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Are Bike Racks Universal? Can They Go on Any Car? (Answered)

Bike racks are one of the most effective options to take bikes on trips and vacations, right? It can make your long-distance cycling experience smoother.

Do you want to add a bike rack to your car, and are you wondering if they fit on any car? Let’s break down all your queries one by one.

Are bike racks universal?

Bike racks are adjustable but not universal. By following the product’s manual and with a few modifications, anyone can easily mount a bike rack to any car. A specific type of bike rack fits better on a particular type of car, providing more ease while loading and unloading the bike.

The bike racks are not universal because there are types of bike racks that won’t perfectly fit on a car. For example, the hitch racks won’t fit on a smaller car without any adjustments or extra straps.

Do bike racks fit all cars?

The bike racks don’t necessarily fit all cars. Some types of bike racks go particularly well on a specific type of car. So, getting the right rack for the car will provide you the best experience.

Which rack will be the best choice mainly depends on what car you are willing to mount it on. To guarantee a perfect fit, simply buy the appropriate kind and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

There are numerous types of bike racks available in the market for you to choose from. These include hitch mount bike racks, roof mount bike racks, trunk mount bike racks, and spare tire mount bike racks.

Among the various types of bike racks available, a roof mount bike rack works best on small cars, and hitch mount bike racks fit best on trucks and SUVs. However, how securely it is attached depends on your mounting process.

That being said, the width of all cars is the same, and the trunk of most of them is almost similar as well. As a result, all types of bike racks might fit on any car by adding a few more straps and making some adjustments. However, this is not recommended for long trips.

Do bike racks fit all bikes?

A bike rack will rarely fit every type of bike. Most bike racks have the ability to attach road bikes and mountain bikes, sometimes even the BMX. The one type of bike that you won’t fit on your bike rack is typically the fat bike.

However, you won’t usually go on a trip with a fat bike in your car, right? So in that sense, the bike racks fit all regular-sized bikes.

What are the different types of bike racks and how do they fit on a car?

There are different types of bike racks available in the market. The type of the bike rack is basically determined by the part of the car where it is mounted.

Here are the different types of bike racks that you can choose from:

Roof mounted bike racks

Roof racks are available for practically all full-sized cars. They are even available for SUVs and minivans. As the name implies, a roof rack attaches to the top of your car, a place that is rarely used.

It is one of the most preferred types of bike racks for the vast majority of cyclists. This is due to the fact that it is most convenient when you are not riding the bike on a trip, which is the bulk of the time.

With this type of cycle rack, you will have uninterrupted access to your cars’ trunk. This sort of rack won’t require you to install and unmount it only to put up your weekly shopping.

Another benefit of roof racks is that it doesn’t obstruct road visibility. Since they will be on the roof of your car, you won’t have to unmount them after coming back from a trip.

The capacity of roof racks is another advantage. Since the roof-mounted bike racks are mounted on the roof of the car, its width is similar to the car’s width.

Most roof racks can hold up to four bicycles, which is adequate for the entire family, because they may be as broad as your car.

Hitch mounted bike racks

To attach a hitch mount bike rack to your car, you will need a 1.25″ or 2″ receiver. If the hitch is capable of bearing the load of the bikes, the hitch mount bike racks might be a very practical solution for long trips.

These racks attach to the rear trailer hitch and provide you easy access to your bikes without any issues. They are very easy to set up and use.

The hitch-mounted bike racks are one of the most versatile types of bike racks. They are basically offered in two categories: hanging and platform.

In the hanging racks, the bikes are slung by their frames and held in position with velcro or rubber straps. They are quite compact and cost-effective.

The bike tires sit in a tray in the platform-style bike racks, similar to that of an upright roof rack. Its secure tray system reduces the chance of bike-to-bike collision during transportation.

Trunk mount bike racks

The most simple and cost-effective method for carrying bikes on cars while traveling is by using the trunk mount bike racks. With these racks, you can easily get to the bikes and unmount them with medium lifting.

The trunk-mounted bike racks fit onto the car using four to six metal hooks with rubber pads, which push the rack against the trunk to support it. They can accommodate up to three bikes.

Are there universal bike racks?

Although not every type of bike rack is universal, there are particular models of bike racks that are universal. The manufacturer of those units ensured that they fit every type of car.

The universal bike rack models will fit on any car, no matter what the cars’ brand is. In fact, it will fit on all cars without any adjustments.

How to fit a universal bike rack?

The most common universal bike racks are the trunk-mounted ones because most cars have the same-sized trunks.

Let’s take a look at how you will be able to install a universal bike rack.

Unpack your rack and look into the manual

First, unpack your rack with caution so that you don’t scratch its body or lose any bolts.

Every brand and style of rack is different, so make sure you follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Universal bike racks are generally simple to install, but it’s a good idea to go over the directions beforehand.

Wrap the straps around the sides of the trunk

Straps are usually seen on the sides, top, or bottom of trunk-mounted racks. Fold the tip of your trunk over the edge where your trunk ends and attach each strap to the matching side.

Adjust the rack

Slide the rack across your trunk to reposition it so that the pads that rest on your car are cantered. Tighten each strap by adjusting the slide or tugging on the clasp.

Once you have done that, you can pick up your cycle and mount it on the rack.

What type of bike rack is best?

Which type of bike rack will be best for you depends on your personal preference and the type of car you are going to attach it to. While choosing the best bike rack, you should consider the price, security, trunk access, and more.

That being said, the rooftop mounted bike racks are usually the best types of racks for cars because they are quite cheap and don’t block the driver’s view. It also provides utmost security while driving and provides full access to the trunks.

How do I choose a bike rack for my car?

To choose a high-quality bike rack, you will need to consider a few special factors. The security and lock of the bike rack are some of the most vital features to consider because they will keep your bike safe from getting stolen and falling from the rack.

A few other crucial factors that need your attention are the ease of loading and unloading, trunk access, and frame contact. By checking all these factors, you can purchase a top-notch bike rack.

What is the easiest bike rack to use?

The most effortless bike rack to use is the roof-mounted bike racks. This is because you can just leave it attached even after coming back from a trip.

This type of bike rack also provides uninterrupted access to the trunk, and it can hold up to four bikes. In addition to that, it also won’t obscure your view while driving.

Are Thule bike racks universal?

The Thule bike racks are usually universal because they fit on any type of car. In addition, they offer no frame contact, so your car will remain safe from any scratches. It also ensures fast and secure mounting for all types of bikes.

The regular bike racks will fit on any type of car with slight modification and adjustments. However, few specific models are universal and can be installed on any car.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Bike Racks Waterproof?

Are Bike Racks Worth It?

Do Bike Racks Need a Hitch Ball?

Do Bike Racks Need Lights?

Can You Open The Trunk with The Bike Rack?