Why do I need a tow bar?

  • A tow bar provides a strong and secure place to carry your bikes. Certain vehicles can carry up to 5 bikes.
  • The cycle carrier is at the ideal height to make loading and unloading simple and easy.
  • The bikes are held clear of the vehicle preventing damage to either your car or the bikes.
  • Roof mounted bike carriers are difficult to use and significantly increase fuel consumption.
  • The total cost of a tow bar and bike rack is similar to buying a roof mounted system.
  • The latest tow bars can be detached, are simple to use and are virtually invisible when detached.

By designing the MaxxRaxx for use with a tow bar, we have been able to incorporate many benefits that are often missing from other racks and because it is made from powder-coated structural steel, the MaxxRaxx is also extremely strong and durable.

As a result you can carry up to 5 bikes (depending on the Nose Weight Rating of your vehicle) positioned well clear of your vehicle to ensure no damage can occur to the paintwork. It is at a suitable height to allow quick and easy loading/unloading and you can relax in the knowledge that your bikes are locked securely to your vehicle.

Finally, fitting a tow bar couldn't be easier. MaxxRaxx are not tow bar fitters but we work with a nationwide network of approved fitters who we are happy to recommend. Many of these tow bar fitters are mobile and will come to you at a time to suit you. The fitter will also be able to demonstrate how to connect your MaxxRaxx bike carrier and answer any queries you may have. Please contact MaxxRaxx with your post code and type of vehicle for details of your nearest approved fitter. Alternatively you can of course, source your own tow bar fitter.

Do I have to buy anything extra?

Not usually. Your MaxxRaxx is supplied with everything you need to fit to your tow bar and carry your bikes. However, extra components can be supplied to adapt your rack to carry more bikes, or to allow you to use your rack with another vehicle. Accessories such as our Lighting Board Bracket, Towing Height Extension kit or X-bar may be necessary in some cases (please also see our answer to Question 6, Can I carry any style of bike?) You may also find optional extras such as our Wall Mounting Bracket or Kitbag particularly useful for storing your MaxxRaxx bike rack. Please see our full range of Accessories.

Can I carry and tow at the same time?

In almost every case the answer is yes. Most MaxxRaxx bike racks leave your tow ball free to tow a caravan or trailer and carry bikes simultaneously. (Our EasyFixx range of bike racks fit directly on to the ball of your tow bar so are unsuitable for towing and carrying.) Please remember, the combination of your tow vehicle and caravan/trailer configuration is different in every case. The space available to fit the bikes, turning restrictions and nose weight limitations all need to be considered. Please refer to our section Tow & Carry for more detailed information. In certain cases you may need a Towing Height Extension kit to clear the jockey wheel handle on the A-frame of your caravan or trailer. 

What is an AL-KO stabiliser?

Certain caravans or trailers have a stabiliser fitted to help reduce snaking. The 2 main types of ball acting stabilisers are Winterhoff and AL-KO. The Winterhoff uses discs to apply pressure to the front and back of the ball and so it also reduces vertical movement or pitching. The AL-KO types of stabiliser use discs to apply pressure to the sides of the ball and so have a much wider head on the coupling. 

AL-KO KOBER Ltd give explicit guidance regarding which tow balls are or are not suitable for use with an AL-KO stabiliser. Detailed information can be found by downloading this PDF from AL-KO Vehicle Technology. On condition that the correct tow ball is fitted in accordance with this guidance, then all MaxxRaxx cycle carriers that are available from our online shop or via any of our retail partners are compatible with both Winterhoff and AL-KO stabilisers. 

However, if your vehicle has a SwanNeck tow bar, you tow with a stabiliser and you want to tow and carry at the same time then in this particular case, we will need to discuss your vehicle and tow bar details. We will need to supply and fit a special MaxxRaxx SwanNeck bike rack via one of our specialist fitters. Please complete our Swan neck Tow and Carry online enquiry form which will including your post code and type of vehicle so that we can provide you with details of your nearest authorised SwanNeck fitter. We can usually supply a wider, AL-KO/Winterhoff compatible foot with your Swan Neck bike rack to ensure there is sufficient clearance between the coupling head and the MaxxRaxx bike rack when turning. In certain rare cases our racks with Swan Neck adaptors are incompatible with specific combinations of particular Swan Neck tow bars and stabilisers. We can identify this rare situation and advise you before you buy.

ALKO WinterhoffWinterhoff stabiliser & AL-KO stabilisers

Can I carry any style of bike?

Yes. The top tube or crossbar on almost all bikes, including lady's and mountain bikes, is suitable for use with MaxxRaxx cycle carriers, no matter what thickness or cross-section. With a sloping crossbar the bike will be supported with the rear wheel higher than the front but this is perfectly safe. Only a few bikes such as a "full step-through" lady's bikes or some full suspension mountain bikes will require the use of an X-bar to act as a temporary crossbar. 

Can I still open the boot with the racks loaded?

Yes. Even with your bikes loaded onto your MaxxRaxx, you can tilt the rack allowing you to open the boot or hatchback of your vehicle. In the case of a 4x4, the rear door can be opened up to at least 60°.