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
- Best Overall: Thule Velo Compact
- Best For Electric Bikes: Thule Easyfold XT
- Best Value Wheel Support: Thule Rideon
- Best 4 Bike: Witter ZX704
- Best Hang On: Thule Hangon
- Best Value: Streetwize 3
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.