10 Best Bike Roof Racks for Cars in 2021

Jerry Wilson
Written by
Last update:

Looking for roof racks for bicycles is a major challenge because every car and bike is different. There are several choices available today for cars of all shapes and sizes, but there is only one that will work best for you and match your needs.

For that reason, I spent hours researching, driving all over the city, doing over-the-phone comparisons, and choosing my top 10 bicycle racks available on the market this year. They all have their own pros and cons, but my top 10 is designed to make your decision an easier one and will give you a good starting point.

Here are the best bicycle racks you should consider buying for your car.

NameCategoryProduct
Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack SystemBest OverallYakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System
Rhino Rack Ski CarrierBudget PickRhino Rack Ski Carrier
Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars BlackUpgrade PickVantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars Black

1. Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System

Our rating: 9 / 10

Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellent fit
  • Easy assembly
  • Fits a wide range of vehicles
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Solid construction

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • No concerns about anything on the market

For a quality rack, the Yakima WhispBar Flush is a great choice. If you’re looking for a quality, long-lasting rack that will work for years to come, the Yakima WhispBar Flush should definitely be on your list.

This storage rack has a universal application for cars and trucks and installs with ease. The engineering and design behind this product are well thought out and it is constructed with high-quality materials. The installation process is straigtforward and painless, and it is extremely simple to set up and hook up.

This is a lightweight, easy to assembly trunk rack. The installation process is simple and quick. The built-in, quick-adjust and tool-free mounting system allows you to securely mount the components with ease and the included security cable provides the ultimate locking security.

2. Rhino Rack Ski Carrier

Our rating: 8 / 10

Rhino Rack Ski Carrier

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with all you need
  • Snowboard friendly
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars by 3295 people

Cons:

  • Instructions are a bit difficult to read
  • Snowboard mounts don’t hold the boards evenly

When I was looking into finding the best bike roof racks for cars I could find, I looked at all the features each had to see what features I thought were the most important. I started by looking at the cheaper ones and moved onto the most expensive. I kept notes from each product to try and find out which one was the best. After much research I found it was the Rhino Rack Ski Carrier.

The Rhino Rack Ski Carrier for snowboards is lightweight and easy to use. It has a load capacity of 175 lbs so it can fit the carrier, your snowboards, and sometimes people. It comes with everything you need, so there is no need to buy anything separately.

Most people have had a great experience with this product, and if you are someone who wants to ski and bike year-round, this is a great addition to your bike rack.

3. Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack

Our rating: 8 / 10

Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy assembly
  • Carrier Anatomy
  • Carries up to five bikes
  • Made of lightweight aluminum
  • Warranty
  • Low price tag

Cons:

  • This is a 2-bike carrier, so that limits your options
  • Some bikes don’t fit
  • Some bikes will need to be modified

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bike rack that carries your bikes securely, is easy to install and stays out of your way while you’re driving, the Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack might be just what you’re looking for.

The flimsy plastic mounts and terrible bike-frame clamps of the old-school bike racks are long gone. The Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack is built with a sturdy aluminum frame that hugs your vehicle and locks securely into place around your roof rack.

You don’t have to spend any extra money on tools like what used to be required with other mounts, because the setup is as simple as snapping the two J-channel adapter pieces onto your car’s crossbar and sliding the rails into them.

4. Rage Powersports Apex RB-1001-49 Universal Side Rail Mounted Aluminum Roof Cross Bars

Our rating: 8 / 10

Rage Powersports Apex RB-1001-49 Universal Side Rail Mounted Aluminum Roof Cross Bars

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and load
  • Long Load Bars: up to 49"
  • Includes 4 Bars

Cons:

  • Load Bars are Also Short
  • Additional Connection Straps Needed for Cargo
  • Bottom Hooks Damage Front End

Wide, Set of 4 49" Long Roof Mounted Bike Rack and Panniers.

The Rage Powersports Full Roof Rack System is a very good value for money if you need a roof rack system for your car. This is a 4 piece set with rated capacity up to 50 lbs each.

The bars are made of 1" diameter aluminum and have a length of 49". They feature a strong, spring loaded clamp to secure them to the crossbars on your car. The clamps have an extra locking security feature. There are four bars total with 2 for the front and 2 for the back. The bars are contoured to give a great aerodynamic look to your vehicle.

5. GM Accessories 19244268 Removable Roof Rack Package in Ebony

Our rating: 6 / 10

GM Accessories 19244268 Removable Roof Rack Package in Ebony

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easily removable
  • Safe and sturdy

This easy to install roof rack is a great option for anyone looking to add a roof rack to their vehicle so they can carry large or bulky items. The package comes with the rack parts, as well as four 4-foot long cargo straps that are needed to secure the load onto the rack. The straps are 1.5-inch wide and have heavy duty buckles. There is also a pair of brackets included that attach to the door jambs of your vehicle so that the rack stays in place.

The crossbars in the kit are very versatile and can be configured in different ways to carry different sized cargo. It has side rails you can use for smaller items, as well as a front rail that can be used to carry bikes and other large items.

The loading capability of the rack is also great. When used with the included straps you can carry up to 100 pounds of cargo. The package comes in multiple sizes to accommodate a wide range of vehicles and roof shapes. There are multiple crossbar widths available to make sure you get the right size for your car, the rack is rated to carry up to 220 pounds, so it works well for a variety of different uses.

6. SportRack Complete Roof Rack System

Our rating: 6 / 10

SportRack Complete Roof Rack System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Can be assembled in less than eight minutes
  • Easy to install and uninstall
  • Five-year warranty

If you’re looking for a bike rack that’s going to perform day in and day out, the SportRack Complete Roof Rack System is the one to get. It’s made from a heavy-duty steel construction with a rust-free coating that’s fully guaranteed against defects and will keep your bikes secure and safe wherever you go.

In addition, this rack has a patented QuickAdjust design that makes assembly a snap. In under eight minutes, you can be ready for your first bike ride.

When you’re ready to drive your car, it’s also easy to pull the rack off. No other rack on the market is as quick or easy to use.

7. 58" Yakima Roof Rack Round Crossbars and Yakima Q Towers

Our rating: 5 / 10

58" Yakima Roof Rack Round Crossbars and Yakima Q Towers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Lets you carry two bikes
  • Great customer service
  • Works on a variety of aftermarket and factory roof racks
  • Strong and sturdy

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other bike racks
  • A bit difficult to assemble

This is a great 2 bike bike rack, which is easy to install and lets you carry two bikes with the help of the towers on the top. The top tower is 26 inches in length and lets you carry two bikes on its cradles on the crossbars on your car’s roof. The 2 bike rack has the ability to attach to various aftermarket and factory roof racks. The rack is sturdy and is quite stable when fully assembled.

However, it can be a bit difficult to assemble, though the resulting product is stable. The price of the product is also a bit higher than others on the market. The product has received positive reviews from buyers, the only complaint being that it is difficult to assemble.

8. Spec-D Tuning RRB-1002 53" Auto SUV Car Roof Top Cross Bars Luggage Cargo Rack Pair

Our rating: 4 / 10

Spec-D Tuning RRB-1002 53" Auto SUV Car Roof Top Cross Bars Luggage Cargo Rack Pair

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Fits most vehicles
  • Affordable with varying sizes and lengths
  • Very easy to install
  • Integrated anti-theft locks

Cons:

  • Design may not be appealing to everyone
  • Wind noise may increase

If you’re in the market for a bike roof rack, this one from Spec-D Tuning is a go-to option. It’s their RRB-1002 53” Auto SUV car roof top cross bars that allow you to carry all you need on a cross-country bike tour.

The Spec-D Tuning Trunk Rack includes a pair of cross bars that measure 53” long and weigh less than 23lbs. Each bar can accommodate a maximum load of 50lbs. The cross bars have a full perimeter lip that prevents the rack from scratching the roof of your vehicle. In addition, this roof rack has an anti-wobble design, so you can expect a snug fit.

The Spec-D Tuning Trunk Rack uses widely spaced attachment points that have an integrated anti-theft system. A locking pin latching system is included that you use to secure the rack to your vehicle’s crossbar—either the roof rails or the existing cross bars.

9. Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars Black

Our rating: 4 / 10

Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars Black

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • No tools required
  • Can easily accommodate multiple bikes
  • Can also be used to store kayaks, skis, and snowboards
  • Mounts on any style of vehicle

Cons:

  • A bit too tall for some hauling situations
  • At 48 inches from top to bottom, it's huge
  • Noisy when it's windy and when vehicles are going down the road

If you're looking for a roof bike rack that you can use year-round, the Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder is for you. This well-made rack mounts on your vehicle's ladder bars and can carry two bikes at a time. When you use this rack, you can't just use it for bikes; it can also be used to transport kayaks, skis or snowboards, making it great for your whole family.

The Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder rack comes with an extra set of carrying arms for the rear rack, so you can double the amount of things you can transport from two to four. However, as this is a ladder rack, you will need to purchase a separate crossbar if you want to carry two bikes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which roof bike rack is best?

It's tempting to just rely on the factory rack on your car. In most cases, it can handle your bike just fine. And, it’s usually built right into the roof of your car. Unfortunately, it’s often not big enough. Most car racks are designed for carrying surfboards and other recreational equipment, not bicycles. With a bicycle, accessory mounting bolts are often not even available.

Our testing revealed that the roof racks that did the best job of carrying bikes were all replaceable bike rack roof systems. These include replacement roof rack systems that can be attached using clamps to most car roofs. Examples include Thule Rack and Yakima Rack.

We chose Yakima as the winner because of its ease of installation and simplicity. Quick to install, it’s a matter of positioning the clamps and tightening two wing nuts.

What is the best bike carrier for cars?

The bike rack is designed to make cycling with your bike almost effortless. There's no need to lift your bike onto a roof rack anymore; a bike rack attaches to your vehicle's hitch and holds your bike securely. A car roof bike rack is a weight-supporting device, so don't expect it to secure multiple bikes. It may be a bit much to place your bike on a roof rack, but to be honest, you'll quickly find out that it's not as hard as you thought.

These racks are useful for quickly transporting your bike on short distances. If you often drive to different biking trails, however, or you need to travel a long distance, it might cost you some precious time to install your bike and take off. If you often need to take your bike somewhere quickly or you have the luxury of time, a trunk mount or a hitch mount might be a better option for you.

What is the easiest bike rack to use?

The Yakima RidgeBack is our favorite bike roof rack. It installs fast and has a low-profile that allows for a number of configurations for hauling lots of bikes or tall bikes. That said, if you don't need to carry multiple, tall or heavy bikes, we prefer the Thule VeloSpace and the Saris Bones.

If you want our complete buying guide to bike roof racks, plus a lot more detail that might help you decide, check out our full article comparing 7 of the best bike roof racks.

How many bikes can be on a roof rack?

The largest number of bikes you can fit on one rack is up to 6 or 8. This depends on the brand and model of the rack. Most of the racks are able to hold bikes that are up to 35 pounds, so 4 bikes should qualify in measurements. Be sure to double check the specs of the rack and your bike to make sure they’re compatible.

Other than the maximum number of bikes, you’ll also want to consider the weight of the bikes the rack can hold. Racks need to be able to hold the entire weight of every bike that’s loaded, which can add up to a lot of weight, so you don’t want to go cheap. A quality rack that can handle 30-50 pounds per bike is optimal, depending on the type of bike, rider, and conditions.

Conclusion

We love getting new bikes and we want to love taking them on our adventures. However, it can be a challenge to get your bikes on your car. Even finding the right roof racks to secure your bikes to your car can be a challenge. We hope that our guide has helped you on this front.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack SystemBest OverallYakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System
Rhino Rack Ski CarrierBudget PickRhino Rack Ski Carrier
Vantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars BlackUpgrade PickVantech Universal J1000 Ladder roof Van Rack System 50" Bars Black