Whether you are planning a cycling trip out in the wilderness or picking up a second-hand bike, knowing whether or not you can fit a bike in your car is very useful. As a long-time rider, I’ve had some cars that could fit 3 bikes and others that could just about fit one. I thought it would be helpful to make a resource for new cyclists, showing them how to fit their bike into a car, and clarifying if they will be able to fit a bike in their car?
In general, most cars can fit a bike provided that you can put the backseats of the car down, remove the wheels from the bike, move the seat post down, and turn the handlebars so that they are in line with the bike frame. However, cars such as the Ford Escape are able to fit a fully assembled bike in the back.
So, we’ve established that most cars can fit a bike once you disassemble it, but which cars can fit a bike in while it is still assembled? I take a look at this, as well as if you can fit a bike box in many common cars in the rest of this article.
Will a bike fit in my car?
How big is a bike?
When trying to fit a bike into a car, it is important to know the dimensions of the average bike.
Most bikes (road or mountain bikes) are around 180cm long and 75cm wide. This includes the handlebars, wheels, and inflated tires.
Which models of cars can fit a bike?
Most cars and SUVs will fit a bike, however, the way you fit the bike into the car will depend on the specific model of the car and the bike itself. Take a look at the table I have created below that suggests how you can fit a bike into individual car models (as suggested by actual owners of these cars).
|Car Model||How to fit a bike into the car|
|Acura TSX||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Acura RSX||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Audi S6 Station||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Audi A5||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Audi S4||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|BMW M3||Both wheels removed, back seats down|
|BMW 745i||Both wheels removed, back seats down (rear bulkhead gets in the way when putting in via the boot)|
|Chevy S-10 Pickup||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Chevy Aveo||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Civic Sedan||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Corolla sedan||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Dodge Grand Caravan||Fits fully assembled with the back seats removed|
|Fiant panda||Both wheels removed, back seats down|
|Fiat 500||Front-wheel removed, back seats down, passenger seat pushed forward all the way|
|Ford focus||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Ford fiesta||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Ford escape||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Honda Civic||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Honda element||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Honda Integra coupe||Fits fully assembled with the front seat pushed forward|
|Honda pilot||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Honda Accord||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Honda CRV||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Honda Fit/Honda Jazz||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Hyundai i20/Elantra Touring||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Mazda 3 hatchback||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Mazda 3 sedan||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Mini cooper||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Mitsubishi Pajero||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Nissan Rogue||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Outback wagon||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Pontiac Vibe||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Scion xB||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Smart car||Front wheel removed, passenger seat pushed flat the whole way|
|Subaru Outback||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Subarus Crosstrek||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Subaru Forester||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Subaru Impreza||Fits fully assembled with the front seat pushed forward|
|Toyota Yaris||Both wheels removed, back seats down|
|Toyota Corolla||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Toyota Prius C||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Toyota Camry||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Toyota Aygo||Front-wheel removed, back seats down, passenger seat pushed forward all the way|
|Toyota matrix||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
|Volkswagen Fox||Front-wheel removed, back seats down, passenger seat pushed forward all the way|
|Volkswagen GTI||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Volkswagen Bug||Front-wheel removed, back seats down, passenger seat pushed forward all the way|
|Volkswagen Jetta||Front-wheel removed, back seats down|
|Volvo V70 wagon||Fits fully assembled with the back seats down|
How do you fit a bike into a car?
In general, there appear to be 4 main ways of fitting a bike into a car, the method you choose will depend on how small your car is compared to how large your bike is.
Option 1 – Large Cars
Sometimes, the bike will fit into the boot with the back seats down, and no adjustments are needed to the bike itself (for example taking the wheels off). This is often the case with larger vehicles such as the Outback Wagon.
Option 2 – Average Cars
If the car is slightly smaller, the next step is to remove the front wheel of the bike and simply pack the wheel on top or next to the bike. This method also requires you to put the back seats down but allows you to fit the bike into slightly smaller cars such as a Ford Fiesta
Option 3 – Small Cars
The next option is used for even smaller cars (often where there are no doors leading to the back seats). This option is very similar to the method for average cars but also requires you to move the front side passenger seat all the way forward to make more room for the bike.
This means that you cannot take a passenger with you in the car and also can make driving more difficult (just make sure you can still see all the mirrors that you need to be safe).
Option 4 – Tiny Cars
This option is much more work as it requires you to take both wheels off of the bike. With tiny cars you need to put the back seats down, take both wheels off, and put the bike in the back of the car across the seats, then you place both wheels in either the passenger footwell or next to the bike.
Take a look at this video from GCN that helps to show you how to fit your bike into a car.
Factors that impact if you can fit a bike in a car
So, we’ve established how to fit a bike into most of the common cars available, but does this mean that the bike will 100% fit into your car?
The answer, as you might guess, is that not all bikes will 100% fit into these cars. There are actually multiple different factors that can cause this.
First of all, you need to establish your individual height. Taller cyclists will require the front seat of a car to be further back in order to drive safely. This might result in you taking up more space than expected in the back seats and thus the bike may not fit as well as for other people.
Number of passengers
On top of this, you need to establish early on if you have any passengers. If you have one, then any car that requires the front seat to be pushed forward is going to struggle. Obviously, if you plan to take more passengers than this you will have to adjust accordingly.
Size of the bike
Also, the measurements of your individual bike will make a difference. Fitting a 52cm bike into a car is a lot easier than a 58 cm bike. Not only this, but the size of your individual components is also important. For example, some bikes have abnormally wide handlebars or long forks, both of which will impact how you can the bike into the car.
Also, the type of bike you are taking will make a difference. In general, road bikes are smaller than mountain bikes, and so will fit more easily into a car.
How to transport a bike without a rack?
The main options for transporting your bike if you don’t have access to a bike rack are to fit the bike into your boot, put the bike into a trailer, into your tailgate with a tailgate pad, or ship the bike with a bike courier service. Of these, fitting your bike into the boot of the car (often with the back seats down) is the simplest and cheapest option.
Tips for fitting a bike into your car
When trying to fit any bike into your car, there are a few general measures you can take to make things a little easier.
First of all, if the bike is having trouble fitting in your car, try using the method I have outlined to fit the bike in a car one size below yours. For example, if your car is not fitting a bike with the wheel off, try moving the passenger seat all the way forward to see if it makes more room for you to work with.
On top of this, you can also try lowering the seat post on the bike. This gives the bike a smaller overall footprint and can make it easier to fit it into your boot.
When placing the bike into the boot, remember to remove the parcel shelf from the boot of the car as this will make putting the bike into your boot much easier.
Oh and also ensure you are turning the handlebars sideways when placing the bike into your car, this again reduces the footprint of the bike overall.
Also, in general, it is a good idea to place a bike into your car chain side up. This reduces the risk of the chain leaving dirty marks on the car material. It can also be helpful to take a large blanket or towel to put down in your boot, this can help to protect the material.
If you are trying to transport a particularly dirty bike (for example a mountain bike after a long ride), you could invest in a bike bag such as this one found on amazon. This will enable you to keep the dirty wheen and bike inside the bag until you can wash it at home.
Will a bike in a box fit in my car?
When it comes to transporting bikes, many companies and cyclists look into using bike boxes. Bike boxes are as simple as they sound, large, normally cardboard boxes that can fit a disassembled bike. If you buy a new bike these are the types of boxes they come in.
Most bike boxes are 110x30x80cm however some can be much bigger than this. For example, other sizes include 135x70x20cm.
The best way to work out if your car can fit a biker box is to get the exact measurements of the bike box you plan to use and measure your car boot size. It is also important to make sure the box can either fit through the boot or door opening so you can get it in.
If you aren’t able to fit a bike box in your car, many cyclists elect to use a taxi service such as Uber XL which often has a car big enough for these bike boxes (just make sure to mention it when you book). This is particularly useful if you are taking your bike in a box to the airport.
Examples of cars that can fit a bike box
As you can see, most cars are able to fit a bike, it is simply a question of how much you have to disassemble the bike first, and how much of the car space you need to give up.
If you don’t fancy taking apart your bike every time you want to travel, then take a look at some of my articles on bikepacking! This is a great way to get out of the city without needing a car at all. You can see my article on how far you could travel each day while bikepacking here.