a trailer hitch receiver. It was a pleasant experience using the carrier and I felt that there was not a penny wasted.
4. Capstone Hitch Mount 2 Bike Carrier
There is also another personal favorite of mine – the Capstone Hitch Mount bike rack. It is a bike rack that I like a lot, but I could not make it number two or three due to its price.
It is a pretty cool bike rack and it comes with everything one might expect in a carrier, but it does leave a big dent in my wallet, which is why I have moved it up to number four on my list of the best bike carriers.
In accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, this rack features a weight capacity of 70lbs, but that didn’t stop me from testing it out to its full potential. I used two eBikes with the rack, both of which weighed around 65-70lbs, so a total weight of 130-140lbs was reached at the end of the testing.
There was a time when I thought I took it too far and the carrier was gonna come off at any time now, but much to my surprise, it didn’t happen at all.
In spite of the fact that the weight it was carrying was twice the rated weight capacity, this rack did not fail. After that, I took the rack along with the Ebikes out for a spin to see whether it managed to remain stable or not. So far, there has not been any turbulence.
As a result of its steel construction, the rack is durable and sturdy, making it an excellent choice. The Capstone rack is also equipped with a gray powder coat, which further strengthens its durability, allowing it to function effectively for years to come. I have been using it for a few years now, and I would like to say that it is as strong and durable as they come.
As an added bonus, the hitch can be attached to 2-inch receivers. However, you will need an adapter to attach it to 1.25-inch receivers. The adapter does not come with the package, but it is sold separately as well. Even if your vehicle does not come with 2-inch receivers, you are still able to get that adapter if you want to spend some extra money.
As a result of the adjustable wheel holders and locking hooks, the rack can accommodate all types of bikes, as well as bikes with a variety of wheel sizes. The adjustable wheel holders can carry bikes with tire sizes that range from 23mm to 5 inches in diameter. It does not matter whether you are using a road bike with thin tires or an Ebike with fat tires, the rack will be able to handle them.
Although it is possible to carry bikes with fat tires, there is one thing that bothered me about the rack. Look at the bottom of the rack, and you’ll see some yellow Velcro straps. This is why I did not like the rack at all. In spite of the fact that the straps are supposed to hold fat tires, they are way too small for tires of 5 inches or even 3 inches in diameter. In order to keep my Ebikes secure, I had to change the Velcro straps with something that would be able to stretch with my tires in order to hold them.
I also noticed that you need a wrench to remove the rack, which is another annoying thing that I noticed.
As soon as I looked at the pros, however, the cons didn’t bother me at all. Being that the anti-wobble securing system along with the swing away feature and the foldable tray make the rack worth the purchase, the small cons didn’t matter much to me in the long run.
5. CyclingDeal Alloy Car Roof Bike Rack
It is important to clarify that before you think I am a crazy guy with five bike racks, I am not. Specifically, I own four, not five. Having said that, one less crazy thing to worry about. Back to the point, I got to know more about the CyclingDeal bicycle rack after a buddy of mine introduced it to me. He let me keep the carrier for a while and I got to know all about it. Yes, it may not be as good as my other Subaru Forester bike racks, but it is still one of the best I have ever used.
A difference between this rack and the last few, it does not come with a hitch, nor can you attach it to your trunk, but rather it is attached directly to the roof. As you already know, if you own a Forester, you already know that they have some awesome crossbars that you will be able to attach to your roof. However, if you do not have car roof crossbars in your vehicle, I would recommend that you look for alternatives.
There is a big advantage to this carrier, which is that it fits almost all square and aero crossbars. You are able to use it with crossbars since it is adjustable and can be used with crossbars. It has a maximum width of 4.3-inches and a thickness of 1.18-inches, so you will not have to worry about your car’s crossbars not being compatible with the rack.
As for assembling it, it’s a piece of cake. You won’t need any tools or anything else to do it. Just take the carrier, put it on the roof, attach the metal brackets and you’re done. Depending on the diameter of your crossbars, you may need to adjust the brackets, but even that can be done very easily.
My attention has been caught by the rack’s 6063-aluminum construction. This version of aluminum is considered to be the finest on the market. Let me tell you a little bit about this version of aluminum. It is tough, sturdy, doesn’t rust, looks amazing, and is much lighter than steel.
As a result, I have used the rack for a few months now, and during that time, I have not encountered any dents or have had to worry about the weight of the rack affecting the performance of my vehicle.
I found the rack to have a maximum weight capacity of 66 pounds or 30 kilograms. There were two slots in the carrier; therefore, I was able to fit two bikes on it. I took two bikes that weighed less than 30 kilograms each; I had the option of bringing other bikes that weighed more, but I did not want to exceed the weight limit.
I did not find the process of securing my bikes to the rack to be too difficult. The wheel straps and the clamp strap on the down tube of the frame are the best tools for securing your bikes to the rack.
As well as that, you can store bikes of different shapes and sizes with the rack. Just keep in mind the maximum seat circumference is 7.48-inches and the maximum rim depth is 1.9-inches or 50mm.
This rack is quite affordable, but there is one downside to it as well. When you drive, there is a slight wobble in the bikes. It feels as if they are going to fall off, but don’t worry, they do not. Just be sure you secure the bikes properly. Thus, there is no doubt that this is one of the best roof bike racks available for Subaru Foresters.
What to consider when buying a Subaru Forester bike rack: What you need to know
As I have already highlighted all of the best bike racks for Subaru Forester, it is time for me to walk you through the selection and elimination process that I used to choose/eliminate the racks. In this article, I will provide you with two things- A) a clear explanation of why I have chosen these five bike racks and B) a map for you to use to choose the best bike rack for your Subaru Forester by yourself. Let’s get started now.
Precedence is given to the type of rack
Firstly, I would like to show you the different types of racks that you have the option of choosing for a Subaru Forester before I drop the technical bomb consisting of build quality, load capacity, holding mechanism, and all that. Choosing a bike rack depends on your budget, the number of bikes you wish to carry, and the condition of the road in your area.
Subaru Forester Hitch Bike Rack
The hitch-mount rack is quite expensive in comparison to other types of racks. I know I have started with the biggest drawback, but listen to me, the stability you get from a hitch-mount rack more than compensates for this drawback. I recommend that you invest in a hitch rack for your Subaru Forester when you have two high-priced bikes.
Having said that, how do these bike racks work, and why are hitch-mounted bike racks the best choice for any Subaru Forester?
There are a number of reasons why hitch-mount racks are more popular than the two-wheeled ones. First of all, hitch-mount racks are connected to a hitch that you have to attach separately to your vehicle, the receiver tube connecting to the hitch tube keeping the bikes stable. Secondly, this option is by far the most safe when carrying multiple bikes at the same time.
Subaru Forester Trunk Bike Rack
You will be able to mount your bike in trunk-mounted racks without having to break the bank. If you are on a budget and are on a tight budget, these racks will get you where you need to be without you having to spend a fortune. However, the stability isn’t as stellar as you get from a hitch-mount rack. The problem with these racks, however, is that they completely block the trunk. You will not be able to access the trunk once your bikes are on the wheelbase.
Subaru Forester Roof Bike Rack
In addition to being pretty expensive, roof-mount racks can also be quite expensive depending on the quality of the product.
Despite the fact that you can mount a lot of bikes on your Forester, the trunk can still be used at any time, even if there are a lot of bikes mounted on it. The only problem with this is that you have to carry the bike up to the roof and balance it in mid-air to get it positioned correctly. People with arthritis or any other physical limitations will have a difficult time doing this.
Secondly, there is the issue of load capacity that needs to be considered.
It is important to take note of the rack’s load capacity after you have chosen your rack. The rack’s load capacity is a relatively simple thing to look at and decide upon after you have chosen your rack.
Whenever you look at a bike rack, you should see a detailed description of how much weight it can support. If you know how much weight your bike weighs, it’s an easy calculation from there. I like to always err on the side of caution whenever assessing the weight capacity of a bike rack. I always make sure to purchase a bike rack with a load capacity that is higher than the total weight of my bikes.
As a result, if a couple of bikes I want to carry weigh around 50 lbs, I like to choose a rack that can handle at least 55 to 60 lbs. However, this is just a personal preference. It really is up to you.
What Holding Mechanisms are at Play?
There are different ways to secure a bike rack, and manufacturers do things differently. However, the major contenders that will confuse you are- locking hooks and ratchet straps. Now that you know how much a bike rack should hold, the next question is- how does it do that?
This locking mechanism is also perfect for bikes that have a high crossbar. Most bikes do have a high crossbar, and that’s one of the main reasons why lots of people prefer to use it. The locking hook minimizes sway, and there’s no risk of it ripping apart when you’re cruising down the highway.
As for the Raglet straps, they have the upper hand in terms of versatility. There’s no such thing as a crossbar or a low crossbar that can compare to the strap holding mechanism. Just fasten it and you’re good to go. However, you need to be careful as you drive as the bikes may sway a bit, depending on the quality of the straps.
It has a badass build quality and a great design
This is kind of a given, but I have to point it out nonetheless. A Subaru Forester isn’t just some crossover SUV that you can get by exchanging peanuts for it. It will cost you quite a bit to get into the Forester family. This is the reason why you should not overlook the build quality of the bike rack.
As with anything else, there are a number of options you can choose from. Steel construction would be the best option, but you must be careful when installing the mount and driving. It’s true that steel is a great material for strength, but if the rack comes into contact with your Forester or with the bikes you are carrying, it can also be a recipe for disaster.
It is also possible to choose aluminum or hardened plastic as your options. Although both of these materials are not as powerful as aluminum, they are not as likely to leave angry scratch marks on your vehicles or bikes if used correctly. Since I am very particular about keeping my possessions free from scratches, I prefer hardened plastic.
It’s time to put a wrap on everything
It would be a big disappointment to own a well-engineered crossover SUV and not be able to use it to take your bikes out for a ride. Once you get a top-of-the-line bike rack, it’s pretty much a cakewalk from then on.
This is the result of my years of testing, comparing, loving, rejecting, and re-testing a lot of bike racks. That’s how I came up with this list of the best bike racks on the market today. While the process of making this list was tedious, your journey to get from point A to point B doesn’t have to be.
The Hollywood Racks Destination bike rack is my top pick if I had to bestow the title of the best bike rack for Subaru Forester on one specific carrier. Despite the fact that its price seems intimidating, when you compare it to other premium hitch-mount racks like Thule Pro 2, it is quite affordable. You’ll see that it’s a great bike rack because it gives you all the basic features you’d expect from a high-end rack.
The CyclingDeal Alloy Bicycle Carrier Rack may be a great option for those of you who are looking for versatility. It’s a roof-mount rack, so you’ll be able to carry other stuff as well.
So it’s time to get out that Subaru Forester, slap that rack on, place’em bikes on the rack, and let’s get rolling. Cheers!