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Best Bike Rack For A Mazda CX-5 SUV

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The Mazda CX-5 is a compact crossover SUV that easily holds two bikes in its cargo space. And that’s great as long as you’re not transporting much else.

A Mazda CX-5 bike rack keeps your 4-passenger capacity intact and your upholstery clean. In this article, we review a selection of suitable bike racks for this vehicle.

At the top of our review list is the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack. Though not cheap, this solidly made, versatile bike rack leaves you wanting for little.

We’ll also tell you what to look for in the ideal CX-5 bike rack.

Top 5 Best Bike Racks For Mazda CX-5 Reviewed

All the racks below have been checked by us for suitability with the Mazda CX-5 SUV.

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

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

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

For its great versatility, well-designed features, and robust build quality, the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack makes the top of our list. This is a rack that fits onto a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver, and you might have either on a Mazda CX-5.

The T2 Pro XTR secures bikes by their front wheels, so there are no compatibility issues with step-through bikes or most other types. As long as the wheel diameter is between 20” and 29”, this rack will probably hold it.

This is also a good choice for high-value carbon bikes, which are susceptible to damage from frame clamping. As well, it accommodates tire widths of up to 5”, so you can carry fat bikes on it without needing any wheel tray adaptor.

Thule includes its ergonomic HitchSwitch tilting lever on the T2 Pro XTR.

The “R” in XTR stands for rollers. This rack includes integrated wheels, so you can roll it around like a suitcase when it’s off the car.

Security comprises a lockable hitch and integrated cable locks for your bikes.

A downside has to be the cost, no matter how justified it is.

What We Like

  • Versatile – carries bikes of various shapes, sizes, and weights.
  • Tilt – easy access to your trunk via the ergonomic HitchSwitch lever.
  • Rollers – built-in rollers make it easy to move the rack to and from your CX-5.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cost – you can carry bikes safely for a fraction of the price.

2. Saris Bones Trunk Rack (best trunk rack)

Saris Bones Trunk RackPin

CHECK PRICE AT JENSON USA

  • Rack type: Trunk
  • Bike capacity: 2
  • Weight: 11 lbs (4.98 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 35 lbs (70 lbs / 31.75 kg)

After some deliberation, we’d recommend the Saris Bones Trunk Rack for the Mazda CX-5 as the best trunk rack. The Bones “EX” model offers broader compatibility, but the original product should work with any CX-5 year or model.

This iconic trunk rack always vies for the top trunk-rack spot in our reviews. It’s strong, lightweight, and has articulated rubber feet to prevent damage to your car. It can hold two bikes of average weight, and there’s a 3-bike model if you need it.

Despite being made of injection-molded plastic, the materials used to manufacture this rack are 100% recyclable. Its arching design, which makes it compatible with many spoilers, also helps to separate bikes by placing them at different levels.

The Saris Bones keeps bikes stable with its ratcheting anti-sway straps. The Bones’ spring buckle straps come with vinyl-coated hooks to prevent damage to your car.

There aren’t any downsides to speak of, except you’ll probably need crossbar adaptors if you want to carry step-through bikes. This is almost a universal problem with hanging-style racks.

What We Like

  • Strong – made with extremely strong injection-molded plastic.
  • Protects – articulated rubber feet avoid indents or marks.
  • Separation – the arching design helps to separate bikes.
  • Eco-friendly – made of 100% recyclable materials.

What We Don’t Like

  • Adapter – you’re likely to need a crossbar adaptor to carry step-through bikes.

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

Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Upright Bike MountPin

CHECK PRICE AT REI

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

The Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Upright Bike Mount installs onto any style of roof bar and holds bikes securely using wheel supports. This is another rack you could trust with an expensive carbon road bike, as there’s no frame clamping involved.

You can carry bikes of up to 40 lbs on this rack with wheel diameters between 20” and 29”. Because the front wheel stays on the bike, there’s no messing with axle adaptors.

The FrontLoader is easy to install and comes fully assembled. It’s easy to use, too. You simply place the rear wheel into a wheel tray and move the bike forwards slightly. This causes the smaller wheel support to automatically engage.

Although a security system is included with this rack, you won’t be able to use it without first buying Yakima lock cores at extra cost. That counts as a downside to many.

This rack is also incompatible with fat bikes, as the wheel trays only hold a 3” tire width.

What We Like

  • Versatile – carries most frame styles and shapes.
  • Straightforward – easy to use (holds onto your bike almost immediately).
  • Assembled – delivered fully assembled and ready for tool-free installation.
  • Security – dual security included, albeit not enabled.

What We Don’t Like

  • Extra – you have to buy lock cores separately to enable security.
  • Thin – does not accommodate tires above 3” in width.

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

Thule EasyFold XT Hitch Bike RackPin

CHECK PRICE AT TREK BIKES

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

One of few bike racks designed specifically for electric bikes is the Thule EasyFold XT  Hitch Bike Rack, and it excels in this role. Its highlighting feature has to be the integrated loading ramp, which helps you to mount bikes of up to 65 lbs.

Despite this built-in ramp, the weight of the EasyFold is lower than some competing products at 45 lbs. It’s compact and fully foldable. It also has wheels and a carrying handle.

The EasyFold grips bikes by their frames with oversized clamps. A torque-limiting knob prevents overtightening. Despite this, the Thule T2 Pro XTR (reviewed above) is a safer choice for delicate carbon road e-bikes.

A big plus point about the clamps is that they’re lockable, which means more anti-theft protection than the average cable lock.

Another great feature of this rack is the smart foot pedal for tilting. This is ideal if you’re trying to tilt weighty e-bikes with maximum control as it leaves both hands free.

What We Like

  • Ramp – the built-in loading ramp is handy for heavier e-bikes.
  • Security – lockable clamps are more of a theft obstacle than cable locks.
  • Tilting – foot pedal allows controlled tilting for easy trunk access.

What We Don’t Like

  • Frame clamp – disconcerting if you have a delicate carbon road e-bike and may be awkward with some step-through frames.

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

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Rack type: Trunk
  • Bike Capacity: 2 Bikes
  • Weight: 7.49 lbs (3.4 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 35 lbs (70 lbs / 31.75 kg)

If you’re on a budget but need a bike rack, the Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack offers a dependable solution. The rack is compatible with the Mazda CX-5 and is delivered assembled. It’s quick and easy to install.

This rack has an interesting design in that the cradles swivel from a horizontal to a vertical position. That enables the rack to hold “women’s” step-through bikes in some instances (see here.) Most hanging-style racks don’t have this feature.

The Allen rack has no anti-sway cradles, though the patented tie-down system helps to keep bikes secure. Also, the rack’s side straps give lateral stability to the rack.

You can add bungee cords to further prevent movement in the bikes. Generously sized pads on this Allen rack prevent damage to your car.

Be wary of the metal strap hooks, as they can scratch the car unless you cover them with tape.

What We Like

  • Value – a great product at the price with an evolved design.
  • Versatile – carries some step-through bikes without an adaptor.
  • Protects – large frame pads protect your vehicle from indents or marks.

What we Don’t Like

  • Metal – metal hooks can scratch the paint.

Bike Rack Features Needed For A Mazda CX-5

Compatible Bike Rack Types

There are three main types of bike racks: trunk, hitch, and roof.

You also have suction-cup bike racks, which can attach to the roof or rear of cars.

Trunk Racks

Of all bike rack types, the trunk rack is the one most likely to cause compatibility issues. It rests on a part of the car that varies greatly in shape and design.

As if to compensate for this awkwardness, the trunk rack is also the cheapest rack type.

Ideally, a trunk rack should be delivered assembled and not have myriad ways to install on your car. Simplicity is good.

Trunk racks have a weight capacity of around 35 lbs per bike. These are not usually the racks you’ll choose for hefty e-bikes or fat bikes.

Most trunk racks are hanging-style racks. A feature worth looking for is anti-sway cradles, which hold bikes in place vertically.

Hitch Racks

There are two types of hitch racks: hanging style and platform style.

You’ll need a platform-style rack if you have heavy bikes to carry or want as much space as possible between bikes.

A hanging-style hitch rack is similar in its method to a trunk rack, except it still allows you to open the trunk and is likely to include security features.

Pay attention to the hitch class and tongue weight capacity of your CX-5.

Depending on the model, a Mazda CX-5 has a 200 lbs or 350 lbs tongue-weight capacity. This is the max weight you can load onto the hitch, including the rack.

Your car needs to have a hitch receiver installed before you can use this rack type. A CX-5 may have a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver, depending on its towing capacity.

Our reviewed hitch racks fit on either hitch receiver size.

Video: Platform-Style vs Hanging-Style Hitch Racks

Roof Racks

Roof-mounted bike racks do not pose many compatibility problems, though they must suit the crossbar shape on your CX-5.

You should consider the vehicle height, your height, and the weight of your bikes before buying a rooftop bike rack.

The CX-5 is not overly tall, but it’s taller than many SUVs at 1685mm.

Roof racks carry bikes of up to 40-45 lbs. Some hold bikes by the frame and others by their front wheel. The latter is always better for valuable carbon road bikes.

Some roof racks hold bikes by their front fork with the wheel off. This has benefits and drawbacks. It reduces the height for easier loading. But different axle types on bikes make this more complicated, as forks have slots or holes at the end.

Security Features

If you want to lock your bike to the car, this feature comes as standard on most hitch racks. It’s also possible on roof racks but uncommon on trunk racks.

One thing to bear in mind is that cable locks are easily cut by thieves, and they’re commonly integrated into bike racks. Lockable clamps are more of an obstacle. You should also consider adding locks of your own.

Read more: Locking a bike to a hitch rack

Video: Cutting A Bike Cable Lock

Trunk Access

You can’t usually access your trunk with a trunk rack mounted, even if it’s unloaded.

A roof rack has obvious benefits in this regard. Nearly all hitch racks have a tilting feature, though its ease of use varies significantly.

Awkward Bike Shapes

Note that step-through bikes almost always create problems for hanging-style bike racks, whether they’re trunk racks or hitch racks. These racks are designed to dangle bikes by their horizontal top tubes, which don’t always exist.

The solution is to buy a separate crossbar adaptor so you can create a fake crossbar or top tube.

Conclusion: Which Ones Do We Like?

It’s time to revisit our bike reviews.

We like the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack because it’s a great all-rounder with impressive build quality, lots of versatility in the bike types it holds, and innovative features like the HitchSwitch lever.

The iconic Saris Bones Trunk Rack is lightweight, tremendously strong, and 100% recyclable despite its rust-free plastic construction. The arching design does a good job of separating bikes.

If you want to keep bikes away from the cargo area of your CX-5, the Yakima FrontLoader Rooftop Upright Bike Mount is the ideal choice. It’s easy to install, and bikes are quickly held in place as you move them into position.

We hope this article steers you toward your own ideal bike rack for the Mazda CX-5.

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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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