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I have never had the good fortune of living right on the water, where I could walk out the door, grab my surfboard and head out to the ocean. I have however, enjoyed living within walking distance of the ocean, which made short work of getting out on the water when the swells were right for surfing.
The downside of living close to the beach was the effort it required to carry the board and the time it took getting to the water. This is when a friend mentioned a bike rack for surfboards. I have to admit I was a bit confused.
Was he talking about a bike rack that went on my vehicle that could also be used for transporting surfboards? When he explained further that it was a means for using a bike to transport a surfboard to the beach, I have to admit I got excited.
The surfboard was heavy, especially after a day out on the water and now even heavier having to face carrying it the mile trek back to the house. Besides the energy expended, was how awkward it was at times and how it often rubbed against my bare skin. Also, I was really limited in what I could bring along for the day because of the demands of carrying the surfboard.
The sales pitch on getting a bike rack also included that it was an ecofriendly means of transporting my surfboard and that it was a good warm up for the legs prior to surfing. Both are valid reasons for choosing a bike rack but my motivation was to have an easier and faster method for getting out on the water.
I did discover, after a few trips, an additional benefit from using the bike rack versus transporting using a vehicle. When I got to the beach, I didn’t have to struggle finding a parking space or have to park a longer distance from the beach. I could ride right up to the beach, unload my surfboard and I was off to the surf. I have to acknowledge smirking a little as I cruise by watching others searching for parking or having to carry their boards.
So, if you are sold, like I was, the question becomes, what is the best surfboard bike rack? There are 3 different means for transporting surfboards using a bike:
Side Mount Rack: Clearly the most popular bike rack. Mounted so your surfboard rides to the side of your bike, making your transporting area wider, while still relatively safe. Because the board is on it’s side, facing forward it is aerodynamic, limiting the impact of the wind on how fast you can pedal your bike.
Rear Upright Mount Rack: This rack mount does not increase your width on the side, like the side mount but if the wind is stronger may move your bike side to side. The upright rack places your board in a vertical position, directly behind your bikes seat.
Surfboard Bike Trailer: A trailer equipped with wheels that attaches to the rear of your bike, allowing you to carry your board and any extra gear, pulling it behind your bike. This set-up does require attention, like driving a vehicle with a trailer, and will require some additional effort in certain circumstances.
We have included in this article a Buyers Guide and answer some frequently asked questions, along with the following recommendations for the best surfboard bike racks we have found:
Best Surfboard Bike Rack Reviews
1. Moved By Bikes (MBB) Longboard Rack
The Moved By Bikes Longboard Rack is a simple and effective solution for transporting your surfboard on your bike. The longboard rack mounts come in two parts: a front mount that attaches to the steering wheel post and a rear mount that attaches to the seatpost.
The mounts are attached using a clamp. The arm mounts are easily attached, adjusted and removed with a simple push button release. Installation is quick and easy while providing a stable frame mounting. A nice additional feature for the dog lovers among us is a leash loop on the end of the rack arm.
Moved By Bikes constructs their bike racks using anodized aluminum and stainless steel materials. This is an extremely important aspect in coastal areas to ensure your rack is rust and corrosion resistant. The sturdy and durable design has a 25 pound carrying capacity.
2. Ho Stevie! Surfboard Bike Rack
The Ho Stevie surfboard bike rack has a single clamp mount that attaches to the seat post, allowing for quick and easy installation. This rack will transport boards up to 8 feet long. The carrier arms are adjustable to accommodate your individual bike and surfboard. The bike rack comes with bungee cords that are used to secure your board to the rack, keeping you and your surfboard safe.
The Ho Stevie is a durable, lightweight aluminium frame that is both rust and corrosion resistant. The mount arms are covered with foam to protect your surfboard from being damaged while transporting. The carrier arms are adjustable to meet your personal preferences.
3. Carver Shortboard Surfboard Bike Rack
The Carver Shortboard system is a safe and secure side mounted rack for your bike. The bike rack is constructed using a lightweight welded alloy aluminum that is rust and corrosion resistant. This mounting system uses a single clamp that secures to the seat post and will accommodate boards up to 8 feet long.
The Carver bike rack arms are wrapped in a soft foam that protects and secures your surfboard. The design and construction make for quick and easy installation and removal of the mounting system. Additionally, the mounting arms are adjustable to accommodate your personal preferences.
4. Bike Balance Surfboard Bike Rack
The Bike Balance surfboard bike rack is constructed using a strong, lightweight aluminum with stainless steel components. The attention to design materials ensures the rack is rust and corrosion resistant, a necessity in coastal areas.
The Bike Balance features some unique qualities including the ability to hold up to two shortboards (requires purchasing an extra cradle), a rear mount that is ergonomically designed and allows steering through tight areas and adjustable mounting arms that have built-in bungee securing systems.
5. The Wheele Racks Board Walk Surfboard Trailer
We have included the Wheele Board Walk trailer because we like the concept of a bike trailer as a practical transportation solution for a surfboard. This trailer, as its name implies, is a walk trailer not a bike trailer. With this said, the folks at Wheele have come up with a solution to allow for a modification, allowing the rack to become a bike trailer.
To convert this system to a full bike trailer requires the purchasing of the “Walk 2 SUP Kit”, which can be found on their website.
The Wheele Racks trailer can handle multiple boards from 9 to 12 feet long, securing them with velcro straps. The trailer features 3 protection pads and 13 inch, EVA puncture proof tires that are removable.
When you begin your search for a surfboard bike rack you will want to have considered the various factors that will impact your final decision. The following information covers the issues we feel are important for you in determining the best surfboard bike rack for your needs:
Style and Type of Surfboard Bike Rack
For our reviews we have classified the surfboard bike racks into 3 different types. Each style and type has it’s advantages and challenges in how they function and operate. The surfboard bike rack types include:
Side Mount Rack: The most common and popular styles of bike board transportation systems are the side mounted racks. They are easy to install, work with any bike, can be used for short and longboards, are the least impacted by the wind, and have options such as being adjustable, quick release systems for attaching and removing, dog leash hooks, and bungee securing systems. The side mount does require some additional space for maneuvering, so they are not ideal for tight areas.
Rear Upright Mount Rack: These racks are mounted on the rear or back of the bike. The advantage is there is no need to counterbalance the weight of the board as with the side mount system. The rear mount is a good choice for shortboards. An advantage over the side mount rack is that you are able to maneuver in tighter areas, due to the rear mount. One of the concerns is that because the board rides higher that the wind can have a more significant impact moving your bike from side to side.
Surfboard Bike Trailer: This mount is a wheeled system that attaches to the rear of the bike. The trailer is great for accommodating longboards and even a stand up paddleboard. One of the distinct advantages is that you can transport multiple boards and additional gear. The trailer also allows you to detach it from your bike and use it for transporting your board(s) across the beach to the shore. The challenge is having to pull the additional weight (going up hill is a little more difficult) and like when pulling a trailer behind a car, you have to remain aware of the extended area and your turning radius.
You will need to consider the length of your surfboard. Some racks are specifically designed for shortboards, while others will accommodate longboards. You need to factor in the type and style that is best suited for your specific length and weight of board. If you are possibly going to be transporting other water sport boards with your bike like a skimboard, bodyboard or a stand up paddleboard you will want to factor this into your decision as well.
It would be easy to overlook how your surfboard bike rack is installed, removed and adjusted. It would be equally easy, by extension, to also make a big mistake by not considering this factor. The most important consideration is a secure and stable installation mounting system to ensure you and your boards safety.
Each bike rack will have attachment points. You want to make sure that mounting system connections will work with the specific design, shape and materials of the attachment points on your bike. Another consideration, is whether the mounting clamps have quick releases to remove the rack arms while allowing the clamps to remain. If you are fine with having the rack permanently installed or you don’t mind the additional time to remove and attach the system, then this may not be as important in your considerations.
Materials, Design and Construction
Due to the fact that most surfing takes place in a coastal area and thus will be impacted by the salt air and the salt from the water. You will want to avoid bike racks made of steel unless it has a heavy powder coating. Even in this instance you will need to take some steps to maintain the rack. Opting for a rust, corrosion and oxidation resistant material is optimal.
Additionally, you should look for a lightweight, durable rack. Sometimes sturdy means heavy, so you need to be aware of the materials your bike is constructed with, especially in the areas where the clamps will be attached to the bike.
Some systems come with a few accessories such as bungee cords, arm foam padding, velcro straps and even dog leash hooks on the rack arms. If these items are important to you, and we would consider bungee cords essential equipment, and if not included you will need to factor the additional cost(s) in your decision-making.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you install a surfboard bike rack?
The first thing to check is whether the manufacturer has included instructions in the purchase or if there is an online downloadable guide or video tutorial. Every surfboard bike rack is unique in how it is installed and you need to be sure to do so properly for the security of yourself and your board. Most systems use a clamping device, which bolts to your bikes frame or seat stem. The proper installation of these clamps needs to be a top priority.
Can I use the surfboard bike rack on hills and will the board stay secure?
If you have purchased a good quality bike rack you should have no concerns riding up or down hills with your surfboard. Quality surfboard bike racks have foam pads or gripping material to secure your board. Many of the systems come with bungee cords to hold your board in place. We recommend bungees for an additional level of securing your board, especially should you ride over uneven or bumpy areas.
Will the wind impact transporting my surfboard on a bike?Strong winds can impact your stability from side to side when your board is strapped to your bike. Much the same as when you are walking with your board, the wind can push against your board. With all of the racks we have recommended, the surfboard is facing forward, which will lessen the impact of wind. You always want to be aware of the wind strength and direction. In mild wind you will likely experience a slight push side to side from a gust.
The bottom line is a surfboard bike rack is a great way to transport your board if you live close enough to the water. A quality system will provide an easier and quicker way to get to and from the beach. The additional benefits of a good leg warm up, being eco friendly, access to prime parking (right on the beach) and being able to avoid expending energy transporting your board and thus saving it for the surf, all makes buying a surfboard bike rack a great idea.
We hope our recommendations and buyers guide arm you with the information you need to find the best surfboard bike rack for your needs. Let us know in the comments section how your search goes and what rack you finally decide to purchase.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.