trunk mount bike rack

5 Best Trunk Mount Bike Racks 2018

Attaching a trunk bike rack to your car provides a simple and easy method of transporting your bikes. Compared against a roof bike rack, there is no height restrictions or difficult loading and a hitch is not required as with a hitch bike rack.

The best trunk bike rack is the Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier, which has the choice of either of 2 or 3 bikes and has various features to prevent bike to bike contact.

There are various styles of trunk bike racks that secure your bike via the frame or the wheel. Many people with an expensive bike prefer the rack to secure the bike via the wheels in order to prevent damage to the frame, which can be expensive to fix.

Best Trunk Mounted Bicycle Rack

Trunk Bike RackBike CapacityAnti-Sway
Thule Passage3Yes
Yakima FullBack2Yes
Allen Sports DELUXE X24No
Hollywood Racks Over-The-Top3Yes
Saris Bones 8013Yes

High quality trunk bike carriers are often lightweight and can connect to the trunk of your vehicle in a range of ways that are safe for the bodywork.

The bikes themselves are placed on the carrier support arms and securely fastened with neoprene rubber straps. The cheaper bike trunk racks usually do not have an option to lock the bike to the trunk/vehicle. This is a worry because the bike can easily be stolen whilst the car is parked up or standstill.

Investing in a rack that is easy to use, constructed of high quality materials and has safety features is definitely worth the money. Below is a list of the best trunk bike racks that secure the bikes with limited bike to bike contact for safe transportation.

Thule Passage Bike Trunk Carrier


Thule are a premium car accessories manufacturer that are well known for producing high quality roof cargo carriers as well as bike carriers. Thule Passage range has the choice of a 2 or 3 bike carrier that uses a patented “FitDial” hub for a perfect fit to your cars rear end.

The “Passage” model that is in this review is the cheapest Thule bike rack compared to the alternative Thule models that offer various other features. With the passage model, we strongly recommend getting the Thule Bike Rack Lock to ensure maximum security for your bikes.

The features that stand out are narrow cradle support arms for compatibility with a range of bikes, protective cushion pads to protect the vehicles bodywork, six straps and an anti-sway functionality to prevent the bikes hitting each other.

Thule offer a limited lifetime warranty with this trunk bike rack as well as mounting hardware and detailed instructions for the installation. Thule have been around since the early 1940’s and this product is one of the best trunk bike racks they have ever produced.

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Yakima FullBack 2 Trunk Mount Bike Rack


Yakima is the main premium alternative to Thule and this trunk bike rack is the latest rack. The FullBack features a new four strap design with a SKS locking package and many features that compliment the vehicles of the modern era. It also features an interlocking HUB, which means installation is much simpler than the alternatives.

For those that worry about bike-to-bike protection, Yakima has you covered with the “SuperCush ZipStrip“. This is a cradle that secures the bike to the rack and prevents any swaying action when driving at speeds.

To further protect your bike from any damage, the Yakima FullBack also features a bomber construction that is compact and features heavy padding. Overall, it is the best trunk bike rack that reduces bike to bike contact and well worth paying the extra over the cheaper alternatives shown below.

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Allen Sports Deluxe 4 Bike Trunk Mount Rack


If the Thule trunk bike rack does not offer the bike capacity you require, then the Allen Sports is the best alternative. With the ability to fit the majority of sedans, SUVs, minivans and hatchbacks you can carry up to 4 bikes.

Allen Sports claim that you can install their trunk bike rack in seconds using the patented tie-down system. As with Thule, they offer a limited lifetime warranty that will give you piece of mind when buying this bike trunk carrier.

Overall, the Allen Sports trunk bike rack is very sturdy and offers great value for money. It is the best trunk bike rack for the money and at half the price of many premium manufacturers.

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Hollywood Racks Over-The-Top


An alternative to the standard trunk bike rack is the “Over The Top” style that benefits from a high risen frame that prevent strap damage to the vehicles bodywork. It works by using the roof rack as an anchor over the top of the trunk.

For cars with spoilers, this is the best over the top bike rack to prevent damage to spoilers. The spoiler can suffer defects after use of a bike rack if you choose a poorly made example.

The design of this “Over The Top” trunk bike rack is spot on and allows the majority of car trunks to open without the need of taking it off. Its a great alternative to both the roof and normal trunk styled bike racks.

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Saris Bones 801 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack


Are you looking for the best looking trunk bike rack for your car? This is what Saris Bones claim that their 801 3 Bike Carrier is and we agree with them. With a range of colors available the curved design of the Saris Bones trunk bike rack looks excellent.

It is not just looks either, the molded arms are made from high quality non rusting materials that were built from 100% recyclables in the US. The curved/arc based design means that it will fit over the majority of spoilers as well as separating the bikes at different height levels.

The soft rubber feet of the trunk bike rack provided protection for your vehicle in case of contact with spring buckle straps and other features to protect the bikes also. Saris Bones also offer a lifetime warranty which is testimony to their extreme quality.

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Trunk Bike Rack Buying Guide

Trunk mounted bike racks is the cheapest option when it comes to transporting your bike safely. On top of this, they are easily portable and loading bikes on and off is much easier than the rooftop bike rack.

They do come with some drawbacks however as some cheap trunk bike racks are known to damage or scratch the trunk of your vehicle.

However, making sure that they are installed correctly as well as having plenty of rubber/foam padding will prevent this.

Before you go ahead and purchase a cheap example that you will end up regretting, we have compiled a buyers guide to point you in the right direction.

Compatibility

Unlike the hitch mounted bike rack, you do not need to install a trailer hitch ball to your car in order to fit it. This means that the trunk mounted bicycle rack is already more cost effective but even better is that it will work for SUV’s, sedans, trucks and so much more.

This is because it simply sits on the back of the vehicles trunk or hatchback and uses straps to attach to the top of the trunk as well as the low lip or bumper. Therefore, it is the most compatible bike rack you can buy that is easy to use.

Anti-Sway Cradles

As you drive at high speeds, the bike may begin to sway with the drag from the passing air. This may become an issue as the bikes will start to move with potential for them to hit each other and cause damage. On top of this, it can cause the car to swerve slightly, which may be cause additional stress to the driver.

Many of the more expensive bike trunk racks include anti-sway cradles and additional straps to ensure that this is not the case.

trunk bike rack for your car

How To Install A Trunk Bike Rack

Its critical that you install the rear mounted bike rack securely because you can be at risk of it coming loose and falling off. This will result in bike(s) becoming damaged at a few thousands dollars worth of damage.

A trunk bike rack can usually hold up to 4 bicycles without any modifications to your car. The installation is fairly easily with most coming with instructions of how to install it to the rear of your vehicle. If not, below is a tutorial of how to install a trunk bike rack.

  1. Place the upper support bars on the top of the trunk lid and lower support bars below the license plate. Instructions for your particular trunk bike rack will show the best location for your vehicle type i.e. sedan or SUV.
  2. Connect hooks to the top edge of the trunk that attach to the upper straps. To secure the carrier, tighten the straps whilst holding it in place.
  3. Connect hooks to the bottom edge of the trunk that attach to the lower straps. Once the straps have been tightened for the lower straps, the bike rack should not be able to move.
  4. Connect hooks for the side straps to the side of the trunk depending on your vehicle type. Ensure these are tightened fully and the rack still does not move at all.
  5. Place your bikes onto the carrier and check the rack is not moving with weight added. Before your journey, ensure you go for a short drive to and check for movement.

Bike Damage

In order to ensure minimal damage is caused to your bikes, there must be good padding to the arms and space between the bikes.

As soon as the bike collide, damage is more than likely going to occur and it defeats the object of safely transporting your bikes.

If you own expensive bikes, then its worth sticking to some of the bigger brands such as Saris, Yakima and Thule. The reasons for this is they would have done thousands of hours of research and development to ensure maximum safety.

Of course, you could opt for a platform hitch mount bike rack, which is considered as one of the safest in terms of bike damage.

Conclusion

Trunk mounted bicycle racks offer compatibility and affordability with the option to transport up to 4 bikes safely. Our trunk bike rack recommendations above are all highly rated and popular throughout the US and ensure maximum safety whilst travelling with your bikes. In terms of installation, we highly recommend that you take your time and test it thoroughly because the last thing you will want to do is cause any damage to your vehicle.

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