Things to Consider When Buying a Towbar Bike Rack

When it comes to exploring the outdoors, bringing your bike along for the adventure can make all the difference. Whether you’re planning a local day trip or a long-distance journey, a towbar bike rack can be an invaluable addition to your gear, allowing you to transport your bikes easily. However, with a myriad of models and features available, deciding on the right one can take time and effort. Here are some essential aspects to consider when choosing a towbar bike rack to ensure you select the perfect one for your needs.

How Many Bikes It Holds

One of the first considerations should be the capacity of the bike rack. Towbar bike racks typically carry one to five bikes. The choice here largely depends on your personal or family requirements. If you often ride solo or with one companion, a smaller rack might be sufficient. However, for families or groups, consider a rack that can accommodate more bikes. It’s worth noting that more substantial, higher-capacity racks tend to be heavier and can be more challenging to mount or store when not in use. Balance your need for capacity with the practicality of handling the rack.

How the Bikes Attach

The attachment mechanism is a critical factor to consider for the safety of your bikes and vehicles. The towbar bike racks are mainly made of two types: hanging racks and platform racks.

  • Hanging racks are generally lighter and less expensive. They secure bikes by the frames, which makes them suitable for bikes with traditional frame shapes. However, for bikes with unconventional frames, such as full-suspension mountain bikes or women’s bikes, adapting them to fit might require additional accessories.
  • Platform racks hold the bikes by the wheels, making them more versatile in terms of the bike shapes and sizes they can accommodate. They also tend to be more stable and reduce bike-to-bike contact, which is a plus for protecting the bikes’ finish. However, this type can be heavier and more expensive.

Understanding the differences and considering the types of bikes you own will help you make an informed choice.

How Easy It Is to Load/Unload

Ease of loading and unloading is another critical consideration, especially after long rides when you’re tired and hoping for a quick departure. Platform racks are generally easier to load than hanging racks, as they sit lower and do not require lifting the bike as high. Some models also come with features like tilt-down functions or swing-away bases that allow easier access to your vehicle’s trunk or hatch without needing to remove the bikes or the rack. If you frequently travel solo, consider the weight and handling of the rack itself; a too-heavy model might be difficult for one person to install or remove.

See Also On The Road Essentials: Documents To Carry On A Road Trip

Why should you use a towbar bike rack?

Using a towbar bike rack offers numerous advantages for cyclists, whether they’re casual riders or avid enthusiasts. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider using a towbar bike rack:

Ease of Installation

Towbar bike racks are generally easy to install compared to roof racks or trunk-mounted racks. They attach to the towbar hitch receiver on your vehicle, requiring minimal effort and no special tools.

Stability and Security

Towbar bike racks offer excellent stability and security for your bikes during transportation. They are typically designed to securely hold the bikes in place, reducing the risk of wobbling or shifting during transit. Additionally, many towbar racks come with built-in locks to deter theft and keep your bikes safe.


Towbar racks offer easy access to your bikes at waist height. This makes loading and unloading bikes much simpler and less strenuous, especially for heavier or bulkier bikes.

Preservation of Vehicle

Towbar bike racks keep your bikes away from your car’s body, minimizing the risk of damage to both your vehicle and your bike.

Improved Aerodynamics

Towbar racks have minimal impact on aerodynamics. This can result in better fuel economy during long journeys.


Towbar bike racks typically do not obstruct rear visibility or interfere with the operation of rear doors or hatches, allowing for easy access to the trunk or cargo area of your vehicle.


Most towbar bike racks are compatible with a wide range of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and vans, as long as the vehicle is equipped with a towbar hitch receiver.


Once installed, towbar bike racks are convenient to use, allowing you to quickly load and unload your bikes without the need for additional adjustments or setup.


By carefully considering the number of bikes you need to transport, how they attach to the rack, and how easily you can load and unload them, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect towbar bike rack. Remember also to weigh additional features against the cost to find the best balance for your needs and budget. With the right towbar rack, the world is your oyster, beckoning you to explore it on two wheels.

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