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8 Best Roof Bike Racks for SUVs (Reviewed Oct, 2020)

Driving an SUV is always a pleasant experience. This four-doored vehicle is a perfect solution for family travel or group tour. If you own a vehicle like this and you like to travel a lot by your cycle, then you probably need a medium to carry your bike on your SUV. There might be plenty of mediums to transport your bike, but we are going to focus on and discuss roof-mount bike racks in this article. When you drive an SUV, a roof-mount bike rack might be the most convenient solution for bike transportation.

We have made a list of the roof bike racks that are very good for your SUVs, judging by the pros, cons, and other features of each rack. Our selection is also made based on various scenarios. Through exclusive monotonous research for several hours we were successful to create this list. Among all the roof racks, we want to entitle the Yakima HighRoad as our overall best choice. But we can ensure you if you buy any of these racks, you will not regret your decision.

Yakima HighRoad

Our overall best choice for a roof rack

The Yakima HighRoad is certainly an ultimate roof-mount bike rack filled with amazing features and premium qualities. Its universal mounting hardware fits most of the vehicles. It has a sleek profile that will look good on your SUV. It contains patented features as well such as TorqueRight™ Knob, TailWhip™ Cable. Almost any size of bike wheel can be accommodated with this rack. You can also include 2 SKS (Same Key System) locks to reinforce the overall security for both your rack and your bike. You don’t have to remove your bike’s wheel to mount it on this rack. It is a wheel-on bike rack that holds your bike through its tires. So this rack won’t scratch your bike frame as there will be no frame contact.

  • Type: Roof-Mount (Wheel-On)
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Dimensions (inch): 56 x 9.50 x 4.50
  • Crossbar Spread: 18” – 36”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 45 lbs.

8 best roof bike racks you can buy today for your SUVs

Rooftop racks have always proved to be the perfect medium to transport your bikes with the greatest stability. They also look great on any type of vehicle for their low and sleek profile. In order to attach a rooftop bike rack on top of the roof of your SUV first, verify whether your SUV includes a crossbar or not. For various reasons, you need various roof-mount racks. In this article, the racks that we have chosen to fit into our list are based on some categories. These categories were made according to different features and preferences. Our list consists of the following bike racks –

Roof Bike RackWhy we recommend thisPrice
Yakima HighRoad Overall Best + Carbon-frame CompatibleCheck Latest Price
Swagman Standard Roof RackMounts on Most Crossbar ConfigurationCheck Latest Price
SeaSucker Talon Best Suction-Cup Rack for the RoofCheck Latest Price
RockBros Suction Cup Bike RackSuction-Cup Rack for Multiple BikesCheck Latest Price
RockyMounts BrassKnucklesGood for Loading a Heavy BikeCheck Latest Price
RockyMounts TomaHawkFat-Tire Bike Ready Roof RackCheck Latest Price
Yakima LoadWarriorGreat Option for Loading anything Along With the BikeCheck Latest Price
TerraTrike Trike CarrierBest Roof Rack for Loading a TrikeCheck Latest Price

If are limited on time and cannot read the whole post, then as always we have made a comparison chart of all the racks from our selection to provide you with a basic idea of each rack –

Rack NamePreviewStyleNumber of Bikes/ TrikesMaximum Weight LimitDimensions (inch)Rack/Cargo Weight (lbs)Crossbar Spread
Yakima HighRoadYAKIMA - Highroad Wheel-On Mount Upright Bike Carrier for Roof Racks, 1 Bike CapacityRoof-Mount (Wheel-On)145 lbs56 x 9.50 x 4.501818” - 36”
Swagman Standard Roof RackSwagman STANDARD Fork Mount Rooftop Bike CarrierRoof-Mount135 lbs7.875 x 4.56.625” - 32”
SeaSucker TalonSeaSucker Talon Single Bike Rack for Cars - USA Made Racks - SUV, Sedan, Hatchback, RV, BMW, Honda, Tesla, Mazda and Every Other Car – No Hitch Mount, 100% Safe, Zero Damage, Travel-Friendly CarrierFork-Mount (Vacuum)145 lbs15 x 136N/A
RockBros Suction Cup Bike RackROCKBROS Suction Cup Bike Rack for Car Roof Top Sucker Bike Rack Quick Release Aluminium Alloy Bike Carrier with Sucker for CarFork-Mount (Vacuum)288 lbs32 x 59.48N/A
RockyMounts BrassKnucklesRockyMounts BrassKnuckles upright roof bike rackRoof-Mount (Wheel-On)145 lbs / 35 lbs on Factory Crossbar40 x 13 x 4.51924” - 43”
RockyMounts TomaHawkRockyMounts Tomahawk upright roof bike rackRoof-Mount (Wheel-On)140 lbs / 35 lbs on Factory Crossbar38 x 3.5 x 131832” - 40”
Yakima LoadWarriorYAKIMA - LoadWarrior, Rooftop Cargo Basket for Equipment and Gear StorageRooftop Cargo BasketUp to 3140 lbs44 x 39 x 6.52524” - 32”
TerraTrike Trike CarrierTerraTrike Universal Trike CarrierRooftop Trike Carrier1Any Standard Trike WeightN/AN/AN/A

1. Yakima HighRoad: Overall Best + Carbon-frame Compatible

Yakima HighRoad

  • Type: Roof-Mount (Wheel-On)
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 18
  • Dimensions (inch): 56 x 9.50 x 4.50
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread: 18”
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread: 36”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 45 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • TorqueRight™ Knob: A hand-tight knob that guarantees to keep the rack adjusted on the roof
  • SmarT-Slot Kit: Convert the rack to accommodate any T-slot crossbars with this kit.
  • Amenable Wheel-size: Adjust any wheels in the wheel-hoop that has wheelbases from 26” to 29” and tires from 23 mm to 4”.
  • SKS Lock: The TailWhip™ cable reinforces the security to protect your bike from theft by including two SKS locks.
  • No Frame Contact: A roof-mount wheel-on bike rack where your bike remains connected through its front wheel that ensures no frame contact.
  • Integrated Lock-loop: There are lock-loops where you can add extra locks that allow you to maximize the security.
  • Universal Mounting Hardware: The package includes such hardware that helps the rack to suit most SUVs.
  • This rack has a sleek and low profile that will perfectly match any type of vehicle.
  • For its sleek profile, the rear hatch remains free from any interference.
  • Yakima will offer a limited lifetime warranty for any roof-mount rack.

Some Weaknesses
  • Vehicles with 36” crossbar spreads will not fit this rack. For example – Hyundai Tucson (2016).
  • For the straight upright position of your bike, it may strike tree branches while you are driving.
  • Because it is a roof-mount rack, you need to be careful while installing it or it will scratch the roof’s surface.
  • Your bike may totter like crazy when you are passing an uneven bumpy road.
  • This rack allows only one bike to transit.

If you are looking for a versatile roof-mount bike rack that can transport not only a regular bike but also a carbon-frame or a custom-paint bike, then the Yakima Highroad will be certainly one of the ideal options. This rack vows to provide gentle care to your bike while transporting it. And with a sleek and cool-looking design, this rack can easily suit any vehicle. For this reason, some people buy and set up two of these racks on top of their vehicle’s roof instead of buying one rack that can load multiple bikes.

Yakima HighRoad Roof Rack

Yakima HighRoad

The TailWhip™ cable of this rack lets you add 2 SKS locks where both of these locks can be operated with a single key. As a result, you can remain free from worries about any kind of bike theft. Although this rack can adapt most vehicles, just make sure the crossbar spread of your vehicle is between 18” to 35”. You can load only one bike with a maximum weight of 45 lbs on this rack. This video will help to understand why we have chosen this rack as our overall best selection –

2. Swagman Standard Roof Rack: Mounts to Most Crossbar Configuration

Sale
Swagman Standard Roof Rack

  • Type: Roof-Mount
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 6.6
  • Dimensions (inch): 7.875 x 4.5
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread: 25”
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread: 32”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 35 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • Easy Tool-Free Assembly: Promotes a very simple installation process that can be completed within a couple of minutes if you go by the manual.
  • 9 mm Quick-Release Skewer: A 9 mm quick-release fork-mount skewer keeps your bike steady and secure by holding the front-wheel fork.
  • Crossbar Adaptability: Can adapt most factory crossbars as well as around, aero, square, elliptical shape crossbar.
  • Versatile Design: This rack has a versatile design that makes it perfect to fit any type and size of vehicles.
  • Rear-wheel Cam Buckle: The cam-buckle vows to secure the rear wheel of your bike to the tray.
  • A limited lifetime warranty will be provided with this rack.

Some Weaknesses
  • Not compatible with any bike with disc brakes.
  • The instructions in the manual are a bit lackluster.
  • A bit bulky design that may not be appealing for everyone.

The Swagman Standard Roof Rack is actually a standard rack that will comfortably load 1 bike and ensure the safe transit of the bike. This rack offers a versatile design that will suit most of the vehicles, especially SUVs, minivans or pick-up trucks. This rack supports a maximum crossbar width of 3” and its U-bolts and hand-knobs allow it to suit most crossbars. You can load only one bike on this rack with a weight limit of 35 lbs.

“Swagman” is a renowned brand that makes quality products, there is no arguing about that. The company was built by outdoor enthusiasts and bike lovers. Therefore, they know what qualities an ideal outdoor product should have. They focus to keep on evolving their products so that their products can keep up with the updating bike and automobile world. Their products always meet the demands of the customers to make their life a little bit easier and better.

Swagman Standard Roof Rack

Swagman Standard Roof Rack

3. SeaSucker Talon: Best Suction-Cup Rack for the Roof

SeaSucker Talon

  • Type: Fork-Mount (Vacuum)
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 6
  • Dimensions (inch): 15 x 13
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 45 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • Adjustability: As this is a suction cup rack, it can adapt to any type of vehicle such as SUV, hatchback, coupé, minivan, sedan and even a sports car.
  • No Frame Contact: Your bike will be mounted by its fork, so there won’t be any contact between your bike frame and the vehicle.
  • HUSKE Fork-Mount: These mounts are universal to adjust any type of bike’s fork.
  • Rear Wheel Strap: Your bike will be kept close-bodied with the vehicle by a 22” strap at the rear wheel-cup.
  • Build Quality: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) material was used to build this rack.
  • Portability: This rack is small in size and light as a feather that makes the rack very portable.
  • Easy Installation: With an easy installation process, this rack offers great flexibility to install it anywhere on your vehicle.
  • Fuel-Efficient: For a lightweight design, this rack might be fuel-efficient for your vehicle.
  • Package Components: A spare vacuum pump, crack arm strap and lube tube (5 gm) are included in the package.
  • Maximum weight of 210 lbs can be pulled up with its vacuum cups.
  • A 2-year warranty will be provided by SeaSucker.

Some Weaknesses
  • The suction cups might lose their pulling strengths eventually that can cause serious destruction later.
  • In order to mount your bike on this rack, you need to remove the front wheel first.
  • You also need to find some space in your car to keep the removed front wheel of your bike.
  • The suctions pads can permanently damage your vehicle’s paint.

The SeaSucker Talon obeys one rule, that is – any car, any place, any time. Upgraded HUSKE fork-mounts have been installed in the 2019 version of this rack. Therefore, this rack can transport any type of bike. A quick-release skewer and some 9 mm plugs will come in the package that will enable a tight adjustment of your bike on the rack and tight adjustment of the rack to the vehicle. The rack has the capacity for loading one bike with a weight limit of 45 lbs. Check out this video for a guideline on the installation of this rack –

By proving its versatility, durability and overall quality; this rack was able to become the best selling product of ‘SeaSucker’. Like all the other products of the company, this rack has gone through some of the challenging tests and toughest races. Bicycles of the pro-racing teams from all over the world being carried by this rack and that worth more than $250,000. This rack is successful enough to get an official license from the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale).

SeaSucker Talon Rack

SeaSucker Talon

4. RockBros Suction Cup Bike Rack: Suction-Cup Rack for Multiple Bikes

RockBros Suction Cup Bike Rack

  • Type: Fork-Mount (Vacuum)
  • Number of Bikes: 2
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 9.48
  • Dimensions (inch): 32 x 5
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 44 + 44 = 88 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • Varieties for Loading Different Number of Bikes: There are several varieties of this rack available in the market for loading 1, 2 or 3 bikes. So, you get to choose the preferred one according to the number of bikes you own.
  • Universal Design Suction Cup: This rack was designed to fit any type of vehicle for its universal suction cups.
  • Quick Release Clamp: The rack will suit the front-wheel fork of any bike with the help of this quick-release clamp.
  • Strong Suction Pads: The rubber suction pads have strong pulling strengths to keep your bike in position while not damaging the vehicle’s body.
  • Build Quality: Durable aluminum construction makes the rack very light.
  • Radiant Rear Sucker: Any road or mountain bikes can be adjusted for the 2 rear-wheel suckers.
  • Suction Vacuum Press: By pushing a cylindrical rod, you can control the cup’s pulling strength.
  • Suction-Cup Cover: Protect the suction cups whenever you won’t be using them by putting the covers on them.
  • Colors: You can find this rack available in 4 different fancy colors.
  • Quick Installation: They say it will take almost 10 minutes to install this rack if you follow the instruction manual accurately.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: The company is determined to provide a 1-year guarantee.

Some Weaknesses
  • The manufacturer advises keeping the speed limit within 120 km/h if you want to transport your bikes by this rack.
  • If you start to transport your bikes without locking the cylindrical rod, then it can lead to great destruction.
  • Do not install the rack onto something that is curvature like the rear or front windshield because this rack can break it.
  • Unfortunately, you may need to buy 15 mm or 20 mm adapters separately.
  • You can’t access the sunroof if the rack is being installed on it.

If you are fascinated with the suction-cup vacuum type bike racks and you are wishing to load more than one bike, then the RockBros bike rack will be the ultimate choice for you. This rack is a type of fork-mount vacuum-type bike rack that is available in three different profiles for loading 1, 2, or 3 bikes. We hope, this chart will provide you some ideas about the different varieties of this rack –

Different RockBros Suction Cup Bike Racks

Generally, we can see that vacuum-type bike racks are designed to load only one bike. But thinking of this situation, ‘RockBros’ has come up with a bike rack that is vacuum-type and at the same time that offers multiple profiles for loading different numbers of bikes. All of these three profiles come in four fancy colors – Black, Blue, Red, Green.

Installation Process:
1. Make sure there is no dust, water, or sand where you are going to place the suction cups.
2. Install the bar that holds front-wheel cups on a flat surface, then place the rear suction cups in a convenient position according to your bike’s size.
3. Make sure you know how the cylinder shape rods work. They basically have two states

    1. Unavailable State: When you don’t want to use the cups, the rods for each cup remain unpressed where you can see the white section of the rods. This indicates the cups don’t have any pulling strength.
    2. Security State: When you press the cylindrical rods, the cups process pulling strengths to keep your bikes steady in place. This state indicates the active time when you will be using this rack for transporting your bikes.

4. Now mount the front-wheel fork onto the front sucker bar with a quick-release clamp
5. Then mount the rear wheels of your bike on the rear suction cups and adjust the pedals with the help of the Velcro strap.

RockBros Suction Cup Bike Rack

RockBros Suction Cup Bike Rack

5. RockyMounts BrassKnuckles: Good for Loading a Heavy Bike

RockyMounts BrassKnuckles

  • Type: Roof-Mount (Wheel-On)
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 19
  • Dimensions (inch): 40 x 13 x 4.5
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread: 24”
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread: 43”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 45 lbs / 35 lbs on Factory Crossbar

Features & Considerations
  • No-Frame Contact: Your bike stays on the rack by its front wheel, so there is no contact between the bike’s frame and the vehicle.
  • Adaptable Bike-wheel: Can adapt any road bike tires up to 3” wide MTB tires where the diameters should range from 20” to 29”.
  • Wheelbase Compatibility: Capable of loading any bicycle wheelbase from 34” to 48”.
  • Fat-tire Compatible: Additional fattie kit (RKY1240) is available if you want to fit a fat-bike with 5” tire.
  • Crossbar Adaptability: Fits any factory crossbar as well as all square, aero, round shape crossbars.
  • Ergonomic Handle: The ergonomic handle is designed according to a brass knuckle that holds the front wheel very tight.
  • Strong Straps: The stainless steel straps are coated with rubber to tight them around the crossbar.
  • Build Quality: Made of aluminum and coated with black powder that made the rack corrosion-resistant.
  • Lock Cores: You can buy 2 additional lock cores (RKY0332) to secure your bike on the rack and the rack to the roof.
  • You will get a limited lifetime warranty if you purchase this rack.

Some Weaknesses
  • Bikes with front fenders can be used on this rack.
  • Because of insufficient clearance, this is difficult to assemble.
  • Not the proper bike rack for long term usage.
  • Due to vibrations, the rivets may fall out of the rack.

The RockyMounts BrassKnuckles takes after the name of its aggressive yet fitting handlebar. This rack offers sufficient leverage when you want to secure your bike high up on the vehicle. This rack carries a single bike that weighs up to 45 lbs on a RockyMounts crossbar but carries a bike that weighs about 35 lbs on any Thule or Yakima crossbar. Keep your bike straight in an upright posture and you don’t have to remove the wheel of your bike.

In the previous time, this rack was available in Red, Silver, White and Black colors. But now, you can only find the Black color of this rack. If you want to use this rack for transporting a fat-tire bike, then you may want to buy the fattie kit (RKY1240). And if you want to add adequate security for your bike as well as for the rack, then we suggest you buy the lock cores (RKY0332).

RockyMounts BrassKnuckles

RockyMounts BrassKnuckles

6. RockyMounts TomaHawk: Fat-Tire Bike Ready Roof Rack

RockyMounts TomaHawk

  • Type: Roof-Mount (Wheel-On)
  • Number of Bikes: 1
  • Rack Weight (lbs): 18
  • Dimensions (inch): 38 x 3.5 x 13
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread: 32”
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread: 40”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: 40 lbs / 35 lbs on Factory Crossbar

Features & Considerations
  • No Frame-Contact: Without contacting the frame, secure your bike by attaching the ratchet hook over the front wheel and then tire down the front and rear straps.
  • Adaptable Bike-wheel: You can load any road bike tire; any mountain bike tires up to 5” wide and any regular tires where the diameter ranges from 20” to 29”.
  • Fat-Tire Compatible: Fat-bike tires that have a maximum tire width of 5” can be loaded on this rack and you will get 2 extra strap extensions to secure the wheels.
  • Flexible Installation: You can install this rack either on the driver side or on the passenger side by adjusting the swingarm.
  • Crossbar Adaptability: All factory crossbars are suitable for this rack and you can also adjust this rack on to any round, square, elliptical or aero shape crossbar.
  • Easy-Load Straps: Now bike loading is easier than ever for the easy-load wheel straps.
  • Lock Cores: To secure the bike on the rack and the rack to the car, two optional lock cores are available that are sold separately.
  • A limited lifetime warranty will be provided with this rack by RockyMounts.

Some Weaknesses
  • This rack was not designed for loading a bike that has front fenders.
  • The tray is not wide enough and is utterly unsuited to load a fat-tire bike such as a 2020 Trek Farley 7.
  • The rear wheel strap may not hold the bike stable and there will be a considerable amount of shaking of the bike.
  • The release button on the ratchet arm seems to be very tight and needs some strength to operate.

The RockyMounts TomaHawk is a workhorse roof-mount bike rack that promises to transport your bike to the desired location no matter what type of bike you have or what type of car you drive. This rack is just about to become universal for its capability of loading any type of bikes such as a road, mountain, gravel, e-bike, and a fat-tire bike. This rack is able to carry one bike with a maximum weight of 40 lbs on any crossbar and can carry a bike of 35 lbs on any factory crossbar.

The overall structure of this bike rack was inspired by the venerated RockyMounts BrassKnuckle. The company realized the necessity of a fat-tire compatible bike rack and made this bike rack to the users at an affordable price. In order to enhance the overall security for your bike as well as the rack, you can buy the lock cores (RKY0332). It was designed in such a way where you can install this rack either on the driver or on the passenger side. That will make enough room to carry cargo as well with this rack being installed.

RockyMounts TomaHawk Bike Rack

RockyMounts TomaHawk

7. Yakima LoadWarrior: Great Option for Loading anything Along With the Bike

Yakima LoadWarrior

  • Type: Rooftop Cargo Basket
  • Number of Bikes: Up to 3 (Depends on Load Capacity)
  • Cargo Weight (lbs): 25
  • Dimensions (inch): 44 x 39 x 6.5
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread: 24”
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread: 32”
  • Maximum Weight Limit: Bike + Cargo = 140 lbs

Features & Considerations
  • Recommended for Most Yakima Outdoor Gears: For all types of convenient outdoor activities, this rack can accommodate all Yakima gears.
  • LoadWarrior Extension: You can expand the overall cargo capacity up to 40% if add an optional LoadWarrior Extension.
  • Construction: This cargo is constructed with heavy-duty Steel.
  • Weather and Corrosion-Resistant: For the galvanized steel construction and powder coating, this rack is weather and corrosion-resistant.
  • Crossbar Adaptability: Fits all Yakima factory crossbars and also adaptable with any round, square, and aerodynamic crossbar.
  • Quick Assembly: Install this rack within a couple of minutes where you will need a minimum assembly.
  • Noise Reduction: To reduce noise, a custom wind fairing will be included with the rack.
  • SKS Locking Bracket: In order to secure the gear and the cargo from getting stolen, an additional SKS Locking Bracket can be found in the market that needs to be bought separately.
  • A lifetime warranty will be provided with this cargo.

Some Weaknesses
  • Hard to install this cargo on a Honda Element.
  • As for the price, the workmanship of this basket is disappointing.
  • Doesn’t properly fit a 2017 Acura MDX with factory crossbar.

No matter what type of gear you and your friends want to carry during a tour, you can always be ready with the Yakima LoadWarrior. This cargo offers a very simple and quick installation process and with a minimal assembly, you can install this cargo in no time. With its universal mounts, you don’t have to worry about the type of your vehicle’s crossbar as it will ensure to fit any crossbar virtually. This cargo basket has a maximum weight-bearing capability of 140 lbs where you can load any of the following combinations of gears –

  • A maximum of 3 bikes
  • A maximum of 2 kayaks and 1bike
  • 1 bike and 1 kayak
  • 1 bike and Yakima Big PowderHound
  • 1 Canoe

Just make sure the weight limit of this cargo doesn’t cross 140 lbs. For additional security, you can buy an optional Same Key System (SKS) Locking Bracket. That way you can secure the basket to the roof rack crossbar. This cargo supports both Yakima LoadWarrior and MegaWarrior stuff. And the additional LoadWarrior Extension increases the bracket’s range up to 18” so you can expand the cargo capacity by 40%.

Yakima LoadWarrior Bike Rack

Yakima LoadWarrior

8. TerraTrike Trike Carrier: Best Roof Rack for Loading a Trike

TerraTrike Trike Carrier

  • Type: Rooftop Trike Carrier
  • Number of Trikes: 1
  • Maximum Weight Limit: Any Standard Trike Weight

Features & Considerations
  • Foam Mounts: This rack comes with three durable soft mounts that are used to mount the tire of your trike.
  • Adjustable Strap: Two long adjustable straps will come with this rack in a convenient bag.
  • Any Vehicle Compatible: This rack can be fitted on the roof of any four-door vehicle
  • No Frame-Contact: The foam and strap tightly hold your trike without making any contact with the frame and protect the trike from wearing any marks.
  • No Vehicle Scratch: The foam-fitting installation of this rack ensures no scratches on the surface of your vehicle.
  • Lightweight and Compact Design: This rack only contains foam pads and straps that make it extremely light and this also makes it very convenient to carry.
  • Easy Installation: Very easy installation method where no tools are required.

Some Weaknesses
  • Due to the possibility of the foam pads popping up, you need to reposition the rack from time to time.
  • Because of excessive jolts and bumps, the strap might be frayed.
  • For mounting a heavy trike, you need to lift it up that can be tiresome.
  • It will be easy for anyone to steal your trike because of no adequate security.

The TerraTrike carrier just might be a decent option for you, if you are looking for a medium that can transport your trike safely and you don’t have to do a lot of hassle to install it. This rack is UTC, that stands for Universal Trike Carrier. As a result, this rack can adjust to any type of vehicle. No tools are required for the installation of this rack and it is pretty simple. Just watch this installation video to properly install this rack on top of your roof –

This rack comes with 3 durable foam mounts and two adjustable straps. You can either tie down your trike by running the straps through the front and back doors of your vehicle or you can also strap down the trike to a roof rack. All the things that are included in the package come in a convenient carrying bag. So you can take it with you wherever you like.

TerraTrike Trike Carrier Roof Rack

TerraTrike Trike Carrier


What are Rooftop Bike Racks and their Types

A rack that allows you to transport your bike on the roof of your vehicle, is known to be a roof-mount bike rack. These racks offer the most stable and standard way to transport your bikes from one place to another. They don’t block the view of the road as you will be carrying your bike on top of the vehicle’s roof. If you own a rooftop bike rack, that means you don’t need to sacrifice the access of your hatch or boot for transporting your bikes. And if your vehicle is a large one with a lot of rooms on the rooftop, then you can carry a greater number of bikes than a trunk-mount rack. If you are able to install two roof racks on top of your roof, then it indicates that you can successfully load a similar number of bikes as a hitch-mount bike rack. This rack will let you access the hitch as well and it will free up enough interior space to support more gears and people. In a word, these racks are the most suitable option for transporting bikes whether you want to take the front wheels of your bikes on or off.

Depending on the choice whether you want to carry your bike with or without its front wheel, rooftop racks are basically available in two different types.

Rooftop Bike Rack (Wheel-on):

These types of roof racks offer you to load your bike and carry it leaving the front wheel on. This type of rack holds your bike in an upright posture and you don’t have to worry about storing an additional wheel inside your trunk or hatch. These types of racks can also be found to transport a trike. For example – we have mentioned the TerraTrike Trike Carrier. However, your bikes may hit tree-branches as this rack keeps your bike straight and vertically upright.

Rooftop Bike Rack (Wheel-off)/ Fork-Mount Roof Rack:

These types of racks are also called fork-mount roof rack as the front tire needs to be removed in order to be mounted on them. As a result, your bike won’t shake an inch while you carry it on an extremely bumpy road. This type of rack is responsible to provide the ultimate stability. If someone wants to steal your bike, he needs to unmount the bike from the skewer and then have to find the front wheel as well; that will be pretty hard. Most of these racks come with a 9 mm skewer that holds the front wheel fork of the bike. For this reason, mounting and unmounting your bike every time on this type of rack will be troublesome.

With that being described, both of these racks require lifting up your bike on top of the roof to mount it. Both types of racks are ideal to transport any fat-tire, road, mountain, and other regular bikes. And whether your vehicle has a factory crossbar or any other crossbar, most of these 2 types of roof racks will accommodate it.

This chart will show the basic difference between these two types of roof racks –

Difference Between Roof-Mount Racks

How to Properly Install a Rooftop Bike Rack

You do need to follow and maintain some steps to properly install a rooftop bike rack. We have described some of the basic and important instructions for installing this type of rack. These instructions consist of the followings –

  • Make sure your vehicle supports a rooftop rack because some vehicles can be fitted with only hitch-mount racks. Hence, most of the pickups, sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, and other vehicles offer rooftop solutions.
  • Before you buy a rooftop rack, you should make sure it can transport your bike safely and comfortably. Your selection for buying a rooftop rack also depends on what type of gear you are going to carry.
  • Also, find out its crossbar spread before you buy it. A roof rack with a unique crossbar spread may not fit your regular type vehicle.
  • Check if your vehicle has a factory-installed crossbar. If it doesn’t, then you need to install a crossbar first before you are going to mount a rooftop rack.
  • You can buy any simple crossbar as most of them are suitable to fit any vehicles that are of different makes and models. Crossbars are made to fit the most popular vehicle brand such as Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Land Rover, Volkswagen, and many more. Read this article below to know more about crossbars and their types.
  • Once you have made sure you have installed a crossbar, then you need to utilize the combination of straps, wheel-hoops, frock-mount technology, and tension clamp system to properly mount your bike on the rack.
  • After you have checked with everything mentioned above and completed each and every step, then it’s time to place your bike on the rack.

What is a Crossbar and its Types

The foundation of the rack system is known to be a crossbar. This particular thing allows the attachment of a variety of gears-mounts. In general, crossbars can be found in 4 distinct styles. They are –

1) Aero/Kamm-tail-like:

This type of bar generally shows the following features:

  • These racks can perform very well.
  • They are made of Aluminum.
  • For being aerodynamic, they have a teardrop shape.
  • They have T-slot infills to easily attach to the mounts.
  • It provides serious strength for their internal support.

2) Oval/Elliptical:

These types of bars have the following features:

  • These bars have an aerodynamic elliptical design.
  • These bars can be used in most slot-mounted accessories.
  • Made of strong Aluminum.
  • Adds serious strength for its internal support.
  • Being durable and lightweight, these bars offer an excellent carrying capacity for your roof.

3) Round Shape:

The following features are shown by these types of bars:

  • This type of crossbar promotes one of the oldest designs.
  • Generally made of galvanized steel.
  • Most of the time they are resistant to corrosion for their vinyl wrapping.
  • This bar can accommodate most universal mounting gears.

4) Square Shape:

These bars offer the following features:

  • The large square bars offer strong attachment points to suit most accessories.
  • Made of durable yet light Aluminum. Hence, bars made of plastic-coated Steel can also be found. For example – Thule Square Bar.
  • They include built-in C-channels in order to use some particular slot-mounted stuff.
  • Clam-on and wraparound stuff can be accommodated with this bar.
  • They are durable and light enough to provide fantastic carrying capacity.

This chart below will demonstrate some general ideas about these 4 types of crossbars –

Crossbar TypeConstructionTop SlotsWind NoiseDragExample
Aero/Kamm-tail-likeAluminumYesLeast of all BarsMinimalThule AeroBlade Bar
Oval/EllipticalAluminumYesMinimumMinimalRhino-Rack Aero Bar
Round ShapeVinyl-coated SteelNoFairing RecommendedFairing RecommendedYakima Round Bars
Square ShapeAluminum/ Plastic-coated SteelC-Channel/ NoConsiderable/ Fairing RecommendedConsiderable/ Fairing RecommendedRhino-Rack Heavy-Duty Bar

FAQs

Q. What is the definition of a roof-mount bike rack?

The bike carrier that attaches to the crossbar of the vehicle on the roof is called a roof-mount rack. This rack can be found in two forms where one form carries your bike with its wheel-on and the other one requires you to remove the front wheel of your bike in order to adjust it. They can not only accommodate most types of vehicles but also a huge variety of bikes.

Q. Is a roof-mount bike rack compatible with any vehicle?

The answer is – no. If you are willing to install this type on top of your roof then you need to make sure your vehicle has a crossbar. Luckily, most types of vehicles allow roof bar installation when they don’t include any factory-made ones.

Q. What is the appropriate length my crossbar should have?

Before you buy a crossbar, you need to be sure that your vehicle has a crossbar spread that matches with the rack. In general, most roof-mount bike racks have crossbar spread ranges between 24” – 32”. The minimum crossbar spread can be close to 24” and the maximum crossbar spread can go up to 100”.

Q. Why should I prefer a roof-mount bike rack?

Choosing the type of rack that you want the most among the popular three types of bike racks is always challenging. It depends on your preference, your vehicle type, the number of bikes you are willing to carry, the type of bike you want to carry, the security of the rack, the type of tours you frequently make and other considerable features. But when it comes to stability and transporting a single bike, the rooftop bike rack certainly beats other types of racks.

Q. How to identify what type of roof my vehicle has?

If you want to find out the type of roof your vehicle has, then you must know the type of vehicle-roofs first. There are basically 7 different types of roofs that can be seen in most types of vehicles. They are –

      1. Naked
      2. Gutters
      3. Flush SideRail
      4. Raised SideRail
      5. Fixed Points
      6. Factory Tracks
      7. Factory/Optional Crossbar

Now that you have learned the names of different types of roofs, you can take a look at the picture below so that you can match the exact image with your vehicle’s roof to know about the type-

Different Types of Roofs

Conclusion

The right rooftop bike rack will make your life a little bit easier by improving your overall outdoor experience. Although they tend to transport the bike keeping it in an upright position, they ensure the greatest stability during transportation. It is not a walk in the park to choose the right rooftop bike rack. Before you buy a roof rack, you should always do some research first. You should know the different features of a roof rack, check the availability of good quality racks in the market, compare the basic features of different racks and choose the one that meets your demands and requirements. Also, go for the preferred rooftop rack that suits your budget. The amount of money that you have fixed to invest in a roof rack is also an important factor to consider. Like always, we thank you for reading this article and hope you have enjoyed reading it. Our articles always conduct serious research, so we hope this article will benefit you even for a little.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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