What’s the best bike rack for a Subaru Outback?
Pop “Best Bike Rack For Subaru Outback” into your search engine of choice and you get over 800,000 results.
Now, I’m certain that some people will have the diligence, spare hours, and total lack-of-something-better-to-do to go through that entire list to find the rack that’s absolutely the right one for them. But, if you’re like me and don’t have time to burn, what you’re really wanting is a shortlist of the Best of the Best plus a recommendation for the best bike rack for your Outback.
Pick the rack you want. Get it shipped. Head off in your Outback with bikes securely fastened on ready to start your next big bike expedition.
So, I’ve been doing some research online for you to find the best bicycle racks available. I’ve chosen these according to their key features and benefits, and also to customer feedback. Let’s take a look now, shall we?
Quick Answer: the best bike rack for Subaru Outback is the BV Hitch Mount 2 or 4 Bike Carrier
What are the options for your Subaru Outback?
There are plenty of great bicycle racks on the market and it can be difficult to choose between them. So, I’ve narrowed the many options down to a shortlist of the racks that I believe are the best. Let’s go through these now.
I’m a huge fan of this style of bike rack and, if you look at the reviewer comments on Amazon, you’ll see that I’m not alone in liking these.
It’s not hard to see why either. These racks are easy to fit with the included straps and very versatile so you can swap them between cars quickly. They’re also very strong and sturdy when in use – tightening the straps up keeps everything locked solidly to your car. Which is great because wobbling can lead to bikes bashing against each other or against the car trunk. Not a problem with this rack.
The photo above is for their 2-bike rack and if you take a look at the listing on Amazon you can see that there’re also 3- and 4-bike options available. One thing to be aware of is that bikes that don’t have a top tube (for example some women’s bikes and low-step models) will need a crossbar adaptor to fit onto hanging racks like this. They’re very easy to fit and simple to use – this one is perfect.
The company does a useful page on their website which shows which of their bike racks fit to which cars. Just fill in your car’s make, model, and year and you’ll get a list. Useful confirmation before you buy. You can find the web page here.
Allen Sports have been on the go since 1967 so they know a thing or two about bike racks. Because of that, they back their products with a lifetime warranty and you can see the T&Cs on the Amazon page if you click below.
If you have a hitch or tow bar fitted to your car, then I think that this is the best style of bike rack available. Why? Let’s look and see.
Okay, well let’s start with the basics.
This rack comes in either a 2-bike or 4-bike model. Even with 4 bikes secured to the back of your car, it won’t affect the aerodynamics of your vehicle as they’re all safely tucked away behind the car. That might not sound like much but, if you compare this to a roof rack style bike carrier, and multiply that the wind resistance effect on your fuel consumption over many miles, then you can see the difference it makes.
The rack attaches firmly to your hitch and is good for 1.25″ x 1.25″ and 2″ x 2″ hitch receiver (2-bike rack), using the included 2” adaptor, and 2” x 2” hitch receiver (4-bike rack).
It can carry bikes of up to 35 lbs / 15 kg each and holds them firmly between the tray loops under the wheels and the padded arm across the crossbar. Note that for bikes without a crossbar (some ladies bikes and low-step designs) you’ll need to buy a crossbar adaptor to go with this.
There are a couple of aspects to the rack that I really love. These are the ability to tilt the rack and the low height of it.
When you buy the rack you might not think about that tilting mechanism. In fact, you might not think about it when you’re about to head off on a trip. The car is packed full, the rack is attached, the bikes are loaded…and it’s at that point you realize that you need to get something out of the trunk….
Now, with a non-tilting rack, you’d have to take off all the bikes but with this rack, you can just pivot it down to get access to the trunk, then swing it back into place when you’ve got what you needed. Believe me, this is a great feature!
The low height of the rack is also a great feature as it’s a lot easier to lift bikes a short way off the ground to load them onto this rack than to lift them over your head to load them onto a roof rack. 35 lbs might not seem like a lot but, when it’s hanging over your head and made up of sharp bike components that are threatening to hit you in the face, then it can feel like quite a lot.
For these two reasons alone, the BV Hitch mount bike rack is my recommendation for your Subaru Outback.
I include this bike rack because, well, I kinda feel I have to because it’s a Subaru rack and it’s manufactured by Thule (who are one of the top rack producers).
I have very mixed feelings about it though.
You see, on the one hand, because it’s Thule and because it’s got the blessing of Subaru, then I’m sure it’s a great product. It seems to be solidly built and will hold your bike securely and safely. It’s also easy to install.
However, there are quite a few downsides to the rack and indeed to all roof-mounted bike racks.
Firstly, you have the issue that this is just the kit that holds your bike. You also have to make sure that you have appropriate roof bars fitted to your car in order to hold the bike rack. So there’s an additional expense right there.
On that point, this is also only a single-bike carrier. If you have more than one bike then you’ll need to buy multiple bike racks. You can see how the cost is climbing rapidly.
Talking of climbing there is another downside to roof-mount racks and that’s the fact that they fit to the roof. Now, if you’re a 7 feet tall, 300 Lb, linebacker then you’ll probably have no problems in lifting up a heavy adult bike above head height and gently positioning it in just the right place on a delicate rack on your car’s roof.
Sadly, we’re not all built like that and, with a rack like this, you can end up either struggling to lift the bike or precariously balanced on the very top of a ladder. Neither option is very safe.
There’s also the issue that it makes your car much taller and this may be something that you forget about until you drive under a low ceiling for example when parking. Crunch! Ugh…doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
How to fit your bike in your car
If you’d like some convincing that you’re doing the best thing in buying a bike rack, rather than just putting your bike in your car, then check out this video. It gives a brief guide to how to fit a bike inside a car for transportation.
So, what’s the conclusion? The answer seems to be that, yes, it’s certainly possible to do. But, is it something that I’d recommend? Definitely not. There’re just too many opportunities to cause damage to your bike frame and the components. Or you could even lose important parts – if you watch right to the end you’ll see what I mean!
Best of the Best bike racks
Thanks very much for joining me to look at bicycle racks. I really hope that this quick guide has given you an understanding of the choices available to you, your bicycle and your automobile. Taking your bike away for cycle rides that are further afield can be great fun and will really expand the cycling opportunities you have, but only if you have the right kit to do so (just like any sport). Run-of-the-mill bike racks can often be okay but, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, then these ones above are, I believe, tough to beat.
Pick the right one for you. Choose ‘Buy Now’ and get out there on your bike!
**Please note that our reviews are based on customer reviews, star ratings, and online complaints. Therefore, Bicycle Volt are in no way liable**