Would you want to take your bike to your out of town road trip or camping exploit? Then bike adapter bars are a must-consider, and I’ll help you with the search.
A bike adapter bar is the most convenient way you can carry a bike on your car. You get to save on car storage space, but more importantly, you bring the bike safely and conveniently.
That’s more important if your bike is not a standard or conventional one.
I’m going to discuss how you can find the bike adapter bars for your nonconventional bike. And I’ll also review the best bicycle adapter bars on the market. So let’s get right to it!
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Bicycle Adapter Bars and Nonstandard Bikes
The problem with most nonstandard or nonconventional bikes is that they feature a swiveling fork that is not easy to fix on the car’s transport rack.
If you don’t fix it well, then the bike’s stem will start to rotate due to the car’s vibrations. The result is the bike or car getting damaged.
Not good either way!
To avoid that, bike manufacturers recommend the use of adapter bars. The bars are fit between the bike’s handlebar and the seat post to enable the bike’s frame to maintain a stable position while on transit.
So, if you are tired of the bike stem rotating and damaging your car, it’s time you get a bike bar adapter.
Buying Guide for the Best Bike Rack Bar
Given that so many bicycle adapter bars exist on the market, you have to consider your choices wisely. Here are the primary buying considerations.
Bicycle adapter bars rarely adjust. So, expect a majority of them to come in standard sizes.
That means you have to get the dimensions right from the very start.
The secret to getting the choice right is to measure the handlebar’s length to the seat post. That is the measurement you are supposed to use to get your perfect adapter bar.
You need a bicycle adapter bar that can withstand the car’s vibrations. It should also be strong enough to carry the weight of your bike.
So, check the material closely to ensure it’ll serve the purpose. The trick is to get material like aluminum or carbon fiber, which is lightweight yet sturdy and corrosion-resistant.
Most bicycle adapter bars only carry one bicycle. However, there are a few others that hold more.
So, you need to pick an option that suits your individual needs. If, for example, you would want to bring multiple cycles to your road trip, then you need an adapter bar with a larger capacity.
You have to check its dimensions and confirm from the specs that it can carry more than one bicycle.
Ease of Mounting
You need a bike adapter that you can mount on your car quickly and firmly.
Most bike bars for bike racks employ the clamp system to hook the bike. Such options are not just easy to fit, but they also firmly hold the bike while on transit.
So, consider them or anything else with the same result.
More Buying Considerations
The weight capacity is just as crucial as the carrying capacity. So, don’t just consider the number of bikes that the adapter bar can carry, but also the amount of weight you can load on it.
If you overload the bar, there’s always the risk of it breaking and dropping your bicycle. Your car may also get damaged in the process.
So, go for a weight capacity that’s more than your bike’s weight.
You want an adapter bar compatible with kids’ bikes, full-suspension bikes, and women’s bikes. Simply put, it shouldn’t limit you to hooking only a specific bike type.
It should also be compatible with both the hitch-mounted and rear-mounted rack.
Luckily, you can tell this by checking the bike’s specs.
Weather is, of course, quite unpredictable. You cannot foresee bad weather, and so the best you can do is prepare for it.
You need an adapter bar that resists rusting for starters, meaning it should feature an anti-rusting coat.
Other than resisting rain damage, the bar should also resist excess sun exposure.
5 Best Bike Adapter Bars
Now that you know what to look for in a bike adapter bar, here are my personal recommendations:
1. Allen Sports Tension Bar Bicycle Crossbar Adaptor – Best Overall
- Allen bicycle adaptor bar quickly snaps in place on most bicycles to add a top-tube so that the bicycle can be carried on a bike rack.
- Sport type: Cycling.
- This adaptor bar adds a top tube to your bicycle frame so that it can be installed properly on a bicycle carrier.
- It's designed to be used with hard-to-mount bike frames, such as full-suspension bikes, women's bikes, or other non-conventional designs.
The Allen Sports Tension Bar Bicycle Cross Bar Adaptor is a number one best-seller for a reason.
With it coming in steel construction, this crossbar adapter is strong enough to hold your heavy bike. The steel construction also makes it weather-resistant.
Allen Sports Tension Bar features an internal spring that secures your bike.
Interestingly, you can mount more than one bike on this adapter bar. As a result, it’s the perfect choice for a family of cyclists.
The crossbar adapter has plastic-coated hooks to protect your bike from scratches. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty, which gives you great ease of mind.
Overall, Allen Sports Tension Bar fits bicycles with a seat post-to-stem measurement of 16-27 inches.
From kids’ cycles and women’s bicycles to full-suspension bikes, you can mount them all on your car’s rack using this crossbar adapter. The Allen adaptor bar is very easy to install, as can be seen from the video below.
The bicycle crossbar adapter only weighs 2.3 pounds, thus reasonably lightweight and is easy to use.
- Strong and weather-resistant
- Plastic-coated hooks
- Internal spring
- Lifetime warranty
2. Sparehand Universal Adjustable Bike Frame Adapter – Best for Rack Storage
- Telescopic bar adapter fits virtually any bike style or size up to 33 lbs.
- Sparehand Original Design: Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
The Sparehand Universal Adjustable Bike Frame Adapter is a bike frame adapter bar that promises value for money. It’s the perfect choice for rack storage, and it’s easy to understand why.
This frame adapter bar has a telescopic design that allows it to fit any bike that weighs up to 33 pounds. However, it is perfect for nonconventional bikes that lack the traditional top bar, more so women’s bikes.
And because of that, their design allows you to add a top tube to your nonstandard bike to store it on a standard bike rack.
Unlike most frame adapter bars, Sparehand Universal Adapter adjusts within the range of 22-32 inches. As a result, it attaches more comfortably.
The top tube adapter features vinyl-coated hangers that protect your bike from damage.
This design is an original patented technology by Sparehand and comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Furthermore, the bar enjoys a vinyl-coated heavy-duty steel construction to boost its durability.
- Vinyl-coated heavy-duty steel
- Telescopic design
- Vinyl-coated hangers
- Versatile pick
3. Saris Bike Beam Trunk and Hitch Rack Crossbar Adapter – Best Women’s Bike Rack Adapter
- Use for the hard-to-mount frames onto standard car racks
- Ideal for lady, kids or full suspension bikes
- Can be used with rear and hitch mounted bike racks
- Made in the USA
- Use for the hard-to-mount frames onto standard car racks
If you are looking for an adapter bar for a woman’s bike, you cannot go wrong with this Saris bicycle cross-bar adaptor.
The Saris Bike Beam Trunk and Hitch Rack Crossbar Adapter is also a perfect pick for kids’ bikes and full-suspension adult bikes.
It’s a versatile choice to work with the hitch-mounted bicycle racks. But still, you can use it to transport your bike in the trunk. That shows its versatility and compatibility.
Furthermore, its ends are plastic-covered to protect your bike from scratches.
Generally, it attaches from the bicycle’s handlebar to its seat post to create a uniform beam that you can store on a rack.
This crossbar adapter only weighs 1.72 pounds, thus lightweight.
Generally, it’s the right choice for hard-to-mount frames. It’s easy to fit and provides you with a secure mount for the bike.
- Versatile in use
- Plastic-covered ends
- Rack and trunk compatible
- Easy to fit
- Secure mount
4. Swagman Deluxe Bar Adapter – Most Versatile Bike Frame Adapter Bar
- CONVENIENT: The DELUXE BAR ADAPTER installs with the push of a button. The bar...
- WORKS LIKE A CHARM: The frame easily attaches to your bike's seat post and...
- VERSATILE: This bike frame adapter bar is ideal to help secure kids bikes or any...
- PROTECTS YOUR BIKES: With the vinyl coated hangers, you can have peace of mind...
- STURDY: With a telescopic adjustment from 19" to 26" you can be sure it will...
The Swagman Deluxe Bar Adapter is probably the most versatile bike frame adapter out there. You can mount it on your SUV, passenger car, and just about any vehicle.
And when it comes to mounting your bike, it’s perfect for kids’ bikes and any bikes with a slanting tube.
The bar adapter is generally easy to fit and remove from your car. It features a quick-release function that allows you to dismount your bike seamlessly.
It attaches your bike’s handlebar and set post almost seamlessly to provide you with something you can hang on a standard bike rack.
Its load capacity is 35 pounds and enjoys a telescopic adjustment for 19-26 inches. The adjustment guarantees that your bike will stay firm on a bumpy road.
Swagman Deluxe Bar Adapter features vinyl-coated hangers that protect your bike from scratches. The bar adapter only weighs 2.5 pounds.
- 35-lbs weight capacity
- Telescopic design
- Quick-release push button
- Versatile in application
- Vinyl-coated hangers
5. YAKIMA – TubeTop Hitch Mounted Bike Rack – Lightest Bike Rack Adapter Bar
Lastly, if you are looking for the lightest but sturdy bike adapter bar, this Yakima product is worth considering.
The YAKIMA – TubeTop Hitch Mounted Bike Rack only weighs 1.5g but is a workhorse in performance. This adapter bar is compatible with so many mast-style hitch racks.
It has a 45-pound carrying capacity, which makes it perfect for most heavy bikes.
The adapter bar attaches fast and firmly to the bike’s stem and seat post for convenient transportation. You can count on it for a reliable bike mount.
YAKIMA – TubeTop Hitch Mounted Bike Rack enjoys an oversized tube and anti-rotation inserts that give it massive stability.
It features large molded collars that are gentle to your bike’s frame. Moreover, it has plastic-coated ends to protect your bike from scratches.
- 45-pound carrying capacity
- Oversized tube
- Anti-rotation inserts
- Molded collars
- Plastic-coated ends
How Can I Find the Best Bike Adapter Bars?
Generally, you must look for a bike adapter bar that matches your bike’s size. That means determining the length from the bike’s handlebar to the seat post.
The other thing is that you need an adapter bar with the right weight capacity. Your bike shouldn’t break the bar, and if you can get an adapter bar that can carry more bikes, that’s a huge plus.
Additionally, the bar should be weather-resistant, versatile, and user-friendly.
Which Is the Best Bike Adapter Bar?
You expect the best bike adapter bar to come at the right size and have the correct carrying capacity and weight limit.
You also want it to be weather-resistant, user-friendly, and compatible with most bikes.
That, without a doubt, describes these five bike adapter bars:
- Allen Sports Tension Bar Bicycle Crossbar Adaptor
- Sparehand Universal Adjustable Bike Frame Adapter
- Saris Bike Beam Trunk and Hitch Rack Crossbar Adapter
- Swagman Deluxe Bar Adapter
- YAKIMA – TubeTop Hitch Mounted Bike Rack
Why are Bike Racks So Expensive?
Well, it takes the assembly of quality materials to make a quality bike rack. Quality materials don’t come cheaply, and that’s why bike racks are often expensive.
Of course, not all of them are costly as there are a few budget-friendly choices.
Will a Bike Rack Damage My Car?
Well, it depends on how secure the rack is on your car. If the bike rack allows the bike’s front wheels to move about, yes, it could rub against your car.
So, it could damage the painting or scratch the car surface.
The solution is to ensure the rack is secure on the car and that the bike is also securely-mounted on the rack.
How Many Bikes Can Fit On The Roof Rack?
It depends on the size of your roof rack. Most small roof racks allow you to fit up to three bikes, while bigger ones let you fit up to four.
However, you should note that you’ll have to invest in roof bars before you can fit bikes on your car’s roof rack.
The next time you go for an out-of-town road trip and bring your bike along, you know you’ll have the best bike rack adapter.
I hope the 5 bike adapter reviews have been helpful for you to find a durable bike adapter bar.
Alex Mwangi is the creator of Outdoor Right and an outdoor enthusiast. During his free time he enjoys riding his road bike or traveling the world looking for his next adventure.