Finding the right bike rack to fit your Mini Cooper can be a challenge. Mini Coopers are classic luxury economy cars. They’re fun to drive, have great fuel economy, and offer a timeless and sophisticated aesthetic.

They are also unique, and their specific design means that many conventional bike racks simply won’t fit.

Racks that are designed to fit Mini Coopers range widely in weight, impact on your vehicle, and the kinds of bikes they can help you tote around.

Here’s our quick guide to what features to look for when searching for the perfect bike rack for your Mini Cooper:

Rankings

RankingProduct NameTypeCapacitySecurity / Lock Included?ReviewPrice
#1yakima halfback 3 bike carrier rackYakima Halfback 3 Bike Carrier RackTrunk3NoRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#2yakima frontloaderYakima FrontloaderRoof1OptionalRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#3thule t2 pro xt 2 bike rackThule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike RackHitch2 to 4YesRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#4saris bones 2 bike trunk rackSaris Bones 2-Bike Trunk RackTrunk2NoRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#5mini cooper touring bike holderMini Cooper Touring Bike HolderRoof1YesRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#6yakima full tiltYakima FullTiltHitch4YesRead Review
See Price on Amazon

Matching Gear to Your Needs: Things to Consider

Generally, there are three types of racks which can work with Mini Coopers:

These categories can be further broken down based on how they attach to your vehicle or how they hold onto your bikes (hitch-mounted racks, for example, can either provide a platform for your bikes or grip onto their frames).

Here’s some more information on what to think about before starting to narrow down your choices:

What model vehicle do you have?

Most models will include information on which model vehicles they support. It’s also possible to contact manufacturers for this information. If you can’t track down a clear answer on whether a model will work on your car, there’s some general information on how to guess:

Many Mini Cooper models are designed with the exhaust pipe in the center of the rear of the vehicle. This makes it difficult to install a hitch receiver.

Some cars have been equipped with attachment ports in the bumper for bike rack installation – if you don’t know whether your vehicle has these, it’s worth taking a second to check before shopping around for a rack.

If you have a spoiler which protrudes significantly, this will also impact whether you’ll be able to use a trunk rack with your car.

Roof racks are often the lowest-risk bet for this kind of car.

If you have a convertible, this will also obviously take a roof rack out of the question. Your only option in this case is likely to use the Mini Cooper specific rack made by the manufacturer, which is expensive, but easy to install and use (see #5 on our list).

Are you willing to install a hitch receiver?

It is generally possible to install an after-market hitch receiver on your vehicle, and this may be worth it if you also plan to tow a small trailer in that rear view mirror or have more reasons to put a hitch on your car. Most, if not all, Mini Coopers will require removing the bumper to install a rack. This can be time-consuming and difficult, especially if you are new to the manufacturer.

Many dealerships can install a hitch receiver for you, but this does tend to add to your bike rack’s price tag significantly.

Do you have unusually shaped frames or bikes?

Rear-mounted racks are designed for typical road bike frames.

If you have carbon fiber frames you need to protect, or have smaller frames than average or unusual frame types, typical “hanging” racks of any type likely won’t work.

To make these racks work, you can often purchase an adapter. It’s also an option to look into racks (typically hitch or roof racks) which cradle the wheels of your bike or provide a flat platform for your tires instead of gripping your bikes’ frames.

Do you want to access your trunk while the rack is in place?

For many people, this is a non-issue.  However, if you plan on keeping the rack attached to your vehicle even when you are not carrying bikes, not being able to open your rear hatch can be a huge inconvenience.

If you need to open the doors of your vehicle while the rack is installed, there are a few ways to make that happen.

You won’t be able to open the door of your vehicle with typical trunk or hitch racks, but roof racks carry the added benefit of allowing trunk access.

Some hitch racks will swing low or to the side out of the way to let you access your hatch.

How much are you willing to invest?

Name brands can be worth it when it comes to bike racks, as well-designed frames are less likely to damage your bikes, paint, or vehicle frame, and also tend to be more reliable when it comes to service and installation support.

Models specifically designed for Mini Coopers will, like many other name-brand accessories, run a much higher price tag than generic racks, but they are also more likely to fit the car seamlessly and without hassles.

On the other hand, finding the right bike rack for a mini cooper can take some trial and error. While you’re figuring out how to make a bike rack work for your vehicle, or if you plan to exchange racks across vehicles, or if you’re just getting started, a cheaper generic rack may still do the job just fine.

How many bikes do you need to carry?

The small profile of Mini Coopers does reduce the amount of weight they can carry compared to other vehicles.

Looking for minimal weight, while maximizing the number of bikes a rack can hold, can be tricky. In terms of simple physics, the farther a rack sticks out from the back of your vehicle, the less weight it can hold.

Trunk racks also have their own weight and size limits, and can typically hold 1-4 bikes, but the angle of the door on a Mini Cooper can prohibit the use of larger racks, since there just isn’t enough space for all of the points of contact.

Hitch racks, since they attach to the hitch instead of more fragile points on the rear of the car, can have slightly higher weight capacities, though again this will require significant installation effort.

Roof racks hold more weight, and they can also be better choices for weirdly shaped bikes. However, they can add significant wind resistance and drag and make a lot of noise while driving.

Can you lift bikes over your head?

Mini Coopers are smaller cars, which can be a great perk for shorter people.

However, bike racks will all require you to lift bike frames to about chest height. Roof racks, though this may go without saying, will require you to lift all your bikes onto the roof of your vehicle every time you need to transport them.

It’s worth considering how much of an inconvenience this will be before throwing down cash and spending time and effort on installing a roof rack which you won’t like using down the road.

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Will a bike rack damage my vehicle or my bikes?

All racks could potentially cause damage, either from bike frames rubbing against the rack or other bikes or from the rack itself chipping the paint or denting parts of your vehicle’s body.

Ways to minimize the potential of damage to vehicles and bikes include:

  • Choosing a rack which minimizes points of contact with the vehicle (e.g. hitch racks)
  • Picking a sturdy rack which minimizes bike movement, preventing rubbing and jostling
  • Choosing a high-end rack with secure attachments at key pressure points
  • Avoiding trunk racks, which typically use clips to attach and can cause damage
  • Looking for racks with built-in padding or other protections
  • Choosing a platform-mounted rack to protect bike frames

How do bike racks affect Mini Cooper fuel economy?

Mini Coopers are widely known for great fuel economy. Part of this is due to their relatively low weight, which can be affected by adding any kind of tow or cargo, including bike racks.

Roof racks are especially impactful, and can significantly reduce mileage per gallon, both from weight and from the wind resistance caused by changing the profile of your vehicle.

Some models are more aerodynamic than others, but if you’re planning to take your rack on long road trips or mountain passes, or fuel economy is important to you, it’s probably better to look into a lightweight model which will attach behind your vehicle.

How can I keep bikes secure while they’re on my rack?

In short, by choosing a rack with a design that maximizes stability and security and reduces the chances that someone can remove either the bikes or the entire rack.

On a trunk-mounted rack, straps themselves are often vulnerable, as someone could feasibly cut through them to take both the bikes and the racks in one fell swoop.

Hitch and roof racks are more variable; many (including those on this list) have built-in locking mechanisms which both attach the rack to your vehicle and your bikes to your rack.

If you need to store your bikes on your rack unsupervised or in a risky area, it can be a good idea to look into a rack which offers built-in security features. As an added bonus, these options also tend to offer more stability during transport.

Can I install a rack over a centered exhaust?

Most likely, yes.

The centered exhaust does make installing a hitch receiver more difficult, but not impossible – you will need to remove the bumper (temporarily!) to access the built-in-hardware necessary to attach a standard hitch receiver before adding your rack. You can ask a mechanic to do this for you or learn how to do it yourself – the process is straightforward, though time-consuming.

Depending on your vehicle, it’s likely also possible to use a trunk rack on the back of your vehicle.

With a hitch or a trunk rack, it’s worth considering whether the heat from the exhaust will be affecting your bikes or the hardware. Make sure that whatever rack you do install is high enough to not sit directly behind your exhaust.

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Criteria for Choosing a Mini Cooper Rack: How We Ranked Our Top Picks

Given the unique specifications of Minis, there are fewer bike rack configurations out there than there are for some other vehicles. On the other hand, not all racks which do fit Mini Coopers are worth the money.

Features which matter to you will be very different from the next person. Some factors – price, trunk access, fuel economy, and weight capacity, for example – may be important to you but irrelevant to someone else.

In the rest of this guide, we’ll outline the best racks for Mini Coopers. Here are the criteria we used in establishing our ranking:

Weight

Weight, as mentioned above, is important both for fuel economy and for ease of installation.

Some models vary in weight because they come in customizable sizes. For the sake of this ranking, we’ll include the base weight of each model to help you gauge how much the rack will impact your vehicle.

Value

Mini Cooper accessories can be expensive. Everyone’s ideal budget varies, but some features are simply more worth paying for than others. Features like durability, convenience, gas mileage, ease of installation, and versatility are all worth considering to assess the value of a Mini Cooper rack in addition to its price tag.

In our ranking, we’ll include a variety of price ranges, but also highlight models which we think provide the best value for their price.

Durability & Stability

We’ve also considered the stability of each rack, or how it feels while moving. This has an impact on mileage, noise, and, as mentioned above, also affects how likely the rack is to cause damage.

The right bike rack should last you safely and securely for years.

Security

Mini Coopers are easy to park, but they also stand out, and can be targets for theft, especially with a flashy new bike attached.

While only some of the models come with a built-in locking mechanism to protect and secure bikes, it is worth nothing that most can be customized with add-on security features after installation, though this may add to the total price.

If you’re concerned about security, look for a model which include a built-in locking mechanism.

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Our number #1 Pick: Yakima Halfback 3 Bike Carrier Rack

yakima halfback 3 bike carrier rack
  • Type: Trunk
  • Weight: 24.5 lbs.
  • Capacity: 3 bikes
  • Security: No

High Points:
Easy loading/unloading, padding, simple installation, compact, good value.
Low Points:
Need to remove bike before opening trunk, check with Yakima for vehicle specifics to ensure fit.

Why it’s a Top Pick:

Unlike other trunk racks, this model only has straps which go over and under the door, instead of diagonally. This makes it possible for the rack to fit even small, flat hatchback doors (like many Mini Cooper models) and also prevents interference with protruding spoilers on the top of a rear door.

The built-in padding protects paint, and the rack can hold up to three bikes.

What Reviewers Say:

Yakima is always a fan favorite, and though they aren’t necessarily known for making inexpensive racks, this is a relatively affordable model, at less than 1/7th the price of a Mini Cooper brand name rack.

While it should work with many models and years, check with Yakima to make sure it will fit your specific vehicle’s dimensions before purchasing. Some people have reported difficulty installing this rack on some Minis.

Features and Considerations:

This rack comes with a built-in bottle opener, and also comes in a 2-bike model which is lighter and smaller, for those looking for a smaller rack.

It is a hanging type rack, meaning that some frame types won’t work with this rack. It also has no built-in security, and the straps can be somewhat vulnerable.

If you’re willing to risk some security, the only other drawback to this rack is that you won’t be able to open the trunk when the rack is in place. Otherwise, this is a sleek, attractive accessory which provides durable and secure hold for up to three bikes.

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The Next-Best: Yakima FrontLoader

yakima frontloader
  • Type: Roof
  • Weight: 18.25 lbs.
  • Capacity: 1 bike
  • Security: Optional

High Points:
No wheel removal needed, fits nearly any crossbars, no contact with frame, accommodates disc brakes, thru axles, and full suspension brakes, no tools/assembly required.
Low Points:
Locks sold separately, only holds one bike.

Why it’s a Top Pick:

If you have only one bike, this roof rack is a great choice.

It will support nearly any size crossbar and 20-29-inch mountain or road bike wheels, eliminating the need to purchase an adapter if you have an unusually shaped bike. It also has no contact with the bike’s frame, which helps to minimize bike movement and possible damage to frames or paint from contact.

Disc brakes, thru axles, and even full suspension bikes can all easily be placed onto this rack without removing a wheel or any additional tools or assembly. In short, pretty much any bike (with the possible exception of fat bikes) could be accommodated with this rack.

It’s also lightweight and has a fairly minimal profile, which is important for a rack which sits on the top of the vehicle.

What Reviewers Say:

Adding a roof rack to a Mini Cooper can add a fun style element to the vehicle’s profile.

Installation will be challenging the first time around, but once this rack is in place, it’s very easy to use. The rack itself requires virtually no assembly.

Yakima again has a great reputation for both products and customer support.

Features and Considerations:

Some models may cause issues with the rear hatch hitting the bike when fully opened, but otherwise there should be no issues accessing the rear of the vehicle while a bike is installed.

Installing the rack backwards, so that the rear of the bike faces the front of the vehicle, resolves this issue.

This rack does impact fuel economy, and can cause a slight whistle when driving at highway speeds, but all things considered it’s highly aerodynamic, lightweight, and easy to use.

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3. Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack

thule t2 pro xt 2 bike rack
  • Type: Hitch
  • Weight: 51 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2 bikes
  • Security: Yes

High Points:
Tilt function to allow trunk access, quick/easy setup, easy fold and store when not in use (possibly with a Thule Hullavator), customer service, platform rack
Low Points:
Cumbersome to remove, expensive

Why it’s a Top Pick:

If you’re willing to install a hitch on your Mini, or already have one, this is among your best bets.

The tilting function allows trunk access post-installation even when carrying bikes, and it also folds out of the way when not in use.

This is another platform rack, which supports bikes from the bottom instead of via the frame, again minimizing damage.

It also sits high enough on the car to avoid interfering with the exhaust.

What Reviewers Say:

Thule is also a well-known, highly-regarded brand, and this is among the most popular tilt-away racks since it offers the convenience and security of a hitch rack but still enables trunk access while in use.

It can be cumbersome to install and remove. It’s also quite heavy and on the high end price-wise. However, this is still a fan-favorite rack.

Features and Considerations:

The Thule T2 Pro XT holds two bikes, with the optional add-on for up to four if you have a 2” receiver. Most Minis will do better with a 1 ¼” receiver, so this option is likely not an option.

There is a built-in security feature to protect both the bike and the rack, and the entire thing is well-constructed and sturdy to last a very long time.

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4. Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack

saris bones 2 bike trunk rack
  • Type: Trunk
  • Weight: 9.85 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2 bikes
  • Security: No

High Points:
100% recyclable, non-rusting material, holds up to 35lbs./bike, folds flat for garage storage, lower price range
Low Points:
Does not fit all mini models, potentially difficult to install
Reviews:
Some complaints it isn’t sturdy or durable. Weird fits for some cars, but if it fits definitely worth it for the price

Why it’s a Top Pick:

This is among the most affordable options for multiple bikes and without sacrificing fuel economy or stability. The plastic components won’t rust and have a surprisingly high weight tolerance, and it’s pretty much impossible to beat the price tag.

It’s also lightweight and padded to prevent damage.

What Reviewers Say:

Reception of this rack varies by make and model of vehicle. Common complaints are that it doesn’t quite fit all models well. Clips on the straps can slip and cause slight paint damage or require readjustment mid-trip.

However, this is still a surprisingly functional and easy-to-use model considering the lower price tag.

Features and Considerations:

Definitely do some measuring and investigating before purchasing, as convertibles and Minis with very small profiles or large spoilers will not be compatible with this rack.

If it happens to work with your specific Mini Cooper, it’s definitely worth it for the price tag. It also folds out of sight and its lightweight profile reduces fuel consumption and makes installing and uninstalling the rack much easier.

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5. Mini Cooper Touring Bike Holder

mini cooper touring bike holder
  • Type: Roof
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Capacity: 1 bike
  • Security: Yes

High Points:
Accommodates bikes with frame diameters up to 80mm, locks to prevent theft, designed for MINI specifically
Low Points:
Requires purchase/install of roof rack base support system, only stores 1 bike

Why it’s a Top Pick:

It’s hard to go wrong with the original model designed for Minis specifically. You can’t beat this rack in terms of ease of installation.

It also holds a wide range of frame sizes, even including fat tires, and includes built-in locking mechanisms to prevent theft.

What Reviewers Say:

Most people think it’s worth it to go for the convenience of simply snapping this rack into place, compared to other models which require significant installation.

It is significantly more expensive than other options, and only holds one bike, but mostly makes up for this in added security and ease-of-mind features.

Features and Considerations:

You will need to separately purchase a roof rack base system to use this rack. While OEM racks are compatible with this one, this does add to the installation difficulty, time, and price, which is worth considering before buying.

If you’re willing to pay for it, this is a highly reliable and convenient choice.

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6. Yakima FullTilt

yakima full tilt
  • Type: Hitch
  • Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Capacity: 4 bikes
  • Security: Yes

High Points:
Comes fully assembled, included Same Key System Locks, rack tilts for trunk access, folds flat for storage, extra straps included
Low Points:
Expensive, fairly heavy, can damage bikes

Why it’s a Top Pick:

There aren’t that many Mini-compatible racks which will hold four bikes and attach to a 1 ¼” receiver.

If you want a hanging hitch rack, this is a great choice. Like other Yakima models, it comes with included key locks built in. It will also tip to enable trunk access, and folds flat for storage.

It requires next to no assembly, includes extra straps for added stability, and can accommodate all standard bike frames.

What Reviewers Say:

This is a high-end, high-quality rack known for its durability and extended performance.

The only issue commonly reported by reviewers is that it does cause bikes to rub against each other, particularly if you have unusual frame types. If you have carbon fiber bikes (or any you don’t want frame contact with), look into a platform-type rack instead.

Features and Considerations:

Like many other Yakima racks, this one comes with built-in locking mechanisms to protect all four bikes while you’re away from your vehicle.

It is also more expensive than other options; whether it’s worth it for you depends on your specific preferences and needs. The tilting mechanism is very convenient, but can get stiff or just awkward when the rack is fully loaded. Still, this is a great choice for a hitch rack which still allows trunk access and is compatible with Mini Coopers.

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