There are a few different types of bike carriers but this article will focus on the towball mounted ones, specifically the Thule Xpress 2-Bike carrier. I’ve had this carrier for about 10 weeks now and have used it quite a lot. Safe to say I can give a few insights which may help you choose the right one for you.
This carrier is very easy to attach and detach from the tow bar, no tools needed, and it literally takes about 3 seconds. What it does is, it grips onto the tow ball and that’s it. Yes, I was quite skeptical with this design at first as well. However, you will actually feel how strong its grip is when locking it in, which is kind of reassuring.
The photos below basically show the 2-step installation process. The third photo is only meant to show how it holds onto the towball when locked in. I can tell you it’s pretty tight. And apologies for the dirty car, I just got home from the trail. 😀
Detaching is just as quick and easy. It’s so fast it’s hard to take photos. 😉
The quick attach/detach mechanism is extremely important if, like me, you ride occasionally and your car often gets used for trips to the grocery store, dropping off and fetching the kids from school, etc.
Mounting the Bikes
Mounting a single bike is very simple as well. Things could get a little tricky with two bikes though. You’ll have to make sure that the pedals, the handle bars and the seats don’t get in the way with each other. Once you’ve figured it out the first time, which you will, then things get a lot easier from there.
Another important thing to consider is the capacity. This carrier can only carry a total of 30kg max. I think 2 downhill bikes would be too much for this. Most regular bikes are in the 14kg to 15kg range so it’s mostly safe, but if you can weigh your bike then that would be better — safety first.
- Quick and easy to attach and detach from the tow bar.
- No tools needed.
- Small size makes it very easy to store even in the smallest cars’ boots.
- Value for money. I got this for A$180 which is one of the cheapest among the well-known brands.
- I still believe that the hitch mounted carriers are more reliable especially when going through bumpy roads.
- May not be the best option for carbon fibre frames. You may want to go with the wheel mounts for those frames. I wouldn’t want to put any pressure or stress on an expensive frame.
I have no issues with this carrier so far over the past ten weeks that I’ve had it. In fact, I can’t think of any other carrier that suits me better. With this one, I can just put it on whenever I feel like driving to a trail, come back home, take it off, and the car is ready for family or any other use again. Tying my shoe laces takes more time than putting and taking this thing off the tow bar.
Most of all, I don’t worry about storage – it stays right inside my car and doesn’t really take much space.
No Tow Bar?
No problem. There are other options that don’t require any.
Take these ones for example:
There you go, you should be ready to hit the road. 🙂