So you're in the market for a new bike rack? Sweet! We've compiled this list of easy-to-follow steps to help you find the right car rack for you, your vehicle and your family of bikes.
Let's get this rack party started!
Discovering the right bike rack for your car is just a few steps away!
1. Know What You're Looking For in a Car Rack
Whether you've bought a new vehicle, a new bike or you're in the market for your first-ever bike carrier; you're here because something has spurred your interest in purchasing a new bike rack for your car.
Start by taking note of what caused the change. For example, if you've purchased a new-to-you vehicle, you may be considering switching from a trunk rack to a hitch rack. Or, if you've invested in your first all carbon road bike and don't want a bike rack to touch that precious frame, that's an important note to jot down too.
Related: Here are 5 reasons why you might need a new bike rack.
Next decide what type of bike rack best fits your needs. Whether that is a trunk rack, hitch rack, or specialty rack, do some research on the different types and their purposes to find the right fit for you.
Once you know what type of bike rack you're interested in, check the manufacturer's fit guide to see which car racks fit your vehicle(s).
Now that you've got a type of bike rack in mind, you're ready to move onto the next step.
Keep an eye out for reviews, like the example above from right here on Saris.com.
2. Read Online Reviews
Gone are the days of relying only on the advice of experts and/or your friends (though as we point out below, your friends can still be very helpful in your journey – aka: #3 below). Thanks to the internet, you can now get feedback from people you've never met. As it turns out, this is a very valuable thing.
From photos of the bike rack in question to detailed descriptions, hundreds – if not thousands – of reviews for a single bike carrier can be delivered instantly at the click of a button. And while these reviews can be helpful in narrowing down your options, it never hurts to…
Curious about your friend's bike rack? Ask them what they think about it.
3. Ask Your Friends
The tried and true method of winnowing down the final contenders – phoning a friend. Now armed with your research and reviews, a friend can help narrow the field. Plus, as a modern consumer you're more likely to trust your friend than a random review.
So give your buddies the benefit of the doubt, and include them in on your bike rack shopping adventure – they just may help you find the right one.
No more imagining what that bike rack might look like on your car. See it for yourself with video.
4. Watch Videos
If a picture equals a thousand words, then a video is a book you can watch in a few minutes. The reason? It's very helpful to see the bike rack out "in the wild," either on your specific car or with actual people using the rack the way you envision.
Often these videos come from the bike rack manufacturer themselves, like the Saris YouTube page, or from review sites. No matter the source, chances are that every bike rack has been featured in at least one video.
Once you have your list of car rack contenders, hop onto YouTube and see what turns up. Depending on the information you're after, you may want to qualify your search with descriptors such as type of rack (i.e., "hitch rack") and capacity ("2 bike"). It's also worth noting that some bike rack brands host rack-specific videos on the product pages themselves.
Your local bike shop knows what's up. Find one near you.
5. Go to Your Local Bike Shop
Plain and simple: the good people at your local bike shop are your easy-to-access experts. Bike shop employees spend their days, nights and weekends preaching the gospel of the bicycle.These are the folks who can take your list of car rack choices and pare it down to a select few and validate your research findings.
Supporting a local shop is one of the best ways to keep the biking community growing in your area. Plus, we're all a little more connected to our community when we support local businesses.
So whether you're in the market for a new road bike or simply want to bend their ear about car racks or bike maintenance – find a bike shop near you and pay them a visit. They'll be happy you stopped by.