Will a Mountain Bike Fit in a Subaru Forester, Outback?

So, you just got your new Subaru? Congratulations!

You love the vehicle’s sleek, but durable, design. Not to mention, the stylish and classy dashboard adds a hint of luxury to this extremely practical car.

You know that Subarus have a lot of trunk space, but how much can you actually fit back there?

Can you fit a bulky mountain bike in the back of your Subaru Forester or Outback?

Keep reading to find out!

Will a Mountain Bike Fit in a Subaru Forester/Outback?

Sabura spacious back

Yes, a mountain bike will fit in a Subaru Forester or Outback. 

Subarus are known for their amazingly spacious trunks, so a mountain bike will absolutely fit in them.

In fact, a quick Google search reveals that mountain bike enthusiasts often purchase Subarus as they’re easy to transport bikes in, especially if you fold down the backseats.

Subarus are designed for sporty people with adventurous lifestyles, so you can go anywhere your heart desires and take all of your sporting equipment with you.

How Do You Carry an MTB in a Subaru Forester or Outback?

to carry an MTB in a Subaru Forester

There are two different ways you can carry an MTB in a Subaru Forester or Outback. 

You have two different options when loading up your mountain bike(s) in the back of your Subaru: lay the bikes flat and slide them into the trunk or take off the wheels and place the bikes standing upright.

These two different methods differ in speed, convenience, and space efficiency.

Before you try either of these methods, you will first need to fold down your car’s back seats. Subaru’s have a handle on either side of their trunk.

When pulled, these handles will automatically collapse the back seats, giving you plenty of room to store your bike.

Let’s learn how to fit an MTB in a Subaru!

Lay the Bike(s) Flat

lay the bike flat

The first way you can fit a mountain bike in the back of your Subaru is by laying it flat in the trunk.

Pick up your bike and slide it into your trunk. We recommend putting it in handle-first and sliding it all the way in so that you can completely close your trunk door.

You can also put another bike on top of the first bike following the same method.

The widest part of a bike is its handle, so put the second bike in with the handles facing your trunk door. This will allow the bikes to fit snugly on top of each other.

You may also want to invest in some bungee cords or straps to hold the bikes in place so they don’t move about in the trunk.

Although it’s unlikely your bikes would be damaged from being shaken, the noise and feeling of heavy cargo being knocked about in your trunk can be very distracting.

It’s also a good idea just in case you suddenly stop the car or get in an accident, as the bikes jolting forward could injure you or your passengers.

Watch the video below demonstrating how to fit a mountain bike in a Subaru following the steps above.

2015 Subaru Outback | Cargo Capacity ft. Erik's Bike Shop

Pros

  • This method is easy and time efficient, so it’s perfect if you frequently load and unload your bikes from your car.
  • You don’t need to take apart your bikes, so you can pull them out and start riding them as soon as you reach your destination.

Cons

  • This isn’t very space efficient, as you will probably be unable to fit anything else in your trunk.

Stand the Bikes Upright 

Another way you can fit your mountain bikes into your Subaru’s trunk is by standing them upright.

To do this, you’ll need to remove your bikes’ wheels.

Depending on your mountain bike model, you will need to remove the wheels using an Allen key or using the quick release method.

If your mountain bikes need an Allen key to remove the wheels, then make sure you have one handy. We recommend the Shipida 16 Pieces Allen Key Set  since it has several different sizes and is compact enough to clip onto your keys or pant loop.

Shipida 16 Pieces Allen Key Set
Click the image for more info

You must also ensure your brake pads don’t become stuck together. This happens when your bike’s brake lever is pressed while the wheel is removed, which could happen if you lay your bike a certain way or another object presses up against it.

To prevent your brake pads from sticking together, slide a piece of cardboard between them after you’ve removed the wheel.

You may also want to lower your bike’s seat and remove the handlebars to make some extra space if needed.

Now that your bike’s wheels are removed, you’re ready to put it in your Subaru!

Slide the bikes into the trunk standing up. Place the wheels next to them, ensuring nothing is laying on top of them that will damage them.

You may also want to strap the bikes in place so they don’t move about while driving.

If you’ve never removed your bike’s wheels before and need some extra guidance, watch the video below demonstrating how to remove bike wheels using both the Allen key and quick release method.

How To Remove And Replace Your Mountain Bike Wheels | MTB Maintenance

Pros

  • This option is very space efficient since you can fit more bikes into your truck, and even store the wheels in the passenger seat if needed.
  • You have more flexibility when deciding how to fit your bikes in your trunk.

Cons

  • Removing the bike’s wheels can be time-consuming and there’s room for error if done incorrectly.

What Are Other Ways To Carry an MTB on My Subaru Forester or Outback?

There are several other ways you can transport MTBs with your Subaru without putting them in the trunk. 

You want to carry your mountain bikes in your trunk but need to have the backseat lifted for your passengers. You’ve tried fitting the bikes in there without laying the back seat flat, but haven’t had any luck.

So, what’s next?

Lucky for you, there are other ways you can carry your mountain bike in your Subaru without taking up trunk space.

Let’s learn how!

Use a Hitch Rack

Hitch Rack

Hitch racks hook to your car’s trailer hitch, allowing you to carry bikes even with a full trunk.

Every hitch-mounted carrier will be different, but you usually slide the carrier’s stem into your car’s trailer hitch and secure it using a rod and bolts.

Then you can fasten the carrier to the stem and strap your bikes in place.

When using hitch racks it’s important to ensure that everything is fastened securely, so your bike doesn’t fall off your car when driving.

This option should allow you to carry two to three bikes on the back of your car at one time.

However, you won’t be able to open or access your trunk while the bikes are mounted to the carrier. Keep this in mind when considering this option, especially if you need to frequently open your trunk.

Watch the video below from Subaru’s official YouTube channel demonstrating how to use a hitch rack on your Subaru Forester or Outback.

Subaru How-to: Accessory Hitch-mounted Bike Carrier by Thule

Use a Roof Rack 

Your Subaru’s roof is waiting to be used!

Carrying your bike on a roof rack is a great way to save space without blocking the trunk.

Additionally, many cars can carry up to four bikes on their roofs, so you and the whole family can fit in the car and carry your bikes.

Remember, Subarus are designed for bike-loving adventurers like yourself, so fitting your car with a roof rack couldn’t be easier.

Subaru Forester carry mountain bikes

Locate your car’s roof rack cross bars, and place and secure them in a horizontal position. Now you can mount your roof rack bike carrier, fastening it in place.

Then put your bikes on the carrier, securing them using the center clamp and provided straps.

Now your bikes can travel with you and enjoy the view from the top of your car.

Watch the video below to learn how to use a roof rack on your Subaru.

Note that although the video only shows one bike mounted to the top of the car, you can carry more using the appropriate carriers.

Genuine Subaru Accessory - Bike Carrier - Single, Upright

Invest in a Folding Mountain Bike

Your truck space is limited and you feel unsure about using a hitch or roof rack. However, you are open to buying a new mountain bike.

In this case, consider buying a folding mountain bike. These handy MTBs fold in the middle, instantly becoming half the size.

Eurobike G4 Folding Mountain Bike
Click the image for more info

Not only is this convenient when packing your bike in your trunk, but it’s also handy if you live in a small apartment and need to store your bike indoors.

Simply release the lever found in the middle of your bike’s frame and presto! Your once large, clunky mountain bike is now compact enough to fit in the back seat of your car.

Wrapping Things Up

You got into mountain biking to explore nature and feel the thrill of cycling anywhere at any time. So, why not carry your bike with you in your car to explore new places?

Subarus are the perfect cars for transporting mountain bikes since you can fit them in your trunk, put them on a hitch, or use a roof rack.

So, on your next road trip don’t leave your mountain bike to rot in your garage. Take it with you everywhere!

What’s your experience fitting a mountain bike in a Subaru Forester or Outback?

Let us know in the comments below!

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