For optimal security and versatility, towbar mounted racks are becoming increasingly popular.

Long gone are the days of cyclists disassembling their bikes and trying to cram them into the boot. With the ever-increasing popularity of cycling, more and more cyclists are to be found with ever-more ingenious mounting solutions. Bike racks come in 2 main forms. They can be mounted on the roof, or behind the car either on the towbar or strapped onto the boot. Towbar mounted bike racks are currently the most popular solution on the market.

They’re commonly used by cyclists who travel the length of the country participating in races or sportives, along with those heading off on a family holiday, at home or further afield.​

Towbar mounted bike racks

Towbar racks are becoming increasingly popular among cyclists. They offer several advantages over competing options, the most obvious being not having to lift a heavy bike onto the roof. This is particularly advantageous if you have a large SUV or 4x4. Lifting a heavy mountain bike in such cases may well be beyond the capabilities of many.

Another important advantage of rear mounted bike racks is that of having the bicycles behind you, is that overhead obstacles are not an issue. It’s all too common for holidaying cyclists in unfamiliar places to enter areas of low clearance while forgetting they have bicycles mounted on the roof. Such occurrences rarely end well and often prove very costly.

Towbar mounted bike racks are quick and easy to mount to your tow hitch. And once secured, loading and unloading the bicycles become a breeze. They come in 2 main forms, namely “platform racks” and “hang-on racks”. Platform racks are the more expensive option where bikes are mounted upright on their wheels. Hang-on racks are the cheaper option and they provide a mechanism whereby the bicycles are hung from a top rack. Both are secure and each is commonly designed for between 2 and 4 bikes. Let’s take a deeper dive into each type.​

Towbar-mounted hang-on racks

Hang-on racks are particularly advantageous if you also want to tow a trailer or caravan. When mounted, they remain close to the back of the car and thus leave ample room for the swing of what’s in tow.

Bikes are generally quite easily mounted. The top tube must be lifted onto the rack which lies at shoulder height, meaning that even heavier bikes don’t cause the distress they might with roof racks.

When bikes are mounted behind the car, they can often obscure the number plate and lights. To help ensure you stay on the right side of the law, many come with an integrated numberplate and lighting board. However, if your hang-on rack doesn’t come complete with one, at Decathlon we provide an easily-mounted lights boardto help ensure you stay visible to other road users while complying with the law. When the rack is not in use, the arms can be folded on most models, while top-end models also include a locking mechanism for the bikes for increased peace of mind.

Hang-on racks provide the ideal solution for many who want to travel with their bikes, however one important consideration is compatibility with your bike. Due to the fact that they are mounted on a rack, they can be problematic for bikes that don’t have a horizontal top tube or bikes which are on the small side.

Towbar-mounted platform racks

On platform racks, bikes are mounted upright on their wheels. They provide a safe and secure option regardless of the type of bicycle. Whether large or small, with a horizontal or sloping top tube, every bicycle can be securely mounted regardless.

A more heavy-duty solution than the towbar-mounted hang-on racks, they generally come with an integrated number plate and lighting board, ensuring you have little to worry about when travelling.

One useful innovation which has appeared in more recent times with towbar-mounted platform racks is where the rack tilts or slides to allow access to the boot regardless of whether the bikes are mounted or not. This is an essential feature for most users.

The principle disadvantage associated with towbar-mounted platform racks is the expense. They are generally much pricier than other alternatives, but for that price, you get what is perhaps the most convenient solution for cyclists who travel with their bikes.

Finding the right solution

Whether you’re heading across the continent on a family holiday, or on a weekend away with friends to tackle a sportive, you’ll want the right mounting solution. At Decathlon we stock a wide range of car bike racks in a variety of styles, where you’ll be sure to find the right option for both your vehicle and bike type.