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When choosing a bike rack for Toyota RAV4, you’ll want to research your options thoroughly before settling on a particular model.
As with most things you buy, the most expensive option isn’t always the best for you, and inexpensive options can often exceed your expectations.
I’m an avid mountain biker and understand how vital a rack can be to the trip. I’ve installed plenty of cheap bike racks that I wish I hadn’t and invested in some good ones over the years, so I’ve learned a thing or two about what to look for.
In this guide, I’ll cover the factors to focus on, such as the space, safety, and compatibility of bike racks with your RAV4. We’ll look at different bike rack types, provide you with some installation tips, and share our expert advice on selecting the rack that best suits your needs and budget.
Join me as I share the best bike rack options and tips for your Toyota RAV4.
Types of Bike Racks
We are going to evaluate the three most common types of bike racks for RAV4s.
In each section, you’ll find the features, pros and cons, installation process, average cost, safety factors, and other relevant information to make your decision easier.
The hitch-mounted rack attaches directly to a receiver in the back of the RAV. You need to have the hitch installed before buying this rack, so that’s an added expense if you don’t already have one. Remember that smaller hitch receivers may provide less stability than larger ones.
On average, you may spend more than $500 for one of these racks, but they are often the most durable. It’s an excellent option for someone biking often or carrying more than three bikes at a time.
There are two different types of hitch mounts available.
- Hanging cradle: Bikes hang from the rack, but it’s a lightweight option offering more ground clearance.
- Platform: Bikes sit on the platform, making them more secure, but it is a more expensive option.
You’ll need crossbars installed on the RAV4’s roof to install a roof-mounted bike rack.
I find this type is versatile and won’t obstruct access to your trunk, but you have to lift the bikes on and off the roof. Also, they can hinder fuel efficiency, as does any RAV4 roof rack.
The cheapest option is to get a rear-mounted bike rack.
These racks strap to the RAV4 hatch and are removable quickly. However, they are less stable than the other options and may block access to your cargo area. You may also have difficulty safely securing more than two bikes on this rack.
Choosing the Right Type
After understanding the different types of racks available, examining a few factors unique to your situation is vital. These points help you determine what will work best for your situation.
First and foremost, any bike rack you select must be compatible with your RAV4. Check the model year compatibility before purchasing anything.
If you want to carry the rack on your spare tire, I believe the Thule Spare Me 2 bike rack is an excellent option with its stay-put cradles.
Number of Bikes:
Bike racks are available in several configurations to hold between one and four bikes. You must pick a rack designed for the number of cycles you plan to haul.
The Thule Apex XT rack works best when taking the whole family on biking excursions since it can secure four bicycles at a time.
Along with the number of bikes held, you’ll need a rack that accommodates the weight of your bicycles. Add up your heaviest load and get a rack accommodating that weight. Remember that electric bikes are often much heavier.
I like the Allen Sports Ultra Compact bike rack as it weighs only eight pounds, but it holds two bikes with a capacity of 70 pounds.
Certain racks don’t accommodate various frame styles. For example, if you have a full-suspension mountain bike, carbon fiber frame, step-through frame or unique tubing, double-check that the rack will hold it securely.
I’ve found that Arksen hitch-mounted rack works great for most bikes, including fat tire and electric bikes.
If you don’t want to spend much time installing a rack, look for options that make installation quick and convenient. Tool-free installation and quick-release mechanisms are handy choices.
By securing the Hollywood Racks spare tire bike rack on your RAV4, you won’t have to worry about extensive installation or removal processes.
To prevent theft, consider buying a rack with a built-in lock or at least the ability to add a lock.
I recommend that you secure your bike with the Allen Sports Premier tray rack that connects to a hitch.
Remember to think about your hatch when choosing a bike rack. You may not want to block the hatch and certainly don’t want to hinder the visibility of the lights, safety sensors or license plate.
To remove the hatch from the equation, consider the RockyMounts Tomahawk upright roof bike rack instead.
Racks made from sturdy materials hold up longer. I look for high-quality steel or aluminum racks with powder coating to protect against corrosion and rust. Carbon fiber is another durable, though expensive, option.
The YAKIMA rooftop bike rack is made from tough carbon fiber and holds one bike securely.
Sometimes, saving money is essential, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality. I’ve found there are plenty of high-quality racks that are budget-friendly.
You don’t have to spend much for a WEIZE hitch mount rack. Plus, there are different options available with this rack to support two to four bikes simultaneously.
Don’t overlook the importance of a solid warranty. I buy from reputable companies, so I know the product is protected from manufacturing defects.
For example, INNO provides a limited lifetime warranty on the Universal Mount Tire Hold II roof rack, which is perfect if you only need to transport one bike.
Before heading to the trail, you want to ensure you are safe. Here are a few expert tips you should consider.
- Make sure you have the right rack for your RAV4 and the bikes you haul.
- Follow the installation instructions to keep everything secure.
- Secure the bike pedals before driving, especially if they might damage your RAV4’s paint.
- Wash the rack regularly to keep it free from dirt and grime.
- Inspect the rack before using it each time and replace any missing parts.
Frequently Asked Questions
The information I’ve shared will help you choose a quality bike rack for your Toyota RAV4. With the right gear, you can enjoy your outdoor adventures without concern if you choose the right bike rack that matches your needs.
While I’ve included a few of our favorite options, I encourage you to research independently, as there are many durable bike racks available from reliable manufacturers. Compare models side-by-side to determine what works for you.