5 Best Bike Rack For Subaru Outback In 2021 (Ultimate Guide)

Biking around your neighborhood is fun, but when it comes down to bigger and better adventures, choosing the perfect bicycle rack for your Subaru Outback involves understanding how the bike rack works with your lifestyle.

Thankfully, there’s a great variety of styles of bike racks available on the market. We know that you’d rather spend more time biking than comparing all the different racks out there, so we’ve done the research for you.

Our Comparison Table

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
  • Features: AutoAttach system for easy installation, frame-free ratcheting arms, HitchSwitch lever.
  • Benefits: Anti-rust coating lifetime warranty mean this may be the only rack you will ever need.
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  • Features: Anti-sway cages, FitDial, Road Dampening Technology.
  • Benefits: Keeps both your bike and Subaru secure and safe as you drive.
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  • Features: 12 inch cradle arms, side straps.
  • Benefits: Relatively inexpensive, easy to install.
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  • Features: 4 bike carrying capacity, anti-rattle handle, anti-rust finish
  • Benefits: great for families.
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  • Features: HitchSwitch lever, One-Key System lock, SnugTite easy installation, anti-rattle hitch pin.
  • Benefits: Lightest weight bike rack.
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The Thule T2 Pro X2 is the best all around bike rack because of the AutoAttach easy installation system, frame-free ratcheting arms to protect your vehicle and bike, and ease of adjustment with HitchSwitch lever. The anti-rust coating and lifetime warranty make this a durable investment likely to keep you adventuring for years to come.5 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outbacks


5 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Outbacks In 2021

1. Thule T2 Pro – Top Bike Rack Pick for Subaru Outback

The Thule T2 Pro XT is our unbeaten pick for best bike rack for Subaru Outback. A durable, secure platform-style 2 bike rack that allows complete trunk space access while the bike rack itself is fully loaded, the Thule T2 Pro XT is a versatile bike rack ready to make your life easier. This bike carrier can accommodate most styles of bikes, including carbon-frame bikes, mountain bikes, e-bikes, and fat-tire bikes. It has a bike capacity of two bikes weighing 60 lbs each with a maximum weight-capacity of 120 lbs. The Thule T2 Pro XT comes with a specially designed AutoAttach system makes installation quick and easy. It allows you to attach the bike carrier to your Subaru Outback in only three simple steps. It can also be attached to many other vehicles, including the Subaru Outback Crosstrek.

Features: frame-free ratcheting arms, HitchSwitch lever

Pros:

  • Solid steel rack construction with anti-rust black powder finish.
  • HitchSwitch lever means that nearly anyone can maneuver the rack.
  • AutoAttach system makes the rack very easy to install.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • The One-Key System lock included is too flimsy.
  • Expensive for a rack that can only carry 2 bikes. Carrying additional bikes requires a separate extension.

2. Thule Archway – Best Trunk Bike Rack for Subaru Outback

The Thule Archway XT is a reliable, sturdy trunk mounted rack that can automatically accommodate either 2 bikes or 3 bikes. It has one of the best several design features that to prioritize the safety of both your bikes and your Subaru, making it one of the best racks on the market. Spend more time biking and less time worrying about your bikes.

Features:

Anti-sway cages, FitDial, Road Dampening Technology

Pros:

  • TrunkLocker Strap prevents the rack or bikes from colliding with your Outback.
  • FitDial technology lets you manually adjust the rack to accommodate the angle of your Outback.
  • Road Dampening Technology cradles will absorb shock and vibrations from damaging your bike as you drive.

Cons:

  • This trunk mounted rack won’t be able to open as easily with the rack attached.
  • Installation is more complicated than other models.
  • The weight capacity is only 105 lbs, so the 3 bike carrying capacity is limited towards lightweight bikes.

3. Allen Sports Deluxe 2 – Best Budget Option for Subaru Outback

The Allen Sports Deluxe 2 is one of the best bike carriers for a Subaru owner on a budget looking for hitch mounted bike racks that are quick and easy to mount to their car. A 2 bike capacity hitch mount rack, the Allen Sports Deluxe 2 is also incredibly easy to install. To check other available options, I recommend that you check our recent post about the ultimate guide on bike racks for SUVs.

Features:

12 inch cradle arms, side straps

Pros

  • Can carry up to 2 bikes per rack
  • Easy to install.
  • Side safety strap.

Cons

  • Less durable.
  • Lacks car pads to buffer possible bike-to-car impact.
  • More than one bike will decrease stability.

4. Hollywood Bike Platform Rack – Best Family Option for Subaru Outback

The Hollywood Racks Sports Rider SE 4 is a hitch mount rack able to carry anywhere from 1 to 4 bikes, including kids bikes, making it the best bike rack for cyclists who love to bike in groups or even families! The Sports Rider prioritizes safety and security for both your car and bike. The hooks holding the bikes on the rack are padded to prevent damage. The Sports Rider also uses a keyed-alike hitch lock with hooks and a security cable lock to securely lock your rack first to your Subaru Outback and then your bike to your rack. The anti-rattle handle will reduce the movement of the parts inside of the hitch receiver, keeping your bikes securely locked in place as you drive your car. The front two bikes will be easily accessible at all times, and accessing the back two bikes is as simple as removing the front bikes.

Features:

4 bikes carrying capacity, anti-rattle handle, anti-rust finish

Pros:

  • Can carry up to 4 bikes.
  • Solid security features, including cable lock.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Family-friendly.

Cons:

  • Difficult installation.
  • Expensive.

5. Thule Helium Bike Rack – Best Lightweight Bike Rack for Subaru Outback

There’s a reason we’ve included multiple Thule brand bike racks: Thule has an outstanding reputation for quality design and making the best bike racks. The Thule Helium Pro 3 Bike Rack is the best option for Subaru Outback owners looking for a lightweight rack design. A lightweight rack design improves fuel efficiency for your Subaru Outback, ideal if you plan to drive long distances in your car with your bike rack loaded! The lightweight rack design also makes rack installation and removal easier. The Thule Helium Pro 3 Bike Rack is a hitch mount with anti-sway cradles and apple spacing between bikes to keep the bike frame from colliding.

Features:

HitchSwitch lever, One-Key System lock, SnugTite easy installation, anti-rattle hitch pin

Pros:

  • Can carry up to 3 bikes.
  • Bike carrier weight is only 20 lbs.
  • Aluminum frame is rust-proof.
  • Trunk access while bike rack is still attached.

Cons:

  • One-Key System lock isn’t very durable.
  • Requires adaptor for children or women-specific bikes.

What to Look For When Buying a Bike Rack for your Subaru Outback

Bike racks are not a universal fit for every car, and the options can be overwhelming. Not all bike carriers can fit every vehicle, and you need to take into consideration whether the rack will correctly fit onto your Outback, and whether the bikes you currently own can be safely and securely carried by the bike rack. 

And just like there is no one-rack-fits-all solution for your Subaru Outback, you shoulder consider how your new bike rack will help or hinder your ability to ride at your leisure. Before purchasing, evaluate which all the options to determine which are the best bike racks for Subaru Outback and also your lifestyle.

Things to Consider

Rack mounting location

There are multiple options for how to mount bike racks to your car. Bike racks can be mounted on top of a vehicle or behind.

Hitch mount bike rack

If you are a shorter person, a rear mounted Subaru bike rack may be an easier option for you than one that mounts on top of your vehicle. A rear mounted bike rack can be attached to the trunk or hitch of your Subaru Outback. Before considering a trailer hitch rear rack, be sure to identify compatibly racks for Subaru Outback. Subaru Outbacks are Class III vehicles with openings of 2”x2” which means that they can accommodate hitch receivers Classes I-III. Hitch bike racks are the best bike rack for hauling two bikes or more.

Hanging cradle style hitch mount bike rack

This bike rack is less expensive than the platform style hitch bike rack. The bikes are less secure in the rack, however, and may jostle each other during the drive resulting in minor cosmetic damage.

Platform style hitch mount bike rack

This bike rack is more expensive than the hanging cradle hitch bike rack, but it keeps the bikes very secure in the rack. It is typically heavier, and may be more difficult to remove when not in use.

Trunk mount bike rack

A trunk mounted bike rack is the best bike rack for people who tend to carry a lot of items inside of their trunk that they want to access before or after a ride. However, not all trunk mounted bike racks allow the same easy access to the trunk, so be sure to verify this before purchasing. Trunk mount bike racks can also be the best bike rack option for people who want to remove the bike rack from their Subaru Outback frequently. This bike rack is the least secure option, however, and often lacks sturdy locking mechanisms to prevent either bike or rack theft.

Roof mount bike rack

Roof racks do not require the user to remove a wheel from the bike, like some styles of rear racks. However, roof mount racks are often car specific. Before purchasing a roof rack, make sure that it can be correctly installed on the cross-bars of your Subaru Outback. Roof racks are the best bike rack for users who want complete access to the truck of their car and who also may want to carry other items, including kayaks or roof rack storage, on the roof of their vehicle. Also, it is important to ensure that your bike rack is clean and well-protected so we have listed 7 best bike covers for traveling. We have also listed the best sun visor extenders you need to know as a typical visor might not be enough to protect your eyes from the sun.

How often will the rack be used?

If you’re the weekend-warrior type who plans on using your car to haul your mountain bikes to trailheads regularly, be sure to take stability of the bike racks into account. Bike racks that prioritize stability, including anti-sway cradles or anti-rattle handles on the hitch, prevent damage to both the bike and your vehicle, however, they are typically more expensive due to the quality of the build. Roof racks and hitch racks are the best bike racks for more serious cyclists due to the increased stability of the bikes while mounted.

Number of bikes per rack

One bike? Two bikes? Three? More? Apart from simply being able to fit the correct number of bikes onto the bike rack, make sure the bike rack you choose is designed with a high enough weight-capacity to support all your bikes. 

The number of bikes you want to carry may also influence your decision to get a rear or roof rack. Attaching multiple bikes to a roof rack will be much more difficult than on rear mounted bike racks. Racks that carry multiple bikes are typically more expensive. If you’re looking for other great options, we have listed some of the best Graber bike racks for your future reference.

Ease of installation

Some bike racks require additional tools to correctly mount the rack onto your vehicle, while some are now specifically designed to be installed tool-free. Take into stock the tools you have at home and if you are willing to source additional tools to mount (and remove) your bike rack at your convenience. Also, if you plan on changing your vehicle in the near future or plan to use your rack on multiple vehicles regularly, “easy install” racks should be a priority to make the installation process pain-free.

Durability of the rack

Being a piece of gear that will most likely spend a considerable amount of time exposed to the elements, you should consider how important the durability of the bike rack you choose. Consider bike racks for Subaru with anti-rust coatings if your bike rack will generally remain attached to your car and not stored inside a garage.


What is the Best Bike Rack for Subaru Outback? Final Thoughts

The Subaru Outback bike rack to beat is the Thule T2 PRO XT. The combination of versatility, easy installation, durability, and universal trunk access means that this is the best bike rack for a everyone from the hardcore road cyclist to a road-tripping mountain biking couple with a fully-loaded trunk. The anti-rust finish and lifetime warranty on this hitch bike rack prove that the Thule T2 PRO XT is the best Subaru Outback hitch bike rack for a bike fan looking to purchase a quality, durable bike rack that they will be able to enjoy for many years to come, even if they change to a different vehicle.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
  • Features: AutoAttach system for easy installation, frame-free ratcheting arms, HitchSwitch lever.
  • Benefits: Anti-rust coating lifetime warranty mean this may be the only rack you will ever need.
Check Latest Price
  • Features: Anti-sway cages, FitDial, Road Dampening Technology.
  • Benefits: Keeps both your bike and Subaru secure and safe as you drive.
Check Latest Price
  • Features: 12 inch cradle arms, side straps.
  • Benefits: Relatively inexpensive, easy to install.
Check Latest Price
  • Features: 4 bike carrying capacity, anti-rattle handle, anti-rust finish
  • Benefits: great for families.
Check Latest Price
  • Features: HitchSwitch lever, One-Key System lock, SnugTite easy installation, anti-rattle hitch pin.
  • Benefits: Lightest weight bike rack.
Check Latest Price
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Austin Mills

Austin Mills in an outdoor enthusiast. He's been featured on some of the top outdoor & fitness blogs sharing his expertise in order to help others. In his free time, he likes spending time with his dogs enjoying the outdoors.

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