We’ve come a long way since the days when your only option for bicycles were some type of solid steel frame “clunkers.” Whether you were bicycle touring, commuting, or mountain biking, hefty fixies were the only game in town for decades. But the bicycle industry has done a 180 since then, and there are now enough varieties of frames, features, building materials, and even tire sizes to make your head spin.
That’s great news for cycling junkies who want to find the exact right bicycle for their needs and maximize their experience. It can also make it a little trickier deciding what kind of bike rack is right for you, and how to use your rack once you decide.
For a long time, hitch-mount or roof-mount bike racks were the logical choice. After all, most people weren’t eager to take the front wheel on and off their bike frame every time they needed to transport the rig, and a one-size-fits-all approach worked just fine when most bikes were fairly similar. These days, however, custom bikes need special racks.
A fork mount bike rack is an excellent alternative to hitch-mount and roof-mount bike frames for several reasons, especially if you have a pro-grade rig, fat bike, or a mountain bike with a full suspension, deep rims, disc brakes, tight rear triangles, or through axle forks.
It’s not that hitch-mount bicycle carriers or roof-mount bike racks are inferior— they are also great options. But a fork mount bike rack will hold the frame of your bicycle a little differently. Depending on your vehicle and bike type, a fork mount bike rack can reduce wind noise while traveling, fit your bike extra securely, and put less of a dent in your fuel economy. And despite the extra step of popping the front wheel off your bicycle, using a fork mount bike rack doesn’t have to be hard.
How to Use a Fork Mount Bike Rack
There a few different types of fork mount bike racks that INNO carries. All securely attach to the cargo bars on your vehicle. While each is a little different in its specifications and how exactly it holds the bicycle in place, in general a fork mount bike rack has a cradle for the rear wheel of the bike, and a flexible strap that wraps around the tire and wheel between the spokes. The front fork of the bicycle fits into the rack, which can be adjusted the size and shape of the fork.
While holding the bike rack or resting it on a flat surface, simply open the front cover of the fork mount bike rack to so that it can be fitted to your vehicle’s factory bars. Then use the knob at the rear of the bike rack to loosen the back attachment enough to fit to the cargo rack. Next, position the fork mount bike rack on your car’s cargo bars. There are nuts and plates you can adjust to make sure the fight is tight and secure.
Once the bike rack is in position, make sure the plates are parallel to the tightening knobs on the bike rack and use the knobs to tighten the bike rack to the cargo frame on the car’s roof. This will also reduce vertical motion as you drive along and keep the bike rack stable. Test how firmly the rack is attached to the car and how well it’s aligned by giving the rack a good pull and shake with your hands.
Now that the rack is installed, you can put your bike on it. Open up the rear wheel strap and place the back wheel of your bike in the cradle. Then align the front fork with the quick shaft. Close the lever around the front fork of your bicycle and tighten the rear wheel strap. You want the bike to fit firmly in the rack, but not be strapped in so tightly that you’ll damage the back tire.
Give the bike a good shake to test how sturdy it feels in the rack. Then, close the cover at the front of the bike rack and lock it with the provided key. Now no one can remove the rack or the bike attached to it! If you feel the bike needs to be tightened or loosened upon travel, simply park on a level spot and adjust the rear wheel strap and front fork quick shaft as needed.