Best Bike Racks for Subaru Forester

Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Will Sabel

Bike riding can be an extremely healthy and adventurous hobby. But can you imagine owning a Subaru Forester and not having a perfect bike rack to go with it? 

There’s no way you’re going to have an easy road trip without the perfect bike rack. 

A bike rack should never be the prime hindrance to your impulsive adventures. So how do we (you) deal with it?

Well, I’m right here, I’ve been in your shoes.

The truth is, it’s easy. For instance, you can rarely go wrong with an SUV by your side. 

An SUV can accommodate some of the best bike racks of all time– it’s that versatile. But here’s where it comes, your own preference, requirements, wants, and needs.

Now if you are aware of each of the factors above, you’re already off to a good start!

I’ll start from zero nevertheless. Let’s just assume you’re clueless down the path and you’re looking for one specific quality bike rack. I’ll walk you through the factors you need to consider, and the guidance you need before you commit.

Just to make the process seamless, I have listed my favorite and most recommended bike racks and included their outstanding features. 

Also, let’s be honest, I’m not biased. Even though they are handpicked, I’ve still put out reasons other than positive features. I have included reasons that might push you to avoid that particular rack if your requirements are not compatible. 

That’s not it… I just put more stuff in. And that would be just stupid to ignore.

Kidding, we don’t do that. We read here. So here you go. 

My Picks for Top-Rated Subaru Forester Bike Racks

I believe the word ‘best’ largely depends on people’s perspectives, but the common ground here would be-it benefits everyone and is worth the money. 

I’m not gonna bluff, finding the perfect bike rack from different perspectives was a bit tiring. 

But let’s not forget, these words are coming from a not-so-bike-enthusiastic person. If you are not one of us (which is why you are here), you’ll find it worth the read. 

In this list, I have chosen the 5 best bike racks for a Subaru Forester. Even if you don’t have an SUV, some of the racks will still apply because of their versatile features.

Way more features are yet to be revealed. Let’s start with the first one. 

1. Hollywood Racks Destination Platform Hitch Bike Rack

Hollywood Racks Destination platform bike rack

My perfect list needed to have this one as the opening. It’s the only versatile rack on the list. That way it’s too affordable for the quality that it provides. Can’t name a better one other than this.

Before I go down the line, let’s get introduced to the Hollywood Racks Destination Platform Hitch Bike Rack. It’s adjustable, easy, and beginner-friendly. Nevertheless to say, if you are a beginner, this is a sign to get your Hollywood Rack.

Beginning with the features, it already has an installed two-inch adapter. That means it’s already ready to use if your vehicle has a 2-inch receiver (I assume an SUV has a 2-inch receiver). It also works with a 1.5-inch receiver. If you don’t have the required size, you can adjust the extended receiver or existing receiver according to your preference.

Unlike most of the mainstream bike racks, this one only weighs 20 pounds. It’s considered the most lightweight compared to other available competitors. But that doesn’t mean it’s weak in lifting. It’s reported to carry up to 70 lbs (35 lbs per bike). It easily fits up to a 48 inches wheelbase and 3 inches of tire width.

Other than that, the multi-layered locking system opened new doors of possibilities. There are available straps for the crossbar and wheels. All these straps are adjustable. You can change the positions by removing the straps on the sets of holes on the tray. So when you are ready to set it up, all you need to do is to tighten the strap.

You have to remove the rack when you are not using it – it’s recommended for safety purposes. But sometimes we are just lazy, I get it.

Hollywood racks were thoughtful enough to offer a solution to that. If you don’t feel like taking the rack out, just fold it up. Folding is very handy when you’re in a rush or your trunk doesn’t have enough space. All you have to do is to take out the key from the hitch tube. 

Let’s say, you are parking your SUV in a forest and you need extra space. Wild situations (pun intended) like these beg for a flexible hitch mount bike rack. You can just fold it and it’s good to run.

Safety has always been a priority to the creators of the Hollywood Racks Destination Platform Hitch Bike Rack. They made sure that the hitch tube is locked in with a threaded bolt. A threaded bolt is known to be safer and stronger than a flatline bolt for holding bikes.

That absolutely doesn’t give you the free pass of reckless driving anyhow. It’s an extra weight on the back anyway so you should always be careful with the speed. 

The only feature that could make you avoid this one is the lack of enough truck access. If you are cool with that, go for it. Otherwise, this might be the one for you.

Then again, for the price you’re paying, it’s a steal!

2. Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Rack with 2-inch Receiver

Retrospec Lenox Car Hitch Tray Bike Rack

Here comes my budget king– the instant heart stealer. Lenox Car Hitch Mount Bike Racks are already known for their quality. That’s quite normal if we’re talking about this tech and tool industry. What surprised me was their price point if not the outstanding quality (it has some loopholes though). 

I still don’t know how they’re pulling off the profit with this quality.

Its budget-friendly issues don’t interrupt the involved materials. The rack is made of heavily durable steel construction that ensures longevity. From my research and real user experience, there are still no complaints of these racks breaking in the middle of the journey. 

Although it does not have any connection with longevity, I have seen reports of people saying the bodies are getting minor scratches. This issue might have other factors involved in the journey or just you need to be extra careful while handling them if you are bothered by small scratches. 

Retrospec made sure they offer enough versatility with their bike racks. Linux car hitches mount bike racks come in different variations and open a wide range of choices for you. Variations presently apply for two, three, four, and five bikes.

Its cheap price does not let it compromise its quality and weight capacity. For example, the version that can accommodate three bikes has a weight limitation of 110 lbs. And that means each bike has a weight limit of 35 lbs. You cannot avoid the weight limit to avoid any kind of unwanted accidents.

Just like impressive features and price points, the installation of the rack can easily go on with a beginner’s hand. As the name suggests, you can already guess it has a 2-inch receiver. Anyone with an SUV knows that it comes with a receiver so the process is smooth as butter. The carrier hitch fits well enough to do the job. 

If you don’t have an SUV (just in case), don’t worry, you’re good to go if your vehicles come with Class II or Class IV hitches. Even if it doesn’t, we still have an adapter to save your journey. 

All these should convince you to take a look at this one already. But before you do that, here are some disclaimers that I want you to know. You need to be extra careful with the rubber straps. Reviews and reports have shown that they are surprisingly not good enough to hold your bikes in a secure place or position. 

I got a solution for this. You can use nylon zip ties or bungee cords instead and they’ll do a way better job than those straps.

Off to my second concern – the sound it makes due to (I’m assuming) unsetting straps. But if you’re not bothered by it, don’t sweat it. Just ignore the noise and its drama. An adapter can make this shut up, just sayin’.

It’s handy, flexible, and compact. Whenever you feel like you want to take a peek at the trunk but are too lazy to remove the rack, you can simply tilt the rack downwards.

These deals are unreal at this price point. With all the competition going on with the emerging tech industry, it’s only wise to grab a high-quality chunk with half of its deserving price.

And I see no better candidate than this bike rack right here. 

3. Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

This one is unique on its own. Spoiler alert – it’s a trunk-mount rack. Does this sound exciting enough? I can’t wait to brag about its features then.

Now if we move slightly from the budget-friendly stereotypical model, here comes the worth the money models. When you spend it, just know you’re getting your money in the right place.

Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack has to be made focusing on easy installation and hassle-free uninstall. Because let me tell you… they did it perfectly. It’s facile to pin and remove in seconds making this user-friendly. 

Good news for general people – it weighs only 11.2 lbs. It’s easy to fold too, with just one hand. Guess it’s a hand’s play. No wonder I had to put it on my list of Best Bike Racks for Subaru Forester.

What actually is a matter of concern is that it does not hold a permanent fixture. An extra careful attitude towards this is highly recommended by the experts. 

Apart from being lightweight, trunk mounts are also known for picking lightweight bikes rather than heavyweights. The weight capacity is written to weigh 100 lbs (which is less) but I would recommend not going further than 95 lbs in total. Three slots are designed on the rack but make sure not to exceed the weight limit. You can assume how risky it is to overweigh your stuff clinging to your trunk and not expecting anything.

The materials are stiff and made of steel. At this price point, it is quite normal to expect hollow metal tubes instead of filled ones. This one exceeded my expectations again. This was one of the most well-built and strong racks out there, thus effortlessly locking its place in my top five.

Although the building is strong and promising, this one particular event caught my attention. I found from research that the clips that are used to hold your bikes to the rack and trunk do not have a coating of rubber or any soft fabric that avoids friction. What happens is that the sharp and sturdy clips might cause friction while traveling. This will supposedly pull the paint off your bikes.

Nevertheless, the clips hold on pretty strong so even if the road is bumpy, you won’t have to worry about misplacing your bikes at all. They are secured as much as they can be. 

I have also come to notice that the rack has dual-compound feet. It is made with hard plastic and soft gray material that will play a role to protect your bike’s finish. Just take an extra five to ten minutes to install your bikes very carefully and consider attaching stretchy materials (rubber, etc.) to the rack’s clips. 

This should solve these trivial problems. 

The straps are recommended to retighten over time. Most people are okay with not doing it repeatedly but I would advise you to not take any risk and keep a close eye on the straps. However, do not try to exceed the weight or number limit anyhow.

This is only a few bucks that are absolutely worth spending if your car does not have a hitch receiver. It causes no extra hassle, is very fine with SUVs, and is overall a perfect combination of the highest quality and easy installation.

4. Capstone Hitch Mount 2 Bike Carrier

So far, this gave me a hard time when I tried to find the cons. Except the very basic one, the price point. It’s high, but it’s worth it.

Capstone’s build is sturdy and strong. This perfectly completes the SUV demands, at a fair cost, obviously. But listen to it. It has its own reasons.

Its weight capacity is insane. It has the space to carry 2 bikes at most which sum up to 70 lbs. You cannot and should not push the rack beyond its capacity.

I have read a report of the user testing the weight capacity. Even though it said to hold 70 lbs at most, the user tested with bikes weighing close to 140 lbs. The result was spectacular, the bike didn’t move a bit or didn’t even fall off the rack. It stayed in its place beautifully. The user took this a bit further to ‘spin test’, and it passed with flying colors.

However, this particular incident should not inspire you to perform this kind of activity in any way. This is way too dangerous and reluctant to perform in real situations. 

It does prove how safe it is with the protection that it provides. Within the weight limit, it does an amazing job. Apart from that, the rack has steel construction which makes it very strong and sturdy. There is extra protection – a layer of gray powder coat – to protect the durability of the rack and to reduce friction. So far, the experience is going well.

As you can already guess from the name, it requires a 2-inch hitch receiver. SUVs already have that so perfect in terms of adjustability. 1.25 inches work great too, but you need to use an adapter. You need to spend some extra bucks for that one, too.

I love the versatility that this bike has to offer. I read on the site that it is open to carrying all bikes of all shapes and sizes. Starting from 25mm flat tires to 5 inches thick tires, Capstone’s hitch mount bike racks can carry it all. So, it doesn’t really matter if you are traveling on your regular bicycle or your monster bike. All you need is already covered by the versatility of this bike rack.

Just make sure whatever weight you are pulling does not exceed the weight limit capacity. Here come some of the drawbacks along with it – the straps underneath the bike rack.

Even though it’s very flexible with its usability, the Velcro straps are reported to be just enough for the thinnest tires. But for the slightly thick ones … it is a huge no. The strap does not stretch for 3 inches tires, let alone 5 inches. The solution to this would be to buy extra straps alongside.

Another trivial con that won’t even matter much is the need for a wrench to uninstall the rack. 

On the bright side, the swing-away feature, foldable tray, and anti-wobble system of security are worth every penny!

5. CyclingDeal Alloy Car Roof Bike Bicycle Carrier Rack

So here, we are taking a break from our very old traditional bike racks and proceeding towards something that’s not quite familiar here. Let’s say, you want a good quality bike rack with a good budget. Your car does not have hitch receivers or adapters or you are just not generally interested in any one of those.

And that leaves us with only one option. Fortunately, that option produced some of the best bike racks the users have seen so far.

Can you already guess the place by its name? This bike rack helps you to travel with your ikes safely and carry your bikes on the roofs. SUVs have pretty trendy crossbars to go with the rack. But if your car does not come with a car roof crossbar, I suggest you look out for other options. No tension of hitch receivers or adapters whatsoever. 

You don’t have to worry about the racks much, it fits almost all aero crossbars and square crossbars. It goes well with crossbars measuring 1.18 inches to over 4 inches. And with that kind of flexibility, almost all the cars I know, will fit in. Especially an SUV. 

You can already guess how easy it is to install the whole system. All you have to do is to handle the carrier (it’s not that heavy) and place it on the car roof. After you have placed it correctly, just clamp the metal bracelet that comes with it. Normally, it would not fit so you will need to adjust the clumps. Notice the diameter of the cross ars and fit the clumps accordingly. 

No tools are needed for installation whatsoever.

This brings us to the quality of the bike rack. In other words, the material of the product. From my research, I have seen that the material contains 6053 Aluminum. This was enough to put this on the list of best bike racks for Subaru Forester, I’ll tell you why.

6053 aluminum is considered one of the finest elements for durability and longevity. I know you were expecting steel. Well, I was too. Luckily, this one is lighter than steel and surpasses steel in quality. It is stronger, sturdier, does not react with oxygen, or becomes rusty, and thus, looks way better than steel. 

This strong bike rack does have a limited weight capacity. Fortunately or unfortunately, it can carry only 66 lbs in total. That makes sense as the bikes will be carried on the roof and you should not put heavy weight on that. At this limitation, you can still move 2 bikes at most and each should weigh around 30 lbs. Again, I don’t suggest exceeding the said weight limit.

There is no safety caution here. The bikes are very secure if you use the clamp and wheel strap linked to the bottom frame. The rack can handle different shaped and sized bikes as long as it satisfies their measurement limits.

One thing that bugged me and the users was the sound the rack makes on the journey. It almost feels like it would come loose and fall off. It’s nearly impossible in reality. If you think you can live off with it, this might be the best purchase you can ever make. 

Best bike rack for Subaru forester

An Insight into My Research Process

With all the resources and variety of qualities available on the market, you need a perfect guide to get you started. Not everyone has the same priorities when choosing the best bike racks for Subaru Forester themselves. 

In this buying guide, I will point out factors that you need to consider before you choose the perfect bike rack for you.

From the list that I already provided and the factors that I’m going to mention, you can abort or add according to your preferences. Let’s explore the bike rack types you can get for your SUV before we jump on the technical concept.

Racks are attached to the SUVs in three ways. Those are called:

  • Hitch-mount rack
  • Trunk mount rack
  • Roof mount rack

Hitch-Mount Rack:

subaru forester hitch rack

This one basically needs a hitch receiver to fit itself into the SUV. Even though it’s on the pricier side than the other two, the protection and security that it provides make up for it.

SUVs already come with a receiver tube to fit with the hitch tube for hitch-mount racks. You can install an adapter or hitch separately too. It is the best one to pick if you are carrying more than two bikes that need heavy security. The alignment of the hitch tube and receiver tube makes it mechanically impossible to be unsafe. 

Also, it works great with skateboards too!

Trunk-mount Rack:

You can already guess that it adjusts itself to the trunk of your car, hence the name! The good news is, this is the best friend to those who are on a tight budget. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean it has worse quality, in fact, it might be better than the other two in some cases. It does have some drawbacks though; I’ll get to that later.

The racks are the easiest to install. It should not take more than five to ten minutes even for a newbie. It places itself in the trunk in a way that blocks the whole area. So once you set this up and place them on the wheelbase, the whole area is blocked and you will lose access. That is the only drawback.

This one is the cheapest option. If you can make your peace with the trunk situation, it’s the way to go. Also, you cannot carry anything other than bikes here. If you are limited to bikes only, this is the smartest option.

Roof-Mount Rack:

Forester roof mount bike rack

This one is the most versatile one out of these three. You can carry anything including bikes and it can assist effortlessly. Whatever you carry must be limited to the weight limit, that’s the only rule.

As it’s on the roof of the car where the roof remains vacant anyway, this kind of rack doesn’t even need extra space. Your trunk is accessible and no tools are needed for the hitch receiver or tubing system. More bikes can be mounted within a short time. 

Drawbacks here will depend on preferences and situations. This is the most expensive out of these three considering the versatility of the rack. I think it’s only fair to pay this much price to enjoy the service that it offers. 

Also, the movement of the rack itself is a sport. Since it has to be carried to the roof of the car, you need to have a strong upper body. You need to fix the position of the rack mid-air before you place it on the roof. Old people or people suffering from arthritis should avoid this.  

So, if you trust your strength and have a generous budget, there’s no way you could avoid this one.

In short-

  • Hitch mount rack is slightly inexpensive but stout.
  • Trunk mount rack is the cheapest but less versatile.
  • Roof mount is versatile, secured, and expensive.

After you have decided on the type you want, it’s time to look into the in-depth features of the racks. These are some of the factors that you still need to look out for before making your final decision–

1. Longevity. This has to be the most important factor to consider. There is no point in buying a bike rack that disappoints you the next minute you bring it home. Before that happens, you need to make sure the build quality is good enough. You already have an SUV; all you need now is a tough bike rack that goes with the family.

To be on the safe side, I would suggest you try steel construction. It’s the best for strength but it could backfire if your SUV or bike comes in contact with the rack directly. Other than that, hardened plastic and aluminum are great choices. At least, these won’t leave a scratch on your beloved bike or car.

2. Weight capacity. Load capacity wholly depends on you and varies from person to person. Before you buy the bike rack, make sure you are satisfied with the weight limit that it provides. If you are someone that travels with their family or friends and their bikes, you surely are on the hunt for something that supports more than 110 lbs. 

But if you think you are okay with something that has less load capacity, go for it. The roof-mount racks are great for this. But here’s a tip- Always choose a bike rack that has greater weight capacity than your bike’s cumulative weight.

This will help conduct a smooth operation.

3. Materials. I already discussed the materials that help with strength, longevity, and durability. Steel, aluminum, plastic, etc, it’s all on you. Now let’s talk about that materials, if included, ease the process of installation and security. 

You are likely to get confused about choosing between ratchet straps and looking hooks. Ratchet straps are more versatile. Tighten it to attach your bikes and you are ready to travel. But it may make the bikes sway a little as the straps are flexible. But if you are not bothered by that, it’s a great one to choose.

Locking hooks are more secure and do not make the bikes sway during traveling. It’s less versatile though. High crossbars are seen more in bikes so it’s a safe bet to choose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I carry heavy mountain bikes or e-bikes on Forester bike racks?

Yes, many bike racks are designed to accommodate these kinds of bikes. However, you must check the manufacturer’s weight limit for the specific bike rack you are considering to make sure it can handle the weight of your mountain bike or e-bike.

Is it possible to fit a bike inside a Subaru Forester?

Yes, It’s possible to fit a bike inside the Subaru Forester. The vehicle has enough internal cargo space, ranging from 69 to 73 inches. However, you have to consider the bike’s tire size and wheelbase to ensure that it doesn’t cause any damage.

Final Thoughts

Let’s say, you already own a Subaru Forester. Choosing the bike rack for your vehicle would be the cherry on the cake.

When I went through all the candidates to find my perfect match, I loved, hated, accepted, and rejected tons of bike racks in the process. It was a confusing journey too. To make it easy for you, in this article, I laid out all my cards. 

The buying guide, for instance, will make you filter your unwanted qualities and highlight your preference. When you read the list after that, you can easily look past the less important factors while giving attention to the ones that matter to you the most.

Hollywood Racks Destination Platform hitch bike rack is my choice for the best bike rack for Subaru Forester. I wanted something that supported a hitch mount system, had enough load capacity, and kept my bike secured. The price might seem intimidating, but so is the service it provides.

Feel free to walk down the same road. Set up your priorities through the buying guide, read my favorite lists, and choose your one. It’s that easy!

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Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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