In this article, we are going to review another major brand name you may have come across in your search for a quality bike rack for your vehicle. Allen sports was founded in 1967 by Dick Allen, a Harvard-educated physicist. Like so many others, he started in his garage, however, unlike many others, he transformed his hobby and need for a bike carrying device for him and his family into a successful multi-million dollar business.
Today, Allen sports has 8 different product lines, from bike racks to rooftop carriers, from folding bikes to trailers for joggers. Every product line comes with multiple models and sizes in addition to accessories. It has sold thousands of products in over a dozen countries all around the world.
Allen bike rack product line currently consists of four different products: Compact carriers, trunk carriers, hitch carriers and spare tire carriers. They are all designed to fit sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and SUVs.
We are going to cover all the models in these products in order to arm you with the best information so you can decide if one of them is the right one for you. Let’s get started.
Ultra-compact bike racks
Allen compact bike rack line consists of two classes of carriers, 1 bike, and 2 bikes. Each class includes two different models each. Both models fold up and can be carried in a carrying bag or a backpack and are fully assembled, no tools needed. They are gray powder coated and the price point for both models is a major plus for these racks.
Models MT-1 and MT-2
Allen MT-1 is made of aluminum and carries only 1 bike. Its maximum capacity is 35 pounds. It fits a vehicle with 3 padded legs resting against the vehicle. It comes with 3 adjustable security straps to ensure stability. The carrying bag is included. Measurements are: 13.98 x 3.54 x 7.28 inches, weighs 2 pounds.
MT-1 may not be suitable for a vehicle that has a spoiler, and may not work for some women’s bikes as it is not easily adjustable for bikes with angles cross posts. If you own a smaller car with rear windshield wipers, it may prevent you from using them.
MT-2 is the 2 bike version of MT-1 with identical features. Its maximum weight capacity is 70 pounds compared to 35. Its measurements are 4 x 6 x 17 inches and it weighs about 7.5 pounds.
Model AL-01: Premier Aluminum 1 Bike Rack
This model is made of lightweight 6061 aluminum and like MT-1, carries only 1 bike with a maximum capacity of 35 pounds. The main difference from MT-1 other than the ultra-light aluminum construction is the wide profile feet that allow the load to be distributed more evenly for stability. It includes all the other features that MT-1 has.
Measurement: 14.3 x 7.5 x 3.6 inches, and weighs around 3.9 pounds.
If you are looking for a 2 bike version of AL-01, AL-02 is the rack with the same features as AL-01, but additionally, it also includes a lateral stability feature. Its maximum weight capacity is 70 pounds compared to AL-01’s 35 pounds. Its measurements are 17 x 7.5 x 3.7 inches and weighs about 4.9 pounds.
Allen compact bike racks deliver what they promise, an inexpensive, light, easy to store when not in use, and an easy to install carrier for 1 or 2 bikes. They may not be built for long cross-country road trip, but may be more than enough for a quick biking session. Some buyers reported that they are suitable for light bikes that are not too long, or have big wheels. If you have an oddly shaped bike, these racks may not be a good fit for you.
Scroll down for links for a quick comparison guide for each of the models that are reviewed in the article.
Allen trunk rack product line has two types of carriers just like the compact line, deluxe (models 102DN, 103DN, 104DB) and premier (models S102, S103, S104). Each type of trunk rack has a 2, 3 and a 4 bike carrier. They are all fully assembled, which makes them easy to install with individual tie-down cradles.
Allen’s patented Sure Strap lower strap helps keep the bottom hook in place during use for safety and stability. Because these are larger models, they do not come with a carrying case.
The major differences between the deluxe Allen trunk racks and the premier ones are, the premier models include a quick secure cradle strap as well as a quick set up/ folding design. Additionally, the premier models a wide profile feet to distribute load just like the premier compact models.
The 2 bike models have a maximum weight capacity of 70 pounds, 3 bike models 100 pounds and the 4 bike models have 140 pounds. Other detailed specifications for these racks are:
Deluxe Model 102DN (2 bike trunk rack): 4 x 13 x 23.5 inches, weighs 7.5.
Oddly shaped bikes may not fit, and if your car has a spoiler that may be a challenge as well.
Deluxe Model 103DN (3 bike trunk rack): 28.6 x 14.2 x 4.5 inches, weighs 9.5 pounds
Deluxe Model 104DB (4 bike trunk rack): 4 x 18 x 34 inches, weighs 9 pounds
Premier Model S102 (2 bike trunk rack): 4.9 x 13.7 x 24 inches, weighs 11.2 pounds
Premier Model S103 (3 bike trunk rack): 13.6 x 4.7 x 29.1 inches, weighs 13 pounds
Premier Model S104 (4 bike trunk rack): 36 x 18.4 x 4.8 inches, weighs 21.6 pounds
Allen hitch mounted bike racks also consist of two classes of racks, deluxe and premier and all models require minor assembly.
The deluxe models have a 2 bike model (522RR), a 3 bike model (532RR), a 4 bike model (542RR) and a 5 bike model (552RR). The common features for all of the deluxe hitch carrier models are as follows:
The assembly is, for the most part, easy and quick. You can tilt the rack back which allows you an easy lift-gate access. You can fold out the carrying arm when it is not being used. They all have a no wobble bolt for safety and individual tie-down cradle system. These cradles are designed to individually secure and protect the bicycles. The carry arm spacing allows these racks to accommodate a wide range of frames.
The main difference between the 4 deluxe hitch racks is, the first two models, 522RR and 532RR can be used with 1 1/4″ & 2” receiver hitches and can be installed onto most standard Class I, II, III & IV hitches, while 542RR and 552RR only fit a 2” hitch.
The specifications for these racks are:
522RR: 3.7 x 13.8 x 24.3 inches, weighs 21.2 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 70 pounds.
532RR: 16-inch carry arms, 16.6 x 4 x 25.9 inches, weighs 22.6 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 105 pounds.
542RR: 22-inch carry arms, 25.7 x 16.6 x 3.8 inches, weighs 22.6 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 140 pounds. The vehicle will require professionally installed Class III or IV 2″ hitch to be able to use this rack.
552RR: 28-inch carry arms, 30 x 17 x 5 inches, weighs 20 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 175 pounds. This model installs onto most standard Class III or IV 2″ hitch.
The premier models also have a 2 bike model (S525), a 3 bike model (S535), two 4 bike model (S545 and S645) and a 5 bike model (S555). Just like the deluxe 2 and 3 bike models, S525 and S535 fit 1 1/4″ & 2”receiver hitches, while S545, S645, and S555 only fit a 2” receiver hitch.
All the premier models include all the common features of all of the deluxe hitch carrier models in addition to other common features listed below.
They have dual compound cradle beds and their design allows a quick set-up and fold mechanism for the racks. The quick secure cradle strap is also a common feature for all of them. S525, S535, S545 and S555 all has a rapid tilt away system, which allows the user to easily tilt the rack away from the vehicle.
The premier 4 bike rack S645 on the other hand, is specifically designed for vehicles with an externally mounted spare tire. Its extended hitch arm is designed to clear rear-mounted vehicle spare tires.
Spare Tire Carriers
Allen spare tire bike racks are offered in two different classes and three different models.
All models are designed to carry the bikes up high and away from the exhaust and the road. Also, the design allows the racks to fit nearly all externally mounted spare tires, including those with over the tire third brake lights. They are easy the install, however, there might be minor assembly required.
All three models include tie-down cradles the secure and protect your bicycles while mounted.
Deluxe Two Bike Spare Tire Rack: Model 302DN
It has 15” long carry arms which allow up to two bikes to be mounted on this rack. Its maximum weight capacity is 70 pounds, and dimensions are 28 x 13 x 5 inches. This rack weighs about 9.4 pounds.
Deluxe Three Bike Spare Tire Rack: Model 303DB
This model is designed to carry up to three bikes. Its maximum weight capacity is 100 pounds, and dimensions are 9 x 6 x 3 inches. This rack weighs about 10 pounds.
S303 has 17” long carry arms which allow up to three bikes to be mounted on this rack. The carry arms snap into place right out of the box, which makes installation easy. The extra wide lower foot provides an even distribution of the load on the rear tire. The rack can also be folded down with one hand.
Its maximum weight capacity is 100 pounds, and dimensions are 33 x 6 x 21 inches. This rack weighs about 15 pounds.
Overall, Allen bike rack line provides a wide variety of products for those looking to buy a reliable carrier without spending too much money. The buyer’s feedbacks we have read are almost 75% or above positive (and there are a lot of feedbacks).
These racks may not be suitable for someone that needs a tough sturdy bike rack for a truck, they seem to be geared more towards the casual biker, instead of the hardcore, “we are biking every day and we don’t mind driving miles and miles to get to our perfect destination” types.
Is it Thule or Yakima? Maybe not, but those tend to be a bit more expensive and depending on what kind of biker you are, you may be more than satisfied with an Allen bike rack.
Before you make a decision to purchase one, however, it is important that you make sure the rack you choose fits your vehicle. Thankfully, Allen has a comprehensive fit guide on its website, which you can view by clicking here.