Taking your E-Bike with you is a great way to add more options to your travel. Once you arrive at your destination, you can drive around, park and walk around, or, if you have your bike, park and then bike around. This extends your range a lot and gives you more options to experience a place. But can you really just strap your E-Bike to your car and go?
E-Bikes usually require special bike racks because they’re heavier than standard bikes. Of all bike rack options, hitch-mounted racks are the most reliable but also the most expensive. Roof and trunk mounted racks are available as well, and trunk racks are in general the cheapest option.
Because we understand that this is a complex process for you, we’ve included information on things to consider while mounting your E-Bike, as well as options for the best bike rack. We will also show you tips on putting your E-Bike on a rack and transporting it.
What Are Some Things to Consider When Mounting Your E-bike on a Car Rack?
When you have an e-bike, you want to take it everywhere you can to get the most out of it! Not only do you want it for riding, but you also want to be able to have it when you travel using your car.
For this purpose, you will need to use a bike rack. But you aren’t yet sure whether to use the normal one for standard bikes or specialized ones for e-bikes.
While using the standard rack for your e-bike might seem like a good idea, consider that your e-bike might be heavier. The rack that you choose should support the weight of the e-bike.
Here are the three things that you should consider when mounting your e-bike to a rack:
The E-bike’s Layout
The rack you choose should be compatible with the layout of your e-bike. The location of your e-bike’s battery should fit in the rack easily. The layout of your e-bike should be such that it does not make the rack unstable, as this can cause an accident.
Consider using a rack that can carry your e-bike on its wheels, as this will rarely interfere with the battery. You don’t want to be cruising along the highway for you to discover that your bike’s parts are scattered all over.
Laws and Regulations
In some areas, having your e-bike fit well within the rack may not be enough. You may also need to consider some imposed rules and regulations. Let us look at some of the rules and regulations that you might find in some areas:
- If the bike rack is attached to the back of your car, it should have working brake lights and rear lights.
- The bike rack should have an attached white license.
- Bikes should not extend more than 20 cm beyond each side of the bike.
- Make sure no sharp edges stick out.
The Weight of the E-bike
An e-bike is usually 6 kgs/~15 lbs heavier than a standard bike. The bike’s increase in weight is due to the battery, motor, and other components. Most e-bikes, however, have batteries that can be removed and stored in your car, making them less heavy.
It would also be good to know how many e-bikes you need to carry. But it is advisable to buy a rack that can carry more weight than you anticipate. Be sure to read the rack’s manual to see its weight limit.
What Are the Best Bike Rack Types for E-bikes?
We recommend that you do not use a standard rack for your e-bike. The weight of an average e-bike is 23 kgs/50 lbs, while the weight of a traditional bicycle rack supports up to 16 kgs/35 lbs only. Hence, a typical bicycle rack would not be ideal for your e-bike.
To avoid having your e-bike’s motor, battery, frame, and components damaged, you must carefully choose the type of rack you will use. To help you with this, read on to find the recommended racks for e-bikes along with their respective pros and cons.
The trunk rack is usually mounted to the trunk of your car. It is a good option for you if you transport your e-bike less frequently. The good thing with this rack is that you can switch between vehicles. For beginners, we recommend this entry-level Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier (on Amazon).
Pros of using trunk racks:
- It is much easier to mount a bike on a trunk than a rooftop.
- It is less expensive than the other two.
- It is helpful in a multi-car household as you can transfer it between different vehicles.
Cons of using of trunk racks:
- The e-bike and the rack can be stolen easily.
- You may easily forget that you have an e-bike mounted on your trunk while reversing, causing an accident.
- While using this type of rack, it becomes impossible to access your storage area easily.
The roof rack is usually placed on top of your car. When using this type of rack, you need to make sure that the rack is certified for the weight you want to carry. Check this roof rack brand Swagman UPRIGHT Roof (on Amazon).
Pros of roof racks:
- You have free access to your storage trunk area.
- Nothing protrudes from the back, making it easier to reverse or park your car.
- There is no need for an additional rear license plate holder or rear lights holder.
Cons of roof racks:
- Since an e-bike is very heavy, you might harm yourself trying to hoist it up.
- If you are driving and your e-bike is on the roof, your car might not fit in some low spaces.
The hitch-mounted rack is attached to the tow-hitching point of your car. Hence, you will need to install a towing ball if your vehicle does not have one. There are many varieties to choose from. Some racks will carry between 1-4 bikes on a single rack.
This is the most preferred rack for carrying e-bikes, although it is also the most expensive. Make sure you know the maximum weight that the rack can take to avoid a severe accident. Check this type of rack YAKIMA – FourTimer Hitch-Mount (on Amazon).
Pros of hitch-mounted racks:
- Mounting your e-bike on a hitch rack is easier than a roof rack.
- Your e-bike will be set apart from the body of your vehicle, protecting the body of your car.
- Some models will even fold at an angle, meaning, you can still access your trunk storage area even after mounting your e-bike on the rack.
Cons of hitch-mounted racks:
- Reversing your car while forgetting you have a hitch rack might cause a costly accident.
- Some budget models may block access to your storage area.
- If you have a large vehicle, you might have problems finding parking space.
What Size of Hitch Will You Need?
Most hitches are custom fit for each car, with the mounting tabs welded in a specific location for each make and model. There are five types of classes depending on strength and towing capacity:
- Class one: Has a weight capacity of 200 lbs and a hitch size opening of 1.25″
- Class two: Has a weight capacity of 350 lbs and a hitch size opening of 1.25″
- Class three: Has a weight capacity of 800 lbs and a hitch size opening of 2″
- Class four: Has a weight capacity of 1000 lbs and a hitch size opening of 2″
- Class five: Has a weight capacity of 2700 lbs and a hitch size opening of 2″ -2.5″
Start by measuring the exact hitch size for your car. The most common types of hitch sizes are 1.25″ and 2″. Then, note the class type of your hitch. You may now shop for the rack that corresponds with the hitch size of your car.
How Should You Put an E-bike on a Rack?
Mounting an e-bike on a rack can be quite intimidating, but it is not as hard as it sounds unless you have chosen the roof rack.
Here are the steps that you can follow easily:
- Remove the battery from your e-bike and put it in your car well-covered.
- Cover your e-bike with a bike cover or a tarp.
- Lift the bike onto the rack and tie it with a secure material.
- You can padlock the bikes to the rack for extra security, stability, and peace of mind.
- Make sure everything is secure before you drive off.
- When transporting more than two bikes, make sure the handlebars face two different directions.
What Are Some of the Best Bike Rack Options for E-bikes?
Now that you have seen how good and efficient racks can be for transporting your e-bike, you need to choose one. The following are our recommendations of some of the best e-bike racks:
The Thule brand is one of the most well-known bike racks, especially for e-bikes and large mountain bikes. A foldable bike ramp with transport wheels and a carry handle are included with the rack.
With this rack, you can effortlessly open your trunk, thanks to the sophisticated foot pedal tilt. Torque limiting knobs and ratcheting wheel straps are two of its components, which allow you to swiftly attach and secure motorcycles.
The rack weighs 45 lbs and has a bike-carrying capacity of 65 lbs and a total weight capacity of 130lbs.
Hollywood racks have been making quality bike racks since the early 70s. You will get a heavy-duty rack with a no-wobble-no-tools hitch tightening system patented for fast and secure installation.
The rack folds flat against the car when you are not using it. It can tilt down to give you easy access to your cargo. It has rocking frame hooks to secure the bikes to the racks with a locking hitch pin and security cable.
The Hollywood rack has a bike-carrying capacity of 80 lbs, a rack weight of 58 lbs, and a total weight capacity of 160 lbs.
This rack weights just 35 lbs, making it a lightweight choice for cars with smaller hitches. But don’t despise its size; the rack can carry two bikes of up to 60 lbs each.
The Saris Superclamp Rack has a tilting feature that allows access to the hatch and folds when not being used. Due to its dual wheel-clamping hook, the rack loads very quickly.
Due to the dual shepherd’s hooks, the rack also promises you a secure ride without touching the bike’s frame. It boasts adjustable arms and wheel trays that fit almost any type of bike.
What Are Some Tips for Ensuring Safe Transportation of E-bikes?
When it comes to transporting your e-bike safely, there are a few things to consider:
- Make sure you adhere to the maximum given load-bearing capacity for the rack you have chosen. Sticking to this will prevent you from causing a severe road accident.
- Remove the battery and the motor and keep them in the car. This will lessen the load capacity and protect them from weather elements.
- To prevent undesirable wobbling, use straps to fasten the wheels as firmly as possible.
- When you have purchased an e-bike, make sure you read the manual carefully before transporting.
You have seen how easy it is to transport your e-bike, but only if you choose the correct rack. It would be advisable to follow the recommendations in the article to avoid damaging your car and your e-bike.