Looking for a way to haul ALL of your family’s bikes?!
Trying to find a car rack that can accommodate frames and wheels ranging from 16 inches to 29 inches can be a daunting task. Most racks are designed for adult bikes and often don’t fit the needs of individuals that are needing something for their fat bikes or their children’s bikes.
The good news is that there ARE options for families with lots of bikes (including those that need to carry 6 bikes-or more!). Below is a list of several “family-friendly” racks that can accommodate several different sizes and models of bikes and keep everyone smiling on the drive to the trailhead.
Everything from tray style racks to some of the more modern hanging racks and everything in between is listed below. With the myriad of options out there, hopefully you can find the one that is right for your family.
But First, Why You Won’t Find Any Trunk Racks Here
One noticeable exclusion on this list are trunk rack style racks. Why?
Though they are often cheaper, and some hold several bikes, our family has personally lost several bikes on a trunk rack. Trunk racks just don’t have the same level of quality and durability as at hitch-mounted rack. Their ability to fit frames of different sizes are also often quite limited.
If you don’t have a hitch on your vehicle, don’t despair. You can get one added at your local Uhaul. We recommend getting a 2″ hitch to give you the most options in bike racks.
As a newer designed system to transport bikes, the hanging racks below are easily able to accommodate 4 to 6 bikes and do it with style and grace. Each has a similar design but subtle differences in mounting. Here are our favorites.
VelociRAX 6 Bike Carrier
With options ranging from 3 to 7 bikes, the VelociRAX system can keep most families pedaling together on every ride. The bikes are mounted vertically via the front wheel and back wheels are strapped to a lower support bar.
Their website offers additional wheel tray options for fat bikes and replacement bungee straps if needed. Additionally, they have a “garage kit” that allows the rack to be moved indoors and functioning as the home storage system. A 2” hitch receiver and 38 lbs per bike will get your family out in the woods and having all the fun.
We have a long-term review in the works for this rack.
Price: $849 (6 bike carrier)
Northshore Racks NSR 6 Bike
The North Shore rack was one of the first of the newer hanging designs on the market. With refinements and changes, the newest rendition can carry several bikes and do so gracefully.
Like the VelociRAX, the rear wheels are mounted to a bar via a strap, but the main mounting point is a rack system that holds each bike by the crown of the fork. Their website claims this rack is not intended for road bikes (because of the crown mount) and is only intended for mountain bikes.
That limits this rack to a single intended ride use for some families. The rack itself holds up to 300 lbs and can fold in half for easier storage.
Price: $799.99 (6 bike carrier)
Recon Racks R6
Like the VelociRAX is the Recon Rack system. Racks range from 4 to 6 bikes with a few additional accessories.
With front wheels mounted into a hanging position, the rear end is secured not by a bungee but a tie down strap that can be configured in several different variations. The rotating pivot to move the arm is robust and maintains a clean aesthetic.
Their website states that each basket can hold a maximum weight of 45lbs, totaling 270 lbs fully loaded. 20-inch bikes to 29ers are compatible in the wheel baskets and there are some suggestions to hold road bikes and smaller wheels for more secure storage.
Most mountain bike tires will fit up to 3”. As with most, a 2” hitch receiver is necessary and the pivot on the arm allows for trunk access.
Price: $1250 (R6)
Lolo Racks Bike Rack
While the other guys are all mimicking each other, Lolo Racks has decided to flip the script….or bike rather. The idea of hanging the bikes vertically is still there, but bikes are mounted by the handlebars and then the rear wheels are strapped to the lower mounts.
Some simple bungees attached keep bikes in place. 6 bikes with flat bars are easily loaded.
Road bikes may not work as well with drop bars taking up different space comparatively to flat bars, but overall, the ability is there to haul various kinds of bikes. Kids bikes may need additional rear wheel straps depending on how short they are.
Lolo’s website indicates that a rack can hold up to 220 lbs worth of bike and combined with the rack’s weight should not exceed 350 lbs. Again, a 2” receiver is necessary for mounting.
Alta Racks Alta Six Pack GPR
With 6 bikes in tow this beast of a rack can handle all the adventure your family is willing to endure. If less is needed, there are options from 3 holders and up to 6.
Wheel baskets are used as the primary mounting point with tire bungees on the rear to keep bikes from moving and rubbing. An additional tie down system may also be employed for rough, off-road transport.
When ordering a rack, one can select the size of wheel baskets to best fit their families bike carrying needs. The rack is able to hold everything from 20” wheels to fatbikes.
The rack tilts out for easy loading like several of the other similar hanging designs. A max of 50 lbs per bike (with the bigger baskets) keeps the overall weight to 300 lbs.
A 2” receiver is necessary for mounting and getting the family on the road to fun. In addition, there are several accessories one can include like the hammock attachment.
Price: $1,185 (Six Pack Rack
Yakima Hangover 6
Much like the North Shore rack, the Yakima HangOver is a hanging style rack that mounts bikes by the fork crowns. Because of this design, the bikes being loaded are limited to suspension forks and relegating the rack exclusively to mountain bikes.
Rear wheels are mounted to the lower bar and an additional lock loop provides one the ability to lock bikes to the rack via their own lock. There is a built in tilting mechanism for rear hatch access and the rack only fits a 2” hitch receiver.
The rack is able to carry up to 225 lbs worth of bikes or 37.5 lbs per bike. While this rack can haul a range of bike sizes from 20” bikes to fat bikes it is limited to mountain bikes and will limit the versatility of use.
Tray Style Racks
As previously mentioned, tray and roof racks cannot hold as many bikes as the newer hanging racks on the market. The reliability of these systems is comparable to none.
Some can only hold up to two bikes, but most have the option for an extension to three and even four bikes. If that cannot meet your family’s needs, then most of these companies also offer roof systems as well.
One-Up USA Super Duty (and add-ons)
One-Up started out making other cycling related items like the bike trainer that my wife and I use every winter. Quality components and clever builds keep these guys at the top of their game.
The Super Duty is a hitch-mount tray style rack that can hold bikes from 16” all the way to 29ers with adapters for fat bikes too. The main rack only comes with two trays, but add-on trays can extend the capacity up to four bikes.
In conjunction with a roof rack, one can potentially hold 6 or even 7 bikes. The One-Up is the most secure, reliable rack I have ever used, and I truly appreciate the quality and workmanship in each part.
Wheels are secured via moving holders cinching down over the wheels. The add-on is bolted onto the original rack for additional bike transport.
There is an option for a 1.25” receiver, but most of their racks require a 2” receiver. The rack is able to be tilted down for hatch access.
Price: $625 to $679 (rack), $249 to $279 (add-on)
Yakima Holdup EVO and Add-on
Yakima has been in the game a long time. I have used nearly one of every style of rack they have built. The Holdup EVO is their tray style rack.
With back wheels strapped down via a plastic ratchet strap and front wheels secured with the standard arm/hook and tray combo this rack won’t let you down. Offered for both a 1.25” receiver or a 2” receiver this rack is more versatile than some.
The trays are wide enough to hold fat bikes but will also size down to hold 20” bikes as well. The add-on to carry four bikes is limited to the 2” receiver option though.
That said, the rack can hold up to 200 lbs of bike and keep the family traveling safely. As mentioned previously, pair this tray style rack with a roof system for ultimate bike transport!
Price: $549 (rack), $399 (add-on)
Saris Superclamp EX 4
The Superclamp 4 is a top tier rack from Saris. With rear wheel trays and straps each bike is placed reverse of the next and clamped down via an arm/hook combo.
The system fits small kids bikes all the way through bikes with a 50” wheelbase and fat tires with an additional kit. This rack is one of the lightest on the market in it’s own right.
The rack is able to hold up to 190 lbs with the two outer bikes not exceeding 35 lbs each. As with most racks, a 2” receiver is necessary for use. Like several of the tray options listed, this rack can easily be paired with a roof system to extend the amount of bikes to be carried beyond 4 bikes.
Rocky Mounts Split Rail LS
Rocky Mounts have been on the scene for quite some time and with that comes a quality set of racks that get the job done. The Split Rail LS comes in a two-tray configuration but can be extended to carry 4 bikes.
The trays are able to carry 20” bikes up to 29ers and everything in between via rear wheel attachments in combination with an arm/hook over the front wheels. A total carrying capacity of 210 lbs via a 2” receiver is what they state can be loaded and transported.
There are some cool anti wobble features built into the system. In addition, the rack system folds up to the vehicle and can tilt down out of the way for trunk access. For vans and trucks, a hitch extender may be necessary to access the rear end.
Price: $549.95 (rack), $399 (add-on)
Kuat NV 2.0 + Add-on
This rack is the current system that my family and I are currently using. We have relied on this system for a few years now after upgrading from a Swagman (which was OK).
The attention to detail and quality features set the bar for this rack. Like many other tray style racks, the system secures bikes via a rear wheel strap on to a tray and an arm/hook combo to cinch the front wheel down.
With integrated locks, a work stand clamp, and several other aesthetic features this rack is high quality. Unlike most racks, there is an option to run an 1.25” or 2” receiver connection.
The rack itself only holds 40 lbs per bike so there is a limit there if your intent is to carry ebikes or very heavy bikes. Bikes down to 20” can be carried but do require arm adapters. I can speak from first-hand experience that the rack will carry fat bikes as well.
Like most others, it folds up and can tilt down out of the way for easier loading and hatch access. Pair with a roof system for maximum bike carrying capacity!
Read Our Review: Kuat NV 2.0 (on our sister site Femme Cyclist)
Price: $749 (rack), $539 (X2 add-on)
Here are a couple of other accessories that can make hauling lots of bikes easier.
Dakine Tailgate Pad
If you have a pickup truck, you have the option of hauling bikes in the bed. Rather than just throwing them on the tailgate, invest in a pad to help protect and hold your bikes.
We like the Dakine Tailgate pad which we used in the back of our Chevy Silverado for years. In fact, we used it to carry all of our bikes while on a year-long mountain bike round trip and it held up really well.
The large pad has 7 velcro loops (to fit 7 bikes) and can fit even the tiniest bike and things like trailer-cycles, which you might not be able to carry on a hitch rack.
Rack Attach (Option to add an extending arm)
The Rack Attach is a pivoting arm that moves both bikes and rack out of the way from rear hatch doors and the like. The item is sold in 3 size variations. We have added one to our van and are excited to get a review out there. Stay tuned!