Top 6 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outback

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Every Subaru Outback owner knows the hurdle of loading and unloading bikes whenever they go on adventures. The Subaru Outback is a wagon-type of a vehicle; therefore, to load up bikes, one must either carry it through the roof or put it at the hitch. However, roof racks are not usually advisable for the Subaru Outback since it is a tall type of vehicle.

The best bike rack for the Subaru Outback is usually the hitch-mounted type since there is no need to lift the bike. Also, with hitch-mounted bike racks, loading and unloading bikes are easy as 1-2-3.

Top 6 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outback in Review

Currently, shopping for bike racks for your Subaru Outback can be tricky since there are many options on the market. However, with our list of the best bike racks for Subaru Outback, your purchase decision might become more manageable.

  1. Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
  2. Yakima HoldUp EVO 2 Bike Platform Rack
  3. Kuat NV 2.0 2-Bike Platform Rack
  4. Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE 4 Bike Platform Rack
  5. Thule Helium Pro 3 Bike Rack
  6. Swagman Chinook 2 Bike Platform Rack

#1. Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack – Best Overall Bike Rack

Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Hitch Bike Rack (2'), Black, Model:9034XTB

Specifications:

  • Application: 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 2 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: 60 lbs per bike
  • Maximum tire width: 5″
  • Carrier weight: 52 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

There is nothing like the Thule promise – to simplify your active life. With their lightweight and heavy-duty bike racks, you will get the best value for your money. The Thule T2 Pro XT two bike racks are a premium platform-style hitch bike rack that holds the bike’s wheels using its ratcheting tools. You are sure that there is no frame contact because of the sliding cradles. Furthermore, the rack is made from solid steel construction and coated with a black powder finish to avoid rust and corrosion.

The hitch-mounted bike rack of Thule can carry two bikes at the back of your Subaru Outback. The Thule T2 Pro XT is versatile enough to fit most bikes, from fat bikes to electric bikes. With the front-mounted HitchSwitch lever of the rack, anyone can easily lift and fold the rack. Furthermore, the ratcheting tools of the Thule T2 Pro XT are on pivoting upright arms to hold the bike securely by the front wheels, allowing a no-frame contact of the bikes.

The rack also has large front and rear-wheel cradles to make it easy to load the bikes. The rear-wheel cradles slide with the ratcheting straps to adjust the bike’s fit. The deep wheel cradles with the extra-long wheel straps accommodate fat bikes with a tire length of up to 5″.

The adjustable bike trays of the Thule T2 Pro XT slide up to 3” sideways to optimize the bike spacing.

The Thule T2 Pro XT has a quick and easy installation because of the AutoAttach system. Users can simply slide the rack into the receiver and insert the Auto Pin through the hitch pin hole and shank. To tighten the leg, simply turn the hand knob.

The Thule T2 Pro XT has a One-Key System that locks your rack and your bike to your Subaru Outback and avoids theft. The hand knob of the One-Key System secures your rack to the Subaru Outback, and the integrated cable locks secure your bike to the rack. You are sure that all the parts of the Thule T2 Pro XT are of high quality since it is made in the USA.

ProsCons
Carries bikes with different sizes and weights without any extender
Expensive for a bike rack that can only carry two bikes
Has a HitchSwitch lever for easy rear cargo accessOne-Key System lock is not very supportive 
Easy to install

#2. Yakima HoldUp EVO 2 Bike Platform Rack – Best for Quick Installation

YAKIMA - HoldUp EVO 2' Hitch Mounted Tray Bike Rack, 2 Bike Capacity

Specifications:

  • Application: 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 2 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: 50 lbs per bike
  • Maximum tire width: 5″
  • Carrier weight: 50 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Yakima understands your love for the wild side, which is why it wants to make your adventurous life easy with the Yakima HoldUp Evo bike rack. The Yakima HoldUp Evo bike rack was built to carry up to two bikes at a time. The rugged platform-style rack of Yakima holds the bike by the wheels using the ratcheting hooks and pivoting cradles for a no-frame contact.

Anyone can easily tilt the rack to access the rear cargo area and fold it for storage with the easy-to-access levers of the Yakima HoldUp Evo bike rack. The KickStart foot level lowers the rack from the storage position so that the bikes can be loaded. The bike trays also have remote tilt levers that tilt the rack up for storage or down to access the cargo area.

The Ratcheting hooks and the pivoting cradles hold the bikes securely by the front wheels, and the large front and rear wheel cradles make bike loading easier. You can also adjust the rear-wheel cradles and the ratcheting straps of the rack to accommodate other bike sizes. With the deep wheel cradles and extra-long wheel straps, you can carry even the fat bikes with 5” wide tires.

Bike spacing is optimized with Yakima HoldUp Evo’s adjustable bike trays that slide on the side. Also, the SpeedKnob of the rack offers a tool-free and rattle-free installation. You just have to simply tighten the rack inside the hitch to reduce the noise and movement of your bike.

The Same Key System locks of the Yakima prevent theft and loss of both the rack and the bikes. With the SpeedKnob, you are sure that your rack is tightly secured to the Subaru Outback. Also, with the integrated cable locks, your rack is securely locked into the rack.

If you have more than two bikes, you can purchase the Y02482 add-on to convert your two bike rack into a four bike carrier.

Yakima only produces the highest quality bike racks with their solid steel construction and glossy black powder coat finish to prevent rust and corrosion on the Yakima HoldUp Evo bike rack. Plus, after that long bike riding and loading, you can easily enjoy your cold drink with the signature bottle opener built into the end of the rack.

ProsCons
Fast load and unloading of the bikesFolding lever at the base of the rack, making it difficult to access
Can easily switch to a 4-bike carrier
Not designed for kids’ bikes
Tool-free installation

#3. Kuat NV 2.0 2-Bike Platform Rack – Best Value for Money

Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack, Gray Metallic, 1.25' Hitch Size

Specifications:

  • Application: 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 2 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: 60 lbs per bike
  • Maximum Tire Width: 4.8”
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

The Kuat NV 2.0 is another platform-style rack that can carry two bikes at a time. Because of its hitch-mount style, it can accommodate different bike sizes, designs, and brake style. There is a no-frame contact with Kuat’s ratcheting hooks that firmly grip your bikes on the front wheels. Furthermore, the TPE coating prevents the hooks from scratching and scuffing the bike frame coating.

You are in for easy installation with Kuat NV 2.0’s hand-tightening cam system that does not need any tools to install your rack. Just turn the knob to tighten the rack in the hitch and have that anti-rattle installation.

The large front-wheel cradles of the rack allow an easy bike loading, and the sliding and ratcheting straps lets you carry bikes with up to 4 -13/16″ wide tires. If you want to carry more bikes with fat tires, you can also purchase the APBK adapter.

Anyone can easily tilt and fold the Kuat NV 2.0 bike rack with its front-mounted foot levers. It also has a built-in bike repair stand for your on-the-go maintenance. The stand can fit ¾” to 2 ½” diameter tubing and can adjust for the best bike positioning.

You don’t have to worry about your bikes and your rack being stolen since the Kuat NV 2.0 bike rack has keyed-alike locks to securely lock both your bike and your rack to the Subaru Outback. The Keyed-alike locks have a hitch-lock that secures the rack to your Subaru Outback and the cable lock, which locks the bikes to the Kuat NV 2.0 bike rack.

All of the products of Kuat are of high quality. The Kuat NV 2.0 is made with lightweight aluminum that is durable and corrosion-resistant. It is also coated with metallic black anodized gray powder for rust resistance.

ProsCons
Can accommodate fat bikes with tires up to 4 -13/16” wideHeavy despite saying that it is lightweight
Has a built-in repair stand for emergency repairs
Expensive for a bike rack
Bike loading and unloading is easy
Hard to install

#4. Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE 4 Bike Platform Rack – Best for Family Use

Hollywood Racks Sportrider Se Hitch Rack, Black

Specifications:

  • Application: 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 4 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: 50 lbs per bike
  • Maximum tire width: 3″
  • Weight:
    • Two-bike rack: 51 lbs
    • Four-bike rack: 81 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Hollywood Racks is known for its adjustable bike racks, which can hold up to four bikes. With the Hollywood Racks Sports Rider SE, you can carry up to four bikes using the platform-style bike rack with the front two bike positions easily removable. The ratcheting hooks on the center mask of the rack can hold bikes securely to the frame. Don’t worry about the hooks damaging your expensive bikes because it is covered with cushion.

The Sports Rider has adjustable wheel hoops that allow easy access of the user to load the bikes. The hoops can slide along the bike trays and get secured with the hand knobs. The Hook-and-Loop straps, which are similar to Velcro, also ensure the wheels to the hoops.

The two quick-release spring pins allow you to tilt the rack to access the rear cargo area and fold it up for storage.

The welded stop plate of the Sports Rider automatically aligns with the shank and the hitch pin holes to eliminate your effort to get on your knees and align the holes. It also has an anti-rattle handle that can reduce rack movement in the hitch receiver; therefore, no tools are required to tighten the shank. You just have to turn the handle to tighten it to the receiver tube.

You don’t need to worry about theft or stolen racks and bikes since the Sports Rider has a keyed-alike hitch lock with frame hooks and a security cable that will securely lock your rack to the Subaru Outback and the bike to the rack.

Hollywood Racks only believe that producing the highest quality racks are essential to cope up with the daily stress of traveling and carrying heavy bikes. With this, the Sports Rider was built with durable steel construction and coated with a black powder finish to resist rust and corrosion.

ProsCons
Can carry up to four bikes with the easy to install 2-bike add-on kitRack becomes too heavy when the add-on is combined with the first mount.
Great carrier for family use since it can carry kids’ bikes
Expensive for a bike rack
Security cable long enough for four bikesHard to install

#5. Thule Helium Pro 3 Bike Rack – Best Lightweight Bike Rack for Subaru

Thule Helium Pro 3 Hitch Bike Rack

Specifications:

  • Application: 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ (Class I and Class II) and 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 3 bikes
  • Weight capacity: 37.5 lbs per bike
  • Carrier weight: 20 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Another excellent work of Thule is the Helium Pro 3 Bike Rack. Like any other Thule bike racks, the Helium Pro 3 is an ultra-lightweight hanging rack that can carry three bikes per travel. The hitch-mounted rack has the HideAway feature, which creates anti-sway cradles with the ratcheting straps to provide hassle-free loading of your bikes.

The rack can fold up against the arms so that it’s easy to slide the bikes over the cradles. The frames also do not touch each other and will not collide because of the 7” space for each bike. The arms of the rack can also rotate to accommodate a wide array of bike sizes and frames. Furthermore, the rack holds three points of each bike to avoid contact between bikes and bike-to-car.

The HitchSwitch levers of the Thule Helium Pro 3 allow you to fold down the rack’s arms for storage and tilt the rack for the rear cargo area access.

You don’t need to worry about getting your Helium Pro 3 and your bikes from being stolen because Thule provided a One-Key System lock for every Thule bike rack. The locking hand knob of the system secures the bike to the rack, and the built-in cable lock secures your rack to the Subaru Outback.

Thule created the SnugTite feature for the smooth and tool-free installation of the Helium Pro 3. Also, you are sure that there will be no noise and vibration on your rack because of the anti-rattle hitch pin. The hitch pin eliminates the movement and the rattle in the hitch receiver of the rack. Helium Pro 3 also has removable sleeves that can convert the rack back for 1¼” hitches.

Thule only promises to manufacture durable and versatile racks, which is why the Helium Pro 3 has durable aluminum construction, which is lightweight and rust-proof. Furthermore, all Thule products are made in the USA, so you are sure that everything is reliable.

ProsCons
Versatile since it does not rely on wheelbases to carry the bikeWould require adapter for women’s bikes and kids’ bikes
Can accommodate three bikes despite its lightweight construction
Expensive for three bike hanging rack
Lightweight only weighs 20 lbs

#6. Swagman Chinook 2 Bike Platform Rack – Best Budget Bike Rack for Subaru Outback

Swagman CHINOOK Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Specifications:

  • Application: 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ (Class I and II) and 2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers
  • Carrying capacity: 2 bicycles
  • Weight capacity: 45 lbs per bike
  • Maximum tire width: 3″
  • Carrier weight: 47 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty 

Swagman stands with its promise of providing racks for every bike; racks for everyone. With its Swagman Chinook 2 bike platform rack, anyone could afford to buy it because of its affordability compared to other bike racks. The Chinook is a platform-style carrier that can carry two bikes on every travel. It can fit 1¼’ – 2″ hitch receivers with a weight of up to 45 lbs per bike.

You are sure that the Chinook will take good care of your expensive bikes because of its ratcheting padded hooks that hold your bikes firmly by the top tubes. Since the hooks are padded, there is no need to worry about any scratches or scuffs on your bikes. With the pushbuttons, the hooks are allowed to move independently and hold different types of bikes. The locks in the arms also secure your bikes to the rack.

The Swagman Chinook has sliding cradles with ratcheting straps that secure your bike wheels to the rack. Also, with the hand knobs of the rack, you can adjust the cradles to accommodate bikes at different lengths.

You can easily tilt the rack to open the rear cargo area and fold it up for storage because of the spring-loaded levers. You can even tilt and fold the rack even without unloading the bikes.

The Chinook has hitch locks to secure your rack to the Subaru Outback, and the threaded pin also serves as an anti-rattle device to reduce the rattling in the hitch receiver.

You can quickly convert the rack to accommodate bikes with 1¼” hitches with the removable adapter sleeves of the Chinook.

Lastly, the Chinook is built with solid steel construction and coated with black powder finish for that robust, durable, and rust-proof bike rack.

ProsCons
Has free removable adapter sleeves to accommodate other hitchesClamps can come in contact with the bike’s frame
Affordable for a 2-bike hitch-mounted rack
Little wobbly

Top Pick – Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is one of the many wagon type cars which can accommodate up to five seats and still has enough space for cargo. Its rear cargo area is big enough for luggage and even pieces of equipment. It is also built to perform its best on off-road trips, becoming one of many adventure seekers’ top picks, especially cyclists.

However, the Subaru Outback does not have enough space for bikes. Furthermore, it is tall enough for bike roof racks; therefore, hitch-mounted bike racks are the best bike racks for the Subaru Outback.

The best bike rack for the Subaru Outback has to be of great value for money; that is why our top pick is the Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike rack. Aside from its versatility, the Thule T2 Pro XT is known to be a lightweight bike rack while still being durable and reliable. Furthermore, the Pro XT add-on allows it to accommodate up to four bikes with different sizes and frame types. Although Thule is known to be one of the expensive brands of racks, you will never go wrong with the Thule T2 Pro XT because of its full usability.


Getting the Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

If you want to pick the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback, you must know the features that make up the highest quality bike rack. Since there are many options to choose from, with our ultimate buyers’ guide, you will know how to distinguish the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback.

6 Things to Consider When Buying the Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback

#1. Types of Racks

There are three types of racks for every car – roof racks, hitch-mounted racks, and trunk-mounted racks. Roof racks are usually used for large equipment like kayaks and canoes. The hitch-mounted and the trunk-mounted racks are the ones best used for bikes, especially electric bikes. However, the trunk-mounted racks are usually used for beginner-friendly bikes.

Since the Subaru Outback is a tall type of vehicle, the best kind of bike rack would be the hitch-mounted type or the trunk-mounted type.

#2. Weight Capacity

 When choosing the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback, you must consider the weight of the bikes that it can carry. Many bike racks can only carry up to 165 lbs total or sometimes up to 60 pounds per bike. If the weight of the bikes exceeds the weight capacity of the rack, it can often end up easily destroyed despite its high-quality construction.

#3. Number of Bikes to Carry 

The usual number of bikes that a bike rack can carry is two. Other types of bike rack can carry up to four bikes depending on the rack add-on. If you are a cyclist who owns more than two bikes or your family are bike enthusiasts, then the best type of carrier would be the four-bike rack.

#4. Classes of Hitch Receivers to Mount On

 There are five classes of hitch receivers that a rack can mount on. The Subaru Outback is a Class III type of towing vehicle with an opening size of 2″ x 2″. To know the best kind of bike rack for the hitch receiver of the Outback, you can check out the features of the rack. If it can accommodate Classes I-III, then it is the best bike rack for your Outback’s hitch receiver.

#5. Rack Weight 

The rack weight is for the ease of the car owner. Although most bike racks nowadays are already easy to install, its weight will partially affect the installation process. Since you still need to lift the rack somehow to install it on the hitch receiver, it would be difficult if your rack is heavy.

#6. Materials 

The best bike racks are made with aluminum or steel for more heavy-duty use. Also, racks must be coated with a paint finish to prevent rust and corrosion, since it is mostly subjected to different kinds of weather.


Conclusion

If you are a Subaru Outback owner and also a bike enthusiast, choosing the best bike rack should be on top of your list. Expensive bikes need the best quality bike racks to support its weight and its length. Moreover, since bike racks are more exposed to different kinds of weather, it should be durable but still light enough to carry when loading or removing.

There are many available options for the best bike racks in the market. However, if you have read our product reviews and buying guide, it would be easy for you to choose the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback. You just have to make sure that when you try to buy the best bike rack, you have to stick to your budget and weigh if the quality of the bike rack is reasonable enough of its price. With the options laid out, you now know how to spot and choose the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I know what type of bike rack to use for my car?

The type of bike rack depends mostly on the type of vehicle that you are using. You can use a roof rack for sedans and other passenger cars since it is not tall enough to lift and load a bike. For SUVs and minivans, the best type of bike rack is the hitch-mounted or the trunk-mounted. However, if you are still a beginner cyclist, you can first try the trunk-mounted rack. For professional bikes, the best type is the hitch-mounted.

What is the maximum number of bikes that a bike rack can carry?

Bike racks can carry a maximum of four bikes per travel. Also, depending on the type of bike rack, others can carry up to three bikes.

Do I need to buy other tools to install the bike rack myself?

It usually depends on the brand of bike rack that you choose. Other bike rack brands have a no-tool installation for their bike racks, while others already provided the needed tools in their package.

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