Skip to Content

How Fast Can You Drive with a Bike Rack? (Quick Answers)

The benefits of cycling are without a doubt countless. It positively affects both our body and mind. But it can be difficult to find trails suitable for cycling nearby for people living in cities.

When visiting any trail far away from the city you need to use either a truck or a bike rack to safely transport your bike.

But using bike racks on your car can come with its own set of challenges. Let’s find out if it will specifically cause any changes on how fast or slow you can drive your car.

How fast can you drive with a bike rack?

The speed of your vehicle will depend on a few factors if you have a bike rack attached to it. The weight of your bike rack, where it’s fitted, and if it is fitted correctly. And also, whether your bikes are mounted on the rack. But any car driving with a bike rack is advised to stay within 75 MPH.

Bike racks are commonly attached to the rear of the vehicle or on top of the roof. When it is mounted at the back, it doesn’t slow down the car much but racks mounted on the roof tend to slow the speed of the vehicle a little.

But the speed loss is considerably more when the racks have bikes loaded on them. 

The vehicle’s model and size can also change the speed. A smaller car with less horsepower will move slower with the added weight. Similarly, the brand and size of both bikes and bike racks matter here as the different brands have differences in size, shape, and weight.

How fast can you drive with a hitch bike rack?

Hitch bike racks come in both platform style and also hanging cradle style. They are usually attached as extensions to the rear end of a vehicle. They can carry up to five bikes.

As the model is designed to fit more bikes, it becomes harder to drive fast with a hitch bike rack and it also sometimes sways when it is fully loaded. Cars with hitch bike racks may have to maintain a speed limit of 65 MPH.

How fast can you drive with a trunk bike rack?

Trunk bike users are advised to stay below 55 MPH even though they are generally lighter compared to other options since they are designed to carry only two to three bikes and it is also portable.

This also helps prevent the vehicle from slowing down which can be caused by too much additional weight.

How fast can you go with a roof rack?

Roof racks can be a good choice as they stay out of the way. But a speed limit of 80 MPH should be maintained.

As they can cause wind noise and wind resistance as the air hits the roof racks. This increases the aerodynamic of the car which means you will be able to drive faster but with a minor negative effect on the gas mileage.

How fast can you drive with soft racks?

Soft racks are normally small and lightweight. Even after loading them up to their maximum capacity they don’t put too much extra weight on the car. However, when travelling with soft racks; it is best to drive within 80 MPH.

How fast can you drive with a Thule bike rack?

When driving with a bike rack, it is always advised to be mindful of the speed depending on the weight of the load mounted on the bike rack, road condition, wind condition and also how intense the traffic is. 

Thule advises its customers to drive no faster than 90 MPH. It is advised to not cross the speed limits provided by different bike rack brands as they have found the perfect speed limit through tests and trials.

But sometimes the speed limit in the area you are driving may be well below the ones advised by brands.

How to drive with a bike rack?

Driving with bike racks can seem tough if you are a beginner but some tips can help make the experience a whole lot smoother.

Invest in a high-quality bike rack:

It is better to invest in a high quality bike rack rather than dabble in cheaper options as you need something that will be able to hold your bikes properly.

And if you are thinking of travelling a long distance, go for a hitch rack instead of trunk racks. Hitch racks are much more suited for long distance drives.

Strap it properly:

Follow the instructions from the manual and secure the bike rack and bike properly to the car.

Double check:

After you have loaded up your bikes and strapped it. After driving for 10-15 minutes, see if any parts are making noise or wobbling. And fix it to prevent it from getting worse.

Speed maintenance:

When you begin driving, start slow. When you don’t hear any rattling or suspicious sound you may speed up gradually. But do not go over the recommended speed limit.

Is there a speed limit with a bike rack?

It is necessary to be mindful of how fast you’re driving with a bike rack attached to your car. Bike racks come with different speed limits that should not be exceeded, depending on their brand.

Different brands will provide different speed limits that need to be followed depending on the bike rack and number of bikes it can hold.

But the standard speed limit to maintain while driving with a bike rack is 70-80 MPH. Following this will reduce the risk of damage to your car and bike and also the risk of accidents.

Is it safe to drive on the highway with a bike rack?

Driving long distances on the highway can be challenging and it is essential to be precautious while making the journey.  There is usually less traffic on the highway, this makes the urge to drive fast way too enticing to resist. 

But driving too fast on the highway with a bike rack attached can make the bikes rattle against one another. This can sometimes cause the paint to be scraped off of the bikes and car. Rattling against each other may even result in the straps loosening.

This can be very dangerous as it carries the risk of the bike falling off the bike rack. This would completely wreck the bike and also there is a chance of colliding with other vehicles.

Driving on the highway with bike racks can be safe as long as you stay within the speed limit and also if you keep the traffic in mind.

How do I take my bike on a road trip?

If you are travelling with a truck or a car with a lot of free space. You can just load your bike inside the vehicle. This way the weight won’t affect your driving too much and also your bike will be protected from rain, snow or heat. 

But in case that isn’t a viable option. Look for bike racks that will be compatible with both your car and bike. And follow the instructions on the bike rack manual on how to secure the bike rack and bike correctly to avoid mishaps while driving.

Also don’t forget to pack essentials you need for cycling like tire pump, oil for the chain, helmets and gloves. 

How far can a bike rack stick out?

Hitch racks are usually attached to the rear end of a vehicle which add length to the car. Hitch racks can usually hold up to two to five bikes. So, they don’t stick out more than about 4 to 5 feet.

However, laws in some places forbids people from attaching anything to the rear axle that exceeds 15 feet which is more than enough when traveling with bike racks.

Also, there are parking rules that need to be followed when driving a car with an extended rear. For example, the vehicle should not be parked somewhere without leaving available roadway for traffic. 

Are bike racks safe?

Bike racks when used properly by following the instructions precisely and driving at a moderate speed is perfectly safe.

But things like finding the best bike rack for your car or the bike you want to transport are crucial. Proper precautions are necessary to protect the paint of both the bikes and car and also to avoid accidents while driving.

Bike racks are a handy and safe way to transport multiple bikes at once if you can manage to be vigilant about things like how tightly the bike racks and bikes are secured, the speed you are going at and also if you anticipate the distance while backing up a car with hitch racks or crossing low tunnels while driving with roof racks.

It might be difficult to maneuver the car with added weight and length at the beginning but after a few trips you will no doubt be a complete pro at it!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold?

How Many Bikes Can a Bike Rack Hold?

Why Are Bike Racks So Expensive?

Why Does My Bike Rack Wobble?

Is it Bad to Hang a Bike By its Wheels?