Best Rear Bike Racks of 2021 – Complete Round-up

Anthony
| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

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Bikes are used for a variety of activities, many of which require additional supplies. Wearing a backpack to carry these supplies is not always convenient and may cause strain on your back. A great solution is to attach a rear bike rack to your bike. 

If you are looking for a rear bike rack, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best models out there and provided you with information to help you choose one that will be right for you.

Comparison of the Best Rear Bike Racks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Frame-mounted for heavier top and side loads
  • Adjustable height and very versatile
  • Top fender board splashguard
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  • Strong and stable aluminum rack
  • Can carry up to 55 pounds
  • Very easy to install and remove
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  • Best for the Money
  • Made using very good materials
  • Very durable and versatile
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  • Best Fat Tire Bike Rear Rack
  • Adjustable rack legs for fat wheel bikes
  • Compatible with Topeak trunk bags
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  • Best Rear Rack For Mountain Bike
  • Made from sturdy aluminum alloy
  • Has an adjustable W-shaped bar design
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  • Best Rear Bike Rack For Touring
  • Can support 110 pounds
  • Made from a durable steel alloy
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  • Lightest Rear Bike Rack
  • Mounts easily to seat posts
  • Has a lightweight and compact design
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What is a Rear Bike Rack? 

A rear bike rack attaches to your bike just above the back tire. The principle is simple. A bike rack is a platform that carries weight, which allows you to carry extra gear or load cargo onto your bike. 

Just because the principle is simple, though, does not mean that any old rack will do. A quality rear rack needs to be stable and sturdy, unobstructive, and evenly distribute weight.

As we discovered while looking at some of the best racks on the market, picking out the right one is a balancing act. It involves weighing different factors like weight distribution, carrying capacity, and size.

How Does a Rear Bike Rack Work? 

Rear bike racks generally attach to the rear dropout with another bracket attaching to the seat stays or the seat post. 

In simple terms, the rear dropout is the bar that runs roughly from the pedals to the back wheel. The seat stays are the bars that run from the back wheel to the base of the seat. The seat post is the bar that attaches the seat itself to the mainframe of the bike.

By placing weight at the back, rear racks let you carry significantly more weight without impacting handling or steering.

Review of the Best Rear Bike Racks

When it comes to cycling gear, a rear rack is one of the most necessary and overlooked pieces of equipment on the market. 

A good rack makes all the difference between a clumsy struggle and a smooth ride, especially if you’re lugging a trail bag or just trying to carry your lunch home without steering into traffic. 

We did our research and put together a list of the best racks out there. 

Best Overall:
Ibera Bike Rack IB-RA15

Ibera Bike Rack – Bicycle Touring Carrier with Fender Board, Frame-Mounted for Heavier Top & Side Loads, Height Adjustable for 26'-29' Frames

pros

  • Adjustable height 
  • Built-in splash guard
  • Easily carries side loads
  • Taillight attachment included
  • High-quality anodized aluminum

cons

  • Not for disc brakes
  • Carrying capacity of 55lbs

What Recent Buyers Report

Feedback from buyers is very encouraging. Generally, people feel that the Ibera Carrier is strong, versatile, and stable. Some consumers found installation to be a little time-consuming. But, this is not a huge surprise or of particular concern given the sheer range of bikes the Ibera fits. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

More than anything, it is Ibera’s design and engineering that sells us on the PakRak Carrier. From the gentle lip at the front and back to the hanging frame for side-mounted panniers, this rack enables you to carry large, bulky items with ease. Its lightweight frame provides enough clearance to avoid catching your load in the rear spokes. But, it remains slender enough to avoid overhang or storage issues. 

With a heat-treated, anodized aluminum frame, the Ibera rack has the rare distinction of being as strong as your bike itself. Assuming you follow the 55-pound weight limit, it will not rust, warp, or break.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is simple: the Ibera PakRak Carrier is the best overall rear bike rack on the market. It’s strong, smart, and near-universal. To top it off, the well-designed top and sideload system mean that you can get the most out of your bike.

Runner-up:
Planet Bike Eco Rack

Planet Bike Eco bike rack

pros

  • Easy installation
  • Silver color option
  • Side rails for panniers
  • Electric bike compatible 
  • Tubular aluminum frame 

cons

  • Carrying capacity of 55lbs
  • Not compatible with rear suspension

What Recent Buyers Report

Feedback from buyers is overwhelmingly positive. They like the easy installation, pannier capabilities, and sturdy but lightweight design. One of the few critiques that this rack receives is that it is not universal. It doesn’t fit every bike.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

Planet Bike’s Eco Rack stands out for its endearing simplicity. The lightweight, sturdy design does everything that it needs to do without any waste. There are no throwaway parts or features purely for show, making the initial installation incredibly easy. It also means that the empty rack adds almost no weight to the bike itself. 

With a 55-pound carrying capacity and pannier capability, this rear rack can handle most carrying tasks with ease. For the average work-to-home commuter looking for a little extra storage space, the Eco Rack is a perfect fit.

Bottom Line

This rack has a strong frame, simple construction, and is entirely unobstructive. Unless you’re trying to lug serious cargo, this carrier gets the job done. To top it off, Planet Bike offers the rack in both classic black and sleek silver.

Best for the Money:
Topeak Explorer Rack

Topeak Explorer 29Er Tubular Rack with Disc Mount (Black, 16.5x6.7x16.3-Inch)

pros

  • Lightweight
  • Aluminum frame
  • Functions as fender
  • Comes in three styles
  • Optional spring clamp attachment

cons

  • 55lb capacity
  • Not for disc brakes

What Recent Buyers Report

There’s no question about it. Buyers love this rack. In particular, buyers are impressed with the spring clamp addition. Sometimes it is not even necessary to strap your cargo down with bungee cords or ties. Reviewers have also noted that it looks great and takes up very little space.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Topeak’s Explorer rack stood out to us due to its incredible value. Topeak’s engineering team designed a simple, effective, and pretty impressive piece of equipment for a remarkably low cost. In this case, quality is affordable. One of the best features of this rack is its spring clamp addition, which gently secures your cargo. What is particularly impressive about this is that the clamp closes directly over the regular bed when not in use. If you didn’t know it was there, you might not even notice it. The clamp is the kind of add-on you might expect on a top-shelf rack. 

Bottom Line

The Topeak Explorer Rack is the best low-cost rack we came across. In fact, for an entry-level product, there doesn’t seem to be anything holding this carrier back. When it comes to value for money, Topeak gets five stars from us.

Best Fat Tire Bike Rear Rack:
Topeak Uni Super Tourist Bicycle Rack

Topeak Uni Super Tourist Fat Disc Frame Mounted Bicycle Rack Compatible with MTX Trunk Bags and MTX Rear Baskets - Hollow Aluminum

pros

  • Adjustable legs
  • Designed for fat bikes
  • Disc brake compatible
  • Fits all Topeak trunk bags
  • Great frame for side loads

cons

  • 55lb capacity
  • Not for disc brakes

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have commended this rack for its easy installation, quality, and ability to carry a wide range of bags and panniers. Also, consumers report that the frame easily adjusts to fit on just about any fat bike. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Super Tourist is a great rack. It is easy to install and adjusts to fit almost any fat bike. The distance between the bike rack and seat is also adjustable. We were particularly impressed with the rugged-looking design, which accounted for the size and style of fat bikes. What stood out the most to us is the fact that such a large rack could be so unobstructive - an essential quality when riding or storing your bike. We also loved the length of the tubes along the side of the frame. They make sideloading easy and safe.

Bottom Line

The Topeak Uni Super Tourist is the best rack on the market if you’re riding a fat bike. For a wide bike rack, the Super Tourist is surprisingly neat and unobstructive. With an adjustable frame, this rack should be able to fit on almost any fat bike.

Best Rear Rack For Mountain Bike:
Dirza Quick Release Adjustable Bike Rack

Dirza Rear Bike Rack Bicycle Cargo Rack Quick Release Adjustable Alloy Bicycle Carrier 115 lbs Capacity Easy to Install Black

pros

  • Net included 
  • 115lbs capacity
  • Low bars for side loads
  • Quick-release clasp on seatpost
  • Adjustable for heights between 18” and 27.5” 

cons

  • 14’ platform is short
  • Not compatible with rear suspension 

What Recent Buyers Report

The Dirza rack gets stellar feedback from consumers. Most people are very impressed with the weight capacity, easy installation, and quick release option on the seat post. There are minor complaints about the quality of the screws, but nothing seriously concerning.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

Dirza’s quick-release rack has the highest weight capacity of any product we reviewed. If you’re planning to hit the trails and need to carry a lot of gear, this is your best option. Even if you’re just using your bike as a means of transportation, this rack is a handy way to make grocery shopping a whole lot easier. Once again, this rack’s ability to carry side loads caught our eye. We were also very impressed with the quick-release option, which makes the process of taking the bike rack off much less of a chore. 

Bottom Line

Dirza’s rack is top of the line when it comes to weight capacity and weight distribution. For a bike rack with a high capacity, this frame is surprisingly slim and unobstructive. The quick-release clamp is a stellar feature, which hopefully appears on more bike racks in the future.

Best Rear Bike Rack For Touring:
West Biking Universal Bike Rack

West Biking 110Lb Capacity Almost Universal Adjustable Bike Cargo Rack Cycling Equipment Stand Footstock Bicycle Luggage Carrier Racks with Reflective Logo

pros

  • 110lb capacity
  • Strong steel rack
  • Fat bike compatible 
  • Adjustable cargo rack
  • Side tubing for panniers

cons

  • Bulky
  • Heavy frame

What Recent Buyers Report

When it comes to the West Biking rack, most reviews are positive. People are impressed with the durability and strength of its frame as well as its carrying capacity. It also comes with great instructions for installation. However, many buyers have found the size of the rack unwieldy and obstructive. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bike rack has features designed with the tourer in mind. It stands out for its strength and carrying capacity. It can carry up to 110 pounds, which is likely as much as you’d ever want to carry on a rear rack! The frame is impressive in terms of durability and quality of the build. It seems unlikely that this rack would ever need replacing. For long distances where you need to haul a lot of supplies, this is the rack we recommend.

Bottom Line

If you’re going to carry heavy loads, the West Biking rear rack is a great option. Its carrying capacity far exceeds most other bike racks on the market. But, the size and shape required to hold this weight may be an issue if you aren’t regularly hauling such loads.

Lightest Rear Bike Rack:
Schwinn Bike Rear Rack Bicycle Accessories

Schwinn Bike Rear Rack Bicycle Accessories

pros

  • Easy Installation
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Small and unobstructive
  • Height adjustable side struts
  • Small side rails for pannier bags

cons

  • 20lb capacity
  • Dangling side loads may catch in spokes

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are enthusiastic about the classic design of Schwinn’s rear rack. They report that it is easy to install and needs little to no post-installation adjustment. With the addition of a bungee cord or two, this bike rack easily carries 15 to 20-pound items without issue.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rack stands out primarily for its micro-size, lightweight design, and simple installation. This rack design cannot handle a lot of weight, so it just clamps around your seat post. There are no extra supports or brackets to worry about installing. Another perk of this design is that the Schwinn rack has a truly universal fit. 

For its size, this little rack packs a punch. The frame is five inches wide and extends over 16 inches long. It also has low side tubes that allow you to strap on a small pannier bag. The quality of the aluminum frame also impressed us.

Bottom Line

Schwinn’s rear bike rack is the best lightweight rack on the market. If you need a small bike rack to carry your lunch or a repair kit, you can’t go wrong with this carrier. However, if you think you’ll need to strap anything large or heavy to your ride, consider something with a slightly higher capacity. 

How Do I Choose a Rear Bike Rack? 

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a bike rack is how you use your bike day-to-day. Whether you’re a trail rider, long-distance road biker, commuter, or pleasure rider, you need different things from your carrier. Here are a few universal qualities to look for, no matter how you ride:

Weight Capacity

Here is an obvious one. You must choose a rack that can handle enough weight for you to haul whatever cargo you plan to move. 

Sideload Capacity 

Think about what you plan to carry. If you plan to hang pannier bags, make sure that your rack has tubes or side frames. These things prevent the load from catching in your spokes or rubbing up against your tires. The width of most bike racks does not allow for a heavy top load without additional containers.

Frame Weight 

In general, you want to buy the lightest carrier you can. While a heavy rack might be sturdier, it can also add a surprising amount of resistance to your ride. If you’re going to be carrying a ten-pound load, you don’t want your rack to be another four or five pounds.

Weight Distribution

The ability to evenly distribute and carry weight is vital. If your rack can carry 100 pounds but holds most of it to the right, you’ll have issues when it comes to steering and maneuverability. The more evenly distributed the weight, the less noticeable your cargo is!

Types of Rear Bike Racks

Rear bike racks break down into two categories: those that carry weight on top and those that handle a sideload. Once again, the style you should choose comes down to the type of cargo you’re likely to be carrying.

Top Load

The advantages of a top-load rear rack include their simplicity, size, and weight distribution. The top-load rack requires less space. Plus, the tubing does not extend over the side of the bike which makes storage far easier. Weight distribution is centered behind the rider. This makes it unlikely that the rider will have any serious issues when it comes to maneuverability.  

Sideload

The main advantage of a rear rack that can handle side loads is it allows you to carry far more on your bike. Side hanging panniers are less restrictive for the size and shape of the cargo you carry. With well-designed side tubing, panniers should not hinder maneuverability or steering excessively.

Rear Bike Rack vs Front Bike Rack - Comparison Overview 

Bike racks come in two categories: front-mounted racks and rear-mounted racks. Generally, rear-mounted bike racks are preferable. However, it is worth considering your options. To help out, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of both. 

Front Rack 

Front racks attach to the front of the bike, just below the handlebars. Generally, these racks attach to the front forks with clamps or bolts. A classic example of this is a bicycle basket. While front bike racks are convenient for small loads and great if you need to keep an eye on your cargo, they impact steering. For this reason, people generally avoid them.

Ibera Bike Rack IB-RA15

Rear Rack

We have already covered many of the benefits of rear-mounted racks. They attach to the dropout with another bracket attaching to the seat stays or the seat post. In rare cases, a low-weight bike rack might attach only to the seat post.

This set up provides optimal stability and allows the weight to remain centered.

Rear wheels should not shift, so there is little danger of a rear-mounted rack causing serious control issues.

Conclusion

When it comes to rear bike racks, the three main things to look for are weight distribution, carrying capacity, and carrying capability. After surveying the market, we whittled down our list to bring you the best of the best.

People Also Ask

After choosing a rack to put on your bike, you might start thinking, do I need a bike rack to put my bike onto my car? You can transport things with your bike, but what do you do when your bike is what you need to transport? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about another type of bike rack.  

How Do You Attach a Bike Rack to Your Car?

Attaching a bike rack to your car is usually pretty straightforward. It depends on the type of vehicle you have. You can either attach a bicycle rack to the trunk, roof, or hitch of your car. 

How Much Does a Bicycle Rack Cost?

Bike rack prices vary depending on the style of the rack and the brand. Generally, trunk racks are the cheapest. They range between $25 and $200. Roof racks start at $60 and range to $300, while hitch racks can run anywhere from $75 to $900.

What Kind of Hitch Do I Need For a Bike Rack?

If you already have a hitch on your car, chances are it can handle a bike rack. To install a bike rack, you only need a Class 1 or light-duty receiver hitch. This type is the standard hitch for all light towing, including loads such as light utility trailers. 

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "