How To Strap A Bike To A Roof Rack

Last Updated on February 6, 2023 by Will Sabel

If you’ve ever driven with your bike on top of your car, you know how vulnerable it can be. Strapping your bike to a roof rack isn’t as easy as strapping luggage to the roof of your vehicle. There are many factors involved in keeping everything secure during transport. So, how to strap a bike to a roof rack?

Make some padding by placing a blanket on the roof and then put the bike. Use ratchet straps or bungee cords to tie down after only reading the manuals. And most importantly, avoid over-tightening the straps. For bike roof racks, the process is quite different.

We’ll also go through different types of roof racks along with the strapping method in detail. 

strap bike on roof rack

Know the Roof Racks

There are two types of roof racks, and choosing the right one for your vehicle is essential. The kind that you choose can make all the difference when it comes to transporting your bikes.

Pre-Installed Roof Racks

Factory roof racks are the most popular option for car owners looking to add cargo space to their vehicles. These racks are pre-installed on your vehicle’s roof, so you don’t have to worry about mounting or installation costs

They provide attachment points for any sort of cargo and can be removed if you decide you no longer need them. Factory roof racks are simple, inexpensive solutions that work well with most vehicles, and they’re easy to install and very affordable.

However, tying your bikes to factory roof racks involves securing each bike tightly to the frame with some rope or bungee cords. This isn’t as secure as having proper racks, but it will keep your bikes in place during transit. And the worst part is that it takes a lot of time to get strapping done securely with the ropes.

Bike Roof Racks

roof bike racks

You can guess by the name that these are specifically designed to transport bikes. The best part is that they don’t need any sort of strapping with bungee cords or ropes to ensure the security of your bike. Well, you’ll find two types of bike racks.

  • Fork-Mount Racks

These types of roof racks are the most common type available. They hold the bikes by the forks, meaning you’ll need to take the front wheels off before you load them up.

They’re super stable and don’t require much effort to secure your bikes.

  • Upright Racks

Upright racks are a great choice if you want to carry a single bike. The arms that clamp down on the bike’s frame or wheel keep it secured in place, and you can use the rack with any type of bike.

The downside is that this style requires some strapping to ensure security and stability.

Ways to Strap Bike to A Roof Rack

Well, how to strap bike to roof rack even with factory racks, though? Again, what if they’re just roof racks for bikes? There’s no need to worry, and we’ll cover both racks’ approaches.

Steps to Strap on Factory Roof Racks

Before you start to strap your bike on the pre-installed roof racks. You better choose what you’ll use to tie down the bike. You can select ratchet straps which are our recommendation for their durability and stability. There are bungee cords and ropes as options, but they are not as reliable as a ratchet.

  • Firstly, know the weight capacity of your factory roof rack
  • Make sure to add some padding to the roof by laying a blanket or piece of a sheet there.
  • It’s time to get the bike up there. It’s best to mount the bike from the beginning of the roof to avoid obstructing the back windshield’s vision or creating updrafts. There should be no problem placing the bike in the middle position if it’s smaller in length than the car.
  • Now, check the manuals of ratchet straps or bungee cords before tying down the bike.
  • If you’re using a ratchet strap, you’ll need to take the webbing through the slot in the middle spool. In the case of bungee cords, you have to use hooks, which are pretty easy to use.
  • Check whether the things are adequately tight or not. Because if you leave them loose, they could scratch your roof or bike. Also, don’t over-tighten as that can have the same destructing result.

Steps to Strap on Bike Roof Racks

If you’re ready to strap on bike roof racks, here are our tested instructions to do so.

  • Mounting the bike on the rack is the process’s first and most crucial stage.
  • While using mount bike racks, you’ll need to remove your bike’s front wheel, which keeps it lower to the ground than other racks. This makes it easier to tie things down because bikes don’t move around as much on them.
  • If you have an upright rack, you must lift the bike and place it in its slots. Then set the clamp up.
  • Now, you need to figure out where you can tie your bike down. Spread the points across the roof to ensure it’s stable everywhere. After all, we’re trying to make things more stable.
  • After locating the points, it’s time to tie down your bike without over-tightening.
  • You could even make many loops with the straps to get the best possible stability.  

Final Words

You might just be riding a hundred miles an hour with it, so make sure it’s tight enough and the straps aren’t frayed. That said, in this article, we have provided step-by-step instructions on how to strap a bike to a roof rack. Follow these steps to ensure your bike stays safe and secure while driving down the road.

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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