For many Subaru Outback car owners, loading and unloading bikes on a vehicle are not the easiest thing. This is considering a Subaru Outback is a wagon type vehicle with good gas mileage and roof rack but one needs to carry the bike through the roof or just place it at the vehicle hitch.
Roof racks are however not the best considering the height of this heavy-duty vehicle which is why you need to look around for the best bike racks. There’s a lot to consider for this.
Do you want a truck bed rack, a fork-mount, or a roof-mounted bike rack? You also need to consider the types of bikes and different sizes you have, as well as the position you want the bikes to be in.
Also, think about whether you need it for a single bike or more, and consider the roof racks, hitch receiver, and bike contact points.
Whether you have a road bike or mountain bikes, you need to get the best bike rack for Subaru Outback but the decision is not always easy to make.
I’ve done a review for you to help you pick the best bike rack and see whether you need a hitch mounted one or other rack types.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outback
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the bike racks for Subaru Outback that most people buy).
- Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack Top Pick
- Yakima HoldUp EVO 2 Bike Platform Rack Runner-up
- Thule Archway XT Runner-up
Top 5 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outback – Our Reviews:
1. Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
First on our list is the Thule T2 Pro 2, an excellent rack choice if you have a carbon frame bike, a mountain bike, Fat-tire, Ebikes, and Downhill bikes.
The Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Rack is a premium hitch bike rack that uses ratcheting tools to hold your bike’s wheels. With it, you can be sure that there won’t be any frame contact thanks to the sliding cradles.
The hitch mount rack is made from strong steel material and is then coated with a black powder finish that makes it resistant to both rust and corrosion. This hitch bike rack is capable of carrying two bikes.
The HitchSwitch lever mounted at the front makes it easier for anyone to fold the rack and to lift it too. The Subaru Outback rack’s ratcheting tools are located on pivoting arms that hold the bikes securely by their front wheels, thus preventing the frames from coming into contact with the bikes.
This rack for Subaru Outback features large front and rear wheel cradles that make it easy for you to load your bikes. The rear wheel cradles will usually slide with ratcheting straps so that the bike’s fit is properly adjusted.
The deep wheel cradles alongside the long wheel straps can hold fat bikes effectively even if their tire length goes up to 5 inches. This bike rack for Subaru also has an adjustable slide that can go up to 3 inches sideways to effectively optimizes the spacing of the bikes.
It’s easy to install the Thule T2 Pro XT hitch rack, thanks to its AutoAttach system. All you have to do is to slide the rack into the receiver, and then through the hitch pin shank and hole, you can insert the Auto Pin.
This mount bike rack for Subaru Outback also comes with a one-key system that comes in handy when you want to lock the rack and prevent the bikes from getting stolen.
- Carries 2 bikes
- Carries 60 lb per bike
- Maximum tire width: 5″
- Carrier weight: 52 lb
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Hitch mount rack
- Fits 20″ to 29″ wheels and up to 5″ tires
- Easy installation process
- Doesn’t need an extender to carry a bike
- Has HitchSwitch lever
- Allows folding when not in use
- A bit costly for a bike rack
2. Yakima HoldUp EVO 2 Bike Platform Rack
Next on our list is the Yakima HoldUp Evo 2 Platform Rack. The manufacturers truly understand the love of a cyclist for adventure and to make their adventurous lifestyle even easier, they came up with this amazing bike rack.
With its build, it’s able to carry up to two bikes at a go. It features a rugged style and holds the bike securely by the wheels using the pivoting cradles and the ratcheting hooks to ensure there is no frame contact.
When you want to access the rear cargo, tilting the rack is easy. The levers of this bike rack are also easy to access facilitating folding when it comes to storage.
The Yakima HoldUp Evo bike rack features a KickStart foot level. This lowers the rack properly from the storage position so that you’re able to load the bikes.
The rear wheels cradles are easy to adjust and so are the ratcheting straps of these bike racks. This makes it easy for them to accommodate bikes in other sizes.
The extra-long wheel straps and the deep wheel cradles help you in carrying even the fattest bikes whose tires are up to 5 inches wide. You’ll also be a fan of the fact that the bike spacing is highly optimized and this is thanks to the adjustable bike trays that you can easily slide sideways.
The bike rack’s SpeedKnob facilitates easy installation because thanks to it, you don’t need any tools or rattles. All that’s required is that you tighten the rack inside your hitch so that any movements or noise from your bike is minimized significantly.
There’s also the Key System ensures that your bikes and the rack are safe from theft. Its SpeedKnob and the cable locks make sure the bike rack is secured tightly to your Subaru Outback
In case you have multiple bikes, you have the option of buying the Y02482 add-on that will convert your bike rack into a 4 bike carrier.
Also, when you’re back from a long ride and have already loaded your bike, you can use the rack’s signature bottle opener to open up a bottle of your favorite drink.
- Application: 2” x 2” trailer hitch receivers
- Carries two bikes at a time
- Carries a weight capacity of 50 lb per bike
- Maximum tire width of 5 inches
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Extendable to carry 4 bikes
- Loading and unloading the bikes is easy
- Easily switches to a rack for 4 bikes
- Allows tool-free installation
- The folding lever is hard to reach
- Not suitable for children’s bike
3. Thule Archway XT
The Thule Archway XT is a great trunk bike rack. In fact, it’s one of the best trunk-mounted bike racks on the market today.
The best thing is that these Thule Archway XT bike racks come in two size variations. One can hold two bicycles and the other can hold three bikes at the same time, so it’s up to you to pick whichever rack option matches your preferences.
Thanks to Thule’s reputation for coming up with high-quality bike products, it’s a go-to brand for a lot of people seeking a mounted bike rack. The brand has been present since 1942.
You can also get the Thule Gateway XT which is a similar variation from the brand. The only difference is that while both bike racks provide for Hold-Fast RTD cradles, the Gateway doesn’t provide for an integrated cable lock while the Archway does.
- Trunk mount
- Carries 2 to 3 bikes
- Anti-sway cages
- Road dampening technology
- Comes in two variations
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Oversized molded pads
- Absorbs shocks and vibrations
- Resistant to scratches
- Rack arms adjust independently
- Protects your vehicle’s body
- Hard to open rear hitch
- Adds extra weight on your vehicle’s deck
- A bit hard to set up
- Not suitable for certain vehicles
4. Kuat NV 2.02 Rack
The Kuat NV 2.02 is a platform-style rack with the ability to carry two bicycles at the same time thanks to its hitch-mount design. It can hold many bikes’ sizes, brake styles, and designs.
With this bike rack, there is no bicycle contact with its ratcheting hooks gripping your bike firmly on the front wheels. It also has a TE coating that prevents scratching and scuffing on your bike frame coating by the hooks.
This Kuat NV is easy to install too, thanks to the hand-tightening cam system. You won’t need any tools to install the rack.
For the installation, all you need to do is to turn the knob so that you are able to tighten the rack in the hitch.
The front-wheel cradles of the bike rack are large, allowing you to load your bike easily. The fact that you can slide the ratcheting straps lets you carry bikes with up to 4 -13/16-inch tires.
You will be able to carry even more bicycles that have fat tires by buying the APBK adapter. When it comes to tilting and folding Kuat bike racks, the process is easy and anyone can do it with the help of the front-mounted foot levers.
The bike racks also come with an in-built repair stand that you will have with you on-the-go just in case you need to do some bike maintenance. This stand can fit up to ¾-inch to 2 ½-inch diameter tubing and gives you the freedom to adjust it for best positioning.
Your bike rack and bike will also be safe from theft, thanks to the Keyed-alike locks. The Keyed-alike locks also feature a hitch-lock that safely secures your rack to your Subaru Outback while the cable lock will lock the bike to the rack.
Lastly, this Kuat bike rack is made of lightweight aluminum that is both resistant to corrosion and durable.
- Maximum tire width: 4.8 inches
- Carries two bicycles
- Weight capacity of 60 lb per bike
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Comes with an inbuilt repair stand
- Bike loading and unloading is easy
5. Curt 18065
The Curt 18065 is among the best bike racks because of its unique tapered arm design. These arms come in handy when an owner wants the Curt 18065 racks to carry a number of different bike sizes.
Most people with a family of four or five will prefer this bike carrier if everyone in the house has a bike, although you might face some issues in mounting the children’s bikes.
It’s a steady rack with a maximum load capacity of 225 pounds with each bike weighing a maximum of 45 pounds. You are, however, advised not to load five adult bicycles as they will hardly be a perfect fit and their weight could cause swaying which is dangerous.
- Holds up to five bikes
- Tapered arms
- Anti-wobble shank
- You can fit up to five bikes to the rack
- Maintains a scratch-free frame
- Easy rear access
- Easy to use
- Rubber straps could tear up
- Hard to mount kids’ bikes
There are many other types of bike racks for a heavy-duty Subaru Outback car, such as Allen Sports and Hollywood Racks. However, whether you go for Allen Sports or the best bike rack we have suggested, the key is in looking at feature articles and the reviews.
You need a good-sized rack with great accessories, like a bike lock. It’s also nice to go for one that accommodates different sizes of bikes at a time and allows for quick and easy attachment of the bikes.
From there, you’ll know whether to go for a trunk-mounted rack or a roof rack (also called a roof mount) for your car, although a roof rack or roof mount might not be one of the best for Subaru Outback. Roof racks make loading and unloading bikes on your car hard.
You’ll also know whether you need a one-bike rack, or if you’ll need one that holds more than one bicycle.
We’ve highlighted 5 best-selling bicycle racks perfect for Subaru Outback but you may be wondering which among these best ones is my favorite bike rack. Well, my pick is the Thule T2 Pro XT 2.
Not only is this hitch mount bike rack easy to install, but it’s also a hitch-mounted bike rack suitable for different bicycles. With it, there is no frame contact and you need not worry about your vehicle getting scratches either.
I love that it carries not just one bike but two on the backside of your vehicle effortlessly. With it, folding and lifting are easy.
It has security features that keep it and the bikes securely attached to your vehicle, too!