Bike Racks for Electric Bikes: How to Transport Your E-Bikes Safely
Electric bikes (E-bikes) are fast becoming a fun and trouble-free way to enjoy cycling in the great outdoors. With less pedalling to do, you can cover more miles, enjoy a leisurely ride with little ones, or simply explore cities, coastlines, and the countryside with fewer aches and pains.
Once you've made the switch to charged-up cycling, you may also need a bike rack for electric bikes to transport your new ride safely. E-bikes can be far costlier than their push-driven counterparts, not to mention heavier. That means you need to think carefully about how to stow them when you travel to protect both your bike and your vehicle.
So which is the best bike rack for electric bikes? And what is the best way to keep them safe and secure in transit? In this guide, we cover everything you need to know.
- Bike Racks for Electric Bikes
- Towball Mounted
- Towbar Mounted
- Roof Mounted
- Rear Mounted
- How to Transport Your E-Bikes Safely
- Battery Storage
- Preventative Safety
- What is the Best Bike Rack for Electric Bikes?
Bike Racks for Electric Bikes
There are several types of car bike racks that are suitable for electric bikes and we'll cover the benefits of each one below.
Towball mounted is by far the most popular choice of bike rack for electric bikes. If you don't already have one, you'll need to purchase an additional number plate and a tow bar. Click here to find one compatible with your vehicle's make and model.
Once you have your towbar securely fixed to your vehicle, the bike rack is attached to a bolt-in system or a clamp-down lever. Bikes can be loaded onto a platform or hung by their top tubes, with an extendable arm to fix each one in place. If you have electric mountain bikes or e-bikes with especially fat tires, you'll find they usually fit comfortably on this type of bike rack.
These racks usually feature a locking mechanism to fix the rack to your vehicle, and at least one more to fix each bike to the rack. This level of security makes them popular with e-bike owners who may be worried about theft or damage in transit. Another benefit to towball mounted racks is that you won't have to lift heavier e-bikes above your head and onto the roof.
Towball mounted racks tend to have a relatively high weight capacity, but it's always worth checking the details before making a purchase. You'll need a weight limit of at least 20 kg per bike to be on the safe side.
For transporting your e-bikes safely and securely, we love the Westfalia Bikelander, which can be tilted to allow access to the boot. It also features adjustable wheel holders and individual bike locks for additional peace of mind.
A towbar mounted rack is very similar to a towball mounted rack, except it is only compatible with a flange-type towbar. It is fixed to the towbar faceplate as opposed to being bolted onto your towball. This makes it possible to transport bikes and tow a caravan or trailer at the same time. If you never hit the open road without your trusty camper in tow, a towbar mounted rack is the way to go.
Easily and quickly fixed after the initial baseplate installation, towbar racks support the weight of your bikes in their entirety. Again, it's important to check the weight limits with the rack manufacturers to ensure it is suitable for heavier bikes. Just as with a traditional towball mounted rack, you'll find loading and unloading easy with the bikes mounted at boot height.
Try this Flange Towbar Mounted Cycle Carrier, which is suitable for vehicles with a rear door-mounted spare wheel, supporting up to three e-bikes.
Roof racks are less popular among e-bike enthusiasts. This is because heavy-duty e-bikes can weigh 30kg or more, making it very difficult to lift them over your head and onto the roof of your vehicle. The roof of your vehicle may also have a weight capacity that is not suitable for heavier e-bikes.
If yours is one of the lighter electric bikes on the market and you still want to give it a go, we recommend sticking to one bike and taking it slowly. Try this Roof Mounted 1 Bike Cycle Carrier, which can be fitted to a vehicle's existing roof bars with a 'T' adapter.
It's worth noting that a rear mounted bike rack – that is strapped to your vehicle without a towball or roof bars – is not usually sturdy enough to hold e-bikes. However, if you find one with a high weight limit and you're not planning on travelling too far, they can be an economic choice for one or two bikes. Don't forget to also purchase an additional number plate and lighting board to stay legal on UK roads.
Try this Rear 2 Bike Carrier, which can hold a total load of up to 45 kg – with rigid fixing brackets to secure your ride in place.
Tips to Transport Your E-Bikes Safely
Once you've selected a suitable bike rack for electric bikes, it's time to gear up for your next adventure! Here are a few additional things to bear in mind to make travelling with e-bikes an easy and stress-free affair.
E-bikes are expensive, so you'll want to make sure yours is stowed safely and securely. Loose bikes have potential to damage each other and your vehicle during transit, so a car bike rack is essential to protect your precious paintwork.
Consider adding an extra ratcheting strap or two to your car rack for additional peace of mind, and opt for a model with a locking mechanism if you plan to leave your vehicle unattended. You may also want to invest in a bag or covering to keep each bike safe from the elements on the road and protect them from dents and scratches.
The best thing to do is to remove the battery before you mount your e-bikes to your vehicle and store it somewhere safe and dry inside. While these batteries are designed to withstand relatively heavy weathering, it can't hurt to be cautious. Sudden movements made by a car could dislodge your battery in transit or lead to an unexpected fault. On warmer days, extended sun exposure can also cause battery damage.
Don't forget to also remove clip-on accessories such as water bottles to prevent loss or theft on your travels.
Heavy e-bikes can be a lot harder to lift than traditional push-bikes. You may want to remove the front wheel and store it inside the vehicle to make loading easier – especially if you have opted for a roof rack. If you're loading onto a towbar or towball mounted rack, just remember to bend with the knees and hold the push upwards through the legs to avoid strains and injuries when lifting electric bikes.
Whenever you travel with e-bikes, remember to take a comprehensive first-aid kit and travel toolset, in case of accidents and break-downs.