Biking/Fat Biking, New Moon News

Rack ‘Em Up!

Loading up the bikes in a Kuat tray car rack

Even though a bike is great for getting you where you want to go, sometimes your bike needs a little help getting to the beginning of the journey. Car racks can make traveling to your next adventure easy. New Moon carries several styles of racks that cater to all types of riders.

“Every car, rack, bike combination is a complex equation,” says Joel, “so there are a lot of things to consider when setting up your system.” Car model, bike type (fat bike, e-bike, etc.), lifestyle, fitness, and location can all factor into finding the right choice for you.

Basically, car racks can be divided into hitch racks or truck racks

Traveling around town with a Saris Bones rack.

Trunk racks are for cars that don’t have (or don’t want to use) a hitch. They usually have 2 arms from which the bikes hang and attach to your car with straps. This style is great for folks on a budget, it holds up to three bikes, and really works well on smaller cars, minivans, and hatchbacks. These racks do take more time and care to set up properly, so riders need to be confident in their loading process.

New Moon carries Saris Bones trunk racks with either 2 or 3 spots for bikes up to 35 lbs. The Bones is crafted of incredibly strong, injection-molded plastic, and has four arched leg mounts and two arched arms that cradle your bikes on different levels to minimize unwanted handlebar and seat contact. Six straps hold the rack down, while the four legs have grippy rubber feet to provide a sturdy base that won’t harm your vehicle’s finish. Strap-on style racks like this usually run from $200 – $350.

The other type of rack, which includes several different styles, is the hitch rack. As the name implies, the hitch rack inserts into either a 1.25” or 2” car hitch, and bikes either sit in trays or hang off of an arm.

A Kuat NV rack with 2 bikes

Probably the most common hitch racks use a tray to place the bike in and then an arm that swings up and over the front wheel to secure the bike. Depending on your rack and add-ons, you can carry up to 6 bikes. Usually, folks get a 2-bike set-up with either a 1 or 2 add-on unit. Because of their low height off of the ground, hitch racks are great for heavier bikes or for folks who aren’t comfortable lifting as much weight. They are easy to load and fold up close to the back of the car when not in use. They can take up a lot of storage space in your garage and are fairly heavy but are the most user-friendly and rather convenient. They do add a bit of length to your vehicle so be extra vigilant, especially while backing up. And because of the wheel-bracing arms, tray racks do not accommodate bikes with front fenders without extra care. Be careful not to bend or crack fenders with the arms. For security, most hitch racks have built-in or optional locking systems. Plan on spending $450 and up for good hitch racks. To be sure, the additional cost is well worth the ease of use and security provided by them.

Along with the Saris brand mentioned already, New Moon also carries traditional tray racks by RockyMounts, Kuat, and Thule. Depending on the style, RockyMounts is compatible with bikes up to 65 lbs. each and tire sizes up to 5.” They also feature hitch adaptor sleeves so that you can use your rack on different vehicles. The Kuat racks are a bit lighter and have a few more features depending on the model including a hand-tight hitch cam system and some even feature an innovative, built-in bike repair stand called the Trail Doc – perfect for impromptu, in-the-field bike repairs.

Our newest tray rack is the Thule EasyFold XT– a compact, easy-to-use hitch-mounted bike rack compatible with both hitch sizes. It carries 2 bikes and is fully foldable with wheels for easy storage and transport. The XT is easily the most compact and elegant system and even features a ramp to aid with rolling heavy Ebikes onto the rack. Off the vehicle, it folds and rolls like a big suitcase and even lifts easily with sturdy top handles. This is quickly becoming an all-star of the bike rack world.

A Yakima hangover rack loaded

The Yakima Hangover is also a hitch rack but carries either 4 or 6 bikes that hang vertically, so you can carry more bikes in less space. This rack fits suspension-fork bikes only and requires a fit rider to lift up the bikes into place. The Hangover is a BIG and heavy rack for sure but is great for teams or families with many bikes and frequent bike swaps.

If a hitch isn’t available, here are a few other styles of bike carriers we like.

An empty Kuat Trio fork-mount roof rack

The Kuat Trio is a fork mount roof rack with a universal mounting system and integrated cable lock. It holds 1 bike and is very light and low profile. Roof racks are a great choice, but riders must be able to lift the bike up onto the car. Bikes also tend to get quite buggy and dusty while using this rack. The Trio can be mounted to all manner of roof-mounted cross-bars, factory or aftermarket.

A Swagman tailgate pad

And, finally, if you have an open-top pickup truck, a tailgate pad might be the way to go. Swagman, Race Face, and Fox all have versions of this pad. With this option, it’s easy to just throw the front of your bike (up to 6) over the back of the truck and go. Padding protects your bikes and your truck and heavy-duty material ensures a long life. Simply lift your bike up into the truck bed, turn the bars sideways and drop into place. 

Errands are easy to follow up with a bike ride when a rack is ready to go.
Errands are easy to follow up with a bike ride when a rack is installed and ready to go.

Most of us can just throw our bikes in the car, but racks make traveling with your bike not such a big deal. In particular, quick and easy bike loading may mean the difference between a few dozen mosquito and deer fly bites. Frozen hands at the fat bike trailhead in January is no fun either. Adding a ride into your everyday errands or a trail into your trips will be a piece of cake. Stop by the shop for a look at all of the bike carrier options in stock. Don’t sweat making the right decision-we’re here to help. A  quick conversation with our team will get you equipped with the best solution for your needs.  You can always give us a call, too; we can help with all aspects of rack purchasing from choosing the correct model to helping you install it. See you on the trail!