Best Bike Racks for Tesla Model Y (Range Hits & Installation Explained)

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 06/18/22 •  17 min read

I sure don’t have skills like Danny MacAskill, but I do have that love for adventures that takes me to places and gives me that adrenaline rush and sense of freedom in the wild.

Well, it does get a little nerve-racking sometimes, but after these adventures, they leave us a very nice memory to recall with friends and family.

Or maybe it’s just me who gets a little scared while going down a steep hill full of rocks and trees. 

best bike rack for tesla model y

Now in the pursuit of these bike adventures, I hit a roadblock in researching which bike rack will work best for the Tesla Model Y.

There were a lot of concerns, but the biggest one was the range issue, which left me no choice but to research which product offers the best efficiency and lowest decrease in range.

During my research, I also came across people who were looking for more mounting points for their bikes as they would take four bikes at a time.

So keeping all these concerns in mind, I have cherry-picked the best bike racks available for the Model Y that cope with these issues. 

I will also be sharing how to install these bike racks and a few tips to make the most out of your purchase.

First things first.

How to Choose a Bike Rack 

Hitch rack on Tesla Model Y. Credit to Tris Tan / Tesla Model Y Facebook.

Things to Consider:

  1. Decrease in range and efficiency
  2. Mounting positions 
  3. Weight capacity of your hitch for hitch mounting 
  4. Number of bikes you are going to mount
  5. How easy it is to install it by yourself
  6. Cost
  7. Drawbacks

All these points can be narrowed down to two main concerns: effect on range (of each of the mounting positions) and ease of installation (which includes the different mounting points and the number of bikes you want to mount). 

Range Anxiety Can Be Problematic

There are three main types of bike racks: hitch-mounted, roof-mounted, and trunk-mounted. But for this article, we will only be focusing on hitch-mounted and roof-mounted bike racks since trunk-mounted bike racks are not yet available for the Model Y.

Overall, roof-mounted bike racks give you about 30% drop in efficiency compared with the 20%–25% drop in hitch-mounted bike racks.

And 30% means you will lose about 60 miles.

To be at ease, it’s best to go for the bike rack that has the lowest range impact on your Model Y. 

It’s best to plan your trip while keeping in mind the decrease in range you are going to experience.

How Easy Is It to Install on the Tesla Model Y?

The level of convenience you get when installing the bike rack is something to consider. 

Some racks are hard to install, and others get a bit problematic and cause you inconvenience (they get in your way).

I have covered every aspect in detail, so you don’t have to worry about your particular situation. If your concern hasn’t been addressed, you can leave a comment below, and I will get back to you to the best of my abilities. 

For all my adventure-loving friends who own a Model 3 and are looking for a great bike rack, you can check out this link

best bike rack for tesla model y
Model 3 with 5 bikes. Credit to lavarooster on Tesla Motors Club.

I know someone who wanted to mount four bikes on his Model Y, and here you have five on the Model 3. 

All right, all right, I only have two. The third one doesn’t count because someone stole it [sob, sob].

As the Model Y is larger than the Model 3, the drag coefficient would be much better for the Model Y, so you would probably get better range compared with the Model 3. 

How much better? Let’s find out. 

Best Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y: YAKIMA

After scouring the internet, watching so many videos, and going through so many online forums, I have concluded that YAKIMA is the best hitch-mounted bike rack for the Model Y if you want something of quality but light on the pocket. 

Tesla OEM bike racks also happen to be made by YAKIMA. They use all its patent designs like AutoPin™, ZipStrips™, and SpeedKnob™. 

The hitch-mounted ones are my personal favorite as they look the most badass out of all the other options. 

Even though YAKIMA bike racks are inexpensive and get the job done, there are several issues I want to raise. 

Their overall design is great, but it interferes with the opening and closing of the trunk, making it a little difficult to work around. 

Another problem is when mounting a full-suspension bike or an e-bike, you have to order a tube top. 

And if you want to have a more horizontal fitment of your bikes on this rack, you would need a bike beam as well. 

On the other hand, the biggest plus for this bike rack is its ability to mount a ski or snowboard. 

Regarding range decrease for this hitch-mounted bike rack by YAKIMA, you will lose about 20–30 miles or more if you add more bikes.

PROS

✅ Inexpensive
✅ Gets the job done
✅ With their full swing, you can also attach ski or snowboards.

CONS

❌ Gets in the way of taking stuff in and out of the trunk
❌ Vertical weight limit problem when you want to mount more bikes
❌ Can’t mount a full-frame mountain bike or an e-bike without a tube top (ordered separately)
❌ For bikes with non-horizontal frames, you would need bike beams for a more horizontal orientation of your bikes

Premium Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y: Thule 

Thule has been making some very decent bike carriers, and if you’re looking for a Model Y hitch-mounted bike rack, Thule T2 Pro XT 2″ is the best when it comes to mounting abilities.

With this bike rack, you won’t have to buy a tube top. You can easily mount a full-suspension bike or an e-bike without a hitch (wink). Not literally though. You need a hitch. 

Its biggest plus is how easy you can get around with this rack. The trunk opens without a problem. You can fold down the rack and get to all the important stuff in your trunk. 

On top of that, the installation is super easy. You just need to put it in the hitch receiver and tighten it, and you are done. Finito.

The rear camera view is also very clear in Thule compared with the other bike racks. 

In terms of range, you are looking at around a 10%–15% decrease with two bikes. A 10% decrease means you will lose about 20 miles. 

With four bikes, the range will decrease about 20%–25%. In this case, you will lose about 50 miles or even more. 

Then there is the weight limit. To understand the whole picture technically, you can visit this link.

Note that your hitch can only handle up to 336 Nm of torque as bike racks put vertical weight on it. 

The vertical weight limit for the Tesla Model Y is 160 lb. 

One drawback of using Thule is that they tend to get in the way when you want to use a Supercharger where the parking is cramped.

And, not to mention, the Thule hitch-mounted bike racks are on the expensive side.

PROS

✅ Awesome quality
✅ Easy to install
✅ Allows easy access to the trunk
✅ Has separate locks for each bike
✅ Can easily handle full-frame bikes and e-bikes
✅ Putting the bike and taking it out from the rack is also a piece of cake

CONS

❌ Expensive
❌ Might get in the way when you want to use a Supercharger (when the parking is cramped)
❌ Vertical weight limit problem when you want to mount more bikes

Runner-Up Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y: Kuat NV2

Kuat NV2 is one of the most durable aftermarket bike racks one can get, and when it comes to the experience on the Model Y, it is not bad at all.

The rack fits into the Supercharging spaces with no issue. 

You will lose about 100 KWh of charge when having two 60 lb bikes mounted in the back, which is slightly higher as the bikes are a little wider than the Model Y itself.

For smaller bikes, it won’t be as bad as there would be less drag, thus giving you better range. 

With an add-on, the Kuat NV2 bike rack has the capacity to carry two more bikes, so you have a total of four.

Aside from its higher price point, another downside of this bike rack is that it hinders the rear parking sensor much more compared with the alternatives.

If you put the Model Y on Trailer Mode, you won’t be able to use Autopilot.

Another drawback comes as an aftermath of its quality — it’s heavy because of the amount of strength it has to deliver to ensure durability and overall quality, which means your range will be affected more compared with other bike racks.

Learn more about the Kuat NV2 from this Tesla Model Y owner who gave a detailed review on this particular bike rack. Check out his YouTube video

PROS

✅ Amazing quality 
✅ Can mount two 60 lb bikes
✅ Works around the Supercharging grids without a problem

CONS

❌ Expensive
❌ Interferes with the rear parking sensor 
❌ Heavy, causing a significant decrease in range 
❌ Vertical weight limit problem when you want to mount more bikes

How Many Bikes Can You Put on Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks: Vertical Weight Limit

If you extend the bike rack more toward the outside, having more bikes, the torque will increase, putting more force on the hitch. 

It’s similar to the length of a wrench. When it’s short, you have to apply more force when you unbolt.

On the other hand, you wouldn’t have to apply as much force with a bigger wrench when you are unbolting that same bolt — thus the lever arm concept. 

To calculate how many bikes you can put on the hitch without damaging anything, first you have to find the amount of force the lever arm can safely exert. 

Torque/lever arm = force

Then you have to find the mass you can put on and use force as weight below:

Mass = weight/gravity           (gravity = 10 N/kg)

You will get mass in kg. Just convert it into pounds. 

best bike rack for tesla model y

To make things simple, just put two bikes on the back, and you’re good to go. 

If you want to understand the weight distribution concept in detail, you can visit this link.

Roof-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y

There are two types of roof racks for the Model Y:

Fork-mounted

Fork mounts will give you less drag, thus not hitting that efficiency as much as upright mounts. In other words, they tend to give better range. However, fork mounts will give a little bit of trouble as you have to remove the front wheel of your bike each time you have to mount and then putting the wheel back after taking it out.

Upright-mounted

Upright mounts will not require you to remove any wheels from the bike. Simply lock the bike in place. The range, however, will be affected more compared with the fork-mounted setup. The upright mount will give you more drag, thus decreasing your Model Y’s efficiency (3–5 miles less compared with the fork mount).

Drawbacks of Roof-Mounted Bike Racks

Now let’s talk about the drawbacks of having a roof-mounted bike rack in general.

The major one is ease of use, which is not easy in case of the roof-mounted setup. And for short people, it can be a little challenging. 

Then comes the handling issue. There is a high probability of the roof glass getting cracked as it’s right there where you mount and unmount your bikes. 

PROS

✅ Installing roof rails as a result of having a roof-mounted bike rack will give you the opportunity to put on a cargo box.

CONS

❌ A little mishap might cost you your roof (it may get cracked).
❌ Those who aren’t tall enough would have problems with loading and unloading.
❌ Roof-mounted bike racks will give you a lower range compared with the hitch-mounted ones. 

Now let’s get into the top aftermarket roof-mounted bike racks for the Model Y.

Best Roof-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y: YAKIMA HighRoad

Credit to Rack Attack YouTube Channel

Yakima offers a number of options for the roof-mounted setup.

But before getting one, you have to install a roof rack, which will cost you $500 from Tesla, not to mention the price of the bike rack itself.

Tesla offers a very basic roof (fork-mounted) bike rack for $400. 

But I personally prefer the aftermarket ones.

When it comes to quality, the Yakima HighRoad is the one of the premium aftermarket bike racks that you can get.

I personally like the upright mount as it does not require removal of the front tire, but a major issue that concerns me is the exposed forks in the fork-mounted setup, which can damage the roof if not handled with care. 

The downside to the Yakima HighRoad is that it can’t fit wheel sizes smaller than 26″.

Another con that is worth mentioning is that you don’t get the SKS locks along with this product; you would have to buy them separately. 

When it comes to the flexibility of use, there is a little bit of less room to work with. The maximum crossbar spread is 36″ and not more than that. 

The biggest plus for the Yakima HighRoad is that it doesn’t give you those annoying rattling noises.

PROS

✅ No rattling
✅ Premium quality 
✅ Easy to work with

CONS

❌ No SKS locks with the product
❌ Maximum crossbar spread is not more than 36″
❌ Can’t mount a bike with tires smaller than 26″

Trunk-Mounted Bike Rack for Tesla Model Y

There are currently no trunk-mounted bike racks available for the Tesla Model Y, as confirmed by a member of Tesla Motors Club:

Most of the major bike rack manufacturers got back to me confirming that they do not currently offer any trunk-mount racks for the Y. (Thule mentioned that they might begin testing one for the Y next year.)

bbmertz

And apparently, they are still in the testing phase. We might see them maybe in a year or two. 

Tesla Model Y Bike Rack Installation Guide

Hitch-Mounted Bike Racks

Installation for the hitch-mounted rack is quite simple. First, you need a hitch receiver. Then just put the bar into the hitch receiver and lock it in place. 

Some will require you to put a pin and lock that pin in place, while others will have a knob that you can rotate to clip it in place. 

Here’s a YouTube video from DÆrik to help you understand the steps even better. 

Roof-Mounted Bike Racks

The roof-mounted ones will require you to have roof rails on top of your Model Y, on which you will place the bike rack. 

Roof-mounted bike racks are available in two different settings; one will require you to remove the front wheel of the bike to mount it (fork-mount bike rack) while the other (upright bike rack) will not. 

You can install the bike rack on the rails and then mount the bike on top using the locking mechanism provided with each product.

With the use of roof-mounted bike racks also comes the opportunity to use a cargo box

Bonus Tip to Get the Most Out of Your Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

To get the best out of your hitch-mounted bike rack when you want to remove the whole mounting assembly for the bike after use, you can opt for a hitch cover.

The factory cover on the hitch receiver is extremely hard to pull out. You can’t do that without a prying tool, which is why this aftermarket cover is so useful. You can easily remove it and get on with the installation of the bike rack. 

When using a hitch-mounted bike rack, don’t forget to turn on Trailer Mode. 

To do that, follow these steps:

However, when using Trailer Mode, you won’t be able to use Autopilot. But the rear parking sensor warning will go away. 

Frequent Buyers’ Concerns

Does putting a bike rack on my Model Y affect the working of rear sensors?

No. The Model Y knows that you’re hauling a bike behind your vehicle, but it won’t make alarming beeping noises when you turn on Trailer Mode, which is comforting. At least you won’t hear a pesky beeping the whole time you’re driving. 

How much range do you get with a bike rack on a Tesla Model Y?

You get a range of about 260 miles (theoretical range) from complete charge to zero, with an efficiency decrease of 10%. In other words, you will lose more than 20 miles from your practical range. It could be more depending on the conditions, i.e. battery temperature, outside temperature, how fast you are driving, climate control, etc. 

From real-world practical data, the hitch-mounted bike rack will give you about 20% decrease in efficiency, thus causing you to lose about 40 miles, whereas the roof-mounted bike rack will give you about 30% decrease in efficiency or about 50–60 miles of range.

Does Autopilot work with a bike rack?

Yes, Autopilot works even when you have a bike rack. The rear parking sensor warning notification will turn on when you have a hitch-mounted bike rack. However, if you put the vehicle in Trailer Mode, the warning will go away, and so does Autopilot.

How many bikes can be mounted on a Tesla Model Y?

You can mount a total of six bikes ⁠— four on the hitch receiver and two on top (either trunk mount or roof mount). 

However, I don’t recommend mounting these many bikes. Four would be the maximum for me, two on top and two on the back. Having four bikes altogether at the hitch mount is not a good idea either as the Model Y has a vertical weight limit, which you should keep in mind. 

With lightweight carbon bikes, you might just get away with four bikes at the hitch without a problem. But with full-suspension bikes or e-bikes, you should not take the risk of putting all that weight on that little hitch. 

What is the best type of bike rack for the Tesla Model Y?

Each type of bike rack has its pros and cons, but the hitch-mounted ones are my favorite because they give you the easiest access since everything is within reach. Also, roof-mounted racks affect the range a little more than the hitch-mounted ones. Trunk-mounted bike racks are not yet available for the Tesla Model Y. 

Final Thoughts

After going through every other option, I have come to the conclusion that hitch-mounted bike racks would work best for the Model Y. They work the best in terms of both feasibility and easability.

The roof-mounted ones have a lot of cons, which is why I won’t consider them for myself.

On the other hand, trunk-mounted bike racks are not yet available for the Tesla Model Y as of this writing. 

If you are the kind of person who would like to have a comfortable experience with bike racks, I would highly suggest the Thule T2 Pro XT 2″. 

However, if you’re on a budget, the YAKIMA bike rack or Kuat NV2 both work great. 

Now back to the adventures! 

best bike rack for tesla model y

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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