5 Best Bike Racks for Subaru Forester, Outback & Crosstrek

By Mark Plummer •  Updated: 02/17/22 •  10 min read

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Subaru has a range of vehicles for carrying bikes in two different ways. Usually, the easiest way to move multiple bicycles on a car is to install a trailer hitch and use a bicycle rack that fits the hitch mount.

Subaru’s roof rack is suitable whether your vehicle is equipped with an aftermarket roof rack or a roof mount.

The next option is the trunk-mounted rack.

Bike Rack Subaru
Bike Rack Subaru – perfect for weekends away camping!

Trunk racks (the least desired and generally the more inexpensive option) should be the only choice when traveling infrequently.

At A Glance:

  1. Subaru Forester – Thule hitch-mount rack
  2. Subaru Outback – Thule Apex XT hitch-mount rack
  3. Subaru XV – Allen Sports 4 bike hitch rack
  4. Subaru Impreza – Subaru OEM roof rack
  5. Subaru Crosstrek – Low Profile Fork mount bicycle carrier

Below you’ll find our shortlisted picks for the best Subaru bike racks together with some important considerations to help you choose the right one for your needs and budget.

How To Choose The Right Bike Rack For Your Subaru

Because Subarus and folding bikes are expensive, you need to understand what to look for when choosing a Subaru bike rack or risk making the wrong choice and potentially damaging your car and bike.

So how do you select the best Subaru rack for you?

Here are five key things that you should look for and think about when choosing between Subaru bike racks.

Bike Rack Subaru Impreza

Mount method

There are three popular ways to carry bikes with your Subaru – roof mount, hitch mounted, or fork mounted. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages, which I have summarised below:

Carrying capacity

You will need to be clear about how many bikes you need to carry at any given time, and how frequently you intend to take the bikes is also worth considering:

  1. If you carry one or two bikes, you should consider either a trunk-mounted rack (for occasional use) or any other option for more frequent use.
  2. I would recommend the hitch mount bike rack for three bikes or more. If you intend to use the rack pretty often, then it’s worth paying a little extra to get one with a tilt option so that you can open the trunk even with bikes mounted on the back of your Subaru.


Arguably the weight of the rack is not a significant consideration; nevertheless, it’s worth at least considering when comparing bike racks. I often choose an aluminum bike rack for its lightweight construction and rust-resistant properties.


Naturally, the best Subaru bike racks cost more, so it’s worth considering how often you will use them and how expensive and fragile your bikes are before deciding your budget.

A critical consideration for the budget is if you prefer genuine Subaru parts because companies or car dealers offering genuine Subaru parts will charge a premium!

Ease of use

I’m not too fond of roof-mounted bike racks for the simple reason that I don’t particularly appreciate having to lift my bike up and down from the roof every time I want to travel somewhere. This depends on personal preference, and so it’s a case of you deciding which rack style works best for your individual needs and preference.

Comparison of 5 Best Subaru Bike Racks 2022

Product:ThuleThule Apex XTAllen SportsSubaru OEMThule Circuit
Image:Best Bike Rack for Subaru ForesterSubaru Outback Bike RackSubaru XV RackSubaru Forester Impreza Outback Ascent WRX STi...Subaru Crosstrek Bike Rack
Editor’s Rating:4.7/54.5/54.6/54.4/54.3/5
Best for:Subaru ForesterSubaru OutbackSubaru XVSubaru ImprezaSubaru Crosstrek
Mount method:HitchHitchHitchRoofRoof
Carrying capacity:2 bikes4 bikes4 bikes1 bike1 bike
Weight:27 lbs35 lbs22 lbsN/A7 lbs
Ease of use:4/54/54/53.5/53.5/5

Best bike rack for Subaru Forester – Thule Helium Pro

Subaru Bike Rack Forester Ascent Crosstrek Outback...
  • Genuine Subaru Bike Carrier Hitch Mounted (2 Bikes)...
  • Manufactured by Thule, this lightweight aluminum rack is...
  • Arms fold down when not in use, and rack pivots backwards...

Last update on 2023-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Foresters have long been a popular compact SUV for cyclists.

Its design offers a good balance between design performance, four-wheel operation, and practical functionality. A variety of accessories are available that will enhance any outdoor adventure in your Subaru Forester. 

After countless hours of testing by our experts, the best bike rack for Subaru Forester is the amazing Thule Helium Pro 2 rack which is made specifically for Subaru vehicles and compatible with the Subaru OEM hitch.

This rack weighs in at only 27 lbs, thanks to the aluminum construction. Although the design is a cradle hanging style, I found that anti-sway cages held up to two bikes securely, and I didn’t encounter any issues with bike sway or banging into the trunk while driving.

  1. Mount method: Hitch-mount
  2. Carrying capacity: 2 bikes
  3. Weight: 27 pounds
  4. Cost: $$$
  5. Ease of Use: Excellent

For a Thule model, the price is reasonable; however, if you are on a tight budget, a suitable alternative to consider would be the trunk-mounted Allen Sports Deluxe rack which also carries up to two bicycles.

Subaru Outback – Thule Apex XT

Thule Apex XT Hanging Hitch Bike Rack, Carries 4...
  • Premium hanging hitch bike rack for 4 bikes
  • Superior bike stability and fit
  • Anti-sway cradles prevent bike contact

Last update on 2023-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another outstanding design from Thule, the Apex XT rack, is ideal for the whole family thanks to its four bike capacity.

The Thule Apex XT is a cradle-style hitch mount rack with an anti-sway cage design to ensure that all four bikes are held securely without banging into each other.

Another neat feature that I liked is the integrated cable which securely locks all bikes to the rack.

If you plan to use your bike rack frequently for family trips and adventures, I recommend upgrading to the swinging rack design because it allows you to rotate the stand and access whatever you have stored in the trunk.

Subaru XV – Allen Sports

Allen Sports Deluxe Locking Quick Release 4-Bike...
  • Hitch insert fits either 1 1/4 or 2 inch receiver hitches (2...
  • Quick install hitch secures and tightens rack inside of...
  • Arms fold out of the way when not in use and rack tilts back...

Last update on 2023-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some of the other bike racks mentioned in this review are also suitable for the Subaru XV. However, my recommendation for the best bike rack for Subaru XV is the Allen Sports 4-bike hitch rack because:

  1. It can safely and securely carry up to four bikes, making it perfect for family cycling trips
  2. It is exceptional value for money
  3. It’s lightweight and easy to install and store away
  4. Can tilt, which allows you to access the trunk even with the Allen Sports rack installed

This rack is designed with a quick install and can easily be put on and taken off your Subaru XV in minutes.

I noticed that because it lacks the anti-sway cages of the Thule racks, the bikes sway and can knock into one another or even the trunk of your car.

You can quickly resolve the swaying issue by purchasing a few bungee cords, securing all the bikes, and using a little padding of any potential contact spots where the frames could get damaged or marked.

If you prefer a roof-mounted bike rack option, it’s worth considering the Thule Pro Ride XT, which is compatible with all Thule roof bars and most Subaru OEM roof bars. The only downside with choosing this option is that you could only carry one or two bikes on the roof.

Subaru Impreza – Thule Bike Rack

Subaru Forester Impreza Outback Ascent WRX STi...
10 Reviews
Subaru Forester Impreza Outback Ascent WRX STi...
  • SOA567B020 Genuine Subaru ROOF Mounted Bike Carrier
  • Manufactured by Thule, this bike carrier features...
  • Adjustable mounting clamps make it easy to install and...

Last update on 2023-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re a Subaru Impreza owner, I recommend the genuine Subaru parts Thule roof-mounted bike carrier, which consistently receives excellent reviews from other Subaru Impreza owners.

I loved this rack’s self-adjusting jaws that connect to the downtube for precise and secure transportation. Once you have the jaws in place, you need to simply place and tighten the two adjustable ratchet straps around the front and back wheels.

This rack holds one bike; however, you could easily purchase two pieces if you wanted to carry two bikes. Anymore though, there won’t be sufficient roof space for all the bikes, in which case you may want to consider one of the trailer hitch racks reviewed above, which are also suitable for a Subaru Impreza.

Subaru Crosstrek – Thule Low Profile Fork Mount

Thule Circuit Low-Profile Fork-Mount Bike Rack
  • Easy to secure the bike to the carrier with the locking...
  • Fast loading and security provided by lockable skewer with...
  • Versatile design compatible with standard 9mm axles and most...

Last update on 2023-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Thule low-profile fork mount bicycle rack is ideal for the Subaru Crosstrek and can be attached to genuine Subaru factory-installed crossbars or Thule rack systems.

The main advantage of the fork mount bicycle carrier is its ability to hold the bike super-steady during transportation because the forks are mounted directly to the rack.

You can also separately purchase a Thule 593 optional front wheel holder that can mount to the crossbars to hold the front wheel. I don’t bother with this and chuck the front wheel in the trunk of the Subaru Crosstrek.

One thing worth noting is that because this rack is a fork-mounted bike carrier, it is not suitable for thru axel mountain bikes.

Review Process – Why You Should Trust Us

We are a community of passionate folding bikers who test, research, and educate on issues and products relevant to the folding bike market.

We strive to use our expert research and knowledge to help you make better-informed decisions about buying folding bikes and accessories.

When it comes to Subaru bike racks, we have a wealth of practical experience using and testing them.

Over the past few months, we sourced, tested, and most importantly, used 50+ of the best bike racks on the market.

Our recommendations are based on more than 100 hours of combined testing by our dedicated team of folding bike experts.

People Also Ask

How do I attach my bike rack to my Subaru?

How do I attach my bike rack to my Subaru

The steps required to attach your bike rack to a Subaru will depend on the type of rack you own:

1. Secure the frame using the attachment straps provided for a trunk-mounted rack.

2. For a trailer hitch-installed rack, you should insert the rack into the trailer hitch and secure it firmly.

3. As per the instruction manual, you attach the frame to the vehicle’s crossbars for roof-mounted models.

Can you put a bike rack on a Subaru Outback?

Bike Rack Subaru Outback

Yes, you can put a hitch, trunk, or roof-mounted bike rack on your Subaru Outback. If you install a hitch rack on your Outback, you must already have a hitch receiver. Similarly, roof-mounted bike racks require pre-installed crossbars.

Can you put a bike rack on a Subaru Forester?

Bike Rack Subaru Forester

You can put a roof bike rack on your Subaru Forester. If your Forester has no spoiler, you can install either a trunk or hitch bike rack. Our preferred rack for the Subaru Forester is the Thule hitch mount bike rack.

Mark Plummer

Mark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.

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