How To Install A Bike Rack On A Hatchback [ Updated 2021 ]

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If you are a picnic lover and go mountain biking or cross country to exercise or enjoy the thrill of cycling, you should buy a set of bike racks. Especially if you own a hatchback car, this accessory is more necessary than ever. It makes it convenient to carry your bike in the car.

Do not worry if you do not know how to install a bike rack on a hatchback. You will find a step-by-step guide to do that in our article! Let’s go through it now!

What Is A Bike Rack?

What Is A Bike Rack
What Is A Bike Rack?

Bike racks, also known as bicycle carrier racks, are indispensable for carrying bikes while traveling. In simple words, bike racks are accessories that are mounted on the back of a car or the roof so you can take your bike without fear of scratches.

With folding bicycles, you can fold them up and put them in the trunk. However, bikes like BMX bikes or road bikes, folding bikes are impossible. So you will need the help of bike racks.

Bike racks can be made from various materials such as steel, plastic, stainless steel, or thermoplastic. Depending on the type of car you are using, the kind of bike you want to carry, and the price you want to pay, you can choose the bike racks that suit your needs.

The Roles of Bike Rack

The Roles of Bike Rack
The Roles of Bike Rack

Bike racks, especially rear racks, have many important and valuable roles. The first is to provide you with a sturdy frame to keep your bike steady during the drive. You can easily take your bike wherever you want. Traveling or picnicking but still being able to enjoy exciting bike rides is great, right?

Not only that, but you can also hang other items on the rack if your trunk is fully furnished. If unfortunately, it rains, you can also put the things in a sealed box and hang them on the bike racks.

Moreover, a good and suitable bike rack can prevent your car and bike from scratches or damages. And there are other roles you only know when you already get your vehicle a bike rack.

Types of Bike Racks

Types of Bike Racks
Types of Bike Racks

Currently, there are many types of bicycle racks for cars on the market, such as trunk-mounted bike racks, hitch-mounted bike racks, roof-mounted bike racks, bike racks for pickup trucks, etc.

Trunk-mounted bike racks

Trunk-mounted bike racks
Trunk-mounted bike racks

These stand models are often used to safely and securely mount bicycles behind a car, mainly to avoid tire scratches. The bracket’s two clamps are covered with rubber to help keep the friction very well, even on the tire’s slippery surface.

Also, the rack uses sturdy ropes to secure the frame to the back of the car. Thus, you can safely put one or two bikes behind on the bike rack without worrying about anything.

Hitch-mounted bike racks

Hitch-mounted bike racks
Hitch-mounted bike racks

This bike rack has a sturdy tray rack with a 14cm or 2cm trailer. It fits two bicycles 20-29cm with a max load capacity of 80lbs per bike. A soft cushion handle protects the chassis and prevents damage to the vehicle.

Significantly, the rack can be folded easily without complicated disassembly. Note that hitch bike racks are not safe for RVs or trailers.

Roof-mounted bike racks

Roof-mounted bike racks
Roof-mounted bike racks

This type is a great bike rack for vehicles like 7-seat cars, minivans, SUVs, etc. That is because this type is directly attached to the crossbars and gutters. Moreover, it can hold up to 7 bicycles at the same time. You can bring your picnic and paddle gear with this bike rack as well.

Bike racks for pickup trucks

Bike racks for pickup trucks
Bike racks for pickup trucks

Equipping with an onboard bike rack is the easiest option for pickup owners. A frame is installed on the trunk of the vehicle. It can hold up to four bicycles and is reasonably priced.

Types of bike racks Pros Cons
Trunk-mounted bike racks – Suitable for most car types

– Sturdy and stable frame

– Quick assembly and installation

– Not very expensive

– Difficult to access the hatch or car trunk

– Bikes can sway sometimes

Hitch-mounted bike racks – No need to disassemble many times

– Easy to fold when not in use

– Minimizes dangerous wobble between the support and the hook

– Prices can be pretty expensive for advanced models
Roof-mounted bike racks – Can hold up to seven bikes at the same time

– Ability to access the hatch or car trunk

– Difficult to install

– Can’t drive under height-restricted areas (low gate, garage, bridge)

Bike racks for pickup trucks – Can hold up to four bikes

– Take advantage of the car trunk

– Only suitable for pickup trucks

The Installation of A Bike Rack On A Hatchback: A General Guide

There are different ways to install a bike rack into your hatchback car. Today I will guide you through seven simple steps to do this.

Step 1: Open the bike rack

Open the bike rack
Open the bike rack

The best way is to open it in an arc. Of course, different bike racks models will have different ways of opening. However, most bike racks mounted in the rear of the car open in the form of an arc.

For some car types like hatchback or SUV, the bike rack’s installation is usually like this: one end attaches to the rear window. The other connects to the trunk’s bottom.

However, the bike rack’s installation for sedans or coupes is quite different. It will be attached to the trunk’s front and rear sections for other types like sedans or coupes.

Step 2: Get the clips attached to the trunk

Get the clips attached to the trunk
Get the clips attached to the trunk

In this step, you need to attach the clips to the trunk’s positions: on the bottom, the top,  and the two sides. Hook the clips onto the gaps where the box is separate from the car. Try to find locations where you can quickly hook clips. Note that each pin has a role and reason for the hook, so be patiently look around to find the correct positions.

Step 3: Fixing the bike racks

Fixing the bike racks
Fixing the bike racks

To secure the racks, you need to tighten the straps. This step is quite simple. It would be best to pull the excess wire out of the clamp. Note that you must pull tight because the rack will not be stable while the straps are too loose while moving. That will cause your bikes to collide and cause unnecessary scratches.

Step 4: Check the reliability of the bike rack

Check the reliability of the bike rack
Check the reliability of the bike rack

To check if the bike rack you have just installed is secure or not, shake it to the sides with your hands. If your bike rack is safe, it will move with your bike as if they were one when you shake.

If that is the case, when you drive on the road while you turn around or speed up, you will still be assured that your racks are very stable and support your bike very well.

Step 5: Lock the bicycle arms in the correct position

Lock the bicycle arms in the correct position
Lock the bicycle arms in the correct position

These bike arms will help keep your bike steady while you drive. The way to lock the bike arm will differ depending on the type of bike rack you choose. However, when you drag them on, they have to fit into positions. Furthermore, they should have screws to tighten them.

Step 6: Put Your Bicycle On The Rack

Put Your Bicycle On The Rack
Put Your Bicycle On The Rack

Be very careful in this step. Otherwise, you will damage your bike or car. Place the top of the cycle on the bike arms. It would be best if you allocated the bike’s weight to skew while moving. If you are more careful, you can put a sponge between the bike and bike rack to avoid scratching or losing the paint color of the bike.

Step 7: Clamp your bike arms down to the bike frame to fix it

Clamp your bike arms down to the bike frame to fix it
Clamp your bike arms down to the bike frame to fix it

It is the last step in the installation. Your task is to pull your bike arms down the bike frame to match the positions then fix them. You have to fix them tightly. That way, when you drive, your bike can be kept steady.

To better understand how to install a bike rack on a car, you can refer to this video:

Watch video: How to install a bike rack on a car

Hatch-mounted Bike Rack Installation

Hatch-mounted Bike Rack Installation
Hatch-mounted Bike Rack Installation

Among the bike racks, hatch-mounted is the easiest to install. Here are the simple steps to install a hatch-mounted bike rack.

First, you need to determine how many bicycles you want to carry. You should not skip this step because it helps you choose the right bike rack. While some hatch-mounted bike racks allow you to take only one bike, others will enable you to carry 3 or 4 bicycles.

Second, you need to measure the size of the hatchback door. That will help you choose the best suitable and operating hatch-mounted type.

Third, you can now install the rack. This type of bike rack is easy to install because you don’t need to use additional tools like a bicycle crossbar adapter.

Place the hatch on the hatchback door and ensure that you have partially opened the hatchback door. Then, hook the top straps of the rack to the top of the hatch and tighten the belts. Do the same for the lower straps.

Finally, check the track you just installed. The best way to check is to put your bike in a rack. If your stand does not sag or move loosely, you have successfully installed it.

FAQs

Is it easy to put a bike rack on a hatchback?

It depends. If you do it for the first time, it may be a little difficult for you as you have no experience. But for the second time and on, it will be much easier.

What is the best bike rack for a hatchback?

The hatch-mounted bike rack is supposed to be the best one for a hatchback.

Can a bike rack damage your car?

If your installation is incorrect, it can damage your car sometimes or cause scratches.

What type of bike rack fits my car?

It depends on what car type you are using. Every kind of car will have its suitable bike rack.

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About Jim Felt

Jim Felt, a man with a genuine love of speed. A man who designed his very first triathlon frame for Johnny O’Mara – the star of Motorcross at “The O-Show” – then got big successes in 1990. In 1994, Felt incorporated with Answer Products to launch his brand, starting a 7-year relationship until 2000. In 2001, Jim Felt relaunched the Feltracing brand in conjunction with Michael Müllmann and Bill Duehring. Our product lines were then expanded into a full line of commuter bikes, cruisers, MTBs, MBX, even road and tri bikes. The total number of models were up to 140 distributed in 27 countries.