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What to Consider Before Stocking Bicycle Racks

A bicycle on a bike rack behind a white car

For people who enjoy combining their outdoor adventures with a little cycling, bike racks are a necessity. Not only do they allow transportation of multiple bikes over long distances, but are also designed in a way that protects the bike from potential damage.

Given that many consumers cherish their bikes, it’s essential that businesses consider how the products they provide will tick the boxes of what a reliable bike rack should be in 2024. Here, we’ll detail everything you need to know.

Table of Contents
The bike rack market outlook in 2024
5 things to considert when choosing the perfect bicycle rack

The bike rack market outlook in 2024

The global bike rack market is witnessing robust growth, and is projected to have a CAGR of 4.90% between 2023 and 2030, reaching USD 825.31 million. This growth is primarily fueled by an increased adoption of bicycles worldwide, especially in urban areas, driven by environmental concerns regarding pollution and a push for more eco-friendly and cost-effective means of transport.

Furthermore, outdoor activities such as camping and mountain biking are contributing to the demand for bike racks. Roof-mounted bike racks currently dominate the market, catering to various vehicle types, including SUVs, trucks, and sedans. North America leads sales by region, fueled by a growing cycling culture, infrastructure investments, and the popularity of electric bikes. For example, 165,000 people searched for bike racks in February 2024 alone.

Factors to consider before choosing which bicycle rack to buy

1. Type

Choosing the perfect bike rack starts with understanding what’s available, with most consumers choosing from between four main types:

I. Hitch racks

A red car with a bicycle kept on hitch rack

Offered in tray- or mast-style mounts, hitch racks are specially designed to attach to a vehicle’s tow hitch. These racks appeal to consumers seeking swift and convenient loading solutions. With sought-after attributes like lightweight construction, integrated locks, and repair stands, hitch carriers are among the most versatile bike racks on the market in 2024.

Another beneficial aspect of these carriers is their secure attachment mechanism, providing them with an impressive locking system that firmly connects the rack to the vehicle and the bike to the carrier, warding off potential theives.

II. Roof mounts

A bicycle on a rook bike rack

Roof mounts, as their name implies, attach to the top of the car. These bike racks come in fork or upright designs, providing consumers with enough flexibility to load their bikes while keeping their trunk space free. Depending on the design, some roof racks secure both bike wheels, while others require removing the front wheel before loading. Regardless, each model comes equipped with locks to ensure complete bike safety.

Generally, models that need front wheel removal offer easier bike loading, while those that secure both wheels may require more effort. Although this latter variety tends to be pricier and less stable, they offer the convenience of avoiding frequent wheel removal and installation. Moreover, roof mounts so more than simply transport bikes; they are also versatile enough to carry extra cargo on road trips.

III. Trunk mounts

A trunk bike rack installed on a car

Trunk mounts have straps that allow a bike to be fastened to a car’s rear (usually the lip of the trunk). They are great for consumers working with a lower budget as they’re often cheaper. While trunk bike racks may not offer the highest level of security, they are often adjustable, fitting the rear of nearly any vehicle.

However, attaching trunk mounts may require some finesse via an extra set of hands, and improper installation may damage a car’s paintwork. Additionally, most trunk racks lack a locking mechanism to safeguard bikes, making them relatively easy for thieves to steal.

IV. Truck mounts

Three bicycles stored on a truck bike rack

For consumers looking to mount bikes on pickup trucks, truck mounts are their best option. Not only are truck mounts cost-effective and lightweight, but they are also user-friendly, typically coming with hooks and straps to secure them to the truck bed. Depending on the specific model, these mounts can usually accommodate one, two, or even three bikes. However, it’s important to note that they may not provide the level of stability required for off-road terrain, so bikes may bounce while driving. If that’s the case, the buyer may want to consider something more robust.

2. Number of bikes to be transported

Overloading bike racks can be dangerous, and in most cases will lead to instability. Even worse, overloaded racks could damage the rack, the vehicle’s hitch, roof, or trunk, and even the bikes. But the same problem goes for undersized racks, which may cause the bike to bash against the vehicle, leaving scratches or dents.

Most racks have a weight and capacity limit, so buyers, and consumers, must first consider how many bikes they need to provide for. Racks designed for a certain number of bikes will ensure proper weight distribution and stability while driving, lowering the risk of swaying, tipping, or accidents. Also keep in mind that most racks offer individual tie-down points for each bike, so if consumers purchase racks that can’t handle the number of bikes they want to transport, this may lead to accidents and, possibly, bad reviews.

Check the table below for more information on different bike racks’ capacities:

Bike rack typeCapacity
Hitch-mounted racksCapacities typically range from one to four, and even five, bikes, depending on the model
Roof racksThese racks can carry up to five bikes, but may require additional components, like bike cradles
Trunk/truck-mounted racksThese racks are usually limited to two to three bikes

3. Ease of loading and unloading

Consumers mostly look for racks that make the mounting and dismounting of bikes as simple and fast as possible. Easy-to-use bike racks can also reduce the risk of injury, as they negate the need to awkwardly maneuver bikes.

More importantly, easy loading/unloading makes cycling more accessible for children, seniors, or those with reduced strength. Check the table below to see which racks are likely to require assistance to install or are better suited for solo use.

Bike rack typeEase of use
Hitch-mounted racksThese racks, especially platform or tray varieties, minimize lifting. Some “tilt-down” options improve access to the vehicle’s rear, making them great for solo adventures.
Roof-mounted bike racksThese typically require more lifting and precision, and the target consumer’s height and bike weight should also be considered
Trunk/truck-mounted bike racksThese racks are more awkward to load and unload due to positioning, especially on larger vehicles

4. Trunk access

Racks that completely block access to the trunk can be very inconvenient, making it tough to use when loading groceries or packing objects needed for a cycling trip. To avoid these obstacles, buyers should look for the following features:

Hitch-mounted racks with “tilt-down” features

These racks allow consumers to tilt the entire rack platform downwards, even with bikes loaded, giving them full access to their trunk.

Hanging style racks

These racks suspend bikes from the top bar, often leaving some space underneath to access the trunk. However, this style might not suit all bikes or heavier e-bikes.

Spare tire mount racks

These racks mount onto the vehicle’s spare tire (if equipped), keeping the bikes away from the trunk area. However, this option might not be suitable for all cars, and can limit spare tire access.


Bikes don’t come cheap, and the last thing any cyclist wants is to see their precious possession either damaged or stolen. Luckily, many bike racks come with built-in locks that serve two important purposes: keeping bikes securely on racks while driving and making it harder for thieves to snatch them when parked.

Keep all of these factors in mind when browsing the thousands of bike racks from trusted suppliers on Alibaba.com.

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