Looking for a solid 4-bike Rack for your van? Let’s chat about it. I recently found myself needing a 4-Bike Rack for my van and wow, there are a lot of options out there.
After some research, I found that many racks sucked, or just wouldn’t work for a converted van. So, here I will share what I learned along the way about 4 bike racks, what I chose, and why.
Considerations When Selecting A Sprinter Van Bike Rack
No matter what type of “sprinter” van you own, you know selecting accessories matters, no matter how big or small that accessory is, it needs to have a purpose and be thoughtfully selected.
Space and storage is king in your adventure van.
Rack Location and Daily Access
Depending on your lifestyle, you may need daily access to your bike or maybe only monthly access. If your bike usage is limited, you can get away with a more “out of reach” bike rack, something mounted higher up, or maybe even on your roof.
However, if you use your bike often, you want smooth, easy access to your bike.
Do you access the garage area of your van daily from the rear doors? Well, you will need a swing away hitch mount so you can move your bike out of the way without removing it from the rack each time.
Or, maybe you can just get everything you need from the sliding side door and your bike rack can stay in a fixed position.
If you need daily rear door access, I strongly recommend you buy a 4-bike rack with a swing-away hitch mount. This will allow you to “swing” the hitch 180 degrees away from your van to access your garage, without needing to remove any bikes from the rack.
Van and Bike Security
I recently read that vehicle break-ins and vehicle thefts of Sprinter and Adventure vans is on a huge rise.
It makes sense, we have an expensive vehicle, full of expensive accessories, toys, and gear.
From mountain bikes to laptops and photography equipment, breaking into a sprinter van can yield a much better payday for bad guys than a typical car on the side of the street.
So, even with your bike rack, you need one that can facilitate a good locking system to deter a quick bike theft.
Fortunately, many of the more quality brands of bike racks do provide an internal bike lock system, and you can beef it up yourself if needed.
When we set out to buy a bike rack, we thought it was going to be an easy decision, after all, it’s just a bike rack, right?
Wrong, many are crap, and the good ones are not cheap, so the one you choose matters.
So, let’s look at the different types of bike racks and explore the benefits and downsides to each.
Types of 4 Bike Racks
Surprisingly, there are quite a few different designs to bike racks. From racks that dangle your bikes over the road, to racks that cradle your entire bike like a warm hug, bike racks come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
Hangin 4-Bike Racks
Hanging bike racks are what I started with on my Toyota Tundra, they are lower priced and get the job done but with some serious drawbacks, Ill get to in just a second.
There are two types of hanging bike racks, the most traditional is the horizontally hanging bike rack where the rack mounts the bike at the upper frame and the rest of the bike and tires “hang” in place running the width of the vehicle.
The other type of hanging bike rack is a similar design, but rather than hanging horizontally, the bikes hang vertically (up and down) from the bike rack at the rear of the vehicle. Picture your bikes doing a wheelie while driving down the road, that’s the verticle design.
Benefits to Hanging Bike Racks:
Hanging bike racks offer an economical method to get your bike from point A to B. They are easy to mount and pack up small. However, it does come in the form of another cost, the abuse of your bike.
Downside Hanging Bike Racks
I used my 4-Bike hanging rack for many trips and found that if we did in fact hang 4-bikes, the bikes were so close together that they would rub off each other paint down to the bare metal.
This was infuriating seeing as the bike rack cost nearly $500 and still damaged the bike. I thought maybe I had bad luck, but after some looking around online, it seems this is a common problem with the hanging-style bike racks.
I think they would work fine if you only carried 1 or 2 bikes, but with 4 bikes, this rack sucked. Others seem to agree:
With that said, here is the best hanging bike rack for 4-bikes I could find:
Tray or Platform Style 4-Bike Racks
Tray bike racks act just like they sound, they essentially use a “tray” or “platform” to have the bike cradled in the bike rack, and there is a set of trays for each bike on the rack.
Tray and Platform styled bike racks seem to do the best with 4 bikes. However, you are limited in the number of manufacturers when you start talking 4-bike racks.
Benefits of a Tray/Platform Bike Rack: Tray bike racks offer a separate tray for each bike and are spaced far enough apart to where they don’t scratch each other, saving your frame’s paint and durability. Because they are higher priced and limited in makers, they tend to be of a higher quality overall.
Downsides of Tray Bike Racks: The biggest downfall is by far the price. These tray bike racks get EXPENSIVE when compared to a lower brand hanging bike style. Also, many platform bike racks only come with a standard 2 bike rack, and an optional 2-bike add-on is required to fit all 4 bikes.
Best 4-Bike Rack Platform Style I found:
Keep in mind, this Kuat NV 2.0 will require the Kuat NV 2.0 2-Bike Add-on, you can find here:
What I Chose and Why
So, after a lot of back and forth, we chose the Kuat NV 2.0 with the 2-Bike Add-on and Swing Base. Sure, it was expensive, but so were our bikes and we cant ruin them just to save a few hundred bucks.
Overall, the Kuat NV 2.0 is really well built, has an excellent warranty, built-in locks, a great tray system that truly protects each bike and fits all 4 bikes on the rack without rubbing frames.
With the swing-out hitch receiver on the Kuat NV 2.0, we can still pull over, access the rear garage of the van and keep moving without needing to move bikes off the rack.
Well, there you have it, hopefully, this was helpful in helping you choose what type of rack to get for your sprinter van (or Promaster, Transit, etc).
As owners of mountain bikes and several racks, these were the ones that we found to be the best. See you out on the trail!