Towbar bike racks reviewed

Finding a suitable towbar bike rack for any vehicle can be challenging, throw in a few extra added complications caused by vehicle specifics such as the need for barn door bike racks (namely for the renowned Transporter as well as other vans) and the whole process becomes a minefield to find the best solution.

The following towbar bike racks are our best picks that are compatible with vehicles with towbars mounted,

We have included a few popular tailgate / barn door mounted bike racks also for those without a towbar.

Editor top picks – towbar bike racks

1 Bike

£
£
  • Manufacturer - Eufab
  • Towbar mounted for 1 bike
  • Weight capacity - Up to 30 kg
  • Tilt mechanism gives access to rear of vehcile when loaded
  • Lightboard connection for 7pin and 13 pin sockets
2 Bike

£££
£££
  • Manufacturer - VDP
  • Towbar mounted for 2 bikes
  • Weight capacity - Up to 30 kg
  • Suitable for oversized and Y frames
  • Lightboard connection for 7pin and 13 pin sockets
3 Bike

£££
£££
  • Manufacturer - ATERA
  • Towbar mounted for 3 bikes
  • Weight capacity - Up to 60 kg
  • Tilting / roll bearing mechanism
  • Lightboard connection for 7pin and 13 pin sockets
4 Bike

££
££
  • Manufacturer - Witter ZX204
  • Towbar mounted for 4 bikes
  • Weight capacity - Up to 60 kg
  • Low platform- Can be tilted even when loaded
  • Lightboard connection for 7pin and 13 pin sockets

How to find the best bike rack for you

The following points need to be considered to find the rack that is most suitable for you

  1. How many bikes do you want to carry?
  2. What is the weight capacity required to carry your bicycles?
  3. Do you have a tow bar fitted? If not you will need a rear mounting rack.
  4. Do you require the rear doors to be able to open without removing the bikes & Rack every time?
  5. Do you require a lower mounting to avoiding having to lift the bikes when loading?
  6. Will you need an extension kit (usually needed if carrying more than 3 bikes)
  7. Do you want theft protection built into the rack design?

The barn door challenge!

Finding the best bike rack that fits easily onto the range of transporters VW T4, T5 and T6 can be a challenge as there are a lot of different factors to consider.

Most bike racks are sold as being universal however from some bad experiences this isn’t always the case.

The T4, T5 and T6 Transporters were sold with different rear doors (Some have Tail gates that lift, and others have barn doors).

The choice for the barn door version is pretty limited and the best in the market currently is the renowned Fiamma Carry Bike Rack which is model specific (Direct links to the racks here – T4 T5 and T6). Some of the slide out/tip down towbar bike racks found on this page such as the Witter and Atera will also work well.

Best bike racks not requiring a towbar

  1. Fiamma Carry Bike Rack – (Best for Transporter T4 T5 and T6 Barn door versions)
  2. Ammaco. Raleigh Peruzzo Milano 3 Bike carrier
  3. HEWXWX Car Bike Rack, 3 Bicycle Rear Mount Carrier 
  4. DOLA Bike Rack Hitch Mount 2 Bicycles

BEST TOWBAR BIKE RACK Reviews

ATERA 022601 Bike Towbar Rack Strada DL 3

Transporter bicycle rack for bikes

Winning Features

  • Carries 3 Bicycles securely and has the option to buy additional attachment to upgrade to 4 Bicycles.
  • Tow bar mounted giving a very safe and secure mounting away from your paint work. It is impossible to mount incorrectly.
  • Actual product weight is only 14.4KG making it very easy to mount.
  • A sleek stainless steel design that is built to last.
  • Comes complete with Rare number plate mounting and Rear lights that are plug and play compatible for most tow bars.
  • Slides out for easy loading and tilts downwards to allow for Transporter barn doors or tailgates to open (if there is enough ground clearance).
  • Easily removed for storage when not in use.
  • In built theft protection.
Tilting tow bar mounted bicycle rack
Robust tilting tow bar mounted bicycle rack suitable for barn doors and tailgates.
Towbar bike rack security device for bikes
Secure locking mechanism that is easily adjusted

Auto Companion 2 Cycle Carrier 2 Bike Rear Platform Bike Towbar Rack

Transporter compatible rack for bikes

Winning Features

  • Carries 2 bikes
  • Towbar mounting is compatible with most 50mm tow balls (swan neck, flanged and detachable).
  • The platform pivots downwards which allows access to the barn door or tailgate.
  • Individual security for each bicycle to ensure secure mounting.
  • Platform locks onto tow ball as well as each bicycle giving maximum security against theft.
  • Inbuilt number plate board and rear lights compatible with the standard 13 pin European plug.
  • Very reasonably priced for a quality product.
Locking mechanism on Bicycle rack

Thule EasyBase Carrier Base Unit Bike Towbar Rack Mounted

Tow bar loading rack

Winning Features

  • Max carrying capacity of 45kg (roughly 3 adult bicycles).
  • Only weights in at 14.4kg making for easy mounting to your tow bar.
  • Due to the flexible design, providing you observe the weight limit this rack is great for a variety of bicycle types and sizes.
  • Great for carrying child bicycles as well as adult bikes.
  • Average weight of an adult bicycle is 13kg so this could carry 3 adult bicycles with a bit of capacity to spare.
  • Folds flat for easy storage when not in use.
  • Can be used to carry more than just bicycles thanks to it’s versatile design.
  • Comes with light board and number plate mounting.
  • Very reasonably priced.

Witter Towbars ZX204 Bike Towbar Rack Bolt-on Carrier

Large 4 bike towbar bike rack

Winning Features

  • Carries 4 bicycles up to a weight capacity of 60kg.
  • Towbar bike rack mounted with a light board. The number plate mounting is also included.
  • Compatible with any type of tow ball and comes with both the 7 pin and 13 pin European plug.
  • Nice quality fittings for bicycle wheels to give a secure fit.
  • Flexes downwards to give access to rear doors however clearance is an issue of the barn door version of transporter when fully loaded. Unfortunately this is a problem with most 4 bicycle carrier racks due to the width when flexed.
  • Very good value for a 4 bike carrier.
Tilting bike rack

Witter Towbars ZX303 clamp-on 3 Bike towbar Mounted Cycle Carrier

Bicycle rack for multiple bicycles

Winning Features

  • This is one of the best towbar bike rack options to carry 3 bikes up to 51kg
  • Has security built in allowing secure locking to tow ball
  • Fantastic quality finish for the price, robust and rust proof
  • Tilt design gives access to rear of vehicle. It doesn’t slide outwards which does make opening doors a bit of a challenge. Still works OK providing the bikes are well loaded and ground is slightly lower to give clearance.
  • Comes complete with the light board and number plate bracket. 7pin and 13pin plugs included.
  • Great value for a 3 bicycle tow ball mounted rack
BEST TOWBAR BIKE RACK
Fold down tawbar bike rack

VDP Naos Eco Bicycle Carrier for 2 Bikes Tow Bar Coupling

Small best Towbar bike rack for two bikes

Winning Features

  • This is my favourite towbar bike rack option to carry 2 bicycles as it is also capable of including oversize frames and Y frames which are sometimes a pain to fit. The flexibility in the bike mounting points makes this one a winner.
  • Installs securely to any tow ball and includes 7 pin adapter as well as 13 pin European plug for easy install and removal.
  • Best used on vehicles where you do not need easy access to your rear doors as this design does not flex to allow opening of the doors.
  • Comes with rear lights and number plate bracket to ensure legal compliance (especially important for travel in Germany).
  • Has EEC approval meaning it meets minimum safety standards for a rack.
  • Outstanding value for a tow bar cycle carrier.

Eufab 5191736 portevélos Amber 1 Bike

Small single rack for tow bar loaded

Winning Features

  • Very slick design for carrying 1 bicycle. Maximum weight of 30kg.
  • Secure tow bar mounting with light are and number plate bracket.
  • Stunning value for a one bicycle tow bar mounted carrier.
  • Only 11kg making mounting quick and easy.
  • Tilt mechanism giving better access to rear (but not quite enough to open Transporter barn doors).
  • Adaptable design which suits most bicycle frames and wheel sizes.
  • Comes with 13 pin plug plus adapter for 7 pin.
Best Towbar bike rack for one bike

Best tailgate mounted bike racks reviewed

HEWXWX Car Bike Rack, 3 Bicycle Rear Mount Carrier Car-Adjustable Height

Rack not requiring a tow bar

Winning Features

  • Carries 3 bicycles securely up to 150kg.
  • Fits to tailgate versions of the T4 T5 and T6 Transporter.
  • High quality finish manufactured from Carbon steel – both lightweight at 9kg and strong.
  • Designed to avoid blocking the number plate (when bicycles mounted correctly).
  • High quality fittings that protect your Transporter paint work (unlike some of the cheaper ones).
  • Suitable for other vehicles also making it a great product for moving between various transport.
Rack dimension

Ammaco. Raleigh Peruzzo Milano 3 Bike

Tailgate bicycle rack for VW

Winning Features

  • A good quality universal rack manufactured in Italy.
  • Doesn’t require a tow bar to be used and works with best with the tailgate version of the Transporter.
  • Easy to fit in less than 5 minutes (the loading of the bikes takes longer).
  • Robust fitting straps tested up to 300kg that secure to the frame of the bike.
  • Good value for money especially if you do not have a tow bar installed.
  • Carries bikes high on the rear of the vehicle providing clearance for number plate and lights (if loaded correctly).
  • Best used with Transporters not requiring rear access to storage as you cannot open the rear once loaded.
Rack fittings for bicycle

DOLA Bike Rack Hitch Mount Bicycle Carrier Foldable Racks

Cheap rack for transporter

Winning Features

  • Carries 2 bicycles up to maximum weight capacity of 200kg.
  • Does not require a tow ball, and mounts straight to the tail gate version VW Transporter T4 T5 or T6.
  • A good quality universal fitting meaning it will fit most vehicles
  • Suitable for a variable sized bicycle frames as the support arms are easily adjustable.
  • Only 5.3kg in weight making it the lightest rack reviewed. Ideal if you are concerned about hitting maximum payload.
  • No tools required for installation or removal.
Different angle photo of rack

What is the average weight of a bike?

The average weight of a standard adult bike is 13kg.

Some racks for bicycles don’t specify a total number of bikes that can be carried therefore you can work out roughly what weight capacity you are going to need. If you have none standard bicycles such as electric powered, then bear in mind these will weight considerably more than 13kg.

Electric bikes can weigh anywhere up to 22kg so can easily push the weight limit capacity of both the rack and rear tow bar if carried with other bicycles.

How much does a Transporter bike rack cost?

The tailgate mounted racks are generally a bit cheaper and a reasonably designed one can be picked up for around £150. For the more expensive towbar mounted racks that can usually carry extra weight/extra features you can pay between £200 up to £550.

What features do you get on an expensive bike rack?

So the things that you would expect to find on an higher end Transporter bicycle rack maybe

  1. Built in security against theft
  2. Higher carrying weight capacity/More bikes
  3. Quality Bearings/hinges on the moving parts making it easier to load/unload
  4. Better quality finish usually stainless steel or powder coating
  5. Ability to open and close rear door/tailgate without unloading bicycles
  6. More established brands will have add on options that you can buy to extend them to carry more bicycles
  7. A better fitting product that is easier to mount and unmount
  8. Better protection from scratching paint work

Transporter maximum weight

It is important to observe the maximum carrying weight of your transporter to ensure you get a bicycle rack suitable for a VW TRANSPORTER as it is very easily to accidentally over load them. Especially if you have heavy Rock and Roll beds installed inside.

You can view extra information regarding weight limits in the articles written below. However in a nut shell if you are planning to carry more than 100kg on the back of your Transporter you need to be mindful that this will likely be very close to exceeding the limit on the T4 T5 and T6.

Here – Rock and roll bed impact of weight

Here – LWB vs SWB payloads

The heavier the bicycles sitting on the rear of the vehicle the more it will affect your handling and the more of the sky you will see out of your windscreen!

Are towbar bike racks hard to fit?

No, not really. The larger ones can take up to one hour to assemble for the first time. After that, they can be attached within just a few minutes each time.

Of course, the design of the rack will have an impact on how easy this is however most competently fit individuals will be able to install a bicycle rack without too much effort. Allow a bit longer for the first time to install it.

Often the hardest part the actual lifting and securing the bicycles.

The more bicycles that you are loading the harder it becomes to get a good tight fit without scratching your paint work or clashing handlebars or pedals.

As a rule of thumb, the Towbar mounted racks are easier to load as they are lower to the floor, making the lifting and positioning of the bicycles a bit more straight forward.

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