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They are much stronger and more secure than carriers that strap to the tailgate of your car, any risk of damage to your car is virtually eliminated.
There are two types of carrier; those that support the bikes from the top holding the frame, and those that support bikes from below where the wheels of the bikes are located in 'tracks' on the cycle carrier.
Carriers that support the bikes from below are more secure, but they are also more complex and more expensive. With this type of carrier you cannot carry bikes and tow at the same time.
If you need to tow and carry bikes at the same time you need a Flangeball Type Towbar and a Witter HangOn cycle carrier, or a MaxxRaxx cycle carrier that has a mounting base plate that is bolted behind the towball therefore leaving the towball free to attach a trailer or caravan. It is important to ensure that you have enough clearance especially when towing a caravan. These carriers are only compatible with flangeball type towbars.