How to Choose the Perfect Spare Tire Bike Rack for Your Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wranglers have a reputation as rugged, compact and fun vehicles. It comes as no surprise that many Wrangler owners also enjoy the thrill of cycling. A variety of cycling enthusiasts, from mountain bikers to long distance riders, regularly travel around the country to find the best spot for their next ride. A Jeep Wrangler spare tire bike rack is the perfect addition for any outdoor adventurer that’s looking for a convenient and secure way to transport their bicycle from point A to point B.

What is a spare tire bike rack?

A spare tire bike rack is a bike rack that mounts to the spare tire on your vehicle’s rear door instead of the tow hitch or roof. This type of bike rack is popular with Jeep owners not only because it pairs perfectly with the spare tire, but it’s also more compact and often easier to use than other bike racks. It also provides a good alternative for Jeep owners with a soft top who cannot use a roof mount bike rack.

Looking for a trailer hitch bike rack? Check out our Bike Racks 101 guide to learn more about the different types of trailer hitch bike racks, what they're used for and which style is right for you.

Benefits of using a spare tire bike rack

  • Accessibility – Many spare tire bike racks allow your vehicle’s rear door to fully open with the bikes still in place. Other bike racks require removing your bicycles each time you open the rear door, which can be frustrating and time consuming.  
  • Convenience – There is no tow hitch required, so as long as you have your spare tire in place, you can install a spare tire bike rack and be on your way. This also means if your vehicle has a hitch, you can haul a trailer in addition to your bicycle(s).
  • Affordability – Spare tire bike racks are more compact, which means they are also more affordable than larger bike racks. In fact, they are among the most affordable of all vehicle mounted bike racks available (not including truck bed bike racks).

Things to consider when choosing a spare tire bike rack

There is a lot to consider before you choose a bike rack for your Jeep Wrangler. Below are a handful of the most crucial factors that we recommend considering before you make a purchase.

Vehicle compatibility

Spare tire bike racks are only compatible with vehicles that have a spare tire on the rear door, and may be limited to certain tire sizes. Some racks are designed only for certain vehicle models as well. In general, any vehicle with a rear spare tire can be fitted with a spare tire bike rack. That means if you’re looking for a spare tire bike rack for a Jeep Cherokee or other SUV, for example, you’re in luck!

Number of bikes

Not all spare tire bike racks are capable of hauling the same number of bikes. Some only carry one, while others can carry up to three. In addition, spare tire bike racks have varying weight limits. So although a rack may have the ability to carry more than one bike, that doesn’t always mean it has a higher weight capacity. Be sure your bike(s) are compatible with the Jeep bike rack of your choosing.


One of the worst feelings in the world is coming back to your Jeep to find that your beloved bike has been stolen. Although most bike racks have a locking mechanism, some may be more secure than others. Bike racks with both locking rubber straps and a lock and key are the most secure. You can also use a steel cable bike lock to attach the frame to the bike rack for additional security.

Spare tire bike rack features

Certain spare tire bike rack features can help reduce headaches at the beginning and end of your ride. Some features might also align more with your riding style or cycling preferences. Below are some of the most common spare tire bike rack features so you can be familiar with what’s out there:

  • Anti-sway cradles to keep your bike from shifting while driving
  • Folding arms that save space when the rack is not in use
  • Adjustable cradles that carry different frame sizes and styles

Bike rack installation

This consideration is more about personal preference. Are you comfortable with a more complex installation that requires using several different tools, or do you prefer a quicker, more user-friendly installation? One rule of thumb: spare tire bike racks that are heavier and more durable often have more complicated installations, while the lighter spare tire bike racks are simpler to install.

Bicycle condition

Keep your cycles looking great by choosing a rack that has features designed to stop bikes from bumping against each other while driving. Cradles with soft, rubber padding are one of the more important factors in protecting bikes while they’re on the rack. Also, the distance between the bikes (if you have more than one) while they’re strapped in plays a crucial role in keeping your frames in good shape.

A bicycle mounted on a spare tire bike rack.

What is the best bike rack for a Jeep Wrangler?

There are a lot of great Jeep spare tire bike racks out there, but the Spare Me™ Pro 2 Bike Rack by Thule® gives riders a great combination of affordability, convenience and quality features that riders can depend on for ride after ride, including:

  • Carries up to two bikes
  • Fits regular and oversized tires
  • Arms fold in when not in use

Whether you’re looking for the best spare tire bike rack for an SUV or another type of vehicle, U-Haul has you covered. We carry top-rated bike racks from brands such as Allen, Saris, Yakima, and Thule at our thousands of locations across North America. For more options, check out our full list of bike racks!

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