The city dweller’s fear of an air conditioning window unit falling to the sidewalk is the same as a highway driver’s fear of an item flying off the car and onto the road. So don’t make that nightmare a reality, and get a sturdy bike rack that latches correctly onto your vehicle.
Trunk-mounted racks are easy to install and remove to get your bikes from place to place, keeping the bikes within reach (as opposed to the roof) and secured through a system of straps, latches, and bracing. But not all racks are made for all cars — or all cyclists. So here’s what to consider when picking a trunk-mounted bike rack.
- What type of vehicle do you drive? Just as cars vary greatly by make and model, so do bike racks. Certain racks only mount onto the trunks of hatchbacks, vans, and SUVS—and others only onto sedans and compact cars. Some models are adjustable to a range of cars, but checking (and double-checking) the fit for the car you plan to use to transport your bikes from place to place is priority number one in picking a bike rack.
- How many bikes will you generally be moving? Trunk-mounted bike racks are generally made to carry one, two, or three bikes, corresponding to a weight capacity. You can only hook one rack up at a time, so even if you usually bike alone, but sometimes bike with a companion—a larger size rack will better serve you.
- Where do you store your car, and where will you be storing the rack when not in use? Consider how frequently you’ll have the bike rack on your car—and where you park your car. If you park outdoors, you’ll need to account for the additional wear and tear on the rack. If you park in a garage, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle will fit with the added length of whichever bike rack you choose. For when the rack is off the car: Do you have garage or basement storage? The trunk? A closet? Knowing where you’ll be storing it can help you choose, so it’s not a source of madness.