Home > Blog > What Bike Rack Fits My Car: The Making of the Saris Fit Guide
What Bike Rack Fits My Car: The Making of the Saris Fit Guide
Our in-house bike rack fitter and test engineer, Todd, shows you the ropes.
The most frequently asked question by customers looking to purchase a new trunk bike rack is: does this rack fit my car?
And with so many makes and models of vehicles out there, it’s a very good question – especially when it comes to trunk racks.
The answer is a technical one. The fit of the bike rack is not necessarily how the rack looks on the car (although the aesthetics certainly play a role in the design!), but how the rack connects to the car and how the load of the bike weight is supported. Not only is it important to understand that the rack fits snugly, it is also critical to understand any changes in the shape and material of the rear of the cars in question. Often the presence of spoilers, bumper sizes and the slope of the trunk shape will determine if a rack is deemed a fit or a no-fit.
Todd mounts the SUPERBones on a Toyota Camry to check for structural integrity and overall fit.
While our Bones, SUPERBones and Bones EX trunk racks fit a wide array of cars, we don’t take any chances. That's where Todd, the Test Engineer, comes in. In addition to ensuring our products perform as promised, by performing the envious job of trying to break all of our prototypes in the test lab, he spends an inordinate amount of time researching cars and out fitting trunk racks on cars.
You read that right, there is no shortcut to gathering this data. Todd goes out into the field (read: car dealerships far and wide) to physically fit our American made bike racks to ensure they properly fit the vehicles we say they do.
Double vision: A time-lapse snapshot of Todd measuring a Toyota Camry for trunk rack fit testing.
Fit Guide Facts
We don’t just test new makes and models for the current or upcoming year, our Fit Guide database contains thousands of vehicle fits, spanning back to some vehicles from the 1960s. According to our database, we ramped up in-person fitting starting in 1979. Since then, Todd typically records over 300 vehicles per year. This number depends upon the number of new car models, along with changes to existing models. And when a new trunk rack is released, he fits all models on the market with the new rack.
Our commitment to fit testing all vehicles is true for both domestic vehicles here in the USA and abroad. Todd is also responsible for ensuring fit data for International cars, which he does on location overseas. Our international fit database dates back ten years, with 400 plus vehicle fits logged each year.
"My first trip out fit testing was in January 2011 to get trained, and we had to clear off 5" of snow from the vehicles we were testing. That experience provided me motivation to finish our annual fit testing by the time the snow flies in Madison. It’s hard to mount bike racks when you can’t feel your fingers!"
Why Do We Field Fit Test our Car Racks?
Because a bike rack is only part of the bike-hauling equation. When a trunk rack is mounted on a car, it’s critical that the trunk itself be strong enough to support the rack, the weight of the bikes themselves, along with the aerodynamics at play when traveling down the highway with multiple bikes in tow.
Along with overall strength, Todd also measures each vehicle for bumper angles, distance to the ground and clearances. Once he has those measurements, he will then physically fit each rack to the vehicle in question and will document the fit with pictures that can then be seen on our online fit guide.
From the field…
...straight to your computer.
Fit Information at Your Fingers
In recent years, our customers requested to see actual photos of their car with our bike racks on them, and in response, we overhauled our fit database and revolutionized how customers can check for bike rack fits and see the results. Now Todd can make real-time changes, which allows up-to-date information to reach you faster than ever before.
View our car bike rack products to see Todd’s handiwork for yourself.
A Note of Thanks from Todd
None of the fit testing effort could happen without the support from our local car dealerships. Their willingness to let us fit racks on their vehicles has been invaluable. You know you have the respect of a dealer when you walk into the door, and they hand you the keys to an $80,000 car without question, knowing you are helping their cycling customers who want the best information about that particular vehicle. It’s a win-win for all involved.
And, since beginning the fitting process for Europe in Ireland 6 years ago, we are developing the same relationships with dealers across Dublin. I have a ton of respect for the European cars, the dealers, and I can’t complain about their beer - after a day of fitting vehicles, a proper pint of Guinness hits the spot!