After looking at the various bike rack options, we decided to crown Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack the best bike rack for Subaru Outback. In this article we reviewed the Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack as well as other best bike racks for Subaru Outback to help you pick the one that fits your needs.
We compiled this list in light of product ratings, features and specs, users’ comments and our peer cyclists’ reviews. In the end we picked Kuat NV 2.0 the best bike rack for Subaru outback due to its high quality, sturdiness and efficient design.
We hope our reviews of the following bike racks help you decide on the best bike rack for you, your bike(s) and your Subaru Outback.
If you’re interested in learning more about the five bike racks that made the list, go ahead and keep on reading!
Our Top Five Best Bike Racks For Subaru Outback
- Best Overall: Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack
- Best for Capacity: Hollywood Traveler Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
- Best for Value: The Allen Sports Deluxe Bike Carrier
- Best Roof Mount: YAKIMA FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount
- Honorable Mention: Thule T2 Classic Hitch Mount Bike Carrier
Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback: Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack (Hitch Mount)
- Two size options: one fits 1.25″ hitch receiver, the other fits 2″
- Bike Capacity: 2 (weighing up to 60 lbs each)
Kuat bike racks have a reputation for high quality and of our pick for the best bike rack for Subaru Outback is an example of this reputation.
This hitch mount rack securely holds up to two bikes (each weighing up to 60 lbs) and comes in two sizes to fit either a 1.25″ or 2″ hitch receiver. If you have the 2″-receiver model, you can also increase capacity to 4 bikes with the Kuat NV Base 2.0 bike hitch rack add-on (sold separately, not compatible with the 1.25″ model).
We like this bike rack for how sturdy and secure it is. The bikes are secured to the rack with cable locks and arms that are placed over the wheels.
The Kuat NV 2.0 also comes with powder coating to weather the years and an adjustable front tire cradle system to achieve a good fit.
Another big plus is the tilt feature which makes your life easier in loading/unloading your bike(s). Let’s say your hands are full with the bike you want to load onto the rack. When you press on the release lever at the base of the rack with your foot, the bike rack is lowered from its stowed upright position to the horizontal loading position. It’s a pretty cool feature that speaks to the brand’s attention to detail.
- Sturdy and high quality
- Pivot with foot assist to make loading/unloading easier
- 2″-receiver model can be combined with add-on to increase bike capacity
- Ballistic powder coating to increase longevity
- Fairly heavy
- On the pricier side compared to a lot of bike racks on the market
Best for Capacity: Hollywood Traveler Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
- Fits both 1.25″ and 2″ hitch receiver
- Bike Capacity: 4 (weighing up to 35 lbs each)
If you know you’re going to be transporting your bike and others’ then capacity will be an important consideration. The Hollywood Traveler Hitch Mounted Bike Rack can carry up to four bikes, each weighing up to 35 lbs. This hanging-style hitch mount model fits both 1.25″ and 2″ receivers.
Since it’s a hanging-style hitch mount as opposed to platform style bike rack, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with the pros: Weighing at approximately 29 lbs, it is fairly lightweight for a 4-bike hitch mount rack. In this category it’s also quite affordable.
We like that the Hollywood Traveler bike rack has the stability that comes with being a hitch mount rack without breaking the bank the way some platform-style hitch mount models with similar bike capacity do.
This bike rack comes with soft rubber anti sway cradles to help keep wobble to a minimum. When you’re not using it you can fold the arms to stow the rack away without it taking a lot of space.
Main downside is that some bikes (especially kids or ladies bikes) might require a top tube adaptor to fit on this type of hanging style hitch mount rack. Also keep in mind Hollywood racks support hitches that are Class 2 or above only. So a 1.25″ Class 1 hitch wouldn’t be compatible with this model.
- Can hold up to four bikes
- Fairly lightweight and affordable for a 4-bike hitch mount rack
- Easy to install
- Might require adaptor bar to attach bike to the rack depending on the bike
- Hollywood racks are not compatible with Class 1 hitches (which a 1.25″ hitch could be)
Best for Value: The Allen Sports Deluxe Bike Carrier (Trunk Mount)
- comes in 2-bike, 3-bike, 4-bike options (though we are focusing on the 2-bike version)
- load capacity is 35 lbs per bike
If you’re shopping for a bike rack on a budget or just enjoy good-value price tags in general, then you should check out the Allen Sports Deluxe Bike Carrier.
This trunk mount rack comes in 2-bike, 3-bike, and 4-bike options you can pick from based on your bike capacity needs. The load capacity of this model is 35 lbs per bike.
First of all, we like the efficiency of this product. Trunk mounted bike racks tend to be among the most beginner-friendly of bike racks and this Allen Sport carrier is a prime example. This rack arrives assembled and pretty much good to go out of the box. Installing it should be a matter of seconds.
The bikes are secured to the rack with straps that tie around the frames. The rack is padded in certain areas to keep the bikes away from the car and help prevent damage.
There’s a possibility you will experience some wobble and swaying while transporting bikes, which could result in scratches to your vehicle and/or damage to your bike. There might also be scratches to your car from the metal mounts that go on the trunk.
All in all it’s a decent alternative on a budget and easy to use but you are obviously compromising on the quality like with most cheap things.
- Very affordable
- Comes assembled, installation is easy
- Padded in certain areas to minimize damage
- Could result in scratches to your vehicle and/or damage to your bike(s) due to wobbling in transit
- Metal hooks that go on the trunk can lead to scratches on your car (could be mitigated by putting electrical tape over the hooks)
- Some users weren’t happy with durability of the straps
- Might require adaptor bar to attach bike to the rack depending on the bike
- No security features included
Best Roof Mount: YAKIMA FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount
- Bike Capacity: 1
- Does not require removal of the front wheel
If you are more into roof mounted racks then we would highly recommend checking out the YAKIMA FrontLoader Upright bike mount.
We like this bike rack because it is one of the more beginner friendly bike racks. It comes assembled out of the box and offers easy installation. You also don’t have to take apart your bike’s wheels to mount it on this rack. (You might have to remove the fenders though depending on the type.)
It is compatible with all axle types and fits a wide array of bikes (including full suspension, disc brakes, and thru-axles).
The YAKIMA FrontLoader holds your bike by its front and rear wheels so that the frame doesn’t come in contact with your vehicle. That’s good news for your Subaru Outback and your bike.
This bike rack is compatible with 20″ to 27.5” wheels with tire width up to 3” as well as 29” wheels with tire width up to 2.7”.
- No need to remove the front wheel
- Comes assembled and is easy to install
- Fits any axle type
- No-frame-contact design
- Requires a compatible roof rack with a crossbar spread between 16″ and 48″
- Need to lift bike over the car to mount it on the rack
- Doesn’t include locks
- Some fenders may have to be taken apart to mount bike on the rack
Honorable Mention: Thule T2 Classic Hitch Mount Bike Carrier
- Two size options: one fits 1.25″ hitch receiver, the other fits 2″
- Bike Capacity: 2 (load capacity: 100 lbs in total)
We want to give a quick shout out to the Thule T2 Classic Hitch Mount bike carrier as well. It’s considered to be one of the best bike racks if not the best bike rack for Subaru Outback so you can say it’s quite a popular option.
This hitch mount rack can carry up to two bikes and has a load capacity of 100 lbs in total.
This bike rack was certainly designed with efficiency in mind. Thule T2 Classic allows you to conveniently access your trunk space when the bikes are loaded with the HitchSwitch lever, which tilts the rack away from the car.
This model comes with a ratcheting arm that goes over the front wheel to secure the bike. No frame contact necessary, which is good news for your bike.
We also like that the the mounts where your bikes go are adjustable so you can increase the horizontal distance between two bikes to minimize contact between the two in transit.
- Tilt feature for convenient access to trunk space when bikes are loaded with HitchSwitch lever
- Adjustable mounts which can be used to increase the horizontal distance between two bikes
- Comes with SnugTite Lock to lock rack to vehicle
- Can be combined with Thule T2 Classic Bike Add-on to increase bike capacity to 4
- On the expensive side compared to some models
- Some users were not happy with the quality
How to choose a bike rack for Subaru Outback?
If you’re wondering how to go about choosing the best bike rack for your Subaru Outback you’re at the right place.
The Cycle Simply team pays attention to a number of attributes when picking a bike rack. Here we list the features that separate a great bike rack from an okay one. We also discuss considerations to keep in mind pertaining to your personal needs and preferences.
Which type of rack is best for you?
There are multiple kinds of bike racks you can pick from to use with your Subaru Outback. These bike rack types are differentiated by where they’re mounted on the vehicle.
They each have their pros and cons and we want to make this selection easy for you. That’s why we present here the three primary kinds of bike racks you can choose from: hitch-mounted bike rack, roof-mounted bike rack and trunk-mounted bike rack.
Types of Bike Racks
Hitch Mounted Racks
A popular choice as far as bike racks for a Subaru Outback go, hitch mounted bike racks are heavy duty and therefore, can typically fit large bikes. Just like with all bike racks there’s some trade-offs to be mindful of.
A big advantage of hitch mounted racks is that you can still take advantage of your trunk space while actively using a hitch mounted rack. That’s a huge pro.
Hitch mounted racks also tend to be foldable so you can stow it away in your trunk without it taking a lot of space when you have no use for it.
On the other hand, these bike racks are quite heavy (we didn’t call them heavy duty for nothing). So installing it can be physically challenging if you’re doing it alone. If you have an extra pair of hands helping you then this is obviously less of an issue.
The extra weight also means you will have to spend more on gas. So that’s something to keep in mind before you commit to one of these racks.
Another issue is these bike racks are likely to cover your license plate, which could put you in violation of some traffic rules depending on where you’re using it.
Roof Mounted Racks
Another common choice is the roof mounted rack. These are typically more lightweight than hitch mounted racks so installing it by yourself shouldn’t be too difficult if assembly instructions are straightforward enough.
Having said that you basically have to lift your bike overhead and onto the roof to attach it to the rack so there’s definitely some muscle involved in utilizing these bike racks.
The obvious pros of these racks are they leave your trunk space accessible for use and you don’t have to take apart the front wheels of your bike to attach it to the rack.
A good roof mount rack should securely hold your bikes in place on the roof of your Subaru Outback without swaying too much or damaging the car.
Trunk Mounted Racks
Trunk mounted racks are quite popular and that’s because they have a lot of advantages and they tend to be more affordable than other options. They are easy to install and uninstall because they typically come pre-assembled. That makes them fairly beginner-friendly.
These racks can also be conveniently stowed away without taking up too much space since they’re foldable.
The main disadvantage to a trunk mount rack is that because it’s attached to the rear of your car it will block your license plate.
An important consideration is that your bike rack meets your capacity needs. Do you only need to transport your own bike or do you need to be able to carry multiple at once?
Keep in mind that some bike racks can be combined with add-ons to increase capacity.
You should also think about what kind of terrain you will be traveling on while using your bike rack.
Some bike racks including roof mount or platform style hitch mount racks are better at handling rough terrain whereas others are typically best suited to smooth terrains.
Weight of your Bike(s)
Someone who will transport fat tire MTBs or cruisers will need a sturdier bike rack than someone who will only have to transport a road bike.
That’s because fat tire MTBs and cruisers tend to be heavier than road bikes and a bike rack needs to be on the sturdier side to be able to carry them with no issues.
Each bike rack comes with an implicit or explicit weight limit. It’s important to pick one that meets your needs.
Similar to the fat tire MTBs vs road bikes example above, bike tire size varies significantly and your bike rack should be suitable for the kind you expect to use.
If your bike has fat tires and you’re buying a bike rack that attaches to the wheels, make sure the wheel mounts have enough clearance to accommodate fat tires.
Obviously if you are buying a bike rack that holds the bike by its frame and not the wheels, such as a trunk mounted rack, then you don’t really have to worry about the tire size.
A big concern when picking a bike rack is whether it will rust. If you live and cycle in an area with lots of rain then you will have to pay extra attention to the material of your bike rack.
Ideally your bike rack should come with powder coating to help prevent rust damage on its surface. When looking at the specs of a bike rack see if it’s labeled “anti rust” and how it was designed to be so.
We hope this article helps you decide on the best bike rack for your needs. We wanted to provide a list of good options and a guide for you to use while shopping for your next Subaru Outback bike rack.
In the end we settled on the Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack as the best bike rack for Subaru Outback. We like that it is a sturdy and high quality product with glowing reviews and comes with a foot-assist pivot feature. It also comes with powder coating to weather years of use.
You can follow the link here to check it out on Amazon!