But if you’re trying to carry them on top of your vehicle for the first time, it can be a hassle. This is especially true if you’re just learning how to do it. That is why you’ll need the assistance of a roof bike rack.
Having searched and found this article already, you probably already have an understanding of what a roof rack is, but what kind of roof rack is best to match your mountain bike? What are the features you need to pay attention to when you buy a roof rack?
We will tell you everything you need to know about how to choose the best roof rack for mountain bikes in this article. Plus, we will include a bunch of useful information that might be helpful to you in finding the best roof rack for mountain bikes.
Top-Rated Roof Racks for Mountain Bikes
In truth, if you take a look at Amazon.com or any other online shopping site, you will find that you will find a lot of roof racks for your mountain bikes. The problem is, not all the racks are meticulous enough to make sure your bike is in good shape. Sure, they’ll claim they’re the best in the business, but very few of them are. Let’s take a look at some!
1. YAKIMA FrontLoader Wheel-On Mount Upright Roof Rack
In terms of YAKIMA FrontLoader, it is a bike carrier that sits on top of your car in order to secure your mountain bike so that it can be ridden in an upright position. This means that you will be able to ride your bike in an upright position.
There is a lot more to it than that. It’s actually an aerodynamic bicycle rack. It’s designed aerodynamically so that it takes up almost no space on your vehicle while doing its job of holding your bike firmly into place quite efficiently while taking up almost no weight at all. I’m going to tell you how this works in a bit.
First of all, let’s take a closer look at the carrier. I liked it most because of how versatile it is. It can transport virtually any type of bike, not just mountain bikes. By any type of bike, I mean literally any type of bike. Disc brakes, thru-axle, and full suspension bikes are all included in this product.
You will not even have to remove the wheels of your bike in order to set this up, nor will you have to have direct contact with the rack in order to use it. Simply mount your MTB to this fully assembled rack, and you’re all set to ride.
In addition to the fact that this construct holds your MTB securely without causing you any hassles, another benefit you might receive from this construct is that it protects any custom paint job that you might have on your cycle.
It has what you might consider a two-factor authentication system for bike racks to ensure your bike is safe and secure when it comes to maintaining the safety of your bike. With the revolutionary 2 SKS (Same Key System) locks, you will be able to lock your bike to the mount, as well as the mount to the rack’s base.
If you are planning to buy this rack for your mountain bike, you will need to buy the locks separately, and it is highly recommended that you get them as well.
If you are going to use this roof rack, you need to take into account a few things. For starters, the crossbar of the roof rack needs to have a width of 16 to 48 inches in order to be able to hold up at most one bike. You should choose one that can carry more than one bike if you are going to be carrying more than one.
As far as the maximum weight capacity of this rack is concerned, it can hold bikes with a diameter from 20 inches all the way up to 29 inches. It can hold bikes with tires that are up to 3 inches thick as well as wheels that have a diameter between 20 and 29 inches.
With this hitch mount, the tray rack design allows it to be tilted and swiveled out of the way when it’s loaded, allowing it to provide a greater spacing between bikes when it’s loaded.
As a result of its design, it is also easier for you to access the trunk or hatch of your vehicle without having to remove your bike from the rack first. You neither have to remove the bike from the rack nor have to worry about removing the bike from the rack.
Here is how you can set it up:
- Depending on the size of your bike’s tires, you should adjust the cross bar accordingly.
- On top of the crossbar, place the bike rack so that it is level with the crossbar.
- The rack can be adjusted into a secure grip by loosening the turn knob on the side of the rack, and then tightening it down onto the cross bar.
- Please adjust the bracket under the underbar in accordance with your needs.
- In order to create an entrance for your bike, rotate the front hoop of the rack up and over once the rack has been locked securely on top of the bars.
- Make sure that the bike is securely mounted on the rack after it has been set up in a secure position.
- If you want to adjust the grip of the rack on your bike, you will need to rotate the red knob.
- In order to secure the rear wheel of the rack, you need to use the rear wheel strap.
- It won’t take long for you to hear it click once it’s done.
All done! That’s all there is to it!
2. Swagman UPRIGHT Roof Rack
When the company first designed, manufactured, and marketed the hitch-style bike rack in the 1990s, Swagman was among the first companies in the world to do so. In the years since then, they have been making bike racks and gears, accessories for automobiles, and accessories for bicycles, and are still regarded as one of the leading brands in the industry.
There is no doubt that this particular product is full of swag. Its name is full of swag, and it goes without saying that the bike rack itself is full of swag. If you are a fan of sleek minimalistic stuff like I am, then you will fall in love with this one from the very first hike you take.
In my opinion, it could be the best bike rack for a mountain bike that you ever buy. It’s a feather-light, stylish, and sleek bike rack that might just prove to be the best bike rack you ever purchase. I’m not exaggerating either. Check it out!
As one of the best things about this roof rack, I would have to say, it has a lot of versatility. It can fit almost any kind of crossbars out there. Round, squared, oval? Any type of crossbar is covered by this rack. There is, however, one thing that you need to take into consideration. The crossbars must be a maximum of 3″ in width.
There is a slogan on their products, “Ride, paddle, explore: find your adventure“, which speaks directly to what they produce in the way of their products. To put it simply, this rack is made for mountain bikes. It yearns for them. The maximum weight capacity of this rack is 35 pounds for each bike. That is quite a bit, and it is a good fit for most mountain bikes in terms of their weight.
There is a certain degree of security provided by this bike rack. With the help of its tie-down straps, it locks down the wheels of your MTB to the crossbars so that it can be transported safely.
Then there’s the locking feature that you have to be aware of. The bike is locked to the rack securely no matter where you’re on the road or whether you’re parked somewhere. This means you can be assured that your bike will always be safe no matter where you are in the world.
There is no need to remove your mountain bike’s wheels to assemble the rack. You can simply follow the instructions and you will be able to install it in a matter of minutes. You do not need to use any tools!
This is how you set it up:
- You will need to adjust the cross bar according to the size of the tires on your mountain bike.
- The bike rack should be placed on top of the crossbar of the crossbar.
- If you want to secure it, turn the knob on the side of the rack to loosen it up, then adjust it to the cross bar into a secure grip by twisting the knob on the side.
- Make sure that the under bar bracket is adjusted in accordance with the requirements.
- The front hoop of the rack should be rotation up and over in order to create an opening where your bike can be accessed once the rack has been locked securely on top of the bars.
- It is important to place the mountain bike on top of the rack in a position that is secure.
- You can adjust the grip of the rack on the bike by spinning the red knob at the bottom of the rack.
- With the help of the rear wheel strap on the rack, you can secure the rear wheel of the bicycle.
- It will only take a few seconds for you to hear it click.
As soon as you have installed the bike rack onto your car and placed your bike on the rack, you will be able to drive your car.
3. CyclingDeal Alloy Car Roof Bike Rack
CyclingDeal Alloy roof bike carrier has a reputation for quality and reliability and it certainly lives up to its name when it comes to ensuring the safety of your mountain bike while you’re using your car. It takes its business seriously and is considered to be a strict, no-nonsense bike rack whose sole purpose is to ensure your mountain bike’s safety.
There is no doubt that this is the best bike rack if you are looking for one that is lightweight and can transport multiple mountain bikes.
There is no doubt this rack is one of the lightest ones out there on the market. It is made by CyclingDeal, one of the most trusted manufacturers of bike racks. It is one of the lightest ones out there in the market today. Weighing just 12.3 lbs, this little beast can hold onto bikes that weigh up to 66 pounds. It’s quite surprising that such a little monster weighs so little.
This bike is equipped with an adjustable down tube clamp that keeps your bike secure, firmly in place and restrained at all times, so that you can rest assured that your bike is in good hands, or should I say, claps, while you ride it.
Not to mention, the 2x brake tie straps and quality wheel tie-down straps. Lastly, the foldable arm design and the secure mounting make it possible for you to mount the bike on top of your car safely and easily. The folding arm design will make your bike safer and easier to use while you are on the road.
Let’s take a closer look at the design and build of this rack. Made of the highest quality 6063 aluminum, the rack has turned out to be much stronger and more durable than I expected it to be (I’m sure you’ve heard that aluminum is kind of a soft metal, but this guy surprised me with its durability and sturdiness).
In spite of the fact that it’s made from aluminum, it’s capable of bearing a total weight of 66 lbs. (almost 33 kg.), which roughly equals the weight of two bikes, while it itself weighs just 12.3 lbs. (5.6 kg). It’s almost weightless multiple bike rack. Could it get any better than this?
It was absolutely possible, and it was done. Not only was it able to carry more than one bike at once, but it is also so versatile that it can be used with just about any kind of bike out there.
This rack is designed to fit bikes that have a wheel diameter between 20″ and 29″ and a tire thickness of no more than 2.4″, as well as rim depths of up to 50 millimeters. The maximum diameter of the adjustable down-tube clamp is 10cm/4″, which means that the rack will work with bikes with wheels 20″ to 29″.
Here is how you can set it up:
- With the help of the easy-turn knobs on the crossbars, you can adjust the height of the rack by removing the spacers for height adjustment (included with the rack).
- Lift the supporting arm of the rack by tilting it upwards.
- As a result of the brake tie straps (also included), you can use them to secure the brakes of your bike firmly into one position. This will prevent your bike from rolling over from the top of your vehicle if your locks become loose at any point in time.
- There is no need to remove the wheels from the bike before mounting it onto the rack.
- The straps of the rack can be used to lock the wheels on the rack.
- A lock can be attached to the seat tube or down tube of a bicycle.
- It is recommended that you fit the rack on one side of the roof of your vehicle for ease of removing or retrieving your bike. If you are mounting two bikes, it is recommended that you mount the inner bike first, then the outer bike after that. This makes the process much simpler and easier.
- Secondly, if you are loading two bikes, make sure that they are in opposite directions from one another so that it will be easier for you to take them down when you are finished loading them.
It’s all done! Now you’re ready to go.
4. ROCKBROS Suction Cup Bike Rack
There are a few differences in the design of this bike rack compared to the ones we discussed so far. The first of these is the way in which the mounting mechanism is added to the vehicle. Rather than using clamps, it uses suckers to attach itself to your vehicle.
As for the fact that it is not as secure as clamp-based locking mechanisms, it isn’t any less secure than those. In fact, once you have a better understanding of that system, you might actually prefer it over those.
It allows the ramp to be installed on top of just about any car and…wait for it…without requiring any crossbars at all! Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly, even on top of a truck! That’s what makes the suction cup locking mechanism so unique. First of all… It allows the ramp to be installed on top of any truck!
This ramp will enable you to fit your bike on top of your car without having to worry about obtaining separate crossbars for your vehicle. It will simply mount to the top of your car with the suction cups, and voila! You have your bike ramp ready to be fitted into your vehicle. Isn’t that great?
I have seen it fitted to sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, SUVs, vans, RVs, and you name it. Basically, anything with four wheels and a roof is a good candidate for this roof rack.
This rack is made of lightweight aluminum alloy which makes it very sturdy and durable at the same time. In addition to the suction cup design, the body of this rack is made of lightweight aluminum alloy which makes it very sturdy and durable at the same time.
Furthermore, due to the fact that it doesn’t require the use of any crossbars whatsoever, your car is sure to remain unblemished and protected from accidental scratches or dents because it doesn’t require the use of any crossbars at all. It also comes with a strap for fixing the crank to prevent accidental scratches to your car.
Besides being compatible with all kinds of cars, this rack can also be used with all kinds of bikes, be they road bikes, trail bikes, mountain bikes, and everything in between.
You can mount this rack to any bike with a front wheel which has a quick-release system. It has two radians on the rear wheel sucker which are made to fit both road bikes and mountain bikes. No matter what sort of bike you ride, just mount it on top of the rack and hit the road.
It is nevertheless important to know that despite all the funky features that this bike rack offers, there are some safety precautions that you need to observe so that the best experience with this bike rack remains that way for as long as possible.
I would like to start by reminding you that the suction cup vacuum created by the suction cups is quite powerful.
It is advised that you do not place it on top of the back or front windshield. This may block the view, and the suction may cause the windshield glass to break if it is installed on top of it.
It is also important to consider the issue of sunroofs when installing the rack on top of a car that has a sunroof. In this case, it is extremely important to keep the skyline closed when installing the rack on top of the car with the sunroof installed.
The skyline should not be opened while the rack is still attached to it.
For the sake of road safety, it is suggested that you check the white line on the cylinder rod before using the rack, and when you are driving with the rack installed and your bike(s) on top of it, keep your speed to less than 120 km/h while you are driving in order to prevent accidents.
Here is how you can set it up:
- To ensure that there is no water, sand, or dust on the roof of the car and the sucker, clean the roof and sucker
- In particular, you need to apply a lot of pressure when installing the sucker on the roof.
- You need to press the sucker firmly with your teeth and push the cylinder rod till you will not be able to see the white line anymore (usually 30 to 45 seconds).
- In the next step, you will need to fix the front sucker with the quick release on the fork
- It is important to confirm the position of the rear wheel and fix the rear wheel and pedal in the correct position
It’s that simple! You’re all set to go now.
5. Thule OutRide Roof Bike Rack
There is nothing better than a fork-mount bike rack with the most traditional design on the market. If you want something a bit old-school, then this one is definitely for you. It is equipped with a quick-release wheel strap that is designed to firmly secure the rear wheel to the tray.
In addition to this, there are Thule One-Key locks that can lock the bike to a specific location. The Thule One-Key locks need to be purchased separately.
It’s really easy to set up the rest of the rack on top of your car, once you have the aluminum wheel tray installed. You just click it onto the crossbars and then you can set up the rest on top of the car. We’ll show you how to do that shortly.
The first thing that we need to consider is whether it’s compatible with all classic axles. Since it’s a classic design, it works with all classic axles like the 9-millimeter quick-release axles and the 15 and 20-millimeter through axles, although you will need to purchase the through axle adapters separately.
With its lightweight (weighing only 5.5 pounds) and its compatibility with both round and square crossbars using the camps included with the package, it is an excellent option for anyone. It would be necessary to use the T-slot or the channel to mount something fancier, such as an elliptical bar or an arrow bar, if you were using such items.
As the rear cradle on the rack is adjustable, it is capable of accommodating wheelbases with radii as wide as 48 inches. This means that the entire rack will be able to sit fairly comfortably on top of most cars with wheelbases up to 54 inches.
Keep in mind that when you are setting it up on the top of your car, you will need to leave you some space in order to be able to open the rear hatch when necessary. Positioning is key here as well.
In terms of the build quality, the bike rack is pretty impressive. It’s made of aluminum alloy, and it can take quite a bit of weight. I mean, 37.5 lbs is pretty decent maximum load capacity for a mountain bike, don’t you think?
It goes without saying that the unique locking system on the bike not only keeps the bike firmly in place while you are riding your car, but also prevents theft when the bike is parked at your home or office.
Here is how you can set it up:
- In order to mount the rack on your vehicle, you need to place it on top of the crossbar.
- The front wheel of your bike needs to be removed.
- Make sure that you adjust the axle according to the size of your bike, and the distance between your vehicle’s roof line and the bike’s axle.
- It is important to ensure that the bike tray is aligned correctly with the roof lines of your car so that your bike will fit on it.
- There is a knob on the bike rack that can be turned to tighten or loosen the clamp that holds the bike rack in place. Then lock it by snapping it down. Do this for both ends of the rack.
- You need to attach the thru-axle of your bike to the front fork of the bike.
- Put your bike on the bike tray of the bike mount and lock it into place both on the front and back of the bike mount.
It’s done. Now that you’ve mounted your bike on the rack, you’re good to go.
6. RockyMounts Tomahawk Upright Roof Bike Rack
On our list of the best roof racks for mountain bikes, the RockyMounts Tomahawk is the last but not least on the list. As its name implies, the rack is designed specifically for mountain bikes, and it is specifically designed to fit mountain bikes. It is an upright bike carrier that allows you to carry your bike without removing any of its wheels.
Not only does it work with almost any type of bike, it works with almost every type of bike, not just mountain bikes, as it can be mounted on top of almost any kind of crossbar (square, round, aero, factory, you name it).
The versatility of this tire means that it can be used on road bikes, cruisers, kids’ bikes, and even fat bikes with tires that are as thick as five inches thick. Talk about versatility!
It is a hitch-mounted bike rack that can be used by roof-rackers who wish to have the ease and functionality of a hitch-mounted rack without compromising the benefits of a roof rack.
As opposed to the majority of roof-mounted bike racks that are fork mounts that require you to remove your front wheel in order to get the bike onto the rack, the Tomahawk does not require you to do this. You can simply install your bike onto the rack by folding the arm.
The front and the rear wheel straps of the bike provide both security and safety when it comes to the safety and security of your bike. This bike comes with both front and rear wheel straps both at the front and the rear for the front and rear wheels of your bike.
Using these easy load straps, you will not just be able to hold your bike securely on the rack, but you will also be able to mount and unmount your bike from the rack more easily.
As a result of the rock-solid attachment, you will not have to worry about your mountain bike falling off, being stolen, or even rattling while you’re driving. Quite simply, this is everything that a hitch-mount rack promises to do without the hassle of having to remove both the front and rear wheels of your mountain bike.
This is how you set up:
- Install two M6x22 bolts through the plate and the tray, and insert the arm assembly into the rear tray.
- Remove the cap by pulling on the tab and releasing it.
- To loosen the mounting straps, turn the bolt counterclockwise. Loosen the mounting bracket before reinstalling onto the cross bar.
- The head should be placed on the front crossbar, while the rear plate should be positioned above the rear crossbar.
- Slide the wheel straps onto the wheel tray, making sure that the buckles face outward. Attach the end caps to the trays and then reinstall the top cap on top.
- The load arm hook must be fully extended. The back stop must be fully opened. The wheel straps must be tucked.
- The bike should be loaded on the wheel tray, with the front wheel secured against the back stop.
- Ensure that the load arm is positioned over the front wheel and that the hook is tightened with a MINIMUM GAP between the forks.
- It is necessary to feed the wheel strap through the wheel and into the buckle on both wheels. Finally, test the bike by shaking it.
- The top cap can be removed by using a flat head screwdriver to pry off the plastic cap.
- You need to insert a key into the core and place a large protruding metal wafer between the tabs in the housing. After that, install the lock cores, turn the key to the “lock” position, and pull the key out.
- Rotate the load arm so that the bolt on the collar can be seen on the load arm. Remove the bolt and pry the collar off the load arm.
- Remove the load arm by loosening the bolt and sliding it out.
- Using a wrench, flip the load arm over and reinstall from the other direction. Install the collar and tighten the two M6 bolts again.
- On the wheel tray, flip the mounting plate over and attach it to the tray.
With just a few simple steps, you were able to install this bike rack onto your vehicle and mount your bike on it.
Is This Your First Time Buying A Roof Bike Rack for Mountain Bike? Here’s What You Should Know Before Buying one
You should take a few things into consideration before deciding whether or not to buy a roof-mounted rack for your mountain bike. Otherwise, you may end up buying a bike rack that you don’t know how to use.
It is important to note that the best bike racks for mountain bikes have some specific criteria for different brands. In this article, I will explain my process of deciding which bike rack is best for my journey.
How Important Are Crossbars? There is no doubt that they are important!
Several racks claim to be able to support your mountain bike through the toughest conditions. However, there are some that don’t. This is not necessarily a fault, but the rack may simply be too short to support your mountain bike. Or, the rack may be too thin to absorb shocks.
You need to take into account the type and the size of the cross bars that you will be installing the rack on to be able to determine whether a specific model of roof rack will be compatible with your bike or not.
Thule bike racks, for example, can fit square crossbars, but Yakima bike racks work best with “Round” crossbars, so you do not need to purchase products that fit a specific crossbar. Choose products that will work with all crossbars if you don’t feel like buying products that fit a specific crossbar. You’ll find brands which make roof bike racks without preferences.
These fittings will work with just about any crossbar that you put out. The reason for this is because they use what is called “Universal Rack Mounting Kits.” These are viable options for people who are on a tight budget in my opinion.
The locking mechanism of the MTB Roof Bike Rack is based on the following principle:
You need to lock these things in place as well. Bike racks, for example, use a variety of locking mechanisms to keep your bikes locked in their racks. Once you look hard enough, you will notice that there are three different locking mechanisms.
You will find a variety of clamp systems to choose from, ranging from the old-school clamps to the strap systems, all the way to the more modern and innovative suction cup systems, which are paired with a variety of racks.
In spite of the fact that all of these mechanisms are fine and preferred for their own unique functions, it is important to bear in mind that the type of locking mechanism you choose will determine your bike’s security and safety.
However, I would recommend you to choose one that is best suited to your bike (more on that later). Clamp system locks provide a much better level of security than strap-based locks. Straps tend to fall off over time. Suction cups utilize the surface of the bike. This can be quite challenging.
There are different types of mountain bikes, so it depends on the type of bike you have
You will read several blogs which will tell you that mountain bikes aren’t important. Others will tell you that there is only one rack that fits all mountain bikes. All of these are lies. One, mountain bikes do matter. Two, a particular rack suits a particular type of mountain bike.
There is a great deal of variation in the type of bike that can be loaded onto the rack depending on its size. Not only does it matter what kind of bike you load, but also the diameter of the wheels and the thickness of the tires. The whole mathematics plays an important role in the performance and capacity of the rack.
There are a number of different racks available that can handle a wide range of weights, different hitch sizes, and so on. You should always check the brand and type of the mountain bike before you decide on a rack. Most of the time, the store owner will suggest a suitable rack for you. When you shop online, the rack is automatically paired up with your bike.
You Drive The Following Types Of Vehicles:
There are many different types of vehicles that have various types of roof surfaces, including flat roofs, curved roofs, glass roofs, steel roofs, and other kinds. Different types of vehicles have different types of roof surfaces. Some are flat, some are curved, some are made of glass, while some are made of steel.
If you know the type of vehicle you will be mounting it on, you will be able to decide which rooftop bike rack is right for you based on the type of vehicle that you have.
Additionally, the type of crossbars that will go with the vehicle will also depend on the type of vehicle.
The price of the MTB Roof Rack that you are going to purchase
You need to consider price when you are buying anything, not just a bike rack. I can understand if some of my readers don’t think that price is an issue for them. But, trust me, if there are adequate dough and cheese on board, you will get the best possible product.
I would suggest weighing the pros and cons of each product in the price range you select before making a purchase if you don’t have a deep budget. If you do have a deep budget, choose your product carefully.
In general, medium-range bike racks are not that expensive and serve their purpose pretty well, even though they are not that expensive.
It doesn’t matter if you save up a little more money and you decide to buy a fancier one, you will realize that there aren’t that many differences in their functionalities. The only difference is their price tag.
It is also important to consider the durability of the MTB rack
When it comes to the materials that the bike rack is made of, the most common material used to make bike racks is aluminum alloy. Aluminum alloy makes bike racks lightweight, which is what makes lightweight racks ideal for frequent bikers.
The use of aluminum also contributes to the rack’s flexibility, extending its lifespan as well. Some racks, however, also use other materials as well. Materials such as rubber help to provide a protective layer for the outside of the rack as well as a cushioning between the bike and the vehicle.
This will help the rack to be able to move over rough terrain while being stable at the same time.
How many mountain bikes are you carrying?
It’s always a wise decision to buy a bicycle rack depending on how many bikes you handle on a regular basis. Even if you only carry one bike on a regular basis, it’s still a good idea to get a bike mount that can accommodate multiple bikes on the trip.
The more you know about this, the better off you will be when you find yourself suddenly accompanied by a hitchhiker in the middle of the road. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of them too.
During the process of checking these things out, you should always ensure that the diameter of the strap matches the size of the handles on your bike. Otherwise, it may be difficult to fit the bike rack. Be sure to check the specifications for the correct measurements.
You need to know a few things before you start out
After reading through my guide on the best roof rack for mountain bikes, I am confident that you will have plenty of options available to you after reading it. That is for certain.
When it comes to buying a bike rack, you don’t need to be confused. This thing has been serving me well for years before I switched to CyclingDaily and the others. You won’t regret the decision if you choose to get it. However, if you want something else (that’s not on the list), be sure to check my buying guide for… eh, guidance. Remember: If you wish to keep your bike rack in good working order, you must purchase a couple of extra accessories. These accessories are usually sold separately. You should consider getting them as well, if you want to remain satisfied with the performance of your product for a long time to come.
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