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Best Spare Tire Bike Rack

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Any owner of an SUV with a spare tire on the back can enjoy endless cycling adventures. There are few limits to the places you can explore.

Whether it’s to woodland or wilderness, riverside trails or the sea, a spare tire bike rack lets you carry your bicycles with ease.

In this article, you’ll learn why these racks are so great. We’ll even tell you how to choose the best spare tire bike rack for your vehicle and needs.

Top Picks:

Top 14 Best Spare Wheel Bike Racks

If you’re in the market for a spare-tire bike rack, you should find something suitable from our 14 top picks below.

1. Yakima SpareRide 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack (best overall)

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Weight capacity: 35 lbs per bike
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

An outstanding product from a leading bike-rack manufacturer is the Yakima SpareRide 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack. This one comes with loads of great features, like SuperCush cradles for bike protection and TireTread pads to keep everything stable.

This rack uses removable ZipStrips to secure your bikes to the rack. It comes with three different tongue lengths to accommodate most sizes of tire, including oversized truck tires (P195 to P318). The rack is made from steel for strength and durability.

For security, the Yakima SpareRide integrates an SKS locking cable, so you can lock your bikes to the rack, which itself has a lockable knob. As is universally true, you shouldn’t trust the security of your bikes to a cable lock, but it’s a basic deterrent.

Build quality is one of the outstanding attributes of this product. You’ll feel like you can trust it to carry your bikes.

What we like

  • Manufacturing – a heavy-duty, confidence-inspiring product made from steel.
  • Lockable – includes a cable lock from respected German brand SKS.
  • Stability – TireTread pads and anti-sway cradles keep the load stable.

What we don’t like

  • Backup cameras – incompatible with spare tire backup cameras in Jeep Wranglers and other vehicles.

2. Thule Spare Me Pro 2-Bike Spare Tire Bike Carrier (runner-up)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 75 lbs
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

If you’re looking for a trusty way to carry a pair of bikes on the back of your SUV, the Thule Spare Me Pro 2-Bike Spare Tire Bike excels. It includes an integrated locking cable and a locking knob, so you can secure your bikes to the vehicle.

Sturdily made from aluminum, this rack includes Stay-Put cradles and detachable anti-sway cages to ensure your bikes are stable and protected. The arms of the rack conveniently fold down when not in use.

This heavy-duty rack has an adapter, so it can fix to regular or oversized tires. It also comes with a Thule limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.

What we like

  • Easy – straightforward installation with a simple, collapsible design.
  • Lockable – lock your bike to the vehicle (but keep it within sight).
  • Access – open the trunk without removing the bikes.
  • Stable – anti-sway cages and Stay-Put cradles enable great stability.

What we don’t like

  • Height – shorter users have to lift their bikes up to head height for loading.

3. Allen Sports Premier 3-Bike Spare Tire Rack (best value)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 100 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 3 bikes

A rack that is attractively priced, solidly built, and carries up to 3 bikes is the Allen Sports Premier 3-Bike Spare Tire Rack. This rack from a respected US brand has a patent-pending overall design that works with most externally mounted spare tires.

Set-up of this Allen Sports rack is quick and easy, thanks to its patented quick-snap design. You’ll have it installed within minutes of taking it out of the box.

The rack features 16” carry arms with individual dual-compound, tie-down cradles to keep your bikes protected and secure. Patented Sure-Strap bottom straps help keep the rack firmly in place during your travels.

This rack is compatible with over-the-tire third brake lights and oversized tires. It does not fit the Jeep Wrangler JL.

What we like

  • Innovation – several patented or patent-pending features.
  • Sturdy – well constructed and keeps your bikes reassuringly stable.
  • Easy – install within minutes.
  • Storage – folds flat for easy storage.

What we don’t like

  • Security – not lockable to the vehicle.

4. Malone Hanger Spare Tire OS 3-Bike Carrier (best for capacity)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 33 lbs per bike (99 lbs total)
  • Bike capacity: 3 bikes

You’ll struggle to find a spare-tire bike rack you’d trust that carries more than three bikes. But if it’s three bikes you have, the Malone Hanger Spare Tire OS 3-Bike Carrier offers a robust solution. It has a 3-way adjustment for different tire widths.

This bike rack is sturdily built from oversized alloy steel. It features three sets of soft-rubber cradles with anti-sway cages. Two durable webbing straps anchor it to the vehicle, and there’s a cam buckle to eliminate tire rotation during transit.

The arms of the Malone Hanger rack have an offset design that accommodates tires mounted on the rear left or right of your vehicle as well as centrally positioned tires. This rack is not intended for off-road use, nor for use on trailers, campers, or RVs.

What we like

  • Cost – reasonable price.
  • Sturdy – strong alloy steel construction.
  • Stable – anti-sway cages help to keep everything in place.
  • Protection – rubberized straps help to preserve paintwork.

What we don’t like

  • Security – no integral lock, so you can only lock bikes together with your own locks (a deterrent against casual ride-away theft).

5. Surco BT300 Spare Tire Rack (best for Jeep Wrangler)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 35 lbs per bike (105 lbs total)
  • Bike capacity: 3 bikes

A bike rack often used with Jeep Wranglers among other vehicles is the robust Surco BT300 Spare Tire Rack. This US-made rack will take up to three bikes, each securely held in a non-scratch padded channel.

The durable build of this steel rack inspires confidence. It attaches to any spare tire via a heavy-duty mounting plate and features a hardy powder-coated finish. The top plate secures and locks bikes to the rack.

This rack does not impede tailgates, so you can open a tailgate with ease. It’s also easy to install, so you won’t be standing around scratching your head when fitting it for the first time.

What we like

  • Lockable – lockable rack and bike clamps.
  • Strong – robust alloy steel construction.
  • Durable – powder-coated finish resistant to wear and tear.
  • Protection – padded channels help protect paintwork.

What we don’t like

  • Speed – clamping system a little slow in use (but reassuringly secure).

6. Swagman Around-The-Spare Deluxe Bike Rack (best for RV)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 35 lbs per bike
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

A bike rack approved for RV or RV trailer use is the Swagman Around-The-Spare Deluxe Bike Rack. This rack mounts around most spare tires and includes hardware for secure attachment to a 4” to 4.5” continuously welded RV bumper.

As far as your bikes go, the rack includes anti-sway cradles with durable rubberized straps that help to preserve your bikes’ paintwork. These keep your bikes firmly in place during transit.

This rack is designed to handle the extra stress of being on the back of an RV and might be the only such product that wraps around your spare tire. It includes release pins that quickly detach the top half of the rack, should you need rapid access to the tire.

What we like

  • Stable – anti-sway cradles keep your bikes secure and protected.
  • Quick-release – top half of the rack quickly detaches for tire access.
  • Bumper – rack is held solidly against the bumper.
  • Hardware – all necessary hardware included.

What we don’t like

  • Top tubes – like most hanging racks, you need “substitute top tubes” for easy use with step-through bikes, kid’s bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes.

7. Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack (best budget)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 35 lbs per bike
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

If you’re trying to add bike-carrying capability to an SUV on a limited budget, consider the Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack. The patented design of this rack holds the bikes reassuringly high up off the ground an away from hot exhausts.

The 15” long arms of this rack allow ample space for two bikes, so you needn’t worry about cramming them on. The rack uses individual tie-down cradles to secure your bikes and prevent damage to paintwork.

This rack fits almost all externally mounted spare tires. That includes tires with over-the-tire third brake lights.

What we like

  • Price – attractively low price for anyone on a budget.
  • Arms – generously long arms for a 2-bike rack.
  • Stable – patented tie-down cables keep your bikes secure.

What we don’t like

  • Height – it’s good to carry bikes high off the ground, but that makes it harder for shorter users to load bikes.

8. Fieryred 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 75 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

Sturdily made and simply designed, the Fieryred 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack has a lot going for it if you’re looking for a reasonably priced SUV bike carrier. It has anti-sway PP cradles and soft rubber straps to hold your bikes in place.

Durably made with premium-quality iron, this rack is also powder coated for extra protection against wear and tear or corrosion. The rack has a universal mounting plate that will fit on most tire bases. It fires tires up to 12.6” wide and 34.65” in diameter.

The rack is held in place by a lockable knob. That’s useful, as it means you can lock bikes to the rack using your own choice of bike lock to frustrate thieves.

What we like

  • Affordable – a reasonably priced product.
  • Lockable – the rack itself is lockable, so you can lock your bikes to it.
  • Secure – your bikes are firmly held in place during transit.
  • Durable – robust build quality and powder-coated finish.

What we don’t like

  • Cradles – use of PP rather than a softer material in the cradles is a potential problem. You might want to improvise something if your bike is expensive.
  • Cameras – incompatible with rear tire cameras.

9. Rhino Rack Spare Wheel 2-Bike Carrier

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 66 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

Easy to install and very quick to load or unload is the Rhino Rack Spare Wheel 2-Bike Carrier. With its capacity of 66 lbs, this rack is designed to carry two adult bikes of average weight. It folds down flat when not in use.

Once loaded, the Rhino bike carrier holds your bikes firmly in place with thick rubber straps and grippy cradles. It fits over the tire and is held in place with a retaining strap and buckle. The tire must be a maximum of 11.6” deep.

Four Velcro straps are provided so you can secure your wheels to their frame or the rack to prevent movement during travel. A long 4.5m securing strap is also provided, which you can attach to the hitch if you have one.

What we like

  • Construction – a solidly built bike rack.
  • Secure – the rack frame wraps around the tire and can be secured to a hitch.
  • Stable – strong rubber straps hold your bike frame in cradles.
  • Velcro – Velcro straps provided to secure wheels.

What we don’t like

  • Tire cover – like many such racks, this doesn’t work with the tire cover on.

10. Kanruis 2-Bike Spare Tire Bicycle Carrier

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 75 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

Another mid-priced solution for firmly carrying two bikes on an SUV is the Kanruis 2-Bike Spare Tire Bicycle Carrier. This rack suits spare tires with a diameter of less than 84cm and a center bore of over 4.6cm.

This rack is strikingly designed with a black and orange colorway. It has an adjustable support arm that can be folded flat when not in use, so you can carry the rack unobtrusively between bike rides.

The Kanruis is made of high-quality iron and has a powder-coated finish that protects it from the elements as well as wear and tear. It’s also lockable to the spare tire, which makes it sensible to lock your bikes to the rack as a basic theft deterrent.

What we like

  • Durable – long-lasting construction and finish.
  • Lockable – the rack locks to the spare wheel.
  • Rubber – rubberized straps keep your bike held firmly in place.

What we don’t like

  • Cameras – incompatible with rear tire back-up cameras.

11. SportRack Pathway Deluxe Spare Tire Bike Rack

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 132 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 3 bikes

If the idea of a simple, lockable carrier with robust build quality appeals to you, consider the SportRack Pathway Deluxe Spare Tire Bike Rack. This rack holds bike firmly with a trio of rubber-padded cradles and rotating clamps.

The manufacturer of this rack makes a list of compatible SUVs available, which might just save you a lot of time.

This is a rack that can accommodate oversized top tubes (2.5” diameter and under), which are a common bike trait in the modern era.

There are two locks on this rack, one of which locks bikes to the rack and another that locks the rack to the vehicle. This is almost certainly a more secure rack out of the box than any that supplies a cable lock for your bikes.

What we like

  • Security – above average lockability for both the rack and bikes..
  • Simple – easy to install onto a spare tire.
  • Versatile – securely holds oversized top tubes up to 2.5”.
  • List – a list of theoretically compatible SUVs is available.

What we don’t like

  • Non-foldable – doesn’t fold flat like many rival products.

12. BUNKER INDUST 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 75 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

Made of powder-coated, premium-quality iron, the BUNKER INDUST 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack is nothing if not durable. Strong rubber straps and firm cradles hold your bikes securely to this SUV rack as you head off on your latest adventure!

The BUNKER INDUST rack also comes with nylon retention straps to help you secure your bike to the rack for maximum stability. When the rack isn’t being used, you can fold the arms down and keep the rack flat on your vehicle.

An anti-theft lock means the rack isn’t easy to steal, and if you want you can lock your bikes to it with secure locks of your own.

This rack is unsuitable on vehicles with a back-up camera in the rear tire.

What we like

  • Lockable – you can lock the rack to your vehicle.
  • Easy – install the rack within a few minutes.
  • Stable – strong rubber straps with anti-sway cages keep your bike in place.

What we don’t like

  • Backup – incompatible with backup cameras in spare tires.

13. Apex Legends Blue Devil 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

Featuring a heavy-duty alloy steel construction and a durable powder-coated black finish, the Apex Legends Blue Devil 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack is a great choice for many SUVs. It fits spare tires with a 7.68″ to 12.5” width.

This rack includes handy extras like a tie-down strap to stabilize your bike and a rear reflector for extra visibility after dark. When not in use, you can simply swing the bike cradles to the side to keep everything flat.

The Blue Devil bike rack is also lockable, so it can’t be easily stolen from your vehicle if you ride regularly and choose to leave it in place.

What we like

  • Solid – keeps your bikes very stable and still.
  • Visibility – features a big rear reflector for nighttime visibility.
  • Strong – well-made rack with alloy steel construction.
  • Lockable – lock the rack to the car (2 keys supplied)

What we don’t like

  • High up – likely to cover some 3rd eye brake lights.

14. Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack (Jeep Wrangler JL Model)

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CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Weight capacity: 70 lbs total
  • Bike capacity: 2 bikes

A rack designed not to impede the backup camera of a Jeep Wrangler JL is this adapted version of the Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack. The top rear of the frame is also wide enough to clear the Jeep’s third brake light.

Other benefits of this rack, as already mentioned, include a generous 15” long carry arm that easily caters for two bikes of various shapes and sizes. Wide feet at the base of the alloy steel frame rest on the tire and add to the rack’s stability.

Allen Sports’ patented individual tie-down cradles hold your bikes firmly while protecting the frame’s paintwork form damage. Bikes are held high off the ground and above the hot exhaust. This rack also lets you open the tailgate unobstructed.

What we like

  • JL Compatible – doesn’t obstruct backup camera and fits around third brake light.
  • Generous – long arms make it easy to load bikes of varying shapes and sizes.
  • Stable – the bike rack is stable against the tire and the bikes are stable in transit.

What we don’t like

  • Height – shorter users have to lift bikes up relatively high to load them.

Will Any Spare Tire Rack Fit My Vehicle?

Unfortunately, not all spare tire racks fit all vehicles with a spare tire.

A large proportion of spare tire bike racks bolt onto the spare tire mounting plate. For these to be compatible, they must have a “tongue” on the bracket that is long enough to extend sufficiently beyond the spare tire.

Some bike racks come with a single tongue on the mounting bracket that may be too short for a deep or oversized tires. Some come with a variety of tongue lengths or an extender. So, this is something to pay attention to.

Occasionally, the mounting plates that come with a spare tire rack may also be incompatible with your vehicle owing to varying lug stud patterns. They’re usually marketed as universal, which may not be strictly accurate.

If your SUV has a rear backup camera, as is common among Jeep Wranglers, you will be unable to install a bolt-on rack, so you’ll need one with a frame that wraps around or holds onto the tire. This will also be secured with straps, typically.

Other car features like a third brake light above the spare wheel may obstruct installation unless you are careful in choosing a compatible model.

Can A Spare Tire Bike Rack Hold Any Type Of Bicycle?

A spare tire bike rack can hold most types of bicycle, though you should bear in mind the weight limit. This is usually in the region of 35-40 lbs per bike, which would exclude many e-bikes and maybe some fat bikes.

What About E-bikes?

E-bikes are probably best carried by a platform-style hitch rack, which will give them more stability and make them easier to load and unload.

Problems With Different (Non-Diamond) Frames

Spare tire bike racks invariably require you to hang bikes from arms, upon which they’re secured by cradles and straps. The problem with this system is always that it works best with “men’s bikes” with high top tubes.

You may need to buy artificial top tubes (aka substitute top tubes) before you can carry bikes with step-through frames or a low/sloping top tube on a spare tire bike rack. Cruisers, kid’s bikes, BMX bikes or full-suspension MTBs are examples of such bikes.

If you research spare tire bike racks, you’ll often see customers complain about this top-tube issue in product reviews, but it applies to most suspension-type bike racks whether they’re spare-tire models or hitch racks. It’s never specific to one model.

Note that single-arm models of spare tire bike rack tend to be better at carrying irregular frames because they hold the bike at one point with an elongated cradle.

In any case, you may be able to improvise in various ways to make your bike(s) fit a rack without buying extra accessories. Naturally, you don’t want to do this if it means the bike is likely to fall off the rack or damage other bikes.

Video: Substitute Top Tube Adapter

Are Spare Tire Mount Bike Racks Durable?

The durability of spare tire bike racks is certain to vary between products, depending on the quality of materials used and other factors like how well they install onto your car. Loose-fitting parts in a bike rack do not bode well for durability.

The possibility of extending the lifespan of a bike rack also exists by supplementing it with various forms of support you add yourself. These might include items like Velcro straps, bungee cords or strategically placed zip ties.

You can look out for certain features in a spare tire bike rack, like a powder-coated finish on metal parts. This protects it against chipping, scratching, abrasion and corrosion. UV-resistant materials are useful if you intend leaving the rack on the car.

Normal wear and tear is generally not covered in the limited lifetime warranties offered with vehicle bike racks. However, Thule, for instance, allows claims for wear and tear in their initial 2-year guarantee.

It’s reasonable to expect a few years of use from a bike rack, barring disasters and assuming it’s a good fit. You may buy a different vehicle that needs an alternative bike rack before the product reaches the end of its useful life.

Are Spare Tire Bike Racks Easy To Install?

Spare tire bike racks are generally easy to install. Typically, they require very few tools to install or none at all. There are two basic types to think about: those that bolt on and those that use securing straps and enveloping metal frames to hold onto the tire.

The approximate installation process for either type of frame is briefly described below.

Installing A Bolt-On Spare Tire Bike Rack

There are a few steps to go through when installing a bolt-on spare tire bike rack:

  • Remove the spare tire from the back of your vehicle.
  • Choose the correct length of mounting tongue where such a choice exists and fix that to the mounting plate.
  • Place the mounting plate over the lug studs on the spare tire carrier.
  • Take the center cap off the spare tire.
  • Install the tire back onto its carrier so the mounting tongue protrudes through the center of the tire.
  • Push the main body of the bike rack over the mounting tongue, making sure it covers any minimum depth markers where they exist.
  • Install any included washer onto the mounting knob (often lockable) and tighten it onto the rack.
  • The rack is installed! Now you just have to load it up.
Video: Installing a Bolt-on Spare Tire Bike Rack

Installing A Strapped Spare Tire Bike Rack

This is roughly what you have to do with typical strap-on bike racks:

  • Place the rear brace of the metal rack around the top of the spare tire.
  • Carefully tighten the adjustment bolts to hold this brace in place.
  • Run two straps behind the base of the tire and insert them into buckles.
  • Wrap the side strap around the bottom of the tire and attach to side buckle.
  • Tighten the three straps securely with the buckles.
  • Rotate the carrying arms outward until they lock into place.
  • Done! No removal of tire necessary.

Finishing Up

To briefly revisit our spare-tire bike rack reviews, the Yakima SpareRide 2-Bike Spare Tire Rack takes top spot for sheer quality of construction, versatility, lockability and the all-around confidence it inspires.

Another lockable, well-made bike rack that will keep your bikes stable in transit is the Thule Spare Me Pro 2-Bike Spare Tire Bike. This is another bolt-on rack with very secure Stay-Put cradles and anti-sway cages to keep your bikes safe.

Our third-placed rack taking “best value” category is the appealingly priced Allen Sports Premier 3-Bike Spare Tire Rack. This strap-and-brace style spare tire rack is of the highest quality and comes from another esteemed brand.

We hope you find a product you like among our reviews and that the article will guide you to the right product for your needs!

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Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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