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Roof Bike Rack Basics

Mounting your bikes on your roof is a great option for transporting your bike to your favorite route, race, or trail. The roof is also an alternative option for smaller vehicle that are not rated for a hitch. In order to help you pick the right roof bike rack for your application, we have developed this helpful guide which will cover the following topics:  
  • Roof Bike Rack Styles
  • Top 5 Considerations of Selecting a Roof Bike Rack 

Roof Bike Rack Styles

There are two styles of roof bike racks which include:

Fork Mount Roof Bike RacksWheel Mount Roof Bike Racks
Requires that you remove the front tire from you bike leaving a "fork." The fork is then placed into a quick release clamp and the back wheel is secured in a wheel tray, generally with a ratcheting strap. Does not require removing the front wheel before mounting the bike in the rack. They typically mount to the frame using a clamping mechanism around the frame or a wheel mount system the clamps around the wheels.


Top 5 Considerations of Selecting a Roof Bike Rack

Before you select a roof bike rack style, we recommend you consider the following:
  • Capacity: The first factor you must consider is how many bikes do I need to carry? While some trunk and hitch bike racks can carry up to 4 bikes with one rack, all roof bike rack styles will only carry 1 bike per rack. The number of roof bike racks you can put on your roof will depend upon the length of your crossbars.
  • Rear Vehicle Access: You must also consider do I need to access the rear of my vehicle? All roof bike rack styles will allow you to access to rear of your vehicle.
  • Crossbar Fit: The next important factor you should consider is will the bike rack rack fit my crossbars? Most roof bike racks fit onto factory or aftermarket crossbars. Crossbars are the bars that run horizontally across your vehicle from drivers side to passengers side.
  • Ease-of-Use: Another factor you should consider is ease-of use. Roof bike racks require you to lift the bike onto the roof which may be difficult if you have a tall vehicle. If you are worried about your ability to lift the bikes, you may want to take a look at hitch bike racks or trunk bike racks which offer easy, waist-level access to your gear.
  • Price: As with any purchase, price is an important consideration. Fork mount bike racks are generally less expensive than wheel mount bike racks. In order to get a better idea of how much each roof bike rack type costs on average, see the price comparison chart below:
 Price Comparison Chart
 Roof Bike Rack Style
Average Cost per Bike
 Fork Mount Roof Bike Rack*
 Wheel Mount Roof Bike Rack
*Please Note: This price comparison does not include tandem bike racks.

If you need additional guidance, contact one of our Rack Specialists via chat, e-mail, or toll free at 866.403.8505. Our Specialists can answer any additional questions you may have and provide you with advice on selecting a roof bike rack.
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