The Best Bike Adapter Bars: Choosing The One For You

When cycling is a passion you’ll feel the need to take your bike with you anywhere. Even on vacation. And you’ll probably need to use an adapter bar to transport it. If you have doubts about what bike adapter bars are and how to choose them, read on. Otherwise, use the links below and go to our selection of the best bike adapter bars available on the market.

On road trips, getaways in the countryside or camping, most cyclists to take their bikes with them. When traveling by car, the easiest way to transport the bike is by fixing it to a bike rack. Among the many models of racks available on the market, the most popular are the hitch racks.

However, these racks are suitable to transport standard model of bikes, such as mountain bikes. If your bike is not standard, or if you have to transport a children or women bike, you’ll need to invest in a bike adapter bar.

In this article, we aim to show you how to choose these accessories. Then, take a look at our bike adapter bars selection to find the right one for your needs.

What Are Bike Adapter Bars

Bike adapter bars are accessories that allow you to attach the front wheel of the bike to the hitch rack securely in the case your bike is not a standard model.

In fact, most non-standard bikes have a swiveling fork that it is hard to fix on a transport rack. If not fixed well, the stem of the bike will rotate because of the vibrations transmitted by the car, damaging your car’s trunk and the bike itself.

To deal with this problem, most bicycle manufacturers propose  the use of bike adapter bars. These bars are fixed between the handlebar and the seat, keeping the bike’s stem fixed during transport.

The adapter bars are necessary in most cases when you want to transport the bikes fixed to a hitch rack. The only alternative is to invest in a transport rack that fixes the bike’s wheels. In this case, you will not have to worry about rotations thus you’ll not need an adapter bar.

How To Choose Bike Adapter Bars

Because most bike racks are standard, you might want to find out how to choose a bike adapter bar. The bright side is that this accessory is simple and it has a clear functionality, yet you will have to pay attention to a few variables.

  • Size: the first and foremost important is the size. Bike adapter bars are rarely adjustable in size and they come in standard dimensions. On the market, there are dozens of models of bike adapter bars suitable literally for all types of nonstandard bikes, however, you will have to pay attention to measure the distance between the handlebar and the seat well, otherwise, you might end up with a useless product.
  • Material: bike adapter bars must be sturdy and able to withstand vibrations. It is ideal to choose a bar made of aluminum or other resistant metal, although those made of carbon fiber are also extremely resistant.
  • Mount: this is the most delicate aspect to consider. Bike adapter bars must be easy to mount yet they should stay in place firmly. On the market, there are some models that use a clamp system to hook around the handlebar and seat. These adapter bars are easy to install and they can hold the bike firmly during transport.
  • Capacity: most bike adapter bars can carry one bike. However, there are some models that can carry two or multiple bikes. In some cases, these bars even have different dimensions, allowing you, for example, to carry both a children’s and a women’s bike with just one adapter bar.
  • Weight capacity: another important aspect to consider is the weight capacity of the adapter bar you’re interested in. If the weight of the bike overcomes the weight capacity of the bar, the bar might break during transport and damage both your vehicle and the bike itself.
  • Coating: even if you cover the bikes during transport, water and dust can easily reach the bike adapter bar. For this reason, make sure the model you like is coated with an anti-rust coating and that it is resistant to weather elements including rain and sun.

Bike Adapter Bars Reviews

1. Allen Sports Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor

Allen Sports is one of the most popular cycling accessories manufacturers and its Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor is one of the best bike bar adapters on the market. This bar is designed to add a top tube to all non-conventional frames and it quickly attaches to a wide range of bike styles.

This bike adapter bar is adjustable and suitable for bikes with a distance of 16 to 27 inches between the seat and the fork. Thanks to this characteristic, the adapter bar is suitable for both children and adult’s bikes.

Allen Sports Tension Bar Bicycle Cross-Bar Adaptor

The adapter bar is easy to install thanks to the convenient hooks. Moreover, the sturdy construction guarantees the durability of the product over time and it will keep both your bike and your vehicle safe during transport.

Things We Liked
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    Plastic-coated hooks: one of the main issues adapter bars have is the fact that they may damage the finish of the bike during mounting. To avoid this, the manufacturer coated the hooks with plastic.
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    Internal spring: the bar adapts to most models of bikes and keeps them secure thanks to an internal spring that is resistant and sturdy.
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    Lifetime guarantee: the manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials.
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    Easy to install: the adapter bar is easy to install thanks to the spring system. It adapts to bikes with dimensions of 16 to 27 inches between the stem and the seat.
Things We Didn't Like
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    Although the hooks are coated with plastic, the ends of the bar still have some metal elements that can scratch the paint on your bike. The product is also rather heavy.

2. Yakima Tube Top Crossbar Adapter

Yakima TubeTop Crossbar Adapter

Another popular bike adapter bar that is adjustable and suitable for a wide range of bikes is the Yakima Tube Top Crossbar Adapter. Ideal for children, women’s and sloping down tube bikes, this adapter bar by Yakima will certainly make transportation a breeze.

The adapter bar has a capacity of 45 lbs. and it is suitable for bikes with dimensions of 14,5 and 31,5 inches between the seat and the stem.

Thanks to the large molded collars, the adapter bar can be mounted on most models of bikes and its design is conceived to reduce or avoid damages to the bike’s frame altogether. Moreover, the oversized diameter tubing and the anti-rotation inserts offer a great stability to the accessory.

Another thing we like is the fact that the adapter bar comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Things We Liked
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    Easy to install: this bike adapter bar installs quickly and securely on almost all bikes. It can be used on bikes with single or dual arm mounts.
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    Adjustable: the adapter bar has a large-diameter tubing and anti-rotation inserts, and it adapts to a wide range of bikes. The minimum dimension between the seat and the stem is 14,5 inches while the maximum is 31,5 inches.
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    Molded collars: to avoid damaging the paint on your bike, the adapter bar features molded collars.
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    Lightweight: the bar weighs less than 4 lbs. Although weight is not essential when choosing a bike adapter bar, it is still easier to install a bar that is lightweight.
Things We Didn't Like
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    Unfortunately, there is no way to lock the top tube in position. For this reason, you will have to fit it to the bike each time you put it on, which is sometimes a hassle.

3. Swagman Bar Adapter Deluxe

One of the most popular bike adapter bars on the market is the Swagman Bar Adapter Deluxe. The main difference between this adapter bar and the competition is the presence of two independent rotating loops that will give you the possibility to position them according to the characteristics of your bike.

Similar to the other models described above, this adapter bar is also adjustable and suitable for a wide range of bikes.

In fact, the bar is suitable for bikes with a minimum width of 19 inches between the seat and the stem. Regarding the maximum width, this is variable and it ranges from 22 to 29 inches.

The hooking loops are coated with a rubber material to prevent scratching the bike. Besides, the bar is compatible with almost all types of bike racks, even the ones manufactured by different brands.

Swagman Bar Adapter Deluxe
Things We Liked
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    Ideal for almost all bikes: this adapter bar can be used on children’s bike, women’s bike, and even on non-conventional bikes designed for certain freestyle disciplines.
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    Easy to mount: the clamp loops attach easily to both the stem and the seat. Moreover, the loops can be positioned either horizontally or vertically.
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    Lightweight: this bike adapter bar weighs as little as 2 lbs. It is easy to carry, easy to install, and easy to store when not in use.
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    Adjustable: similar to the other bars described above, the Swagman Bar Adapter Deluxe is adjustable and fits almost all non-conventional models of bikes.
Things We Didn't Like
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    The anti-rust coating fades away easily and the bar is subject to the weather elements. You can either apply a second layer of coating or you’ll might have to change the product quickly.

4. TYGER Deluxe Bike Top Frame Cross Bar Telescopic Adaptor

TYGER Deluxe Bike Top Frame Cross Bar Telescopic Adaptor

TYGER proposes another excellent model of bike adapter bar suitable for both children and adult’s bikes. The bar is made of sturdy metal that is treated with a high-quality anti-rust coating. Thanks to the special treatment received, the adapter bar promises to last over time.

According to the manufacturer, this adapter bar is suitable for literally all types of non-conventional bikes. Whether this is true or not, the manufacturer doesn’t actually provide a range of dimensions.

To compensate the lack of clarity, the manufacturer sells the adapter bar fully assembled. The bar is designed to keep your bike mounted on the transport rack in a fixed position and to achieve this, the bar features anti-rotation inserts that increase the stability.

Furthermore, the hooks are coated with rubber to limit all damages it might bring to the coating of the bike.

Things We Liked
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    Lifetime warranty: the manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty. This is a further guarantee of the quality of this product.
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    Instruction manual: the bar is really easy to install. Nevertheless, the manufacturer included in the package an instruction booklet, which is a nice addition.
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    Suitable for all bikes: according to the manufacturer, you will be able to use this adapter bar with all models of bikes.
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    Anti-rust coating: the adapter bar is not only coated with an anti-rust coating but it is also pre-treated with phosphate, acid washing, and oil degreasing to increase its resistance to rust and corrosion.
Things We Didn't Like
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    Finding the right fit is a hassle because of the loose fit. On the other hand, the adapter bar cannot be locked in place, which is a further inconvenience.

5. Stoneman Sports QSP-610 Sparehand Adjustable Bike Bar Adapter

Another great adapter bar to consider is the Sports QSP-610 Sparehand Adjustable Bike Bar Adapter by Stoneman. This adapter boasts a telescopic bar designed to fit a wide range of bikes and it comes with a year of limited warranty.

Although the manufacturer claims the adapter bar fits all non-conventional bikes, we feel this claim is untrue. While it is true that the adapter fits a wide range of bikes, the minimum dimension between the seat and the stem is of 22 inches, rather large for a child’s or for a medium women’s bike.

Stoneman Sports QSP-610 Sparehand Adjustable Bike Bar Adapter

Nevertheless, the adapter is adjustable for dimensions of 22 to 32 inches between the seat and the stem.

Another characteristic we like is the installation ease. The adapter bar attaches to the bike’s frame in a matter of seconds and the sturdy hooking system will keep it in place even on the bumpiest trails.

Things We Liked
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    Coated hooks: the hooks of the Sports QSP-610 are coated with a layer of soft vinyl to prevent damage to the bike.
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    For transport and storage: this adapter bar is suitable not only for transport but also for storage. It attaches to suspended hooks and standard bike racks.
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    Telescopic bar: thanks to the adjustable size, the bar can be mounted on a wide range of bikes.
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    Limited warranty: the manufacturer offers one year of warranty for workmanship and production defects.
Things We Didn't Like
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    The telescopic bar doesn’t use a spring system but an elastic that brakes easily. Although easy to replace, a spring would be more resistant and less frustrating.

Conclusion & Final Pick

It is easy to notice that almost all bike adapter bars have a few things in common, namely, they are all telescopic and suitable for a wide range of non-conventional bikes.

For this reason, choosing the right bike adapter bar is often a matter of brand preference. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the best bike adapter bar is the Yakima Tube Top Crossbar Adapter.

We didn’t choose this adapter bar because of the brand but because it adapts to the widest range of bikes. In fact, the adapter bar is suitable for bikes with dimensions of 14,5 to 31,5 inches between the stem and the seat and it can be used on bikes for riders of all ages.

Another reason why we consider this adapter bar the best is the fact that the manufacturer actually specified the weight capacity of the bar. The adapter has a capacity of 45 lbs., therefore it will be easy to determine whether it is suitable for your bike or not.

The main downside of this adapter bar is the fact that it doesn’t have a system to fix it to the desired dimension. On the other hand, the molded collars are rather large and some might feel their bike is not held in place securely.

Nevertheless, the product comes with a limited lifetime warranty, it is resistant and durable, and from all the bike adapter bars available on the market we feel that this is the best!

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