Many people fit tow bars to enable them to carry bike racks and there is a common misconception that this is an easy job for a towbar; some people ask us to fit a very light duty towbar as “it is only going to be used for a bike rack”.
However, you should be aware that the entire weight of your bikes and bike rack is being carried by the tow bar where as a trailer distributes most of its weight through its wheels. Also, each time you place another bike on the rack, the load centre extends further from the vehicle with the leverage effect increasing exponentially. Obviously an overloaded towbar/bike rack combination can cause stress on the tow bars anchorage points and the tongue. Extreme bike rack loads in excess of the towbars ratings can even bend the towbars tongue.
So, carrying bikes is a significant job for a towbar and a common sense evaluation is needed to decide on the number of bikes to be carried and the rating of the tow bar chosen. Other important factors are the weights of the bikes and style of bike rack fitted.
Megatyre, Browns Bay, North Shore, Auckland. www.megatyre.co.nz