The best bike racks for your car roof

Parkers explores the different types of roof bike racks to find the perfect option for you.

After spending so long cooped up inside, the prospect of going for a relaxing bike ride in the countryside sounds like heaven. And with a bike rack, you’ll be able to go somewhere nice without running out of steam before you get there. They’re also incredibly useful if you’re going on a family holiday and need to make the most of the space you have in your car. You can even bring your kids – if you want.

We’ve found the best roof-mounted bike racks on the market today so you can buy with peace of mind. It’s worth remembering that the majority of these racks need a roof rack to work so it’s worth checking out our guide to the best roof racks too. And if you aren’t sure which bike rack you’re interested in, we’ve got a more general bike rack guide you can read.

The best roof-mounted bike racks

Thule FreeRide Twin Pack 532 Bicycle Carrier

Thule FreeRide Twin Pack 532 Bicycle Carrier

Price: RRP £139.50 | VIEW OFFER

Thule is the go-to brand for solid bike racks and this twin set is a top pick. Offering excellent adjustability for different bike sizes, these racks are compact and streamlined when not in use. A top choice for any weekend cyclist. 

Pros:

Great quality
Adjustable for different sizes

Cons:

You may need a roof rack adapter

Thule UpRide 599 Bicycle Carrier

Thule UpRide 599 Bicycle Carrier

Price: RRP £184.99 | VIEW OFFER

Bikes come in a whole range of shapes but bike racks often only accommodate standard bike frames. This can make transporting your custom cycle a real pain. Thankfully, the Thule UpRide 599 attaches at the wheel and doesn’t attach to the frame at all. Not only does this mean it works with awkward bikes, it also makes loading and unloading easy too. 

Pros:

Perfect for unusually shaped bikes
Excellent quality Easy to load and unload

Cons:

Only fits one bike

Yakima HighRoad Wheel-On Mount Upright Bike Carrier

Yakima HighRoad Wheel-On Mount Upright Bike Carrier

Price: RRP £922.28 | VIEW OFFER

This option from Yakima is a great option if you own a collection of different sized bikes thanks to its flexibility. The rack adjusts simply and the wheel support has clearly marked size guides to help you secure your bike quickly and securely.

Pros:

Very adjustable for different bike sizes
Easy to use

Cons:

Requires a roof rack

SeaSucker Talon Bicycle Rack

SeaSucker Talon Bicycle Rack

Price: RRP £279 | VIEW OFFER

Possibly the most versatile bike rack of all time, this product can be attached to pretty much any part of a car. Using powerful suction cups to secure a single bike, it can not only be safely mounted to a car’s roof, but also your boot, rear window or windscreen (this last one being very unadvisable).

Pros:

It fit’s on almost any surface
Exceptional quality 

Cons:

It’s expensive and can only fit one bike
You need to remove your front wheel

Sea Sucker Komodo

Sea Sucker Komodo

Price: RRP £899.99 | VIEW OFFER

A very expensive but clever example from Sea Sucker, this suction bike rack is a compact option that is ideal for cars that cannot support roof racks (like convertibles). It can be mounted almost anywhere on a car, making it perfect for convertibles and sports cars if you don’t want to install a towbar

Pros:

A very stylish and effective model
No need for roof racks
Even the smallest cars can support this bike rack 

Cons:

You’ll need to remove your bike’s front wheel
Very expensive

Thule ProRide 598 Roof Mounted Bike Rack

Thule ProRide 598 Roof Mounted Bike Rack

Price: RRP £139.99 | VIEW OFFER

Another great option from Thule, the ProRide 598 will position itself to fit your bike when you load it up making it very easy to use. It’s tool-free once attached, making it simple to use. It comes with a torque indicator to prevent you from damaging your bike’s frame when securing it. It also comes with a five-year warranty when you register the product online.

Pros:

Very easy to install and use
Great quality 

Cons:

You may need to buy adaptors to get it to fit your car’s roof rack

ROCKBROS Suction Bike Rack Car Roof Top Bike Rack

ROCKBROS Suction Bike Rack Car Roof Top Bike Rack

Price: RRP £169.99 | VIEW OFFER

The idea of suction cups to hold your pride and joy in place at 50mph may sound terrifying, but it’s a very clever option for people who don’t have a roof rack. There are different versions available, the largest able to hold three bikes at once. 

Pros:

No need for a roof rack
Multi-bike support

Cons:

You need to clean your roof every time you want to attach this bike rack

Halfords Roof Mount Bike Rack

Halfords Roof Mount Bike Rack

Price: RRP £30 | VIEW OFFER

If you want to transport a bike on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Halfords. A reputable name, this rack may not be the most stylish or advanced in its construction, but it will keep your bike safe. 

Pros:

Good value
Good quality

Cons:

Not the most stylish
Only supports up to 15kg

Related: Best car bike racks

Best bike rack accessories

RIO Direct Ratchet Tie Down Straps

RIO Direct Ratchet Tie Down Straps

Price: RRP £9.99 | VIEW OFFER

Ratchet straps are the go-to accessory for securing loads and this twin-pack from RIO Direct is a simple addition you can buy for total peace of mind. Each strap is designed to safely carry up to 90kg, making it more than capable of holding bicycles.

Saris Rack Hatch Huggers Black

Saris Rack Hatch Huggers Black

Price: RRP £17.99 | VIEW OFFER

Designed for use where traditional ratchet straps simply don’t work, this hatch hugger will hold your bike securely without damaging your car. Especially useful for cars with pillarless doors, these straps won’t damage your glass.

Thule Carbon Frame Protector

Thule Carbon Frame Protector

Price: RRP £21 | VIEW OFFER

If you’re seriously into your bikes and own an expensive carbon fibre one, you’ll undoubtedly want to look after it. Keep the expensive finish immaculate in transport with this protector from Thule. The flexible design allows it to work with different sized frames and bike racks and will stop any abrasion from occurring.

Thule Wheel Carrier Roof Mount

Thule Wheel Carrier Roof Mount

Price: RRP £64.99 | VIEW OFFER

Some bike racks require you to remove the front wheel in order to secure your bike to the rack. Avoid having to place the wheel in the boot or on one of the seats by roof mounting it. This single wheel mount from Thule will conveniently store a single wheel with ease.

Amazon Basics Bungee Strap

Amazon Basics Bungee Strap

Price: RRP £7.19 | VIEW OFFER

An invaluable thing to have with you if you’re carrying anything on your roof is a set of quality bungee cords. This pack from AmazonBasics comes with six 40cm bungee straps and can be used to help further secure a bike to your bike rack.

What you need to know about bike racks:

What features should I look for?

The most obvious deciding factor in choosing a bike rack is whether you have a roof rack. If you do you’ll have an impressive selection of bike racks to choose from, and a range of adapters to ensure that it works with your roof rack. If you own a car where a roof rack isn’t a possibility or you don’t want one then you’ll be looking for a suction-cup bike rack which limits your selection.

Although not the end of the world, a bike rack that doesn’t require you to remove the front wheel will save you time when loading and unloading your bike. Also, remember that your front wheel still needs to be stored somewhere and can take up valuable storage space in your car.

Related: The best roof boxes

What else should I consider?

Think about security, especially if you’re going to be leaving your car unattended for a while. While the majority of these racks will have some form of lock, you should be aware that they aren’t impenetrable. There are extra locks you can buy for greater peace of mind.

Make sure that your bike will fit through height limits to avoid doing some expensive (and embarrassing) damage.

Will it support my bike?

Most bike racks offer a degree of adjustability and should fit most standard size bikes. If you own an unusually proportioned bike (like a fat boy) there are adapters you can buy to get them to fit but these can be quite expensive. However, with the alternative being an unsecured bike it’s probably better to fork out the cost then damage your bike. The best thing to do is to check with the manufacturer before buying.