How do Bike Racks Work: The Science

Read this blog post to learn about the science behind bike racks. If you’ve ever wondered about the science of how car racks work, this article is for you! We’ll go over some basic principles to help explain. 

We’ll also look at a few different types of car racks and talk about what they’re used for and why they work better than others. The examples we will use below are trunk rack, hitch mount rack, rooftop carrier. 

If you’re looking to improve your understanding of these products or find out which one might be right for you- read on!

How do Bike racks work? Instructions for installing the rack on your car

Bike racks are used to transport bikes on the outside of a car. The arms can be extended so they fit around your bicycle’s frame, then tightened down with ratchet straps for a secure hold.

Some bike racks have an integrated cable lock system that secures one wheel on each side of your bike When transporting more than one bike, some models also feature additional hooks for attaching them together securely


one way is by putting it on the roof bars of the car. You install the roof bars on your car( if there are already roof bars on it then this was a very easy step. then place the roof rack on the roof bars and secure it. normally you use screws to secure it. Or straps, whatever comes with the purchase of the bike rack.

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it’s really not difficult. the hardest part is probably getting it up on the roof of your car. Tp prevents scratches on your car this is something you probably don’t want to do alone. having somebody to assist you makes it a lot easier.

If you prefer a video click here(link)


This one is very easy to install as well. take one of the straps and hook in on the top of yours. then place the other end of this strap on your trunk or back bumper. then use another strap to secure it in place. A lot less work than putting something on the roof bars but you have to be careful about opening and closing your car because sometimes they can come loose!

If you prefer a video click here(link)


This type of bike rack is my preferred type of rack, especially if you have one which is able to tilt. Just place it in the hitch receiver, push it so the hole lines up. Now place the pin and secure it. Personally, I use a Hitch lock (link) so I can leave it on when I’m away for the weekend or don’t want to worry about it all the time.

If you prefer a video click here(link)

Types of bike racks

There are 6 different types of bike racks. most common are the first three. the easiest and the quickest to install is the hitch mounted.

  1. Roof-mounted
  2. Trunk-mounted
  3. Hitch mounted
  4. Front-mounted
  5. Truckbed-mounted
  6. Bolt-On Spare Tire Rack

Benefits of Having One On Your Car

Well, you can go to further locations to ride your bike. Instead of just riding in your local area you can drive to any location you like and enjoy the scenery on your bike without being tired because you first had to ride your bike 300 miles to a lovely area. and by using a bike rack you prevent your bike from scratching your car plus you have the benefit of extra cargo space!

  • go to locations further from home
  • less tired
  • prevent your car from scratches
  • Extra cargo space

What Type of Bike Rack is the Best?

Well, the obvious answer is it depends. If you want to go on long trips then you should probably get a roof rack or if your vehicle doesn’t have any trunk space then I would use the hitch. It’s easy to install and to take off again. if you have one with a tilt option you can still get access to your trunk for stuff.

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The only thing to look out for with a hitch is it’s not sticking out too much on either side. More about how far a bike rack can stick out, you can find out here (link).

When traveling and you have a bike rack with bikes on your roof, watch out for low bridges ( Watch out for covered bridges!)

How do trunk bike racks work?

Trunk bike racks are attached to the trunk of a car, truck, or SUV. They work by holding bikes off the ground with metal rods that extend into two loops at either end of the rod.

These loops rest on top of the trunk for stability and then clamp down when you tighten them up via a screw-like mechanism in both ends to secure the bike rack. these are the most prone to getting scratches on your car simply because you are attaching it to your vehicle.

What is a roof rack? how they work

Roof racks are usually attached to bars that go across the top of your car and typically have four or five-foot-long rods at either end. but they do not actually touch your car– instead, there’s a plastic guard between it which prevents abrasion.

The rods are then tightened by a screw-like mechanism, but this time in both ends of the rod to secure it.

What is an SUV bike rack?

SUV trunks vary significantly from other cars so there’s no one way that they work! Most SUVs have spare tire wells on the back – this can typically hold two bikes. The bikes sit on poles that rest across the top of the tire and are clamped in place at either end with a screw-like mechanism.

Most people with an SUV who use a bike rack typically go for a hitch bike rack. So, for people with an SUV, my advice would be to go for a hitch rack.

How do hitch bike racks work?

Hitch bike racks typically connect to the trailer hitch at the back of your car or truck and then hold two or three bikes by resting them against an arm in a V-shape. They’re tightened by a screw-like mechanism, but this time at both ends of the arm to secure it in place.

make sure the bike rack fits your hitch because there are different sizes or classes. I explain about hitches and their sizes in this article. if your car has a hitch I would go for a bike rack that fits on a hitch instead of going for one that sits on your trunk or roof.

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How much do bike racks cost?

The top-end can be hundreds of dollars where starter racks go for below a hundred dollars. Trunk bike racks are typically less expensive than rooftop, hitch, or SUV racks. the reason is that they hold fewer bikes and are easier to work with. If you have a trunk bike rack, make sure that your car is large enough for the rack to fit in!

The quality can differ on the length, strength, and durability of the straps which come with the rack. I would first look around for what you need if, it fits your car and the quality of it. You don’t want to go buy a bike rack every year.

How much weight can a bike rack hold?

The rule of thumb is about 30/35 pounds per bike. There are different limits for each type of bike rack. You definitely don’t want to overload your bike rack so be sure you can actually carry the weight of what’s on it!

If you’re transporting a family of four, this is very important. Read the instruction clearly. If you are wondering if a bike rack will fit your specific needs feel free to take a look here out our buying guides!

How long do they take to install?

Some trunk racks are pretty quick while others can take longer to install. But taking longer than 15 minutes is very uncommon. I would recommend trying out some different ones if you’re not happy with how long it takes or having someone help you to make sure it’s on right.

When receiving your rack, don’t wait to install it until when you are going to use it. install it right away, to find out if the rack is fitting for your needs, and know how long it will take you.

No need to get all frustrated on a Saturday early morning only to find out it does not fit your needs like it doesn’t go snug on your trunk or hitch, or worse, finding out you are unable to put your bike on top of your car.


Bike racks are a great way to get more people on bikes. Trunk bike racks work by holding bikes off the ground with metal rods that extend into two loops at either end of the rod, and they’re attached to the trunk of your car.

Roof racks typically attach across bars going across the top of your vehicle’s roof, and SUV trunks vary significantly so there isn’t one specific type for them.

Hitch bike racks generally connect to a trailer hitch in the back of your car, but not all cars have those so you should check first before buying one! The price range varies as well; starter rack prices start around $100 dollars while high-end models can be hundreds or thousands depending on what brand you buy from. All

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