Who are Red Rock Trails? Hi – we’re Heather and Chris, and our two kids, Dan and Iona. We offer cycling and adventure holidays for everyone from the farmhouse we…
The Thule EPOS Towball Carrier is low faff, quick fitting and loading. It’s the best bike rack I have ever used. And I’ve used a lot of them.
- Brand: Thule
- Product: Epos 2-bike Towball Carrier
- From: Freewheel
- Price: £999.99
- Tested by: Mark for 7 months
- Low faff, quick fitting and loading
- Strong enough for ebikes
- Easy to remove and store
- Needs a tow bar
- 60kg weight limit also applies to the 3-bike carrier
I’ve been putting bikes on and in my cars for the better part of 30 years now and I reckon I’ve just about tried every iteration and innovation at some point. This is the latest and in a skip to the end type introduction, it is by far the best rack I’ve ever used. Or, in an awkward quandary introduction… Bikes on cars: it’s one of those awkward conversations that crops up ever more frequently.
The fact that so many of us claim to be cyclists and are happy to adopt the slightly green and sustainable label that comes with that niche, and yet so often a vital part of our hobby involves transporting our sustainable transport device around the country using our fossil fuelled vehicles. I have been driving an electric car for more than 7 years and we charge mostly at home via our 100% green energy tariff from Ecotricity. We even have solar panels for the house. And yet, that still doesn’t really give our lifestyle a pass to go driving around with our bikes loaded on the back of it.
The real answer is a truly integrated, reliable and cheap public transport system. Even in the dreamworld where that exists, there are still going to be cars and there are still going to be people like us who use them to take our mountain bikes to new places to ride them. I’ve reconciled myself with that but I’ll still look to make better choices.
Now I’ve established that transporting bikes is part and parcel of what we as a community do with mountain bikes, I present to you the best bike rack I’ve ever used.
From the simple to the complicated, all the racks I’ve tried over the years have had one thing in common – Faff! Whether that be having to lift each bike above your head and locate wheels into a narrow slot on a roof rack to strapping down wheels and inserting pads between contact points on a rear mount rack, they all take time and care to load correctly.
But now, at last, there’s some real innovation with the Thule EPOS tow ball rack. Yes, it’s crazy expensive at a coin under £1k but for that investment you get the least amount of faff I’ve ever known in a bike rack. It can literally be fitted and locked in place in seconds (certainly well under 1 minute), including the electric hookup (with all lights and indicators built in). Two extending arms let you grab your bikes (Two in the model I have, but up to three in the next model up) at any convenient point on the bike – seatpost, downtube, toptube… Wherever is easiest. The locks and straps are built in, and best of all the entire rack folds up in seconds to the size of a small suitcase.
On our instagram account I demonstrated how you can load a bike on this rack in just a minute from it being folded and in the boot to outside, on the tow bar, with a bike attached.
I have a fairly small boot opening, and the folded rack does indeed fit inside nice and easily.
It opens out and fits on to the tow ball simply, and with all the electrics built in, you just plug it in – no flapping boards like you so often see dangling on the motorway. There’s also a neat panel into which you can put your numberplate.
Load the bikes on and clamp them in place wherever is convenient, and strap them down at the wheels using the ratchet straps. The clamps lock for a little extra security.
If you’ve got the bikes on the rack and then realise you need into the boot of your car, you just tilt the whole lot forward.
The Thule EPOS Towball Carrier is low faff, quick fitting and loading. Strong enough for ebikes. Easy to remove and store. A really impressive bit of kit. It’s the best bike rack I have ever used. And I’ve used a lot of them.
Thule EPOS Towball Carrier specification
- Telescopic locking arms with pivoting wrap-around clamps allows bikes to be securely clamped almost anywhere
- New clamp design spreads the load through 360 degrees, offering more security with less clamping force, better for lightweight frames and parts
- Folded dimensions are just 69 x 27 x 73 cm, meaning it will fit into most car boots
- Foot-activated smart tilt function, keeping your hands free to move the bikes, allowing easy access to the rear of the vehicle
- Max wheelbase 1350 mm
- Weight limit of 30 kg per bike
- Load capacity – 60 kg
- Max Tyre Width 3.2 inches, can be upgraded to 5 inches using accessory TH985000
- Pump buckle straps for wheels
- Lockable both to bike and towball using standard Thule lock cylinders
- 13-pin connector for full light functionality
|EPOS Towball Carrier
|by Mark for 7