Is a Trunk Bed Bike Rack Right for You?

Your bike is an excellent way to get from A to B. It gives you the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in style. Plus, your bike is a wonderful tool for exercise too. Unfortunately, there are going to be times when you’ll need to transport your bike on a vehicle to get to your destination faster.

If you need to drive to a specific trail before you start riding, it’s important to have the right hitch or bike rack system to connect the bike frame to your vehicle. The right solution will keep your bike safe while also ensuring you’re not exposing yourself to any additional danger on the road.

A trunk mounted rack can be particularly valuable for people who don’t have a great deal of roof space or individuals concerned about the height implications of standing their bike on the roof of their car.

So, how do you know if you should be using trunk bicycle racks?

Bestselling Trunk Bed Bike Rack for 2021

SaleBestseller No. 1
Bushwhacker Portland - Bike Rack Dog, Grocery and Goods Carrier - Bicycle Pannier Crate Cycling Basket Trunk Bag Rear Bed Storage Leash Carry Cargo Pet Commuter Behind Seat Accessories Ebike (Small)
  • The Bushwhacker Dog Pet and Grocery Carrier is designed with taking your pet or items along on your rides.
  • Constructed with 600 denier polyester fabric and high density plastic provides solid side walls and a sturdy base, creating a safe durable ride for your pet or items.
Bestseller No. 2
Swagman PICKUP Fork Mount Bike Rack, Stainless Steel, Black
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE: The PICKUP has a telescoping bar ensures quick and easy no-drilling installation and adjusts to fit many truck bed sizes. The rubber end pads help to grip your bed rails and prevent scratches and abrasions
  • WORRY FREE SECURITY: Bikes are secured on the fork mount blocks. These blocks include 9mm Quick Release skewers that anchor and secure your bikes to the rack.

Why a Trunk Bike Carrier?

Unlike a roof bike rack, your trunk rack will conveniently attach to your trunk lid, keeping your bikes tucked away safely at the back of your car. These devices often come with soft coated hooks to protect a bike’s finish, as well as straps to keep your bike frames from drifting away from the car.

There are various kinds of trunk racks available today, from those designed for premium bike protection to basic bike carrier models. A trunk mounted bike rack holds your bike against your car’s bumper or hatch, and it’s a great choice if:

  • You don’t have a hitch rack or crossbars on your vehicle, and you don’t want them.
  • A roof rack wouldn’t be practical for passing through tunnels and under bridges
  • You don’t like the idea of having a hitch mounted bike rack on your car.
  • You don’t use your car bike rack very regularly
  • Your spare tire or plastic spoilers won’t get in the way of your rack

The Benefit of a Trunk Bed Bike Rack

Most cycling enthusiasts agree that a trunk mount rack is a good investment for recreational cyclists. Most of the time, these simple products work well with a range of vehicles because the fit is adjustable. You can speedily fasten bike frames to your car or hatchbacks when traveling with family and friends.

A trunk mount bike rack is usually lightweight, highly portable, and easy to store when you’re not using it. You don’t need to keep the rack always connected to your car or rear spoiler. With some practice, it’s easy to just mount and remove your rack whenever you choose.

Trunk bike rack products are a great option if you don’t have a hitch system on the roof of your vehicle and you don’t want to add a frame yourself. They don’t require you to make any adjustments to your car, and they’re perfect if you’re only transporting one or two bikes.

Most trunk racks are designed for two bikes maximum, as you can’t attach too much weight to the rear of your car.

Can You Open Your Trunk with a Bike Rack On it?

A trunk mounted bike rack can have a lot of benefits for the right customer. However, there are some downsides too. For instance, once your trunk rack is attached to the vehicle, you can’t open the trunk. If you’re going to need to access your trunk when you’re carrying your bike rack, it might be better to use a different kind of roof hitch and strap system.

You should also note that a trunk-based bike rack relies heavily on the anti-sway straps being attached correctly. It’s crucial to ensure that the rubber-coated cradles and straps of your rack are secured correctly, or your bikes may shift during your drive.

Another possible problem is that trunk bike racks can make it harder to lock bikes directly to your vehicle. This might be something to keep in mind if you’re worried about security.

How do you attach a bike rack to the trunk?

Modern bike rack designs often come with a simple setup process that makes it easy to attach your bike to your vehicle. Whether you’re using a Yakima bike rack or a Hollywood rack, follow the instructions provided by your manufacturer. The installation of a Thule bike rack, for instance, can differ greatly from a Yakima bike rack.

After reading the instructions provided by the manufacturer, check your vehicle compatibility. Ideally, you should ensure that your car can accept a trunk bike rack before you order anything. Does your car have a spoiler, for instance? Many racks are designed to work around them, but you’ll need to keep this in mind when shopping for the right product.

Consider the rear panel or bumper of the vehicle, where the grippy rubber feet of the rack should rest. Is this section strong enough to support the load of one or two bikes? Think carefully about the strength of your bike and how that will affect the performance. Once you’re ready:

  • Follow the instructions provided: Follow the instructions given by your rack manufacturer. If you have any issues, contact the company directly.
  • Triple-check: No matter what kind of bike rack you’re using, you’ll need to ensure everything is secure. Check the rack several times over and make sure you’re confident about driving with this frame on your rear.
  • Be aware of the rack: Be aware of where you have your bike rack. Whether you're using a trunk mount bike rack, a hitch, or carrying on your roof, the extra product will change your vehicle's dimensions. When using a rear-mounted bike rack, give yourself plenty of room when reversing.
  • Maintain the rack: Whether you’re using Thule’s raceway bike rack or a Yakima rear frame, regular maintenance is essential. Clean the mount contact points frequently to avoid scratches on your bike’s finish and your car.
  • Protect your car: If you do notice your trunk bike rack rubbing against a certain part of your car, protect that space using paint protection film or painter’s tape. Find the spot where the rack is rubbing against the car and apply paint or painter’s tape.

Are Trunk Bike Racks Safe?

Your trunk bike rack or roof hitch should be safe enough if you know how to install it correctly. Do your research in advance and make sure that your chosen product will work well with your sedan or SUV. Some trunk bike racks don’t have the largest vehicle compatibility. Other points to keep in mind when improving your safety include:

  • Be careful with straps: Ensure each strap is tight and secure, and don’t throw the edges around carelessly. Some straps have metal edges that can scratch your car’s paint.
  • Retighten after loading your bikes: Some slack often develops in the lower straps after adding the bike, so tighten them again.
  • Turn the pedal: On the first bike you load, turn the pedal to rest on your license plate rather than your vehicle’s paint.
  • Remember exhaust pipes: Check that your bike tire isn’t too close to the exhaust pipe, as the heat can melt your tire.
  • Check rear window wipers: Some trunk racks can interfere with the operation of rear windshield wipers. If your vehicle has an automatic wiper, then a roof bike hitch might be better for you.

Are Trunk Bike Racks Universal?

Trunk bike racks work well with a lot of cars and bicycles, but they’re not universally compatible. You may struggle to find a bike rack that works well with a tandem bicycle, for instance.

When determining compatibility, consider how many bikes you’re going to be carrying. Usually, three is the maximum. The type of bike is important too. For example, a rack like Thule's passage rear rack trunk rack will work best with standard frames. This means a large frame and a horizontal crossbar that allows the arms of the rack to fit easily in the frame.

Bikes with alternative frames might not work well with the bike arm on a trunk rack. Keep this in mind before you begin buying any products.

A large spoiler might be an issue with some vehicles too. Vehicle spoilers can sometimes get in the way of a bike rack and stop it from settling properly against your car. Many racks are designed to work around spoilers these days, however.

Do Bike Carriers Scratch a Car?

It is possible for your bike rack to scratch your vehicle. This is true of roof mounted bike racks and receiver hitch technology alike. However, if you’re careful, you can protect your investment. Trunk-mounted racks usually use foam pads to rest against the car, and you can add painters’ tape and other protective layers to save your paint job.

Check that your bike rack's pads aren't resting against any dirt or debris that could rub against the paint, and regularly clean the connection points.

Remember that trunk mounted bike racks can also harm your vehicle if the bikes aren’t fully secured with the straps provided. If the bike can move even slightly, it can also rub against your vehicle's paint when you drive. Triple-check all connections before you begin your journey to make sure everything is secure.