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 smart 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 this article, we based our recommendations upon our experience of using multiple racks, plenty of research and a number of 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.
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Towbar Bike Rack Comparison
|Towbar Bike Rack||Type||Capacity|
|Thule Velo Compact||Stand-on||2 or 3 Bikes / 46 KG|
|Thule Easyfold XT||Stand-on||2 or 3 Bikes / 60 KG|
|Thule Rideon||Stand-on||2 Bikes / 30 KG|
|Witter ZX302||Stand-on||2, 3 or 4 Bikes / 60 KG|
|Thule Hangon||Hang-on||3 or 4 Bikes / 60 KG|
|Streetwize 3||Hang-on||3 Bikes / 45 KG|
Compared to a rear mounted bike rack, the towbar alternative is able to 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 can carry up to 4 bikes.
The Best Towbar Bike Rack
1. Thule Velo Compact Towbar Bike Rack
Thule produce the largest range of towbar bike racks in the UK and each model offers their 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 a smart foot pedal that initiates the tilting mechanism for easy access. This is one of our favourite design features that makes this model standout from the alternatives.
Other features of the Thule Velo Compact include:
- 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
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.
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2. 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.
Other features of the Thule Easyfold XT include:
- 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
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.
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3. 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.
Other features of the Thule Rideon include:
- Suitable for 2 bikes
- Load capacity rated at 30 KG
- Adjustable straps for mounting
- Patented towball coupling for rapid mounting
- Lightweight at just 9.5 KG
- Lockable to the towbar
Overall, the Thule Rideon is an affordable option that’s backed by the 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.
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4. Witter ZX302 Towbar Cycle Carrier
The Witter ZX302 is another premium option that’s universal and takes just minutes to install. It features a low platform that makes loading far easier and it’s suitable for most bikes apart from e-bikes.
Compared to the previous generation offered by the brand, the ZX302 model is lockable to the towball and also offers the desirable tilting functionality for rear boot access.
Other features of the Witter ZX302 include:
- Available as a 2, 3 or 4 bike carrier
- Supplied with a light board and 2-in-1 electric plug
- Suitable for child and small bikes
- Adjustable wheel holders
- Tilting mechanism
- EG type approval
- Low platform for easier loading
Overall, the Witter ZX302 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.
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5. Thule Hangon Towbar Bike Rack
Thule also offer 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 towball coupling and is also prepared for fitting a light board, which is required for holding your number plate.
Other features of the Thule Hangon include:
- 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
As you would expect from the Thule brand, the Hangon bike rack is built to the highest of 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.
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6. Streetwize 3 Bicycle Carrier Towball Fitting
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.
Other features of the Streetwize Rack include:
- 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
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.
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How We Rated The Racks
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. As you can see in the photo, our Thule Rideon rack that we use with our large estate car easily fitted onto a friend’s small hatchback that also featured a towbar.
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.
As well as our experience of using a number of bike racks, we also based our recommendations upon hours of 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 are the market leaders 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.