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If you are the proud owner of a van, you will know how useful they are for transporting all manners of goods and items from A to Z.
Depending on your type of van, it may be bigger or smaller than a truck or SUV but certainly more spacious than the common car.
While there are many types of vans such as minivans and regular vans like the Ford E-Series or Chevrolet, they all have one thing in common.
They are used to transport goods or people. Nonetheless, even with all this room, it can sometimes be difficult to fit in your family’s bikes for a day out on the woodland tracks.
Even with the extra room, a bike rack is essential for your treasured bikes. Storing them in the back of the van can leave them at risk of damage from moving around if not fastened securely.
Thankfully, there are a number of bike racks on the market that are suitable for vans and we have researched the best 5 to show you. We will consider the pros and cons of each so you can make an educated final decision on which one is best for your needs.
Best Bike Rack for a Van
This hitch-mounted bike rack is a fantastic option if your van already has a hitch installed. Even if it doesn’t, you can easily get one fitted at a low cost. The Allen Sports 4-Bike bicycle rack is an excellent carrier system due to its easy-to-use nature and efficiency.
To install this onto your van, simply slide the hitch into the hitch receiver on your truck and lock it in place. Some bike racks can leave scratch marks and damage your vehicle’s paintwork but as this is connected to the hitch of your van, it minimizes the risk of ruining the precious paintwork.
You won’t have to worry about lifting heavy bikes into position as this rack is connected at a low height for easy loading. You may have some trouble with operating your back door on some vehicles so bear this in mind. If this is a worry, you can purchase an additional tilt feature for easier operation.
- Hitch-mounted – Ideal for vans with an installed hitch as it is out of the way from damaging your van’s paintwork
- Easy to use and connect – Simple mechanism to connect to your van and lock into place so you can get cycling sooner
- Connected at a low height – Easy to load bike as you don’t have to lift it high onto the van and risk injuring your back
- Hard to fold up – Some customers have found the folding mechanism to be time-consuming
- 4 bike rack fits vehicles with a 2 inch trailer hitch only. Vehicle will require professionally installed Class III or IV 2 inches hitch to use this product
- 22 inch long carry arms individually secure bicycles with Allen's patented tie down system
- Rack sets up and installs in less than 5 minutes; Included no wobble bolt secures rack inside of receiver hitch with a movement free installation
- Allen's warranty does not cover items purchased through third-party sellers
Unlike our previous hitch-mounted model, the Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S bicycle rack is of the truck-mounted variety. These are generally very lightweight and economical to use with straps, buckles, and hooks that help secure your bikes to the back of your van for utmost safety.
Unlike some bike racks that can be a pain to set up and adjust, the Tyger Auto mounted bike rack doesn’t require any additional equipment such as hitches or crossbars to work efficiently.
Trunk-mounted bike racks, such as this, have a compact design for easy assembly. And you won’t have to worry about fussing around with the rack when you have finished with it. It can be easily taken apart and conveniently stored when not needed.
While these trunk-mounted bike racks are excellent for securely holding your bikes to your van, they can make it quite difficult to access your van’s rear doors when the bikes are mounted. It is best to get all you need from the back before you mount the bikes into place.
- Lightweight – Very easy to pick up and connect to your van in a short amount of time
- Economical – Some bike racks can change the aerodynamics and weight of your van, increasing fuel economy, but this is compact enough to not cause any issues
- Easy to disassemble – Simple to break down and store conveniently when not in use
- Silicone straps are not long enough – May have to be stretched for some larger bikes to fit in place
- 100% assembled. Fits most Sedans/Hatchbacks/Minivans and SUV's. This CAN'T FIT vehicles equipped with rear spoilers.
- Designed to fit 3 bikes (Max 99lb capacity) with sturdy and handy construction. Padded lower frame keeps bicycles away from vehicle. (Safety strap included.)
- Individual soft cradles made to protect your bike frame and secure your bikes. OE standard black E-Coating for rust resistance. Foldable carry arms when not in use.
- Easy installation in minutes. (DIY instruction included in package.) NOTE: Provided Safety Strap must be installed to stabilize bikes while driving. Otherwise, any resulting accident and damage will not be covered by warranty.
- TYGER No-Hassle Limited Lifetime Warranty for US customers!
This alloy steel bumper-mounted bike rack is very convenient for carrying up to two bikes from a 4-inch to 4.5-inch square bumper. This Quick products QPRBM2R RV bike rack is ideal if you are looking for an easier installation option.
Weighing 22-pounds, this bike rack isn’t too heavy to cause any aerodynamic issues with your van. It is fully adjustable which allows you to fit nearly any length bicycle securely to the back of your van.
You won’t have to worry about this rack rusting from different weather conditions any time soon as its all-steel construction is powder-coated for corrosion resistance to last a long time.
This QPRBM2R bumper-mounted bike rack can support up to 30-pounds per bicycle so you can take your whole family out for a day of cross-country biking. However, fat-tired bicycles or those with wheels over 29-inches can not fit this rack.
- Lightweight – Easy to pick up and take off without the risk of straining your back
- Corrosion-resistant – Its durable construction should last a long time
- Very secure – Slotted tire wells hold each bike very tightly with a convenient stabilizer which acts as an anchor to support and fasten your bikes to
- Doesn’t fit fat-tired bicycles – Not suitable for bikes with wheels measuring 29-inches or over
- Conveniently carry up to two bikes from your 4" to 4.5" square bumper
- Adjustable mounting allows a fit for nearly any length bicycle
- All-steel construction, powder coated for corrosion resistance
- 30 lb. weight capacity per bicycle
- Will not fit fat-tire bicycles or bicycles with wheels over 29".Slotted tire wells hold each bike securely while a convenient stabilizer post provides an anchor to both support and fasten your bikes to.
Here, we have the impressive Yakima HighRoad Roof Bike Rack which has a built-in TorqueRight handle to prevent the wheel hoop from being tightened too much or too little, keeping your bike safe.
Unlike larger bike racks that attach to the back of your van, the Yakima HighRoad model is a roof rack. This means you can only hold 1 bike on your minivan’s roof but this is ideal if you’re a lone cycler who loves to adventure to new horizons. Some bike racks only support specific sizes of bicycles but this model can be easily adjusted to fit most sizes.
Bike racks have to withstand all manners of weather so you want one with a solid and durable construction. Fortunately, the Yakima HighRoad bicycle rack has a very robust steel construction that is a chip-resistant powder-coated finish. This doesn’t only keep the rack protected but will complement the overall look of your van.
One unique feature of this is its integrated security system which we loved. It has a TailWhip cable that can be used with a SmartSlot kit, which is sold separately. Simply attach this to the rear mounting clamp and drive in complete confidence that your bike is safe in transport.
- Easy to secure screwing mechanism – Simple to install and connect to your van without much time and fuss
- Easy to mount bikes onto – Lift the bike up and it secures into place with a few quick adjustments
- Highly durable design – Sturdy steel construction which is chip-resistant powder-coated for extra protection for long-lasting use
- Lock cores are sold separately – For added security, these work to fasten your bikes more safely but are quite expensive
- Carry any bike: Secure, sleek and simple to use; Carry almost any road or mountain bike; Fits 26" to 29" wheels and 23 mm to 4" tires with no adjustment
- Streamlined protection: Low profile tray minimizes hatch interference; No wheel removal and no contact with the bike frame (an ideal option for carbon fiber bikes and custom paint jobs)
- Roof rack required: Crossbar spread must be between 18" and 35"; Tool-free, universal mounting hardware fits most roof racks; T-Slot compatible with SmarT-Slot conversion kit (sold separately)
- Easy to use: New integrated TorqueRight tightening knob is quick and easy to adjust and secures your bike with precision
- Protect your gear: 2 SKS (Same Key System) locks (sold separately) can be added to lock your bike to the mount and the mount to the base rack
Last, but not least, is the SeaSucker Mini Bomber two Bike Rack which uses a suction technique to attach to your van and never damage its surface. Unique, yet highly effective, this bike rack uses a very unusual method of transporting your bikes securely and safely.
SeaSucker acts just like a mollusk, gripping onto any surface you can mount it on. Whether you want to connect it to your van’s food, trunk, or even glass window, its 3 vacuum cups are strong enough to attach to your van’s surface within seconds. Unlike many bike racks that need tools to be installed, the SeaSucker is ready to go. Just place it into position and equip the rack with your bikes.
Made with high density polyethylene thermoplastic, this rack is very strong and durable for long-lasting use. It is available in a sleek black color which will compliment your van perfectly.
To install, just clean your van’s surface area and press the push button pump, which comes included, continuously until the orange band disappears. Then you are ready to mount your bikes and go out for the day.
- Portable – Very light and easy to install in a quick amount of time
- Easy to use push button pump – Pump down to attach the 3 vacuum cups securely to your van without the risk of damaging the paintwork
- Able to withstand strong crosswinds – Bikes are always safe from strong winds and secretly fastened in place
- Unable to add further safety mechanisms – If you wanted to be extra careful, there is no way of adding further mechanisms for added safety
- Front fork skewer must be fully opened – Front wheel must be taken off to mount the bike properly which can be time consuming
- ANY CAR. ANY PLACE. ANY TIME. The SeaSucker Mini-Bomber Bike Rack is MANUFACTURED in the USA so you don't have to worry about safety. The Vacuum Mounts NEVER damage the car and it’s lighter than most hitch racks. WE VALUE YOUR PRIORITIES
- THE ONLY AMERICAN-MADE RACK AT THE TOUR DE FRANCE. The Mini-Bomber has been TESTED at the toughest races and most physically gruelling courses. We have carried well over $250,000 worth of bikes for pro cycling teams in the world. DO IT LIKE THE PROS
- YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE IS READY - Our premium racks are the only TRAVEL-FRIENDLY bike racks for cars because THEY FIT in a backpack, carry-on, or bike bag. The Talon ONLY WEIGHS 6 lbs, unlike the other +50 lbs racks and it mounts on ANY rental car.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TALON. Each one of the four SeaSucker Vacuum Mounts is PULL RATED at over 210 lbs so your road or mountain bike is in SAFE HANDS. You can install them within SECONDS with minimal work and they work on the widest range of cars.
- FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. All racks are HAND-MADE and our US-Based support will help with any questions. Add one of the SeaSucker racks to cart and if you aren’t 110% satisfied with your bike rack, we will refund your purchase OR replace your rack.
Best Bike Rack for a Van Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have seen our top 5 best bike racks for your van, there are a few more key considerations to take into account before you go ahead and purchase one.
We have outlined the most important factors and features to consider below so you can understand what to look out for in good-quality bike racks.
Type of Bike Rack
There are basically four main choices of bike racks for your van or minivan.
You should consider where you want to carry your bike on your vehicle as different models only fit certain areas of your van.
The four choices are:
- Roof mounts – These attach to the roof of your vehicle and provide the best flexibility for lading different types of gears
- Hitch carriers – This model attaches to the tow hitch of your van (if you have one) and tends to be the quickest and easiest way to load bikes
- Trunk mounts – This attaches to the rear of your vehicle to mount your bike at around chest height
- Truck bed rack – These are not as popular as they only fit certain types of vehicles but are great for transporting several bikes
Roof racks are a great option for lower vehicles. As vans are generally taller than most cars, you have to consider low bridges or tunnels and whether the extra gear on top would fit. Typically, you will need about 11 feet of clearance above your vehicle.
The most recommended bike racks are hitch mounts, tire mounts, bumper mounts, or trunk mounts. Rooftop racks can also increase your fuel efficiency due to being less aerodynamic than these either models.
You need to think about the weight of your rack and whether your vehicle can support the extra cargo. Nearly all trunk-mounted racks have foam padding to protect the paintwork of your van.
However, if the rack is too heavy, it can dent your vehicle, especially when fully loaded with bikes. The lighter the bike rack, the better it usually is for your van’s bodywork.
One bike rack can be different from the next and not all racks fit all vehicles. You should find one that can fit as many vehicles as possible. This way, you can use it on different vehicles in the future, saving you money from buying a new one every time you change your motor.
For a long-lasting bike rack, you want one that is well constructed, well engineered, and able to withstand different elements. Some models are made with cheap metals that are not durable and can corrode quickly. Such models usually have plastic components where there should be metal as well with poor quality foam padding to protect your vehicle.
As the quality of these items wanes, your vehicle could become damaged, and the restarting straps and adjustment mechanisms will become weaker. Your bikes won’t be as secure and stand the risk of falling off the rack.
Always look for a bike rack with a solid construction, such as steel, that will last a long time and stay strong whatever the weather conditions.
Most of us have a budget in mind when it comes to buying a new bike rack. If you have no budget, that’s great! However, most of us are looking for a bike rack which is less expensive but also good-quality.
Thankfully, this is entirely possible. Of course, the more you spend, the better quality you typically get but there is no need to spend thousands of dollars when you can get a strong, durable rack for less than a hundred dollars.
Type, Shape, and Size of Your Bikes
Some bike racks can only fit certain size bikes. You should always check with the manufacturer whether your bike can fit securely onto their bike rack.
If it is too tight, you stand the chance of damaging parts of your bike or scratching it. If the bike is loose, your bike won’t be securely fastened to the rack and could fall off.
The Number of Bikes You Want to Transport
All bike racks have a maximum capacity of how many bikes they can hold. Some can hold a whole family’s worth of bikes while others can hold just one.
Before investing in a bike rack, consider how many bikes you will be carrying and how regularly. You may have to spend a little extra on those with larger capacities but this is worth it for taking long weekend biking trips with your whole family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do bike racks protect your vehicle?
A good quality bike rack should never damage your vehicle in any way. Whether it’s denting or scratching your beloved van’s paint job, bike racks are in place to protect your bikes as well as your vehicle.
The main test of any bike rack is to see if any of its parts scratch or damage your vehicle while traveling. If any damage is found upon inspection, the rack should be avoided.
Are bike racks completely legal?
Bike racks are legal but they must be fitted safely and securely. If not, they can pose a threat to yourself and other motorists on the road.
Furthermore, bike racks should never inhibit the visibility of a license plate. This is illegal and if this happens, you could end up with a hefty fine.
Do bike racks affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency?
While roof and hitch racks are excellent at storing your bike for an adventurous weekend, they can also change the aerodynamics of your vehicle as well as its weight. This can lead to an increase in gas money.
Depending on the type of rack you are using, some will affect your fuel economy more than others. This is because of their shape, size, and weight. Roof mounted racks tend to have the largest effect as they are placed on top of your vehicle. Therefore, the aerodynamics are altered significantly.
Hitch racks are typically easier to remove than roof racks and help you save money in the long run by being more aerodynamic.