Bike rack. tow bar mounted on a Mk 3 or 3.5

Hi MX5 Forum folk and Happy Xmas 
Now that the kids are older and we don't have to take them with us in the Grand Espace , Swmbo, aka er in doors and I are considering a 2.0 Mazda MX 5 tin top, circa 2010 – 2012 as our second car, so something a bit different to our main car which is a Nissan 350z engined Renault  Grand Espace Initiale.
 We really want to be able to occasionally carry 2 road bikes with the MX 5.  We’ve got a three bike tow bar mounting carrier with lights   that I use on the Espace - plus I can get 4 bikes on the Espace roof racks too , so 7 people & upto 7 bikes, but I can’t put a roof rack on the MK 5 L .
Now,  I don’t want to tow with the MX5 - just use my bike rack. I don’t like the flimsy strap on bike carriers
plus these  obscure the lights and number plate too – so they  illegal without a lighting board and number plate?
In the USA they sell tow bar kits for the MK3  / 3.5 , so there must be provision  to fit a two bar. In the UK and EU they only sell tow bar kits for the Mazda MX5 Mk1 and MK2, as the MK 3  and  3.5  are not ‘type approved’ for towing in the UK and EU.
Can a tow bar with lighting socket be fitted in the UK to a MK3 or MK3.5 if it is only used for a bike rack ?
A bike rack like mine , see link below, is much safer for the bikes and the car, than the ones on the link above, plus ones like mine have full lights and number plate too.
I have asked Mazda re the MX 5 and tow bar fitting / bike racks – but they say that they can't advise me. I've asked them about the MK4  MX5 that’s out in 2015, but again Mazda UK say that they do not know / cannot help.
I'm only in the market for a used MX5 anyway, so it would be 2018 or later before I could consider a MK4. I would like a used  MX5 Mk3 or Mk 3.5  next  spring, but only if I can carry two bikes.
Thanks all

Mazda don’t recommend towing, even in the states.


there may be a towbar that fastens to the chassis

I do remember reading something about fitting ‘Tow Bars’ to sport car, it has to be approved by some kind of DVLA quango, However on a more positive side, when the SE had a run out at ‘Headcorn’ airdrome earlier this year I saw a MX3.5 coupe, with a detachable ‘bike’ rack attached and I even spoke to the lady owner about it, she was very pleased with the fitting and stability, to me it looked like a standard bike carrier.

Hi FJohnW,

as this a strap onto the boot lid’ type

or a tow bar mounted job ?

I’ve seen a few people getting pulled by the Rozzers with the former , as the lights and number plates are obscured.

On the cycling club forum there have been tales of Rozzers in Scotland and in France not letting people drive on like this, as unsafe, makes sense I suppose?

It was the 'strap’type, but with a number plate and main light/indicator board to conform…

I would never carry any bikes outside the car nowadays. I’ve seen too many come adrift from roof racks, people forgetting they’re there and hitting overhead car park height restiction barriers and even coming off boot racks and bikes stolen even when left for a short time. As for considering it on a Sports car like the MX-5 absolutely crazy in my opinion. A few years ago even the experienced owner of our local bike shop had two very expensive top of the range MTB’s come off on a motorway when he and his mate were going to a Trailquest event in Hampshire.


OK, much thanks,

Will see what more info I can find out - it will be a few months before we buy an MX5

Could also go for a Volvo C70 folding tin top?

Not the same fun as an MX 5?

Or an F Type Jag . . . . if I get one for Xmas / win the lottery . … The F Type only have pram hood though :frowning:

Had a go in an XK-R 5 litre at the classic car show - v nice - again a pram hood, and an open SIII E-Type, but with hard top - no more room inside than an MX 5 ?

I met a Mk3 owner from the Netherlands and his MX5 has a tow bar so it is possible. Just not sure whether it is something you can get in the UK.

Please read this…the last para on 1st page re Small or Sports Cars



Hi LW,

used to put upto 2 bikes in the back of var estate cars that I’ve had, currently have a 3.5 V6 {Nissan 350Z engined} Renault Grand Espace - I have had upto 4 bikes on the roof and upto 3 on the tow bar rack - never any problems re bikes on the roof or on the back of any cars we’ve had - done many a 2,000 mile return trips with bikes on var carrier - no probs.

Also we have a camping trailer than can take 4 bikes on top , plus we used to carry a tandem and trailer bikes on the roof of our Volvo Estate and we used to tow a 5 birth caravan, with 5 bikes on the car roof.

As we have a ‘second car’ and as the kids are older / flown the nest, we wanna get a fun car {though the 3.5 V6 Espace is a fun people carrier} - so an MX-5 fits the bill.

But we need be able to ‘blast’ {at 20/ 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 MPH max, depending on the speed limits, single carriage, dual, motorway } upto the Lakes, or into the Yorkshire Dales, then go for a spin on the bikes.

Twisty roads may be great in am MX5 and on a motorbike too, but nothing, nowt at all with an engine, can possibly come even close to riding up and down a pass in the lakes, or a Col in the Alps on a proper push bike - not than fat tyred MTB jobs. Hence the car, the MX 5 , needs to be an accessory for the bikes.

The only way to get 1/2 a dozen bikes inside a vehicle, is to have a transit van - but then u need as many seats as bikes - so that’s no good either.

Well, hopefully a solution can be found.

Thanks again and Happy Xmas,


Thanks PJR - and that’s Europe too - so same regs re tow bars on the MX5 as in the UK ?

Hopefully will be able to get a tow bar for use with a bike rack ?




Mazda UK not much use re MK3 or MK 4 


Again, would be used to carry 2 bike max - not for towing.

And bikes are much safer on a proper tow bar mounting rack than on a ‘strap on boot mounted support’ with no lighting board, so illegal to used on the road. 


Hi I have been contemplating this idea and even been out looking at bicycles I could carry on the mx5.  My idea is get a boot rack ‘my Xmas present’  then carry bikes on that or maybe one in the boot and one on the rack.

The down side is the only bike suitable is the Brompton fold up at a costly £1000 each. They are built so they cannot have parts stolen while chained up and small, light enough to be wheeled around in some sort of holdall.

Brompton won’t fit in an Mx5 boot

Hi did you get a helpful answer on the tow bar? I am also keen.
MX5 racing sell a mk3 tow bar

Yes it will, i have one.

I couldn’t get mine in the other day do you have a Mk3

That is the short Brompton with the flat bar. I’m quite tall I have the raised bar and a seat extension!

Which is probably why yours fits