Roof bike racks are one of the more complex types of racks to design and build. They involve many separate parts to both fit all kinds of car roofs as well as all kinds of bike frames. This is why not many manufacturers dare to enter this market.
The brands listed here extensively test their racks for strength, durability, and longevity. They test the coatings and hardware against road salt and other corrosive elements. They put them through brutal tests – probably more than you will put them through on normal use.
So, here are the best, high-quality, trustworthy brands to choose from to give you an overview of what quality manufacturers are available in the world or bike roof racks (in alphabetical order):
For a list of all the best bike rack brands, regardless of rack type, check out this article.
… is a relatively small American company, founded in 2001. They are a bike rack manufacturer through and through with cargo carriers and trainers also in their catalog. But bike transporting gear is their absolute strong suit.
As the name suggests, 1UP USA racks are made in the USA. They are known to be hasslefree yet reliable, and rugged. These properties are also reflected in their recognizable industrial look. Yet the racks are still slim, foldable, and as discreet as a bike rack can be.
If you have ever seen a 1UP bike rack you probably noticed the unique look, the how securely the bikes are attached on both ends. A neat little detail easily overlooked is the wide variety of roof racks the bike racks can attach to.
… has been around the block a few times. The company, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (USA) was founded back in 1967 and has been trusted by outdoor enthusiasts around the world since then. Allen Sports products are known and valued for their ease of use, value, and reliability. It all started when the US Apollo aerospace program was cut back and physicist Dick Allen used the opportunity to turn his passion for cycling into an engineering job.
He was tired of hassling with twine and dinging up his car, so he set out to create a better solution — not only for himself but also for the growing market he foresaw. Now, with facilities across the United States and abroad, they are committed to producing the highest quality, easiest to use racks on the market.
Update 2022: Allen Sports seems to have discontinued their roof rack line-up.
… are more well known for their hitch and trunk racks, but also have a limited roof bike rack presence. With those the fork axle mount is the only option, so front wheel removal is a must.
Küat Racks began in 2008 with the goal to create better ways to transport bikes. This goal leads them to create high-end, well-engineered hitch racks, roof racks, and bike rack accessories. Their designs are lightweight, stylish, and (mostly) easy to use. At least I would not call the front wheel removing on a roof rack particularly hassle-free.
They also partnered with the US National Forest Foundation as well as other tree planting organizations like One Tree Planted, Trees For The Future, and Trees.org to plant over 600,00 trees in fire-damaged national forests within the US.
… operates under one principle since 1993: When you absolutely cannot ride your bike to your destination yourself, they’ve got you covered. They are known for manufacturing solid, well-designed, and dependable racks to get you to the next ride, or big adventure. To this day RockyMounts has been owned and operated by founder Bobby Noyes.
As you would assume, RockyMounts is based in the USA – Colorado to be exact. The first RockyMounts racks were made with material sourced entirely from within the US: plastic from Boulder, trays from Indiana, paint from Lyons and packaging from Denver. Now, much of RockyMounts’ manufacturing is done in China and Taiwan since 2005.
What in the world even is a “swagman”? It sure sounds fancy and stylish. Far from it. It is actually an Australian term describing someone who travels from farm to farm on foot seeking work – and carrying all of their belongings in a swag.
While the bike rack manufacturer Swagman is in search of adventure, not work, packing up and going is in their vision. They consider themselves the enablers of fun.
Whether your swag of fun outdoor toys includes bikes, kayaks, or anything else they could use to explore the beautiful nature, Swagman can help you mount it to your car.
They are based in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, and were one of the first companies worldwide to design and market a hitch-style bike rack. Since then they have branched out to RV-approved bike racks, hitch-mounts, roof racks for cars and trucks.
… a household name and the juggernaut of the car rack industry. Thule (pronounced “too-le”) was founded back in 1942 in Småland, Sweden, and has acquired the reputation of producing high-quality, well-designed, safe, and durable car racks.
The first product designed to carry sports gear by car was a ski rack. Followed by many other roof-mounted carriers. Finally, in 1992 the first hitch-mounted bike rack was introduced. All the major car rack products are still sold and improved upon by Thule.
Relatively new addictions are roof tents and truck tailgate pads, among other types of truck bed bike racks.
No matter the product, you can be sure it has been thoroughly shock- and crash-tested at the in-house testing facility in Hillerstorp, Sweden. Thule is known for its high test standards that far exceed regulatory requirements.
… started as a small machine shop in Yakima, Washington State, USA. In 1979 it was acquired by two kayakers and cyclists who saw the need to create a better way to transport their outdoor gear.
Now, Yakima stands for high-quality and reliable specialized car racks to carry all kinds of equipment like bikes, kayaks and canoes, fishing rods, skis and snowboards, surfboards, cargo boxes, and roof tents.
With that catalog of carriers, they have something for every season and every outdoor adventure.