How Many Bikes Can Fit on a Roof Rack?

So you’re looking for the best mountain bike roof rack, or maybe you’ve already bought one. But now you want to push it to its limit.

With questions like, “How many bikes can fit on a roof rack?”, and “is your bike rack safe to use?” It’s natural to be worried. But worry not, we’ve got all the answers below. 

How Many Bikes Can Fit on a Roof Rack?

Although this depends mainly on the model, you can find bike racks that can fit up to 4 bikes on them. Mostly, rooftop racks carry 4, but some models are only able to accommodate 1 or two. On the other hand, some special models or updated racks can carry up to 5 and 6 too.

A very big part of how many bikes can fit on a roof rack is the weight of the bikes themselves. Manufacturers do tell you how many bikes you can carry, but they assume your bikes to be about 35 pounds. If your bike is heavier than this, you would need to mount fewer bikes than the manufacturer allows. Otherwise, you would exceed the rack’s combined weight limit—which varies from model to model—and risk it collapsing. 

Additionally, your roof’s weight capacity also requires consideration. You would need to account for not only the weight of the bikes but also the rack. 

Can I Put 4 Bikes on a Roof Rack?

Yes, you can easily find bike racks that can carry four bikes at a time. However, not every model will be able to bear this weight. In fact, some models may not even have the equipment to mount 4 bikes at once. 

Check the rack’s features for its combined weight limit, and the number of bikes it can carry. Finally, you should definitely be prepared for a rack like this to be both heavier and more expensive. Check out our guide to the best mountain bike roof racks for the best haulers. 

Can You Put Three Bikes on a Roof Rack?

Yes, you can put three bikes on some roof racks. Most bike racks have a capacity of up to four bikes, so you can easily carry three bikes on them. Just make sure your roof has the capacity to accommodate a rack this big. 

Are Roof Racks Safe for Bikes?

Normally, yes, roof racks are perfectly safe for bikes. However, there are some situations that can prove to be problematic. The biggest is forgetting you have a bike on top of your car and driving into a garage or something. Bikes are strapped upright on the roof, which causes problems in low-clearance areas. 

Additionally, strapped on the roof, the bikes are subject to very strong air pressure. This can not only damage the bike but also decrease your speed and affect gas mileage. You would need to drive slower to minimize the drag your car faces. 

Finally, roof racks are not the safest choice for long-distance traveling. In addition to the gas mileage issue, a roof rack will cause your bike to catch a lot of debris on the road. Given that bikes can cost thousands, this really isn’t the best way to carry them.

Also read: Can You Mount Bike in Roof Basket?