Choosing the Best Roof Bike Rack: Types & Tips for Buying


After you have determined that a roof bike rack is the sort of rack that will serve your needs the best, the following issue that arises is how to ensure that you pick the rack that will serve your needs the best. There are a few things to think about, so let’s get started and have a look at what they are. There are a few things to think about, so let’s get started.

To get started, you will need to have an idea of the kind of cross bars that are already on your roof rack.

A roof bike rack may be attached to one of the following four different kinds of crossbars:

  1. Aero crossbars
  2. Factory fitted crossbars
  3. Square crossbars
  4. Round crossbars

The makers of bike racks are working hard to provide connection points that are compatible with the greatest number of different crossbar configurations as they possibly can.

Aftermarket crossbars often take the form of an ellipse; these are the more recent aero bars, and they are more aerodynamic in their qualities. This helps to lessen wind noise and the annoyance that it creates. Additionally, there is less wind drag, which helps improve fuel economy.

As a consequence of this, the majority of roof-mount racks are a relatively good match for aero crossbars.

What types of roof bike racks are there?

  • Mounted on a fork
  • Mounted on wheels
  • Mounted inside a frame

Fork mounted

It is necessary to take off the front wheel before the front fork can be fastened to the rack.

The front wheel must therefore be stored separately; alternatively, it may be fastened to the crossbar; alternatively, a bike wheel carrier that attaches to the crossbar can be used to store the front wheel, and that carrier can then be affixed to the crossbar. You might also place it in the trunk.

The back wheel is secured in place after being installed in the rack’s tray.

This approach offers a high degree of consistency.

A rack that is mounted on a fork has the following benefits:

  • Excellent safety, and the bike’s frame may be fastened to the rack in a secure and uncomplicated manner.
    • If you possess a valuable high-end bike, you should pay attention to this.
  • Transport that is safe, secure, and steady, with just a little amount of shake and rattling
  • When the front wheel is detached from the vehicle, it is much simpler to put items onto the roof.
  • A more sloping position on the roof compared to upright roof-mounted bicycles

In order to mount and secure some bicycles on the rack, a fork-mount adaptor can be required. These are the following:

Wheel mounted

Because there is no contact made with the frame of the bike, there is no possibility that the frame will be damaged in any way because the bike is secured by its front wheel.
This specific headache is eliminated, and there is no need to have the front wheel stored in a separate location since it is not necessary to remove the wheel.

The following are some of the advantages of wheel mount racks:

  • The front wheel does not need to be removed, and there is no need that it be kept in a separate location.
  • There is no risk of the frame being damaged. appropriate for motorcycles with a high value
  • Strong compatibility with a diverse assortment of bicycles.
    • Excellent fastening system for the following: bicycles equipped with disc brakes
      • road bikes
      • road bikes
      • downhill bikes
      • mountain bikes
  • It is simpler to load the bike, attach it to the rack, and then remove it, and it is also less difficult to load.

Frame mount rack

The main difference between the frame mount and the wheel mount rack is that the frame of your bike is secured rather than the front wheel when using the frame mount.

Because of this, the same considerations that go into the wheel mount also go into this bike rack.

The following are some of the advantages of a rack that is mounted to the frame:

  • Because the front wheel does not need to be removed and stored separately as it does with the fork mount rack, this rack causes far less of an issue.
  • Compatible with a diverse assortment of bicycle models
    • This is a dependable clamping system for the following types of bicycles: bikes with disc brakes
      • bikes with disc brakes
      • downhill bikes
      • mountain bikes
      • road bikes
  • Additionally, it is less difficult to put a bicycle into this rack as opposed to a fork rack; it is also less difficult to properly attach the bicycle and lock it to the rack, and it is less difficult to unload the bicycle.

Things to consider when buying a roof mount rack

  1. May you reach to the top of your automobile without any trouble so that you can mount your bike? (s)
  2. Is it possible for you to transport your bicycle(s) onto the top of the vehicle?
  3. Are you able to handle the bikes on the roof since they need to be secured correctly once they are up there? If you fall, you will have scratches, and there is a chance that the injury may become worse.
  4. You need to do this before you start your ride, but you also need to do it after your ride, so ask yourself whether this is something you want to (or are able to) do.
  5. Although it may be simpler in principle to clamp upright standing motorcycles that are mounted into wheel or frame mount racks, it may be rather difficult to manhandle and reach these bikes. It is of the utmost significance to correctly set the clamps in order to stable and secure the bicycle or bicycles prior to transporting them; failing to do so might result in an unsafe situation.

Note that if you have a wheel step that can be attached to your wheel, it will be much simpler for you to load and transport your bike onto the rack.

Bike security

Naturally, there is no bike rack that can absolutely rule out the possibility of theft. However, if you make sure to get a rack that has a reliable security system, you will drastically cut down on the likelihood of having your bike stolen.

Invest in a roof rack for your bike that has integrated locking that not only secures the rack to the crossbars but also secures the bike to the frame. This will allow you to use just one key for all of the locks, which will make things much more convenient. Take a look at our review of the Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Mount Bike Rack.

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