If you do not need to tow and carry your bikes at the same time then you can use our EasyFixx range of bike racks. These racks mount directly on to the ball of your tow bar and are therefore unsuitable for towing and carrying.
However, the MaxxRaxx bike rack system includes cycle carriers that leave the ball on your tow bar free for towing. There is a model of MaxxRaxx that fits almost every tow bar, even the most modern Swan Neck tow bars.
So, it is possible to tow and carry at the same time. Please remember however, the combination of car and whatever you tow is different in every case. The space available to fit the bikes, turning restrictions and nose weight limitations, are all factors that need to be considered.
On this page we have brought together several pieces of information that will help you ascertain how many bikes you can carry on your particular vehicle and caravan or trailer combination.
Please read this section carefully and follow the links to other pages on our site and to some external web sites. Many of the points in this guide are very important for you to consider before setting off on your journey. In a few cases it may not be possible to carry any bikes at the same time as towing although of course the rack can be used to transport your bikes safely any time you are not towing.
Weight limitations and your tow bar
The tow bar on your vehicle has a maximum load that can be applied to it called the Nose Weight Rating. We have a Nose Weight Rating guide on our web site offering some general advice including specific guidance about the number of bikes your tow bar can hold. Remember, when towing you must allow for the nose weight of your trailer or caravan. This may restrict the number of bikes you can carry when towing at the same time.
Go to our online search engine to select which rack is designed for your car and learn exactly how many bikes your specific vehicle can carry. Please remember this is the maximum number of bikes your car can carry without anything else attached to the tow bar. You must also take into account the nose weight of your caravan or trailer.
This useful accessory, our Nose Weight Indicator Gauge, quickly and simply allows you to check the nose weight or your trailer or caravan and ensure safe and legal towing.
Please also always check your vehicle Owner's Handbook for the latest and most accurate information.
Checking the space available to carry bikes — Turning restrictions
Your MaxxRaxx cycle rack is attached to the tow bar and is therefore fixed to the car. It is as though your car has been extended and the bikes are now effectively the rear of the vehicle. Once mounted on the bike rack, there must be sufficient room between the bikes and the trailer/caravan to allow for turning. Remember it is also possible to apply a much tighter steering lock when reversing so be particularly aware of these limits when manoeuvring in reverse.
You may require a Tow Height Extension, available from our Accessories section, for your MaxxRaxx bike rack. This lifts your bikes another 300mm in order to clear jockey wheel handles, gas bottles, etc. on your caravan or trailer A-frame. The height extension is supplied with a special, large padlock which locks it to the S-Tube (upright) of your bike rack.
The dimensions of every caravan, trailer, A-frame or draw bar and vehicle are different. Some small trailers and particularly trailer tents often have a very short draw bar but may also have a sloping front face to the trailer. This means that the number of bikes you can carry may be limited by the dimensions of the space available as well as by the tow bar strength and nose weight rating
This PDF document is a plan which gives guidance on the clearance needed when towing and carrying. It states how many bikes will fit in the space between the back of the vehicle and front of the caravan and this includes the minimum distance you require to ensure clearance when turning using each of our racks.
Towing with an AL-KO or Winterhoff 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 2-bolt flange 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. Assuming that the correct 2-bolt flange tow ball is fitted in accordance with this guidance, all MaxxRaxx cycle carriers 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 Swan Neck 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 Swan Neck bike rack via one of our specialist fitters. Please complete our Swan Neck Tow and Carry Bike Rack Fitting Form to see if this is an option for you. If it is, we will put you in touch with your nearest authorised Tow and Carry Swan Neck adapter fitter. We can also supply a wider AL-KO/Winterhoff compatible Foot adapter 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.