If you don’t have a spare tire bike rack installed on the back of your vehicle, bringing your bicycles with you on your trip can be hectic.
Picture yourself taking your family out on a camping trip and the kids want to bring their bikes with them. The problem becomes: where do you store the bikes, yet there isn’t enough space in the SUV to stow their bikes?
The simple solution is to install a bike rack on the spare tire located on the vehicle’s rear. The following are the best spare tire bike racks and our reviews for each.
Our Best Spare Tire Bike Racks:
1. Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire
This Allen tire mounted bike rack features an innovative design on the upper feet that enables you to securely install it on most externally mounted spare tires. That includes the Jeep Wrangler JL models – the ones that have wide rear light bracket.
While this spare tire carrier is able to fit a variety of rear mounted spare tires, it is necessary to confirm specific vehicle fit before you make the purchase. Installation is a breeze since there is not much assembly required.
The rack has an individual tie-down system for securing (and protecting) your bicycle. The tie-downs are located on the carry arm, and they can rotate. The ability to rotate enables them to be useful with a variety of bicycle frame styles and sizes. You can therefore use this rack for safe transport of your bicycles around town or even during a trip.
It is also worth noting that the 15-inch carry arms are able to accommodate up to 2 bikes (up to 70 lb).
Thanks to the extra wide bottom foot, this tire rack supports weight not on the rim, but on the rear tire instead.
2. Hollywood Racks SR1 2-Bike Spare Tire Mount Rack
Tire mount bike racks are indispensable if you are travelling and you want to bring your bike with you. For instance, the SR1 is the best spare tire bike rack because it is fully adjustable. That makes it easy for it to fit a wide variety of spare tires. The maximum spare tire width it can fit is 12 inches.
The maximum bike weight it can handle is 35 pounds per bike. Just don’t use it with e-bikes (manufacturer’s specifications).
Some bikes will require a top tube adapter so as to fit on the rack. They include kids’ bikes ladies’ frame bikes, and some types of mountain bikes.
The best thing about this rack is that you don’t need to do any assembly. You see, it comes fully assembled. That makes installation quick and easy.
The rack does not require you to remove spare tire or backup camera – in the case of Jeep Wranglers.
You can center the support arms for side mounted tires and when not in use, fold them.
3. Saris Freedom Bike Hitch and Spare Tire Car Rack Mount
For the best spare tire bike rack, consider this Saris Freedom rack which has the capacity to carry as many as two bikes. The best thing about it is its ability to adjust in size, which enables it to fit a wide variety of bike frame sizes. It can handle up to 60 pounds for each bike.
It has ratcheting straps that ensure bikes of various sizes are securely held. The universal hitch can fit hitches sized 1-1/4 inches and 2 inches.
The rack can also fit fat tire bikes (the ones that have really thick tires). For those ones, however, you will have to add wheel holders to the rack.
The rack is able to fit perfectly on a wheelbase of up to 48 inches. In case your bicycle has a longer wheelbase, what you need is a long wheelbase bar – and you can get that from this manufacturer (Saris Freedom).
4. Thule 963 Pro Spare Me 2 Bike Carrier
Rear tire bike racks like this Thule 963 Pro are a lifesaver when you are driving somewhere and you want to bring your bike along. This one features stay-put cradles which have anti-sway cages that ensure the bikes are securely held. This provides stability and frame protection for your bicycles.
You simply attach the rack to the spare tire. The rack is versatile and can easily fit oversized as well as regular tires. The maximum number of bikes it can hold is two, and it has a load capacity of 75 pounds.
In case your bicycle has a non-conventional frame, you will require a frame adapter for carrying the bicycle on a hanging-style rear mount bike rack. Examples of bikes with non-conventional frames include women’s bikes, children’s bikes, and full-suspension bikes.
The rack features an integrated locking cable and locking knob. This is for the firm securing of the bikes to the rack (and subsequently, the rack to the motor vehicle).
5. Surco BT300 Spare Tire Rack
If you are looking for bike racks for SUV with spare tire, consider the Surco BT300. With a heavy-duty mounting plate, you can easily attach the rack to any spare tire. It is worth noting, however, that this rack does not fit RAV 4s from 2006 and newer. You should confirm from the application guides what vehicles specifically the rack can fit.
The rack is excellent for securing your bikes to your vehicle when you are travelling. It has non-scratch padded channel and provides a secure grip for your bicycles.
So far, the tire mounted bike racks we have reviewed her can do a maximum of 2 bicycles, but this one goes an extra step. It can handle up to 3 bikes. That extra bike makes all the difference – for instance, when you are travelling with your family.
The rack is black in color – thanks to a durable black powder coat finish. The color blends perfectly with the tire’s color. It’s also worth mention that this is a made in the USA product.
6. Overdrive Sport 2-Bike Hitch Mounted Rack
The last thing you want is for the rack holding your bikes to be wobbly when you are driving. The rack you purchase should therefore provide a firm, secure grip. Thanks to its patented anti-wobble system, this rack provides exactly that.
The mechanism ensures there is no slack between your rack and the receiver. As a result, the bikes are perfectly safe and sturdily held in place. The rack comes with padded clamps which give your bikes a firm, secure grip.
If you worry about having to call someone to help you with the installation, don’t worry. Installation is a breeze, since a lot of the rack’s parts come pre-assembled.
When the rack is not is not in use (carrying bikes), its patented level enables folding up of the rack and tilting it down for rear cargo access.
The rack comes with a key for locking the hitch pin. This is to ensure total security and safety of your bicycles when you are travelling (like when you have parked the car somewhere). You also get a spare key in case you lose the original.
7. Yakima SpareRide Bike Rack for Rear Mounted Spare Tires
This bike rack can handle a capacity of up to 2 bicycles. It will fit most stock size spare tires. It is a stable, secure, and durable bike rack which you can install with ease without requiring tools.
The rack comes with a bottle opener, which comes in handy during a trip, for instance when you go camping with the family. You can open bottles of beverages with ease when you stop for refreshments.
However, leaving your bike just exposed on the back of the car can be risky. That’s why you have to make sure the rack you purchase is absolutely able to ensure your bicycles’ security. This one does it with its integrated SKS locks which protect your bicycles from thieves.
The rack features an anti-sway cradle design which reduces the amount of bike-to-bike contact. It also has TireTread pads which provide extra protection and stability.
8. Hollywood Racks Bolt-on Spare Tire Rack
This rack has soft rubber cradles that can accommodate up to two bikes. It can handle a maximum capacity of up to 35 pounds per bike. In the case of ladies’ frame bikes or kids’ bikes, you will have to use a top tube adapter to make the bikes fit on the rack.
The rack attaches to the mountain bolts of a spare tire using a universal plate that fits the patterns of the mountain bolts.
In addition, the rack features three extension brackets which will fit tires of up to 12 inches wide. The versatility the rack has in terms of sizes it can handle is thanks to its adjustability. Note, however, that the rack does not fit the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
The support arms can be centered when you are dealing with side-mounted tires. When not in use, the support arms can be folded.
Protection of your bike is of paramount importance. The integrated safety strap ensures the bike is transported safely. The rack also has a rock for securing it to your car.
9. Apex BC-8407-2 Blue Devil 2-Bike Spare Tire Mounted Bicycle Carrier Rack
This rack has a heavy-duty steel construction. That means it is highly sturdy and durable. You can rely on it to provide sturdy protection for your bicycles, especially considering the bumpy terrain you sometimes have to drive through. The steel construction is topped off with durable, black, paint finish.
It features bike cradles which swing to the side to make storage easier. You can use it to safely haul one or two bikes. Furthermore, it is key-lockable (it comes with 2 keys, one being the spare).
The rack will fit spare tires with a width lying between 7-11/16 inches and 12.5 inches.
10. Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted 2-Bike Rack
Last but not least we review this Leader Accessories bike rack. It can fit 2-inch standard hitch receiver. It has a tilt-down feature that is easy to use and provides convenient access to the vehicle’s rear.
It has easy fold-down arms that make it possible for you to easily fold up the rack’s arms when you are not using the bike rack. This enables compact transport and makes storage easier.
Thanks to its optimized dual-arm mounting design and adjustable mounting saddles, the rack is able to accommodate a variety of bicycle sizes and designs. It can hold a maximum of up to 2 bikes. The maximum weight it can handle is 80 pounds (notably more than the other tire mounted bike racks we have reviewed.
It has no-wobble bolts which prevent the rack from moving while inside the hitch. If you do not want to use the no-wobble bolts, you can use a 5/8-inch diameter pin. Furthermore, the rack has dual compound tie-down cradle for securing the bicycles.
What to Look for Before Buying?
Weight and Capacity
Before you purchase a tire bike rack, it is important to consider whether it has the capacity to handle your bicycles. The way to do this is to compare the total weight of the bicycles you want secured versus the maximum weight the rack is built to handle.
You should also look into how many bikes the rack is able to hold. In most cases, the rack will handle two bicycles, sometimes three.
Let your choice when purchasing a bike rack be guided by the number of bicycles you want secured and their total weight.
Types and Number of Bikes
Look for a bike rack with features that match your transportation requirements. For instance, how many bikes do you want to transport? If it’s only one bike, then you have a large variety of racks to choose from. If it’s three, that narrows down the choices because a lot of racks can handle a capacity of up to 2 bicycles.
Another aspect is if the rack can fit your bikes’ frames. For instance, dual-arm rack models come with two cradles and are therefore the best for standard frame bikes. That includes women’s bikes, children’s bikes, and mountain as well as road bikes.
If your bikes have alternative frames, you should consider getting and using an adapter bar. You can also opt for single-arm rack models whose design is able to accommodate alternative bike frames.
The last thing you want is someone making off with your bike when you leave it secured on your rack. That’s why anti-theft protection is such a key element of a bike rack. Some racks contain more anti-theft features than others.
Go for a rack that comes with strap-on devices for securing your bikes using a lock and key.
A lot of bolt-on racks feature locking mechanisms. Furthermore, there are racks that have tie-down cradles which are specifically for anti-theft protection.
If you are still not satisfied with the rack’s security features, you can go a step further and buy a cable lock (separately) which you will use to secure your bicycle.
For the sake of convenience, you want a rack that ensures you continue to have access to your vehicle even while the bike rack is installed.
The best kind of tire rack will make it possible for you to open the vehicle’s rear door even if the rack is secured to the spare tire.
There are rack brands which force you to first remove the bicycles so as to get access to the rear door. That is highly inconvenient.
Ease of Installation
The ease of installation of racks differs between brands and models. Some racks are a breeze to assemble, install, and later remove, and others pose more of a challenge. The easiest ones are the ones which come preassembled so you don’t have to do anything except go straight to installation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are tire bike racks easy or difficult to install?
As with most products, many tire bike racks come with instructions on how to install them. No, installation is not difficult. Some racks even come preassembled, meaning you don’t have to go through the hassle of putting them together.
However, in some cases, you will have to look for specific tools to carry out the installation for certain types of bike racks. Before you make the purchase, try finding out what tools exactly your rack will need to install.
Q: Does the type of bike even matter when buying a rack?
The type of bike does matter because each rack is built to accommodate a specific amount of weight. You should not overload the bike rack, because that might lead to damage of both your bicycle and car.
It is also worth mentioning that there are racks which do not accommodate smaller, children’s bikes.
Furthermore, some racks will require adapters in the case of bikes that have angled top tubes.
Q: How can I know the type of spare tire bike rack that is best for my car?
You can always check the manufacturer’s specifications for such details. For instance, the manufacturer will in some cases explicitly state that the rack is not compatible with specific vehicles (may state the brand and year of the vehicle).
Furthermore, you should pick a rack whose installation requirements are compatible with your vehicle.
For instance, a deep spare tire is likely to be incompatible with bolt-on racks.
Q: Why do I really need a spare tire bike rack for my car?
The direct answer is that it makes it so much easier/convenient to transport your bicycles anywhere. With a spare tire bike rack installed, you do not have to keep your bicycles in the vehicle.
Having the bikes on the back of the car gives you extra unoccupied space – which you probably really need if you are taking the family on a trip.
Furthermore, it allows you to travel using a smaller car (as opposed to using a bigger car because of the bigger storage space). Naturally, that means you use less gas than you might have used had you taken a bigger vehicle.
Lastly, using a spare tire bike rack protects your vehicle and bike from damage. Since the bike is securely held by the rack, there is less chance of your bike or car getting scratches during the journey.
When picking a spare tire bike rack, the main things to consider are capacity, compatibility with your vehicle, security features, and the number of bikes in your possession. With that in mind, you can go on to pick one out of the 10 bike racks we have reviewed!