Tow bar bike carrier – anyone got one? Are they safe?

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  • Tow bar bike carrier – anyone got one? Are they safe?
  • Spongebob

    Witter ZX200

    I am considering one of these, but can’t quite see how the thing will remain safely fastened to a tow ball, with bikes loaded and driving over uneven/rough road surfaces etc.

    Anyone had experience of these?

    Thanks for your advice.


    Got a towball mounted Thule one and never had any issues with it.


    I used to have a Thule one on the back of my Impreza. If a bike was safe there, it was safe anywhere…


    Premier Icon scaredypants

    I’ve a Thule 3 bike one – cheapish variety.

    We often put 4 bikes on it – not DH though, just family bikes

    It’s fine but you have to not look in the mirror too much as they do “bounce” a bit 😳


    Getting a tow bar bike rack was one of the best decisions I made. Thoroughly recommend it. I’ve never had any problems over the past 3 years. There’s no assembling and disassembling of bikes or destroying the inside of your car with muddy bikes. Do it!


    As above, tow bar racks are great. Buy a good one (pendle for example) and they are solid as a rock, even with dh bikes on.

    I’ve got an Atera Strada Towball mount and never had a problem with it.


    Pendle recommendation here


    Thule here as well, takes 3 bikes and have extensions for 4th if required

    Folds up for storage


    I’m on the Thule side, got a 2 bike one and it’s the best thing I bought to be honest. Never had a problem with it and it has done some serious miles too, regularly travelling between South Wales and Europe (as far across as Belgium and as far down as Morzine). They look like they shouldn’t work…In all honesty I was hoping it wouldn’t work too so I could get a new bike…again!!! 🙂 But the damn thing is proving me wrong every time! It operates with a kind of clamp tightening around the tow-ball, then after making sure it’s even tighter with the handle, lock it to the tow-ball, bikes on and locked to the carrier and you’re done – Just get a good quality one like legend said.


    they are brilliant but yes they bounce a bit as well- you see this in the mirror you dont really feel it

    Premier Icon Tracey

    Got a Thule one, takes 4 bikes, used it all over the UK and on annual trips to the Alps


    It seems like they shouldnt work but they definately do

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    Yep, don’t think about it too much, they are pretty solid and easy to use. Great bit of kit.

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber for me. I’ve had pendle, thule and the Aiston and now wouldn’t use anything but theirs. Cheaper, better built and more solid than the others. Had 4 dh bikes on it without problem.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    They are very secure, obviously, or you wouldn’t see so many. They can’t fall off, and the way the clamp is designed means it can’t flop downwards. On my cheaper Thule job though the thing can slip side to side if you don’t do it up enough – but never come off.

    You have to make sure you lift it slightly whilst tightening the nut though, otherwise it’ll stick a bit so it seems tight when it’s not.

    I have a Pendle as I prefer the attachment method to the ball clamp types but I’m sure they’re fine.

    Got second hand towbar and electrics off Feebay for £25 and fitted myself, then the Pendle 4 bike rack for £40 which I cut down to turn it into a 2 bike rack.

    A very worthwhile purchase!


    aye – but you picked up an aiston in your hand.

    i wanted one till i picked one up.

    my car would have wheelied up the road with 3/4 bikes on. The pendle was a fraction of the weight.

    would not use a ball clamp thats for sure but the behind the ball mount are fine

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    If it’s the principle of support from the towbar you’re interested in, Dave Cooper makes tow-bar racks which are the standard when it comes to car mounted racks for trials/moto/enduro bikes.

    Weight limit of 130kg for the senior rack (you need the right car for that much weight, obviously, but the rack itself will be steady)

    So a few push bikes will be fine, as long as you get a decent make/model.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    would not use a ball clamp thats for sure

    Why not?


    because a behind the ball bolt on ones are much easier for the girlfriend to fit safely when im not about.

    watched a fella driving on the fire roads out of an MTBO even a few years back – went over a speed bump and his bike rack rotated round to about 45 degrees – towards my car – the light cable was what stopped it hitting the floor – obviously fitting correctly negates this but a bolted on mount removes user error provided the bolts are done up correctly when installing the first time.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    A fair point, but I’d imagine the ones with a lever (ie the more expensive model) would be more foolproof no? Never used one mind.


    I have a Mottez 4 bike carrier – absolutely rock solid.
    Only issue I have is the weight fitting it – wife can’t do it on her own as its steel but it has a massive load capability where an alloy one doesn’t.
    It may be up for sale soon though as it doesn’t get used that much now I have the crew van.

    Premier Icon IainAhh

    They are magic.
    Got a two bike Thule ball mount.

    Ended up with the more expensive model as thought I would use it for years.

    Takes about 20 secs to fit on car.
    And less than a minute to put a bike on.
    Doesn’t seem to affect the mpg too much. 80 mph on motorway no probs.
    Also will fit in a mondeo hatchback 2006 boot without taking apart.

    Much better than in the car or on the roof.


    Used to run one on the back of my SAAB before I got a van. Never had any problems with it, happier leaving the bike on it than on the roof as I could get a D-Lock round it on to the rack.

    Only problem I ever had was when I forgot it was on and accelerated to pass something at the end of a dual carriageway, looked in the mirror as I made the pass with speed touching three figures to see one it hanging by one of the two mounts. Would never have tried that speed if I’d remembered it was on!!

    Tended to add a couple of bungees after that incident, no problems after that.

    Actually, other downside was no access to the boot. Was a hatch and very basic rack that didn’t tip forwards. Had it on my current Jag which is a saloon and it does clear that but most of the time I have my bike I take the van now.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I should add that on my Passat I don’t need to tip the rack to get into the boot, even though I could if I had do.

    Mark N

    I have the Thule copy by Halfords of the 3 bike version. Very pleased with it. It has had 3 bikes (2 Hecklers and a Reign) to Morzine and back with no worries. Doing so saved a tank of fuel on the previous trip with them on the roof rack.
    Edit: I would add that I have driven a few miles down the road with the bolt to clamp on to the ball just hand tight and the rack had not moved. I only stopped to check it as I could not remember having put the spanner on it. Surprisingly secure 😳

    Premier Icon scoobmw

    allthegear – Member
    I used to have a Thule one on the back of my Impreza. If a bike was safe there, it was safe anywhere…

    Good show 🙂

    And I too, on a couple of Imprezas – which were regularly bounced around the B roads of
    Scotland fully loaded. Never budged. Amazing bits of kit.
    Mines now a good 6-7 years old, had everything that Wintry roads can throw at it, minimal maintenance and still gets our bikes to wherever we’re going.
    Only issue I’ve had is probs with the electrical connector. But to be fair it is exposed to some horrendous conditions and is replaceable for a fiver.


    We’ll thank you so much to everyone who contributed!

    My fears are completely allayed now.

    I was looking at the Witter WX200, but that has no looking feature and the slightly more expensive Thule has a rather impractical tilting arrangement, you have to put the thing together, but it doesn’t fold away (unlike the really swanky top of the range Thule featured further up this thread – lovely!)

    So I have opted for this rack. It’s a “QLP Diamant”, also badged by Bosal. The first Youtube video is a CGI fitting instruction video, but then the second is of a real rack with a real person! He’s a Dutch bloke so i’ve no idea what he is going on about, but one gets the general idea. The bit where he stands on it was the clincher, but this carrier looks really well engineered. It’s compact, folds flat in seconds, includes locks and looks like the easiest to fit and remove. It’s also supplied with a carry bag and you don’t have to assemble it, all for just £150!


    [video] [/video]

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    I have a behind the ball pendle. Solid as rock but two issues.
    1 – it doesnt tilt so no boot access (even with bikes off)
    2 – it is hard work to fit and seems to need a lot of forceful wriggling to slot home and subsequently.remove.

    The 2nd point puts me off regular use, which is a shame because its otherwise awesome .


    I like those older Thule that fold up at the sides. I don’t think they make them any more though 🙁


    Have an estate car but still a right faff putting bikes in and out, most conventional bike racks have the bikes sitting very high up destroying my mph (turns it from 35 to 25 as my car is a brick) and the bikes rub against each other and cause damage.

    Mate has a thule ball mount rack (the one that folds over so you can get in the boot), think it only takes two bikes, but you can put 20kg+ DH bikes on it and no worry as its solid as anything. Only issue I (or rather HE) has had with them, is if your car is parked up and has no bikes on, other people WILL eventually crash into it, wrecking either the rack or your bumper (as the rack collapses and then pokes a hole in your car). So don’t leave it on when not in use!


    Only issue I (or rather HE) has had with them, is if your car is parked up and has no bikes on, other people WILL eventually crash into it, wrecking either the rack or your bumper (as the rack collapses and then pokes a hole in your car). So don’t leave it on when not in use!

    Yes, this occurred to me too, but this rack folds away and stored in its bag in seconds, so unless I’m parking where there is no chance of getting bumped, it’ll get stowed in the boot.

    Diamant 2 cycle towball mount carrier


    Now received my new carrier, badged by Towsure, but identical to the Diamant as per the advert.

    As these are also being sold under the Bosal name, it seems like the big tow bar companies are happy to have their name associated with the product.

    The finish is of high quality – powder coated steel and anodized aluminium. It all seems to work well and isn’t in any way cheap and nasty.

    The first road test with one bike loaded reveals that it’s very sturdy, with virtually no wobble/flex.

    A doddle to quickly fit and remove and the supplied bag means that there is good protection for it and other things in the boot.

    For £150, this seems like a bargain.

    I have an automaxi (decathlon) three bike. €200 and no issues other than the wheel straps were too short for big tires and a bit fiddly. Bought new ones for €10.

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    Thule ride on here for three bikes.

    It does the trick but bikes can rub a bit if you arent careful

    Got it cheap off Tesco direct when it was cheap

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