9 Best Mountain Bike Roof Racks [2022 Review]

The best mountain bike roof rack enables you to carry your bike safely and securely without taking up premium space inside your car. However, with so much choice nowadays, how do you choose the best mountain bike roof rack for you and your vehicle?

We’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation and done the research for you. So if you are looking for the best mountain bike roof rack, read on to find out more.

Best Bike Roof Racks: Our Top Picks and What to Avoid

A roof mounted bike rack is a very versatile choice as many models can carry other outdoor gear such as kayaks, surfboards, camping gear, or storage boxes. Other advantages include the bikes don’t take up space in your trunk, you have all-round access to your vehicle, plus your rear view mirror isn’t blocked.

Some mountain bike roof racks attach to your car by using crossbars, and others use powerful suction cups. They also vary with how you load your bike – some require you to remove the front wheel, while others allow you to transport your mountain bike with both wheels on. Whichever your preference, the following are our top picks:

BrandModelTop AdvantageTop DisadvantagePrice
ThuleUprideOne of the easiest roof racks to useLocks are an additional $262.95Click to Check Price
ThuleThruRideFork mounted roof rack that is easy to loadThe front wheel needs removingClick to Check Price
YakimaHighRoadHolds 1 bike by its wheel, so there is no contact with the frameIs incompatible with front wheel mudguardsClick to Check Price
YakimaFront LoaderFits bikes with 20-29” diameter wheels and tires up to 3” wideNo locks included in the priceClick to Check Price
KuatTrio Roof Rack3 Way Mount – Fits 9, 12, 15, & 20 mm forksIs not compatible with some factory mounted roof racksClick to Check Price
SeaSuckerTalonNo need for roof bars or a roof rackReviews say that it does not fit all bikes or all carsClick to Check Price
RockyMountsTomahawkFits tires up to 5” wideNot for use with fender equipped bicyclesClick to Check Price
Rhino RackUniversal Roof RackEasy installationNeeds front wheel removalClick to Check Price
Rage PowersportsApexBudget-friendlyRattles when not in useClick to Check Price

Our top picks cover a range of different styles of mountain bike roof racks. The best mountain bike roof rack for you will depend on the size and shape of your car, the weight of your bike, how many bikes you want to carry, how easy it is to use, and the level of security you require.

How We Selected the Best Options: Our Results and Criteria

Our results and criteria for researching the best mountain bike roof racks is based on the following:

Brand Reputation

While searching for the best mountain bike roof racks, we take the brands reputation for quality products and customer service into consideration. A brand with a good reputation is more likely to be trusted and referred to by its customers, employees, and other interested parties.

Modular Design

With the modular design of the bike roof rack, we take a look at the quality of the different components, how easy it is to use, and whether they are designed to fit a wide variety of vehicles and bikes.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a mountain bike roof rack is extremely important. The average capacity for a mountain bike roof rack is 1 bike with a weight limit between 35-44lbs. When choosing the right bike rack for your needs, it’s important to know your bike’s weight so that you don’t end up buying one that is not compatible with your bike.

Customer Reviews Over A Multitude Of Sites

Customer reviews are so important these days. Studies show that up to 90% of customers will check online reviews before making a purchase. In addition, customer reviews help to build trust in a brand and give a reflection of how well a product performs or stands up. That’s why we take into consideration all customer reviews across a variety of sites, including Amazon, online bike and car accessory forums and online cycling magazines.

Ease Of Installation

We also take into consideration how easy a bike roof rack is to install. Bike roof racks generally come in 2 different types; either they clip onto an existing roof rack, or they attach using suction cups. Both have their pros and cons. However, as roof bike racks are not in anyone’s way and fold away easily, most people will leave a roof bike rack on their car permanently.

The Best Roof Bike Rack By Brand

There are many different brands of bike racks out there, but in this article, we are focusing on the best roof racks for mountain bikes. Some top brands, like Saris, focus on hitch or trunk bike racks only and so will not be included in this article. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t make good bike racks! 

So let’s take a look at the best brands for roof bike racks for your car.

Best Bike Roof Rack From Thule: America’s Staple Bike Rack Brand

Thule Upride

Advantages:

  • No frame contact so no need to worry about damage to your bike’s frame
  • Fits wheels from 20-29” in diameter and tires up to 3” wide, with no need to remove your front wheel

Disadvantages:

  • Like all bike roof racks, it requires over-head lifting
  • The locks are sold separately

This Thule Upride roof bike rack comes pre-assembled and is simple to install with its tool free installation – it literally takes less than 10 minutes. This rack is very versatile as it fits most wheel sizes, and an adapter is available to purchase for use with fatter tires. Just like all roof racks, you do need to lift your bike overhead, so it’s good for lower height vehicles and/or lighter weight bikes.

Type:Wheel mount
Weight:18.5lbs
Weight Capacity:44lbs per bike
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Aluminium

The Thule Upride is a quality roof bike rack that we have all come to expect from this brand. It’s simple to install, and once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy to load and off-load your bike. The distinctive ratcheting, 2 arm and hook system securely holds your bike by both the front and back wheels, which means there is no contact with your frame. Plus, it offers an extremely strong hold.

Does Thule make good bike roof racks?

Thule is a Swedish company that is synonymous with all kinds of car and roof bike racks and other outdoor adventure gear. The company offers a complete range of bike roof racks including wheel, fork or frame mounted racks. Thule has been making bike racks since 1992, and every Thule bike roof rack is designed for ease of use and to maximize the protection of your bike.

Best Bike Roof Rack From Yakima: California’s Finest

Yakima Highroad

Advantages:

  • Securely holds your bike with no frame contact
  • Easy to install and uninstall

Disadvantages:

  • Only fits wheel sizes from 26-29” so it’s not suitable for kids bikes or BMXs
  • Needs a roof rack with a crossbar spread between 18″ and 35″

While the Yakima Highroad is one of their premium bike roof racks and a new addition to their stable, it’s not as versatile as the Thule Upride. If you are looking to transport adult bikes, then it’s a good choice, especially if you don’t want any frame contact. The locking mechanism differs from the Thule as it uses a large clamp to grip the front tire instead of the two-arm system that Thule uses. However, it offers a secure ride which is just as stable as any other brand.

Type:Wheel mount
Weight:19lbs
Weight Capacity:Not specified
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Alloy steel

The Yakima Highroad is a quality roof bike rack that securely carries your bike with no contact with the frame. It works with different types of adult bikes and can accommodate tires up to 4” wide without having to purchase additional adapters. Installation and removal is super quick and easy, and loading and unloading your bikes is simple too. The Highroad features an integrated cable locking system, but if you want additional security, you can add SKS (Same Key System) locks which are sold separately.

Where are Yakima bike roof racks made?

While all Yakima products are designed at their headquarters in Lake Oswego, Oregon in the US, they have several manufacturing facilities worldwide. These include production plants in both Taiwan and mainland China, plus they build their cargo boxes and do a number of final fittings at their facility in Southern California. Most manufacturing of Yakima’s components, including their bike roof racks is done in Taiwan and China.   

Best Bike Roof Rack From Kuat: Best From Springfield

Kuat Trio Rack

Advantages:

  • Capable of carrying most model bikes
  • Comes with an integrated cable lock that secures both the frame and the rear wheel

Disadvantages:

  • It’s a fork mount rack which means you have to remove the front wheel to load your bike
  • Needs to be bolted on with 4 bolts that needs a special (included) tool for installation and removal

This is a sleekly designed bike roof rack that is one of the most versatile on the market. It is a fork mount bike rack, so you do need to remove your front wheel. However, despite this hassle, it’s still very quick and easy to use. Plus, the fork mount has the advantage that you don’t have to lift your bike so high to mount it on the roof of your vehicle.

Type:Fork mount
Weight:7lbs
Weight Capacity:Max 45lbs
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Not specified

The Kuat Trio Rack is a simple but well-designed fork mount roof rack that is compatible with the multiple axle standards found on modern bikes today. While this rack can be a bit time consuming to install or uninstall, we don’t consider this a problem as its unobtrusive design means that it can be left on your vehicle at all times. The Kuat Trio fits 9, 15, and 20mm forks, and the rear wheel is secured by using the ratcheting rear-wheel strap.

Best Bike Roof Rack From SeaSucker: Plug and Play… Quite Literally

SeaSucker Talon

Advantages:

  • No cross bar or roof rack required
  • Super easy to install the vacuum suction cups to strongly secure your bike

Disadvantages:

  • Can only transport 1 bike
  • There are no built-in security features making it easy for thieves to remove your bike

The SeaSucker Talon is a roof mounted bike rack that doesn’t require cross bars or a roof rack to install. Instead, it has 4 SeaSucker vacuum cups that have been rigorously ‘pull-tested’ to withstand a pull of 210 lbs. The company claims to be ‘the only American made rack at the Tour de France’ and is used in professional cycling races worldwide. 

Type:Fork mount
Weight:6lbs
Weight Capacity:Max 45lbs
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Metal

While the SeaSucker Talon is quite pricey, it does have the advantage that you don’t need a roof rack installed, so it saves you that extra expense. Instead of attaching to a roof rack, it uses 4 large suction cups to attach directly to the roof of your car. The cups are easy to install and feel surprisingly strong and stable. The SeaSucker is a fork mounted roof bike rack, so you do have to remove your front wheel, but loading and off-loading is quick and easy. If you have a vehicle that doesn’t fit a conventional bike roof rack, then the SeaSucker Talon is a very viable alternative.

Best Bike Roof Rack From RockyMounts: Tomahawk

Advantages:

  • Easy to load and unload, works with almost all bikes
  • Simply hook and secure the front/rear wheelstraps over the front wheel, avoiding any bike frame contact

Disadvantages:

  • The release button takes some strength
  • When it’s not in use, the rack rattles

With RockyMounts’ TomaHawk, roof rack owners can enjoy the convenience of hitch-mounted racks. Leaving the wheels on your bike is key here.

Almost all roof-mounted bike racks are fork mounts, so you have to take off your front wheel. It’s not a big deal, but it’s a hassle to store your front wheel, or worse, forget about it or back over it (not that that’s ever happened to me).

Type:Clamp mount
Weight:10lbs
Weight Capacity:30lbs
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Metal

You can load and unload bikes with ease, especially since RockyMounts include a little nub to tuck the wheel straps away. This is ingenious. They should win a prize.

You might be able to get it on sale right now. Check it out by clicking the button below.

Best Bike Roof Rack From RhinoRack: Universal Roof Rack

Advantages:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to install

Disadvantages:

  • Quite heavy
  • Have to remove front wheel

RhinoRack’s universal roof rack keeps your bike safely in place with a simple low-profile design. There are two cons, however: you have to remove the front wheel and find a place for it, and you have to buy the right roof rack insert.

Type:Fork mount
Weight:35lbs
Weight Capacity:80lbs
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Metal

It’s easy to use once you set it up. Interested? Click on the button below to check the price.

Best Bike Roof Rack From Rage Powersports: Apex

Advantages:

  • Budget-friendly

Disadvantages:

  • Lacks reliable user reviews

We’re down to the worst item on this list, and though I’d rather tell you to avoid it, let’s at least get to know its specs. The Rage Powersports Apex is a cheap and ok quality roof bike rack. It’s a little bulky and gives a little drag on your SUV during travel. It also rattles when not in use – according to one user review on Amazon.

Type:Fork mount
Weight:10lbs
Weight Capacity:30lbs
Number Of Bikes:1
Material:Metal

I guess the only upside to this roof bike rack is that it’s seriously cheap. But, you know what they say; buy cheap, buy twice. Still interested? Click the button down below to check it out.

Summary: Our Final Results and Picks for the Best Mountain Bike Roof Racks Racks Per Section

Too many to choose from? Let’s narrow it down to the best of the best. Here are our top 3 picks for the best mountain bike roof racks:

BrandModelWhy We Like ItLink to Purchase
Best OptionThuleUprideHas the best features all aroundClick to Check Price
Best ValueYakimaFrontloaderSafe, secure, and comes with a warrantyClick to Check Price
Cheapest Recommended OptionSeasuckerTalonLiterally plug and playClick to Check Price

There are clearly a lot of bike roof racks for mountain bikes in the market, so we’ve listed our top picks for each category. Click the link on the bike roof rack that you’re most interested in to check the price because, you never know, it may be on sale at this time of year!

How safe are SeaSucker bike roof racks?

Yes, SeaSucker bike roof racks are safe. While SeaSucker bike racks break with tradition, they use incredible strong vacuum cups to secure your bike to the roof of your car. These suction or vacuum cups have been rigorously tested for their strength. However, just like any gear, failures can happen. But the SeaSucker bike roof racks do come with yellow indicators to tell you if the cups are losing suction. On long journeys, and for piece of mind, you would be wise to check the cups regularly. While they might be a bit unconventional, they do get many positive reviews.

How fast can you drive with a SeaSucker bike roof rack?

Believe it or not, SeaSucker bike roof racks have been tested on a Nascar race track with speeds of up to 140 mph without any problems. You should be able to drive at reckless speeds with your bike stuck firmly to your roof. But obviously, this is a bit extreme. As with any roof mounted bike rack, the air flow and fuel economy will be affected. It’s advisable to take things slowly and at least stick to the legal speed limits within your state.

Should I Get a 2, 3, or 4 Bike Roof Rack?

Generally, bike roof racks only carry one bike at a time, but they can be combined to carry between 1-4 bikes on top of your vehicle (depending on the size or width of your car). 

Whether you should get 2 racks to carry 2 bikes (or more) is entirely up to you. However, things to take into consideration include how many bikes you want to transport, how often you want to transport more than 1 bike, plus any extra bikes will affect the aerodynamics and fuel economy of your vehicle.

Best Roof Bike Rack For SUVs: How Can You Tell?

You can tell which roof bike rack is best for your SUV based on the height of the bikes on the rack. If you have a tall vehicle like an SUV then the best mountain bike roof racks are the fork mounted racks where you have to remove the front wheel before securing your bike. Removing the front wheel lowers the overall height of your bike on the top of your car, which is great for SUVs. It also makes the bikes lighter and easier to load, and it’s the classic way of transporting bikes on your roof.

Can I put 4 bikes on a roof rack?

Yes, virtually all modern vehicles are capable of carrying 4 bikes on a roof rack. However, this will depend on the width of your car and the quality of your roof rack. All roof bike racks attach to a cross bar system that fits across the width of your car. While roof bike racks only fit one bike, you can combine many single roof bike racks as long as you don’t exceed the width or the carrying capacity of your roof rack.

Summary: Our Final Results and Picks for the Best Mountain Bike Roof Racks Racks Per Section

I know we have this back above. But just to make sure you get one of the best mountain bike roof racks this year., here are our top 3 favorites:

BrandModelWhy We Like ItLink to Purchase
Best OptionThuleUprideHas the best features all aroundClick to Check Price
Best ValueYakimaFrontloaderSafe, secure, and comes with a warrantyClick to Check Price
Cheapest Recommended OptionSeasuckerTalonLiterally plug and playClick to Check Price

There are clearly a lot of bike roof racks for mountain bikes in the market, so we’ve listed our top picks for each category. Click the link on the bike roof rack that you’re most interested in to check the price because, you never know, it may be on sale at this time of year!

If you’ve already picked your best mountain bike roof rack option, why not find out more about how to handle your new roof rack? Like How do you lift a bike on a roof rack?