Get Started With Bike Racks

Often customers ask us: "with so many bike racks to choose from, how can you be certain to pick the right one?"  Well, after much consideration, we put together this guide to help you select the right bicycle rack for you and your vehicle.  Please review this simple step by step process.

1. Decide how many bicycles you want to haul.  Bike racks generally carry one to five bikes. All of our racks are titled with a number to let you know how many bikes they carry.

2. Determine the bike rack design that is best for you. Your vehicle will have to be set up to accommodate your chosen bicycle rack design.

  • Hitch Mount Bike Racks - Does your vehicle have a receiver hitch? If so, you can take advantage of our wide variety of hitch mount bike racks. There are two sizes of receiver hitches for vehicles, 1.25" and 2". To determine which size you have, simply measure the inside dimension (left to right or top to bottom) of the square opening of the receiver hitch. We categorize our hitch mount bike racks by receiver hitch size to make it easy for you.

    Hitch Mount Carriers often hang from the top tube of the bike and allow the wheels to suspend in the air. They are generally easy to load and access and don't create any wind drag on the vehicle. The drawback to these type of racks is that they usually don't allow access into the rear door of the vehicle. To deal with this problem, advanced features have now been added to these racks. Some hitch mount racks swing away to allow access into the rear of the vehicle. Some hitch mount racks tilt down to provide the same access. The Softride bicycle racks have a unique parallelogram tilt down design that allows the bikes to remain upright as the rack tilts down away from the vehicle. You must watch one of the Softride videos to see how they operate. Finally, some of these racks have fold down cradles so that you can lower the arms that hold the bikes when the rack is not in use.

    Tilt Down Bike Rack Swing Away Bike Rack Parallelogram Bike Rack Fold Down Cradles
    Tilt Down
    Swing Away
    Parallelogram
    Fold Down Cradles

    Some hitch mount bike racks support the bikes from the bottom, usually clamping on the bottom of both wheels or clamping down on the top of one wheel of the bikes. This style rack can also fold up against the rear of the car when not in use and tilt down to provide access to the rear of the vehicle.
    Both Wheels
    Top Of Wheel
    Tilt Down Bike Rack
    Both Wheels
    Top Of One Wheel
    Tilt Down

  • Roof Top Bike Racks - Does your vehicle have a roof top luggage rack with cross bars? If your vehicle only has side rails, you can add aftermarket cross bars to your rack. Some roof top racks allow you to keep both wheels on the bike, clamping to one of the tubes on the bike. Others, require you to remove the front wheel, then clamping onto the front fork dropouts on the bike. These will usually have a key lock option. Remember that it is usually much harder to lift your bike onto the roof of your vehicle than it is to lift it onto a hitch mount bike rack.

    Crossbars
    Both Wheels On Bike
    Front Fork Dropouts
    Cross Bars
    Both Wheels On Bike
    Front Fork Dropouts

  • Truck Bed Bike Racks - Do you drive a truck? Good for you-we love that! Check out a truck tent also.
    Some truck bed bike racks allow you to keep both wheels on the bike. Others, require you to remove the front wheel, then clamping to the fork drop outs on the bike. These will usually have a key lock option. Check out the other unique designs for your truck bed-be creative!

  • Truck Bed Bike Rack

  • Trunk and Hatchback Bike Racks - If your vehicle does not have a receiver hitch and you would not rather add a roof rack and it is not a truck, these are the racks for you! These type of bike racks will attach to your vehicle by the way of straps that usually connect to the trunk or rear door of your vehicle. The racks rest against the back of the vehicle with protection pads to prevent any damage. The angle of these racks is adjustable to accommodate many different vehicles. Check out the Highland Universal Rack which fits most vehicles period. When in doubt, call us to check sizing.

  • Trunk & Hatchback Bike Rack

  • Hitch Ball Mount Bike Racks and Bike Racks with Towing - Does your vehicle have a receiver hitch but you normally have a towing ball stuck in it? We don't want you to have to remove it to use a bike rack. Hitch ball mount bike racks are designed to mount on top of your receiver hitch ball mount. They can easily be added or removed without removing the ball mount from your receiver hitch. As with the other designs, the tilt down option is available here. If you want to take it to the next level and tow a trailer with bike rack installed, we have you covered as well. Once again, these racks are available with the tilt down option.

    Ball Mount IllustrationSwagman Ball Hitch Mount Bike Rack
    Towing Bike Receiver
    Receiver Ball Hitch Mount
    Towing Bike Receiver

  • Spare Tire Mount Bike Racks - It is there, you might as well use it! If you have a spare tire on the rear of your vehicle and desire to use a hitch mount bike rack, you will need a hitch extender to get the bike rack past the tire. If you want to make it simple and avoid all of that hassle, the Spare Tire Mount Bike Rack is for you. These racks can usually hold a maximum of two bikes.
  • Spare Tire Bike Rack

  • RV and Camper Bike Racks - Please view this section to find all sorts of ideas for taking your bikes with you for your vacation. Having your bikes on the camper is a great thing.
  • RV Bike Rack

3. Choose accessories  to complete the perfect bike rack. Consider adding security features for your bike rack. Some bike racks come standard with a built in locking mechanism for your bikes. With others, your are required to purchase an accessory locking device. It is also possible to add a locking hitch pin to secure your entire bike rack to receiver hitch. These devices are extremely effective in keeping your bikes and racks with you.

to complete the perfect bike rack. Consider adding security features for your bike rack. Some bike racks come standard with a built in locking mechanism for your bikes. With others, your are required to purchase an accessory locking device. It is also possible to add a locking hitch pin to secure your entire bike rack to receiver hitch. These devices are extremely effective in keeping your bikes and racks with you.

Also in our accessories section, you will find cross bar adapters to make women's bikes compatible with cradle racks, bicycle bags and carriers, and hitch converters that change a 2" to a 1.25" and vice versa.

4. When traveling with bikes,remember the bikes on the roof when pulling into garages or parking areas. When backing up, remember the extra space needed for rear mount bikes. You must constantly remind yourself to avoid any unwanted crunches involving your precious bikes.

LakelandGear has one of the largest selections of bike racks on the Internet.  Usually we ship products the same or next day. Choose from one of our name brand bike racks such as Softride, Swagman, Thule, and Yakima. Buying a bike carrier on our site saves you a full day of running around. We hope that we have helped you find the perfect rack for you and your vehicle. Remember, you pay no sales tax (unless you live in North Carolina) and delivery is quick and right to your door.

Softride Bike Racks

Swagman Bike Racks

Thule Bike Racks


Yakima Bike Racks

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