Saris bike rack

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Guest Editorial: Saris’ owner explains why tariffs level the playing field for US bicycle rack manufacturers

By Chris Fortune

Editor's note: Chris Fortune is the owner and president of Saris Cycling Group, the parent company of Saris Bike Racks, CycleOps Indoor Bike Trainers, PowerTap Power Meters and BikeFixation Cycling Infrastructure. Fortune submitted a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative this summer supporting the Trump administration's proposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese bicycle products, including bike racks. In the letter, Fortune also notes that industry groups have lobbied against the tariffs. The tariffs are still under consideration and a decision could be announced any day. We asked Fortune — who remains a PeopleForBikes supporter and board member — to explain his position further in this guest editorial. 

In , my wife Sara and I made a decision to pack up our three girls and move back to Wisconsin. We wanted to be closer to our families, but we also wanted to make a difference in our community. The s were a turbulent time for U.S. manufacturing. Companies began outsourcing good paying jobs overseas, destroying many Midwestern towns and families while diminishing a middle class. As we watched this happen, we knew we could make a difference if we could find a way to manufacture products in Wisconsin. Soon, we found a small bike rack manufacturer in Madison who was ready to sell. After some honest discussion and a handshake agreement, we found ourselves the owners of Graber Products. Our ambition may have had the better of us! We were getting into U.S. manufacturing when most manufacturers were fleeing overseas, but we had two things in our favor: our family’s support and the word “can’t” is not in our vocabulary. 

Thirty years, one name change, four acquisitions and lots of sweat and tears, our little rack manufacturing business has grown into four brands with 92 percent of sourcing and manufacturing happening right here in Wisconsin. We have two production facilities — one in Madison and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with over employees. We have four product divisions and distribute to over 72 countries around the world. We are incredibly proud of our economic impact on the local and regional economies. 

While the last three decades at Saris have been hard and rewarding, they have never been as challenging as today. The American economy is a complicated system with challenges for everyone in the bike industry. 

As a U.S. manufacturer, there are unique major challenges that we face and because of this, we support the administration's additional tariffs on Chinese bicycle racks and components. While PeopleForBikes has worked to provide information to the industry about the impact of the tariffs, I believe that understanding perspectives from both sides of the situation is important and I want to share with you how this impacts my business and our customers.

The Introduction of Tariffs

On March 8, President Donald Trump announced his intention to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. Following the president’s announcement, domestic steel and aluminum producers began to dramatically raise prices. While the tariffs benefit the suppliers at the bottom line, domestic manufacturers further down the supply chain, like Saris, who rely on domestic steel and aluminum for their finished products, faced difficult decisions around raising consumer prices and reducing investment in jobs and innovation. Our material costs have increased substantially since the tariffs went into place, which is an extremely significant cost for us to absorb without increasing prices for our customers. 

The Competitive Landscape

Most of Saris’ domestic and international competitors have moved their production and accompanying jobs overseas. Since the president’s tariffs only apply to raw steel and aluminum, these overseas bicycle rack manufacturers have not been impacted by either the March tariff surcharge or the accompanying increase in material costs leading to a competitive advantage over U.S. manufacturing companies.   

Eleven of the 12 top bicycle transport racks sold on Amazon in the U.S. are manufactured in either China or elsewhere in Asia. Saris is the lone exception to this rule. We continue to create products sourced and manufactured here in Wisconsin. For example, the Saris Bones Rack is iconic in the trunk rack category with over million sold, and percent manufactured in Madison from materials sourced within miles of our facility. Hundreds of U.S. jobs have been created and sustained as a result. 

What is the importance of keeping US jobs local? How does it impact local economy? 

A strong manufacturing base is vital to maintaining the American economy’s strength. It is a key player in strengthening the shrunken middle class. 

U.S. manufacturing has continued to grow since the recession. Between and , manufacturing has created , jobs. States like Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota rely on manufacturing especially in the rural communities.

Our decision to manufacture in the United States has a multifaceted impact. Successful economic development relies on human capital. When you build and strength your human capital (i.e. your employees) more opportunities will arise, and your business is stronger.

At Saris, we require a large workforce in order keep up with demand for our products. We continually invest in these employees in both their professional and personal development. Whether it is ESL courses or mindfulness training, we are committed to developing our workforce. Due to our investment, our employees go out and invest in their local communities, whether that is supporting our local independent bike shops or local farmers at the grocery store. As a result, we are keeping our money local, which increases economic activity, creates more jobs and promotes healthy communities.

Feasibility of Manufacturing in the United States

We continue to hear the same rhetoric: it is not feasible to manufacture in the United States, and we do not have the infrastructure to support manufacturing. However, if the Europeans can rebuild and grow their manufacturing, why can’t we?  

The European Union imposed a percent tariff on China and other Asian countries in Almost 25 years later, the tariffs continue to protect the European bike industry allowing companies to grow and succeed. For example, the European e-bike industry is booming, in there were over 90,00 direct and indirect workers employed and over 1 billion euros ($ billion) invested in development. This type of investment encourages innovation and competition, while providing significant employment opportunities. 

At Saris, we prove that investing in U.S. manufacturing works and is profitable. It is possible (not easy, but possible).

Getting Back to the Tariff

On August 7 President Trump proposed an additional tariff of 10 percent on Chinese bicycles racks and components. He later changed the proposal to 25 percent. We understand that most our industry will be affected by this proposal. PeopleForBikes has done a fantastic job supporting the industry and helping lobby against the tariffs, however, if these tariffs do not pass our company will suffer as a result. 

These increased tariffs will help level the playing field for American manufacturers like Saris. We are not asking for special treatment, but rather for an equal playing field in a nondiscriminatory business environment. We are invigorated by competition and our commitment to American craftsmanship continues to serve us well. However, without these tariffs, we will be facing an unfair disadvantage. Our competitors will have cost advantages that will be incredibly difficult to overcome. 

My goal is to protect and serve my people here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the companies supported by our manufacturing operations. I must support the administration’s proposal of an additional tariff on Chinese bicycle racks and components. My support includes the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (Bicycle car rack components) and HTC (Complete bicycle racks for automobiles). Considering the effects of the president’s decision to raise import tariffs on steel and aluminum, I strongly support the proposed tariffs on Chinese bicycle racks and components as it levels the playing field with our foreign and domestic competitors who have chosen to not invest in local manufacturing. 


You do not need an $ bike rack. If it’s a stretch to part with so much cash when you know you could get the job done for less than half, go ahead and spend less than half. I won’t try and talk you out of it. But if we’re talking about a bike, I’ll change my tune. No, you don’t need a Fox Grip2 damper over Fit4, or an XO1 cassette instead of GX. But if they’re at all within your reach, you should get them. Top-end parts make a good thing–maybe your very favorite thing–even better. But I bet that loading bikes onto bike racks is not your favorite thing. Using an expensive rack is like flying first class. It’s still flying. There are still delays and still turbulence. There’s still jet lag and baggage claim. It just improves something you’d rather not have to do. But I’ve done it, and if I could afford it, it’s the only way I’d fly. 

Using the Saris MTR is the same kind of boutique experience, and it starts the moment you open the box. Having seen all the features it offered I expected assembly would be a nightmare. But the only bolt I had to turn to start using the MTR was the one that holds it onto my truck. Technically, that means the experience starts before you open the box. The MTR is manufactured in the U.S., mostly using materials that themselves were manufactured in the U.S., not far from Saris’ Madison, Wisconsin, headquarters. That happens to be true of All Saris racks, which tend to be priced for the masses. So, it’s up to the MTR’s quality to explain its price tag.

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The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks

Why you should trust us

Eric Evarts, who has tested roof racks, hitch racks, trunk racks, and pickup-bed carriers for Wirecutter, has been a fervent cyclist since childhood. He’s also a seasoned auto journalist, with articles and reviews appearing in, The Christian Science Monitor, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, AAA, Fortune magazine, Green Car Reports, and elsewhere.

Rik Paul, who tested tray-style hitch racks and trunk racks, served as Wirecutter’s autos editor and edited previous versions of this guide going back to its beginning. He was previously the automotive editor for Consumer Reports and the senior feature editor for Motor Trend.

Jack Smith, who also tested trunk racks, has also been cycling since he was a child. As an editorial assistant at Wirecutter, he strapped nine racks (one at a time, of course) on the back of his Acura TSX and tested them during drives around Los Angeles.

This guide also draws on the expertise of several bike-rack experts we’ve interviewed, on the results of a survey we sent to more than 20 bike clubs across the country, and on input from several other Wirecutter editors who are voracious cyclists and experienced competitors.

Types of bike racks: How to choose

Four images of different types of bike racks mounted on cars, suvs and trucks.

There are many types of bike racks, each with its own pros and cons. Finding one that’s right for you will depend on your vehicle, bike, budget, riding style, and personal priorities. The types we tested included:

  • tray-style (platform) hitch racks, which mount to a vehicle’s trailer hitch and support bikes from underneath
  • hanging-style hitch racks, which support bikes by the frame
  • trunk racks, which strap to the back of almost any vehicle and support bikes by the frame
  • roof racks, which attach to a base crossbar system on the top of a vehicle and hold bikes by the front wheel, front forks, or frame
  • pickup-truck carriers, which let you securely carry a bike in a truck’s bed

After testing scores of racks, we’ve determined that a tray-style hitch rack is the easiest to use and the most versatile, but the vehicle (or vehicles) and bike (or bikes) you own may limit your choices:

  • Does your vehicle have a trailer hitch (or can you have one installed)? If you have a hitch, we recommend a hitch rack; if not (and if installing one isn’t in the cards), you’ll have to consider another style. The size of the hitch receiver tube also affects your choice: Most racks have versions for a 2-inch receiver; fewer have 1¼-inch versions (and many smaller cars can’t accommodate a 2-inch receiver). If you don’t already have a tow hitch, you can have one installed on most vehicles for about $ to $, but if you have a small car, you should check with a pro installer to make sure that installation is advisable. A hitch can reduce a vehicle’s ground clearance, causing it to scrape on the ground at times. You can also check the websites of U-Haul, Curt Manufacturing,, and Amazon to see if tow hitches are available for your vehicle.
  • How many bikes do you want to carry? If you’re carrying one to three bikes, any type of rack will do. If you want to carry four or five, and you can’t put any inside the vehicle, you’ll need to use a hitch rack or a combination of trunk and roof racks (or go all out and use a bike trailer). We don’t recommend carrying four or more bikes on a trunk rack because it puts too much stress on the attachment points with your car. With some wider vehicles, you may be able to fit four bikes on the roof.
  • Do you need to access the rear of your vehicle while carrying bikes? Most hitch racks tilt down or swing to the side to let you open the rear hatch or trunk of your vehicle (although you’ll have to remove the bikes with most hanging-hitch racks). Roof racks, by their nature, don’t block a vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk, though they can be noisy when loaded and can cut gas mileage significantly on the highway. If you mount a trunk rack on a vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk lid, you can often lift the hatch or lid with the rack in place once the bikes are removed. But on some vehicles, you have to remove the rack as well.
  • Do you want a rack that doesn’t contact your bike’s frame? Some cyclists are wary of hanging racks that support bikes by the frame (and of some roof and tray racks that use a stabilizer bar that contacts the frame) because the clamps could scratch a bike’s paint or damage a fragile carbon-fiber frame. Hanging racks can also make it harder to mount oddly shaped mountain bike frames and kids bikes. Most tray-style hitch racks and most roof racks hold bikes by the wheels rather than by the frame, making them safer for finishes and compatible with more kinds of bikes (although they may not work well on bikes with fenders).
A close up of integrated cables for locking your bike rack
  • Is theft a concern? Many hitch and roof racks can be locked to the vehicle to prevent theft. And many higher-priced racks also have an integrated locking system to secure bikes to the rack. Trunk racks are the most vulnerable because most models are held to a vehicle only with straps that can be cut relatively easily. If theft is a prime concern, Christine Ryan, Wirecutter’s senior editor for travel and outdoors, says you shouldn’t depend only on a rack’s integrated lock systems. She recommends you also use a third-party bike lock that’s harder to defeat. Thule and Yakima sell optional locking cables for trunk racks; they are secured from inside the trunk lid or rear hatch.

Types of bike racks, compared

Hitch, trayHitch, hangingTrunkRoofTruck bed
Mounting methodConnects to trailer hitchConnects to trailer hitchStraps on rear hatch or trunkConnects to roof crossbarsVaries by model
Number of bikesUp to fourUp to fiveUp to threeOne per rack; can usually fit three to four on a carOne per rack; can use multiple racks
Access to rear of vehicleMostMost, usually with bikes unloadedWith bikes unloaded (and possibly rack removed)Yesn/a
Ease of loading bikesEasiestModerateModerateHardestModerate
Contact pointsFront wheel for most; frame for someFrameFrameFront wheel or forks for most; frame for someFront wheel or forks for most; frame for some
Limited rear visibilityPotentiallyPotentiallyYesNoPotentially
Extends vehicle dimensionsLongerLongerLongerTallerNo
LockableRack and bikes (varies by model)Rack and bikes (varies by model)No for most modelsRack and bikes (varies by model)Rack and bikes (varies by model)
Weight capacity per bike, pounds40 to 6535 to 403535 to 50n/a
Rack weight, pounds20 to 6818 to 62 to 226 to 184 to 10
Price$ to $$ to $$35 to $$ to $ per bike$80 to $

The weight capacities, rack weights, and prices are those of the tested models; n/a = not applicable.

How we picked

To understand the pros and cons of different types of racks, we talked with the experts at a number of top bike and bike-rack shops across the country, including Rack Attack stores in Boston, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon; East Burke Sports in East Burke, Vermont; Chile Pepper Bike Shop in Moab, Utah; Backcountry Bike & Ski in Palmer, Alaska; Roscoe Village Bikes in Chicago; and Ridgefield Bicycle Company in Fairfield County, Connecticut. We also talked to experts at REI’s headquarters, and we surveyed more than 20 bike clubs across the country. We asked which types of racks were better for different types of people, which ones were the easiest to mount and use, and lots more.

For each update to this guide, we’ve also performed a thorough scan of the latest models available from all of the major manufacturers, selecting the most promising for hands-on evaluations. Though we expect all bike racks to mount securely to your vehicle and hold your bikes tightly, here are the other things we look for:

  • Easy installation: Installing a rack on your vehicle should be straightforward and fuss-free, needing a minimum of tools and adjustments. Weight is also a big focus. The lighter the rack, the easier it is to carry and mount. This is especially important if you can’t park close to where you store your rack. Moreover, if a heavy rack is difficult to remove, carry, and reinstall, you can end up leaving it on the vehicle, even when it’s not being used, which burns extra gas and can unnecessarily stress the metal of some aluminum racks over time.
  • Access to the rear of a vehicle: With a hitch rack you should be able to tilt or swing the rack out of the way so that you can open a vehicle’s rear door or trunk—ideally without having to unload the bikes. (A trunk rack, by necessity, requires you to remove the bikes—and sometimes the rack itself—to open the trunk.)
  • Ability to fold up (on the vehicle) when not being used: When you’re not transporting bikes, the arms of a trunk or hanging-hitch rack should be able to fold down and out of the way. Similarly, a tray rack should easily fold up vertically to minimize how far it sticks out behind the vehicle. And roof racks should lie flat.
  • Ability to be locked: When on the road, you should be able to leave your bikes for a few minutes when you stop for food or other necessities. We preferred models that allow you to lock the rack to the vehicle and the bikes to the rack, although you can often buy the locks or cables separately.
  • Easy storage: A rack that folds flat, or nearly flat, without having to be disassembled is much easier to store and takes up less space in your garage or home. We also greatly appreciated well-weighted hitch racks that could sit upright on their own instead of falling over and creating a tripping hazard or needing to be braced.
  • Simple assembly: Although this is something you typically have to do only once (or at least only once per riding season), we preferred models that assembled easily, included clear instructions, and included any necessary tools.

How we tested

For each of the 70 bike racks we tested for this guide, we went through the whole ownership experience. During assembly, we noted whether the necessary tools were included and how easy the instructions were to follow (most directions needed improvement). We evaluated how easy it was to mount each rack on one or more vehicles, placing a premium on ones that were lightweight and could be mounted solidly with little fuss. We loaded bikes, noting how high we had to lift them and how easily they could be secured on the rack.

We then drove through a mix of conditions, including along curvy, two-lane back roads, on the highway, and over rough pavement or dirt roads, making frequent quick stops and sharp turns to assess how much the rack and mounted bikes moved. When possible, we folded, tilted, or swung the rack to see how easily we could access a vehicle’s rear cargo area. Then we removed the bikes and rack, and folded the rack (if possible) for storage.

Our test vehicles included sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and pickup trucks. For hitch racks, we used vehicles with 2-inch hitch receivers, and we tried each roof rack on four sets of crossbars, including the factory bars on our Toyota RAV4 test vehicle as well as on a Thule AeroBlade Edge system and a Yakima JetStream system.

Our pick for hitch racks: Kuat Sherpa

The Kuat Sherpa installed on the back of a toyota rav four.

Of the 70 bike racks we’ve tested, the Kuat Sherpa tray-style hitch rack is the best overall for transporting one or two bikes. As long as your vehicle has a trailer hitch, this lightweight model is one of the easiest to mount on your vehicle and is simple to load bikes onto. And it holds bikes securely by the front wheel, with minimal side-to-side movement and without contacting the frame. Even with bikes loaded, it easily tilts down so you can open your vehicle’s rear hatch or trunk. When you’re not carrying bikes, it easily folds up and out of the way; to fold it back down, you just step on a convenient foot release. The Sherpa is available for 1¼-inch and 2-inch tow hitches.

Two images of the kuat sherpa installed on a red suv, tilted down to allow access to the rear of the car.

Weighing less than 32 pounds, the Sherpa is the lightest two-bike tray rack we tested (most others ranged from 45 pounds to 56 pounds), so it’s especially easy to install in the hitch receiver or remove for storage. It’s also easy to use: After inserting a lockable pin through the receiver tube, you simply turn a knob to tighten the rack in the receiver hitch—a much simpler and quicker process than for most other models, which make you crouch down near the hitch to tighten a nut on the receiver bolt. The Sherpa also has one of the lowest lift heights—only 26½ inches, compared with 29 inches or more for most other tray racks (and even higher for other types of racks), so you don’t have to strain to load your bikes. And the Sherpa provides ample space between bikes—we measured 12 inches, compared with 8 inches to 10 inches for most other tray racks—which minimizes the chances of bikes damaging each other.

In our tests, assembling the Sherpa was relatively easy. A nifty touch: The shipping box doubles as a platform for assembly. The Sherpa has a beautiful finish, with a metallic powder-coated frame, and like most of the tray racks we tested, it comes with locking systems for securing the rack to the vehicle and the bikes to the rack. When it’s not on the vehicle, it’s also nicely balanced, so it stands on its own, without needing supports. Although the Sherpa is more expensive than other types of racks, its price is about average among our test group of tray racks.

Two photos showing the receiver hitch nob and foot releases on the sherpa

Flaws but not dealbreakers

A potential drawback for some cyclists: The Sherpa can’t expand to hold more than two bikes (although nearly 70 percent of our survey respondents told us they carry only up to two bikes). Also, it holds bikes up to only 40 pounds each, which is similar to what most hanging-style hitch racks support, but it’s less than what most other two-bike tray racks we tested support (many of them can hold two pound bikes). So it’s not suitable for carrying some specialty and electric bikes, but the vast majority of modern bikes come in well under that weight limit. Finally, the hook that holds the front wheel may not work if a bike has a front fender.

A two-bike hanging hitch rack on a budget: Kuat Beta

A Kuat Beta mounted with a bike on the back of an SUV

If you’re on a budget, want to carry two bikes, and don’t mind giving up some of the convenience of the Kuat Sherpa , we recommend the Kuat Beta, a hanging-style hitch rack. At just a couple hundred dollars, the Beta is one of the least expensive hitch racks we tested—a genuine bargain. As is true of any hanging model, though, it isn’t as easy to load and secure bikes on the Kuat Beta as it is on the Sherpa , and you must unload your bikes to access the rear of your vehicle. But at only 18 pounds, the Beta is the lightest hitch rack we tested, making it easy to tote around and install. And it folds flat and small for storage, which makes it perfect for apartment dwellers and others who have limited space for their cycling gear.

As with the Sherpa , with the Beta you just insert a pin and turn a knob to secure it in the hitch receiver (a hitch lock is optional). The Beta doesn’t hold bikes quite as solidly as the Sherpa does—during our test drives, the bikes swung a little more on the rack’s arms, but we never worried that they’d come loose. And the straps that secure the bikes are the easiest to use of any hanging-style hitch rack we tested: You just set the bike in the cradle, pull the straps over the top tube, and cinch them down.

A view of the Kuat Beta's arm mounted on an SUV

The Kuat Beta’s arms fold down when not in use, and the rack folds flat for storage. Photo: Rik Paul

A person tightening the knob of the Beta in the hitch receiver

To secure the Beta easily in the hitch receiver, you tighten a knob. Photo: Rik Paul

When the Beta is empty, its arms can fold down and out of the way. It can also tilt down so you are able to access a vehicle’s rear cargo compartment, but this is more of a hassle than with a tray-style rack because you have to remove the bikes first. This process isn’t even as seamless as on some more expensive hanging hitch racks—you have to unclasp a wire retainer and remove a pin, rather than just using a one-step latch—but we didn’t find it difficult.

As you’d expect for its low price, the Beta doesn’t include integrated locks for the bikes. And as with any hanging-style rack, you may need an optional bar, such as the Kuat Ubar, to mount a bike with a step-through or other frame without a horizontal top tube. As with the Sherpa , the Beta is available for 1¼-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers.

The best rack for carrying electric bikes: Thule EasyFold XT 2

Thule EasyFold XT 2 attached to back of an SUV

Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s one of the best bike racks we’ve tested. And if you need to carry electric or other heavy bikes, or you just want a tray-style hitch rack that’s a cinch to install, load a bike onto, transport, and store, you may find the Thule EasyFold XT 2 worth the price.

The EasyFold XT can carry two bikes weighing up to 65 pounds each, which would include some of the heaviest e-bikes. To help load them, this rack comes with a ramp that unfolds out of a center storage area and snaps onto the end of the platforms, so you don’t have to lift the bikes up.

The foldable ramp of the XT extended towards the ground

The EasyFold XT comes with a foldable ramp that’s handy for loading heavier bikes. Photo: Rik Paul

The XT ramp storage compartment

The ramp is stored in a compartment inside the rack. To access a vehicle’s rear, you step on a release lever to tilt the rack down, which is easy to do. Photo: Rik Paul

The XT tilted down on the rear of a vehicle

The EasyFold XT tilts down so you can access the rear of a vehicle. Photo: Rik Paul

At 45 pounds, the EasyFold XT is manageably light for a heavy-duty rack, and—unique to this Thule—it folds up to the size of a large airline carry-on bag (and it comes with wheels and a handle). This makes it relatively easy to get the rack on and off the car. Thule’s hitch-locking system makes this hitch rack simpler than most to secure: Just slide the rack into a 1¼-inch or 2-inch receiver, close a pinch arm into the receiver’s hole, turn the tension knob to cinch it down, and use a key to lock the knob. The integrated cable locks also allow you to secure bikes to the rack.

To access a vehicle’s cargo area, you can step on a wide release lever at the rear and tilt the rack down. (This works well on most hatches that lift upward, but it didn’t provide enough clearance to allow the side-opening rear door of our Toyota RAV4 to open.) When the EasyFold is empty, the sides fold up. But unlike other racks, it doesn’t fold flat against the back of the vehicle; it still extends rearward by its full length, so you may need to be mindful when backing up. That said, the EasyFold XT has built-in reflectors and even a license-plate mount to keep things visible and legal.

A bike rack positioned on the rear of a vehicle

Bikes are held by padded clamps—with integrated locks—that grip the frame. You may find that positioning these can be the trickiest part of loading bikes, especially the first time you do it. Photo: Rik Paul

A bike rack folded vertically on the rear of a vehicle

When it’s not carrying bikes, the EasyFold XT can be folded up vertically. A handle on top makes it easy to install this rack in the hitch receiver and to remove it. Photo: Rik Paul

An XT bike rack standing on a wheelable position on the ground

When it’s not on a vehicle, the EasyFold XT can be easily wheeled around like a piece of luggage, making it simpler to store than most other tray-style hitch racks. Photo: Rik Paul

Bikes are held by padded clamps that grip onto the frame, which is something that may make some owners—especially owners of carbon-fiber bikes—flinch. But they held our bikes securely. The two clamp arms can be a little challenging to attach, especially if one has to be routed around another bike, but they offer a lot of flexibility. And if you tend to carry the same bikes, you probably have to sort out the positioning only once.

The best trunk rack: Saris Bones EX 3-Bike

The saris bones installed on the back of a small hatchback

If your car doesn’t have a trailer hitch, or you want something you can easily move between vehicles, we recommend the Saris Bones EX 3-Bike. It can adjust to fit almost any vehicle (except for pickup trucks), and the new EX design is ever more versatile, able to reach over even the biggest factory truck or hatchback rear spoiler. The Bones is also one of the lightest, easiest-to-use, and most solidly built racks we’ve tested. The experts we talked to at Rack Attack, Roscoe Village Bikes, and Backcountry Bike & Ski all recommend the Bones, too, and it was one of the highest-rated racks of any type in our survey of bike clubs. (The older, non-EX version remains a great rack, and available for less money; it just won’t fit on as many cars, though it’s still light and secure as well as affordable.) Like its predecessor, the Bones EX comes in two- and three-bike versions; the three-bike version of the EX is available in a variety of colors, with a portion of the sales of some colors going to charities.

Like all trunk racks, the Bones can work on nearly any kind of vehicle (pickups being the exception) without needing the extra hardware required by roof and hitch racks. Weighing only 11 pounds, the Bones EX 3-Bike is one of the lightest trunk racks we tested, which made getting it onto the back of a vehicle especially easy. Once mounted, the Bones is sturdy and stable. The straps connecting the rack to the car are simple to tighten, and the hold-downs that keep the bikes in place are coated to protect the bike frames. The curved arms, with their molded-in strap guides, help keep the straps and arms clear of even the biggest spoilers. The Bones provides anti-sway straps that you can tighten around the bikes’ seat tubes to reduce the amount of swing while you’re driving. And when you’re done biking, the Bones EX folds up tightly for storage.

The Bones’s arms are made of injection-molded plastic, which makes the rack lighter than competitive aluminum racks we tested. (The company claims the Bones has the strongest frame on the market, but we couldn’t verify or disprove that claim.) The Bones’s center leg extends upward onto the trunk or hatch, and the other two extend down to sit on or against the car’s bumper. All three legs end in huge, pivoting rubber feet—larger than what you get on other racks—which help protect the car and provide serious grip.

Three photos of the rubber feet, adjustment grip and installed saris bones bike rack.

The Bones’s innovative design makes it easy to adjust its legs for any vehicle. The legs attach to the central tube with toothed rings. A plastic knob on each leg allows you to loosen its grip on the toothed part of the tube to slide it over to a smooth section, where you can freely spin the leg to the perfect position. Then you slide it back onto the toothed section and tighten the knob. In our tests, getting the rack set up and onto the car took 4½ minutes, less than half the time it took for some other trunk racks.

The saris bones EX folded compact and resting on cement.

The straps that hold the rack to the car feed through the central tube, so you can place the anchors at the top, sides, and bottom of the car and pull on both sides at once for a tight, even fit. The other trunk racks we tested required tightening each strap individually, which often resulted in a lopsided rack in need of adjustments. With the Bones, we grabbed the straps, gave them a couple of good yanks, and voilà—the rack was on straight and tight. The top straps go through new, specially designed slots on the top bars to keep them high enough to clear big spoilers. The top arms also bend significantly, letting them stand up off the trunk or far enough back from the rear window of hatchbacks so that they can clear large rear spoilers.

The straps are coated on the underside to protect the bike’s finish, and the stabilizer strap that holds the bike’s seat tube moves quite a bit to accommodate different sizes and styles of bikes. The curve of the arms also spaces multiple bikes out to keep them from knocking into one another as you drive. (Speaking of which, once the bikes are on the rack, we recommend giving the straps that attach to the car another good tug.)

Folding the rack itself up is also easy: The curved arms and legs collapse to make the rack pretty compact.

Saris has even considered how to manage the long straps once you take the rack off the car and fold it up to carry it to the garage for storage: The Bones EX has shorter Velcro straps that wrap around the longer straps to corral them once they’re folded.

Folding the rack itself up is also easy: The curved arms and legs collapse to make the rack pretty compact. If you want to leave the rack on the car, the arms fold all the way down and out of the way.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Trunk racks of all kinds have one unavoidable flaw: They make contact with the finish on your car, and over time the contact points are likely to cause scratches. Tyler Carlson of Rack Attack told us that he recommends putting small patches of ClearBra (or a similar protective substance) on the car where the rack attaches; when you’re ready to sell the car, you just peel off the ClearBra to reveal unscratched paint (depending on how long the film is left on, though, the car’s paint may show inconsistent fading). We also recommend removing any debris between the rubber feet and your bumper to avoid scratches.

If you need to carry more than two bikes: Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike rack on the back of a pickup truck

If you need to carry three or four bikes, we recommend the Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike, which provides a nice balance of ease of use, features, and price. The SuperClamp EX held our bikes securely with clamps on the front and rear tires, without contacting their frames. And it can accommodate bikes up to 60 pounds each in the two positions nearest to the car, and 35 pounds each in the two positions farthest from the car.

At only 63 pounds, the SuperClamp is one of the lightest four-bike tray racks available, so it’s easier to get on and off of the vehicle than its competitors. By using a nifty pull handle at the rear, you can easily fold the rack up when it’s empty or tilt it down for access to a vehicle’s cargo area. The SuperClamp has integrated cables for locking bikes to the rack, and it comes with a hitch lock for securing the rack to the vehicle.

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike adjustment clamps

The Saris SuperClamp EX 4-Bike easily tilts or folds up with a simple push of a handle at the rear. Photo: Rik Paul

The locking mechanism of a bike rack

For security, you can lock each bike to the rack by pulling out an integrated cable and locking it to the frame. Photo: Rik Paul

As with all four-bike tray-style racks, the SuperClamp EX is available only for 2-inch hitch receivers. (If you need to carry four bikes with a 1¼-inch hitch, you’ll have to use a hanging-hitch rack, such as the Yakima RidgeBack.) Securing the SuperClamp to the hitch isn’t as easy as with the Kuat Sherpa —you need to go old-school and use a wrench to tighten a (lockable) bolt in the hitch receiver, instead of simply turning a knob. The Saris also doesn’t have that Kuat model’s convenient foot release.

The best roof rack: Yakima HighRoad


For years, the Saris Bones bike trunk rack has been Saris&#; best-selling car rack. With uniquely arced rack arms, high-quality construction, and selling for a pretty reasonable price point, the Bones has made getting to the trails attainable for many families.

As a trunk rack, the Bones is appealing to many bike riders because installation doesn&#;t require your car to have a hitch. Offered as two or three bike capacity, the Saris Bones 2 and Saris Bones 3 are particularly ideal for small families, or larger families who have smaller bikes that can fit in the trunk.

But what makes the Saris Bones stand out in a sea of other bike racks? Read our full review below to see if this trunk rack is a great fit for your family, your bikes, and your car!

Boy loading up a bike on the Saris Bones EX rack

Saris Bones Overview

RATING: Exceptional

MSRP: $ &#; $

BEST FOR: Small families who don&#;t have a hitch to mount a rack

CAPACITY: 2 or 3

RACK STYLE: Trunk Mount


  • No car hitch required for use
  • Unique mounting legs fit over spoilers better than most trunk racks
  • Provides ″ of space between each bike!
  • Arced rack arms help stagger bikes for spacing
  • Ratcheting straps are narrow and pliable &#; easy to move out of the way
  • Accommodates 20&#; and even some 16&#; kids bikes
  • Anti-sway cradles help reduce bike contact
  • Super lightweight &#; easy to take on and off the car
  • Comes fully assembled out of the box
  • Tool-free installation takes just a few minutes


  • Many women&#;s and kid&#;s bikes need a top tube adapter, which increases the cost of the rack
  • Rack and bikes sit very close to your car, so bike could easily sway and pedals or wheels hit the rear of car

Video Review &#; Saris Bones in Action

Want to see the Saris Bones in action? Take a look at how easy it is to load and unload bikes in our video review.

Saris Bones Trunk Rack Models (Non-Hitch)

The Saris Bones trunk rack comes in three different price tiers, and five different models. (It also now comes as a hitch rack, but we won&#;t be covering that in this review.)

Three models of Saris Bones racks side by side. Orginal Bones, Bones EX, and SUPERBones

Saris Bones ($ &#; $): The original, most affordable, and only model available for many years. Comes in 2 or 3 bike capacity.

Saris Bones EX ($ &#; $): Recently debuted as an upgrade to the original. The unique arc of the EX&#;s mounting legs make it compatible with more cars. For example, the original Bones would not fit on our Honda Pilot, but the Bones EX does. Comes in 2 or 3 bike capacity.

Saris Superbones ($): A more luxury version of the original Bones, it features retractable straps. It also has a locking system to lock the rack to the car, and your bikes to the rack. Like the original Bones, the Superbones does not fit on our Honda Pilot. Comes in 3 bike capacity only.

What makes the Bones stand out?

We tested the Saris Bones EX-3 and will be covering that rack for the remainder of this review. There are two features of the Saris Bones EX that distinguish it from other trunk racks on the market.

Fits on More Cars

First, the Bones EX can fit on more cars than many other trunk racks. (You can use the Saris &#;Find My Fit&#; tool to easily find all of their racks that will fit on your vehicle.) Saris states that it fits on 20% more cars than the original Bones.

The redesigned shape of the Bones EX mounting legs allows them to avoid contact with most spoilers. These legs are also better suited for cars with flat backs like vans and SUVs than the original Bones and many other trunk racks. As mentioned above, the Bones EX is the only trunk rack on Saris&#; site that can fit on my Honda Pilot.

Saris Bones EX from the side, showing arced arms

Arced Mounting Arms Make Loading Bikes Easier

The Saris Bones mounting arms (where the bikes rest) are also arced, instead of being perfectly straight and perpendicular to your vehicle. The arc allows the mounted bikes to have staggered heights, which results in less handlebar/saddle interference. (More on that below!)

Saris Bones EX 3 loaded up with three mountain bikes. Shown from the side

I was easily able to load up several different configurations of bikes (including three mountain bikes!) very quickly, with minimal re-positioning. Hanging racks like this are notorious for being time-consuming to load up your bikes, with jig-saw puzzle skills required to get everything to fit together. The Bones was significantly easier.

Who is the Saris Bones best for?

  • Families who don&#;t have a hitch or roof rack system
  • Families who want a lightweight rack that is easy to take on and off the car
  • Those who need a hanging rack but are worried about bike sway and damage &#; the anti-sway cradles are a huge help, and the bikes are spaced farther apart than many other hanging racks
  • Families who want to carry 20&#; bikes and up (and even some 16&#; bikes!)

Who is the Saris Bones not the best fit for?

  • Large families who need to transport more than 3 bikes
  • People who want to keep the rack on their car regularly &#; can&#;t access trunk or use rear windshield wiper when rack is installed
  • Bike lovers who are worried about bikes hitting one another and causing potential damage (even with the anti-sway cradles, the potential is still there)
  • Car aficionados who don&#;t want any chance that a bike will hit their car

How the Saris Bones Works

The Saris Bones is a hanging rack, which means that the bike&#;s frame hangs on the rack&#;s arms. The other most common type of rack is a platform or tray rack. With platform racks, a bike&#;s tires sit in a tray. There is no contact between the rack and your bike&#;s frame.

Side by side comparison of Saris trunk rack and Saris hitch rack

The Saris Bones is also a trunk rack. This means that it attaches to your vehicle via a strap system, rather than with a hitch receiver. Almost all trunk racks are hanging racks.

Loading Bikes onto the Bones

Before loading bikes, position the rack arms so that they are angled parallel to the ground, with the cradle farthest from the car highest off the ground. (See image on the left above.) They should not be sloping down or up.

To load bikes onto the Bones, lift the bike onto the rack so that the rack arms are positioned underneath the top tube of your bike. Rest the top tube in the rack arm cradles, and secure the top tube in place with the ratcheting straps.

Mounting ratcheting loops secure the bike's frame to the rack arms

Each bike also has a third cradle and ratcheting strap that goes around the seat post of your bike. These anti-sway straps help to minimize damage to bikes and your vehicle that can be caused by the sway of bikes back and forth.

Loading bikes on any hanging rack can be a little bit tricky. You have to lift the bike&#;s frame up and over the ratcheting straps, which usually get in the way. The side-sway strap is the biggest problem, so make sure its turned on its side to give you sufficient room to fit your bike over the arms. This is an issue for any hanging rack that has anti-sway cradles (which is any nice hanging rack).

Bike Size and Frame Design

Like most hanging racks, the Saris Bones can pretty easily accommodate 20&#; kids bikes to adult bikes. While platform racks generally cannot carry 16&#; kids bikes, hanging racks often can with the use of a top tube adapter. With the Saris Bones EX-3, we were successfully able to hang everything from an XL men&#;s mountain bike to a 16 inch kids bike.

XL mountain bike loaded on Saris Bones EX and 16 inch kids bike loaded up.

Saris Bike Beam Top Tube Adapters

It is always easier to hang bikes with flat top tubes. Unfortunately, this usually only includes mens bikes. Most women&#;s and kids bikes have slanting top tubes and may need a top tube adapter to mimic a flat top tube.

Saris&#; top tube adapter is called a Bike Beam, although an adapter from any brand will work. On the left you can see a 24 inch kids bike with Bike Beam, while on the right, the bike&#;s flat top tube doesn&#;t need an adapter.

Side by side comparison of two bikes loaded on Saris Bike Bones with and without Bike Beam adaptor.

Using top tube adapters is more time consuming, but necessary for many bikes. In addition to the time it takes to put the adapter on, it may be necessary to raise your saddle a bit if you ride with it slammed down or close to the collar.

To get a top tube adapter to fit on a 16&#; bike, you will almost certainly have to raise the saddle to its max height to create enough mounting space between the bike&#;s seat post and headset. Just makes sure to never raise the seat height above the seat post&#;s minimum insertion point, and tighten that seat post collar very securely.

An important note: the Saris Bike Beam was too long to fit between the seat post and headset of our 16&#; bikes. (You need about &#; between the top of the seat post and the headset.) However, we were able to use both the Allen and Yakima top tube adaptors. If you don&#;t have &#;, you should try the Allen Deluxe Trunk Rack, which is excellent at accommodating 16&#; bikes.

Yakima Top Tube adaptor mounted on a 16 inch kids bike with the seat height raised all the way

Also remember that the cost of top tube adapters can add up. Each Bike Beam is $50, so if you have a women&#;s bike and two kids&#; bikes, that&#;s an extra $ to add to the cost of your rack.

You can carry some bikes with sloping top tubes without a Bike Beam. Doing so just causes the bikes to be angled very awkwardly on the rack. We recommend buying the Bones first, trying to load your bikes on the rack, and then purchasing the Bike Beams if you think it&#;s necessary.

Ground Clearance

Hanging racks (hitch or trunk) can be problematic with large bikes hanging too low to the ground. All bike tires should have at least 12&#; of ground clearance.

This is generally only a problem on small vehicles, not on Crossovers or SUVs like our Honda Pilot seen in this review. While we did not have a chance to test the Bones on a smaller car, from testing other trunk bike racks we know this is a problem.

Here you can see the ground clearance issue on another trunk rack. Using top tube adapters makes the problem even worse by lowering the bike even closer to the ground.

front tire of large bike is too close to the ground when mounted with an adapter bar on a trunk rack

If you will be transporting bikes with &#;, 29&#;, or c wheels on a sedan or other smaller car, you may need to look into getting a hitch for your car, or putting that larger bike on a rooftop rack. If you want to stick to a trunk rack, check out Allen Trunk Racks, which allow you to mount bikes in a unique way that solves this problem.

Bike Spacing

All hanging racks are more difficult to load than platform racks in part because the bikes are spaced more closely to one another. While our favorite Saris platform hitch rack, the Superclamp EX-4, has about 9 inches between each bike, the Saris Bones EX-3 has only inches between bikes.

Saris Bones Rack vs. Saris Superclamp EX Platform Rack

Side by side comparison of bike spacing between Saris Bones and Saris Superclamp EX

That said, inches of spacing is still pretty decent for a hanging rack. The 5-bike Yakima Ridgeback hitch rack has inches of spacing, while the hugely popular Allen 4-bike hitch hanging rack also has inches. The Thule Passage, which is also a trunk mounted rack, has only &#; between bikes.

With hanging racks, it&#;s inevitable that handlebars will hit saddles, and pedals will get caught in spokes. As a result, the more spacing, the better! The arced arms of the Saris Bones also aid in bike spacing because the bikes are slightly vertically off-set.

Weight Capacity Changes with Hatch Hugger Use

All models of the Saris Bones have the same weight capacity for loaded bikes &#; 35 pounds per bike. So a 2-bike model has a max 70 pound limit, while the 3-bike racks max out at pounds.

While mid to high-end bikes will almost always be under 35 pounds (unless it&#;s an e-bike!), bikes bought at big-box stores can be very heavy. For example, the 24 inch kids Huffy Scout weighs pounds, which would be too heavy to carry on this rack. And that&#;s a kids bike! If you don&#;t know the weight of your bike, don&#;t assume it&#;s under 35 pounds. A bike shop can weigh it for you if necessary.

One caveat to the weight limit of the Bones (and any Saris trunk rack), is that if your vehicle requires the use of a top strapHatch Hugger adapter to mount the rack to your car, you can only load a maximum of two bikes. While this doesn&#;t affect a 2-bike rack at all, a 3-bike rack can only be used as a 2-bike rack in that scenario. The weight limit is unaffected if you are using a Hatch Hugger on the side or bottom straps.

Remember to use the &#;Find My Fit&#; tool before purchase. It will tell you ahead of time if you need Hatch Huggers, and if the capacity of the rack is affected by your vehicle.

Easily Folds, But No Rear Car Access

Trunk racks are at a disadvantage to hitch racks because you have no access to your trunk or hatch while the rack is installed. Hitch racks like the hanging Thule Apex XT, for example, can tilt away from the hatch or trunk. This comes in handy more often than you might think. It also makes leaving the rack on the car in-between frequent rides a lot more convenient.

Trunk Racks Can&#;t Tilt Away for Hatch Access

Hanging hitch rack tilting away from back of vehicle for hatch access

That said, if you really don&#;t need access to your trunk or hatch for a few days, the Saris Bones&#; arms fold down so the rack stores more compactly on your car. But remember&#; you can&#;t open your trunk or hatch even if there aren&#;t any bikes loaded on the rack!

If your rack isn&#;t loaded, it&#;s always best not to have rack arms sticking out when you&#;re driving. Depending on the length of your vehicle, it also may may be necessary to fold the arms down to store it on your vehicle in the garage.

Side by side comparison of Saris bone rack arms extended and folded down

The rack arms on the Saris Bones have a unique mechanism for folding down. You un-tighten the large black plastic screw on the arm, slide the arm to the center of the silver cylinder, and fold it down. You then slide it back to the side and re-tighten the screw. Each arm moves independently of the others.

Folding mechanism for Saris Bones EX

Rear Window View While Loaded and Unloaded

Like almost all bike racks, the Bones car rack does limit your rear window view, whether loaded or unloaded. Hanging racks (trunk or hitch) carry your bikes much higher than platform racks. Here&#;s how our Honda Pilot looks with the Bones loaded, vs. the platform Saris SuperClamp hitch rack.

Rear Window View: Bones vs. Saris Platform 4-bike Rack

Side by side comparison of rear window view with a Saris Bones vs Saris platform rack. View is more limited with Bones.

Unloaded, the Bones still interferes with our rear window view, but not drastically. The type of vehicle you have will affect how the Bones mounts to your car, and will also affect rear window visibility. For reference, here&#;s the Bones trunk rack vs. a the Thule Apex 4 hanging hitch rack, which keeps the rear window completely clear on our Honda Pilot.

Rear Window View: Hanging Trunk vs. Hanging Hitch

Side by side comparison of rear window view of Bones hanging trunk rack vs another hanging hitch rack.

Locking Mechanism Not Available on Most Models

The Bones and Bones EX do not come with, or offer as upgrades, any locking mechanisms. This means you can&#;t lock the rack to the car, and you can&#;t lock your bikes to the rack. Only the much more expensive SuperBones has car and rack locks.

Trunk racks are tricky, because most of them have mounting straps that could easily be cut off a vehicle.

Mounting to Your Car

At just 11 pounds, the Saris Bones EX bike rack is insanely lightweight and easy for just about anyone to lift on and off the car. If you don&#;t have a lot of upper body strength, or want to install and remove your rack frequently, the Saris Bones will deliver for you.

By comparison, our daily use platform hitch rack (the Saris Superclamp EX 4) weighs 63 pounds! And the Thule T2 Pro XT platform rack weighs almost pounds!

How the Bones Mounts to Your Vehicle

We highly recommend watching the official Saris installation video before mounting the rack. It&#;s short and clears up some potentially confusing things pretty quickly.

Mounting Legs

Two upper and two lower legs stabilize the Saris bones on your car. Each leg moves independently around a center cylinder. The huge advantage of this design is that it allows for a really customizable fit for your specific vehicle. The ends of the legs have pivoting rubber feet for additional customization to the angles on your vehicle.

The position of the upper legs is adjusted by unscrewing the tightening bolt, removing the leg from the center cylinder, and then re-inserting the leg. While the lower legs can move, they generally don&#;t need to because the upper legs are positioned in relation to them.

Mounting points of Saris Bones to a car

Mounting Straps

To tightly secure the Saris Bones to your vehicle, three sets of straps anchor the rack in place. These straps originate from the center cylinder of the rack and hook to upper, lower, and side panel gaps on your vehicle. The hooks are coated in vinyl to protect your vehicle from damage.

The straps are plenty long to accommodate all sizes of vehicles, so there will probably be quite a bit of excess strap hanging out once you&#;ve cinched the straps down. Not to worry, Saris has provided a simple solve with their strap management system. Just fold those extra strap ends up and and wrap them with the attached velcro loop.

Some cars, like our Honda Pilot, will need the Hatch Hugger accessory to replace one or more sets of the mounting hooks. This adds an additional $25 to the cost of the rack.

Proximity to Your Vehicle &#; Closer than Hitch Rack

Trunk racks place your bikes much closer to your vehicle than a hitch hanging rack, opening up the possibility of the closest bike&#;s pedal or front wheel hitting your car. Even if you use anti-sway cradles, bikes on hanging racks still sway.

Side by side comparison of how close the bikes are to the Saris Bones vs a hitch hanging rack

As you can see below, if we hit a bump in the road and caused major sway, the pedal would hit our car. (I&#;m &#;creating&#; the sway here, this is not how the pedal sits when simply hanging.) To prevent damage, you can add one of the Saris Protect-O-Pads.

Pedal touching rear of vehicle while bike is hanging from car bike rack

Keep in mind this will not happen to all vehicles and all bikes. The flat back our our car requires us to &#;splay&#; the mounting legs more. If you were mounting the rack on a sedan with a truck, the &#;hump&#; of the rack would be more exaggerated and the mounting arms would stick out farther from the vehicle.

Car Compatibility &#; Fits More Cars Than Most Trunk Racks

Trunk rack compatibility can be tricky. With hitch racks, if you have the right-size hitch, pretty much any hitch rack will fit your car. This is not the case with trunk racks.

Because the mounting arms of the rack rest on the bumper, trunk, windows, etc, the shape of your car will affect compatibility. Rear spoilers can also be hugely problematic.

With uniquely arced arms, the Saris Bones EX was designed to fit 20% more vehicles than the standard Bones. Of the original Bones, SuperBones, and Bones EX, the EX is the only rack that fits our Honda Pilot.

With any rack, but especially trunk racks, you should check compatibility with your specific vehicle before purchase. Saris provides a Fit My Vehicle tool that will show you all racks in their line-up that will fit on your car.

Bottom Line on the Saris Bones Car Rack

If your car doesn&#;t have a hitch, the Saris Bones trunk rack is easily one of the best-quality and easiest-to-use options. We particularly love how fast we were able to get bikes on and off the rack, and how effortlessly it accommodated our kids bikes!

In case you&#;re wondering about the final price for this rack on my Honda Pilot: Base price is $, plus $ worth of Bike Beams, $25 for a Hatch Hugger, and $15 for Protect-O-Pads&#; grand total is $

If you&#;re interested in getting a hitch for your car, be sure to check out our 10 Best Hitch Bike Racks for Families.

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View ourTerms of Use.


Bike rack saris

Price: $
Style: Trunk
The right rack for:
Someone who wants a simple, stable rack for less


The Saris Bones 2-Bike is a lightweight, easily adjustable trunk rack that goes on quickly and stays put. You can adjust the position of the arms easily and without tools, thanks to Saris’s center spline design, and the mounts accommodate narrow and wide top tubes. Because it’s a trunk rack, you might not be able to mount a curvy full-suspension bike, although the narrow profile of the arms and mounts meant I was able to haul a (full-suspension) Marin Hawk Hill 3 with ease. The straps can become tangled and your bike’s fork might run into your bumper during abrupt stops, but minor grievances aside, I quite liked using the Bones 2-Bike as my go-to rack.

Trevor Raab

Quick Setup and Mounting

The Bones 2-Bike comes folded up when you unbox the rack. The tube upon which all the rack’s arms rotate has notches that correspond with notches on the rack’s arms. Adjusting the arms is easy: Hand-loosen the knobs that hold the arms in place and rotate them to fit your trunk. Once you’ve positioned the rack, slide the top, side, and bottom clips into place and pull the straps tight—the mounting process takes less than a minute. Removing the rack takes 15 seconds: Just loosen the straps, flip the top clips upside down (so they don’t get caught on your trunk lip), and pull the rack away from the trunk.

Trevor Raab

How It Works With Your Car

Once mounted, the Bones 2-Bike stays in place better than other trunk racks I’ve tried. Its stability advantage seems to come from the side straps, which halt lateral movement when tightened. (I haven’t tried mounting it to an SUV liftgate, but to see what that looks like, check out our review on the similarly designed SuperBones 3-Bike.) The metal clips are covered in nylon and haven’t appeared to scratch my car after two months of use. My Accord’s panel gaps measure 5mm and the clips easily slid between them with the trunk closed. The rubber feet on the end of the rack’s arms can leave a residue if you don’t clean them, but haven’t seemed to bother my paint, either. Despite its lightness, the Bones 2-Bike felt rock-solid during use. The rack comes with a lifetime warranty for the original owner.

Trevor Raab

Using the Rack Every Day

I mounted and removed the Bones 2-Bike at least 20 times during testing; I got my mounting time down to around 30 seconds with practice. It doesn’t lock to your trunk, so it’s up to you whether you leave it on and risk theft and leave it on overnight (I didn’t).

Because the straps connect through the center tube, the straps and clips can become a tangled mess in your trunk when you first pull the rack out. Sorting them out takes little time once you remember which clips go where (the top, side, and bottom clips are different shapes). The ratcheting straps to which you mount the bike are easy to manipulate and hold the bike tight, with the help of anti-sway ratchets for the seat tube. (The mounts themselves are tube-shaped and idiot-resistant: I once drove all the way home without realizing I hadn’t ratcheted down my bike, yet it didn’t fall off the rack.)

Trevor Raab

The Bones 2-Bike won’t work with all full-suspension designs. However, if at least 1 foot of your top tube is relatively straight and has a couple inches of unobstructed space beneath it, the Bones 2-Bike should accommodate the bike. Apart from the tangle-prone straps, my only other gripe is that the anti-sway ratchet straps don’t quite prevent your bike’s fork from contacting your trunk when you hit the brakes. If you’re hauling a single bike, solve this by using the outer mount. Using the inner mount, though, you risk scratching your bumper if your fork has sharp edges. These minor knocks aside, the Bones 2-Bike is the best trunk rack I’ve used and I fully expect it to outlive my Honda, which will be no small feat.


Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack



  • Easy to install and adjust without tools
  • Adapts to a wide range of trunk shapes
  • Not great for bikes with untraditional frame shapes

Dan RoeTest EditorA former Division 1 runner, Dan grew up riding fixies and mountain bikes and now reviews everything from performance running shoes to road and cross bikes, to the latest tech for runners and cyclists at Bicycling and Runner’s World.

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How to Use the Bones 2 Bike Rack on Mazda CX-5

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