Trying to squeeze a bike inside a car without damaging the interior of the car, the bike itself or your sanity is not easy. If you plan to transport your bike and explore epic routes further afield then a bike rack is your friend.
In the case of the Mini Cooper, small is definitely is beautiful. It may be a design classic but the brief said nothing about transporting bikes.
In this article we take a look at the best Mini Cooper bike racks and the things you should consider to get the right bike rack for you.
Top Picks at a glance:
- Saris Bones EX Trunk Bike Rack Carrier (Best Trunk Rack)
- Yakima FrontLoader (Best Roof Mounted Rack)
- Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Hitch Rack (Best Hitch-Mounted Rack)
Top 7 Best Bike Racks For Mini Coopers Reviewed
1. Saris Bones EX 3-Bike Rack Carrier (Best Trunk Rack)
- Style: Trunk Mounted Rack
- Weight: 11lbs
- Weight Capacity: 105lbs
- Bike Capacity: 3
The Saris Bones EX Trunk Bike Carrier is an evolutionary design on the classic trunk rack.
To install you simply articulate the five arched arms into the right position and lock in place with a simple lock nut. Three long nylon straps then hold the rack firmly to the vehicle.
Installation is extremely straightforward, helped enormously by the fact the rack is lightweight and the straps are marked where to go on the vehicle.
With the bikes off the rack, it is easily folded down to fit into the trunk. Even when not folded, the design means it is compact enough to fit in most trunks.
Soft, rubberised straps around the top tube and seat tube hold the bikes securely and prevent them swinging in the wind.
A common problem for trunk racks is that bikes that don’t have a straight top tube, such as mountain bikes and female specific road bikes, can’t be installed.
- Articulated arms suitable for bikes without a straight top tube.
- Quick and easy installation.
- Folds flat for stowing in the trunk.
2. Yakima FrontLoader (Best Roof Mounted Rack)
- Style: Roof style rack
- Weight: 13lbs
- Weight Capacity: 40lbs (18-inch crossbar spread)
- Bike Capacity: 1 per carrier
If you have roof rails installed on your Mini Cooper, the Yakima FrontLoader is a great option for carrying a bike. This rack can be installed, tool free, on round, square or aero cross-bars since it has innovative universal mounting hardware.
Unlike some roof rack designs, with the Yakima FrontLoader you do not need to remove the front wheel of the bike as the arms of the rack secure firming against the wheel.
Roof racks typically offer more in the way of security features compared to truck mounted racks and the Yakima FrontLoader is one of the most secure racks out there.
Yakima uses a proprietary Same Key System (SKS) for the rack. The rack is locked to the vehicle and then the bikes are locked to the rack using an integrated cable lock. A pair of bolt-cutters would make light work of the cable lock but it is there to stop any opportunists.
The rack can take most bikes as long as the wheel size is between 20-inch and 29-inch. To make installation easy, the tire sizes are printed on the side of the rack.
- SKS for added security.
- No need to remove the front wheel.
- Tool-free installation.
3. Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Hitch Rack (Best Hitch Rack – Convertible-friendly)
- Style: Hitch Mounted Rack
- Weight: 52lb
- Bike Capacity: 2
- Weight Limit: 120lbs
If you don’t want to fiddle with trunk mounted racks and your Mini Cooper has been upgraded with a handy hitch mount, the Thule T2 Pro XT is one of the very best hitch bike racks available.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever used Thule products on their cars. More often than not the hefty price tag is more than justified.
The Pro XT rack can carry two bikes and the universal cradle design means that it is compatible with pretty much every type of bike, including children’s bikes with 20-inch wheels.
The HitchSwitch Lever is a great feature that tilts the rack and makes loading the bikes even easier. The massive 12-inch spacing between bikes means that handle bars don’t get in the way and there is less scope for damaging the bikes.
Apart from the sturdy design and ease of use, the main selling point for the Pro XT rack is the integrated security. With the rack locked securely to the vehicle, a well-positioned and strong cable lock loops through the bikes and keeps them secure.
- Tilt feature for easy bike installation.
- Excellent rack and bike security
- Wide range of bike compatibility.
4. Yakima FullBack
- Style: Trunk Mounted Rack
- Weight: 23.5lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2 and 3-bike option
- Weight Limit: 70lbs
If you don’t like the thought of leaving your expensive bikes on a trunk mounted rack the Yakima FullBack may go some way to alleviate any fears.
Like their roof mounted racks, the FullBack has integrated security using the Same Key System (SKS) that locks the rack to the vehicle. A passive lock is fed through the rear door and if the vehicle is locked, the rack is locked to the vehicle.
A simple cable lock then keeps the bikes secured to the rack. It is one of the few trunk mounted racks to offer some peace of mind when it comes to security.
The rack itself is perhaps on the heavier side. This can make installation slightly longer but once it is on and secure it is extremely stable.
Once you have reached your destination and have unloaded the bikes, the arms of the rack fold down and conveniently fits into the trunk, even that of a Mini Cooper.
Since every cyclists knows that the best recovery drink after an epic ride is a nice, cold beer, Yakima have even built a bottle opener into the FullBack rack. This might be the best feature of an already dependable and secure rack.
- Trunk mounted rack with great security. SKS locks the rack to the vehicle.
- Easy installation.
- Integrated bottle opener.
5. SeaSucker Talon
- Style: Roof Mounted Rack
- Weight: 6lbs
- Bike Capacity: 1
- Weight Limit: 45lbs
And now for something completely different. The SeaSucker Talon turns rack design on its head and gives you the option to mount a bike on the roof of your Mini Cooper, even if you don’t have roof bars fitted.
Fundamentally, vacuum suction cups secure the rack mounts to your roof. Understandably you might have some trepidations with trusting this rack with your beautiful bike but the concept is sound.
The Talon is suitable for one bike only but you could double-up if required to carry more bikes.
Once the front sucker is in place you simple remove the front wheel of your bike and mount the forks directly onto a Quick Release mechanism. Another suction cup holds the rear wheel of the bike in place.
The rack (if you can call it that) can carry road and mountain bikes and is extremely easy to install.
If you still have doubts about the technology then you should know that it has been stress-tested to the limit during the Tour de France.
- Innovative suction technology.
- Roof mounted rack for cars without roof rails.
- Easy to install.
6. Hollywood Racks Over-The-Top (Best Trunk Rack For Spoilers)
- Style: Trunk Mounted Rack
- Weight: 11lbs
- Bike Capacity: 2 and 3-bike option
- Weight Limit: 70lbs (2-bike option)
If you have upgraded your Mini Cooper with a rear spoiler but still want the convenience of a trunk-mounted rack, the high rise frame of the Hollywood Over-the-Top is an ideal option.
Since the rear spoiler is a weak point compared to the actual vehicle bodywork it is unwise and potentially unsafe to attach a rear rack, laden with bikes, to the spoiler.
To overcome this, the straps of the Hollywood Over-the-Top rack go over and above the rear spoiler and can be attached directly to the roof rails if fitted to the vehicle.
If you do not have roof rails, anchors are available that secure the straps in the rear doorways of the car. Either way, you are protecting the spoiler.
The anti-sway cradles stop the bikes from hitting either other bikes on the rack or the vehicle itself.
The same high rise features that make it compatible if you have a spoiler also means that it is less likely to interfere with your rear licence plate and brake lights.
- Roof rail attachments avoid rear spoilers.
- Folds flat for storage.
- High rise frame.
7. Swagman XC2 (Best Budget Option)
- Style: Hitch mounted rack
- Weight: 28lbs
- Weight Capacity: 70lbs (35lbs each bike)
- Bike Capacity: 2
The Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack is a great hitch rack that won’t break the bank. The design of the central mast makes loading two bikes onto the rack straightforward.
Like the previous Thule Pro XT rack, the bikes are supported at the front and rear wheel and the mounting points are adjusted depending on the wheelbase of the bike.
The gap between the bikes on this rack is around 6-inches, so closer than the Thule rack, but there is still enough of a gap to keep the bikes away from each other and prevent damage.
The central mast can be completely lowered so that it is flat with the rack. Once this is done the rear trunk can be opened without having to go through the hassle of taking the entire rack off the car.
It holds the bikes securely with soft cushioning to prevent any damage.
For the price, the Swagman XC2 punches well above its weight.
- Locking hitch-pin available for added security.
- Cushioned grip arms to protect bike frame
- Compatible with wheel sizes 20-inch to 29-inch.
Benefits Of Bike Racks
Trying to fit a bike into a car is one of the more stressful activities you can do with a bike. This stress compounded if you own a compact vehicle such as a Mini Cooper.
Although it can be done, taking the wheel off and delicately trying not to damage the interior and the bike gets old, fast. At this point most people decide that a bike rack would be a good investment.
Apart from preserving your sanity, bike racks also mean that you are not taking up valuable real estate inside the car.
With a rack you can now bring the whole family on a cycling adventure without having to leave the luggage at home.
Types Of Bike Racks For Mini Coopers
In general, there are three main types of bike rack available:
- Hitch Mounted Racks
- Roof Mounted Racks
- Trunk Mounted Racks
In the above section we gave great examples of all three types of rack.
Hitch Mounted Racks
Hitch mounted racks are generally considered to be the most premium of the three types of racks. If your Mini Cooper has an EcoHitch hidden into the rear bumper then a Hitch Mounted rack is well worth your consideration.
Because of their height they are extremely easy for loading bikes onto and in general have the most robust security features compared to other racks.
They don’t impact fuel economy in nearly the same way as roof mounted racks and, most importantly, they are compatible with most bikes.
Video: Installing the EcoHitch On A Mini Cooper
Roof Mounted Racks
The main advantage of using roof racks is that you can still access the trunk.
Of course, no matter how aero you think your bike is, putting them directly on the roof will have a significant effect on the fuel economy and noise.
Although the Mini Cooper is a relatively short car, getting bikes up on to roof racks can still be tricky, especially if you are loading heavy mountain bikes.
Trunk Mounted Racks
Trunk mounted racks are a great option if you only plan to take your bike occasionally. The main advantage of trunk mounted racks is that you do not need to modify your car and they can be easily stored when not in use.
They are, however, not universally compatible with every car.
Generally people are put off by trunk mounted racks as they restrict access to the trunk when installed and can damage the bodywork of the vehicle.
What To Consider When Choosing A Bike Rack
Having bikes on display is an invitation for opportunist thieves.
For this reason, integrated rack security helps to prevent all but the most determined of bike thieves from taking your pride and joy.
The best roof and hitch mounted racks offer security that keeps the rack and the bikes secure. If you plan to leave your vehicle unattended then these racks offer the most peace of mind.
Number of bikes
Trunk mounted racks typically hold two bikes but can hold up to four depending on the model.
Hitch mounted racks usually hold two bikes per rack. In some cases racks can be extended by purchasing an additional and compatible rack.
Roof mounted racks hold one bike each.
Types of bikes
For maximum bike compatibility the best options are roof and hitch mounted racks. Here the bikes are secured at the wheels and not the frame itself although there are some limits on the wheel size.
Trunk racks are most suitable for bikes that have a straight top tube. If your bike does not have a straight top tube then you will need to buy an adaptor to fit it on a trunk mounted rack.
Ease of use
Hitch-mounted racks, being low to the ground, are the most straightforward for loading bikes.
Roof racks have the opposite problem. Even on a Mini Cooper getting anything heavier than a carbon road bike unto the rack can be a challenge.
Trunk mounted racks are generally easy to load but here you have the additional work attaching and detaching the rack to the vehicle.
Most racks, no matter the type, fold down to make storage easy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will A Bike Fit Inside A Mini?
Although diminutive, you can fit most bikes into a Mini. You may need to remove one or both wheels and fold the rear seats to transport your bike this way.
There are reports of riders squeezing two bikes into the original Mini’s but this may just be an urban legend.
Here’s a video on how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtzJR6xe7dw
On a side note, there is a Mini Cooper folding bike – now that will definitely fit inside your car!
Apart From Bikes, Can I Use A Rack For Other Things?
If you have a roof mounted rack then you can remove the bike rack and use the roof rails for extra luggage storage.
Hitch mounted racks can also double as ideal snowboard transportation.
Do I Need To Use Straps With The Bike Rack?
Trunk mounted racks require straps to secure the rack firmly to the car. Roof mounted and hitch mounted racks do not typically require any straps.
Are Car Racks Safe For Expensive Bikes?
When it comes to keeping your bikes on racks, the same rules apply as if you were leaving it on the street. Roof mounted racks and hitch racks offer the best security overall but any security system not deter the most determined of thieves.
Can I Put An Electric Bike On A Rack?
Given their weight you need to check that any rack you buy can support an electric bike safely. You may need to remove the battery.
Just because you own a diminutive car doesn’t mean that there are not neat ways to take your bike on adventures.
If you have upgraded your Mini Cooper to include a hitch mount the Thule T2 Pro XT rack is hard to beat. At first glance it may look expensive but you are really buying excellent security.
When it comes to your bike that is not something that you can really put a price on.
If you only plan to transport your bike occasionally then a trunk mounted rack offers the convenience to remove it easily when not needed. If this is what you are looking for, the Saris Bones Trunk EX 3-Bike Carrier is a very capable rack. If you still want the convenience of a trunk mounted rack but are worried about the rear spoiler on your Mini Cooper, the Hollywood Over-the-Top is great solution.
- Guide to bike racks for Honda CR-Vs
- Guide to bike racks for cars with spoilers
- Guide to bike racks for Popup Campers
- Best truck bed bike rack