Many people enjoy riding their bike for a variety of reasons. Some like to exercise, others may use it as an inexpensive way to get around town. Whatever the reason, there are many benefits that come with biking. One problem most riders face is where they will store their bicycle when not in use; this is why roof mounted bike racks are such a great option for cyclists! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best roof mounted bike racks on the market today and how you can find one that suits your needs perfectly.
What Are Roof Mounted Bike Racks?
Roof mounted bike racks are typically installed on the roof of a vehicle and then attached to its frame. This location, as opposed to securing it inside your home or garage, has many benefits; for example, you can continue riding your bicycle while also transporting other items in this area. Some people even use their rack as an extra storage space so that they do not have to carry everything with them at once.
Best 7 Roof Mounted Bike Racks
Affiliate Disclaimer: This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
1. Thule Circuit Bike Rack
The sleek and stylish Thule Circuit Bike Rack offers exceptional aerodynamics with a low profile D-shaped tray and comes equipped with features designed to make installation and removal of the rack, and loading and unloading of the bicycle easy work.
Thule packs a lot of features and value into the Thule Circuit Bike Rack. With tool-free universal mounting hardware, the Thule Circuit Bike Rack attaches to just about any crossbar system, including most factory installed crossbars and virtually all aftermarket crossbar systems. The lockable SecureSkewer (lock core and keys sold separately) and adjustable wheel tray with ratcheting wheel strap make loading and unloading the bike as straight forward as possible, while delivering a secure and reliable hold for the road trip. Function and performance are dialed, but the Thule Circuit Bike Rack has style too, with a sleek D-shaped black aluminum tray and low-profile AeroHead fork block.
- Tool-free universal mounting hardware offers a direct fit to virtually all factory racks, as well as aftermarket crossbars from Thule, Yakima/Whispbar, Inno and more
- The slick, low-profile, lightweight aluminum D-shaped bike tray delivers excellent aerodynamics and modern design styling and resists flexing and corrosion
- High Wall wheel cradle with ratcheting strap provides added stability and adjusts along length of D-tray to accommodate any wheelbase up to 48”
- Accepts virtually all bicycle styles and sizes that use quick-release wheel skewers and is compatible with tire widths up to 2.6″
- Full system locking security using one Thule lock cylinder (sold separately) inserted into Thule 526 Circuit SecureSkewer, delivering double-duty protection from theft by simultaneously locking bicycle to the bike rack and the entire 526 Thule Circuit itself to the crossbars on vehicle base roof rack system
- Premium rear wheel ratcheting strap fits all bicycle rim sizes and styles, including high-profile, deep dish rims and includes strap pad for optional use to further protect bike rim
- Built-in disc brake compatibility, no disc brake adapters needed
2. Thule Prologue Bike Rack
The Thule Prologue Bike Rack is a basic but reliable fork mount bike carrier that provides quick and secure bicycle transport at an exceptional value. There’s nothing too fancy here, just a simple and affordable fork mounted bike rack that is ideal for road, hybrid, and mountain bikes with tires up to 2.6” in width. The lockable, stainless steel universal skewer (lock cylinder and keys sold separately) with oversized lever is beefy and easy to use. Out of the box, the Thule Prologue Bike Rack will mount directly to Thule square bars, Inno square bars, and Yakima round bars.
- Thule Prologue Bike Rack carries one bike at a great value
- Easy to use stainless-steel universal skewer with oversized lever locks bike into rack and rack onto crossbars using Thule One-Key lock cylinder (sold separately)
- Single-wall aluminum bike tray fits bicycle wheelbases up to 48” and tire widths up to 2.6”
- High-strength nylon composite head
- Fully adjustable ratcheting rear wheel strap
- Accommodates all disc-brake / suspension combinations with standard 9mm axles
- Mounts directly to Thule square bars, Inno square bars, and Yakima round bars
- Can attach to factory crossbars using Thule 532 Adapter
3. Yakima ForkLift Bike Rack
This universal fork mount bike rack compatible with factory, round, and square cross bars easily adjusts to be set just once when carrying the same bicycle.
Feel like you need a forklift to get your bike loaded onto your old rooftop carrier? Here’s the solution: the Yakima ForkLift Bike Rack fork mount bike rack revolutionizes ease-of-use in roof bike carriers, thanks to the ergonomic long-throw skewer with integrated adjustment. With just one hand, set the quick-release skewer once and never worry about adjusting again when using the rack with the same bike.
Compatible with any style of bicycle, the Yakima ForkLift Bike Rack universal bike rack also fits on virtually any roof rack system, including factory racks and round and square cross bars—no tools needed. The sliding rear wheel tray and ratcheting wheel strap offer a customized, secure fit, and can be accessed from either side of the vehicle. With the purchase of a separate Yakima SKS lock core, this rack is fully lockable, securing both the bicycle in the tray and the tray onto the roof rack.
- Universal and ergonomic long-throw skewer with integrated adjustment knob for one-handed securing that only needs to be set once when using with the same bicycle
- Compatible with virtually all styles of bike, including those with disc brakes and suspension forks
- Fast, tool-free installation on all styles of roof rack bars, including factory, round, and square cross bars
- Generous wheel tray and fully-adjustable ratchet wheel strap fit the widest range of tires and rims, including high-profile rims, and can be accessed from either side of the rack
- Fits with Yakima SKS lock core (sold separately) to lock both the bike to the ForkLift rack and the ForkLift rack to the rooftop cross bars
- Easy-to-follow instructions included
4. Yakima Viper Bike Rack
Economical and easy-to-use fork mount bike tray compatible with Yakima round cross bars and aftermarket square bars from brands like Thule and Inno.
The Yakima Viper Bike Rack offers simplicity and value, for use with virtually any style of bicycle. The quick release universal long-throw skewer provides easy one-hand adjustment and the tool-free mounting hardware attaches to round or square cross bars (this rack is not compatible with factory roof racks). The Rattler wheel strap ratchets over the rear wheel for superior fit and security, while the sleek tray design improves aerodynamics. The Yakima Viper is compatible with suspension forks and disc brakes, as well as accessory add-ons for other mountain bike styles. A Yakima lock core (sold separately) will lock the bike to the carrier and the carrier to the roof rack.
- User-friendly quick-release universal long-throw skewer easily adjusts using just one hand
- Compatible with virtually all bikes with a quick release wheel, including models with suspension forks and disc brakes (also compatible with aftermarket fork adapters)
- Rattler ratcheting rear wheel strap provides dependable security and ease of use
- Sleek and aerodynamic bike tray
- Tool-free installation on Yakima round bars or Thule/Inno square bars (not compatible with factory racks)
- Accommodates Yakima SKS lock core (sold separately) to lock both the bicycle to the Viper tray and the Viper tray to the vehicle cross bars
- Dimensions: 47” long x 7-3/4” wide at skewer; 2-3/4” wide wheel tray
- Easy instructions included
5. SportRack Upshift Bike Carrier
Sometimes, the only thing that gets you through a hard-day’s work is the promise of a shake-down bike ride after you punch out. However, removing your bike’s front tire, stashing it in the car, all while attempting to keep your suit coat from getting muddy, can be a tall order when you’re trying to beat morning traffic. With all of this in mind, the SportRack Upshift Bike Carrier comes to the rescue. Featuring a fully-adjustable down tube stand, and two sturdy wheel attachment points, the SportRack Upshift Bike Carrier can be mounted to almost all factory and after-market roof rack systems.
The SportRack Upshift Bike Carrier‘s down tube stand features a clever knob-adjusted clamp that keeps any bike from shifting while in transit. Sometimes, having a double bike rack on top of your vehicle can be overkill, especially if you’re trying to conserve gas. Opt for the SportRack Upshift Bike Carrier instead.
- Wheel tray for increased security
- Adjustable down tube stand
- Locks not included
- Holds up to 45lbs of weight
- Mounts to most rack systems, with crossbars no larger than 3.5” in diameter
6. Swagman UPRIGHT Roof Mount Bike Rack
When you’re ready to hit the road and find new adventures, but don’t want to leave an expensive ride home from a friend’s house or at work, there is no better way to transport your bike than with the simple Swagman UPRIGHT roof mount. The versatile design fits square, round and oval bars up to 3″ wide for ultimate adaptability in carrying one bike using no tools necessary. Setup takes minutes following detailed instructions from Swagman’s team of experts that make sure everything goes smoothly on the first go-around thanks to their precise engineering process! You’ll be safe too because we’ve included tie down straps for wheels as well as a locking feature so you’ll know your bike is secured tightly.
With a slim design that looks great on any exterior and provides ultimate protection from thieves because of its locking feature – there’s no reason this product shouldn’t be part of every biker enthusiasts lifestyle!
7. RockyMounts Tomahawk Upright Roof Bike Rack
The Tomahawk rack is a very respectable and practical bike rooftop carrier. Once mounted, the Easy-Load straps stay put on your back tires as you wheel out and then in to the vehicle. The arm swings up for easy access loading into many types of crossbars. Low lines around your neck while you’re trying to wrestle with nylon straps? Say goodbye to endless headaches! All RockyMounts racks can be adjusted from driver’s side or passenger side installation (minus attaching strap extensions) so it will fit any crossbar design for maximum convenience and compatibility. Fat bike riders rejoice – the high quality swingarm accommodates bikes up to 5″ wide tires without fitting devices!
How Do Roof Mounted Bike Racks Work?
The way these products work is fairly simple: they hold onto your bike by clamping down tightly around the tire/handlebars/frame or seat post (depending on which model you purchase). The system usually consists of two clamps that are part of a mounting system; one typically goes around the frame, and the other is designed to hold onto your bike’s wheel. To secure it tightly in place, you will need tools that come with these systems or have them separately on hand.
When using roof mounted racks, make sure you always lock up your vehicle when leaving it unattended so as not to attract any unwanted attention from thieves who might be looking for an easy target. The last thing you want is for someone to steal something off of your car because they saw that there was no keyhole nearby!
Roof Mounted Bike Racks Buying Guide
Buying a roof mounted bike rack is not a difficult task. There are so many different types of racks that you can choose from, this makes the process even easier!
The first thing to do when shopping for roof mounted bike racks is look at what kind of vehicle you have and see if there’s any specific guidelines your car has in regards to attaching it. You’ll want to make sure that whatever system you buy will work with both your model of car as well as the type of roofing material (such-as metal or fabric) before buying anything! The last thing anyone wants is for their new purchase not to be compatible with their ride or home.
Simple Installation Process
The installation process for roof mounted bike racks is fairly simple. While it might appear to be a difficult task, installing these types of devices is really about finding the right adaptor and then attaching them securely to your car or home.
Once you’ve found that perfect fitting system, all that’s left to do is make sure everything fits well! All installation processes vary depending on what type of rack you buy so just follow the directions carefully. Chances are if you can’t figure out how to install something from reading their instructions there will be an excellent instructional video online outlining every step in detail as well.
Loading and Unloading Process
Loading and unloading process of the bike should be done in a careful and coordinated manner. It is advisable to load the bike first on its rear wheel so as not to scratch or damage it while loading or unloading it from your vehicle.
When you are ready, do not forget to strap down each of the wheels tightly with the straps provided for this purpose before attaching them securely onto the rack itself.
Lastly, always ensure that all locks have been secured properly and avoid children sticking their fingers into any loose spaces because they could get stuck at any moment! Remember these safety precautions when using roof mounted racks if you want everything to go smoothly.
Number of Bikes You Are Planning to Load
How many bikes you are planning to load onto the rack will determine what kind of roof mounted bike racks you’ll need to purchase. If this number is between one and two bikes, a basic style may suffice.
However, if your plan includes three or more bicycles on the same mount then it’s best that you invest in a stronger roof-mounting system.
What kind of bike you are planning to transport will also be a factor in the type of rack you’ll need. If this bike is on the smaller side, then any roof-mounting system should suffice.
However, if your mountain bike or other large frame vehicle weighs more than thirty pounds and you’re planning to put it onto a mount that doesn’t have an additional locking mechanism for securing bicycles with larger frames into place (like some models from Thule) then consider investing in one that does!
Bicycles are excellent pieces of transportation because they can fit inside most vehicles so long as there’s ample storage space available; however, loading them up can sometimes lead to problems like scratching paint off cars’ surfaces.
Security of the Roof Mounted Bike Racks
Roof mounted bike racks should have proper security to avoid theft. A lot of roof mounted bike racks have security systems to deter thieves from getting onto the top of your vehicle and taking off with your belongings. Some also come with locks that you can use to keep them securely in place on your car’s exterior.
It is important for a good roof mount bike rack to be safe, especially if it has no lock or security system installed as an extra precautionary measure – some people who don’t feel like they are properly secured will just take their bikes back down!Last modified: June 6, 2021