With the world shifting to a more environmentally conscious society, electric bikes are becoming more popular over time. These engineering marvels make commuting and transportation much easier compared to traditional bicycles. Not only this, but it also allows for bikers to go up steep hills (see also best ebikes for climbing steep hills) and inclines without too much effort.
But with this additional equipment like the batteries, electrical cables, and the motor, e-bikes weigh far more than conventional bikes. In fact, most electric bikes weigh 40 pounds or more, making them hard to carry around.
So, do electric bikes need a specialized car rack for transport?
Yes, electric bikes do need a specialized car rack since they are too heavy for traditional car racks. Traditional bike racks can carry a specific weight capacity, often around 30 pounds (depending on mounting method), and with e-bikes weighing twice that, you risk damaging your electric bike while transporting.
In this article, we will tackle everything there is to know about specialized car racks for transporting e-bikes.
Do electric bikes need a specialized car rack for transport?
As with regular bicycles, transporting an e-bike involves securing the bike with straps and hooks, which generally come as part of your purchase. There are many bike racks available on the market, such as the roof rack, the trunk-mounted racks, and the hitch-mounted racks.
If you don’t want to purchase an eBike rack and use a standard roof rack, hitch rack or truck rack, check the capacity of your rack first to make sure it can hold a heavier electric bike.
Electric bikes require special bicycle racks with hitches and a high weight capacity because of the heavy weight of the bike. E-bikes weigh around 40 – 80 pounds, while most conventional bikes only weigh 18-25 pounds.
The heavier weight comes from the electric motor, batteries, and thickening frames on the e-bike compared with conventional bikes.
Can you transport an E-bike on a standard bicycle rack?
It is easy to strap your e-bike into the carrier, start your trip, and forget about the electric bike, thinking it’s completely safe. Unfortunately, these approaches face several problems.
There are no standard bicycle storage solutions to hold electronic bikes in your hands and traditional racks are generally weaker and cannot carry a just like an electric bike weighs. So the frames in cars can fall from heavy loads or the bicycles could be damaged. Several typical e-bike racks have hitch hook attachments that can support an e-bike but check load limitations.
Bike racks intended for a regular bike can generally carry a maximum weight limit of 20-40 pounds, while most e-bikes weigh twice the weight limit of some standard bike racks.
Traditional car bike racks are also not designed to account for additional electric components like cables. So if you were to use standard bike racks to transport your electric bike, you risk damaging the components of your electric bicycle.
What kind of bike rack is needed for an e-bike?
If you want to transport an electrically powered bicycle safely (whether you are going to the national park or the mountains), there are many suitable racks available on the market. It is vital to get an easy-to-fit car that securely locks your vehicle without the hassle.
It keeps electric bikes in place during transit, and thieves are unlikely to steal them unless you are careful. These racks are designed for various bikes, including heavy bikes with big batteries and battery packs; even heavy-duty bikes can be used.
Here are the different bike racks you can use to transport your e-bike.
Best Option: Hitch mounted racks
Easily the best type of rack, hitch-mounted racks offer you the ability to carry multiple bikes. Hitch mounted bike racks have a maximum weight limit that exceeds the other two mentioned above.
They also provide easy loading and unloading of the e-bikes as they don’t require ladders to set up. You can even do this by yourself without the need for additional help.
Hitch racks also offer versatility as they can store different e-bikes. Lastly, they secure the electric bikes by securing the tires in wheel cradles which minimizes the chances of abrasion and damage to the electric components.
However, a hitch rack can be on the more expensive side of racks, plus the additional cost of a trailer hitch if you don’t already have one.
OK Option: Roof rack
With e-bikes weighing 40 –80 pounds, and the roof of your car being capable of carrying a total weight upwards of 165 pounds, you can safely store up to two electric bikes on the top of your vehicle.
Roof racks are an excellent choice for travelers who own multiple e-bikes as you can store them atop your car side by side. However, roof racks do present a problem with the loading and unloading of the e-bike.
Because electric bikes weigh a lot, you might need a loading ramp and assistance in putting the bikes at the top of your car; this also presents a problem that the immense weight exerted on the roof of your vehicle might be strenuous for your vehicle.
Because of the weight problem, people have tried removing the battery from the electric bike before transporting it. However, it does present the possibility of damaging the bike’s batteries, especially if you do not have the appropriate tools to remove them safely.
Worst Option: Trunk mounted racks
While trunk-mounted racks may be a good choice for transporting standard bikes, they are terrible for carrying heavy e-bikes.
Trunk racks are just not designed to carry the sheer weight of a standard bike. Trunk racks typically have a weight limit of 35 pounds, but even some of the most lightweight electric bikes weigh atleast 40 pounds, exceeding the maximum weight limit.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Bike Rack for Your E-Bike
Before making a decision on an electric bike rack, tons of research is necessary, it will help to compare various products offered in this market; and to help you narrow it down, here are some factors that need taking into consideration, such as:
Perhaps the most essential factor to consider when purchasing a bike rack for your e-bike is how much your ebike weighs. Since electric bikes weigh twice that of a conventional bike because of the added motor, battery, and heavy frame, you want to make sure that your bike rack can carry the bike comfortably.
It’s generally advised to purchase a bike rack with a high weight capacity to account for additional weight from accessories.
Suppose you accidentally skipped this part and purchased a bike rack with a weight capacity slightly lower than the load of your electric bike. In that case, you can still work around it by removing the battery to make it considerably lighter.
Be sure to use the appropriate tools to prevent damaging the expensive components of the bike.
Most e-bike owners prefer a bike rack closer to the ground because it is more convenient to load and unload their e-bikes. A frame lower to the floor also prevents accidents and minimizes the chances of your bike getting destroyed.
For this, it’s advised to purchase a hitch mounted bike rack because of its convenience, and it can also comfortably carry up to two to three e-bikes at a time.
Suppose you still don’t have a specific e-bike in mind but plan to purchase one in the future. In that case, it is advised to acquire a bike rack that is versatile and can carry different variations of e-bikes, such as larger wheels, bulkier frames, and many more.
Best electrical bike racks – Top Picks of Experts
With the plethora of bike racks flooding the market, it can be easy for ordinary people like you and me to get overwhelmed with the tons of factors you must consider when purchasing your first ever bike rack.
To help you choose excellent quality bike racks, here are some of the top picks from experts.
The Yakima OnRamp is one of the best e-bike racks available today; this hitch bike rack can be a trunk rack or a hitch rack. It can comfortably carry up to two bikes weighing 66 pounds each. The Yakima OnRamp also has an included bike locking mechanism.
These features make the Yakima one of the best electric bike racks, with a rating of 4.3 stars on Amazon and over 32 reviews from highly pleased consumers from around the United States.
Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Bike Rack
The Kuat NV is an easy snap-type bike rack capable of carrying up to four e-bikes weighing as much as 60 pounds each; this wheel mount bike rack has a bike and hitch lock and is also compatible with fat tires 4.8″ using its included add-on wheel straps.
The Kuat NV also has an adjustable front tire cradle system, fully integrated cable locks, and is also easily foldable.
Hollywood Racks Sport Rider
The Hollywood Racks Sport Rider for Electric Bikes is genuinely one of the best e-bike racks available.
With features such as a capacity of two bikes weighing up to 80 pounds each, an included bike and hitch lock, fat-tire compatibility, and its ability to be folded, it’s no surprise why it is the e-bike rack of choice for most owners.
For just the reasonably affordable price of $500, you can get this high-quality bike rack that will guarantee safety for your e-bikes.
Wrapping it all up
Bike racks are genuinely one of the most important things to purchase along with your electric bicycle, and they are an enormous help to an e-bike carrier in safely transporting their e-bikes from one place to another.
Whether you are an experienced e-bike rider or just starting in the e-bike industry, we hope this informative article has helped you choose the best bike rack that aligns with your needs and preference.
Andrew Strider is an electric bike enthusiast. He currently owns 5 electric bikes and is an active member of his local electric bike club where he is able to test many other models/brands a few times a month.
When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.