Editor’s Note – This list of the best Thule bike racks was updated on March 16, 2023, to remove old listed products and improve content relevance and usefulness.
While it’s already common knowledge in the bike-riding community, it deserves restated; biking is fun. It also reduces stress, improves your overall physical condition, and can positively affect your mood. Bikes are important to us, so we need a safe and efficient method for transporting them from place to place.
We’ve listed the eight best Thule bike racks and the attributes that make them great so that you can find the perfect one.
Thule Vertex XT Hitch Bike Rack
The Thule Vertex XT Hitch Bike Rack is the ultimate solution for transporting your bikes on your next adventure. With its sleek design and easy-to-use features, this bike rack can securely hold up to four bikes (with extensions).
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A Brief Overview of Thule as a Brand
Thule is a Swedish brand designing and manufacturing high-quality outdoor and transportation products since 1942. They are well-known for their innovative and reliable bike racks, designed to safely and securely transport bicycles on cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Thule’s reputation for quality is built on its commitment to excellence in design, materials, and manufacturing. Their bike racks are known for their durability, ease of use, and versatility, making them a top choice for cyclists worldwide.
Thule is also recognized for its extensive product testing and safety standards, ensuring that its bike racks meet or exceed the highest industry standards. As a result, Thule has become a trusted brand among cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts who demand the best in quality and reliability from their equipment.
The Reigning Champion: Thule Vertex XT Takes the Crown
The Thule Vertex XT is a super popular bike rack for many reasons. Firstly, this unique arc design and anti-sway cages ensure your bike stays super stable and protected, which is awesome. Secondly, it’s easy to install and remove thanks to the hitch switch feature, so you don’t have to spend hours fiddling with it. Thirdly, it can fit all kinds of bikes, from skinny road bikes to chunky fat tire bikes, so it’s versatile. Plus, it’s sleek and durable with a coating that resists corrosion, so it’ll last a long time. It’s a top-performing bike rack that’s convenient, reliable and looks great.
1. Thule Vertex XT Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack
44.3 x 16.7 x 10 inches
The Thule Vertex XT Mount Bike is a high-end model that impresses with its quality and features. It can securely hold two bikes that weigh up to 70 lbs, making it a great choice for those who enjoy cycling with a friend or family member. The bike carrier also has an integrated cable lock, ensuring your bikes are safe and secure during transport. Additionally, the carrier is built to last, with a durable design that provides excellent bike protection. With the Thule Vertex XT Mount Bike, you can enjoy your cycling adventures with peace of mind, knowing that your precious two-wheeled steeds are well-protected.
The “Hold Fast Cradle” bike carrier is designed to provide maximum safety and security for your bicycle during transport. It eliminates any potential sway or wobbling, preventing any rattling that could damage your bike.
The Thule Vertex XT bike carrier’s unique arc design enhances its ground clearance and enables easy trunk access. Unlike other carriers, this model doesn’t require installing any Thule fit kit. However, some customers may purchase the Snug-Tite receiver lock separately for added security.
If you’re looking for a bike rack that is easy to install and built to last, the Vertex XT is a great choice. This model from Thule is known for its durability, making it a reliable option for transporting your bikes. In addition, the installation process is straightforward, meaning you can have your rack up and running quickly. When you see how well the Vertex XT performs, it’s clear why it’s considered one of the premium bike rack options available.
Pickup Truck Owners Rejoice: Thule Insta-Gater Pro Takes the Wheel as Best Bike Rack Option
The Thule Insta-Gater Pro is considered the best bike rack for truck beds due to its easy-to-use design, secure and stable bike transport, and compatibility with a wide range of bike sizes and styles. Additionally, it requires no drilling or tools for installation, making it a popular choice among truck owners.
2. Thule Insta-Gater Pro
30 x 17.8 x 9 inches
The Thule Insta-Gater Truck Mount bike rack is an excellent option for those searching for a lightweight truck mount solution. Although a truck bed can hold a bike, there is still a risk of scratches occurring to both the bike and the truck. However, the Insta-Gater solves this problem by eliminating the risk of scratches.
The Insta-Gater rack is designed with a range of features that make it an ideal choice for transporting bikes. Despite these features, it is incredibly lightweight, weighing only 9.9 lbs. This is significantly lower than other racks in the market. The rack is easy to install and can be used with the Thule one-key system. Additionally, the Insta-Gater can hold tires up to 3 inches wide and a maximum weight of 50 lbs, making it a versatile and sturdy option for bike transportation.
The Insta-Gater Pro is a highly recommended bike rack due to its sturdy construction, effortless installation, and secure holding capabilities. However, it is important to note that theft is possible without a locked tailgate. To prevent this, investing in a security lock or locking cable is advisable for added protection.
I enjoyed using this bike rack. It’s incredibly easy to set up and use. In the past, I had to deal with the hassle of installing and using roof or trunks, or hitch-mounted bike racks. It was particularly inconvenient when I didn’t want the rack permanently attached to the roof, as it would generate unbearable wind noise and reduce fuel efficiency. Although the Thule 501 Insta-Gater Bike Rack is not the most affordable option for transporting bikes in a pickup truck, it is a top-quality, sturdy, and secure rack.
Ride with Style: The Thule Passage Takes the Win for Trunk-Mounted Bike Racks
The Thule Passage is considered one of the best trunk-mounted bike racks because it is safe and easy to install due to its flexible design, can accommodate a wide range of bike frame styles and sizes, and is durable enough to withstand long-term use and adverse weather exposure. Additionally, it has features such as anti-sway cages and cradles that help prevent bike-to-bike contact during transportation.
3. Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier
33.86 x 21.65 x 16.93 inches
Trunk mount bike carriers are popular among cyclists due to their convenient and flexible design. However, poor quality carriers can potentially cause dents to your vehicle. Fortunately, Thule offers a solution to this problem with their Passage Trunk Mount carrier. With the Thule Passage Trunk Mount, you can safely transport your bikes without worrying about causing any damage to your vehicle.
This Thule bike rack is an ideal bike carrier for those prioritizing a lightweight yet sturdy design. The carrier features soft cushioning on areas that come into contact with your trunk, which ensures that your car’s finish is not damaged or cracked. Additionally, the soft rubber material gently but securely holds onto your vehicle, ensuring your bike stays safe during transport. With this carrier, you can confidently embark on your next adventure without worrying about bike or car damage.
The Thule Passage Trunk Mount bike rack is a reliable transportation option. It securely holds the carrier with six high-quality straps, ensuring your bikes remain safe during transit. This hanging-style carrier can support two or three bikes at a time, and it is versatile enough to accommodate various bike frame sizes. When not in use, the carrier can be conveniently folded up for storage, making it a practical choice for those with limited space.
The Honorable Mentions That Deserve a Round of Applause
4. Thule Easy Fold XT Bike Carrier
Aluminum and Plastic
48.4 x 25 x 26.75 inches
The Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier is a top-of-the-line bike carrier made by Thule. It is considered one of their flagship products and is highly regarded by many for its quality and functionality. If you’re concerned about the value you’re getting for your money, you’ll be happy to know that this carrier is worth it. It offers great features and benefits, making it a smart investment for cyclists.
This bike rack is designed to be fully foldable, so it can be transformed into a suitcase on wheels that you can easily take wherever you go. It is designed with an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to carry around, making it a convenient and hassle-free way to transport your bike carrier. With this bike rack, you can enjoy the freedom of taking your bike wherever you go without worrying about the inconvenience of carrying it around.
The Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier is a reliable 2-bike hitch rack with a secure platform for two mountain bikes. With a total load capacity of approximately 130 pounds, you can have peace of mind knowing that your bikes are safe and secure. However, it is essential to note that this bike carrier is relatively heavy, weighing 48 pounds. As a result, it may be challenging to transport the rack without the assistance of wheels.
The Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier is a versatile and secure option for transporting bikes in your car. It features a smart foot pedal tilt that allows you to easily access the trunk without removing the bike. The adjustable wheel straps keep the bikes in place and prevent the wheels from spinning during transport. Furthermore, the bike carrier is equipped with a lockable Thule Uptight torque limiter knob, ensuring that the carrier is securely attached to your car’s rear end and providing peace of mind during your travels.
5. Thule 9001 Raceway Trunk Rack
27 x 25 x 9 inches
The Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mount Bike Rack is a sturdy option for professional and hardcore bikers who value an easy setup. It weighs a manageable 22 lbs. and can support various bike frames. The innovative design of this trunk mount bike rack allows for easy installation and removal, taking only a few minutes. Additionally, the rack can easily be stored when not in use.
The rack has rubber pads on the arms that contact your trunk to minimize any chance of scratching. No-sway cages prevent bike-to-bike contact, and the local cables further boost the safety and security of the loaded bicycles. All sorts of bikes can be mounted onto this bike rack, accommodating two bikes simultaneously.
Moreover, the Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mount Bike Rack has molded rubber pads that protect your bicycle. The rack also features sophisticated road-dampening technology, which means the carrier will absorb the shock and prevent your bike from rattling, wobbling, or scratching. This bike rack is an excellent choice for bikers prioritizing ease of setup, safety, and security.
6. Thule Raceway Pro 3-Bike Rack
28 x 9 x 25 inches
Thule has introduced a new addition to their Raceway trunk rack series, the Raceway Pro 3-Bike Rack. This rack has a 3-bike capacity and is similar to the Raceway trunk rack but with added features. Despite its ability to carry three bikes, the rack is lightweight, weighing only 24 lbs.
The Raceway Pro 3-Bike Rack, like its 2-bike version, has the SureTight cable system that provides maximum fastening security. Additionally, the rack features a pivoting lock cover and a lock cylinder to enhance the overall security of the bike rack.
Moreover, the Raceway Pro 3-Bike Rack is designed to absorb road shock, prevent scratches, and avoid swaying while transporting bikes to your favorite destinations. The rack is strong, secure, and easy to install, making it a great option for those needing a reliable bike rack.
What Is the Importance of Investing in a High-Quality Bike Rack?
Investing in a high-quality bike rack is important for several reasons:
- Security: A high-quality bike rack will securely hold your bike in place, preventing theft or damage.
- Convenience: A good bike rack will be easy to use and make it convenient to transport your bike, whether commuting or traveling.
- Durability: A high-quality bike rack will be made from durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of regular use, making it a worthwhile long-term investment.
- Safety: A good bike rack will securely attach to your vehicle, reducing the risk of accidents or damage to your bike or car.
How to Select The Best Thule Bike Rack
Bike racks are a highly useful towing accessory; professionals and family-oriented people use them. Anyone can grab a bike carrier, attach it to their vehicle and head off looking for an exciting trail or a park to drive around on their two-wheeled steed.
Since they are easy to deploy, bike racks are becoming increasingly popular. However, they come in all shapes and sizes nowadays, and it is important to have the right information to choose the right model for your needs and preferences. Hopefully, our comprehensive guide will provide you with lots of valuable info.
1. Types of Thule Bike Racks
Here are the most common varieties of bike carriers on the market:
Placing your bike on top of your vehicle provides several highly useful advantages, but at the same – there are certain drawbacks as well. For instance, the bikes are placed high up, allowing an unobstructed view through the rear window. Also, your taillights are visible, which can be significant when driving through foggy terrain. Since bikes are aligned vertically, you can install a relatively large number of them on the roof, up to 6, with some bike rack models.
However, this type of bike carrier will increase your fuel bills since the vehicle’s aerodynamics are affected by the bikes on the roof. Furthermore, lifting relatively heavy MTBs on top of a car is not always easy, and this tedious process can lead to scratches and dents on the vehicle. Also, roof mount bike racks typically require an existing base rack system or some crossbars; not all vehicles are equipped with this feature.
Even though they are a relatively new invention, hitch-mount bike racks are perhaps the most popular category of bike carriers. However, this does not come as a surprise if we look at the properties of these bike racks. For instance, a renowned company, such as Thule, creates highly secure and convenient Thule hitch mount bike racks, and these carriers are user-friendly and require no tools for installation.
Typically, hitch-mount bike racks can hold two or three bikes, but some models can carry 6 MTBs simultaneously! To have such fascinating carrying power, these bike racks must be constructed cleverly, and the materials used in the production must be sturdy and highly durable.
Hitch mount racks are attached to the hitch tube or the drawbar receiving tube. Also, they often come with the ability to swing to the side or tilt down, allowing access to the trunk.
Spare Tire Mount
Since not all cars have an external position for the spare tire, this type of bike carrier is relatively less common in today’s market. However, the owners of SUVs or off-road vehicles can also use spare tire bike racks for a very affordable price. Because these carriers are easy to install and dismantle, their price is low compared to other bike racks.
As their name indicates, spare tire mount racks are positioned behind the spare tire. These carriers use a hinged mount system and can hold one or two bicycles, depending on the vehicle’s size and the bike rack’s strength.
The most popular bike rack sold is the trunk mount variety of bike carriers. The main “advantage” of these racks, when compared to their competition, comes from the fact that these carriers are affordable. Since they use a system of straps to stay in place, trunk mount bike racks do not require a lot of heavy-duty materials in their construction. Also, these racks are super easy to install, and all you need to do is to lock the straps around the edges of your trunk and tighten the ropes to make sure everything is firm – and you’re all set!
The biggest “issues” with installing a trunk mount bike rack come in the form of being unable to open the trunk at any time or blocking the rearview mirror. Also, this category of bike carriers provides slightly less anti-theft protection.
Truck Bed Mount
As we all know, a pickup truck is designed for transporting a heavy load, and it would seem that these vehicles do not require any additional equipment for taking your bike on a long-distance drive. However, the constant movement of the bicycle in the truck bed would certainly leave serious marks on the paint job of your precious bike. Also, the truck bed would probably get “hurt“ as well. Truck mount bike racks are perfect for securing the bicycle, preventing scratches, and reducing theft risk.
The installation process with a typical truck bed bike carrier is as simple as they come – all you need to do is lift the bike onto the bed, slide the front tire into the framed groove, and lock the system. Some varieties of bike racks would require the removal of the front wheel, but these models are in decline.
Choosing the best bike racks is not a task you should be taken lightly simply because you are investing your hard-earned money. Besides that, it is vital to pick the appropriate model regarding features and characteristics so that your invested funds do not go down the drain. For example, the materials used for making bike racks are an important aspect of their quality.
Steel is one of the most common materials used to construct bike carriers, and you should inspect the welding and all the connecting points. Cheaper metals can bend or break if you put a lot of weight on the bike rack, and one or two mountain bikes can amount to a pretty heavy load.
Similarly, the rubber pads or plastic parts should be sturdy and durable enough to sustain high pressure, and a well-built bike rack is often easy to recognize. Just look at one of Thule’s bike racks, and you will see what we mean. Using premium materials, their bike carriers and Thule replacement parts are considered state-of-the-art technology in the modern-day bike rack arena.
3. Style and Design
A clever and attractive design for your product is a must, regardless of your business line. The world of bike racks is no exception to this rule, which is why companies such as Thule pay a lot of attention to having the best possible design for their models. Even the Thule fit kit is stylish and elegant, and this dedication to detail separates the best from the rest.
However, a good-looking product also needs to be user-friendly and ergonomic. In other words, users need to install and remove the bikes efficiently and safely. Most modern bike carriers require a tool-free installation. Experienced bike riders are perhaps less inclined to pay attention to the actual appearance of the bike carrier since they need a rugged device that will hold the bikes in place in their day-to-day activities. On the other hand, an average person with a bike-riding hobby will want to have a lovely and elegant gadget attached to the rear end of their beloved vehicle.
Choosing the Perfect Thule Bike Rack: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide
Thule is a well-known brand for high-quality bike racks, and various options are available to suit different needs and preferences.
Types of Thule Bike Racks
Thule offers several bike racks, including roof-mounted, hitch-mounted, trunk-mounted, and truck bed racks. Consider which type of rack will work best for your vehicle and bike transportation needs.
Thule bike racks are designed to fit various vehicles, but ensuring your rack is compatible with your specific make and model is important. Thule provides a fit guide on their website to help you determine compatibility.
If you have a hitch on your vehicle, a hitch-mounted Thule bike rack may be a good option. Thule offers 1.25″ and 2″ hitch receivers, so choose the right size for your vehicle.
Compatibility with Accessories
If you want to transport other gear, like skis or snowboards, ensure the Thule bike rack you choose is compatible with the appropriate accessories.
Unless you are a millionaire who does not care about his expenses, the chances are that you will take a look at the price tag before splashing the cash on a new bike rack. Unfortunately, many top-notch racks are expensive, but if you look hard enough, you will find the best price and value ratio. For instance, the Thule bike racks are affordable and built to last, so your money will be well-spent.
Thule bike racks are available in various sizes, from single bike carriers to racks that can hold up to five bikes. Consider how many bikes you must transport and choose a rack to accommodate that number.
Thule bike racks have various security features, such as locks to secure the bikes to the rack and the rack to the vehicle. Consider how important security is to you and choose a rack with appropriate security features.
Since bike carriers are a relatively expensive commodity, ideally, you would want to buy one and have it for a lifetime. Most modern bike rack companies will give you a lifetime warranty on their product, with terms and conditions applied. Finding a long-lasting bike carrier requires you to know how to choose top-quality products. In other words, you must look for models created from heavy-duty steel, high-quality rubber, and durable plastic components.
Thule bike racks are made from high-quality materials such as aluminum and steel. Consider the weight of the rack and its ability to withstand regular use and exposure to the elements.
Ease of Use
Thule bike racks are designed with ease of use in mind, but some models are easier to load and unload than others. Consider your bikes’ weight, size, strength, and ability to load and unload them.
Thule bike racks vary in price depending on their features and capabilities. Set a budget before you start shopping, and choose a Thule bike rack that fits your needs and budget.
Quick Tips for Having a Long-Lasting Bike Rack
Once you choose your preferred Thule bike rack and install it on the vehicle, there are still some things you can do to protect your new towing accessory and extend its longevity as much as possible.
- Study the instruction manual: Before installing, consult the manual and check what it says about the product. You can easily damage your bike rack if you try to force it and bend parts in the directions they are not supposed to go. Also, many straps can be a bit overwhelming initially, and a comprehensive guidebook will safely take you through the process.
- Choose a bike rack made from durable materials: Good options are aluminum or steel to ensure it can withstand the elements and the weight of your bike. Rust is the notorious nemesis of all metal parts, but modern materials can easily deal with this issue. In other words, your bike rack should be made of stainless steel or some similar combination of metals. If you choose one such model, your bike carrier can last decades.
- Properly install the bike rack according to the manufacturer’s instructions: This will ensure it is secure and won’t wobble or shift during use.
- Periodically check the bike rack’s hardware: Monitor bolts and screws to ensure they are tight and secure. Loose hardware can cause the rack to wobble or fall apart.
- Take it down when not in use: Removing the bike rack occasionally may seem like a nuisance, but this activity could significantly prolong the life of your bike carrier. The bike rack will remain in much better condition by staying out of the rain or scorching sun. Store the bike rack indoors when not in use, or cover it with a weather-resistant cover if it must be stored outside. This will help protect it from the elements and prolong its life.
- Regularly clean the bike rack: to remove dirt, grime, and other debris that can accumulate and cause damage over time. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth to avoid scratching the surface.
- Do not overload: Every bike rack model has a limit regarding load capabilities. Avoid overloading the bike rack beyond its weight capacity, which can cause damage and shorten its lifespan. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations and adhere to them.
- Consider investing in additional security features: Consider accessories, such as locking mechanisms or cable locks, to deter theft and protect your bikes while on the rack.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Choose the Right Thule Bike Rack for My Vehicle?
Thule provides a helpful tool on their website called the “Fit Guide,” which allows you to input your vehicle’s make, model, and year to find the right Thule bike rack for your specific car. You’ll also need to consider the number of bikes you want to transport and the type of bike frames you have.
Can I Install a Thule Bike Rack on Any Vehicle?
Thule offers a wide range of bike racks that can be installed on various types of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans. However, it’s important to check the fit guide and product specifications to ensure the bike rack is compatible with your specific vehicle.
How Many Bikes Can a Thule Bike Rack Carry?
Thule offers bike racks that can carry anywhere from one to five bikes, depending on the model. Some racks can also be expanded with additional accessories to carry more bikes.
Can I Lock My Bikes to a Thule Bike Rack?
Yes, Thule bike racks feature built-in locking mechanisms that allow you to secure your bikes to the rack. Some models also have cable locks or other security features to deter theft.
16/03/2023 – Updated listed product boxes, supplementary content, and FAQ.
Timo is an outdoor enthusiast and gear specialist who is constantly exploring. As an avid hiker, he has completed the ADK 46ers, South Beyond 6000, GA4000, and the Colorado 14ers. He's ice climbed Mt. Hood, hiked up half a dozen mountains in the Alps, and spent three consecutive summers constructing a sustainable trail through the Colorado high country.