How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold? [Real FACTS]

How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold

Whether you are planning your first cycling holiday, or you have just bought a new bike, now you just need to find the right bike rack for your car or your RV.

You have spent a lot of money on your new bike and you want to ensure that it arrives safely at your destination.

How much weight can a bike rack hold? The average weight that a bike rack can hold varies between 17kg to 85kg (37 lbs to 188 lbs) depending on the model and type. Depending on the bike mix (racing bikes, mountain bikes, downhill bikes, cruisers) you can take between 3 and 6 bikes with you. The average bike weight would vary between 9 kg and 18 kg (20 lbs to 40 lbs).

There is a range of different styles of bike racks, some attach to the boot of your car, others to the roof or hitch.

There are also bike racks designed to fit vans or larger vehicles, depending on your individual requirements. 

Bike Rack Types

There are various types of bike racks depending on your individual needs such as boot bike racks, hitch bike racks and hitch bike racks.

Each can hold a varying amount of weight of between 17kg (37 lbs) and 85kg (188 lbs). Consider the type of vehicle you own, how many bikes you are hoping to carry, and the total weight of your bikes when deciding on the right rack for you.

Boot Bike Racks 

Boot bike racks attach simply to the boot of your car and can usually carry between one and three adult-sized bikes. They are lightweight and compact, making them a good option for family bike rides in the park at the weekend.

The rack style is easy to load and unload while ensuring your bikes stay safe on the way to your cycling destination. 

 If you do not already have a roof rack or tow bar installed on your vehicle, this could be the best choice for you, especially if you aren’t a serious cyclist or you have limited storage at home. 

The average boot bike rack can transport 2 to 3 bikes and carry a maximum weight of between 30 (66 lbs) to 45 kg (99 lbs).

Below is a list of some of the best boot bike racks and the maximum weight that they hold:

Best Boot Bike RacksNumber of BikesMaximum Weight
Thule RaceWay 3 9923 Bikes45kg (99 lbs)
Thule FreeWay 33 Bikes45kg (99 lbs)
Thule Raceway Platform Pro2 Bikes30kg (66 lbs)
Saris Bones EX 3-Bike Bike Rack3 Bikes45kg (99 lbs)
Exodus Rear High Mount 3-Bike Bike Rack3 Bikes45kg (99 lbs)

Hitch Bike Racks

Hitch bike racks are a more sturdy and durable option, perfect for serious cyclists. This type of bike rack can be installed on most vehicle, however, it is important to check this with a bike rack specialist before purchase.

Hitch racks can usually carry up to four bikes and they are simple to load and unload. Hitch racks are connected to your vehicle’s tow bar.

Hitch bike racks
Hitch Bike Racks

They are a popular choice, especially if your car already has a tow bar.

The average hitch bike rack carries between 2 to 4 bikes and can hold a maximum weight of 30-60kg.

Below is a list of some of the best hitch bike racks and the maximum weight that they can carry.

Best Hitch Bike RacksNumber of BikesMaximum Weight
Pendle Wheel Support 4 Bike4 Bikes60kg (132 lbs)
Thule Euro Classic G6 LED 9293 Bikes60kg (132 lbs)
Halfords Four Bike TowBar-Mounted Rack4 Bikes60kg (132 lbs)
Thule Xpress Pro 970 Towbar-mounted Bike Rack2 Bikes30kg (66 lbs)
Thule VeloCompact 927 Towbar Rack3 Bikes60kg (132 lbs)

Roof Bike Racks

Roof racks are one of the most versatile options for carrying bikes and other outdoor equipment. They usually allow customization to fit your snowboard, paddleboard as well as your bikes.

They are not only extremely versatile, but they are conveniently positioned and do not restrict access to the boot or car doors.

However, they are often slightly more expensive, and they do require lifting your bikes and equipment. 

If you already have a roof rack installed on your vehicle, adapting it to a bike rack will be simple. Roof racks can fit most bike wheel sizes and can carry bikes without it being necessary to take off the wheels. 

The average roof bike rack carries 1 bike and holds a maximum weight of between 17 and 20kg.

Below is a list of some of the best roof bike racks and the maximum weight that they can transport:

Best Roof Bike RacksNumber of BikesMaximum Weight
Thule ProRide 5981 Bike20kg (44 lbs)
Thule Outride 561 Roof Fork-Mounted Bike Rack1 Bike17kg (37 lbs)
SeaSucker Talon1 Bike20kg (44 lbs)
Yakima Highroad1 Bike20kg (44 lbs)
Thule ProRide 591 Roof Mounted Bike Rack1 Bike20kg (44 lbs)

Other Considerations

Once you have decided on the right location for your bike rack, there are a number of other things to consider before you purchase one.

If you are a serious cyclist, it may be important to you that there is minimal contact between your bike and the mount. Thus, it is a good idea to take this into consideration.

Many bike racks hold the bikes by the wheels, rather than the frame, minimizing contact. If your bike is made of carbon, it is recommended that you consider a rack that transports the bike by its wheels to minimize the risk of damage.

The bike’s wheels are one of its most durable parts, meaning that there is no need to worry about carrying a bike by its wheels. 

Bike Rack Installation: Halfords Rear High Mount Cycle Carrier >> Check Out the video below:

If you are embarking on a cycling holiday or a weekend cycle into the countryside with your family, it is likely that you will need easy access to your car boot.

If this is the case, choose a bike rack that allows easy access to your tent and supplies or picnic that is in the boot. If this is important to you, a boot rack may not be the right option. 

Bike Weight Classes

There are two main bike rack weight classes, depending on your needs. The first rack class, often hanging rack models, can usually carry up to 40 pounds in weight.

while the second class can carry bikes weighing up to sixty pounds. It is also important to consider how easy it is to lift and manoeuvre your individual bike above your head if you are choosing a hanging rack style.

If you have difficulty with this, a rack that is easier to load, such as a platform model, may be more suitable.

Most normal road bikes weigh under thirty to thirty-five pounds, whereas heavier mountain bikes or electric bikes usually weigh under sixty pounds.

Bike Styles

If you are a mountain biker, you will need to take into consideration the wheel size and specifications of your bike. Whereas, if you own a “fatbike,” you will require a bike rack that holds bigger tires.

A family, with bikes of different sizes, will require a rack that accommodates this versatility and variation in size. Considering all of the bikes you wish to transport will ensure you pick the perfect bike rack to carry them all. 

 If you have an electric bike, make sure that the bike rack model you are considering is compatible with it.

gravel bike
Garvel Bike

Check that the rack is capable of carrying the extra weight of your electric bike, and that the bike’s form fits the carrier.

When transporting an electric bike, a tow bar bike rack is usually recommended because of its strength and stability. Tow-bar racks can usually carry the weight of two electric bikes. 

Related reading: Are Touring Bikes Fast? (The TRUTH)

Take into consideration the maximum weight of your tow-bar that attaches to your car and ensure that the total weight of your bike-rack, as well as your bikes, are below that maximum weight.

If you load your tow-bar over the maximum limit, it could result in damage to your vehicle’s suspension as well as its steering.

Normal bike racks are designed for road bikes and not electric bikes; thus, it is necessary to ensure that your bike rack can withstand the weight of your electric bike. 

Perhaps you have purchased a range of outdoor adventure toys and you are hoping to carry your bike as well as a paddleboard and ski equipment, make sure that you calculate the total weight to make sure your bike rack can withstand it.

It may even be a good idea to purchase a more versatile bike rack that can carry more weight than you currently need, especially if you are likely to buy more outdoor toys in the future.

Read also: Where Are Surly Bikes Made? What You Need To Know

To sum up

No matter whether you are looking to transport a mountain bike and snowboards on your car roof, or you are hoping to carry all of your family’s bikes on the back of your van, there is a bike rack perfect for you.

It is important to consider all of the options available to make sure that you choose the one that best suits your needs. 

The average bike rack can carry between one and four bikes and a maximum weight of between 17kg and 60kg.

References

https://www.saris.com/support/getting-started-racks

https://www.thule.com/en-gb/articles/guides/

https://brink.eu/en-gb/about-brink-towbars/

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John Muranko

John is Founder and Senior Bike Editor at ProBikeCorner. John is a bike and travel addict who has cycled through 17+ countries and doesn't really have any plans of stopping. He´s passionate about helping others by creating technical resources, in-depth reviews and more…

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