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As great as it is to step out your door and into the saddle for a ride around your favourite local loop, there are times when it is necessary to pack the bikes in the car and drive.
After a couple of rounds of bike Jenga trying to fit them inside the car you will be wondering why you don’t just invest in a decent bike rack. Your car and your precious bike will thank you.
Since the Honda CR-V is such a popular car, the second best-selling SUV in the States, in this article we look at the best Honda CR-V bike racks.
Top 5 Best Bike Racks For A Honda CR-V
1. Swagman XC Cross-Country (best hitch mount rack)
- Style: Hitch mounted rack
- Weight: 28lbs
- Weight Capacity: 70lbs (35lbs each bike)
- Bike Capacity: 2
The Swagman is a hitch mount rack system good for two bikes. Once the rack is on the vehicle, loading the bikes is quick and easy. Once the bike is on and held securely by the centre mast, your hands are free to secure the wheels.
The rack supports the front and rear wheels of the bike and the wheel loops can be adjusted laterally depending on the wheelbase.
There is around 6-inches of gap between the end of the vehicle and the bikes when loaded. To aid access to the truck the central mast can be lowered when there are no bikes on the rack.
This also makes it great for getting around town when you don’t have any bikes attached.
Wheel size of 20-29-inch can be supported by the Swagman rack.
- Compatible with 1-¼-inch and 2-inch receiver hitch.
- Locking hitch pin (sold separately) for extra rack security.
- Soft, frame-friendly grip arms.
2. Premium Trunk Mounted Rack (best trunk mount rack)
- Style: Trunk mounted rack.
- Weight: 111.2lbs (2 bike version).
- Weight Capacity: 70lbs (2-biked), 100lbs (3-bikes), 140lbs (4-bikes).
- Bike Capacity: 2 – 4.
The Premier trunk mounted bike rack from Allen Sports is available in 2-bike, 3-bike and even 4-bike configuration and is suitable for SUV’s like the Honda CR-V.
Some trunk mounted racks require a PhD to figure out how to securely install on the vehicle. This is definitely not the case with the Premium Trunk rack.
The manufacturer’s claims of being able to set-up in seconds might be hyperbola but after a little practise, setting up in under two minutes is doable.
The rack folds flat when not in use. Great for throwing in the truck when out on your bikes.
Another legitimate worry with trunk mounted racks is damage to the vehicle. The wide feet profile on the Premium rack helps to spread the load of the bikes and rack which is ultimately kinder to the vehicle paintwork.
- Universal design to fit most vehicle types.
- Large pads help to protect vehicles.
- Easy to set-up and folds flat for storage.
3. BV Hitch Mount Bike Rack Carrier
- Style: Hitch-mounted rack.
- Weight: 39lbs.
- Weight Capacity: 35lbs per bike.
- Bike Capacity: 2 -4 bikes depending on version.
The BV hitch mount is similar in design to the Swagman XC, the main difference being the ability to add another rack to be able to transport up to four bikes at the same time.
The BV rack is designed with an innovative and useful tilt-back feature. This gives access to the trunk even when there are bikes on the rack.
The rack also folds up towards the car when not in use to make driving around town easier.
Of course these features would all be a waste of time were the rack not as sturdy as it is. The two-way anti-wobble system lives up to its name on the road.
- Fold-up design for easy storage when not in use.
- Tilt-back feature to open the truck even when bikes are on the rack.
- Can add an additional rack to carry up to four bikes.
4. Thule WingBar Evo Load Bars (Set of 2)
- Style: Roof rack.
- Weight: 10lbs with feet.
- Weight Capacity: 220lbs.
- Bike Capacity: Dependant on rack used.
Before you even think about fitting a bike roof rack to your Honda CR-V you need a good quality roof rack. Thule are one of the standard bearers when it comes to roof racks.
The correct crossbar size for the Honda CR-V is 47-inch long.
Once you have all these parts installation to the flush rails on the CR-V is simple. Only one screw is used on the feet to lock feet to the bars and the crossbars to the feet at the same time.
You can buy a lock kit separately that will prevent access to this screw and keep your bikes more secure.
The aerodynamic bars, especially the tapered trailing edge shape, help to reduce wind noise when driving and will ultimately save fuel compared to square bars.
- Aerodynamic crossbars for better fuel economy.
- Simple installation on the Honda CR-V.
- Locking system (sold separately) for extra security.
5. Yakima Roof Rack
- Style: Roof style rack.
- Weight: 13lbs.
- Weight Capacity: 40lbs (18-inch crossbar spread).
- Bike Capacity: (number of bikes): 1 per carrier.
The Yakima roof rack is designed so that you don’t have to remove the front wheel of your bike to load on the vehicle.
It is easy to install and is compatible with round, square or aero cross-bars using clever universal mounting hardware at the front and the rear of the rack.
Often an unsubstantiated claim, the Yakima roof rack has a genuinely tool-free installation process.
Yakima uses something known as the Same Key System (SKS) for locking the rack to the car and the bikes to the rack using an integrated cable lock. Probably not enough to stop a determined thief but enough to stop any opportunists.
The rack is compatible with 20-inch to 29-inch wheels therefore suitable for most children’s bikes also. A neat feature is that the tire size is printed on the side of the rack so you can easily adjust it to your size.
- No need to remove the front wheel of the bike to install.
- Excellent security features for the rack and bikes.
- Genuine tool-free installation.
Benefits Of Bike Racks
We would all love to step out of our front door onto great mountain bike trails or epic roads. Most of us, however, have to put up with the humdrum of life in the city or suburbs.
Read More: Front bike racks
The next best thing is to load your bikes into the car and drive to the ride.
Loading bikes onto bike racks, no matter the style, is exponentially easier than trying to maneuver them into a tight car. Easier and better for your precious bike.
Bike racks also free-up valuable space in the car. This means that you can still take the bikes on a family vacation without reducing the amount of luggage you can take along.
No matter how careful you are, loading a bike into the car usually means getting dirty marks on the interior, usually on the roof. A bike rack saves your car.
Types Of Bike Racks For CR-Vs
In general there are three main types of bike rack for CR-V’s:
- Trunk Racks
- Roof Racks
- Tow Bar Mounted Racks
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of rack.
Trunk racks attach to the rear of the vehicle, usually using a system of straps. Bikes on these racks are held across the crossbar on extended arms.
One of the main advantages of trunk racks is the low loading position making it easier to get the bikes onto the rack.
The main disadvantage to these racks is that once they are on it is usually impossible to access the trunk without unloading everything. So if you are planning to do long-distances in the car and are likely to need access to the contents of the trunk, unloading every time gets old fast.
Security may also be an issue since trunk racks rarely lock to the vehicle itself. You can of course lock the bikes to the rack but this would not be enough to stop a determined thief.
Depending on the vehicle, there is a good chance that when loaded with bikes trunk racks will obscure the licence plate and even the brake lights. For safety and to stay on the right side of the law, it is essentially that a lighting board is used with these racks.
The way the bikes are loaded onto articulated arms means that trunk racks may not be suitable for all bikes, especially mountain bikes that don’t have a flat crossbar. In these situations a special crossbar adapter will be required.
Trunk racks do offer value for money and can be easily folded away when not in use and stored in the trunk when out on the bikes.
As the name suggests, with roof racks the bikes are loaded upright onto the roof. Before installing bike specific racks, the vehicle needs to have roof bars.
Compared to trunk racks, the main advantage of roof racks is unhindered access to the trunk. This makes roof racks a popular choice for long drives. Being above the car also means that the brake lights and number plate are not obscured.
Depending on the configuration roof racks can hold up to four bikes.
If you drive an SUV or are not the tallest person, then physically getting the bikes onto the rack can be a bit of challenge. A great tip is to pack a small ladder or pedestal to make loading easier.
Roof racks add considerable height to you vehicle therefore you need to be extra vigilant entering any height restricted car parks or drive-throughs. Make sure that it is not a case of out of sight, out of mind.
For extra peace of mind, especially when you are away from your vehicle a lot of roof racks can be locked to the vehicle and then the bikes themselves can be locked to the rack.
Putting bikes on the roof will also significantly affect the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
Hitch-mounted bike racks are usually considered the premium option for transporting bikes but not every vehicle is equipped with a tow bar mounting point.
These racks are sturdy and since the weight of the bikes is on the tow bar and not on the body work of the vehicle they are better for the vehicle.
They are nice and low to the ground for easy loading and unloading of the bikes.
Most hitch-mounted racks hold the bikes upright, supporting the wheels meaning that it generally doesn’t matter what the frame geometry is.
Depending on the vehicle and the rack, access to the trunk may be restricted when the bikes are loaded on the rack. To overcome this, some new racks have an innovative pivot system that will completely move the bikes out of the way for accessing the trunk.
It is also worth noting that if your vehicle has a spare tire on the back you may require an extension to mount the bike rack.
Hitch mounted racks will add considerable length to your vehicle and may even render the rear parking sensors/ cameras useless so you need to take extra care when parking and reversing.
What To Consider When Choosing A Bike Rack
There will be times when you will be away from your vehicle, even just for short periods. Some racks come with integrated security features that will make any opportunist thieves think twice about stealing your pride and joy.
Trunk mounted racks offer very little security as there is no practical way to secure the rack to the vehicle. The best you can do is lock bikes together on the rack.
Some roof mounted racks lock to the roof bars themselves and also offer integrated cable locks through the bike.
Hitch mounted racks also offer locks through the hitch and then riders can lock their bikes to the rack itself.
Number of Bikes
This will probably be the most important consideration for riders, especially for those going on family vacations.
Most racks can accommodate up to two bikes although trunk mounted racks are available in four bike versions.
Types of Bikes
Most bike types can be transported on hitch mounted racks and roof racks since they are typically supported by the wheels.
There may be restrictions on the wheel sizes, perhaps an issue for kid’s bikes, but mountain bikes, road bikes and everything in between should be fine on these racks.
The extreme geometry of mountain bikes means that they may not be compatible with trunk mounted racks without the addition of a flat bar. The same goes for town bikes that have no top tube.
Since roof and hitch mounted racks support bikes using the wheels there is less to worry about in terms of damaging the frame.
Trunk mounted racks do clamp on the frame but to prevent damage the contact points are usually rubberised.
No matter what rack you choose the overall dimensions of your vehicle will change and obvious care should be taken when driving.
Ease of Use
A rack that is easier to use ultimately means that you are much more likely to actually use it.
Hitch mounted racks are the easiest to load and unload since they are at a good height and the securing mechanism is very user friendly.
Roof racks on the other hand can be tricky due to their height.
Whilst still relatively low to the ground, trunk mounted racks usually require a lot of straps to hold the bike and this can add time to the process.
More often than not trunk mounted racks will need to be installed and uninstalled at the beginning and end of each journey to allow trunk access.
Trunk mounted racks can usually be folded down when not in use and will fit inside the trunk when you are out on your bikes.
Most hitch-mounted racks fold up when not in use.
Can I Fit A Bike Inside A CR-V?
With the rear seats folded and the front wheel of the bike removed it is possible to fit a road bike vertically inside the rear of a CR-V. Doing it this way frees up some more trunk space for other stuff.
Whilst it is an option, it also means that passenger numbers and trunk space is limited.
This is a fine choice for occasional trips with the bike but ultimately it is inconvenient if you plan to take regular trips with bikes.
Video: Quick Method To Fit a Bike In A Car
Frequently Asked Questions
Apart From Bikes, Can I Use A Rack For Other Things?
A hitch-mounted rack can be adapted easily to carry skis and snowboards in winter.
A roof rack is extremely versatile and you can carry everything from luggage to kayaks with everything in between.
Should I Use Straps With The Rack?
When loading a bike on any rack you should use straps on any loose parts or parts that are likely to move in the wind.
The number one priority when carrying bikes should be the safety of other road users and the straps help to make sure that nothing will fly off the rack.
Are Car Racks Safe For Expensive Bikes?
As long as you follow the installation instructions and take care loading your bikes then there is no reason to think that bike racks are not suitable for expensive bikes.
Can I Put An Electric Bike On A Rack?
Electric bikes are considerably heavier than normal bikes so you need to check whether the weight is still within the rack limits.
It also means that physically loading the bikes onto racks, especially roof racks, could be difficult.
Tips for electric bikes on bike racks.
The type of rack that you fit to your Honda CR-V will come down to your needs.
If you plan on doing regular trips with your bikes, perhaps even a family vacation then a hitch-mounted rack is a great choice.
If you just need a rack for occasional trips and don’t mind losing access to the trunk then a trunk mounted rack will probably be good enough and will save some money in the process.
All the racks listed above would be a great addition to a Honda CR-V but the Swagman XC Cross-Country really does tick a lot of boxes and is the overall winner. Getting bikes on the rack is ridiculously easy and you will have no excuse to leave them at home.
If you have your heart set on a roof rack, the Yakima rack has some great design features to make life easy and doesn’t need you to remove the front wheel of the bike.
Adding a bike rack to your Honda CR-V means being able to explore further afield and transport you away from your familiar local loops. It also means protecting your car from the familiar tell-tale signs of trying to fit a bike inside.
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