How Fast Can You Drive When Carrying Bikes? (Short Answer!)

A loaded bike rack adds weight to your vehicle, which will probably cause you to go more slowly. So how quickly can a vehicle with a bike rack travel?

In general, you shouldn’t go faster than 65 mph with a hitch rack, 55 mph with a trunk rack, or 80 mph with a rooftop rack.

Thus, the type of bike rack you have affects how quickly you drive (its mounting style).

But in addition, factors including the vehicle’s horsepower, the load limit, the condition of the road, the weather, and the posted speed limit all have a role.

To assist you in operating a rack safely, I’ll go over all these elements.
How Quick Is a Bike Rack When Driving? (Speed Limit on Bike Racks!)

Keep in mind that a rack typically weighs between 10 and 30 pounds, though some can be as heavy as 40 or more.

If you add that to the weight of the bike, which averages around 30 to 40 pounds, you’ll be hauling at least an additional 40 to 70 pounds.

You’ll be carrying greater weight if you pack additional bikes. You cannot thus anticipate traveling as far as you typically do.

Below is a list of the typical speed limits for various kinds of bike racks.

Limit for Rack Type Speed
80 mph Rooftop rack 55 mph Hitch rack 65 mph

a) Trunk Rack: How Quickly Can You Drive When Carrying a Bike Rack?
In general, trunk racks are weaker and lighter than other types of bike racks. Thus, don’t anticipate being able to ride quicker or with more bikes loaded.

If you choose to do so, the rack will probably swing and grind against the bike rack. Even worse, it can come undone and become loose, causing your bike to fall.

Generally speaking, if your automobile has a trunk rack, you should drive less than 55 mph. That will make you considerably safer.

How Quickly Can You Drive With A Hitch Bike Rack?
Trunk racks are less stable than hitch-mounted bike racks. So, a hitch rack is probably going to get you there far faster than a trunk rack.

You can go at a top speed of 65 mph, depending on the type of hitch rack (platform or hanging).

However keep in mind that as you accelerate, dangling hitch racks could sway. So, you must limit the top speed to 55 mph or less.

Driving at the same pace as a trunk rack will be safer as a result (55mph). On a platform hitch rack, though, you may easily reach 65 mph in ideal driving conditions.

c) Rooftop Rack – What Is the Maximum Speed With a Rooftop Rack?
Rooftop racks improve the aerodynamics of your vehicle, allowing you to travel significantly quicker despite wind resistance. The only drawback is that the additional mileage will require you to use more gas.

With a rooftop bike rack, you can travel at speeds lower than 80 mph.

The top speed, however, is influenced by the vehicle’s horsepower, the state of the road, and the weather. You can reach full speed with a sturdy rooftop bike rack because the majority of routes have an 80 mph speed restriction.

Soft Bike Rack for Hatchback, Special Category
While most bike racks are built of steel, aluminum, and occasionally plastic, soft racks frequently have rubber as a component.

They are typically lighter as a result. Yet, you can load them with heavier bikes than most other racks can.

Additional Factors That Affect How Quickly You Can Drive When Hauling a Bike
They consist of:

Stacking capacity
How quickly you can move depends on how many bikes you can fit on the bike rack and how much weight they each carry. You must slow down if you place an excessive load on the bike rack.

Traffic and Road Conditions
On paved roads, you can anticipate moving with a rack considerably more quickly than you would off-road. That’s as a result of the off-road ridges and ruts slowing you down.

But you ought to move more slowly if there is too much traffic on the paved route. When there are lots of automobiles and people crossing the street, it is more difficult to drive quickly.

climatic conditions
Your top speed is reduced by unfavorable weather conditions like heavy rain and wind. For instance, a strong wind will certainly drag you and provide some resistance to you.

On the other hand, rain makes the ground slick, so you must drive more slowly. Also, a strong downpour makes it harder to see the road, so you have to drive more carefully.

The speed limit on the road
Whichever kind of bike rack you use, you shouldn’t drive faster than the posted speed limit. If you do, you will have violated the law regarding traffic, which carries penalties.

Thus, be aware of the speed limit for the road you are on and drive within it. The typical urban speed limit is between 70 and 80 mph.

Vehicle Dimensions and Power
Usually speaking, how quickly you can move with a bike rack depends on the size of the vehicle, notably its horsepower. Expect the automobile to go significantly more slowly with a bike rack if it has less horsepower.

Thus, be aware of your car’s horsepower before mounting a bike rack and securing it to it.

Consider Thule Racks. How Quick Is the Thule Bike Rack?
The most durable and dependable bike racks on the market are those made by Thule. So, you may anticipate them to bear heavier loads.

And with a Thule rack, you can anticipate moving much more quickly. The speed restriction for Thule’s bike racks is 130 km/h, or around 80 mph.

The Thule EasyFold XT 2 is a platform Thule rack with anti-wobbling features that typically allows for this top speed (Link to Amazon)

Platform racks from Thule are far more stable and effective at hauling heavy bikes when traveling quickly.

How Quickly Can You Use a Thule Bike Rack?
How to Drive with a Bike Rack: A Guide
The following are general pointers for driving safely when towing a bike rack:

Obtain a high-quality car bike rack – The bike rack needs to be sturdy enough to safely transport your bike. Thus, spend money on a sturdy rack to hold your bike securely as you accelerate.
Purchasing a high-quality automobile bike rack is not sufficient for securing the rack. Before mounting your bike, be sure that it is securely fastened to your vehicle. Check the strap again to make sure nothing is shaky.
Last but not least, obey the posted speed limit, regardless of how sturdy you believe your bike rack to be. If you do, you won’t have issues with the traffic officers.

Is There A Speed Limit When There Is A Bike Rack?
Driving speed restrictions differ for various bike racks. For instance, the speed limit for trunk racks is 55 mph, while the limits for hitch racks and rooftop racks are 65 mph and 80 mph, respectively.

  1. How Secure Are Bike Racks?
    Only securely fastened bike racks on a car are safe. They shouldn’t sway or brush against the body of the car. To prevent dropping your bike or separating while you’re driving, they should also hold firmly.
  2. Can Bike Racks Ruin Your Vehicle?
    Only when a bike rack brushes up against a car’s body may damage occur. Until such is the case, the bike rack is secure. To be safe, get a high-quality bike rack and install it correctly.
  3. Is It Safe To Use A Bike Rack When Driving On A Highway?

Driving with a bike rack on a highway is typically difficult because you have to go more slowly than usual. The bicycle rack may start to sway and grind against the car if you travel too quickly.

  1. Do Bike Racks Make You Slower?
    Your automobile will weigh more with bike racks, which will make you move more slowly. When a bike is on the bike rack, you will probably slow down more.
  2. Are License Plate Covers on Bike Racks Acceptable?
    The majority of the time, it’s improper for the bike rack to obscure the license plate. Until you have an additional license plate, that is.
  3. Is Using a Bike Rack While Driving Illegal?
    It’s against the law to operate a vehicle with an empty (unloaded) bike rack in various states. If the bike rack hides the license plate in some jurisdictions, it’s even a more significant infraction.
  4. How Is A Bike Transported On A Rack?
    To transport a bike on a bike rack, it necessitates a more durable automobile bike rack. The spare tire, hitch receiver, trunk, or roof can all be used to mount the bike rack.

Finally, how quickly can you drive while hauling a bike rack?
You can drive with a rack at speeds between 55 and 80 mph, depending on the model. The speed restriction is nevertheless also influenced by the road, the climate, the vehicle’s horsepower, and the load carrying capability of the rack.

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