Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

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peter
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Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby peter » Mon Mar 20, 2023 2:08 pm

Looking for a bike carrier to carry 2 bikes. One ebike, one junior bike.

The tow ball type is cheaper. Example: Ezigrip E-Bike 2, about $600+ with lights and auxiliary plate holder.

However, I feel the kind that goes into the hitch receiver is structurally more solid, but they are dearer. Example: Yakima Stage 2, about $1,000 (plus $100 for lights if required due to blocking).

Since I only need to carry one ebike, another option is a light duty carrier. Example: Yakima Hold Up 2, about $400+, plus extra for lights. Will need to remove the battery to lighten the load.

What's your opinion on the 2 types of carriers?

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby bychosis » Mon Mar 20, 2023 3:42 pm

Either or. Towball mount might be more adaptable to other vehicles that don’t have a square hitch receiver. Hitch mount is less likely to swivel around. A properly mounted towball rack shouldn’t move around too much. Don’t think you’ll have any issues with only 2 bikes.

I had a 4 bike ball mount rack. Didn’t have any issues with it except a couple of times it swung around because I didn’t tighten the mount properly.

Current rack is a vertical rack with a hitch mount. It rocks around a fair bit because the hitch is a bit of a loose fit.
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Andy01
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Mon Mar 20, 2023 7:21 pm

I have a Thule VeloCompact 2 bike carrier (which is towball) and it doesn't move at all (with two adult MTBs). Last week I was down in Byron Bay (from Brisbane) and even at 110km/h, it was rock solid. I have seen them on sale around the $600 mark in the last year.

My Outback 2022 (and many other cars) doesn't have a square hitch towbar, so the towball carriers will always fit a great number of vehicles than a hitch type, and in many cases the carrier would outlast the current vehicle, so you may not know what your next vehicle will have.

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peter
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby peter » Mon Mar 20, 2023 7:36 pm

Thanks for your inputs. How does the tow ball type lock on to the ball? By friction?

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby davehirst » Mon Mar 20, 2023 8:24 pm

Usually has 2 bolts that you tighten into the ball

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby P!N20 » Mon Mar 20, 2023 9:23 pm

peter wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2023 7:36 pm
Thanks for your inputs. How does the tow ball type lock on to the ball? By friction?

(In terms of the Ezigrip)

Short answer: clamps on.

Long answer: a dial tightens a conical tube down onto a four segment cone. Then there’s a collar with a nut that further tightens the assembly.

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Tue Mar 21, 2023 9:35 am

peter wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2023 7:36 pm
Thanks for your inputs. How does the tow ball type lock on to the ball? By friction?
I have never turned my Thule upside down to inspect the guts of it, but from a user's point of view, it is pretty simple (and yes, it is friction). Place carrier on ball, and push down the locking lever and then key-lock it in place. There is a small dial to adjust the "tightness", so the first time you will need to adjust this to a point where it requires some effort to lock down the locking lever. My Thule has no "anti-sway" play or the like and doesn't need it - it locks down very firmly.

My BIL has had a 4 bike Thule towball rack for years, and he said that he has never had it move at all.

One thing I have noticed is that when I fit the carrier to the ball, I do have to play with the horizontal angle (front to back) slightly while applying pressure to the locking lever. There seems to be a "sweetspot" where it just locks in nicely - hard to explain.

I am not sure about the other brands but I have never heard of a two bolt locking setup to the ball ? If you tightened bolts onto the ball itself, I would expect that the bolts might damage the smooth surface of the ball. I have seen racks that attach (with two bolts) to a flat plate that gets bolted down between the (bolt-on) ball and the hitch - not sure if that is what the post above is referring to ?

There was a member here who posted several weeks ago that he was having problems with his Thule moving in transit, and I asked a couple of questions and gave a couple of tips (like the one above) but he never came back so I don't know if he sorted it out ?

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peter
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby peter » Tue Mar 21, 2023 10:10 am

Thanks for the detailed explanation.

I too was a bit confused about the two stage tightening, then watched the installation video it started to make sense.

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queequeg
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby queequeg » Tue Mar 21, 2023 7:26 pm

I have an Outback MY22 like Andy, and I just took the Thule 3-Bike carrier I had been using on my Mazda6 straight over to the Outback.

I just got back from a trip to Bright & Melbourne (from Sydney) and I took two bikes with me on the rack. No issues, no sway. The rack is now about 15 years old and still going strong, despite the fact I reversed it into a concrete pole one dark morning and put a nice dent in it.

I wanted to get a hitch mount for the Outback but there wasn't an OEM one available. Naturally, the minute I bought my car they reverted to a hitch mount for the MY23 models. Really, unless you need to carry more than 3 bikes, tow ball mount is fine. I have integrated roof racks on the Outback that I can throw two more bikes on so it's not a huge deal for me.
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Tue Mar 21, 2023 8:10 pm

peter wrote:
Tue Mar 21, 2023 10:10 am
Thanks for the detailed explanation.

I too was a bit confused about the two stage tightening, then watched the installation video it started to make sense.
Looked at that. The Thule system is MUCH sleeker - just a single lever that is pushed down and locked in place, so once you set the tension correctly once, it is just a push down, no need to tighten it up each time with two screws.

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby JeffTingle » Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:53 am

Hey there queequeg user, I have a question please. You have a good setup for transporting your bikes, but I'm curious - have you considered any other bike carrier options or upgrades for the future?
(Btw, I'm new here and I'm still researching this forum. Greetings to everyone)

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Mozziediver » Wed Mar 22, 2023 1:56 pm

No tow ball on the 2015 Impreza hatch, so I bought and have successfully used a Saris Bones 2 https://saris.com/products/bones-2-bike for a number of trips over 100km on both back roads and highway. It has 6 webbing straps that secure it to the rear door. and the lower legs rest on the rear gate lip. The Ebike (battery removed) goes up first, then the LHT.
I usually secure the wheels with a couple of short straps to stop them banging around. Only downside so far is restricted access to the boot (pack that first!).
Edit: Link added.
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby warthog1 » Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:35 pm

peter wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2023 2:08 pm
Looking for a bike carrier to carry 2 bikes. One ebike, one junior bike.

The tow ball type is cheaper. Example: Ezigrip E-Bike 2, about $600+ with lights and auxiliary plate holder.

However, I feel the kind that goes into the hitch receiver is structurally more solid, but they are dearer. Example: Yakima Stage 2, about $1,000 (plus $100 for lights if required due to blocking).

Since I only need to carry one ebike, another option is a light duty carrier. Example: Yakima Hold Up 2, about $400+, plus extra for lights. Will need to remove the battery to lighten the load.

What's your opinion on the 2 types of carriers?
I haven't used those products.
Just a plug for yakima stuff.
Yakima roof bars on our Tucson and Swift.
2 yakima bike holders that mount on each and can be side by side on the same car.
Good quality and easy to use.
Dogs are the best people :wink:

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Mr Purple » Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:40 pm

Timely thread.

I'm currently shopping for a single bike carrying solution for my BMW M140i. Towball ones are virtually out because the exhaust runs along the entire back of the car.

Had a think about the strap on ones like the Saris above but honestly they scare the heck out of me! I'm on the verge of ordering some Yakima Roofracks and their HighRoad, which seems to be the best solution.

Now to just somehow avoid crashing the gravel bike into the garage door. Any tips on that? My plan was to put the garage door remote into the boot every time I was carrying the bike.

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby warthog1 » Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:55 pm

Mr Purple wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:40 pm
Timely thread.

I'm currently shopping for a single bike carrying solution for my BMW M140i. Towball ones are virtually out because the exhaust runs along the entire back of the car.

Had a think about the strap on ones like the Saris above but honestly they scare the heck out of me! I'm on the verge of ordering some Yakima Roofracks and their HighRoad, which seems to be the best solution.

Now to just somehow avoid crashing the gravel bike into the garage door. Any tips on that? My plan was to put the garage door remote into the boot every time I was carrying the bike.
I have the fork chop for my gravel bike, but the bike is not locked on there and can be removed by unscrewing the front through axle. So probably less secure.

The door remote is a great idea!
I worry about that too.
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Mr Purple » Wed Mar 22, 2023 3:09 pm

The HighRoad has a locking kit, so it should be pretty secure. Mind you I doubt I'd ever actually have the car parked out of sight with a bike on the roof so it probably doesn't matter.

I've been in a mate's car when he drove into a low carport with two bikes on the roof and remember it vividly despite the fact it at least 20 years ago! Fortunately we couldn't afford decent bikes back then anyway so most of the damage was to the carport.

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:34 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:35 pm
peter wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2023 2:08 pm
Looking for a bike carrier to carry 2 bikes. One ebike, one junior bike.

The tow ball type is cheaper. Example: Ezigrip E-Bike 2, about $600+ with lights and auxiliary plate holder.

However, I feel the kind that goes into the hitch receiver is structurally more solid, but they are dearer. Example: Yakima Stage 2, about $1,000 (plus $100 for lights if required due to blocking).

Since I only need to carry one ebike, another option is a light duty carrier. Example: Yakima Hold Up 2, about $400+, plus extra for lights. Will need to remove the battery to lighten the load.

What's your opinion on the 2 types of carriers?
I haven't used those products.
Just a plug for yakima stuff.
Yakima roof bars on our Tucson and Swift.
2 yakima bike holders that mount on each and can be side by side on the same car.
Good quality and easy to use.
The OP was asking about a carrier for a ebike. I would like to see the average person lift an ebike up to a roof carrier :lol: I am short (165cm) and there is no way in the world I could lift even a MTB onto the roof of my Outback (which is a bit higher admittedly) - out of the question without bashing something on the way up.

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby warthog1 » Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:42 pm

Andy01 wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:34 pm
warthog1 wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:35 pm
peter wrote:
Mon Mar 20, 2023 2:08 pm
Looking for a bike carrier to carry 2 bikes. One ebike, one junior bike.

The tow ball type is cheaper. Example: Ezigrip E-Bike 2, about $600+ with lights and auxiliary plate holder.

However, I feel the kind that goes into the hitch receiver is structurally more solid, but they are dearer. Example: Yakima Stage 2, about $1,000 (plus $100 for lights if required due to blocking).

Since I only need to carry one ebike, another option is a light duty carrier. Example: Yakima Hold Up 2, about $400+, plus extra for lights. Will need to remove the battery to lighten the load.

What's your opinion on the 2 types of carriers?
I haven't used those products.
Just a plug for yakima stuff.
Yakima roof bars on our Tucson and Swift.
2 yakima bike holders that mount on each and can be side by side on the same car.
Good quality and easy to use.
The OP was asking about a carrier for a ebike. I would like to see the average person lift an ebike up to a roof carrier :lol: I am short (165cm) and there is no way in the world I could lift even a MTB onto the roof of my Outback (which is a bit higher admittedly) - out of the question without bashing something on the way up.
Sure.
I wasn't suggesting that he do that.
He mentioned 2 Yakima carriers.
As per the bits I put in bold, I was giving feedback on the quality of their gear.
Dogs are the best people :wink:

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby queequeg » Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:46 pm

JeffTingle wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:53 am
Hey there queequeg user, I have a question please. You have a good setup for transporting your bikes, but I'm curious - have you considered any other bike carrier options or upgrades for the future?
(Btw, I'm new here and I'm still researching this forum. Greetings to everyone)
When I was switching the car from the Mazda6 to the Outback, I was hoping to switch to a hitch mounted rack such as the Gripsport GS4+ (https://www.gripsport.com.au/product/gs ... ing-option), but the Subaru OEM Towbar on the My22 model was a Euro Style towball mount only, and I was not able to go aftermarket as it meant I was unable to include it in the financing for the car and also would not be covered by the factory warranty on the car. So, in the end I opted for the 3-Bike carrier I have now, with extra bikes to go on the roof with the Thule ProRide racks as required (since the Outback comes with integrated roof racks).

The Gripsport offers the flexibility of being convertible between a 2 and 4 bike carrier, and also gives extra rear clearance as the whole rack can be angled up. The Thule is a platform that sticks straight out, so on cars with lower clearance you can scrape the rack on the road when entering/exiting driveways. At least with the Outback, I now have more than double the clearance I had with the Mazda and I can actually back out of my driveway now without the rack striking the ground. With the Mazda I had to fit the rack on the street!

I considered other carriers like the Shingleback, but these are overkill for my needs, and also more suited to a 4WD rather than an SUV/Wagon

Here's my current setup

Image
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '16 Cervelo R5, '18 Mason BokekTi

Andy01
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:54 pm

Mr Purple wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:40 pm
Timely thread.

I'm currently shopping for a single bike carrying solution for my BMW M140i. Towball ones are virtually out because the exhaust runs along the entire back of the car.

Had a think about the strap on ones like the Saris above but honestly they scare the heck out of me! I'm on the verge of ordering some Yakima Roofracks and their HighRoad, which seems to be the best solution.

Now to just somehow avoid crashing the gravel bike into the garage door. Any tips on that? My plan was to put the garage door remote into the boot every time I was carrying the bike.

I had a strap-on carrier for my Passat wagon (quite a nice one that had wheel channels so that the two bikes didn't hang off the frames, and lifted the bikes above the number plate), and while it worked well enough it was a pig to use.

It used to take me a good 20 minutes to strap the rack (being careful to avoid scratching paintwork etc), and I had a wire-rope loop that went around the rack and looped around the boot lock (the bikes locked to the rack, but the rack didn't lock to the car as standard), which was awkward to get that in the right place while the electric boot closer closed (I squashed my hand in there once which hurt). Technically the boot could be opened with the rack fitted but I tried to avoid it because of the electric boot opening struts.

Fitting the bikes to the rack wasn't too bad - a bit fiddly but broadly similar to the Thule. The nice thing was that the bikes sat above the number plate so I didn't need an auxiliary number plate and light board - most do though. Completely impossible to get into the boot with the bikes fitted (I used to fold down the back seats and get in that way when the rack was on).

When I got the Thule VeloCompact and used it for the first time, it was a dream. It takes about 2 minutes to fit the rack to the car, and another 5 to fit both bikes (and it has lights & number plate). The rack also has a pedal to tilt it to get access to the boot, so getting in there is easy. Like when I was in Byron Bay for a few days I just lifted the rack off the car and dropped in the boot while we drove around.

It is just SO MUCH better than the strap-on carrier in every way, but it does obviously require a towball :(

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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Mr Purple » Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:13 pm

Thanks for confirming my thoughts!

Given the main purpose was to take the bike on family holidays, I'm pretty sure they won't appreciate me taking 20 minutes to fit and remove the rack every time I need to get something out of the boot.

JeffTingle
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby JeffTingle » Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:44 am

queequeg wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:46 pm
JeffTingle wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:53 am
Hey there queequeg user, I have a question please. You have a good setup for transporting your bikes, but I'm curious - have you considered any other bike carrier options or upgrades for the future?
(Btw, I'm new here and I'm still researching this forum. Greetings to everyone)
When I was switching the car from the Mazda6 to the Outback, I was hoping to switch to a hitch mounted rack such as the Gripsport GS4+ (https://www.gripsport.com.au/product/gs ... ing-option), but the Subaru OEM Towbar on the My22 model was a Euro Style towball mount only, and I was not able to go aftermarket as it meant I was unable to include it in the financing for the car and also would not be covered by the factory warranty on the car. So, in the end I opted for the 3-Bike carrier I have now, with extra bikes to go on the roof with the Thule ProRide racks as required (since the Outback comes with integrated roof racks).

The Gripsport offers the flexibility of being convertible between a 2 and 4 bike carrier, and also gives extra rear clearance as the whole rack can be angled up. The Thule is a platform that sticks straight out, so on cars with lower clearance you can scrape the rack on the road when entering/exiting driveways. At least with the Outback, I now have more than double the clearance I had with the Mazda and I can actually back out of my driveway now without the rack striking the ground. With the Mazda I had to fit the rack on the street!

I considered other carriers like the Shingleback, but these are overkill for my needs, and also more suited to a 4WD rather than an SUV/Wagon

Here's my current setup

Image
Your car is really nice! I would like it sure essay
Last edited by JeffTingle on Fri Mar 24, 2023 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andy01
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby Andy01 » Thu Mar 23, 2023 9:52 am

Mr Purple wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:13 pm
Thanks for confirming my thoughts!

Given the main purpose was to take the bike on family holidays, I'm pretty sure they won't appreciate me taking 20 minutes to fit and remove the rack every time I need to get something out of the boot.
I would also add that in spite of me being very cautious about fitting & removing the rack and it's webbing straps and plastic coated metal clips, and only using it a few times, I still had a few marks on the paintwork of the Passat from where it attached.

I think that if you went for one of the very light strap-on carriers where the bikes swing from a couple of poles, AND you have a manually operated (not electric) boot opening, you could probably leave the rack in place.

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peter
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby peter » Thu Mar 23, 2023 12:48 pm

Thanks all, will likely go with Yakima racks, turns out they have 2 options for heavier bikes.

* The StageTwo, more features, dearer ($1,000)
* The OnRamp, more affordable ($600)

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queequeg
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Re: Bike Carrier Tow Ball vs Hitch Receiver Types

Postby queequeg » Thu Mar 23, 2023 1:33 pm

JeffTingle wrote:
Thu Mar 23, 2023 8:44 am
Your car is really nice! I would like it sure
Thanks. I have been considering an Outback for probably the last 8 years, having seen one at the Tour Down Under in 2015. My wife got her Santa Fe back in 2018 and it was almost paid off so with the Mazda showing it's age at 16 years, I finally decided it was time to replace it. Since my wife picked the car last time, it was my turn in 2022. I managed to time it well as Subaru was one of the few options without a 1 year wait for a new car, and I beat all the interest rate rises and car price rises. Mostly importantly though, I can now get my gravel bike and myself into some of the more difficult areas down gravel roads where the Mazda was a no-go (and my wife was upset I was getting her Santa Fe dirty!)
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