Best Bike Rack for Carbon Fiber Bike in 2021

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The latest designs of carbon fiber bike frames changed the bike engineering industry in significant ways. Carbon frames aren’t only three times stronger than other materials such as aluminum but are also four times lighter. However, the bikes come at a premium price and therefore need tender loving care at all times. If you have a precious bike, not to mention a rather pricier bike, it makes sense to get the best bike rack for carbon fiber bike for easier and safer transportation.

Bike racks are crucial for both normal and carbon fiber frame bikes. They not only help you to not take too much space when transporting your bike on your car but also create a more organized way to travel. So how do you find the best bike rack for carbon fiber bikes?

In this post, we’ll look at some of the best options out there and provide you with a guide detailing the key factors to consider when shopping for a good rack for your bike.

Best Bike Racks for Carbon Fiber Bikes

Here are our top picks for the best bike racks for carbon fiber bikes:

1. Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Swagman XC2 is the most inexpensive and effective way of carrying two bikes on the same vehicle. The XC2 features are designed to carry both children and adult bikes with much ease.

The essential features include a highly adjustable tray system, strong and secure ratcheting arms, and a threaded hitch pin that guarantees that rack movements is nil.

Besides providing unmatched stability, the XC2 is a smart choice rack for recreational riders because it’s theft-proof. The design allows you to secure each bike firmly. The bikes’ security can be further enhanced using a locking cable.

The Swagman cross-country carrier has a proven success record mainly from its ability to accommodate a wide range of bike frames, types, and wheelbase sizes. Bike frames of up to 59cm fit in perfectly.

At a standard weight of 32 pounds, the Swagman XC2 requires little space and it’s easy to install and uninstall. Other attractive features about the Swagman include the arms cushioned with a soft coating to protect bike frames from scratches, especially during transit.

Pros
  • The design is fitted with a special anti-wobble bolt
  • The Swagman provides two gripping points at the wheels and frame
  • The budget rack has a beautiful design that will improve the aesthetic value of your car
  • The XC2 has a conveniently crafted center mast that easily folds down to allow easy access to your trunk
  • The hitch mounting system provides two points of stability – the grip arms and the wheel cradles
Cons
  • Assembling the Swagman XC can be time-consuming before you get to optimum settings

2. Thule T2 Hitch Bike Rack

If you’re looking for a versatile and durable bike rack for carbon fiber bikes, you must seriously consider the Thule T2 model.

This design comprises a tool-free auto attach system that makes it extremely easy to install and remove. The Thule T2 was built to allow a 12.5-inch distance between bikes and they can be secured without frame contact with the frame-free ratcheting arm.

The configuration of this quality rack is appealing to both professional and recreational cyclists. The tow-hitch mount provides a secure attachment to the vehicle, while its tray system holds the bikes on the wheels which protect carbon frames from the effects of clamping.

The default configuration of the Thule T2 Rack is compatible with the Thule Pro XT Bike add-on carrier for two extra bikes. However, the rack comes with additional two-bike add-on units.

Nevertheless, the rack provides greater strength and stability because aluminum metal has been blended. The Thule rack is also made with an advanced tilting function which allows for unlimited access to the trunk. 

Pros
  • The rack is made of high-quality, durable materials
  • Accommodates add-on features for quick upgrading
  • The Thule T2 is designed with an in-built lock system
  • This model requires no tools for setting up and it easy to use afterward
  • Compatible with different car models
  • Has an extremely reliable tilt lever system
  • The model offers a reliable bike attachment mechanism
Cons
  • Not easy to carry once dismantled

3. Inno Tire Hold II Roof Bike Rack

The Inno Tire Hold Bike Rack offers a wide variety of options for wheel-mounted rack systems. These racks also provide a larger carrying capacity than most of the racks used for carrying carbon fiber bikes. The pivoting arms of the Inno rack hold the bike firmly by the wheels with absolutely no frame contact.

The rack is also fitted with a tire size adjuster to accommodate different sizes of tires. Another complimentary feature in the system is a sliding, locking lever in the wheel tray that’s useful for both security and stability.

Specifications within the Inno Tire Hold II are tailored to fit aero, square, round, elliptical, and most factory crossbars. This rack comes with a lifetime warranty.

The rack is usually fitted with the popular self-standing system, an intricate design consisting of retractable arms and levers that create ease during assembly and transit. All the components and parts of the easy-to-install rack are made of rust-free and durable steel and aluminum. 

Pros
  • The rack comes with built locks
  • The arms are foldable when not in use
  • The rack can accommodate a wide variety of carbon frame bikes including those with large forks
  • Tire grips allow you to adjust wheel holders for specific wheel sizes
  • Each installation doesn’t require an alignment check
  • Beautifully designed with matte black color
Cons
  • This model has short bolts

4. Kuat Racks Sherpa Bike Rack

If you’re an outdoor person and adventure lover, then the Kuat Sherpa Platform Rack was designed just for you. Every feature in this model was specifically included to provide swift, steady, and secure travel. The basic installation process of Kuat Sherpa requires specialized tools.

Instead, the kit comes with a hand-tightening cam. Kuat Sherpa is also fitted with large front-wheel cradles which bring ease to the loading process, while the rear-wheel cradles are fitted with ratcheting straps pivot that can accommodate bikes of different lengths.

As a universal carrier for carbon fiber bikes, the Kuat Sherpa can carry two bikes of any frame style, shape, or size. Besides holding your bike firmly, the ratcheting hooks provide a rapid way of loading and unloading your bicycle because it has arms that go about 180 degrees from right to left.

As such, the Kuat Sherpa effectively protects your carbon frame from unnecessary contact which often results in scratches.

Another unique feature of the Kuat Sherpa Rack is the front-mounted foot lever that permits you to tilt it for unrestricted access to your vehicle’s trunk. The glossy Kuat Sherpa rack is made mostly out of aluminum that resists rust and corrosion. It also makes the rack relatively lightweight.

Pros
  • The aluminum component makes the rack light, easy to install and remove
  • Their essential component makes the loading of bikes very easy and accident-free
  • The rack doesn’t limit access into the cargo area
  • It’s fitted with a convenient foot-hand release system
  • The Kuat Sherpa is beautifully designed
Cons
  • It can only carry two bikes
  • This model can lower visibility out of the back window

5. 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double Rack

The 1UP is the most secure way of carrying your bikes without undue anxiety about their damage. Even at speeds of up to 80mph, this rack is guaranteed to hold your carbon fiber bike safely. The heavily-built, robust design has a strong latching system that takes nothing for granted.

You’ll find the 1UP quite appealing because the rack was designed with add-on capabilities. The 1UP is built with a unique anti-wobble device which also doubles as the securing mechanism for your rack. This is accompanied by a 2” hitch bar that allows movement towards and away from your vehicle.

As a top-level security rack, the 1UP USA Rack comes with extra bars in the locking mechanism. This rack can carry bike loads which almost double its weight!

The tire trays of the 1UP fold provide easy storage. Other unique features of the 1UP Rack include a locking ring in the tilt mechanism to allow quick stowage when bikes are removed and to minimize accidents. The 1UP can effectively transport bikes with wheels of 29 inches in diameter.

The 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double can work as a mobile workshop. When you want to fix your bicycle, the rack stash bike storage rack can double up as a repair stand. It also features two standard-sized holes. The 1UP boasts high-quality components, most notably, its steel body and powder coated for a durable finish. The 1UP is an alien to rust and corrosion.

Pros
  • Outstanding built quality
  • It offers highly versatile mounting options.
  • The base of the rack is well-supported with pivoting mechanism and extra-wide spacing
  • Two arms hold each bike instead of one which gives stability
  • This rack can accommodate any bike in the market
Cons
  • The 1UP USA is rather pricey but delivers value for money

How to Pick the Best Bike Rack for Carbon Fiber

Bikes with carbon fiber frames come at a premium price which is why most people who own such bikes prioritize the safety of their bikes when transporting them.

Basically, while transporting the bike, you need to ensure that the bike’s frame is well protected by avoiding direct contact or abrasion with other parts of your vehicle.

Standard hanging racks aren’t usually recommended for transporting carbon fiber bikes. Instead, look for racks that can secure the bike with straps tied over the tube top.

For platform-style racks, go for one with a ratcheting arm that can securely lock the front wheel and rear-wheel or a dual-arm styled rack that tightens over the rear and front wheels. The most important consideration is to avoid damaging your bike’s pricey frame unnecessarily.

Here are a few more important factors to consider when shopping for the best bike rack for a carbon fiber bike:

Capacity

Most platform-style bike racks can accommodate up to 4 bikes if you have an extension. Hanging-style racks can carry between two and five bikes.

There are also other racks that can carry up to 6 bikes vertically. However, for your carbon frame bike, the major consideration is the safety of the bike so a single or two-bike design should be enough.

Bike Weight

Bike weight capacity is another important consideration.

A heavier bike, such as cruiser models and some mountain bikes, will need a rack that can accommodate up to 65-pound bikes but the lighter carbon frame bike will require a sturdier rack that can handle bikes less than 33 pounds.

Bike Wheel Size

Wheel size is another important consideration in the platform-style bike racks.

You’ll need to check and confirm that the bike rack can comfortably accommodate your bike in the trays without posing any danger of damage to the bike’s frame.

Fortunately, most bike racks are designed to accommodate standard wheel sizes of 26 to 29 inches and have a 3-inch space under the tiles for better tire width compatibility.

However, if you have 12 to 24-inch tires often found in kids’ bikes or a fat bike with 45-inch tires then you’ll probably need to ensure that the bike rack you choose is compatible with your bicycle.

Build Quality and Material

When it comes to the best bike rack for a carbon frame bike, you’ll most likely get what you pay for.

If you value your bike and probably transport it quite often then it will be advisable to invest in a premium bike rack.

Some of the expensive heavy-duty bike racks feature an all-metal construction for strength and durability.

There are also cheap plastic or thin metal bike racks that can still be durable depending on how frequently you use them. The best bike rack, however, should have a sturdy all-metal construction to keep your bicycle safe while in transit.

Tilt Feature

Many cyclists prefer to keep the bike rack on their vehicles for a long period of time or simply want to keep easy access to the rear cargo area.

If you are one of these cyclists, then invest in a bike rack with a tilt feature. Almost all hitch-mounted bike racks come with the tilting feature.

The tilting bike rack can easily be leaned overusing a lever that lowers down the rack. You can also get the tilting feature on hanging and platform-style racks.

Keep in mind that while platform models allow you to till the rack with the bikes loaded, you’ll need to fast and load the bikes before you can tilt a hanging rack.

Platform-style bike racks are ideal for carbon frame bikes because they allow you to easily and safely adjust the bike while it’s loaded.

Vehicle Clearance

Another important consideration especially for hitch racks is the space between the rack and the vehicle.

Check the clearance especially when the rear door of your van cannot open because when the bike rack is too close, all the handlebars of your bike scratch the back of your SUV when the bikes are loaded.

If your hitch bike rack is tied to a pickup make sure that the pickup tailgate can easily be lowered by verifying that you have proper clearance between the bikes and the car.

Conclusion

A good bike rack is essential for your carbon frame bike.

All the options discussed above are ideal for carbon frame bikes of different sizes but we highly recommend the Swagman XC2 Hitch Bike Rack. It’s an inexpensive rack that can accommodate two bikes securely.

It also comes with a special anti-wobble system and grip arms to ensure that your carbon frame bike remains firm and secure while on transit.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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