How to Choose the Best Bike Racks for Your Road Trip in SanDiego

Author: Sonali

So, you have worked in exhaustion to find the right gear for your dream road trip to San Diego & you don’t want to take any chances. Right??? You want your bike to work perfectly all through the road trip without making you feel stranded and not getting enough time to have fun with everyone else on the trip. 


While some people are lucky enough to ride their bike from point A to Z, most bikers and particularly mountain bikers have to juggle between driving and riding their bike. This will obviously mean that — this group of bikers would need a bike rack, in fact, the best bike rack so they can carry their bikes safely. Bike racks are truly one of those top travel accessories for travelers, particularly for road trippers. Car bike racks are available in the market in different designs & you can find one compatible with the size & shape of your vehicle. 


This is your dream road trip to San Diego and you cannot afford to make any mistakes. Choosing the right bike rack that serves the purpose that you can trust can safely hold your bike is an essential part of planning this road trip to San Diego. 


San Diego is all about plenty of natural wonders, stunning mountains, quirky roadside attractions & amazingly dramatic topography. From HIGHWAY 101 to HIGHWAY 80 and HIGHWAY 79— there are a lot of things for the road trippers to discover. Be it a short weekend getaway you wish to make it for or a longer road trip on a long weekend, you need the right bike rack to make sure your favorite bike is safe. 

Picking the wrong bike rack can be a real erroneous attempt— and can ruin your entire long-distance road trip in San Diego. We’ve taken all factors into consideration to help you get the right bike rack. In this article, we’ve compiled everything to find the best bike for your next road trip in San Diego so you don’t feel stranded at the crossroads. 


How to Pick the best Bike rack for your next road trip to San Diego:


This is going to solve most of your issues on how to plan road trips where you are able to carry your bike safely in your car. So you’re in good shape, if you can take the wheels off, read to know more:


Factors You Need to Consider before Picking a Car Rack:


Know the no. of bikes you are carrying: Before you start with making a selection of a bike rack, you must know what is the no. of bikes you’ll be carrying along. Besides, you should also know in advance, what activities you are going to do and how much you’ll be carrying on this road trip in San Diego. You can choose a versatile system particularly when you know, there are chances, you’ll be adding more gear over time. This will save you money!


Know Model of the Vehicle: So, of course, you’ll need to buy a car rack that will fit your bike— this will need you to have an idea of what model, you’ll be carrying— SUV, Sedan, or any other. You can refer to the vehicle guides to determine what bike rack will work for you. 


Know if your Vehicle is Outfitted: Is your vehicle already equipped with a receiver trailer hitch or roof crossbars— if yes, what size it is? If not, you need to get them installed. 


Types of Bike Car Racks


You can find a variety of bike racks — and each of them will have pros and cons, you’ll need to consider as per your requirements. The most common differentiator is how they are going to hold your bike and how they’ll connect to your car— via roof rack, the trailer hitch, or straps. Let’s take a look at different types of bike racks:


 Bike Rack Designs  Pros  Cons
1. Tray or Platform Style Hitch Bike Racks Easy to load Requires trailer hitch
  Small impact on gas mileage Can’t fit all wheel sizes and widths
2. Rooftop Mounted Bike Racks Cheaper than other styles of racks Need to remove the front wheel and store it inside the car
  Don’t need a trailer hitch Need to lift your bike overhead
  Works on sedans and other low ground clearance cars Only transports one bike
3. Vertical Hanging Bike Racks Relatively low impact on fuel economy & High capacity Some are only compatible with suspension forks
  Hold bikes closer to a car than high-capacity tray racks Expensive
4. Hatchback, Sedan & Trunk Bike Racks Relatively inexpensive & Easy to remove from the car Not as secure as other types of racks
  Can fit a wide variety of vehicles Can’t fit mountain bikes and unusual frame shapes
5. Horizontal Arm Hitch Racks High capacity Can’t fit mountain bikes, or unusual frame shapes
  Can fit kids bikes Contacts frame


Let’s take a look at these six types of car racks you can choose from for your road trip to San Diego. Here we go:


1. Tray Style Hitch Bike Racks



Tray-style bike racks are among the most common bike racks— and there is the reason for that— they work well and are comfortable. They can be loaded easily and you don’t really need to hold your bike over the head. Besides, they won’t have any huge impact on your fuel economy. Most tray-style racks are designed to carry two bikes, however, you can also find those models that will carry one bike or four. 


2. Rooftop Mounted Bike Racks



Most road trip enthusiasts already fit in crossbars on roofs on the rooftop of their cars, where they put their kayaks, ski & other gear— with Rooftop Mounted Bike Racks, you can also add your bike to this list. Rooftop Mounted Bike Racks are cheaper than other types of bike racks and the best thing is you can use them without a trailer hitch. They are available in both upright & fork mount designs. These racks have a huge impact on your fuel economy. 


3. Vertical Hanging Bike Racks



Vertical hanging bike racks were built for mountain bikes initially but nowadays they are designed in a way to work with all types of bikes & road trips. They consist of a mast that extends from the trailer hitch and a crossbar where you hang your bike. While some of these bike racks have a tray that holds the wheels others hold on to a suspension fork. Vertical Hanging Bike Racks that consist of a tray are the most versatile ones and they can hold almost any wheel size. These racks are most ideal for holding many bikes. 


4. Trunk Bike Racks



Trunk bike racks can be strapped onto the trunk of your car and they don’t need any trailer hitch. If you are on a budget-friendly road trip, they are the best thing for you— Trunk Bike Racks are the cheapest of all the bike racks. Most of these types of bike racks will hold your bike from its top tube, which makes it difficult to transport mountain bikes— so be informed if you are gearing up to carry one. It is important to set them up correctly as they are just held on with straps. We’ll recommend if you are going to be transporting your bike numerous times, consider some other type of bike racks. 


5. Horizontal Arm Hitch Racks



The Horizontal Arm Hitch Racks are built with horizontal arms that hold your bike by the top tube throughout your road trip. They can hold on to more than bikes and they are perfect if you are carrying a traditional bike frame that has a flat top tube. But they are not ideal for carrying mountain bikes with any unusual shapes. With these racks, the chances of scuffing & rubbing are high as they work by contacting the frame. 


Other Factors to Consider when Choosing Bike Rack


1. Ease of Loading & Unloading: Ease of loading & unloading is obviously an important consideration, you cannot do without. Before getting any bike rack, it is essential to make sure you can easily take your bike on & off. For instance, in the case of Roof racks, you have to literally lift the bike all the way over your head— imagine how uncomfortable this will make you.  Tray-style hitch racks will be easiest in terms of loading & unloading on a road trip to San Diego. 


2. Security & Locks: You don’t want your costly bike to get stolen or see it splattered on the highway? Right?? Before getting the final deal done for your bike rack make sure the rack offers a built-in lock to ensure that the bike stays on the rack or can’t be stolen off the rack while you are driving through an adventurous road trip. Go for one that can be securely attached to your car!


3. Trunk Access: There are many bike racks in the market that provide access to the trunk even when the bike is loaded over and there are those that are designed in a way that does not allow trunk access. So, before buying a bike rack make sure that you would like to access the trunk or not all through your road trip to San Diego.  


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