Apart from the fact that Steven is a car mechanic, we value his experience as an avid camper. Steven knows for sure how to make the most out of any space in your vehicle.
Last updated: May 17, 2022
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Many Subaru Outbacks come fitted with roof racks. But the roof racks that come with most Subaru Outbacks work against aerodynamics. Therefore, you’d be paying more for fuel and be having issues with noise and driving ease.
Not to worry, for those looking for the best bike rack for Subaru Outback, we’ve picked the top seven models, all of which are hitch bike racks compatible with Subaru Outbacks and don’t get in the way of aerodynamics. We also considered the bike and load capacity, durability, and size of the racks, so anyone finds a suitable one for them.
"The Allen Sports Deluxe is an extremely flexible rear hitch-mounted bike rack that can safely hold up to 4 bikes at a time.140-pound load capacity.Folding 22-inch-long carry arms.Class III or IV 2″ hitch required."
"Thule T2 Pro XTR is an award-winning hitch-mounted bike carrier that fits all types of bike sizes and is ideal for installation on a Subaru Outback.Fits 20″–29″ wheels and up to 5″ tires.5″ spacing between bikes.Tilt-down design."
"This hitch rack is a 4-bike carrier that requires the folding arm arrangement of many trunk-mounted racks but makes it easier to use.Up to 250-pound load capacity.Fits any bike with traditional geometry.Compatible with class I, II, and III receivers."
"This durable platform-style bike rack made from strong steel tubing is exceptionally easy to mount securely to the hitch receiver of your car.Fits 20- to 26-inch wheel sizes.Adjustable bike tire cradles.Rubber straps for added stability."
More features: fits 1.25″ or 2″ hitch receivers; 2″ spacing between bikes; anti-sway cradles; tilt-down design; limited lifetime warranty
On long or short trips, you can transport your bikes without problems with the Thule Camber Bike Rack. Our Editor’s Choice is a hitch bike rack available in two and four bike capacity. Designed to be installed at the back of your Subaru Outback or any vehicle with 1.25 or 2-inch receivers, the bike rack has an integratedanti-sway system, a feature that prevents bike-to-bike contact.
The bike carrier has a weight capacity of 75 pounds, 37.5 pounds on each rack, which means it has the same weight capacity as the ThuleHelium Pro 2or Thule Apex XT 2. But this model has no receiver lock or bike lock. The bikes are safe and secure during transport thanks to the 18 cm (7 in) space between each bike. It’s designed for you to install bikes quickly and easily secure them with the ratcheting support strap. The compact bracket design fits various bike sizes and frame styles. We also like how the bike arms fold up effortlessly when the rack is not used. It offers convenient access to the rear of the vehicle with the HitchSwitch lever that allows the carrier to be tilted.
What do we love it for?
Easily mounted in vehicles with 1.25" and 2" hitch receivers
The anti-sway prevents bike-to-bike contact
The bikes will not get damaged thanks to the 7 inches of space
The HitchSwitch lever allows the carrier to be easily tilted
More features: requires professionally installed Class III or IV 2″ hitch; folding 22-inch-long carry arms
Considered one of the best 4-bike hitch racks, the Allen Sports hitch-mounted bike rack is an exceptionally flexible rear hitch-mounted bike rack that can safely hold up to 4 bikes at a time. The folding carry arms can be folded flat against the back of your vehicle when no bike is being transported, reducing the influence of drag on your ride and improving fuel efficiency.
Like most Allen Sports Racks like the Allen Sports Premier and Deluxe Locking, the Allen Sports Deluxe works with 2-inch receivers. The collapsible nature of this Allen Sports hitch-mounted bike rack sets it apart from the rest and in no way detracts from the structural integrity of the rack. The rack can be mounted easily via the hitch receiver or the extra tire. In fact, it’s considered one of the best spare-tire bike racks.
Although the rack can be packed to an unusually modest size when there are no bikes to carry, you should disassemble the rack altogether unless you want to transfer more bikes in the near future, as even the folded rack will influence your fuel mileage. Nevertheless, the folded design can help mitigate that somewhat.
Thule T2 Pro XTR is an award-winning hitch-mounted bike carrier that can move up to 120 pounds of heavy loads. The carrier fits all types of bike sizes. Dare to take that trip you’ve always dreamed of without worrying about the weight of your bikes. With Thule T2 Pro XTR, you can transport them safely and comfortably without any problem, whether it’s a bike with big wheels or an electric bike for those tough roads.
It’s perfect for carbon frames, big wheel bikes, electric bikes, and more. It has a capacity for up to 2 bicycles. Keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the view without turning to worry about the stability of your bike’s grip. It has the ability to lift 2 bicycles when going out to practice your favorite cycling sport.
The versatile design means it can fit nearly all styles of bikes up to 60lbs with zero frame contact. Its Auto-Attach system makes installation and removal simpler and tool-free. The integrated wheels help maneuver the roof rack in and out of the vehicle. The roof rack switch lever allows you to tilt the roof rack down for rear vehicle access or tilt it up when not in use.
What stands out?
It's suitable for MTBs, track bikes, and fat bikes
The cable lock and lock cylinder secures the rack to the receiver
More features: fits 1.25″ or 2″ hitch receivers; fits any bike with traditional geometry; tilt-away design; TriggerFinger button; SwitchBlade anti-sway cradle; compatible with class I, II, and III receivers
The Yakima DoubleDown Hitch Rack is a 4-bike carrier that requires the folding arm arrangement of many trunk-mounted racks but makes it easier to use. It’s a hitch-mounted bike rack that has been confirmed to be suitable with 2012, 2016, 2021, and 2022 Subaru Outbacks. It also works for Honda CR-V and even a Forrester.
It includes a simple button with TriggerFinger technologies for easy folding. In addition, it provides a high degree of security for your bikes, holding 4 anti-sway cradles at once to prevent them from slamming into each other during transport and avoid damage. These cradles are compatible with a wide range of bike sizes. So, it is truly a flexible and simple-to-use bike rack, no matter what size bike you prefer to use.
We liked the ease and simplicity of use of the Yakima DoubleDown. It also comes with exceptional security known with all Yakima rear bike racks. Therefore, this impressive piece of gear is worth considering for any size of bike you have.
More features: bicycle adaptor bar included; individual tie-downs; padded lower frame; comes fully assembled
The Allen Sports Deluxe is a trunk-mounted bike carrier that comes fully assembled with an adapter bar. It’s compatible with various bike models and a lot of vehicles. The rack can be mounted on minivans, SUVs, hatchbacks, bicycles, and sedans. Unlike hitch-mounted racks, which cost upwards of $400, this is an under $50 product. Yet, it can hold up to 2 bikes.
Many distinct sizes are also available in the range. There are 3 and 4-bike capacity models in the range. The bike carrier is, however, not so resistant. It can only carry bikes weighing 70 pounds altogether, although most modern bikes made of aluminum will not be an issue on the rack.
Furthermore, the rack comes fully assembled and can be installed in seconds. A lifetime manufacturer warranty also backs it. The Allen Sports Deluxe trunk rack features Allen’s unique lockable bike individual tie-down cradles, ensuring your bike is secure in most cases. It fits Subaru Outbacks, Subaru Forrester, Subaru Legacy, and more.
More features: fits most bikes frames with 20″ to 26″ wheel sizes; adjustable bike tire cradles; rubber straps for added stability
The MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Bike Rack is a durable hitch bike rack made from strong steel tubing that is exceptionally simple to mount securely to the hitch receiver of your car, truck, minivan, or SUV. The MaxxHaul Platform Style Rack is different from the MaxxHaul 4-bike hitch mount rack as this one is designed to hold the tires of the bicycle on a platform which ensures a more secure fit for your bicycle. However, the rack weighs more than most hitch-mounted racks. It weighs 33 pounds but can only carry a weight of 75 pounds maximum. The bike rack is only compatible with 20 to 26 inches bikes.
Unfortunately, this bike rack layout merely affirms flat-bar bikes; women’s and other bicycles using angled crossbars are not supported and are incompatible with this type of carrier. It should also be noted that it is impossible to mount the MaxxHaul4-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount on all kinds of automobiles, as it is unfitting with recreational vehicles. However, Most other vehicle types should work fine.
This rear rack has adjustable rubber straps to keep your bike secure and safe once it has been installed; it’s a well-designed bike rack for the vast majority of bike and car models. Despite its wide design and installation, the carrier still allows easy access to the rear of the vehicle, as it is easily lowered if necessary and then swung up.
There may be some limitations to the MaxxHaul 2-Bike Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack, but the ease of layout and effortless rear access comfortably cover up for that. It’s an excellent choice for most car types and many types and sizes of bikes.
Why did it make our list?
Vehicle tailgate is easy to access
Simple to install
It's quite inexpensive
What is not ideal about it?
Not sturdy enough for heavier bikes such as e-bikes
More features: max wheelbase of 48″ and max tire width of 3″; ratchet straps to secure the wheels; foldable design; fits both 1-1/4″ and 2″ hitch receivers; includes 2″ hitch receiver adapter
The Hollywood Rack is a hitch-mount type of rack built with a small capacity. It’s a well-designed bike rack that can hold up to two bikes at a time with a two-way hitch to ensure safety. Meanwhile, the brand also has a 4-bike option available.
The locking pin keeps the bike in place and thus prevents it from wobbling while traveling. The rack is completely secured by the use of ratchet straps. This cable is quite big, so you don’t need a different instrument to get the job done. Bikes are often supported on the stand with wheel stands, although frames are stored under the clamp pads.
The best thing about the Hollywood stand is its ability to fold up against the automobile when you’re not using it, making everything look beautiful. However, the fact that you can’t access your vehicle’s trunk when bikes are installed seems to be the only downside.
Why did it make our list?
Ideal for SUVs, trucks, and passenger cars
Can accommodate kid bikes, MTBs, hybrid and road bikes
Easy to install
What is not ideal about it?
Could be designed to allow access to the trunk when bikes are installed
High price to bike capacity ratio; the 4-bike model is even more expensive
Things to Consider
There are different bike rack designs for Subaru Outbacks and other SUVs or other types of vehicles. In any case, your bike’s frame style and size determine which rack you should buy. Therefore, it is essential to know the features and specifications of these products before purchasing. In this guide, we will provide vital information to help you make an informed buying choice.
How to Pick the Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback
When buying a bike carrier, you should consider a few criteria. In addition to optical features such as color and design, technical features are particularly important. Here, we have summarized some notable purchase factors for a Subaru Outback bicycle carrier.
Type and Use
Remember we mentioned that Subaru Outbacks are often equipped with a roof rack from the factory. So, you’d most likely not be looking for a roof rack. This leaves you with the hitch-mounted bike rack.
There are three types of bike racks on the market: roof, tow ball, or racks that can be hitched to the tailgate. Although they all fulfill the same function of transporting your bicycle, each has advantages and disadvantages. You may also try selecting from the best inside-car bike racks if you have space inside.
Bike Capacity and Weight Limit
A bike rack allows you to transport multiple bikes. However, you should pay attention to its maximum load capacity. A racing or children’s bike is light, but an e-bike is much heavier. So, pay attention to the maximum weight capacity in pounds and the number of bikes it can carry to avoid accidents. With the best bike racks, the payload can get up to 200 pounds or more. The most heavy-duty rack for multiple bike transport is, without a doubt, the Yakima DoubleDown 4-Bike Rack. It has a 4-bike capacity and can carry up to 250 pounds of weight, which is fantastic, considering that most cannot exceed 70 or 75 pounds.
When it comes to security on a bike rack, we’re referring to the locking system, the ease of installation, and how secure everything feels after assembling and loading the rack.
Most bike racks have a locking mechanism, but these are often not enough. If theft is a problem, get a rack that has a built-in locking system that secures your bikes. Trunk racks are pretty vulnerable to theft. This is because it’s an easy-access place for thieves, and some racks don’t have a lock system.
If you need to protect your bikes from prowlers, invest in a quality lock that will make it difficult for them to steal your bike.
Tilt-down and Swing-away Features
Some racks like the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack and theThule Camber Hitch Bike Rack have a tilt-down feature that ensures you can simply fold down the arms when not in use. Meanwhile, swing-away models can simply be swung away so that you can have access to the cargo while the bikes are still loaded.
Materials and Durability
The rack should be made of a particularly robust material (steel or aluminum) and still have lightweight. This is because it is only through durability and lightweight that the bicycle carrier can be easily mounted and used for many years. The strength of the material and construction will tell by its weight capacity. Models made with reliable materials will be able to carry e-bikes and have over 100 pounds of payload capacity.
Size and Weight
The size of the bike rack is not that important, but the weight is. Of course, it must not be too bulky and heavy. A 20-pound weight is ideal for hitch-mounted racks designed to be hitched to the receiver. But for platform models, they can exceed 33 pounds, which means you have to reduce the number of bikes you would have to take along.
Ease of Installation
Experts and likewise amateurs should easily install a rear bike rack. If you want a model that takes seconds to install, choose a fully assembled model or one that doesn’t require tools for installation.
You should also pay attention to the product’s weight during assembly. If the products are too heavy, you will need more strength and possibly a second-hand to set up.
Don’t forget that you shouldn’t exceed the maximum load capacity for your vehicle under no circumstances. If the police catch you, you can expect a hefty fine. The manufacturer always specifies the maximum load in pounds.
The price of the rack depends on the type and the capacity of the rack. Trunk-mounted racks with two-bike capacity are low-cost. But the hitch-mounted models are often the most expensive. Available in two to four-bike capacities, some models cost over $500 depending on the brand and features. But you can also purchase a bike rack for under $50 and more than $1,000. Whatever the case may be, you’d find your budget.
How to Install a Bike Rack: Tips and Tricks
Installing a ball bike rack in the car is a very simple task. They almost always come pre-assembled, and you only have to adjust some components to adapt them to the measurements of your bicycles.
In most cases, hitch installation can be done by one person with little or no tools. Even if you are lazy, we recommend you always look at the instruction manual, especially for the maximum weight capacity.
It is necessary to buy a 7 or 13 pin adapter in most cases.
Once the platform is hooked on the ball of the car, you must correctly secure the bikes with the different fastening elements. Arms with clamps are commonly used to hold the frame, and non-return straps fix the two wheels.
In the case of the hitch rack, you will need to make sure that it is well adjusted. To fix it correctly on the hitch ball, the hitch rack must be compatible with the vehicle’s hitch receiver; 1.25 and 2 inches are the most common.
In some vehicles with a large tailgate, the tilting system can make it difficult to open the trunk. A distance equal to or greater than 120 mm is necessary between the top of the ball and the threshold or load limit to get it opened.
The license plate and taillights of the car must always be in sight. If not, you will need to add a license plate and light bracket.
Get a hitch mount rack and place it at the back of the car while attaching the straps to the trunk side. Place your bike rack on the back of the car and attach the straps to your trunk sides. Finally, lift the bike frame and place it on the two hooks. Slide the bikes to the trunk and tie the wheels with security straps.
Finally, our Editor’s Choice, the Thule Camber Hitch Bike Rack, is rated 9.9 out of 10. It is designed to be installed at the back of your Subaru Outback or any vehicle with 1.25 or 2-inch receivers. The bike rack, among others, has an integrated anti-sway system that prevents bike-to-bike contact. It’s our overall best bike rack for Subaru Outback.
Then the Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mount Rack is one of the best 4-bike models on the market. Rated 9.8 is an extremely flexible rear hitch-mounted bike rack that can safely hold up to 4 bikes at a time.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR has the best value for money on the list. The award-winning rack can carry heavy loads of up to 120 pounds. This carrier fits all types of bike sizes and is ideal for installation on a Subaru Outback.
How Does A Tow Bar Bike Rack Work? - Yakima
Discover how a tow bar bike rack works. With Yakima's HoldUp, you can fit the hitch tow bar bike rack to your car in 3 simple steps. Read the full details here.