As I said a couple of days ago, I was thinking about this, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. It is important to have bike racks, and not just to carry your bike, but also to keep it safe and prepared for when you need it.
There is only one problem with them, however, and that is that they can range in price from an extremely small sum to upwards of a thousand dollars. For this reason, it is imperative that you have a clear idea of how much each rack costs along with how it operates and performs so that you can find the perfect rack for your needs.
What does it cost to buy a bike rack, really? Let’s find out in the next segment of the “Will this break my bank?” series how much they cost.
Types of Racks
There is no point in saying bike racks cost so much unless you know exactly what you are talking about. That’s really the most important part – knowing what type of rack you are talking about and which subcategory it falls into.
I have put together a list of some of the racks you might find and what they have to offer you to help you better understand what they cost.
There are four general categories that can be used to classify bike racks:
What Is the Cost of Hitch-Mount Bike Racks?
A hitch-mount bike rack is one of the most reliable and popular options out there. This is a hitch mount that can be mounted to your vehicle’s hitch receiver. The great thing about this is that many 4*4 cars come with hitch mounts already installed, so you do not have to worry about installing one.
In most cases, you will be able to find hitch racks starting from around $60-70 and going as high as $1000.
The first thing you need to be aware of when it comes to pricing is the type of hitch rack that you’re getting. Hitch racks can be classified into two subcategories – hanging hitch racks and platform hitch racks.
Hanging Hitch Racks
As you can imagine, hanging hitch racks start from the low end of the price bracket, as they have a mast-style mechanism that allows them to hold the bike by its frame during transportation. There are many reasons why they are more affordable than traditional hitch racks. One of the main reasons is that they are less expensive to manufacture.
That’s why you can find a good quality, heavy-duty hanging hitch rack for less than $100, providing it has decent enough quality and weight capacity. However, you should be aware that their main function is to hold the bikes by their frame, so going too cheap can end up damaging the bike.
Because of this, I would suggest that you should not go below the $100 mark (unless you are sure of the quality and your needs are met).
Platform Hitch Racks
Platform hitch racks, on the other hand, come with a tray system that the bike rests on, in contrast to hanging racks that hold the bike by the neck (well, the frame) rather than creating a sturdy platform for the bike to sit on.
In addition, they hold more bikes than their counterparts, emphasizing the need for a more robust manufacturing process, as well as the need for a larger capacity. Can you see where I’m going here?
The price of good platform hitch racks will be noticeable higher than that of hanging hitch racks, and that is to be expected.
This is exactly why I think quoting prices won’t show you the full picture. It’s important to note that even though platform hitch racks are more expensive, they provide a variety of benefits that other racks do not. If you’re looking for a quality platform hitch rack, you’re probably going to need three Franklin bills ($300).
Despite the fact you will pay more, you will also get a much more stable platform for your bikes. That will make the journey much safer and keep everything secure. As expected, the price will go up if you intend on carrying multiple bikes at the same time, which requires a heavier, more robust product.
Other Mechanisms: Swing Away
Imagine that you wanted your hitch rack to be able to swing away so as to allow for unhindered access to the rear of your vehicle. Or perhaps you wanted something that could be folded so as to save some space when it is not in use.
As a result, you should be prepared to pay a higher price to obtain these features since these models tend to be quite impressive in other aspects as well, which may also contribute to the higher price.
What is The Cost of Trunk Bike Racks
The next category of bike racks we have is trunk racks. As the name would suggest, these racks can be mounted to the trunk of your automobile (or even the hatchback, if that’s more your cup of tea). They typically use straps and hooks to ensure that the bikes are securely tied to the rack.
In most cases, trunk racks are designed to ensure that no damage is done to the finish of your vehicle because foams are used at the attachment points to ensure that neither of your beloved cars get damaged as a result of the rack. However, cheaper trunk racks can sometimes damage the finish of your vehicle, which is a fair warning.
In fact, there are many trunk racks available to you on the market today that are among the cheapest bike racks that can be found. You can even find them for as low as $25-$30. Of course, there are some high-end models that are going to cost over $400.
It is always a good idea to stay away from going too cheap if you want to avoid any mistakes. The straps will be of lesser quality, and the protection against scuffs and scratches won’t come close to being impressive.
It is important to note that models that cost a little more tend to have a higher weight capacity on the other hand, as well as better security measures. Of course, the carrying capacity of these racks is far less than that of hitch racks, but we are talking about the same kind of products.
Compared to trunk-mount bike racks, trunk-mount bike racks are the most affordable choice. And considering the fact that trunk-mount bike racks use good quality straps to mount the bikes, you can have a fantastic experience. If you know where to look, you will find a lot of value in this category.
What Are The Costs of Roof-Mount Racks
Those who wish to carry more than one bike should use roof-mount racks. It is possible to mount these racks on the crossbars of your vehicle’s roof and then mount your bikes there. Several models come with suction cups that can be used to connect the bikes to the racks, though these aren’t as common as they should be.
In response to the question of how much these roof racks might cost, as always, the answer is the same – it depends. The amount you have to pay depends on the type of roof rack you choose, the weight capacity you need, and so on.
You can find roof racks that start from 60-70 dollars up to $300-400 dollars with fairly good quality and if you want something more premium (for example, more weight capacity, better materials), it’s not difficult to spend up to $800-$900 dollars.
This type of rack is generally divided into two kinds – upright racks (or frame-mounted racks) and fork-mount racks (fork-mount racks).
Fork-Mount Roof Racks
The fork-mount roof racks hold the bikes by their frames, meaning that you have to remove the front wheel of your bike before you can mount the bike to the roof rack, which can be tedious, yet this can also result in reduced wind drag, making driving easier and consuming less fuel.
Upright Roof Racks
If you are looking for an upright rack, then you are on the right track. Upright racks allow you to mount your bike without having to deal with any modifications. They are often inexpensive, however they can introduce more wind drag and cause you to consume more fuel.
It’s not possible for manufacturers to completely minimize this issue with roof racks, because it comes with the roof mount itself, but paying for a quality rack would ensure you get better quality and materials, which are essential for securing your bikes while driving.
You can purchase a roof rack for a car or truck that is suitable if you want to carry only one bike at a time without breaking the bank. If, however, you need to carry multiple bikes without losing rear access, then paying the higher price for a quality roof rack is more than worthwhile.
What is the cost of Spare Tire Mount Bike Racks?
The thing about these racks is that they don’t apply to everyone (but then again, they aren’t as uncommon as the racks made for truck beds). Generally, if your vehicle has a spare tire at the back, you can use these racks.
It is important to note that these racks are bolted directly to the tires themselves, which means that the bicycles themselves are dependent on them too. They can range in price from $30 to $300, but in general, if you only wish to carry one bicycle, a decent-quality standard model shouldn’t set you back more than $150.
You’ll usually find two types of spare tire mount racks – dual-arm and single-arm models – that can be picked out depending on your specific requirements. The racks with greater capacities will cost significantly more, but that’s something most users don’t require.
It is important to note that these alternatives come with only one cradle that holds the bike. This cradle automatically rotates when you move, to keep the wheels level. This is a good thing because this type of bike cradle can hold most bikes, be they standard or unusual. This is a cheaper alternative to dual-arm cradles.
As the name suggests, dual-arm racks come with two cradles that hold the bike. That means they don’t need to rely on a single rotating cradle, so they can deliver a more stable ride. However, they cannot be used with non-standard frames like mountain bikes.
Having said that, they can also cost more than single-arm racks, which means that you need to consider a few trade-offs when choosing these racks.
The installation mechanisms of many of these racks differ from those used by other rack types. For instance, some of these racks use bolt-on installation methods, which can sometimes lead to an increase in the price. However, they are very sturdy and can provide excellent service.
In contrast, there are also strap-on racks that are pretty affordable; however, these are not as sturdy as the bolt-on racks, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not these are the best arrangement for your needs.
The additional costs associated with bike racks are as follows:
It goes without saying that there are some things that don’t appear on the rack’s price tag, but you’d have to pay for them regardless. As a result, I’ve included this list to assist you in staying within your budget as much as possible.
- If you are interested in installing a hitch rack, you will need to spend a bit more to get the receivers installed. Although many cars come with a hitch receiver, many do not. In such cases, you will have to pay a bit more to have the receivers installed. You can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and a few hundred dollars for such an upgrade. However, if you want to add more parts (there are many, depending on your desired functionality), that cost will likely increase even more. Hence, it is important to keep this in mind before making any decisions.
- The crossbars on your vehicle are another possible added cost that you might encounter. Most roof racks require crossbars to be installed on your vehicle. There are other options, such as suction cups, but they are far less popular than crossbars. As a result, you may find yourself in some trouble if you wish to use a roof rack for its rear clearance but do not have crossbars in place.
- Several racks, such as trunk-mounted ones, won’t be able to provide you with any security for your bikes. As a result, you’ll have to opt for some aftermarket solutions to ensure the bikes’ safety, which may cost you quite a bit of money.
- It is quite probable that you will have to purchase adapters in many cases. For example, you might have to purchase an adapter if your receiver and hitch rack don’t have the exact same dimensions. Furthermore, odd frames also require adapters in order to be mounted on the vehicle. This necessity is not uncommon, and it can increase the cost further, which is why it is important to keep them in mind.
My final thoughts are as follows:
What is the cost of a bike rack for a car?
I am pretty sure that you have realized that the answer to the question is not as simple as it sounds. There are a lot of variables involved, and many of them depend on a person’s own preferences, so it is not an easy question to answer.
There is no doubt, however, that the wall of text above should be able to answer all of your questions with regards to the cost of a bike rack as well as how much you should expect to pay for one. With that said, have a great ride.