Advantages and Disadvantages of Bike Racks For Cars

Bike getaway? You have everything: the desire, the route, the bike … But, transporting a bicycle in the car incorrectly can lead to safety risks and penalties. Do you know what types of bike racks are there , which ones are more stable and those that are more comfortable? Discover with Goodyear everything you need to take your bike in the car safely and responsibly and worry only about the adventure that awaits you.

Is it legal to carry a bicycle in the trunk or folding seats?

Yes, you can take a bicycle in the trunk , but you have to follow certain rules. In the event that we have a large car that allows the bicycle to go in the trunk without folding down the seats, we should only be careful that it does not protrude above the seats. If so, we should secure the load by tying the bicycle to prevent it from moving.

The DGT recalls that in the event of an accident at 56 km / h the weight of the bicycle is multiplied by 35. Therefore, it is dangerous to carry it inside the car with the seats folded down without any method of restraint. The most advisable in these cases is to opt for a bike rack.

Types of bike carriers

In the market there are many bike rack styles to meet the demands of consumers, being adaptable to different types of vehicles, it is important that you know that there are 3 types of bike rack . In this article, we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.


Some models mounted on the roof are attached to a frame and 2 crossbars (found in many cars) on the roof of a car, while others use mounting feet and clips that adhere to the gutters of the door frame. car.

If you choose a roof rack model , you have to decide on the most suitable bicycle mounting method.

Some frames use a mounting carrier that attaches to the wheel of the bike . The disadvantage is that the front wheel must be removed and placed elsewhere, but the positive aspects are that the bicycle is easier to ride up on the roof forms, and the single frame can be accommodated.


  • They can come with a modular configuration that allows additional storage of cargo with an add-on storage box.
  • Certain accessories allow the bike rack to be used for different activities, such as skiing and to transport other bulky items.
  • Certain racks can be adapted to the factory body or can be mounted with a non-permanent base according to the manufacturer’s requirements.
  •  They can bring lock mounting.
  • Some roof racks allow their use in sedans to hold up to four bicycles, while for a large van it may be able to carry up to seven cycles.
  • You can support the tandem, resting it.


  • It can be complicated to install.
  •  The car cannot enter the parking garages or under any upper slow-rolling structure, including the drive-through of some fast food restaurants.
  • Increasing wind resistance can reduce gas mileage more than other types of bicycle carriers . It also produces more noise because of the wind.
  • Lifting a bicycle at the roof of your car can be difficult, and improper handling of the mount can cause scratches on the roof or sides of the car.
  • There are roof rack models that cannot fit properly in curved or convertible roof vehicles – so you should check your car manufacturer’s adjustment guides.
  • You must be careful not to exceed the weight limit set for the bike rack.


It is a mooring of trunk assemblies that may be the least expensive option.

The straps attached to the frame adhere to the car door, with tailgate, or rear bumper.

The bicycle frame rests on coated plastic support arms.

The straps or brackets must be tightly attached to the car , with the frame brackets and support arms oriented correctly before the assembly of the cycles.

They also come with mounted trunk carriers that usually carry one or two, and in some cases three.

While mounted trunk models are inexpensive and can be adapted to many vehicles, they have a greater chance of damaging the vehicle.


  • In general, it is not specified which car brand is indicated, since a bicycle carrier of this type will be suitable for many cars.
  •  It is easier to lift and safer to keep bicycles in place.
  • This kind of bike rack can be easily stored, even in the trunk of the vehicle


  • The combined weight of the rack and bicycles is supported by the vehicle body panels, which can cause damage to the paint or sheet.
  • You can block the driver’s vision through the rear window.
  • The straps can loosen.
  • Spoilers mounted or installed before can interfere with the installation.
  • The straps can be easily cut, jeopardizing the safety of the zipper.
  • The rack can obstruct the license plate or the taillights, and it is a criminal offense in some areas (in that case there are license plates for bicycle carriers ).
  •  Bicycles can be damaged by an external object.
  •  Additional accessories may be needed to support the bicycles.
  • Not recommended for tandem bicycles.


These bike racks are a very good option for the transport of our bicycles. Although it is true that they require more economic investment since you have to have a tow ball installed.

With respect to the ball carrier we find two great types: the platform and the pendants. The latter have a main arm that comes from the head of the ball and usually have two other horizontal arms where the bicycles are “hung”. These are usually cheaper than the platform but are also safe and functional. They usually have a capacity of 2 to 4 bicycles. With this type of bike rack you will have to be careful not to cover the lights and license plate, since if so, you should buy the light box. In this type of bike rack, the V-20 plate will be mandatory  .

The other type of ball carrier, and more common, is the platform. These have a central platform that usually includes lanes where the bicycles are located. These are fixed thanks to mobile arms and straps on the wheels, which allows transport to be safe for both the bikes and the route itself.

Most ball carriers have anti-theft bicycles for bicycles (usually included in the clamps of the clamping arms) and for the bike carrier itself. The support arms have soft rubber so as not to damage the frames. In addition, many of these bike carriers are also foldable to access the trunk included with bicycles loaded, a great advantage when the trip is long or should

make stops. Some of these also have the advantage of being foldable so that when not in use it can be stored in places with little space or also stored in the trunk.

The price of these bike racks is higher than the rest, but the convenience of loading and unloading the bicycles and the ease of mounting the bike rack is a plus to take into account. Also in this type, it will be mandatory to carry the V-20 board.

The prices of the ball carriers vary and depend on the type, but we can find them hanging for 50-120 $ up to the platform for 140 – 760 $, everything depends on the brands, capacity and performance. 


  • The bikes are mounted very easily.
  • It allows to open the tailgate by separating the bicycle carrier.
  • It incorporates some taillights and a recess for a second license plate.


  • Requires the installation of the tow ball (from 200 $).
  • You may need help to hook it to the tow ball.

Safety measures to use bike rack

Regardless of the bike rack model chosen, it is necessary to apply the relevant safety measures:

  • The registration and taillights should be at all times.
  • If you carry the bicycle in the tailgate, it cannot exceed the width of the vehicle . If so, it will be necessary to disassemble the wheels of the bicycle.
  • If the bicycle protrudes from behind, it is mandatory to carry the V20 signal.
  • The weight of the bicycle , together with the rest of the vehicle loads, can never exceed the limits approved by the manufacturer.

Whether to start or return from a long bicycle route or to spend a different weekend with the family, a bicycle rack brings a lot of versatility to a vehicle. Surely choosing the best type of bike rack for you will be easier now that you have discovered the advantages of each model.

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