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Best Bike Rack For Minivans

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You could transport several bikes inside a minivan without needing a bike rack, but that forfeits the vehicle’s main passenger-carrying forte.

Assuming you might want to carry people as well as bikes, this article will help you find the best bike rack for a minivan.

Topping our review list is the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack. Put simply, this rack leaves you wanting for little in its versatility and ease of use. It’s durably made, too.

We’ll follow our reviews with an advice section. This should help you find your own ideal minivan bike rack.

Top 9 Best Minivan Bike Racks Reviewed

Using popular models as our guide to compatibility, the bike racks below are all worth considering for your minivan.

1. Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack (best overall)

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  • Rack type: Hitch (platform style)
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight: 52.04 lbs (23.6 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 60 lbs (120 lbs / 54.43 kg)

If you’re driving a minivan, chances are you may have a diverse range of bikes to carry. The Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack is a versatile rack that accommodates various bike shapes and sizes without needing adapters.

Because it holds bikes by their front wheels rather than the frame, this rack is oblivious to the awkward bike geometries that trouble hanging-style racks. You can carry any bike with a 20-29” diameter wheel, including fat bikes with tires up to 5” tires.

The T2 Pro XTR is available with a 1.25” or 2” hitch. A minivan may have either size installed, particularly if it has a robust 350-pound tongue weight capacity. You’d need to check this detail before purchasing.

Other handy features of this rack include dual hitch and bike security, the ergonomic HitchSwitch tilting lever, and Thule’s tool-free AutoAttach installation system. It also has integrated wheels to help you move the rack around off the car.

A downside to this rack and similar Thule models is their price, even though the quality justifies it. There are much cheaper ways to carry bikes.

What We Like

  • Versatile – carries most bikes without needing adapters.
  • Easy – tool-free installation using the AutoAttach system.
  • Security – a lock knob and cable lock secure the rack and bikes.
  • Tilting – easy tilting using the HitchSwitch.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – other choices exist if you’re on a budget.

2. Yakima FullBack Premium Trunk Rack (best trunk rack)

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  • Rack type: Trunk
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight: 22 lbs (9.97 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 35 lbs (70 lbs / 31.75 kg)

An outstanding trunk rack that offers broad compatibility with many minivans is the Yakima FullBack Premium Trunk Rack. This rack has some unique features that you won’t find on most competing trunk racks.

One unusual feature of the FullBack is its dual security. Most trunk racks don’t offer any security because they can be snipped from the car. This Yakima model has reinforced straps with anchors on the end that go inside the locked vehicle.

A cable lock secures your bikes to the FullBack trunk rack. A downside is that the security system relies on you having the rack fully loaded. The cable lock is too short to reach a solo bike on the inner cradles. Maybe Yakima will address this.

The Yakima FullBack comes fully assembled and has an interlocking hub with set positions for all cars. You simply dial in your car model on a Yakima web page to find the correct hub setting and installation notes for your car.

On top of everything else, the FullBack is durably made and looks good with its gloss finish. There’s not much to dislike.

What We Like

  • Easy – installation is a cinch with the predetermined hub settings.
  • Security – offers unique dual security (albeit slightly flawed).
  • Durable – robust manufacturing and a premium finish.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cable – the cable lock only locks the outer bike, though we wouldn’t view this as a deal breaker.

3. Yakima FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount (best roof rack)

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  • Rack type: Roof
  • Bike Capacity: 1 Bike
  • Weight: 18 lbs (8.16 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 40 lbs (18.14 kg)

Minivans tend to be quite tall, so a roof rack won’t be for everyone, but the Yakima FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount is an excellent choice if you go down this route. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and holds most bikes with 20” to 29” wheel diameters.

One bike this rack won’t hold is a fat-tired bike (it holds 3” max width), though heftier bikes are better on a hitch rack anyway. It’s a good choice for a valuable carbon bike because it doesn’t touch the frame.

To secure bikes to the FrontLoader, a large red adjustment knob at roof level adjusts tension on the wheel cradle. A ratcheting strap secures the rear wheel. The process is simple.

Leaving the front wheel on when roof-mounting a bike means you don’t have to find space for it inside the car. However, it also means you must lift the front end of the bike higher. Keeping a step stool in the car may help.

This rack comes with built-in security, though unfortunately, you must buy lock cores separately before you can use it. That’s a definite downside for some.

What We Like

  • Easy – easy to install and use.
  • Versatile – wheel clamping design works with most bike types.
  • Assembly – comes fully assembled.
  • Security – a security system is part-installed.

What We Don’t Like

  • Extra cost – you must buy lock cores to unlock security.

4. Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack (best for multiple bikes)

Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Mount RackPin

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  • Rack type: Hitch (hanging style)
  • Bike capacity: 4
  • Weight: 35 lbs (15.87 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 4 x 37.5 lbs (150 lbs / 68 kg)

Hanging-style racks can usually carry multiple bikes within a relatively small area. The Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Rack is an excellent example of this and features anti-sway cradles to prevent bikes from clashing during transit.

These anti-sway cradles work by securing the bike vertically as well as horizontally. They attach to the seat tube of your bike as well as the top tube, and bikes are mounted in alternate directions.

Unfortunately, you’ll probably need a crossbar adapter for any step-through bike you want to carry on this style of rack.

Other great features of the Thule Apex XT include dual bike and rack security, and the ergonomic “HitchSwitch” lever for easy tilting of the rack.

The total load capacity of this rack together with the rack weight should be easily within the tongue weight capacity of most minivans. It’s not a rack you’d choose for heavier e-bikes, but regular road bikes, MTBs, and hybrids are all fair game.

What We Like

  • Stable – bikes are kept still during transit by anti-sway cradles.
  • Security – the hitch and bikes are all lockable.
  • Tilting – the large HitchSwitch lever gives easy access to a trunk or hatch.

What We Don’t Like

  • Adapter – you’ll need crossbar adapters for step-through bikes.

5. Thule Helium Platform Hitch Bike Rack (best for carbon bikes)

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  • Rack type: Hitch
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight: 43.2 lbs (19.59 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 45 lbs (90 lbs / 40.82 kg)

When transporting carbon bikes, it’s a good idea to avoid racks that clamp the frame. The Thule Helium Platform XT Hitch Bike Rack achieves that and is more lightweight than most racks of this nature, hence the name.

The Helium rack is made of aluminum, which explains its low weight, but manufacturing quality is nonetheless rugged. This US-made rack can carry almost any bike shape without needing adapters.

It takes mere seconds to load each bike onto this Thule rack. It also includes security, with the ability to lock the hitch to your car and your bikes to the rack.

Off-set mounting on the Helium allows you to adjust the lateral position of bikes so they’re not competing for the same space. The rack includes Thule’s HitchSwitch tilting lever for easy access to your minivan’s cargo area.

The Helium folds up neatly when unloaded and can be left on the car. If you need a downside, it’s a bit chunky to store off the car compared to some rival models (e.g., 1Up Heavy Duty Double bike rack).

What We Like

  • Versatile – great for carbon bikes, step-through bikes, and most others.
  • Security – lock the rack and your bikes with built-in security.
  • Easy – easy to install and use.

What We Don’t Like

  • Large – not the most compact rack to store off the vehicle.

6. SeaSucker Talon Single Bike Rack (best suction rack)

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  • Rack type: Suction (roof or trunk)
  • Bike capacity: 1
  • Weight: 6 lbs (2.7 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 1 x 45 lbs (20.4 kg)

One benefit of a suction-type bike rack is that it requires no hardware to pre-exist on your car, unlike roof or hitch-mounted racks. The SeaSucker Talon Single Bike Rack provides a rock-solid base for a bike, thanks to its powerful vacuum cups.

Each cup on the SeaSucker Talon is rated at 210 lbs of pull strength. The rack is easy to install, too. You just need to pump the plunger several times to achieve the vacuum which holds the rack in place.

If you have doubts about how well this system works, SeaSucker racks have been used by Jumbo-Visma team cars to carry spare bikes in World-Tour races.

You can install SeaSucker racks on the roof or rear of vehicles. The Talon holds the front of the bike by the fork, which makes it a bit easier to lift onto a tall minivan.

The SeaSucker Talon does not come with any integrated security, though you can buy a separate cable lock and cable anchor from SeaSucker.

What We Like

  • Simple – needs no other hardware on your car (unlike roof or hitch racks).
  • Strong – against intuition, the suction pads are incredibly strong.
  • Versatile – usable on the roof or rear of cars.
  • History – used by top WorldTour cycling teams.

What We Don’t Like

  • Wheel – you’ll need space inside your minivan for the front wheel.

7. Hollywood Racks Sport Rider Hitch Rack (best for heavy bikes)

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  • Rack type: Hitch (2” only)
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight: 56 lbs (25.4 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 80 lbs (160 lbs / 72.5 kg)

Few bike racks on the market can compete with the Hollywood Racks Sport Rider Hitch Rack when it comes to weight capacity. This is a rack that can potentially carry extreme machines like electric fat bikes in its universal wheel trays.

You’d need to check the tongue weight capacity of your minivan before loading this rack to the hilt, but most minivans should be beefy enough to make full use of it. Note that you need a 2” hitch receiver for compatibility.

This rack offers triple rack and bike security and is tiltable for trunk access. Its locking bike hooks are an especially useful theft deterrent.

On the minus side, this rack isn’t quite as versatile as one of Thule’s wheel-secured hitch racks. Step-through bikes or cruisers are likely to need a crossbar adapter for compatibility, though these can be bought quite cheaply.

Other handy features of this US-made rack include an anti-wobble hitch system and a foldable design that lets you store the rack flat against the car.

What We Like

  • Security – offers triple security with lockable bike hooks, a cable lock & hitch lock.
  • Universal – the wheel trays accommodate any tires up to 5” wide.
  • Tilt – tilting function provides access to the cargo area.
  • Anti-wobble – stops rickety movement in the bike rack.

What We Don’t Like

  • Adapters – crossbar adapters may be needed for bikes with low-slung frames.

8. Thule EasyFold XT Hitch Bike Rack (best for e-bikes)

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  • Rack type: Hitch (platform-style)
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 65 lbs (130 lbs / 58.9 kg)
  • Weight: 45 lbs (20.4 kg)

If you aim to carry heavy e-bikes on your minivan, the Thule EasyFold XT Hitch Bike Rack is designed for the job. It can take the weight of most e-bikes and, better still, it comes with an integrated loading ramp.

Unlike some other Thule hitch racks, the EasyFold holds bikes by their frames. Thule’s AcuTight torque-limiting knobs prevent you from overtightening the clamps.

Note: lightweight carbon road e-bikes can just as easily be carried by other, cheaper Thule hitch racks (e.g., the Helium). The clamping style of this one is not best suited to delicate carbon frames unless you also buy Thule carbon frame protectors.

Other features include tool-free installation, a foot-controlled tilting pedal that leaves both hands free, and dual rack/bike security. Adjustable pump buckles secure your bike wheels to the base of the rack.

The main downside of this rack is its high price.

What We Like

  • Ramp – you can just wheel heavy e-bikes into place.
  • Security – lockable torque-limiting knobs and a lockable hitch.
  • Tilting – foot-controlled tilt pedal leaves both hands free to move the bikes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – more expensive than similar Thule racks without ramps.

9. Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack (best budget)

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  • Rack Type: Trunk Mount
  • Bike Capacity: 2
  • Weight Capacity: 35 lbs. per bike.
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.

An ultra-affordable bike rack that’s compatible with many minivans is the Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack.

You can check your vehicle compatibility on the Allen website. It gets the green light with many minivans on the site, though not modern Toyota Sienna models. Allen also offers affordable hitch racks if you have a hitch receiver installed.

This rack has large foam bumpers to protect your car’s finish and patented tie-downs that keep your bikes stable and secure. It comes fully assembled and is easy to install.

Allen trunk racks feature side straps to boost their lateral stability during transit.

The Allen Deluxe Trunk Rack is lightweight and folds in seconds, so it’s quite an elegant solution even if you ignore the low price. One slight downside is the metal hooks that attach to your car trunk. Consider taping those to avoid scratches.

What We Like

  • Price – it’s hard to complain about the price.
  • Protection – large foam pads protect your vehicle from marks or indents.
  • Stable – side straps provide lateral rack stability.
  • Storage – lightweight and folds flat for easy carrying & storage.

What We Don’t Like

  • Hooks – these racks tend to use metal hooks that can mark your car if you don’t prevent this (purpose-made protectors are available).

Types Of Minivan Racks

There are three main types of bike racks you can buy for a minivan:

  • Trunk-mounted bike rack (aka trunk rack)
  • Hitch-mounted bike rack (aka hitch rack)
  • Roof-mounted bike rack (aka roof rack)

Of these, only the trunk rack needs no hardware to be pre-installed on your vehicle. A roof rack mounts onto crossbars and a hitch rack needs a hitch receiver.

You also have suction-mounted bike racks to consider, though they are few in number.

Trunk Racks

Trunk racks use a series of hooked straps to cling to the trunk of your vehicle.

These racks are usually lightweight, easy to store, often easy to install and use, and more affordable than other bike racks. They typically hold bikes of up to about 35 lbs.

Of course, there are downsides, too. You can’t usually access your trunk or hatch while they’re installed, even when unloaded. And trunk racks are more likely than other racks to be incompatible with the year and model of your minivan.

It’s always worth looking at the original manufacturer’s website when buying a trunk rack. Some of them tell you if a given trunk rack is compatible with your specific vehicle (e.g., Allen or Tyger racks).

Hitch Racks

Hitch-mounted bike racks come in two types: platform style and hanging style.

Platform-style hitch racks tend to be more expensive. They can usually accept heavier bikes and are often more versatile in the types of bikes they hold.

Hanging-style hitch racks hold bikes in much the same way as a trunk rack, except they often allow access to the trunk and are more likely to include security features.

Important: when buying a hitch rack, check the tongue weight capacity of your vehicle first. The total weight of the bike rack and loaded bikes should be below that.

Most minivans are likely to have quite a large tongue weight capacity (e.g., 350 lbs+), and may have a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver as a result. You must check that a bike rack is compatible with the hitch receiver size on your vehicle if it has one.

Video: Hanging-Style vs Platform-Style Hitch Racks

Roof Racks

The main benefit of roof racks is that they leave the rear of your car unobstructed. They don’t get in the way of the trunk, taillights, or license plate.

On a minivan, however, you need to consider the height of the vehicle and whether you’re tall or strong enough to mount bikes at near head height.

You can keep a step stool in the car to help mount bikes or stand on the door ledge to make adjustments. The weight of your bike is also a key factor.

Roof racks usually accept bikes up to around 45 lbs. They tend to be more affordable than hitch racks, though there is plenty of overlap in prices.

Downsides include the potential to forget bikes are there and crash them into a low barrier, and the negative impact roof racks have on fuel efficiency.

Suction Racks

There aren’t loads of suction racks on the market, but there are models from SeaSucker, ROCKBROS, Kupper Mounts, and others.

Suction racks usually go onto the roof of a car. Again, this may not be ideal on a tall minivan, though they can also be mounted vertically onto the rear.

What are the downsides? You do need to remove the front wheel when using these, so then you have to find space for that in the car.

What Else To Consider When Choosing A Bike Rack For A Minivan

Security

Security comes almost as standard with hitch-mounted racks. These usually allow you to lock the rack to the car and your bikes to the rack. Most of them have a lockable hitch pin and lockable bike clamps or cable locks.

Roof racks often include security features, albeit sometimes at extra cost.

It’s not often possible to lock trunk racks as they’re only secured by straps in the first instance. But there are some clever solutions to this (as seen on the Yakima FullBack).

Tilting

Most hitch racks have a tilting feature that lets you access the trunk or hatch of your vehicle. If this is important to you, it’s worth studying how well it’s implemented.

Tilting levers can be awkwardly placed and difficult to use in some instances.

Adapters

Some bike racks are tremendously versatile in the types, weights, and shapes of bikes they accept without needing adapters.

With hanging-style bike racks, you’re likely to need crossbar adapters before you can mount step-through bikes, cruisers, or BMX bikes. That’s because these racks are designed to hold bikes via a horizontal top tube.

Read more: Crossbar adapters reviews

Bikes with fat tires also cause compatibility issues with bike racks. You’d normally carry these on a platform-style hitch rack. Even then you may need to pay extra for adapters or wider wheel trays.

Heavy Bikes

If you need to carry heavy bikes much beyond 45 lbs, a platform-style hitch rack is almost always the answer.

Read more: The best bicycles for heavier riders

Minivan Bicycle Racks: FAQs

What Kind Of Bike Rack Fits A Minivan?

All kinds of bike racks fit a minivan, including roof-mounted, trunk-mounted, hitch-mounted, and suction racks. Of these, only the trunk rack poses much risk of compatibility problems, as it has to suit the shape of the vehicle.

Will A Bike Rack Damage My Car?

Bike racks shouldn’t damage your car as long as the installation and usage instructions are carefully followed. Some potential for accidents always exists, and minor design flaws like bare metal hooks can cause scratches. Stability is always important.

Will Bikes Fit Inside A Minivan?

Bikes will fit inside a minivan better than they do most other vehicles, but you still have to forfeit passenger space to achieve this. You can use custom-made products like Saris Traps and Tracks to hold bikes vertically in a minivan (minus front wheels).

Rounding Up

It’s time to revisit some of our reviews.

We like the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack because it offers most of what you could want in a bike rack. It’s strong, durable, very versatile, and even comes with built-in wheels for easy transport.

Few trunk racks on the market are as rugged and good-looking as the Yakima FullBack Premium Trunk Rack. This rack also includes an ingenious security system and an easy-to-use interlocking hub with a predetermined position for your vehicle.

Staying with Yakima, the FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount is a great choice if you want to carry bikes atop your minivan. It’s easy to install and use and tremendously versatile.

We hope this article leads you to your ideal minivan bike rack!

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Glenn Harper
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When Glenn isn't writing for BikePush, he can often be found cycling on his local rural roads. If he can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, He’ll consider it a win.

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