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 rear bike rack for carbon frame?
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.
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.
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.
4. Kuat Racks Sherpa Bike Rack for Carbon Bikes
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.
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 carbon fiber bicycle 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.
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.
Here are a few more important factors to consider when shopping for the best bike racks for carbon frames:
Most platform-style bike racks for carbon frames 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 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 carbon fiber 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 for carbon fiber frames 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.
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.
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.
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.