We all love getting out on our bikes and taking them on road trips for a little adventure.
In an ideal world, it’s best to keep the bikes on the inside rather than outside of our vehicles. However, the reality is that insufficient room generally dictates that they’ll end up on a bike rack on the outside of our vehicles.
Modern bike racks give plenty of options to safely secure your bikes. Two of the most popular methods of carrying your bikes are using either the hitch receiver or the direct trunk-mount systems.
Our Best 3-Bike Car Racks review has a mixture of both.
So, let’s get straight to it and find out what these particular three-bike car racks can offer you.
- Top 10 Best 3-Bike Car Racks In 2020 Reviews
- 1 Deluxe Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
- 2 Tyger Auto Tg-Rk3b101s 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
- 3 Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks For 1 1/4 In. And 2 In. Hitch
- 4 Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
- 5 Hollywood Racks F1b The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
- 6 Pro Series 63123 Eclipse Black 3-Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Carrier
- 7 Tyger Auto Tg-Rk3b203s Deluxe 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Bike Rack
- 8 Draw-Tite 59403 Rola Tx 3-Bike Carrier
- 9 Bell Rightup Bike Platform Hitch Rack
- 10 Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
- Best 3-Bike Car Rack Buying Guide
- So, What Are The Best 3-Bike Car Racks In Our View?
Top 10 Best 3-Bike Car Racks In 2020 Reviews
1 Deluxe Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
This is a very affordable bike rack from Allen that is suitable for use on just about any vehicle.
Allen makes a large range of Bike racks. The one we’re reviewing here is the trunk-mounted 3 bike car rack. However, 2 and 4 bike variants of this rack are available and they also manufacture a wide range of hitch mounted bike racks if you prefer not to use a truck-mounted system.
In common with all trunk-mounted systems, the DELUXE TRUNK MOUNTED BIKE RACK does take longer to install than a hitch-mounted bike rack. But after a couple of practice rounds, you will likely happily mount the rack in just a couple of minutes.
Careful of the paintwork…
The rack has two well-padded bars where they come into contact with the body of the trunk. The six support straps have a metal hook that attaches onto your vehicle so when you secure these onto the trunk, you should take care to attach them so as not to cause any damage to your paintwork.
Placing your bikes on the rack is a straightforward affair. The individual padded mounts for each bike are easy to use and far enough apart to accommodate almost any style or size of bike. If you have a small bike you can purchase one of Allen’s crossbar adaptors to more easily secure it to the rack.
Well-secured but trunk access can be tricky…
Once all your bikes are mounted and you’re on the move there’s no perceivable wobble from the rack and the bikes are sufficiently well-secured that they won’t come into contact with each other.
When you get to your destination, if you need to gain access to the trunk, you’ll need to take the bikes off the rack first. But on the plus side, once you get home and store your bikes, the rack is easy to take off and store.
- Very affordable.
- Compatible for use with most vehicles.
- Lightweight and easy to store when not in use.
- Bikes are well-separated from each other and from the vehicle.
- No wobble when on the move.
- No quick access to the rear of the vehicle when bikes are on the rack.
- Care needs to be taken when securing the metal hooks to the vehicle.
2 Tyger Auto Tg-Rk3b101s 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack
This is a budget-friendly hitch-mounted bike rack.
The Tyger Auto TG-RK3B101S 3-Bike Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Rack can be used with either a 2” or a 1 ¼” receiver. Mounting and removing the rack can be done in just seconds. What’s more, since it only weighs 20 lbs, you don’t need to be built like The Rock to easily do it.
The Tyger bike rack will fit all standard sedans and SUVs but it isn’t suitable for vehicles over 18’. It’s also not suitable for a trailer, a camper or an RV.
A little fiddly…
Once the bikes are placed on the cradle they are secured to the anchor points using the fasteners. Then, they are further secured by using webbing pulled around various parts of the frame and wheels. We find this system a little time consuming and fiddly.
It takes a while to get used to using this method and there are undoubtedly quicker systems. On the plus side though, once they are finally in place they have enough space and are sufficiently well tied down to ensure no bike-to-bike contact when you’re on the move.
More good news is that the mounting hitch system guarantees no wobble.
Security features included in the price…
Security is always important when you’re carrying bikes and it’s good to see that Tyger has you covered here. They include a hitch lock and a good quality bike cable lock in the price. Considering the already low purchase price, that’s a great deal!
One final advantage with the Tyger bike rack is that it allows you easy access to the rear of your vehicle, using their tilt down mechanism, without having to take off any of the bikes or the bike rack itself.
The tilt-down feature is operated by the removal of a safety pin. It’s not the smoothest system but it works well enough.
- Very affordable hitch-mount bike rack.
- Good security locks included.
- Easy to install.
- No wobble or bike-to-bike contact.
- Great tilt-down feature.
- It’s a bit fiddly to secure the bikes onto the rack.
- Not suitable for all vehicles.
3 Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Racks For 1 1/4 In. And 2 In. Hitch
The Allen Sports 3-Bike Hitch Rack is compatible with both a 2” and a 1 1/4’’ hitch receiver.
This is a simple to assemble rack that has a rapid install locking hitch insert. The fact is that rack is so easy to fix that it can be attached and ready to use in seconds.
But what we like most about this rack is that not only is the rack easy to fix into the receiver but it’s also quick and simple to secure the bikes onto the cradle. Once the bikes are placed onto the cradle, they can be tied down and you can be ready to go before you know it.
Great carrying load…
The Allen Sports 3-Bike Rack is suitable for any kind of bike. It can happily carry mountain bikes, gravel bikes, road bikes, and best of all even fat bikes. The bike rack has a maximum carrying load of 105 lbs which should be more than enough for most cyclist needs. It can carry up to 4 bikes, though 2 and 4 bike rack variants are available.
When not in use the bike rack has a fold-away feature that can be operated with a single touch of a button. This allows the rack to be folded down and kept out of the way whilst still attached to your vehicle.
And we like the tilt-down feature…
Another neat feature is the tilt-away mechanism that works to give you easier access to the rear of the vehicle. Although most hitch-mounted bike racks can do this, the Allen rack has an improved mechanism that can be operated smoothly with just one hand.
The Allen Sports rack definitely has some cool and easy-to-use features.
- Rapid install hitch mechanism.
- Can carry a load of up to 105lbs.
- Quick and easy to secure bikes onto cradle.
- Tilt mechanism can be operated with one hand.
- Neat fold-away design when not in use
- It’s relatively expensive.
4 Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
The Hollywood bike rack has the same kind of mechanism to attach the rack as most other trunk-mounted bike racks. There are six straps supplied that hook under the trunk or rear of the vehicle to firmly keep the rack in place.
It’s an effective system though it does take little practice to do the job quickly. Again, when securing the hooks just take a little care to ensure you don’t scratch your paintwork.
Generous load capacity…
The load capacity for the rack is a generous 35 lbs per bike, which is plenty. The rack can accommodate all bikes, including children’s and smaller bikes, though an adaptor may be required. Whatever bikes you’re hauling make sure you remember to load the heaviest bike first.
Attaching the bike to the anchors by means of the rubber straps is simple. Once in place, the bikes are further secured by a final integrated strap.
A little too close for comfort…
Though the padding is adequate to protect the paintwork we would have liked to see more room between the mounting point of the first bike and the rack. It seems a little too close.
A couple of things we specifically like about this bike rack are that firstly, once it’s not in use, it’s really easy to fold up and store. The fact is it folds away into such a small area that you can even store it in your trunk! And secondly, we also like the fact that it’s really easy to adjust the angle of the cradle using the large adjustable knobs.
- Rack comes fully pre-assembled.
- Easy to secure the bikes on the cradle.
- Easy to store the rack when it’s not being used.
- Adjustable the cradle angle.
- The space between the first bike and the rack is tight.
5 Hollywood Racks F1b The Original 3-Bike Trunk Mount Rack
We love the description of this bike rack. ‘The Original’ is a really honest portrayal of this Hollywood rack as it summons up images of our very first bike racks.
Let us explain…
Going back some 25 or 30 years this was very much how all trunk-mounted bike racks were made.
The design differs from modern-day racks in that it only has four hooks with attaching straps rather than the six which we now more typically see. But the biggest difference is that they don’t have dedicated anchoring points with dedicated fasteners on the cradle.
The lack of these anchor points does mean that potentially it can be quicker to load the bikes. After all, if you have three bikes then that’s six fewer straps to mess around with, right?
Err.. yes, that’s true, and you might save a small amount of time. However, the downside of this is that the bikes are not as well secured as modern racks with built-in anchor points. The potential for the bikes moving around and creating bike-to-bike contact is greater.
Is this really so serious?
This isn’t necessarily a problem. Put it this way, if you have older bikes or mountain bikes, or any bike you’re not too fussy about, go for it, this rack will be fine. But the truth is a lot of us have bikes, both vintage and modern, with expensive or hard to replace paintwork. If this is you then there is absolutely no way ever, ever, ever that you should buy this product.
We think that’s pretty clear.
Before we finish this review we also want to come back to the use of four straps, rather than six, to attach the rack to your vehicle.
We don’t get it…
Why not use an extra couple of straps to get some extra lateral support and stability? It’s not that the stability of the rack, once it’s installed, is particularly bad, but it could easily be so much better!
In short, this is an old-style bike rack that can take up to three bikes of any size (though that could be very tight with bigger bikes) and can be easily loaded. But despite its simplicity, it will still cost you the same, if not more, than a modern alternative.
Nope, we definitely don’t get it!
- Can be easily installed.
- Easy to load the bikes.
- Can accommodate any kind or size of bike.
- Potential to cause damage to your paintwork through bike-to-bike contact.
- Only has four straps and hooks to attach the rack to the vehicle.
6 Pro Series 63123 Eclipse Black 3-Bike Hitch Mounted Bike Carrier
This lightweight 3-bike rack can be used with either a 2” or a 1 ¼” hitch receiver.
The bike rack doesn’t come fully assembled but it’s quick and easy to do with very few tools required. Subsequently, fitting it into the hitch receiver is even quicker and easier.
It has an unusual design as it only has one cradle arm instead of two. Instead of the frame being placed across two anchor points on each cradle arm, the Eclipse works by placing the frame across a padded channel that is bolted across the cradle.
There are a couple of obvious advantages to this.
Firstly, the rack has a small profile and so when it’s not in use it’s less obtrusive. Secondly, because of the short nature of the channels for the frames, it can accommodate any bike, including children’s bikes.
Easy to load…
Also, though this might not be the case for everyone, we found it easier to load, since you can easily use both of your hands on either side of the top tube to put the bikes into the narrow padded channel.
Once the bikes are placed onto the cradle we also like the super-strong velcro webbing that’s used to hold the bikes in place. These are very neatly attached, are strong, simple and quick to work with.
Full marks to Eclipse…
Another plus for this rack is that it sits far enough away from the vehicle to be used when the spare wheel sits outside of the vehicle. This is a very handy feature!
One last useful feature is that it has the ability to tilt downwards with bikes left in situ. This helps you gain easy access to the trunk or rear of the vehicle.
Not the smoothest but still worth it…
Unfortunately, although it’s a great feature you do need a couple of hands to take out the pin and lower the rack. It’s not really the smoothest system but it’s better than having to take all of the bikes off the rack.
- Ergonomic single cradle arm design.
- Can accommodate all sizes and kinds of bikes.
- Easy to load.
- Can be used with vehicles that have a spare tire on the outside.
- The tilt-away mechanism is awkward.
7 Tyger Auto Tg-Rk3b203s Deluxe 3-Bike Trunk Mount Bicycle Bike Rack
This is one of the most affordable and one of the easiest to assemble trunk-mounted bike racks we’ve seen.
The super-light Tyger Auto TG-RK3B203S Deluxe bike rack comes pre-assembled and can be attached to the trunk of your vehicle in less than a couple of minutes. It will fit most vehicles though it should be noted it’s not suitable for anything over 18’.
It has six fixing points using the traditional hook on the end of a strap. There is a final strap at the end of the rack that is used to secure all the bikes once they’re in place.
Small details count…
It’s a small thing but we really like the final fixing strap being red. It might seem insignificant, but when there are a total of seven straps flapping around before the bikes are fixed, it just makes it easier to decide what is going where.
Once the rack is in place the bikes can be placed on the anchor points on the two cradle arms. They use the same soft webbing material, as on all their other bike racks, to secure the bikes to the cradle arms. It’s a neat, fast and effective system. We like it a lot.
Furthermore, we also like the fact that any size or kind of bike can be placed on the rack.
But careful to stay within the load capacity…
The load capacity of the rack is just short of 100 lbs so it is sufficient to carry three standard bikes. You could carry a fat bike on this bike rack, but since they are generally heavier than the rack’s 33 lbs per bike limit, you might have to check the weight of the other two bikes to stay within the load capacity.
Once the bikes are firmly in place they don’t sway or swing around and keep well away from your precious paintwork at the rear of the car. Even if they move for some reason, the rear of the rack is well-padded to help further protect your car.
- Easy to install.
- Any bike will fit on the rack.
- Not suitable for use on trailers, RVs, campers or on vehicles over 18”
8 Draw-Tite 59403 Rola Tx 3-Bike Carrier
This is a hitch-mount bike rack that will fit any standard 2” or 1 ¼” hitch receiver.
The Draw-Tite 59403 Rola TX 3-Bike Carrier has twin arms and six anchor points, tow pre bike, to secure the bikes to the cradle arms. They use padded anchor points with built-in strong plastic webbing to fix the bikes down.
This is a great system and a great choice of materials but we would have liked to see larger anchor points. On bikes with wider frames, they’re just a bit of a squeeze to fit in.
Smaller bikes may need extra securing…
The fact is though that the Draw-Tite 59403 Rola TX 3-Bike Carrier will accommodate all bikes, including fat bikes. Though children’s and smaller bikes may need an adaptor to be properly secured in place.
Once the bikes are tied down they are rock-solid and thanks to the anti-sway rollers they don’t move about on the cradles. If you have an expensive bike you can be sure that they won’t bang into each other, or the car or frame, and damage your paintwork.
Drive with confidence…
What’s more, in common with a lot of hitch bike racks, when you’re on the move there’s no additional wobble from the hitch. This is a bike rack that you can quickly and easily secure your bikes to and drive with confidence, knowing that they’ll stay that way with no issues.
Another cool feature is that the bike rack has a quality integrated lock. It’s great to have something to protect your bikes from thieves. Unfortunately, there is no lock at the hitch point like you can find on some other hitch bike racks.
We know it’s possible to buy a separate hitch lock but it’s nice to have a lock for the bikes and the hitch that uses the same key!
One last feature we always like to see on a bike rack is the tilt away function which allows you to get into your vehicle without taking the bikes off the rack. The Draw-Tite 59403 Rola TX 3-Bike Carrier uses a retaining pin to perform the tilt. It works fine but does require a couple of hands to operate.
- Easy to install.
- Has a built-in security lock.
- Anti-sway rollers on the cradles.
- Bike rack doesn’t wobble when you’re on the move.
- The anchor points could be wider.
- It requires two hands to use the tilt away feature.
9 Bell Rightup Bike Platform Hitch Rack
This is a well-built, strong and heavy all-steel bike rack.
Bell Rightup Bike Platform Hitch Rack does not come pre-assembled so it will take a couple of simple tools and a few minutes to put together. Instructions are included but there’s also a helpful online video in case you get stuck.
The Bell bike rack has a platform design so your bikes will sit nice and low behind the vehicle.
Which means better visibility…
There are positives and negatives for this kind of design. One of the main positives is that it increases rear visibility when the bikes are loaded if you have an SUV or a sedan. It also marginally increases visibility when the rack is not in use.
But it also means it’s heavier…
One of the negatives is that the Bell bike rack is heavier and larger than a hanging or mast style of hitch bike rack.
The Bell rack is able to hold three bikes of any kind. The advertising does say it’s able to carry fat bikes but we dispute this with the model we’re looking at. The Bell Rightup 350 can only take tires up to a maximum of 3” wide. Also the Bell Rightup 250 can only take tires up to a maximum of 4” wide.
So riddle me this…
Since many fat bike tires are up to 4.5” and even 5” wide, if you have a fat bike, this bike rack probably won’t be suitable. In fact, all of the Bell made platform bike racks are also likely to be unsuitable. If you want to stick with Bell you’ll have to buy one of their hanging style racks to accommodate your fat bike or bikes.
In better news, if the bikes do fit on the rack they’re easy to secure and stay held in place superbly well. We think the platform rack is undoubtedly the best design to keep your bikes in place and prevent damage to either the car or the bikes, making this a real contender in the best 3-bike car racks competition.
Finally, this rack also has an easy to use tilt-away function to give you rapid access to the trunk or rear without removing the rack or bikes.
- Strong and sturdy build quality.
- Quick and easy to secure bikes in place.
- Bikes are well separated from each other.
- Easy to operate tilt-away feature.
- It’s heavy.
- Not be suitable for all fat bikes.
10 Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
The Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier is a premium-priced and premium-made bike rack. It’s also one of the easiest trunk-mounted systems to use and to load your bikes.
Thule have their own patented FitDial strap mechanism that helps to both easily attach the straps to the vehicle and also keep them tidied away when not in use. The system also has the benefit of reducing the likelihood of a locking hook swinging into your car or bike and damaging the paintwork.
Definitely a neat idea in more ways than one…
The Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier has the highest level of protection for both cars and bikes that we’ve seen on a trunk-mounted bike rack.
The contact points on the car are really well-padded and the anchor points on the arms have thick rubber cradles to protect and secure your bikes. The cradles also have an anti-sway feature to keep things running nice and smoothly when you’re on the road.
All the main positives are there…
The Thule bike rack can carry any kind of bikes, including fat bikes, up to a total capacity of 105 lbs. It can carry a smaller bike but you will need to buy that all-important cross-bar adaptor to ensure a good fit.
The rack gives you generous clearance between the first bike and the vehicle, as well as between bikes. There’s no doubt that once secured, the bikes will stay in place, and will neither come in to contact with each other, nor with your vehicle.
One last feature of the rack we really like is its ability to neatly fold away whilst still on the car.
- Well-made with premium materials.
- Good padding.
- Excellent FitDial patented strap system.
- Can be folded away on the vehicle.
- No tilt-away function.
- It’s expensive.
Best 3-Bike Car Rack Buying Guide
The three main options of carrying your bikes on the outside of your vehicle are to use a roof rack, trunk-mounted rack or a bike rack with a hitch mount receiver. In this review, we’ve specifically looked at trunk-mounted and hitch-mounted bike racks.
Before we go any further let’s briefly summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the trunk-mounted and hitch-mounted racks such as those reviewed.
Trunk Mounted Bike Racks
These are inexpensive to buy and are lightweight and easy to store. Additionally, they are highly portable and can fit just about any vehicle.
On the downside, they are more likely to scratch your vehicle because of the use of hooks and straps to secure the rack. The straps are also more likely to work loose than on alternative systems. The rear of the vehicle can’t be accessed with bikes on the rack and what’s more, the straps can be easily cut by thieves, so they offer little in the way of security. This means they might not be the absolute Best 3-Bike Car Racks.
Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks
These are easy to install on your vehicle and once installed, the bikes are less likely to sway or move around than with a trunk-mounted bike rack.
Hitch mounts also offer better security for your bikes against thieves. If you’re biking in dodgy areas, then this is definitely the Best Three Bike Car Racks option for you, as most will have lock options that can be placed on the hitch and over the bikes.
Of course, that can up the price…
The main disadvantage of these locks is that they are more expensive, they’re heavier and therefore more difficult to store and transport. Plus if you don’t already have a hitch receiver, you’ll need to install one. And that can be expensive.
Bike racks don’t all have the same load capacity or ability to carry every kind of bike.
Some racks are unable to carry children’s bikes or smaller bikes. Others are unable to carry larger bikes or bikes with wide tires, such as fat bikes. Though smaller bikes can often be fitted onto a rack using a special adaptor, you need to check the specifications of each bike rack carefully, to ensure they’re suitable to haul all your particular bikes.
Hitch mounted bike racks usually have some kind of protection against bike theft. The very best 3-bike car racks have a lock mechanism to secure both bikes and bike rack with a single key. If the bike rack you’re thinking of buying has no security we’d advise you to look at add-on options for the bikes and the rack.
If you’re thinking of buying a trunk-mounted bike rack, you need to take into account they offer minimal protection against theft. Therefore, if you think you’re likely to have to leave your bikes unattended for any substantial period of time, we’d strongly recommend you look at a hitch-mounted bike rack, fitted with locks.
Looking for security add-ons and other great accessories to go with your new 3-bike car rack? Be sure to check out our reviews of the Best Bike Locks, the Best Mountain Bike Gloves, the Best Bike Helmets, and the Best Bike Helmets for Kids currently available.
Might get another bike soon? Check out our review of the Best 4 Bike Car Racks.