How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold? Let’s Explore This Simple Yet Important Question!

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As a cycling enthusiast, I know just how important my bikes are to me. I would go nuts if something serious should happen to my bicycles because of my sloppiness, and I believe all of you would agree with me on this.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, your bikes are as safe as your rack. So, it’s imperative that you know the ins and outs of bicycle carriers before setting out for a journey with your precious bikes. Usually, people neglect the importance of the load capacity of a bike rack.

That’s how accidents happen, and that’s how your bicycles bite the dust. So, always make sure you know the weight limit of your rack and if it can or can’t hold your bikes.

Therefore, if you want to know how much weight can a bike rack hold, then you’re at the right place. I’ve pointed out exactly how much load you can carry using different types of bicycle carriers.

Types of Bike Racks and Their Weight Capacity

How Much Weight Can a Bike Rack Hold

The first thing you need to know is that the maximum weight capacity of a bike rack depends on its type. There are about three types of bike racks according to their mounting style: 1) Roof-mounted bike rack, 2) Hitch-mounted bike rack, and 3) Hatch or Trunk mounted bike rack.

Each model has a different maximum weight capacity, and the number of bikes they can carry also differs. So, without further ado, let’s move into the details.

Roof-Mounted Bike Rack

Such bicycle carriers are situated on the top of your vehicle, hence the name. They are pretty versatile and can be used to carry bikes and other outdoor equipment.

There are two styles when it comes to roof-mounted carriers: thru-axle racks and regular roof racks.

The best thing about roof-mounted carriers is that it stays on top of your vehicle. Therefore, it doesn’t restrict your vision nor makes it tough to access the rear or trunk of your car like a hitch or trunk-mounted rack does.

However, there are a few drawbacks to such carriers. For instance, roof-mounted bike racks can only carry one bicycle. Additionally, they have a low weight capacity, and it becomes difficult to mount bikes on them when you use a tall vehicle like an SUV.

Nevertheless, a majority of people prefer roof-mounted bike racks, especially people who need to travel with only one bicycle. They are very convenient, easy to store and cost significantly less than other types of bike racks.

The maximum weight capacity of a roof rack is around 37 to 44lbs. The capacity depends on the model you’re choosing.

Here is a list of the best roof-mounted bikes, the maximum load they can hold, and the number of cycles they can carry.

Bike Rack NameWeight CapacityNumber of Bikes
Thule UpRide44lbs1
Thule ProRide44lbs1
Yakima HighRoad44lbs1
Yakima FrontLoader39.6lbs1
Thule FastRide40lbs1

Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

Hitch bike racks come in two different styles: tray-style hitch racks and hanging-style hitch racks.

Hitch-mounted bicycle racks are the definition of family carriers. They can carry the highest number of bicycles and have the most significant load capacity among all the other types of racks. With extensions or adapters, some of the hitch bicycle carriers can hold four to almost six bikes.

Such bike racks are very popular because they let you carry more than a few bicycles. So, if you’re planning to go on a biking journey with your family, then hitch racks are your go-to carrier.

Usually, such racks can carry a minimum of two bicycles and a maximum of four to six. The weight capacity of these carriers is enormous and almost around 120 to 150lbs.

However, there are some disadvantages to these racks. First of all, they are a little challenging to assemble. Secondly, they restrict rear vision as they are attached to the tow bar or hitch of your vehicle, which is situated at the back of your car.

Finally, some hitch racks don’t come with the feature to tilt up or down, and if that’s the case, then you’ll need to remove the entire carrier to access the trunk or hatch of your vehicle.

Nevertheless, almost all the top-tier and most mid-tier hitch bicycle carriers come with the feature to tilt upwards or downwards. Despite having a few drawbacks, hitch bike racks are one of the most convenient bicycle carriers, especially if you already have a tow bar in your vehicle.

They are durable and can ensure the safety of your bicycles better than any other type of rack.

Here is a list of the best hitch bike racks, the number of bicycles they can carry, and their maximum load capacity.

Bike Rack NameWeight LimitNumber of Bikes
Yakima FullTilt150lbs4
Thule Apex XT150lbs4
Yakima FullSwing150lbs4
RockyMounts Monorail120lbs (135 with add-on)2 (3 with add-on)
Thule T2 Pro XTR120lbs2 (4 with add-on)

Hatch or Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack

Hatch-mounted, trunk-mounted, or boot bike racks are the most convenient among all the other types of bicycle carriers. Why, do you ask?

Well, in the case of roof-mounted or hitch-mounted bike racks, you need a crossbar or a hitch/tow bar on your vehicle. However, you need to install any accessories on your car to install a trunk-mounted carrier.

Such racks can be attached to the trunk of a sedan or the hatch of a hatchback or an SUV with only the integrated straps. They are pretty easy to install and remain firmly attached to the rear with the help of the straps.

Trunk racks are compact and lightweight. It is easy to move and store them when they are not being used. The maximum number of adult-size bicycles they can carry is three, and the load capacity of such racks is usually 66lbs to 99lbs.

Nonetheless, you won’t be able to transport fat-tire or e-bike with such carriers. Furthermore, the maximum number of bicycles they can hold is limited to three, so if you need to carry more than three bikes, then you’ll need to look into something else.

Boot bicycle racks usually connect to the trunk or hatch of a vehicle; thus, using such carriers is a little riskier than using hitch or roof-mounted racks. You need to be careful about not denting the exterior of your vehicle.

If you want to have the maximum load capacity of a bike rack, then boot carriers are not the best option. However, if you want something convenient yet strong enough to handle a couple of adult-size bicycles, then you can opt for a boot rack.

Below are the best boot bike racks, the number of bicycles they can carry, and their maximum weight limit.

Bike Rack NameLoad CapacityNumber of Bikes
Yakima FullBack90lbs3
Thule RaceWay 99299lbs3
Exodus Rear High Mount99lbs3
Thule Raceway Platform Pro66lbs2
Yakima HalfBack90lbs3

Frequently Asked Questions

Here I have answered a few queries about bike racks and their weight limit. Take a look; I’m sure you’ll find them interesting.

How Much Load Capacity Does a Thule Bike Rack Has

The maximum weight limit depends on the type of Thule bike rack getting. For instance, a roof rack will obviously have a lesser load capacity than a hitch-mounted carrier.

Nonetheless, if we take all types of Thule racks into consideration, then I would say Thule carriers have a minimum weight limit of 40lbs or 18kg and a maximum of 150lbs or 68kg.

How Much Load Capacity Does a Yakima Bike Rack Has?

The weight limit of Yakima Bike Racks is somewhere around 37lbs or 16.7kg to 150lbs or 68kg. Again, the load capacity depends on the type of Yakima carrier you’re purchasing.

Hitch-mounted Yakima racks are usually sturdier and more durable than the other types; hence, they can carry the highest number of bikes and have the maximum weight capacity. On the other hand, Yakima roof carriers can only hold one cycle, so they have the lowest load limit.

How Much Weight Can a Six Bicycle Rack Take?

There are only a handful of bike racks that can carry six bicycles at the same time. However, some racks come with the ability to use extenders or adapters, which lets them take six bikes.

In any case, the maximum a 6-bike rack can hold is about 220lbs or 99.7kg, and the minimum it can carry is 180lbs or 81.6kg.

Time to Draw the Curtain!

As you can see, roof-mounted racks have the least weight capacity, and hitch-mounted carriers have the most. However, you can’t or shouldn’t rule out roof racks just because they can’t carry more than one bicycle or have a low load limit.

All types of racks have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, it’s best to take your time and decide which one can meet your needs or demands.

Now that you know how much weight can a bike rack hold, it’s time you choose a carrier and embark on your cycling journey. Good luck and have a safe trip.

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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