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Why Are Bike Racks So Expensive (Answered)

Nowadays it is very easy to bring your cycles to your riding location using bike racks. Bike racks have made the lives of cycling enthusiasts a lot easier. There are many different types and styles of racks to suit everyone.

But you must be wondering why are bike racks so expensive? The simple answer is that there is a lot to choose from, you can opt for a hitch rack, rear-mounted, or roof-mounted rack depending on your needs.

Why are bike racks so expensive?

There are a few reasons why bike racks are expensive, these include production & manufacturing cost, materials used, engineering, and research that goes behind them. Companies are trying to implement more ease of use which in return bumps up the prices.

3 Reasons why bike racks are so expensive

There can be three major reasons behind the price rise of the bike racks. Let’s take a look at the factors:

Choice of Material:

The choice of material is very important as these racks will be carrying and holding.

These racks need to be just heavy enough to be able to withstand the weight of the bikes but not too heavy which might cause disturbances to the car while driving.

One of the most common choices of high-quality materials is aluminum, which is lightweight as well as sturdy.


The rack’s design needs to be done in such a way that it does not scratch or cause any disturbances to the vehicle it is attached to.

A lot of time and effort goes into the engineering behind the perfect design and their research. This requires a lot of work and research which gets very costly.


Since racks are an extension to your vehicle, it will get tedious to get different racks for carrying different things. Most racks are built in such a way that they are working as a multi-carry rack.

For example, most roof racks are designed to carry bikes, skis, snowboards, and cargo boxes. Because of this, the manufacturing and production costs of these specific types of racks increase.

How much do bike racks cost?

Bike racks can range from anywhere between 100$ to 500$ depending on the type of rack they are and their holding capacity. There are mainly three types of bike racks: Roof-mounted, rear-mounted, and hitch mount racks.

Roof-mounted racks:

The racks are on the expensive side. The prices range somewhere between 200$-500$. The reason for this is because these racks can not only carry multiple bikes but also cargo, snowboards, and so on.

One of the major reasons for such high prices is that the roof rack is designed in such a way that they do not hinder the speed of the vehicle it is attached to. Racks that are built to suit good aerodynamics get a bit pricey.

Hitch mounted racks:

These are also on the expensive side as these racks start at about 150$ and can go up to 500$. These racks are made for people who are frequent users.

These racks can hold up to five cycles depending on the rack capacity that has been chosen. Hitch mounted racks can be of two types:

  • Platform type– The cycles sit on a platform that is attached to the hitch on the back of the vehicle.
  • Hanging type- The cycles hang onto a single rack that is attached to the hitch. These are cheaper than the platform types but they also have less grip on the cycles.

Trunk mounted racks:

These racks are the cheapest among all the other types of racks. They range from 50$-200$ and are designed to rest on the trunk of the car it will be attached to.

It is secured in place by straps that hold the rack in place and stop it from moving. These racks are perfect for occasional and recreational users as they are lightweight and easy to install.

However, these are not ideal for users who are frequent travelers since these racks can only carry two to three bikes.

Each type of rack also comes with a different size of holding capacity. They can be 2 racks, 3 racks, and so on. As the size of the rack increases so does the price. The starting price of each type of rack is the singular holding capacity size.

How much should I spend on a bike rack? 

A bike rack can cost anything between 150$-500$. Everything comes down to what type of rack you are looking for. 

If you are a casual bike rider, going for a trunk-mounted rack would be ideal as it is the cheapest and easiest to install. Another good thing about trunk racks is that they are not permanently attached to your car, so you can just attach them when it is needed.

If you are looking for a rack that is sturdier and has a higher holding capacity, investing in a hitch or roof-mounted rack would be better.

Although these racks cost more than trunk racks, they are a better investment if you frequently need to travel with your cycles.

Hitch racks start at $150 which go up to $500+ as the rack capacity increases. Roof racks start from about $200 and can go up to $500 depending on the capacity and also whether it is designed to perform well for aerodynamics.

Are bike racks worth it?

Bike racks are a good investment if you are a cycling enthusiast and frequent rider. It makes traveling to and from your riding destination easier, especially if you are traveling in a group.

Having said that, you have to keep in mind that your safety lies in your hands. Improper installation can be very dangerous. It is very important to get the right track for your car’s specific model and get it installed professionally.

How much does it cost to make a bike rack?

Depending on the materials you choose, you can make a bike rack for $100! However, it might cost a bit more depending on the size of frame you want and also on the type of material you want to work with.

If you want to mount your cycle on the roof, you can find stainless steel dirtbags for around $15 at a hardware store and bolts for $6.

How to make a bike rack for a car?

You can make a bike rack by yourself using aluminum tubing for the frame, suction cups for feet, and sturdy eye bolts.

The mainframe that will be attached to the car can be made of aluminum tubing and to connect them, you can use eye bolts. Metal clasps can be attached to the area where the bikes will hang which hold on the bikes.

Another way you can mount your cycle on your roof without a rack is to attach a few dirtbags on your roof which can hold your bike in place.

If you already have a hitch receiver attached to your car, you can use your trailer as a bike carrier as well.

Nonetheless, you will need to do research and a lot of experimenting with sizes to check what suits your needs better.

How do you transport a bike without a rack?

You can easily transport a bike without a rack. You can take it inside your car; fold the passenger seats and lace the bike on the seats.

You can also mount it on your roof and hold it in place using cord straps so it is secured and does not move.

If you have a bigger car with a lot of trunk space, you can keep your cycle there while traveling. If you have multiple bikes, you can keep foam boards between each bike and lay one on top of the other.

Bike racks are a very convenient way of transporting one or multiple bikes. It is a good investment to make if you’re a frequent traveler and like cycling. Even though they do get a bit pricey, it is still a convenience for the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Does My Bike Rack Wobble?

Is it Bad to Hang a Bike By its Wheels?

Are Bike Racks Easy to Steal?

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Are Bike Racks Universal? Can They Go on Any Car?