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Best Bike Racks For A Toyota Rav4

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You can easily fit a couple of bikes into a Rav4 without the need for a rack, but that’s only if there are one or two people in the vehicle.

The Rav4 is a compact SUV with a large cargo area, but there will always be times or situations when you can’t fill the back of the car with bikes.

In this article, we’ll help you find the ideal Rav4 bike rack with reviews and buying tips.

Among our reviews is the Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack. This rack is ruggedly constructed, versatile, and easy to use.

Which Rav4 bike rack is right for you?

Top Picks:

Top 5 Best Rav4 Bike Racks Reviewed

Where necessary, all the bike racks below have been checked by us for Rav4 compatibility.

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


  • 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)

The Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack is one of the best bike racks on the market. It’s well-made, versatile, and has handy features like dual security and easy tilting.

Thanks to its 60-pound bike capacity, you can carry heavy e-bikes on this rack with ease. It also holds fat bikes without needing extra wheel cradles or adapters. The rack secures any bike with a 20” to 29” wheel diameter and up to 5” tire widths.

Because it doesn’t clamp bikes by their frames, this is also the ideal rack for carrying high-value carbon bikes.

For easy transport off the car, the Thule T2 Pro XTR has integrated roller wheels, rather like a suitcase. The only real downside is the high price.

What We Like

  • Versatile – carries most bike types and weights without needing adapters.
  • Security – built-in bike and rack security.
  • Tilt – easy tilting with ergonomic HitchSwitch lever.
  • Wheels – integrated wheels help you move the rack around off the car.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expense – many cheaper solutions exist.

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


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

If you need a simple bike rack that’s reliable and easy to use, consider the Yakima FullBack Premium Trunk Rack. This rack has an interlocking hub with set vehicle-specific settings that make it easy to install on your Rav4.

The FullBack rack is delivered fully assembled. To find the correct setting for your car, you simply access the Yakima info look-up page and dial in your car model and year.

Unusually for a trunk-mounted bike rack, the Yakima FullBack has dual security. You secure the rack to the car using reinforced straps anchored inside the locked car. A cable lock with an SKS (Same Key System) core locks your bikes to the car.

One of the few downsides to the FullBack is that the security only works if you have two bikes loaded.

Padded anti-sway bike cradles help to protect your bikes on this Yakima rack, while large foam pads protect the finish of your car.

What We Like

  • Simple – arrives assembled and is easy to set up.
  • Security – unique in-car rack lock and a cable lock for your bikes.
  • Protection – padded protection for your bikes and car.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lock – short cable lock only works with two bikes loaded.

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


  • 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)

The ruggedly built Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack offers a reliable way to carry up to four bikes. It’s compatible with 1.25” or 2” hitch receivers and comes with an integrated cable lock for your bikes.

You can attach bikes quickly to this rack using the ratcheting cradle straps. Anti-sway straps prevent bike movement during transit by securing the seat tube.

A downside to this rack and any hanging-style bike rack is that you may need crossbar adapters to load certain bikes.

The arms on the Thule Apex XT are narrowly spaced, which helps in lifting bikes on and off. Thule’s large “HitchSwitch” lever makes it easy to tilt the rack if you need to access the trunk of your Rav4.

What We Like

  • Easy – easy to use thanks to Thule’s thoughtful design.
  • Security – lockable hitch and built-in bike lock.
  • Stability – secure ratcheted straps and anti-sway system.

What We Don’t Like

  • Adapter – bikes with a sloping or absent top tube might need adapters.

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


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

For shorter people, a roof rack may not be ideal on the fairly tall Rav4. The Yakima FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount is a great product, nonetheless. You’ll need crossbars on your vehicle to install it, but it’s compatible with most crossbar shapes.

This rack holds bikes by their front wheels, which makes it ideal for costly carbon frames that you’re reluctant to clamp. It has a decent 40-pound weight capacity, too. Any bike with tires up to 3” wide or with a 20-29” wheel diameter will go on.

The Yakima FrontLoader comes fully assembled and is easy to install. It requires no tools. It includes a security system, too. Unfortunately, this is not usable unless you buy the separately available lock cores.

What We Like

  • Versatile – accommodates most bike types, though not fat bikes.
  • Straightforward – easy to load and use.
  • Assembled – delivered fully assembled.
  • Security – latent potential for security (see below).

What We Don’t Like

  • Extra cost – lock cores for the built-in security are an extra cost.

5. Tyger Auto Deluxe Trunk Bike Rack (best budget)



  • Rack type: Trunk
  • Bike Capacity: 2 Bikes
  • Weight: 8 lbs (3.62 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 2 x 33 lbs (66 lbs / 29.93 kg)

Some of our go-to budget trunk racks are officially incompatible with a Rav4, but the Tyger Auto Deluxe Trunk Bike Rack gets the green light. This rack is durably made of steel and has an e-coating to protect against scratches and rust.

The Tyger Auto Deluxe uses individual soft cradles to suspend your bikes by their frames without causing any damage. A safety strap is included, which you must use to stabilize the bikes during transit.

As with all racks of this type (including comparable hitch racks), you’ll need to buy crossbar adapters for step-through bikes before they can be loaded.

This rack comes fully assembled and takes only a few minutes to install. The hooks that cling onto the trunk edges are coated to prevent scratches, and large foam buffers on the frame protect the car’s bodywork or glass against damage.

What We Like

  • Price – great value for money.
  • Secure – soft cradles with ratchet straps to protect and secure your bikes.
  • Durable – steel construction with e-coating for rust resistance.
  • Protection – large foam pads and coated hooks protect your car.

What We Don’t Like

  • Adapters – you’ll need crossbar adapters to mount step-through bikes.

How To Choose A Bike Rack For Your Rav4

You know you want a bike rack for your Toyota Rav4, but you don’t know where to start looking. This section will help you.

Bike Rack Types

There are three basic bike rack types: trunk rack, roof rack, or hitch rack.

Only the trunk rack does not need some hardware to be pre-installed on your car.

Trunk Racks

The Rav4 seems fussier than most vehicles about the trunk racks it accepts.

Trunk racks have to comply with the shape and design of a vehicle before you can install them, whereas other rack types are almost universal.

On the plus side, trunk racks are affordable and relatively lightweight bike racks, so they can also be very portable.

There are also some downsides to trunk racks. You can’t usually access the trunk or hatch of your vehicle while you have one installed, with or without the bikes loaded.

The best trunk racks also have a lower load capacity on average than either roof racks or hitch racks. You can expect to carry bikes of up to 35 lbs on most trunk racks.

Roof Racks

A problem with putting a roof-mounted bike rack onto a Rav4 is that the car is quite tall already. You need to consider your height and strength before doing so.

Roof racks do have some benefits. They leave access to the cargo area of your vehicle clear. No tilting is needed. A roof rack also accepts slightly heavier bikes than a trunk rack, usually in the region of 40 lbs.

What about the downsides? They make your vehicle less fuel efficient. You also need to ensure you don’t forget you have bikes on top, which can have a disastrous outcome.

A roof-mounted bike rack may be deemed a vehicle modification by your motor insurers.

Hitch Racks

A hitch-mounted rack comes in two forms: platform style and hanging style.

Of these, the platform-style rack is often more versatile in terms of the types and weights of bikes it can carry.

A hanging-style hitch rack still has benefits over a trunk rack, which hangs bikes in a similar fashion. The hitch rack holds more weight and usually has a security element. And it allows access to the trunk.

Be aware that a car hitch rack may be compatible with a 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver (either or both). The hitch receiver size is related to the weight the car can tow and its hitch class.

A car’s “tongue weight capacity” which is usually around 10% of its towing capacity, should not be exceeded by the total weight of the bike rack and loaded bikes.

Among different Rav4 models, the tongue weight capacity ranges from 150 lbs to 350 lbs (e.g., Rav4 Adventure). At the lower end of that scale, you’d have to avoid loading a hitch rack with multiple heavy bikes.

Video: Understanding Hitch Classes

Security Features

If you need security in a bike rack, a hitch rack is a good bet. Nearly all hitch racks come with dual security, so you can lock the rack to the car and the bike to the rack.

Roof racks frequently have security features, though not always without requiring an extra purchase. Trunk racks normally have no security element.

It’s wise to add robust U-locks or chain locks if you want to deter a thief from stealing your bikes.

Tilting Mechanisms

Most hitch racks can be tilted for easy access to your car trunk or hatch. This feature varies a lot in its ergonomics and ease of use. It’s worth studying reviews to see how tilting control is implemented if it’s likely to be important to you.

Crossbar Adapters

Note that nearly all “hanging-style” bike racks, be they trunk racks or hitch racks, struggle to carry step-through bikes without needing crossbar adapters.

Bike racks that hold bikes by their wheel(s) rather than the frame tend to be more versatile.

Finishing Up

We just have time for a quick recap of our reviews.

The Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack is a great do-it-all choice that is versatile in the types and weights of bikes it will carry. It has built-in security and an ergonomic tilting mechanism that is easy to reach and operate.

Not all trunk racks suit the Rav4, but the Yakima FullBack Premium Trunk Rack is a happy exception. This unique carrier is well-made and easy on the eye. Unusually for a trunk rack, it also gives you dual security.

It’d be hard to improve on the Thule Apex XT 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack if you need to carry up to four bikes on your Rav4. It’s sturdy, well-designed, and tilts back easily using Thule’s HitchSwitch lever.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you find your ideal Rav4 bike rack!

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Glenn Harper
Glenn Harper
I'm Glenn. When I’m not contributing articles to BikePush, I can often be found cycling on the rural roads around me. If I can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, I’ll consider it a win.

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