Are Car Racks Suitable for E-Bikes? 9 Tips to Stay Safe


Electronic bikes are getting more popular every day. They are perfect for commuting and a blessing to the elderly that can’t ride a bike for hours anymore. But what if you want to take an e-bike with you and store it on a rack, is that even possible.

Yes, you can store e-bikes on a bike rack. Make sure the rack on your car can carry the total weight and your bike’s geometry is supported. Inspect your bike’s stability and secure them tightly and distribute the weight of your bike(s) evenly.

Now, how in the world are you supposed to transport this thing? What if you’re the type to take your bike out on excursions? Is it safe to use an average bike rack or will you need some sort of specialized equipment for e-bike transport?

I understand that lugging around a hefty, battery-powered bike should raise some concerns. The last thing you want is to attempt to bring your e-bike somewhere, only to find its parts scattered along the highway.

That’s why if you intend to bring your e-bike along on your next biking trip and you’re looking for the right rack to do it with or you already have one, make sure that you:

Consider the E-Bike’s Weight

An e-bike typically weighs twice as much as your standard bike. We can attribute this weight difference to the battery, motor, and other electric components. In this case, you will have to check whether the bike rack you’re interested in is able to carry your e-bike or not.

You never want to exceed the weight capacity of your rack because that’s just an accident waiting to happen.

Now, there is a simple workaround if your bike rack can’t hold your e-bike. The first thing you can do is take out its battery, which is generally the heftiest part of the e-bike, and stow it inside the car. The good news is that most e-bike batteries are detachable.

After you’ve taken it out, measure the weight of your e-bike again and see if your rack’s weight capacity can accommodate it then. If not, buying an appropriate one will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It will get rid of your anxiety about travel safety too.

Take the E-Bike’s Configuration into Account

E-bikes come in all sorts of specializations – suitable for anything from urban commuting to mountain biking. On top of that, their designs vary wildly. The positions of their components change from model to model. To illustrate, one e-bike’s battery might be located in the down tube, another one’s might be in the rear rack.

This is an issue because it may be hard to center and keep your e-bike stable because of its unusual geometry.

It’s a well-known fact among e-bikers that you’re more likely to damage it during transport than actually riding it in the wild.

As a precaution to this fact, it’s best that you get a rack that can carry your e-bike by its wheels. This position is the safest and you wouldn’t have to worry about having multiple racks for multiple e-bikes, all with different configurations.

Choose a Platform Hitch Rack over a Roof and Trunk Rack

The reason being that your vehicle’s roof or trunk is likely not sturdy enough to withstand the weight of a heavy e-bike or two.

A platform that you can mount to a trailer hitch is the best choice because it distributes weight much more evenly. This will also come in extra handy if you intend to transport more than one e-bike.

On top of this advantage, you’ll have a much easier time loading your e-bike onto the rack because you wouldn’t have to fiddle with it so much to keep it secure. Not to mention you wouldn’t have to strain yourself or use a stepladder to mount it on top of your car. Taking off an e-bike from your roof’s car is not a piece of cake.

And the best part?

This configuration is also the one that minimizes the chances of you damaging your car’s paint job and getting unsightly dents. In effect, your e-bike will not be grazed either. We’re talking about two expensive pieces of equipment here and you always want to be on the safe side.

Get a 2-Inch Trailer Hitch

As a general rule, you want a hitch that’s on the shorter side to reduce wobbling. Two inches is perfect if you intend to travel with multiple e-bikes and you’re trying to keep things from jingle-jangling back there.

You want to keep vibrations to a minimum, more than you would with traditional bikes, because of the electric components. Traveling with a non-electric bike is precarious as it is, but you’ll have to take extra care with an electric one.

Be Aware of the Total Weight

The total weight allowed in the hitch depends on your vehicle and on your state’s laws. Remember that it accounts for both the weight of the rack plus the e-bike(s). Some minor calculations are in order, but you’ll be able to give yourself a mental pack on the back for avoiding a ticket or any accidents – or both.

Pro tip: You can reduce weight by removing the batteries form your e-bike. This is usually quite easy to do. Batteries don’t like heat and cold so keep an eye on that. You don’t want to damage your batteries

Check for Rack Features

By and large, in life, you get what you pay for. Basic rack models will do if you don’t travel with your e-bike that often. However, if you consider location riding as one of your main hobbies, getting a decked out bike rack is a great investment. Pricier models have features for safety and convenience, which anyone can’t get enough of.

Here are some features to look out for as you look for the right bike rack:

  • Higher weight capacity
  • Made from lighter materials like aluminum
  • Easy assembly or no assembly required
  • Anti-rust, scratch-resistant coating
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Supports wider wheels and frames
  • Grab arms
  • Sturdy safety straps
  • Able to be tilted for easy loading and trunk access
  • Intuitive locking system
  • Can be fitted to any vehicle
  • Reflectors
  • Solid hitch pin
  • Quick release lever
  • And of course, a long warranty

Inspect Your Setup’s Stability Regularly

Any bolts or attachments tend to loosen over time. Ensure your safety by tightening your Allen keys often. If you find your rack to be a little too wobbly, check if the towball is snug on the tongue. If your rack has parts that are likely to rust, lube them up.

When you’re on the road, make it a point to stop occasionally to inspect the condition of your rack and precious cargo. Make adjustments here and there so that your e-bike’s position is solid on the rack.

On the same vein, you may want to purchase additional locks to keep your e-bikes from getting stolen. E-bikes go for upwards of a thousand bucks, which is not exactly chump change for most people.

Top Picks for E-Bike Car Racks

Now that we covered how to safely attach an e-bike to a rack let’s look at a couple of rack options. racks aren’t cheap but you want to drive safely and keep your bike in one piece. If you only need to bring one bike, racks are cheaper but usually, people bring more than one.

Here are a few e-bike car racks that will definitely not fail you:

Thule Easyfold

This is a favorite among e-bike enthusiasts. From the name itself, you can tell that it can be folded for storage. Being able to fold it also makes for easier handling.

This rack is very sturdy and has a weight capacity of a whopping 130 pounds, so you should be able to transport 2 e-bikes without any problems.

It also comes with a ramp, so you won’t have to lift your heavy e-bikes onto it. Just simply roll them up and lock them into place.

As an extra feature, it has a foot-operated lever that tilts the entire rack down so you’ll have access to your back hatch. It’s not the cheapest, I’ll give you that.

Compare prices on Amazon.

Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike

This rack can securely hold two 60-pound e-bikes, while it weighs only 30 lbs. Being that it’s relatively light, installing and taking it off your vehicle should be a breeze. The duel-wheel clamping hooks should keep your e-bike rattle-free.

The material of this rack is very durable, and it’s manufactured in the States.

Swagman Escapee

This rack can carry a 60-pound bike with no issues. The platform is situated fairly low off the ground, so you don’t have to pull your sleeves up and do some heavy lifting. It’s designed in such a way that it doesn’t make any contact with your e-bike’s frame, which makes this setup scratch-free.

It has durable ratchet straps to hold the bike securely in place. It also has locked arms with keys so that your bike can’t get stolen.

Yakima Hitch Bike Rack

This rack holds e-bikes by their wheels so that the rack doesn’t make any contact with the frames. If you get the extension, you can transport up to 4 e-bikes totaling 200 lbs.

You’ll have full access to your trunk because it can be tilted. The length of the spaces between your bikes is totally adjustable and up to your preferences. This is extremely useful when taking your bikes off the rack because you reduce the risk of scratching them against each other.

Conclusion

Yes, bike racks are enormously useful in transporting e-bikes, provided that you get the right one. A bike rack is essential for e-bikers, especially if they don’t have a large vehicle with enough room inside. Remember, it’s always better to get the right equipment to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Many cyclists agree that e-bikes were not invented to replace the enjoyment and benefits that we get from traditional bikes. In fact, they were designed to enhance the activity. If you’re one of the millions of people who have taken the plunge and gotten yourself a sweet electric ride, then good on you.

Ruben

I always had a thing for bike sports and love almost anything that involves bikes and boards. I work part-time as a designer in the tech industry and work on my blogs whenever I can.

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