The Best Roof Mounted Bike Rack 2023

Roof mounted bike racks are a popular choice for many people because they can be left installed to the car and they don’t block rear visibility or access. Within this article, we list some of the best options that hold bikes by the frame, fork or wheel.


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Best Roof Mounted Bike Rack
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If you require a quick answer, the best roof mounted bike rack is the Thule UpRide, which is suitable for all bike frames and rear suspension setups. The rack securely connects to the front wheel of your bike and makes zero contact with the frame. However, the Thule brand do offer both frame and fork rack alternatives to best suit your requirements.

To rate the roof mounted bike racks within this article, we based our recommendations on our experience of using multiple racks, plenty of research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the bike’s connection to the rack, load capacity, ease of installation, construction quality, warranty and value for money.

Best Roof Bike Rack Overview

Compared to using a bike rack that mounts to the towbar or rear of your car, there are no issues with rear visibility or boot access when using a roof mounted alternative. As long as you have a set of roof bars installed, you are all setup and ready to use any of the roof bike racks recommended in this article.

Below is a list of the best roof mounted bike racks that securely hold your bike in place by the frame, fork or wheel.

The Best Roof Mounted Bike Racks


1. Best Wheel Support: Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack


Thule produce a wide range of roof mounted bike racks and the UpRide is their flagship model. It securely connects to the front wheel and makes zero contact to the bike’s frame, which is highly desirable for those with expensive bikes.

Also included with the UpRide bike rack are durable locks, which locks the bike to the rack and the rack to the vehicle.

Pros
  • No bike frame contact as it secures to the front wheel
  • Accommodates all types of frame designs
  • Suitable for carbon frames
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Supplied with Thule locks
  • Available in silver or black
  • Load capacity of 20 KG
Cons
  • The most expensive rack within this article

Although expensive, the Thule UpRide is the ultimate roof mounted bike rack that won’t disappoint. It’s versatile and designed to accommodate all bike frames, rear suspensions and even bottle cages. Apart from the price, it’s the best option on the market that’s also produced by the reputable Thule brand for complete peace of mind.

2. Best Frame Support: Thule ProRide Roof Mounted Bike Rack


Another Thule roof mounted bike rack is the ProRide model and it’s a more affordable alternative to the UpRide above. Unlike the UpRide, this model secures the bike by it’s frame but it does this using large, soft claw pads that adapt to the bike’s frame tubes. It also features a torque limiter dial for controlling the amount of force going to the frame.

A great feature about this particular model by Thule is that it has a uniquely designed frame holder and wheel tray that allows for automatically positioning of your bike.

Pros
  • Automatically positions your bike upon the rack
  • Torque limiter dial for controlling the force
  • Large and soft claw pads
  • Diagonal quick-release straps
  • Available in black or silver
  • Suitable for bikes up to 17 KG
Cons

If frame contact isn’t an issue, the ProRide is the best value option from the reputable Thule brand. It allows you to control the force applied to the frame and automatically positions the bike for ease of use.

3. Best Value Frame Support: Summit 603 Roof Bike Carrier


By far the most affordable upright bike roof rack is the Summit 603, which is a two part wheel tray. It’s designed to fit most car roof bars up to 50 mm wide and it comes with U-clamps to securely fit the rack.

Pros
  • For those on a tight budget and don’t want to have to dismantle the front wheel, the Summit 603 rack is an excellent option. It’s affordable, easy to setup and suitable for the majority of medium to large bikes.
  • Two part wheel tray that’s easy to install and store
  • Suitable for most bike frames (apart from small children bikes)
  • Supplied with U-clamps for easy roof bar fitting
  • Load capacity rated at 15 KG
Cons
  • Roof bars may need some adjustment for the racks to fit

For those on a tight budget and don’t want to have to dismantle the front wheel, the Summit 603 rack is an excellent option. It’s affordable, easy to setup and suitable for the majority of medium to large bikes.

4. Best Fork Support: Thule ThruRide Fork Bike Rack


Thule also offer a fork mounted alternative known as the ThruRide model and it’s designed to fit all thru-axle diameters without needing extra adapters. As with the alternative models by Thule, it’s supplied with locks that allow you to lock the bike to the rack and the rack to the roof bars for added security.

A great feature of this particular model by Thule are the expanding clamps that accommodate the bike’s thru-axle. This setup makes loading bikes onto the rack far easier than some of the alternative fork mounted racks available

Pros
  • Load capacity of 17 KG
  • Load capacity of 17 KG
  • Expandable clamps for easier loading
  • Suitable for bikes with disc brakes
  • Supplied with Thule locks
  • Lightweight at just 2.7 KG
Cons
  • Relatively expensive (as expected for a Thule rack)

To conclude, the Thule ThruRide is a high quality fork mounted rack that’s built to the highest of standards. It does come with a premium price tag but you get what you pay for and it’s the perfect solution for thru-axle bikes.

5. Best Value Fork Support: Elite Sanremo Bike Roof Rack


A more affordable alternative to the Thule ThruRide is this Elite Sanremo rack and according to the brand, it’s compatible with any type of bike. It has also been built to last with a heavy duty and lightweight aluminium body, which features a quick clamping system for easier loading of your bikes.

Pros
  • Compatible with all bike types and roof bars
  • Easily adjusted front and rear clamps
  • Constructed of a strong aluminium body
  • Load capacity of 15 KG
  • Quick and easy to setup
Cons
  • Very basic in terms of its design

Overall, the Elite Sanremo is the best value fork mounted roof bike rack that won’t disappoint. Although more basic than the Thule ThruRide above, it’s a fraction of the price and is built to a high standard considering its affordability.

6. Best Budget: DOAE Tour Pro Roof Mount Bike Carrier


One of the cheapest roof mounted bike racks that’s actually worth buying is the DOAE Tour Pro. Although it’s made from plastic, the rack is highly durable and suitable for carrying bikes up to 15 KG.

Pros
  • Quick release skewer
  • TUV approved for peace of mind
  • Spring loaded back strap clip
Cons
  • Not as durable as the alternatives because its made from plastic

Considering the low cost of this roof mounted bike rack, you cannot go wrong for cheap bike transportation. It isn’t going to match the quality of the premium options but for the money, you can’t go wrong.

How We Rated The Racks

As we own multiple cars with roof bars installed, we’ve used a variety of bike roof racks to transport our bikes over the years. We personally prefer to use the premium Thule racks but we’ve included more affordable options above for those on a tight budget. We also included models that secure the bike by the frame, wheel and fork to best suit your requirements. Depending upon your bike’s value and type will be the main factors that you’ll have to consider when choosing between the racks.

As well as our experience of using multiple bike roof racks, we also based our recommendations upon hours of research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the bike’s connection to the rack, load capacity, ease of installation, construction quality, warranty and value for money.

best bike roof rack

Conclusion

As long as you have a set of roof bars installed to your car, using a roof mounted bike rack is one of the cheapest methods of transporting your bikes. All of our recommendations above include each type of roof bike rack and they are suitable for all budgets. To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise that you avoid the cheap options and opt for a premium rack that’ll be more long lasting.

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