The Best Towbar Bike Rack 2023

Mounting a towbar bike rack onto your car is one of the safest and easiest methods of transporting your bikes. They are available as either a stand-on or hang-on type and within this article, we list some of the best that are suitable for all types of bikes.


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Best Towbar Bike Rack
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If you require a quick answer, the best towbar bike rack is the Thule Velo Compact, which is available as a 2 or 3-bike carrier and has a maximum load capacity of 46 KG. It can also be tilted using the clever foot pedal for easier boot access. However, if you are happy to load your bikes onto the rack using the frame, the Thule Hangon is the best alternative.

To rate the towbar bike racks within our roundup, we based our recommendations on testing, our experience of using multiple racks, the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the type, load capacity, ease of installation, construction, foldable and locking design, additional features, warranty and value.

Best Towbar Bike Rack Overview

Compared to a rear-mounted bike rack, the towbar alternative can carry extra weight and is more robust. It’s also easier to load bikes onto because it sits lower and most premium options can also be tilted for easier boot access too.

Below is a list of the best towbar bike racks that can be mounted straight onto your towbar and carry up to 4 bikes.

The Best Towbar Bike Rack


1. Best Overall: Thule Velo Compact Towbar Bike Rack


Thule produces the largest range of towbar bike racks in the UK and each model offers its own unique benefits. The Velo Compact is one of the brand’s most popular towbar mounted racks and it’s an intuitively designed rack that’s suitable for most bikes and also includes extendable wheel holders for large wheelbases.

For accessing the boot of your car, it has an intuitive foot pedal that initiates the tilting mechanism for easy access. During testing, this was one of our favourite design features that makes this model stand out from the alternatives.

Pros
  • Available as a 2 or 3 bike rack
  • Extendable wheel holders for large wheelbases
  • Adjustable one-hand coupling
  • Folds down flat for easy storage
  • Locks the bike to the rack and the rack to the towbar
  • Pre-assembled and requires no tools
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

Overall, the Thule Velo Compact ticks all the boxes and it’s built to the highest of standards. It’s easy to tilt, locks to the towbar and installs in a matter of minutes. As with all Thule bike racks, it does come with a premium price tag but it’s a worthwhile investment that certainly won’t disappoint.

2. Best For Electric Bikes: Thule Easyfold XT Towbar Bike Carrier


By far the most expensive towbar bike rack within this article is the Easyfold XT model by Thule. As the model name suggests, it’s been designed to be fully foldable and it’s suitable for all bike types, which includes electric bikes.

A standout feature of this rack is the fact that it has a load capacity of 60 KG, which makes it perfect for electric bikes that feature heavy batteries and bulky frames.

Pros
  • Available as a 2 or 3 bike option
  • Fully foldable for storage
  • Maximum load capacity of 60 KG
  • Adjustable pump buckles and extra long straps (suitable for fat bikes)
  • Easily tilted using the foot pedal
  • Supplied with locks for securing the bikes and the rack
  • Ergonomic transport with integrated handles
Cons
  • The most expensive towbar rack within this article

To conclude, the Thule Easyfold XT is the ultimate towbar bike rack that’s suitable for all bikes. The main drawback is the price tag but if you wish to transport heavy electric bikes or awkward-sized fat bikes, it’s the best option.

3. Best Value Wheel Support: Thule Rideon Towbar Mounted Bike Rack


A more affordable Thule towbar bike rack is the Rideon model, which is a compact carrier that’s suitable for two bikes. Included with the rack are adjustable straps that are designed for mounting to a wide range of wheel sizes.

Although there is no foot pedal like the Thule alternatives above, it’s still able to tilt and allow for easy boot access.

Pros
  • Adjustable straps for mounting
  • Patented towball coupling for rapid mounting
  • Lightweight at just 9.5 KG
  • Lockable to the towbar
Cons
  • Lacks some desirable features when compared to the EasyFold & Velo

Overall, the Thule Rideon is an affordable option that’s backed by a reputable brand for complete peace of mind. It does lack some of the premium features but it’s a fraction of the price when compared to the Easyfold above.

4. Best 4 Bike: Witter ZX704 Towbar Bike Carrier


The Witter brand offers several 4-bike tow bar carriers but the ZX704 is the brand’s new and improved model and the successor to the popular ZX304 model. In terms of the improvements, it’s slightly lighter, more aesthetically pleasing and includes a lower platform that makes loading the bikes onto the rack far easier.

As with the previous model, this 4-bike tow bar rack is suitable for most bikes and the load capacity of 60KG also means that electric bikes are no problem for this rack whatsoever.

Pros
  • Available as a 2, 3 or 4 bike carrier
  • Supplied with a light board and 2-in-1 electric plug
  • Adjustable wheel holders
  • Desirable tilting mechanism
  • EG type approval
  • New and improved design with a lower platform for easier loading
Cons
  • Assembly isn't as straightforward when compared to the Thule alternatives

Overall, the Witter ZX704 is an excellent alternative to the Thule racks and it’s built to a high standard. Every component from the body to the light board has been designed to be long-lasting and it won’t disappoint.

From our testing of the ZX704 model, we would state that it’s the best 4-bike tow bar carrier on the market with similar racks not even coming close in terms of usability and build quality.

5. Best Hang On: Thule Hangon Towbar Bike Rack


Thule also offers a hang-on towbar bike rack, which is known as the “Hangon” model and it’s available as a 3 or 4-bike option. Out of the box, the rack comes pre-assembled and it needs no pre-adjustment for fixation.

Unlike cheaper hanging racks, this Thule alternative uses an ISO-approved tow ball coupling and is also prepared for fitting a light board, which is required for holding your number plate.

Pros
  • Option of a 3 or 4 bike model
  • Desirable quick tilt mechanism
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Pre-assembled in the box
  • Uses straps and reflexes for secure fitting
Cons
  • Not suitable for all types of bikes

As you would expect from the Thule brand, the Hangon bike rack is built to the highest standards and it won’t disappoint. It’s the new and improved hanging style rack (compared to the Xpress model) that also includes the desirable quick tilt mechanism for accessing the boot.

6. Best Value: Streetwize 3 Bicycle Carrier


One of the cheapest towbar bike racks on the market that’s designed for those on a tight budget is by the Streetwize brand. It has been designed to easily connect to the towbar of your car and it’s able to accommodate up to three bikes with a maximum load capacity of 45 KG.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble and folds down for storage
  • Suitable for 3 bikes with a load capacity of 45 KG
  • Secure bar locking mechanism with a safety pin
  • Rubber straps that are gentle upon the frames
  • Takes just minutes to attach to the car
Cons
  • During testing, we found that certain components of the rack lacked quality

Overall, the Streetwize Rack offers excellent value for the money and it cannot be beaten on price. It’s not going to meet the high standards of the Thule alternatives but it’s a sturdy unit that’s easy to use and folds down for storage.

How We Rated

Towbar bike racks are our favourite method of transporting multiple bikes due to their ease of installation and loading of the bikes. Another great bonus of a towbar rack is the fact that they are compatible with all cars fitted with towbars.

During our testing of towbar bike racks, we analyse the build quality, ease of installation, usability, tilting mechanisms, locks and loading of a range of bike types (including electric bikes). As you can see in the photos below, we also tested a variety of towbar bike racks on multiple cars (ours, family’s and friends) too.

best 4 bike tow bar carrier
best tow bar bike rack
best towbar mounted bike rack
best tow bar bike rack uk

Over the years, we’ve tried and tested multiple towbar bike racks but always found the Thule models to be a step up in quality when compared to the cheaper alternatives. We’ve also tried both the stand-on and hang-on types but depending upon your budget and personal preference will determine the best suitable type for your requirements.

To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest towbar bike racks (for this article), we are continually testing the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice that a brand has released a new and improved model, we will attempt to buy it to put it to the test (where applicable).

As well as our testing and experience of using several bike racks, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and multiple factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the type, load capacity, ease of installation, construction, foldable and locking design, additional features, warranty and value for money.

Conclusion

Towbar-mounted bike racks are one of the best methods of safely transporting your bikes. As long as there is a towbar present and it isn’t being used, there is no other reason to choose a rear or roof-mounted bike rack alternative.

All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and include both stand-on and hang-on types. Thule is the market leader in the UK and we highly recommend them due to their intuitive features and excellent build quality. However, we’ve also included other branded alternatives that are more affordable and still worth a mention.

If you require further information regarding our towbar bike rack recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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