Having seen a few fat bikes perched precariously on the back of cars, it’s clear figuring out how to transport a fat bike (or a pair of bikes) is proving to be challenging for some riders. With the popularity of fat bikes soaring, even rack companies are scrambling to address the need to haul bikes with tires between 20mm and 5-inches, 100mm quick release front axles, 100mm thru-axles in 12mm 15mm, and 20mm diameters, 135mm fat bike quick release axles, 150mm fat bike thru-axles, plus the upcoming new 110mm mountain bike front axle standard. It is a dizzying array of sizes.
UPRIGHT ROOF RACKS
Riders today are looking for a one-size-fits-all rack to carry all of their bikes. If you are buying a roof mounted rack for your vehicle, consider the upright style RockyMounts Brass Knuckles. With an upright style, the wheels stay in place so any axle type will fit. The Brass Knuckles will accommodate all tire sizes with the standard straps, and has a very inexpensive expansion kit that snaps in and out to carry your fat bike.
FORK MOUNT RACKS
If you like the look, stability, and aerodynamics of a fork mounted roof rail, look no further than the Kuat Trio rack. Kuat makes some the nicest bike racks on the road and the Trio is no exception. This traditional fork mounted rack (front wheel is removed) comes out of the box ready to handle all axles except for fat bikes with a $35 optional kit. Easy changeover between the two means you can readily switch for whatever bike your are using that day.
Hitch racks are very common given the popularity of SUVs/crossovers. Most hanging style hitch mount racks should be able to accommodate fat bikes, but it might be a tight fit. A top tube bike adapter, like this one from Hollywood Racks, can help by lowering one of the bikes (as seen in the photos below) to prevent interference. These adapters snap onto the bike in seconds. This rack is the Yakima Doubledown Ace 2 (just replaced by the Highlite 2).
Another option for hitch racks is a bottom tray style such as the Kuat NV or Thule T2, but both need added kits for fat bikes which include longers straps and/or wider trays. The current design for most bottom mount hitch racks restricts fat bikes so I expect newly updated designs from most brands within the next year.
Finally, remember to consider your personal capabilities in mounting all your bikes. Some riders may be fine mounting their 18 pound road bike on the car roof but aren’t capable of safely lifting a 34 pound fat bike over their head and up on a vehicle. If you are looking at new racks, it may be wise to also re-evaluate the type and style you have been using and consider future bike purchases.
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