Review: Thule Epos towbar bike rack
reviewed 12 Apr 2024 by Phil Hall






Telescopic arms make it easy to secure pretty much any bike

Easy to set-up and pack away

Tilts easily to allow quick access to the boot if needed

What is it?

The Thule Epos is a towbar mounted bike rack - there are two versions available, a three-bike platform at £1099 and the two-bike platform we're reviewing here at £999. But with Thule offering a wide range of towbar mounted bike racks to suit a range of budgets, why should you be looking at the Epos compared to something like the more affordable VeloCompact rack? It all comes down to ease of use and some clever features.

Designed to carry a total load of up to 60kg, the Thule Epos will support a single bike weight up to 30kg - that should be more than enough for even some of the more heavier e-bikes out there. The Thule Epos itself weighs just over 17kg and features rear lights, indicators and a number plate holder. 

As well as the total load, the Thule Epos will take bikes with a wheelbase up to 1350mm and 29-inch wheels (with a tyre width up to 3-inches - this can be upgraded to 5-inches with the optional TH985000 accessory), meaning you can easily fit some pretty chunky mountain bikes on it. And to help protect your bikes from damaging each other when in transit, there's a decent 25cm distance between bikes. 

The Epos is fully foldable, meaning that when you're not using it it can be collapsed into a size of 69 x 27 x 73cm.

What's it like?

With a reputation for high quality, Thule bike racks and carriers are a popular choice amongst cyclists. Pulling the Epos out of its packaging and it feels extremely well made and dependable. It also comes fully made, so there's no faffing about attaching bits with Allen Keys. 

There's a large handle when you're carrying it to the car and while you certainly notice the weight when you pick it up, it's not that bulky and pretty easy to move around all things considered. 

We tested it with our Honda ZR-V long-termer and it couldn't have been easier to set up. With our retractable towbar extended, it's simply a question of lowering onto it before fine-tuning the torque adjustment wheel before clamping it in place. 

Plug it into the 13-pin socket and this relays the vehicle’s braking and indicators to the lights that are attached to the bike rack. Depending where you're off to, you might also want to secure the rack to the towbar with the provided lock - this is the same key used to lock the bikes securely. Something you don't want to loose. 

With the rack attached - and once you've done this a couple of times, you'll be amazed how quickly you can pop it on to the back of your car, you just have to unfold the rack. Again, this couldn't be easier - it pulls out like a book to reveal the runners where the bike wheels will sit and the two telescopic bike arms. And you don't have to worry about wonky seating as the Thule Epos uses a self-stabilising coupling, so you should find it sits nice and level when you unfold it. 

You can then lift your bikes on - if you're transporting a hefty e-bike you might want to think about investing in the optional folding loading ramp. Otherwise, lift them in place and extend the telescopic arms to lock your bikes in place. The clever bit here is how flexible this is - it can be positioned pretty much anywhere depending on the design of the bike, as well as the rear wheels (if you're transporting a carbon fibre bike frame for instance). 

The locking head on the top of the telescopic arm features a strap with a compression section on the inside part to help protect your frame when you tighten up the strap - this is done via a ratchet system and means you really make sure your bike's properly secured. You can then lock this in place if you're going to be leaving your car unattended before securing the wheels via the wheel straps. You're then ready to go.

But what if you've loaded up the bikes and still have stuff to pop in the boot? The Thule Epos has a tilting mechanism. You push down on the central foot pedal and the whole rack, bikes included, tilts forward. You can then easily open and close the boot before pushing the rack back in place - there's a reassuring click so you know it's locked in place and isn't going to fly backwards as you pull off your drive. 

Should I buy one?  

The Thule Epos is the new benchmark by which all other towbar mounted bike racks should be judged. It's easy to install, mounts bikes securely and feels extremely well made. Not only that, but it neatly folds up when you're not using it - it won't take up loads of space in your garage, while it's compact enough to pop in the boot of your car if you need to. 

If you're an occasional user then this is a big investment and you might be better served looking at one of Thule's more affordable solutions, while there are roof bike rack systems to consider as well. However, if you're regularly heading off to events or bike parks with your pride and you, then the Thule Epos justifies the cost and you should expect many years of use from it. The best towbar bike rack you can buy right now. 

Pros Quick fitting and easy to use Collapses neatly for storage Can support e-Bikes
Cons More affordable options available


Max number of bikes: 2

Load capacity: 60kg

Max bike weight: 30kg

Dimensions: 69 x 126 x 22cm

Folded dimensions: 69 x 27 x 73 cm

Weight: 17.3kg

Max tire width: 3-inches (With Thule XXL Fatbike Wheel Straps 5-inches)

Max wheel size (diameter): 29-inches

Max wheelbase: 1350mm

Distance between bikes: 25cm

Carbon frame compatible: Yes

Tilt function (with bikes): Yes

Rear lights: Yes

Power connector: 13-pin

Lockable rack-to-vehicle: Yes


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