Top 5 Best Bike Racks for Minivans | 2021 Reviews

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Minivans: while most view them as mom cars, they are undeniably the most practical to drive. They don’t just offer enough seating for the family (or a small company), they are also the safest vehicles on the road. It’s no wonder that families who love to bike don’t think twice about using minivans to carry their 2-wheelers with them.

The best bike racks for minivans are out in the market, but, with so many types of them available, you might feel justifiably confused. Our guide is here to help with that.

Our Top 3 Choices

Thule Passage 2 Bike Carrier Easy-to-use bike rack
Thule Passage 2 Bike Carrier Easy-to-use bike rack
9.4/10
  • Capacity: Up to 2 bikes
  • Weight Capacity: Up to 35 pounds per bike
  • Load capacity: Up to 70 pounds
  • Application: Trunk-mounted
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
Saris Freedom 4 Bike Platform Rack
Saris Freedom 4 Bike Platform Rack
8.9/10
  • Capacity: Up to 4 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: Up to 35 pounds per bike
  • Application: Fits to 2×2-inch trailer hitch receivers
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
8.3/10
  • Application: Hitch insert fits either 1 ¼ inch or 2 inches receiver hitches (2 and 3 bike models) or 2 inches receiver hitches
  • Capacity: Up to 5 bikes
  • Weight Capacity: a total of 175 pounds

Bike Racks and Minivans

Minivans are designed for two things: to have enough seating for passengers and to transport cargo. Therefore, minivans have removable seats in the back so that owners can use their vehicles for hauling purposes.

Minivan owners who go on bike tours with family or friends may not be able to remove the back seats. If that is the case, the bike racks we are just about to review will be of great use to them.

Bike Rack Placement

Traditionally, bike racks are designed to fit on top of the minivan. Just like most hauling systems, the roof of the vehicle is a practical spot for vehicle owners to carry their gears.

However, the normal minivan height is about 6-ft off the ground. If you add a bike on top, that’s another 3-ft higher. With bike racks and other gears that should secure the bikes, the vehicle may end up with a total height of 10-ft.

It may not seem like a big deal, but in some places, it could pose a danger, especially when driving over a bridge or through a tunnel with low vertical clearance. Therefore, racks that are mounted to the hitch or the trunk of a car are now preferred to roof-type racks.

Bike Racks for Minivans

There are 4 types of racks for bikes, all of which are represented by the best they have to offer in our reviews: hitch-mount bike racks, roof-mounted racks, trunk-mount racks, and vacuum-mounted ones. As we go through the details and differences of these types, we will feature a review of the best rack that falls under the particular type.


Trunk-Mounted Bike Racks

Trunk racks are outfitted with hooks, straps, and buckles that securely strap them to the back of your vehicle. They are the most basic, lightweight, and economical racks to use. They do not require additional equipment such as a hitch or crossbars.

However, a downside to this type is that they get in the way when you need to access the rear end of your van, even when you have no bikes mounted on it. Still, trunk racks have a compact design that allows them to easily break down and store when not in use.

1. Thule Passage 2 Bike Carrier

No. 1
1. Thule Passage 2 Bike Carrier
9.4/10 Our Score
Specifications and Features
  • Patented Fit Dial flexible mechanism that guarantees proper fit on your vehicle
  • Dual support arms that offer stability for your bikes
  • Foldable arms
  • Capacity: Up to 2 bikes
  • Weight Capacity: Up to 35 pounds per bike
  • Application: Trunk-mounted
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Thule Passage 2 Bike Carrier provides a safe carrying system that mounts securely to the trunk. Its patented FitDial adjustment system and straps keep your 2-wheelers from clattering while in transport.

The soft rubber pads that hold the bike on a rack base keep your minivan’s surface from scratch and scruffs. They serve as cushioned anti-sway frames wherein with the help of rubber straps keep the bikes in place and prevent them from coming into contact with each other or with the vehicle itself. Thule Passage 2 comes with 6 attachment straps that you can use to mount your bike rack to the trunk of your minivan.

Note that, if your bike frame is not a conventional one, like a kid’s bike, you will need frame adapters to be able to carry them. Moreover, these racks are designed to fit vehicles that have standard spoilers installed in the factory, so they might not work well with aftermarket spoilers.

Pros
  • Straps remain tight against some extremely high winds
  • Avoids most of the sway
  • Instructions for setting up is excellent
Cons
  • Plastic hub that holds the straps together may be flimsy
  • Cannot be used with the aftermarket spoilers

Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks

Another easy to use bike rack is the hitch-mounted type. Simply slide them into your minivan’s hitch and secure them with its lock. No need to lift your 2-wheelers high above your head to load them. Since these racks are connected to your hitch, they have no contact with your vehicle, so the risk of damaging your car paint is minimal. Hitch racks may interfere with your access to the back door, but some options fold or swing away.

2. Saris Freedom 4 Bike Platform Rack

No. 2
2. Saris Freedom 4 Bike Platform Rack
8.9/10 Our Score
Specifications and Features
  • Soft rubber frames with softened straps clutch your 2-wheelers by its down or top tubes
  • Twist knobs on wheel trays allow fitting different wheelbases
  • Push lever allows to easily tilt and fold the rack to gain access to the cargo area
  • Application: Fits to 2 x 2-inch trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: Up to 4 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: Up to 35 pounds per bike
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

You can transport up to four bikes of almost any shape and size from kids’ bikes to mountain bikes with Saris Freedom 4. Its lightweight and sturdy construction come from the rust-resistant steel base and masts that are finished with a black powder coat. The wheel trays that hold the bikes are made of injection-molded plastic.

This easy-to-use platform-style bicycle rack offers you effortless loading and transporting for your bikes. With cradles and straps that are designed to carefully secure your bikes, your drive will be safe and smooth. No need for unnecessary stop-overs just to check whether the bike still has its wheels.

Pros
  • Ratcheting straps help keep bikes secure
  • Easy to put together and easy to use
  • Doesn’t shake when driving
Cons
  • Doesn’t with locks to secure the bikes to the rack
  • The rubber on the upper clamps easily wear

3. Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack

No. 3
3. Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
8.3/10 Our Score
Specifications and Features
  • Includes No-Wobble Bolt that secures rack inside of receiver hitch with a movement-free installation
  • Minor assembly required
  • Patented individual tie-down cradles secure and protect your bicycles
  • Application: Hitch insert fits either 1 ¼-inch or 2-inch receiver hitches (2 and 3 bike models) or 2-inch receiver hitches
  • Capacity: Up to 5 bikes
  • Weight Capacity: a total of 175 pounds

Allen Sports Deluxe Hitch Mounted Bike Rack is best for a family of cyclists or a group of friends who enjoy biking. Its long 28-inch arms offer enough space to carry up to five bikes all at once. Slim carry arms allow the carrier to be as packed in as possible while still giving plenty of security to hold the bikes in place.

It has a tilt access design, so there should be no hindrance for you to access the vehicle’s trunk. It is not at all necessary to remove the rack to do that. The separate cradles maintain the bike’s stability and keep them from rattling as you drive.

Pros
  • Separate tie-down cradles for added security
  • Tilt design for easy rear entry access
  • Hauls up to five bikes
Cons
  • Only compatible with two-inch hitches
  • Doesn’t come with a lock

Roof-Mounted Bike Racks

The traditional way of traveling with bikes is by using a roof-mounted rack. The rack mounts to roof crossbars, and your bike is then secured above the vehicle without obstructing access to the back of the van. This way, you will experience no hassle when you need access to the rear storage of your SUV or hatchback.

Since a majority of minivans are taller than an average car, there’s a big chance that you will have to lift the bike overhead. While this might be an inconvenience for some, roof-mounted racks will compensate for that with their versatility when it comes to carrying different types of bikes.

4. Yakima HighRoad Roof Bike Rack

No. 4
4. Yakima HighRoad Roof Bike Rack
7.9/10 Our Score
Specifications and Features
  • Built-in TorqueRight handle that helps prevent the wheel hoop from being over or under-tightened
  • Holder slides to adjust along tray to fit different wheelbases
  • Sleek, low-profile design minimizes wind noise
  • Application: Fits to round, square, aero, elliptical, and most factory crossbars
  • Carrying capacity: 1 bicycle
  • Weight capacity: Up to 45 pounds
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

Yakima HighRoad is a great rack to hold one bike up on the roof of your vehicle. It features pivoting wheel hoops that hold the 2-wheeler by its front wheel and a TorqueRight knob that keeps it from over-tightening. The rear-wheel cradle can be easily adjusted for the right fitting so that you can easily transport your bike whatever size and type it may be.

Made with sturdy steel construction that has a chip-resistant powder coat finish, it complements the look of your minivan. Yakima HighRoad has its integrated security system that features a TailWhip cable which you can use with a SmartSlot kit (sold separately). It can be attached to the rear mounting clamp for worry-free bike transport.

Pros
  • Integrated cable is easy to use
  • Screwing mechanism is not hard to secure
  • Bikes mount quickly
Cons
  • Lock cores are sold separately and are expensive


Vacuum-Mounted Bike Racks

Vacuums are the most unconventional method for carrying bikes while traveling in a car, and you might be surprised to know that it is the only method in which there’s no need for hitch or crossbars. All you need are vacuum cups (also known as suction cups) that attach to your vehicle. These cups will practically attach wherever you want them, so you can place your bike where it feels the most convenient for you.

5. SeaSucker Talon Roof Bike Rack

No. 5
5. SeaSucker Talon Roof Bike Rack
7.5/10 Our Score
Specifications and Features
  • Affixes to your minivan with (4) 6″ vacuum cups that won’t scratch or dent the car’s surface
  • Comes with HUSKE universal fork mount, 9-mm thru-axle adapter, and quick-release skewer
  • Comes with a 5g lube tube for maintenance, 1 spare vacuum cup, and 1 crank arm strap for pedal stability
  • Application: Fits to rooftop, trunk, or back glass
  • Carrying capacity: 1 bicycle
  • Weight capacity: up to 45 pounds
  • Comes with a limited 1-year warranty

Need an unusual rack to transport your bike? SeaSucker Talon can carry your bike on any surface you can mount it. Whether it is your vehicle’s roof, trunk, or glass, its three vacuum cups let the rack attach to the surface of your car in seconds. If that’s not a great selling point, let us also tell you that you won’t need tools to install them.

Constructed with high-density polyethylene thermoplastic, it comes in black color and directly complements any vehicle’s finish. Installation is effortless. All you need to do is to ensure that the mounting surface is clean and then press the pump continuously until the orange band disappears.

It might also be worth noting that the SeaSucker rack is the only USA-made rack that has been employed in Tour de France to carry astronomically expensive professional bicycles. If you are worried about the security the vacuum racks may offer, this piece of information should relieve you. Moreover, the SeaSucker is hand-made and carefully crafted, which is a very unique quality for a rack.

Pros
  • Portable, nice to look at, and easy to install
  • Push-button pump is super easy to use
  • Can withstand strong crosswinds
Cons
  • Must open the front fork skewer all the way up
  • No way you can add safety mechanisms

What to Consider When Purchasing a Bike Rack for Minivans

By now, you might have an idea which rack type to use. That’s good. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to narrow down your choices.

  • How many bikes do you need to transport? For example, Allen Sports Deluxe, which we reviewed above, can carry up to five bikes; the Yakima can only help with one bike. If you are planning on a family trip where all of your family members will be biking, obviously the Yakima will not be of much help for you.
  • How often will you carry bikes? The durability of the racks differ depending on their types and the material their clamps are made of, but most importantly, it depends on how much it’s going to be mounted and unmounted, and in what conditions they are going to be employed. Make sure you have the answers to these questions and you’ll be taking a great step towards a sound choice.
  • How much are you willing to shell out? Of course, it’s impossible to consider this question without referring to the one above. If you’re going to be engaged in a one-off campers’ trip with a couple of friends who have bikes and you don’t want to be left out of the fun of biking, just about any rack will do the job for you. However, if you think that you and your bike are inseparable and you’ll take it wherever you go, then don’t be afraid to sacrifice to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Any special or odd-shaped bikes? Not all racks can carry all bike sizes. With some racks, like the Thule on our first review, you will also need to buy some adapters to be able to carry kids’ bikes, women’s bikes, or mountain bikes. Therefore, if you have any such bike, make sure the rack you pick can carry it – such as Saris from our second review.
  • Does your vehicle have a tow hitch or roof rack? If your vehicle has a tow hitch and you are planning on towing other things, then it will be no use for your bike, but if you have no such plans, your options for purchasing a rack are significantly narrowed. Hitch-mounts are the ones for you.
  • Do you know your car’s load capacity? If you don’t, you should learn it before you make a purchase. You wouldn’t want to get a rack that will exceed your car’s capacities and create more problems rather than solving one.

Conclusion

Remember that, whenever you drive at high speed while carrying something outside your vehicle, there are potential risks involved. Whether it is a trunk-mount or a hitch type rack you pick, make sure to secure your gears with extra straps or cords. Tie them down just a little more to prevent swaying and rattling.

Be extra cautious with the additional size it gives your minivan, too. Make sure the bikes pass the vertical clearance before driving through tunnels. Or, be careful while backing up when you have your bikes loaded on a rear-hitch.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the best way to lock bikes to rack?

While most racks come with integrated security mechanisms, it won’t hurt to get a long cable lock. You can run it through the safety chain anchor points of your hitch and the frames or any quick release wheels.

Can a multiple bike rack be converted to lesser bike racks by removing anything from it?

Not without cutting them off. This is the reason why it is important to find out how many bikes you need or plan to carry before getting a rack. Most racks are specifically designed to hold certain amounts of bikes and could be impossible to modify.

What should I look for in a platform bike rack for the best ground clearance?

Find a rack that has an angled shank that slants up soon after the shank exits the hitch opening. The bikes should also be loaded higher and higher as you get further away from the back of the vehicle.

Check out our other articles on bike racks for carbon frames, bike racks for SUV, and surfboard bike racks!

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