How Much Do Bike Racks Cost? Price Tag Breakdown

red suv transporting road bikes and kayak

Bike racks are a necessity for most bike owners. Without a bike rack, it’s very difficult to transport them even if you’ve got a large vehicle.

Navigating the world of bike racks can feel like tackling a challenging mountain trail. With a past life as an REI sports merchandiser, I've got the inside track on bike gear that's worth every penny.

But how much will a bike rack cost you to buy?

Generally, bike racks can cost anywhere from $25 to $1,000 depending on the type of rack and its features.

That’s a pretty wide price range, you’ll need to look at the prices for the type of bike rack you need or see the cost breakdown below.

  • Trunk-Mount Bike Racks go from $25 to $400.
  • Hitch-Mount Bike Racks go from $75 to $1000+
  • Roof-Mount Bike Racks go from $60 to $350 (standalone); up to $700 (integrated into a cargo basket).

Well, the price range for bike racks is quite vast, ranging from a budget-friendly $25 all the way up to a splurge-worthy $1,000.

In this article, I'll break down the different types of bike racks and their features, so you can find the perfect fit for your needs and budget.

Whether you're a casual rider or a Tour De France cyclist, having a bike rack is an absolute necessity.

It not only makes transportation a breeze but also ensures the safety and security of your bikes. In addition to providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision, I'll also be sharing some insider tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your bike rack.

Trunk-Mount Bike Rack Cost

This type of bike rack sits in your car’s trunk or hatch using foam pads and is secured using adjustable straps.

trunk mount bike rack for car

Trunk-mount bike racks are the most cost-effective type of bike rack, typically costing in the range of $25 to $200.

The price of trunk bike racks varies depending on the capacity, quality, brand, and features.

Although this type of bike rack is affordable, it has some disadvantages.

They can be easy to install incorrectly, which can make the bike rack unsafe. They also may not be as stable as the other types of bike racks for the price. Additionally, trunk-mount bike racks can easily wear away your car’s paint if you’re not careful.

Also check out: Best Trunk-Mount Bike Racks

Hitch-Mount Bike Rack Cost

This type of bike rack attaches to a hitch on the back of your car.

hitch mount rack for 4 bikes

Hitch-mount bike racks typically cost between $75 and $900.

The wide range of prices for hitch bike racks is partly due to the various features that can be offered.

Hitch bike racks can offer features such as sway control devices, high carrying capacity, dual-arm supports, and more.

The price is also affected by the style and quality of the rack.

“Hanging” style hitch bike racks, where the bikes hang from support arms, are generally cheaper than “platform” style racks, which support the bikes from the bottom.

View hitch-mount bike racks on Amazon.

Roof-Mount Bike Rack Cost

This type of bike rack attaches to the crossbars on top of your car.

roof bike rack

Roof-mount bike racks typically cost between $60 and $300 for a standalone bike rack but can cost up to $700 if integrated into a cargo basket.

Standalone roof-mount bike racks typically hold a single bike and come with different mounting styles, such as fork-mount (front tire is removed) and frame mount. The cost can be affected depending on the style.

Additionally, roof-mounted bike racks can be integrated into cargo baskets. This is a great option if you’re looking for a multipurpose roof rack since you’ll be able to store more than just bikes.

View roof-mount bike racks on Amazon.

Why Are Bike Racks So Expensive?

Bike racks can sometimes seem more expensive than necessary. Many bike racks even cost more than a bike itself.

So why are bike racks so expensive?

Bike racks can be expensive because of their capacity, quality, and features.

The capacity can greatly influence the price of bike racks. Most bike racks must be able to hold 2-4 bikes, with some capable of holding 6. Holding several bikes requires lots of complicated parts and designs, especially since many bike shapes are different.

The quality of the bike rack is also a large factor in the price. Great bike racks are often expensive because they’re made of quality materials to ensure the safety of the bikes.

Additionally, bike racks can offer a wide array of features such as locking, sway control, and more. These features can sometimes be complicated and add a lot to the price.

How Much Should I Spend on a Bike Rack?

With the wide range of prices for bike racks, it can be difficult to figure out which price point is best for you. You should consider your situation before deciding how much to spend on a bike rack.

If you’re the average person who uses a bike rack a couple of times a month or less and for short trips, consider spending between $60 and $200 for a bike rack.

If you’re buying a trunk-mount bike rack, you’ll spend toward the lower end of that range. If you’re buying a different type of bike rack, such as a hitch rack, consider spending closer to the high end of that range.

You should avoid the ultra-cheap options. They may break easily or not be very secure, therefore it’s worth spending a few extra bucks for a good-quality bike rack.

If you’re using your bike rack frequently or for long trips, you should consider spending $150+ for your bike rack.

A high-quality, sturdy bike rack will be necessary for this type of use, so you shouldn’t cheap out. You wouldn’t want your bike rack to fail while on a long road trip. Additionally, you wouldn’t want it to break quickly from frequent use.

At this price point, you should consider several different types of bike racks to find one with the appropriate features to meet your needs.

Where Can I Buy a Bike Rack?

Bike racks can be bought both online and in-store through many different companies.

The easiest place to buy a bike rack is through an online store.

Amazon has a wide selection of bike racks to choose from. You may also purchase directly from a manufacturer’s website, such as Thule, if you already know what you’re looking for.

If you want to get an up-close look at a bike rack you can check local retail stores such as DICK’S Sporting Goods, Walmart, or REI, although they won’t have a large selection like an online store.

Are Cheap Bike Racks Worth It?

The cheapest bike racks are typically trunk-mounted racks costing between $25 and $50. If you’re on a budget, is a cheaper bike rack worth getting?

Generally, cheap bike racks aren’t worth it because of their poor design and capabilities, but they might be an acceptable option in certain cases.

Cheap bike racks typically don’t offer much support or safety for the bikes, so in many cases, it isn’t worth the money you’ll save. If the bikes fall off while driving, they will get damaged. Your car and other cars on the road may also get damaged, therefore it’s not worth risking thousands of dollars of damage.

Although, it may be worth purchasing a bike rack under certain circumstances. If you will only use the bike rack a handful of times for only short trips with a small number of bikes, it may be worth purchasing a cheaper bike rack.

You should not purchase a cheap bike rack to use on a long trip, as there is more time for things to go wrong. Also, if you’re going to be using the bike rack a lot, you should spend more and get a good-quality bike rack. It will be worth the money in the long run.

Summary of Bike Rack Costs

Bike racks are an absolute must-have for bike owners if you want to transport your bike elsewhere.

Now, let's talk numbers. Bike racks can range in price from a budget-friendly $25 to a more luxurious $1,000+, depending on the type and features you're after.

From the affordable trunk-mount racks to the feature-rich hitch-mount options and the versatile roof-mount variants, there's a solution for every adventurer.

Remember, the investment is not just in transporting your bike but also in ensuring its safety and that of your vehicle.

With the price ranges in mind, you can make an informed decision that marries functionality with affordability.

Hanna Leclair
Colorado raised and adventure-driven, I juggle being a mom, amateur triathlete, and blogger. A former REI sports merchandiser, I'm all about picking the perfect gear for every journey.