It’s a beautiful thing to stuff the family and your belongings in a car and be able to ride bicycles far from your home. Through a park, along a greenway, or in a different city.
Most bike racks are such a pain though, and give you so little confidence that they’ll hold up as you bounce along the road, that many casual bike riders rarely take their wheels elsewhere.
When it was time for me to buy a new bike rack, I did some research online and also started paying attention to what other people had on the back of their car. The brand that kept winning out with people who cycled a lot was Saris. So I plunked down the cash and got the Saris Bones 3 for the three of us.
The rack is not quite as simple and elegant as the photo at the top would have you believe. You still have to attach straps to various spaces and cracks in your car trunk or back hatch to securely fasten this. They’re the ones you see on any bike rack, with black nylon adjustable straps and coated metal flat hooks. Helpfully though, they’re labeled as to where they’re supposed to go, so it’s not the usual puzzle to figure out.
There are two reasons this bike rack is popular though. The first is the simplicity. A little disassembly is required to get it properly set up for your particular vehicle, but two minutes or less with the instructions is enough to figure it out. Getting the bikes on and off with the fasteners is about as easy as you can reasonably expect.
The other reason people like this Saris Bones rack is that it’s lightweight but strong. Yes, it’s made of plastic, but it’s very strong plastic and the curving design gives it more strength and stability than most metal ones. It’s also less clumsy to store or to move from one vehicle to another.
If you only ever have to move two bikes, there’s a Saris Bones 2 as well. The company also makes a version that hooks to a trailer hitch.
Sometimes you see new or barely used ones on eBay for a bit less.