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Last updated: April 21, 2021
If you’ve recently taken up biking as a hobby, one of the questions you might be considering is how to put a bike on a bike rack. Transporting your and your family’s bikes to your favorite biking trail can be very stressful if you don’t have the right equipment. It can also be costly if you must hire someone to transport your bikes every time.
Knowing what you need and how to assemble everything will allow you to transport your bikes to your destination safely. Although bike racks aren’t always the cheapest way of transporting your bikes, it certainly is the safest. It’s also practical.
In today’s article, we’ll be discussing different bike rack options, how to put your bike in them and how to ensure your bikes remain safe throughout the journey.
Types of bike racks
Essentially there are four different types of bike rack mounting systems. These include roof mounts, trunk mounts, trunk mounts and hitch mounts. Each of these types has different brands, styles and accessories suited to the type of bike, vehicle and rack you have. We’ll look at a few of these in this article.
The easiest and most popular bike rack option must be a hitch mount. These types of racks are popular because they’re so easy to use. By simply plugging into your hitch receiver, some models can easily transport up to 5 bikes. These types of racks are popular with families who cycle together. Modern anti-sway technology ensures the bikes are securely cradled during transport.
One of the most popular hitch bike racks is without a doubt the Thule Apex XT bike hitch rack. With superior stability and fit, this quality rack easily accommodates 2 bikes by attaching with a ratcheting cradle strap. For ease of use, the rack tilts down so that you can still easily access the back of your vehicle. An integrated cable lock secures your rack to the vehicle and keeps your bikes safe and secure.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive and versatile option, a trunk mount rack is an answer. These types of racks generally fit most vehicles without having to get additional components. Better trunk rack designs ensure that your vehicle’s paint doesn’t get damaged during use. When not being used, many newer models can fold, allowing for easy, compact, out-of-the-way storage.
Truck bed racks
Driving a truck with an open bed space is a handy way to transport your bikes. With the right truck bed rack, it’ll be easy to transport a maximum of four bikes safely and securely. If you only need to transport one bike, then the Thule Insta-Gater Pro might be a good option to consider. This nifty rack easily fits 20” to 29” wheels and is perfectly suited to carbon-framed bikes. Your bike can easily be attached with a ratcheting arm and can effortlessly locked with Thule’s One-Key system.
Roof mount bike racks vary in style and size depending on your vehicle. To attach, simply attach to your crossbars and then you can usually transport one or two bicycles. Some styles, allow you to transport two fully assembled cycles at one time.
Accessories that will help
Bike racks are one of those items that only get better and more secure with accessories. Having more gadgets and accessories to secure your family’s bikes to your vehicle will go a long way toward easing your nerves on the road. Let’s have a look at a few of the most common accessories for bike racks:
Bike tow ball: A tow ball enables you to carry up to four bikes at once. Simply click it onto your tow carrier.
Bike spare tire rack: Vehicles with spare wheels on the back can simply attach a spare tire bike rack and easily transport your bikes.
Fork adaptors: Easily attach your bike to any fork mount bike rack. A wide range of fork adaptors will easily get your bike where you need it.
Cable locks: SKS locks will allow you to secure your bike to any type of rack you choose. Always choose steel locks of good quality as these are very difficult to break.
Bike rack straps: A rubber strap stretches to easily secure bikes to racks. There are a wide variety of straps in different sizes and thicknesses, so you can shop based on what you’ll need. It’s a good idea to invest in a few different straps of varying lengths and widths.
Crossbar adaptors: A crossbar adaptor, like the Tyger Auto TG-RK1B108B Deluxe creates a top tube for non-conventional frames. Telescopic features allow it to be adjusted to fit any size bike and then you can secure it with push-button clamps.
How to put bike on a bike rack
Let’s have a look at how to put a bike on a bike rack:
Step 1: Place the bike in the rack and ensure it’s evenly balanced.
Step 2: Use a hardened steel u-lock to secure the front tire of the bike to the rack frame.
Step 3: Use straps as well as u-locks to secure the back tire to the rack frame.
Step 4: Use all the straps provided to ensure that the bike is securely tied down and ensure you have a strap securing the horizontal bar to the bike rack. The bike needs to be stable and sturdy.
Step 5: Shake the bike to ensure it isn’t loose. If you’re uncertain whether it’s secure enough, rather add a few more straps.
How to put bike on a car rack
Let’s have a look at how to put a bike on a car rack:
Step 1: Open the rack: Follow instructions for your type of rack when opening. Ensure the tusks of the rack are in an upright position.
Step 2: Attach rack to the vehicle: Again, follow the instructions for your rack. Do this slowly and accurately to avoid damage to your vehicle.
Step 3: Cover delicate components of the bike: Use padding to cover the sensitive components of your bike.
Step 4: Use all the straps: Attach the top tube of the bike to the track by using one of the straps provided with your bike. Essentially, you’re tying your bike to the rack as an additional safety measure.
Here’s a quick video regarding rack installation:
How to put bike on a hitch mount rack
Let’s have a look at how to put a bike on a hitch mount rack:
Step 1: Determine the receiver size needed and ensure that you get an adaptor if necessary
Step 2: Insert the bike rack into the car receiver
Step 3: Insert the bolt into the rack and tighten securely with the wrench provided
Step 4: Fit the pin through the bolt
Step 5: Move the bar from the storage position to transporting
Step 6: Open the Velcro straps
Step 7: Mount the bike using the top tube
Step 8: Tighten the straps
Step 9: Ensure that the bike isn’t wobbly or lose
Step 10: The bike must be stable and not obstructing your view when you’re in the front of the vehicle
How to put bike on a truck bed rack
Let’s have a look at how to put a bike on a truck bed rack:
Step 1: Place the rack in the back of the truck and secure properly
Step 2: Stand the bike up in the center of the rack
Step 3: Strap a tiedown strap from the front corners of the rack to the bike’s handlebars
Step 4: You can also add straps from the rack to the back tire for added stability
How to put female bike on a bike rack
Let’s have a look at how to put a female bike on a bike rack:
Step 1: Invest in a bike adaptor: This is essential because it secures the bike while the vehicle is driving. It’s also necessary because a female bike doesn’t have the horizontal cross tube which you’ll need to mount the bike.
Step 2: Open the rack correctly: Depending on the model you’re using, your rack should form a big arc when it’s completely open.
Step 3: Attach the necessary clips: Don’t force the hook as it may scratch the vehicle. Secure the clips where necessary.
Step 4: Secure and tighten all straps: Secure the rack to the roof, or back of your vehicle. Again, this is dependent on your type of rack. Ensure that all hooks, straps and latches are firmly secured.
Step 5: Bike arms: Ensure your bike arms, which hold the bike in place, are securely tightened. Put the bike securely into the arms, distribute the bike’s weight evenly and clamp down the arms. If there is a locking mechanism, ensure it’s firmly locked. Double check that all straps and latches are secured and tightened.
Step 6: Shake the bike to ensure it’s secure at all places.
Mountain biking is a very exhilarating and fun hobby. It’s even more fun when you can involve your family. Often the trails you enjoy are not within cycling distance of home, so the bikes need to be transported from home to the destination.
With the basic instructions shared with you here you should easily be able to put your bike on the chosen bike rack. The question of how to put a bike on a bike rack shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying a wonderful day on the trails!