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The towbar-mounted Pendle Hang On Bike Rack is an extremely solid steel rack with a high weight capacity. The modular design means it takes up less space than other styles when stored, but it's not the quickest thing to fit, and a few extra straps would be useful.
Within towbar-mounted racks there are two main styles: hang on racks such as the one on test, and wheel-support racks. The latter are usually much larger, though, meaning more space is required to store them.
The Hang On Bike Rack is a modular system. It has separate arms, a universal mounting block and a light unit, and it's all easy to take apart. The rack is made from steel and powdercoated for a very durable finish.
The rack can be fitted to any style of towbar (including swan neck), and requires a minimal amount of space between it and the bumper.
The version on test is the H4 fitting, designed to fit the majority of vehicles; there's also an HD version with a mounting block designed for flat-back vehicles such as vans, and an HL version for vehicles with spare wheels on the rear, such as Land Rover Defenders.
If you have a traditional two-bolt towbar (not swan neck or detachable) there is the option to secure the mounting block permanently via the two bolts holding the ball in place. This allows the rack to be set up quickly, but still allows access to the ball for towing.
Alternatively, the mounting block is secured with four steel bolts and nuts. While it is simple, it does increase the setup time as it's vital to ensure all bolts are equally torqued and the plate is mounted straight to ensure the rack will fit correctly.
Once the mounting block is secure, the support arms are slotted in, the security plate is fitted to prevent accidental movement, and the arms are secured using the spanner provided.
Note: Pendle says the spanner is for use with the security plate fixing bolt and the aluminium fixing caps, and not for fixing the block itself to the towbar… Use it for that and it'll round almost instantly. (Pendle says it'll make the instructions clearer on that).
The rack does not feature any form of tilt, as some towbar racks do, which can then allow access to boot space with the rack in place (depending on the vehicle).
The arms feature a rubberised non-slip surface that should prevent any marks or damage to the bikes, although for anyone particular fastidious about bike care, using extra foam or similar to give extra protection would be fine.
The rack can support up to four bikes with a maximum load of 60kg, which is significantly more than the majority of similar racks. This figure will also depend on the nose weight of the towbar you have, of course.
I found that positioning was crucial for preventing movement, and there is no set way to mount the bikes. Full suspension mountain bikes present the biggest challenge, with the shock often in the way of where you would normally mount. Pendle suggests the first bike is strapped to the rack, with any other bikes being strapped to the first bike.
The kit is supplied with one 3m strap and two 1.5m straps, but I was constantly looking for extra straps to hold wheels in place or firmly secure bikes to each other.
Pendle offers spares (£15 for five 0.5m straps), but given the cost of the rack, I think it would be reasonable to expect a few of them as standard.
With all bikes in place, the lighting unit – which has space for a number plate and connects via a 13-pin socket on a generously long cable – can be secured via two basic straps.
I found that it moved about far too much; it sways, and ideally needs to be fitted to something else, such as the last bike, to prevent it from moving while driving.
With the exception of the light unit, the rack is very solid and I had no movement at all from the rack or bikes themselves.
At £269.99 the Hang On looks more expensive than some similar designs, such as the Thule HangOn 4 Tilt at £165. But the Pendle rack does have a superior build, and the price includes a light panel.
The big benefit of the Hang On Bike Rack is how small it is when removed in comparison to wheel-on types, while you still get the benefits of the towbar mount – there's nothing touching your vehicle.
Overall, performance is very good, as is the quality. A more generous selection of straps would be welcome, though.
Solid rack with high capacity and potential for quick setup
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pendle Hang On Bike Rack
Size tested: Capacity for up to 4 bikes
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Pendle says: "Simple and dependable, the Hang On style rack fixes securely to your towbar via our Universal Mounting Block. All you need to do is insert the arms into the mounting block, tighten the aluminium fixing caps and bolt the included Security Plate into place. Strap your bikes securely onto the arms, plug in the included Universal Light Unit and away you go!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity: Up to 4 bikes
Maximum Rack Load: 60kg
Unloaded Rack Weight: 8kg (H4), 8.5kg (HD), 9kg (HL)
Make sure the nose weight of your tow bar is enough to support the combined weight of your bikes and the rack.
Be sure to check the total load weight before each journey. For example, 2 x 30kg bikes can be carried, or 1 x 30kg and 2 x 15kg bikes, and so on.
Fabricated from high tensile steel.
Powder coated in textured Pendle Orange.
Hang On Bike Rack x 1
Universal Mounting Block x 1
Universal Light Unit x 1
Strap Kit x 1
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Solid and well made, but I found more straps were needed to secure the bikes well and the light unit had a tendency to move.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Solid build, strong design and the ability to take it apart for storage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Takes a while to connect if you don't leave the mounting block on your car permanently, and it needs extra bike straps.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap compared with Thule's HangOn towbar-mounted racks, but the lighting board is included in the Pendle's price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is very well made, with a solid steel construction and a very useful design that can be dismantled for storage. It's very good overall, though the lighting board mounting needs a rethink, and it could come with more bike straps for proper security.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding