how to strap bike to roof rack

How To Put A Bike On A Roof Rack

Cycling through the quiet trails during camping comes third as one of the most exciting things after Netflix’s invention and Starbucks. Do you know you can accompany your bike as you hit your vacation mountain roads?

You might utilize your back seat or the trunk to hold your bicycle. However, you might need to disassemble your bike wheels. The chain lube might even leave out stains in your car. It would be best when your bike stays outside your car to give enough room for your camping friends or family.

You can use bike racks to carry your bicycle to your rides. Let us look into the several types of bike racks. The article will then pay more attention to the methods of using roof backs alongside detailing their advantages and limitations.

Types of bike racks

How To Put A Bike On A Roof Rack

The well-known types of bike racks might include:

1. Roof rack

If you opt to carry your bike on the roof, you might need to use a rack particularly designed for that use. There is a wider range of racks online or in your nearest outlet that ideally fit your SUV, wagons, or other types of car models. The majority of the vehicles come with racks straight out from manufacturing. If your vehicle lacks a rack, you might establish one for yourself using the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Some of these racks have space for more than a single bike. The racks have varying designs. Some might need you to put your bike upside down or in the upright direction. In contrast, others might require you only to remove the front wheel of your car.


  • Roof racks maintain the finishing of your hard-earned vehicle effectively.
  • Other than bikes, roof racks can be useful to carry your canoes and snowboards. You can mount multiple bikes on your car. You need to check on the limit required for your car model.
  • Roof racks have powerful bumpers that safeguard your bicycle frames from scratches.
  • Your car interior becomes more available to your passengers and gears.
  • Roof racks are secure options for your bikes.
  • Add more convenience when pulling your trailer.


  • These designs involve much lifting and reaching when securing bikes. It might be challenging for individuals with issues related to lifting heavy things. Also, it might be tough for those with taller vehicles.
  • It is not easy to remove roof racks, unlike other racks such as trunk and hitch racks.
  • It might be simple to notice the wind resistance while driving. Roof racks might have fewer impacts on the gas mileage.
  • You might need to install extra locks to maximize security on your bikes.
  • Harsher climates might make your bike wet or dirty. Some manufacturers might provide you with roof boxes for your bikes, suitable for poor weather conditions.

2. Trunk rack

Trunk racks are cheaper alternatives bike rack systems. These types of designs are mounted at the back of your car trunk with the support of several firm straps. Some arms and cradles maximize the support of the bike.

The item is most suitable for seasonal cyclists. You do not require a long-term rack to carry your bicycle. You can use this trunk rack on different types of cars.


  • It is simple to load your bike on trunk racks. Also, you can easily monitor your property while driving. Therefore, theft cases are quite minimal when using these racks.
  • Have ease of installation and storage when not in use.
  • Suitable for even two bikes.
  • Useful for different car models. You only need to adjust the right fit for your bike.


  • Trunk racks have a load capacity. It might be hazardous to carry more than three bikes.
  • With these racks, it might not be easy to access your trunk.
  • The effectiveness of this tool depends on the tightness of the straps. If you do it amateurishly, your bikes might sway while driving.
  • Your car exhaust pipes might heat up and ruin your bike tires.
  • Bikes might ruin the paintings of each other.
  • Bikes might get damaged in a rear-end accident.

3. Hitch rack

Hitch racks are pretty more expensive than trunk racks. They are, however, more suitable for frequent cyclists. With these racks, you can carry at least three bikes. You can go up to five bikes.

There are different styles you can employ for hitch racks. They might include:

Platform design – The design involves setting up your bikes on a firm platform. This style’s primary benefit is that it assures your bikes of safety and eliminates scratches on the bikes. However, it might be costly and heavy to carry and store when not in use.

Hanging cradle style – In this style, bikes get a hang on the rack. The hanging cradle style is a lightweight and cheaper option. Its main disadvantage might be the bikes swaying during transit, ruining the painting.

When making your purchase, it would be wise to confirm the load capacity for your hitch rack. Excess bike weights might cause bending or damage to the hitch rack. Remember to check your manufacturer’s manual instructions to know the right capacity.


  • Simple to install. You can use the hitch rack on different vehicle models.
  • Less affected by wind, unlike the roof racks.
  • The bikes are outside the car. That means they cannot ruin the vehicle paint.
  • Easy to load your bikes.
  • Hitch racks are sturdier, unlike the trunk racks.


  • Not budget-friendly.
  • The base models might interfere with accessing your trunk.
  • The bikes and the rack have higher prone to theft.
  • In case your vehicle lacks a receiver, it might cost you around $200 to get one.
  • Hitch racks for multiple bikes might be heavy to carry.

Functions of bike carriers

Bicycle carriers are quite similar to the several existing kinds of racks. You place the bike wheels on the rail and secure the bike on the carrier. You might need to look at the primary requirements for the case of children’s bicycles alongside tricycles and tandems.

Bike carriers play a crucial role in creating more space in your vehicle. They offer more security to your bicycles. In case of sudden brakes, bike carriers prevent fatal projectiles.

A crucial factor when it comes to bike carriers is weight. The vertical weight present on the tow bar might need to support the carrier’s and the bikes’ weights. When you otherwise opt for a roof rack, you might need to consider the maximum weight required to support both the carrier and the bikes.

How to put a bike on a roof rack

You can utilize the vast space present in your car roof for your bike. If you do not want access interference at the vehicle rear, a roof rack might be a suitable option for you. The good thing is that it is pretty simple to put your bike on a roof rack.

Below is a guideline on putting a bike on a roof rack that will ensure your bikes remain intact.

  • Check your rack rating. Typically, there is a sticker on the rack that states the right loading weight. You get the weight by subtracting the rack weight from the rail’s weight. Most times, the weight ranges from 50 to 100 kilograms.
  • You might use ratchet straps. Avoid ropes or bungee cords because they lack suitable load restraints.
  • Do not extend the loading to the car’s windscreen. Wind pressure might sway off your load and the roof rack.
  • Ensure the center of gravity is as low as possible. You can place the heavier items lowly and closer to the middle part. Increased center of gravity might make your vehicle less stable at the corners.
  • Keep in mind that the overall weight of the rack affects the vehicle’s weight as well.
  • After passing through bumps, you might peep on your load status.
  • You might use a tarpaulin during bad weather. Your load might also be more aerodynamic. You might place your lighter bikes at the front to maximize aerodynamically.
  • After selecting the right roof rack for your bike, you can mount the bike on the rack following the manufacturer’s instructions. Some bikes might clamp around your crossbars. There are other options that you might consider.
  • If you carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions, everything will turn out fine. In case of any troubles in reaching the bike, you might need to acquire a wheel or a hitch step.


Cycling has been an effective exercise for multiple years. While heading on vacations or fun activities with your friends or families, you might carry your bike along with you. A roof rack is a cheaper option that you can save up for a few months.

You can install this rack into your SUV or any car model’s roof to hold your bikes. You can check for your most preferred design online or in your nearest outlet. These roof racks assure you with an easy time alongside safeguarding your mountain bikes.

With this article, you can comfortably mount your bike on the roof rack. Get one roof rack for yourself and hit that adventurous trail majestically.

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