Taking your bikes with you on an adventure is always a lot of fun. Ideally, we’d transport them on the inside of our vehicles, but realistically they’re nearly always going to be kept on the outside, secured to a rack.
Fortunately, these days there are plenty of different kinds of bike racks to choose from. Even better, they all transport your bikes safely for both your car and bikes. Possibly even better still, they don’t cost a fortune.
The five choices in our review of the best 3-bike car racks are all good enough to get the job done. Depending on the kind of vehicle you’re driving and the bikes your hauling, we hope there will be one to fully meet your needs.
So, let’s get to it and take a closer look…
- 1 Top 3 Best 3-Bike Car Racks On The Market In 2020 Reviews
- 1.1 1 Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount 3-Bike Carrier, Model 103DN-R – Most Stable 3-Bike Car Rack
- 1.2 2 Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier – Best Premium 3-Bike Car Rack
- 1.3 3 Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack – Best SUV 3-Bike Car Rack
- 1.4 4 Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks for 1 1/4 in. and 2 in. Hitch – Most User Friendly 3-Bike Car Rack
- 1.5 5 Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Rack – Most Secure 3-Bike Car Rack
- 2 Best 3-Bike Car Rack Buying Guide
- 3 Looking for more superb cycling accessories?
- 4 So, what are the Best 3-Bike Car Racks?
Top 3 Best 3-Bike Car Racks On The Market In 2020 Reviews
1 Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount 3-Bike Carrier, Model 103DN-R – Most Stable 3-Bike Car Rack
This trunk-mounted three-bike carrier will fit on a range of different vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, and even minivans.
It uses a total of six strong nylon straps, with padded claws at the end of each, to attach to your vehicle. Two of the straps fix towards the sides of your vehicle to improve lateral support. On the move, this translates to minimal wobble.
Safe and secure…
To protect your vehicle against scratching, the claws on the strap-ends have a special coating. Additionally, the four pads that seat the rack onto the trunk are made from heavily padded foam. These are all well-designed and guarantee that all contact points won’t scratch your paintwork.
Once the rack is in position, the two arms extend back. There are three cradles to each arm, and each pair of cradles can hold any style or size of bicycle.
The Allen Sports Deluxe Trunk Mount 3-Bike Carrier has a weight capacity of 35lbs for each bike. Frankly, although it’s fine in most circumstances, we feel the weight capacity could be better. The truth is that if you have a heavy cruiser or fat bike, a 35lbs weight limit might not be enough.
Durability and stability…
Each pair of cradles utilizes a nylon buckle and strap to hold the bikes down. It’s a little old-fashioned, but we see nothing wrong with that. It’s a tried and tested method that not only works well but is also incredibly durable. It might not be the quickest way to load and secure your bikes, but this robust system is still a winner in our eyes.
When the rack is loaded, and you’re moving, the frames don’t move about. That’s all good. However, unfortunately, there’s nothing to tether the front wheels to the frame. We think there should be, and we’d therefore recommend you use a DIY solution to secure your wheels to the frames.
- Fast installation time.
- Suitable for all sizes and styles of bike.
- Durable straps.
- All rack contact points with your vehicle are padded.
- 35 lbs. individual bike weight limit.
- No system to prevent your front wheels from moving.
2 Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier – Best Premium 3-Bike Car Rack
This is a high-quality premium bike rack. Trunk mounted bike racks don’t get much better than this. They don’t get any easier to mount and sadly they don’t come more expensive. So, is the premium price tag worth it? Let’s find out.
Securing strapping that won’t damage your vehicle or bike…
Starting with the straps, these are beautiful and combine with their FitDial patented mechanism that locks them in place to keep them tidy. They are fast and easy to secure, and the FitDial ensures that no loose straps are left to flap around. This means there’s no chance of them inadvertently damaging your bikes or paintwork.
Excellent attention to detail protects all the contact points of your vehicle, and just as importantly, your bikes. The rack’s anchor points are exceptionally well padded. Additionally, the cradles have thick rubber liners. There’s nothing we can find to fault in the protective measures Thule has taken to prevent damage to any part of your vehicle or bikes.
Ample weight capacity for any bike…
The bike rack has a generous weight carrying limit of 105lbs. Since the rack can carry just two bikes, you can be sure that you can transport whatever bikes you like. There’s no chance that weight will be a limiting factor.
You also won’t be limited by the size or shape of your bikes. You can carry mountain bikes, road bikes, cruisers, hybrids, fat bikes, in fact, anything. Plus, you can even carry kids’ bikes, though a cross-bar adaptor will be needed. Unfortunately, this isn’t included, which given the rack’s already high price, is a bit annoying.
Safe and secure…
When the bikes are loaded, which is quick and easy, there is a good amount of clearance between the bikes and your vehicle. Even better, once your moving, there’s no sway or lateral movement. There’s no doubt that this is the most stable trunk-mounted bike rack we’ve reviewed.
One final plus is that when you’re not using it, you can fold down the arms. This creates a lower profile while it is still attached to your vehicle. That’s literally a very neat idea.
Quality comes at a cost…
It’s a lot of money for a trunk-mounted rack, but if you want the very best, look no further.
- Built with high-quality premium materials.
- FitDial patented straps.
- Excellent padding.
- High load capacity.
- No on-vehicle tilt-away function.
3 Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack – Best SUV 3-Bike Car Rack
The Tyger bike rack can carry up to three bikes. It fits onto your vehicle using a 2” or 1 ¼’ hitch receiver. This makes it universally suitable for just about any SUV or sedan on the road. However, it should be noted that it’s not compatible with any vehicle over 18 feet in length. Additionally, you can’t use it with campers, RVs, or trailers.
Because it uses a hitch mount, it’s easy to mount and easy to remove. It also weighs just 20 pounds, so you don’t have to be built like a bodybuilder to attach it. Because of all this, you can expect to get it mounted and ready to go in less than a minute.
Placing your bikes into the cradles is also a quick and easy affair. Securing your frames with the silicone straps is similarly straight forward. All in all, this is one of the best 3-bike car racks for getting your bikes loaded quickly.
Once your bikes are secured, Tyger provides webbing straps to help tie the front wheels to your frames. Most racks don’t usually include ties. And although you don’t have to use them, we strongly advise that you do. The fact is that tied down front wheels don’t move and so don’t cause damage to your bike’s or your vehicle’s paintwork.
A tilt mechanism…
If you need to get access to the rear of your SUV, the Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S has a tilt mechanism that pulls the mast and your bikes away from the back of your SUV. It’s a useful feature. But, unfortunately, it is a bit of an awkward two-handed operation. It’s still better to have it than not to, though.
One thing that we are particularly impressed with is Tyger’s attention to your bikes’ security. They provide a hitch lock as well as a sturdy cable lock. While using both of these won’t guarantee that your bikes won’t get stolen, they should serve as a great deterrent for the majority of opportunist thieves.
- Easy to mount the hitch.
- Tie-down straps are included.
- Easy to load your bikes.
- A hitch lock and bike lock are included.
- Tilt-down rack feature.
- Not suitable for RVs, campers, or trailers.
4 Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks for 1 1/4 in. and 2 in. Hitch – Most User Friendly 3-Bike Car Rack
This can be used with any vehicle that has a 1 ¼” or 2” hitch receiver. It’s easy to install, as it uses a rapid locking hitch insert. Putting it on and taking it off your vehicle can be easily done in seconds.
Allen Sports has a wide range of bike racks to choose from. The model we’re reviewing can carry three bikes. However, there are two and four-bike alternatives of the same rack if you feel either of these is more suitable.
Loading your bikes and then securing them in the cradles is simple. The cradles use a silicone band to hold your frames in place. You can even use these one-handed if you want. It’s honestly that simple.
The rack can carry any kind of bikes, including gravel bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, and cruisers. The only limiting factor is the weight capacity, which is just 35lbs per bike. This is fine in most circumstances, though heavier cruisers or fat bikes could easily fall foul of this limit.
When loading your bikes, it’s best to load the heaviest first. We also advise that you find something to tie down your front wheels. As you’ve probably already noticed, Allen doesn’t include anything for this purpose.
Finishing with something that is included, and that we like a lot, is the tilt-down mast system. This lets you tilt the bikes away from your vehicle to give you access to its rear. What we like most is the fact that it can be operated easily and one-handed.
- Fast and easy installation.
- One-handed mast tilt-down system.
- Easy to load.
- Suitable for all types of bikes.
- No security features.
- No tie-downs for the front wheels.
5 Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Rack – Most Secure 3-Bike Car Rack
The final item on our Best 3-Bike Car Racks list comes pre-assembled and can go straight out of the delivery box and onto your SUV or sedan. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for any vehicle over 18 feet long, so it won’t be getting fixed there. Additionally, it shouldn’t be fixed onto a trailer, camper, or RV, either.
It has six straps to hold it in place. Two of these provide lateral support. With all six straps fixed, you can expect very little movement once you’re driving down the road. You don’t get the same level of stability in comparison to a hitch-mount bike rack. However, it’s honestly not a long way off.
There is a seventh strap, which is red, and is a tie-down strap for your front wheels. We’re happy to see this as it’s a frequent omission on so many bike racks. We’re also happy to see that the good people of Tyger made it red so it can’t be confused with the tie-down straps. Good thinking!
Loading and securing your bikes in place is all plain sailing. The cradles use easy to pull silicone straps. They don’t damage the precious frame of your bikes, and they can be used single-handed.
Not a great weight limit…
Where things are not so positive are with the rack’s weight limit. It’s just 33lbs per bike and is the lowest of all the bike racks in our review. Frankly, we think this is getting to an uncomfortably low level. There are plenty of bikes that are likely to weigh over this. What’s more, we’re not talking about heavy cruisers or fat bikes. We’re talking about standard bikes.
Consequently, unless you’re riding lighter road bikes, we suggest you get out your weight scale, just in case. Why bike racks can’t be designed to take bikes weighing a minimum of up to 50lbs, we honestly don’t know.
- It comes pre-assembled.
- Easy to fix to your car.
- Easy to load.
- Includes an incorporated tie-down strap
- Low weight capacity.
Best 3-Bike Car Rack Buying Guide
Next, we have an informative overview of different bike racks, as well as insight into how size, weight, security, different brands, and pricing can help you decide which 3-bike car rack is best for you.
Trunk-Mount Bike Carrier
Generally, these are the least expensive bike rack. They’re typically lightweight and can be folded down into a small profile. This makes the racks easy to store and also easy to transport.
One of the biggest negatives is that they take longer to attach to your vehicle. The number of straps can be confusing, and it takes time to properly master quickly fitting one to your SUV or sedan.
Think about access…
Another big negative is that, once the rack is on your vehicle, there’s no way to access its backend without taking off all the bikes and then the rack. This is a time-consuming and rather annoying feature.
One last negative is that trunk-mounted bike racks offer little in the way of security. There is nothing to stop a thief from cutting the straps or just pulling the bikes straight off from the rack.
Hitch-Mount Bike Carrier
Hitch-mounted bike racks are undoubtedly easier to fix onto your vehicle than a trunk-mounted rack. You just have to put the hitch-mount into the receiver, and you’re done. There are no straps and buckles to mess around with.
Another advantage is that hitch mount bike racks, such as the…
…have both hitch locks and bike locks. They are not a perfect solution for preventing theft, but they’re nevertheless a great deterrent.
One final advantage is, generally speaking, is that they tend to sway and move around less than a trunk-mounted bike rack.
The biggest disadvantage with this style is that to use one, you must have a hitch-mounted receiver already on your vehicle. Other disadvantages include the fact that they’re heavy and difficult to store. Finally, although not always, they are usually more expensive than trunk-mount bike carriers.
Most racks can carry just about every kind of bike. However, they can sometimes be restricted by the size of the frame. If this is the case, like with the…
…you can buy a frame adaptor. Happily, these are readily available and not expensive.
A bicycle’s wheel size and thickness can also be a limiting factor. But since all five bikes on our list carry the bikes by their frames, this isn’t a consideration.
This leaves us with weight, which is most definitely something that needs to be taken into account. If you have a road bike, you can almost certainly use any of the racks in our review. However, if you have a heavy cruiser, heavy mountain bike, heavy hybrid, or an e-bike, they will almost certainly weigh over 35lbs.
Since most bike racks have a maximum weight limit of 35 lbs. for each bike, in these circumstances, the…
…is a good choice. This is because it has a maximum weight capacity of over 50lbs for each bike.
Even bike racks with integrated locks can do little more than provide basic protection for your bikes. They can make it more difficult for a thief but will not deter a more determined individual.
However, despite a bike rack’s shortcomings, we’d still advise you to look for one that can lock the rack to your vehicle and the bike to the rack. This means you have to opt for a hitch-mount bike rack. Of the five on our list, you should choose the…
The choice of car rack manufacturers is large. However, if you want to stick to well-established brands with a proven track record, the number comes down to just a handful. These essentially boil down to Hollywood, Tyger, Allen, and Thule.
Hollywood is not included in our review, but they are worth mentioning since they are one of the oldest companies that makes bike racks. They are a US company that makes good value and well-built racks. They manufacture trunk-mounted and hitch-mounted racks.
Tyger is a small American company that concentrates its business around online sales. Despite being the newest manufacturer on our reviews list, they have quickly grown to become a major player. They produce a variety of keenly priced but well-made bike racks.
There are subtle differences…
Allen is another American company. They were founded over 50 years ago by an aerospace engineer and have been at the very front of innovative bike rack design throughout this time. They have a worldwide presence and make surprisingly affordable racks, given their design and quality.
Last, and by no means least, we have Thule. This is a Swedish company that makes high-end bike racks with a matching premium price. They make well-made and durable racks that will last and last. If you’re prepared to pay the price, you’re unlikely to ever regret your decision.
3-Bike Car Racks Pricing
The least expensive bike racks are generally trunk-mounted. These were the very first kinds of bike racks we saw on our cars and were hugely popular throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The least expensive ones can be picked up for as little as $25, The most expensive ones can be as much as $250, though these are rare.
In comparison, you’re unlikely to find a hitch-mounted bike rack for much under $100. At the upper end of the scale, you might have to pay $500, though again, this is unusual.
Looking for more superb cycling accessories?
So, what are the Best 3-Bike Car Racks?
So, there you have it. If you need to transport three bikes, we think any of the best car racks for 3 bikes on our list will do a great job. We think they all are well-made and offer good value for the money. Equally, we think they all do a good job of safely transporting your bikes and without causing damage to them or your vehicle.
But if we had to choose just one to take home and fix to our SUV or sedan, it would be the…
This is our top pick of best 3-bike car racks because it comes with tie-down straps and security locks included. Additionally, the rack is easy to attach, and the bikes are easy to load. As if all of this wasn’t enough, you can also tilt down the rack with your bikes still attached.
Enjoy your bikes and your rides.