One of the fun things about taking part in triathlons is that you get to travel for events. You can see a bit of the country while engaging in your competitive side!
But packing your car for a triathlon can be tricky. Clothing is the easy part. You simply pack your running and swimming gear into your transition bag, and you’re good to go.
Cycling gear is the more tricky stuff to pack. You can find a place for your helmet, shoes, and even an indoor trainer, but you’ll need a triathlon bike rack for your bike.
Your bike is generally the largest and most expensive piece of triathlon equipment you’ll own. You’ll have to take the best care of it that you can.
We’ve reviewed triathlon bike racks so you can choose the best one to transport and protect your bicycle to events.
There are few different ways to attach a bike rack to your car. So read on to see which is the best option for your vehicle.
Top 3 Best and Favorite
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Hitch Rack
Thule OutWay Hanging 3
Best Hitch Rack
1. Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Hitch Rack
If your car has a trailer hitch on it, we recommend the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Hitch Rack.
It’s a tray-style bike rack that you install just once and you can leave it on your vehicle even when you’re not using it, as it folds up nice and compactly.
It attaches to the trailer hitch using an expanding cam system. The pivot lock can be operated with the foot, so the lowering of the tray can be a one-handed action.
There’s also a semi-integrated lock on the tray, so you’ll never lose it. You’ll need to keep the cable separately, but it’s helpful for the lock to be built in.
You can load up to 2 bikes on this rack, so it’s ideal for those who travel with a partner to events.
For those who like their chunky tires, the Kuat Sherpa can hold tires of up to 3 inches and can accommodate wheelbases of up to 47 inches.
The previous version of this bike rack had a wheel cradle design that had a bad habit of getting in the way of your shins when loading or unloading it. The company has fixed this painful issue by redesigning the cradle to be foldable. It now flips out of the way really easily and removes the issue completely.
The bike rack is easy enough to assemble yourself. The box doubles up as a stand to rest it on while you’re building it. You’ll get all the tools necessary in the box, and they’re of good enough quality to keep for maintenance.
- Folding cradle design
- Foot-assisted pivot lock
- Semi-integrated cable lock
- Can handle almost all tires
- May get in the way of back-up cameras on some vehicles
Top Value Hitch Rack
2. Yakima TwoTimer
The Yakima TwoTimer can hold two bikes, which accounts for its unusual name. It claims to be able to accommodate two regardless of wheel size and design.
It fits right onto 1.25 and 2-inch hitches. The tray is low, making it super easy to load and unload your bikes. The bikes are held in place with padded arms to prevent scratches on your vehicle’s paintwork.
One of the best features of this hitch bike rack is that it can tilt downwards while fully loaded to allow you access to your trunk. There’s no need to unload everything. When it’s not in use, it folds up flat so it’s out of the way completely.
For those who like a beer or two after an event, you’ll be delighted to know that the bike rack has a built-in bottle opener!
- Low tray height
- Folds up when empty
- Adjustable wheelbase length
- Tilts while loaded
- If the bolt isn’t tightened properly, the rack can sway as you drive
Best Front-Wheel-On Roof Rack
3. Yakima HighRoad
Roof racks are generally sturdy and safe, although they can often add a bit more weight to your vehicle than other types.
The Yakima HighRoad is a high-quality front-wheel-on roof rack that’s ideal for vehicles that can accommodate it.
It can handle wheelbases of up to 48 inches, and wheels of 26 to 29 inches. It also has universal mounting hardware that requires no tools to attach. It mounts directly onto your existing roof rack, so if your vehicle doesn’t have a roof rack, you’ll come up short with this bike rack.
If you do have a roof rack, this bike rack can easily be mounted onto it as long as the cross bars are between 18 and 36 inches apart.
It’s easy to mount your bike onto this rack. It has a large, double hoop for the front wheel to fit into, which uses a TorqueRight tightening knob to hold your bike in place safely and securely.
It’s super simple to use, and the rack never makes contact with the frame of your bike. There’s no need to worry about the finish chipping or scratching. The back wheel is secured with a sturdy strap.
There’s also an integrated bike lock loop on the rack. You’ll need to use your own lock, but this is a handy safety feature. The biggest downside is that you can only load one bike onto it.
- TorqueRight button
- Integrated lock bracket
- Universal mounting hardware
- Can accommodate bike wheelbases up to 48 inches
- Can only hold one bike at a time
Top Front-Wheel-Off Roof Rack
4. Thule FastRide
If you prefer the stability of a front-wheel-off bike rack, this is the one we recommend.
It connects easily to your existing roof rack and can accommodate a variety of bikes (9mm quick-release bikes, 9 to 15mm thru-axle bikes, 20 x 110mm thru-axle bikes with adapters, bikes with disc brakes).
The bike rack can hold a weight of 40 pounds. It can take a maximum wheel size of 29 inches, tire width of 3 inches, and a maximum wheelbase of 49 inches.
The fork adapter is easy to use and safe for your valuable bike. It offers both audio and visual confirmation of correct mounting. The back wheel is secured with durable straps.
An AcuTight torque limiter adjustment knob produces an audible click when the optimal torque has been reached, so you can’t over- or under-tighten this rack.
It’s also easy to switch the carrier position of this bike rack from one side of the car to the other, to suit your own preference.
It fits just about all round and oval roof racks. You can purchase separate adaptors to fit it to square-shaped roof rack bars.
- Versatile fork-mounted bike rack
- AcuTight torque-limiter knob
- Switch carrier position
- Audible mounting confirmation
- Needs an adaptor to fit square-shaped roof racks
Best Roof Rack That Doesn’t Require Car Rack
5. SeaSucker Mini Bomber Rack – 2 Bikes
If you’d like to use a roof rack but don’t have an existing car roof rack on your vehicle already, the SeaSucker Mini Bomber Rack is ideal. It requires nothing but the roof!
This universal-fit bike rack uses 4 innovative 6-inch vacuum suction cups to attach itself tightly to your car’s roof. Hardly any assembly is required, and it fits on just about any car out there.
It’s a 2-bike rack with universal fork-mounts and 9mm plugs that comes with 2 separate pieces. The front section is made from high-density polyethylene, and despite being extremely strong, flexes to contour to the car’s shape. There are also 2 separate suction cups with straps for each rear wheel.
As well as being incredibly easy to use, this system can be placed on glass, metal, or fiberglass surfaces. Each suction cup has a handy bright orange indicator to show if it’s losing its suction.
- Four 6-inch vacuum mounts
- ¾-inch thick HDPE body
- Will fit on most cars
- Easy to install
- Thru-axle bikes will need an adaptor, sold separately
Top Trunk Rack
6. Thule OutWay Hanging 3
This handy trunk rack can hold up to 3 bikes, so it’s ideal for those traveling in a group to an event. If you’re okay with a permanently closed trunk while your bikes are mounted, then this is a good choice.
It fastens to your car with steel cables, so you can rest assured your bikes will be well-supported. You’ll be able to lock the bikes to the rack and the rack to the vehicle with the included locks.
It’s simple to install, thanks to a straightforward design and a torque-limiting knob that prevents unnecessary tightening.
This bike rack also has an integrated anti-sway system, designed to prevent the bikes on the rack from touching one another or the car during transport.
Adjustable arms allow for almost any sized bike to fit comfortably. These arms are also padded to reduce vibration. They fold down when not being used, and so do the racks. When the system is folded, it’s possible to open the trunk without any problems.
- Twin hook attachment
- Integrated anti-sway system
- Rubber protection pads
- Intuitive tightening system
- Can’t open trunk when bikes are mounted
Best Value Trunk Rack
7. Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Car Rack
This trunk rack can hold 2 bikes of up to 35 pounds each. It fits on most vehicles, but you may need to invest in a separate Bike Beam if your car doesn’t have a horizontal top tube.
It has an interesting arc-shaped design, and is made from strong injection-molded plastic. It’s fairly weatherproof and isn’t susceptible to rust like others are. It’s also 100% recyclable!
Rubber feet protect your car’s finish, and spring buckle straps with vinyl-coated hooks make it easy and safe to use. Ratcheting straps prevent swaying that could compromise the stability and security of your bikes.
- Arc-based design
- Adjustable arm angle
- Rubberized feet
- Spring buckle straps
- Needs an adapter if the car doesn’t have a horizontal top beam
Best Truck Rack
8. Thule Bed Rider
If you’ve got a truck, you may like the Thule Bed Rider. It’s a simple aluminum bar with a telescoping design, compatible with most truck bed liners. SoftGrip rubberized feet help keep it in place and prevent damage to your truck bed.
Apart from being super easy to install without needing to drill into your truck, it’s also easy to attach the bike securely using the One-Key lock system. It can hold 2 bikes on two 9mm quick-release fork mounts.
If you want to transport a mountain bike with this system, you’ll need to purchase a separate adapter.
- Aluminum telescoping bar
- SoftGrip rubber feet
- One-Key lock system
- Compatible with 9mm quick-release skewers
- Needs an adapter for mountain bikes
Top Padded Truck Rack
9. Thule GateMate PRO
If you transport a number of bikes at the same time on a regular basis, this is the bike rack for you. It can take up to 7 bikes, although this is subject to the size of your truck bed and the configuration of the bikes.
It’s a little less fancy than others, but it does the job perfectly fine. It fits right over the back of your truck, with flexible, adjustable vinyl padding that still allows for tail lights and handles to be used.
Integrated bike separations, or KKnock-Blocks, and multiple anchor straps keep your bikes safe during transport. You can store extra gear in the mesh pockets, which face into your truck bed.
- Holds up to 7 bikes
- Adjustable padding
- Integrated Knock-Blocks
- Mesh pockets for extra storage
- The bike straps may be too long for some bikes
Wondering how to choose the best triathlon bike rack? Here are some of the things you should be looking at to help you select the right one for you.
What to Consider Before Buying a Bike Rack?
The bike rack you buy needs to be compatible with your vehicle (both brand and model). There’s nothing worse than shelling out cash for a high-quality product only to find out that it doesn’t fit your car!
You’ll also need to take into consideration whether or not you already have a trailer hitch or a roof rack on your car. These can limit the type of rack you’re able to use.
Other things that will influence your choice include your budget, the weight of the rack, and how many bikes you want to transport at a time.
What Different Bike Racks Can You Choose From?
Not all bike racks will be compatible with your vehicle. Here are the different types you can choose from.
These racks slide easily onto a trailer hitch receiver. It’s very easy to attach and use and offers easy access to the bikes on it. However, it can be difficult to get into the trunk of the car while you’ve got one of these attached.
Roof racks are extremely versatile. You can customize them to transport almost anything, not just bikes. Depending on the weight of the system, though, they can be less economical in terms of fuel consumption.
These types of racks use hooks and straps to attach to your car’s trunk. They’re easy to use and affordable. You can carry up to three bikes on one of these racks, resting on supportive arms. The downside is that you can’t get into the trunk at all with one of these racks on your car.
These racks are specifically designed to be installed in a truck bed. They can usually handle heavier loads than others, but they can be more expensive and obviously only work if you have a truck.