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Thule Bike Rack

The Best Thule Bike Rack 2018

As we all know, bike riding can be a highly enjoyable activity, your bicycle can significantly help with reducing stress, improving your overall physical condition, and it can also soothe some pains and help during the recovery process. All in all – bikes are very important, and that is why we occasionally need a safe and efficient method for transporting them to another location.

The Bottom Line (TL;DR)

If you are looking for an affordable hitch bike rack, we suggest going with the Thule Vertex XT. On the other hand, if you are planning on using your trunk as the location of the bike carrier – there is no better option than the Thule Passage Trunk Mount 910XT bike rack. If you’re using the truck of your vehicle for long-distance transport of your bikes then the best option is the very reliable Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount.

Unfortunately, bicycles are notorious for their cumbersome nature and it can be tricky to stuff a large MTB into your little hatchback. Even if your vehicle is relatively big and spacious – the problem will not be solved, simply because you also want to keep the bike safe and protect it from scratches or any kind of damage.

Because of these issues, bike racks were invented and this is the moment when they step onto the scene. Thule bike racks are well-known throughout the world, and that is why we wanted to provide you with an in-depth overview of their ten best bike racks.

Thule has a wide range of bike racks currently on the market as well as a variety of replacement parts you can purchase separately to upgrade or fix your current bike rack. As we already said, this guide will cover all the important aspects of how Thule bike racks compare and what you need to have in mind before splashing the cash on one of these top-notch products.

If you still have trouble deciding, here is an overview of the top 10 Thule bike racks:

1. Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount Bike Carrier

Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount Bike Carrier

The first Thule bike rack we would like to introduce is one of their top-end models, and there is no doubt that even the most demanding of customers will be satisfied with the quality of Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount bike rack.  This particular bike carrier can hold two bicycles, and its load capacity is around 70 pounds (35 lbs per bike). It comes equipped with an integrated cable lock, which hides away when not in use and it is made of highly durable material. Therefore, the protection of your two-wheeled steed is guaranteed.

With its „Hold Fast Cradle“, this bike carrier ensures the safety of your bicycle, i.e. there will be no sway, no wobble, and consequently – no rattle.

The Thule Vertex XT has a unique and innovative arc design, which improves ground clearance and allows super-easy access to the trunk. As a matter of fact, you will not need any Thule fit kit for this bike carrier, but some customers prefer to buy the Snug-Tite receiver lock, which is sold separately.

With its simple installation and sturdy construction, Vertex XT will give you the best bang for your buck. Once you set up this particular carrier, you will realize why this is the premium option when it comes to Thule bike rack hitch mount category.

2. Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount

Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount

If you are in need of a lightweight truck mounting solution for transporting your bicycle, Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount bike rack is the right choice for you.  Even though this carrier comes packed with features, it is very light and it weighs only 9,9 pounds. Because of that, you can easily carry it with you in the back of the truck, and use whenever you need to transport your bicycle from point A to point B.

Placing a bike without a carrier in the back of your pickup truck can leave unwanted consequences on the condition of your bicycle. Naturally, the bike will fly around and leave marks on your vehicle, not to mention the scratches on the bike’s paint job. That is why Insta-Gator offers the best possible solution – keep your two-wheeled pets in place with this convenient solution.

Thule Insta Gator Truck Mount bike carrier is compatible with Thule one-key system, and the installation of this bike rack is fast and easy. In other words, there is no bolting or drilling, and you don’t even have to remove the wheel.

This particular bike rack can accommodate tires up to 3” wide, and it carries up to 50 lbs.

3. Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier

Thule Passage Trunk Mount Carrier

Truck mount bike carriers are highly popular in today’s market, and customers prefer to use them because of their convenient and flexible design. However, these bike racks can cause dents on your beloved vehicle if the carrier is not well-built. Luckily for you, Thule has the perfect solution, and Thule Passage Trunk Mount is a lightweight and strong bike carrier.

Since it has a soft cushioning on the parts which come in contact with the trunk of your car, Thule Passage will not cause you any headaches on this front. Soft rubber will gently press into the metal, but at the same time – the carrier will remain safely in place at all times.

By using a „FitDial“ adjustment feature, you can be confident that this bike rack will fit perfectly onto your vehicle. In any case, Thule replacement parts are awaiting you at their stores, and these issues can be easily solved.

Six high-quality straps hold Thule Passage Trunk Mount bike rack in place, and this hanging-style carrier can support two or three bikes. Additionally, the carrier is versatile and it can accommodate all sorts of bike frames. Last but not least, the arms of the bike rack can be folded when not in use, which further improves the overall usability and compactness of this Thule bike rack.

4. Thule 982XT Frame Adapter

Thule 982XT Frame Adapter

Even though  Thule 982XT Frame Adapter is not a bike rack per se, it deserves a notable place on our list since it acts as a member of Thule replacement parts and accessories. In other words, this little piece of metal and rubber can help you in placing your “unusual” bikes on a standardized Thule bike rack.

In case you are wondering how that works, allow us to explain. The Thule 982XT Frame Adapter uses its telescopic adjustment properties to fit safely onto your bike, and it connects the stem of the bicycle with the seat post. By doing so, you get an extra bar which can be attached to the bike rack. Hanging-style carriers can then support women’s bikes, BMX-style bicycles, and all sorts of non-standard frames. Even if your bike is relatively larger or smaller than the average MTB, this frame adapter can be of use and it can facilitate the transportation process.

The Thule 982XT Frame Adapter is made out of durable metal, with rubber collars. Push button clamps allow for easy installation, and subsequent removal as well. The adapter is super-light, and it weighs only 2,8 lbs. It can extend up to 30.5’’, which is more than enough for any type of bike out there.

5. Thule Parkway Hitch Mount Rack

Thule Parkway Hitch Mount Rack

When searching for a bicycle career, you probably want to find something that is easy to deploy, durable, and wallet-friendly. However, not all bike racks are made the same, and you are lucky that we took our duty seriously and we performed an in-depth research of the top 10 Thule bike racks on the market. For instance, we have thoroughly examined the Thule Parkway Hitch Mount rack and here is what we discovered.

First of all, as the name clearly suggests, this is a Thule bike rack hitch mount carrier, which means that it connects directly onto the hitch bar of your vehicle. This particular model can carry up to 4 bikes simultaneously, which means that you and your entire family can easily grab your bicycles and go across the country for a ride in the mountains.

The Thule Parkway Hitch Mount rack has very soft rubber cradles which protect your bike at all times. Also, the bike rack tilts away from the vehicle and this flexibility means that you easily use your trunk even when the bikes are mounted onto the rack. Even though it is made out of heavy-duty steel, this bike carrier is relatively light, and it weighs only 33 pounds.

When it comes to some additional Thule fit kit, this bike rack is compatible with both their Bike Lock and Snug-Tite receiver lock, which are sold separately.

6. Thule Easy Fold XT Bike Carrier

Thule Easy Fold XT Bike Carrier

The Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier is often referred to as the flagship model when it comes to Thule bike racks, but does this high-end product really gives the best bang for your buck? Read on to find out!

As the name indicates, this bike rack is fully foldable, which means that you can quickly transform it into a suitcase on wheels and take it with you. It even has an ergonomic handle and all of this allows you to transport this bike carrier in a convenient and hassle-free way.

Since the Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier is a 2-bike hitch rack, you can place two mountain bikes on the platform without any fears or concerns. The total load capacity of this bike rack is around 130 pounds, which is more than enough. The actual bike carrier is relatively heavy as well, and with a total weight of 48 pounds, it would not be so easy to transport it around without wheels.

The Thule XT Easy Fold Bike Carrier comes equipped with a smart foot pedal tilt, which means that the bikes will not be in your way when you need access to the trunk. Also, there are adjustable wheel straps to prevent the wheels of your bikes from spinning. Additionally, this bike rack comes with a lockable Thule Uptight torque limiter knob which guarantees safety and security when attaching the carrier to your car’s rear end.

7. Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

One look at the attractive and alien-like design of the Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mounted Bike Rack could have you fall in love with this Thule bike rack. However, we all know that a book should never be judged by its cover, and that is why we have explored in full detail all of the characteristics and features of this bike carrier.

When folded, this bike carrier has the following dimensions: 23x24x21’’, and it weighs only 22 pounds. By being so portable and convenient, the Thule 9001 is ideal for semi-professional users, i.e. those who want to mount the rack on their trunk quickly and easily and remove it in the same fashion as well. Also, its innovative design will allow you to easily store the carrier.

All sorts of bikes can be mounted onto this bike rack, and the Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mount Bike Rack has molded rubber pads which additionally protect your bicycle. As the name of the model says – two bikes can be loaded onto this carrier. No-sway cages prevent bike-to-bike contact, and the locable cables further boost the safety and security of the loaded bicycles. Last but not least, this bike rack comes equipped with sophisticated road dampening technology, which means that the carrier will absorb the shock and prevent your bike from rattling, wobbling, or scratching.

8. Thule 955 No Sway Cage Hitch

Thule 955 No Sway Cage Hitch

Another item on our list, which is not an actual Thule bike rack is the convenient Thule 955 No Sway Cage Hitch. Clearly, this item belongs to the category of Thule fit kit parts, and that is why it deserves to be mentioned here. In other words, you deserve to know about this product simply because it can significantly help you with protecting your bikes and transporting them in a safe and comfortable way.

As you can see, this product is actually an anti-sway device. This means that the purpose of the Thule 955 No Sway Cage Hitch is to hold your bicycle in place and protect bike-to-bike or bike-to-vehicle contact. In any case, such contact is unwanted since it can easily lead to chipped paint and scratches on your favorite mountain bike. By staying still and not jumping around, your bicycle will easily “survive” even the most demanding of backroads.

The dimensions of this cage hitch are 10x7x2,5’’ and the weight is 10 pounds. Because of its compact nature, this item can be easily removed, which allows you to install the bicycle on the bike rack hassle-free. Rear-mounted bike racks from Thule will support this cage hitch, and with its affordable price – it couldn’t hurt to add this little gadget to your collection of toys.

9. Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar

Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar

When it comes to their roof-mounted bike carriers, Thule’s flagship model is called Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar. Portable and light, this model is also highly durable at the same time, and it will allow you to transport your bikes in a safe and secure way – on top of your car!

Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar is available in two colors – silver and black, and it weighs only 6 pounds. The versatile nature of this model is noticeable from the fact that it comes in several dimensions: 43”, 47”, 53”, and 60”. Just like all other Thule bike racks, this particular model is user-friendly and convenient. In other words, the installation of this roof-mounted bike carrier is quick and it will require a minimum of tools.

Thule Ride-On Adapter

All sorts of sophisticated features are added to Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar, and these include the likes of BoxBeam extrusion, WindDuffuser textured surface, SmartSlide,  SwingBlade pivots, and so on. All of these technological improvements are boosting the overall quality of Aeroblade, and they make this Thule bike rack very quiet and completely aerodynamic. Additionally, this bike carrier is compatible with all sorts of Thule fit kit accessories, including the Thule Ride-On Adapter feet for holding the bikes, which are sold separately.

10. Thule Raceway Pro Rack – 3 Bike

Thule Raceway Pro Rack - 3 Bike

The final entry on our top 10 list goes to the amazing Thule Raceway Pro Rack which can carry up to 3 bikes at once. By weighing only 24 pounds, this premium model is both lightweight and sturdy at the same time. However, that is just one of the reasons why customers across the globe choose this product as their favorite Thule bike rack.

For instance, the Thule Raceway Pro Rack comes equipped with SureTight cables for maximum fastening security. Therefore, your bike carrier will stay in place at all times, and your bicycle will be safe as well. Similarly, security is enhanced by using pivoting lock cover, and there is also a lock cylinder included.

Also, this bike rack absorbs road shock, which also helps with preventing scratches and unwanted movement of the bike. When fully loaded,  this bike rack can hold three bicycles. All of them will have enough clearance from the ground so you never have to worry about damaging the wheels of the bike by touching the asphalt when going 50 miles per hour.

Strong, secure, easy to install, and not overly expensive – all of these attributes can be applied to the Thule Raceway Pro Rack 3-bike carrier.

How to Select The Best Thule Bike Rack

Bike racks are a highly useful towing accessory, and they are used by professionals and family-oriented people alike. As a matter of fact, 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 your 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 in order to choose the right model for your needs and preferences. Hopefully, our comprehensive guide will provide you with lots of valuable info.

Types of Thule Bike Racks

Here are the most common varieties of bike carriers on the market:

– Roof Mount

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, and this allows an unobstructed view through the rear window. Also, your taillights are visible, and this can be of great significance when driving through the 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.

Thule 598 Criterium Upright Rooftop Bicycle Carrier
Thule Roof Bike Rack

However, this type of bike carriers will increase your fuel bills since the aerodynamics of the vehicle are affected with the bikes on the roof.  Furthermore, it is not always easy to lift relatively heavy and cumbersome MTBs on top of a car, 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 type of crossbars at least, and not all vehicles come equipped with this feature.

– Hitch Mount

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 a highly secure and convenient Thule hitch mount bike racks, and these carriers are user-friendly and require no tools for the installation.

Thule Vertex XT Hitch Mount Bike Carrier
Thule Hitch Mount Bike Rack

Typically, hitch mount bike racks can hold two or three bikes, but some models are capable of carrying 6 MTBs simultaneously! In order to have such fascinating carrying power, these bike racks have to be constructed in a clever way and the materials used in the production need to 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 to tilt down, which allows access to the trunk.

– Spare Tire Mount

Since not all cars have an external position for the spare tire, this type of bike carriers is relatively less common in today’s market. However, the owners of SUVs or off-road vehicles can use spare tire bike racks, and for a very affordable price, too. Due to the fact that these carriers are easy to install and dismantle, their price is low in comparison to some other types of bike racks.

Thule Spare Me - Spare tire bike rack
A Thule Spare Tire Mount Bike Rack

As their name clearly indicates, spare tire mount racks are positioned behind the spare tire. In a way, these carriers use a hinged mount system, and they can hold one or two bicycles, depending on the size of the vehicle and the strength of the bike rack itself.

– Trunk Mount

By far the most popular type of bike racks and the one sold the most, 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 and inexpensive. 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, tighten the ropes to make sure everything is firm – and you’re all set!

Thule 9001 Raceway 2 Bike Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
A Thule Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

The biggest “issues” that come with installing a trunk mount bike rack come in the form of not being able to open the trunk at any time, or from 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 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. That is why truck mount bike racks are perfect for securing the bicycle in place, preventing scratches, and reducing the risk of theft.

Thule Insta-Gator Truck Mount
A Thule Truck Bed Bike Rack

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 a removal of the front wheel, but these models are in decline.

Materials

Choosing the best bike racks is not a task you should be taking lightly, simply because you are investing your own hard-earned money. Besides that, it is vital to pick the appropriate model in terms of features and characteristics, so that your invested funds do not go down the drain. For example, the materials used for making the bike racks are an important aspect of their quality.

Steel is one of the most common materials used for the construction of 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 take a look at one of Thule bike racks and you will see what we mean. By using premium materials, their bike carriers and Thule replacement parts are considered as state-of-the-art technology when it comes to modern-day bike rack arena.

Style and Design

Having a clever and attractive design of your product is a must, no matter what line of business you are in. The world of bike racks in no exception to this rule, and that 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 type of dedication to detail is what 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 in an efficient and safe manner. Most modern bike carriers require a tool-free installation. Experienced bike riders are perhaps less inclined to paying attention to the actual appearance of the bike carrier since they need a rugged device which 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 Right Bike Rack

Since this top 10 Thule bike rack list also includes a comprehensive guide, we wanted to provide you with an overview of the things you need to have in mind when looking for a bike carrier.

Compatibility

Since not all cars are the same, not every bike rack will fit appropriately on your vehicle. As we mentioned previously in this guide, there are several types of bike carriers available in today’s market and every variety is designed for a particular category of cars. Naturally, if you own a pickup truck you will look for a truck bed mount bike rack, and if your off-road vehicle has an external spare tire – your choice of bike carriers will go with the spare tire bike racks.

Also, before making the purchase, make sure that your bicycle is compatible with the bike rack. Luckily, lots of useful items, such as the Thule fit kit, can help with these issues. None the less, pay attention to the type of your bicycle and your vehicle when deciding to buy a new bike carrier.

Price

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, a lot of top-notch racks are pretty expensive, but if you look hard enough – you will find the best ratio of price and value. For instance, the Thule bike racks are affordable and built to last, which means that your money will be well-spent.

Our advice is to perform the due diligence and examine all the features of the bike racks on our top 10 Thule bike racks list. Once you do that, you will be more than capable of making an informed and rational decision.

Brand Name

A well-known brand name can do wonders for your products, but it takes years of hard work to earn the points for becoming a respectable brand. The same applies to the bike racks world, and some companies have a higher rating than others. For example, Thule is one of the most recognizable names in the market, and their models are used by millions of satisfied customers.

Believe it or not, the world of bike carriers is a highly competitive arena, and it requires a lot of effort to maintain a certain degree of respect and integrity. In other words, your products have to be perfect and the number of complaints simply has to be reduced to a minimum. We urge you to consider buying the racks only from the most renowned of brands since this ensures that you will get what you pay for.

Reviews and Opinions

It could be argued that this point is relatively similar to the previous one, but the importance of a positive rating can never be stressed enough. What we mean by that is that you should spend some time doing your research before going to the store and ordering the first model you lay your eyes on. By reading a few reviews and guides, you can learn a lot about a certain product. Like this:

Of course, high-authority sites are the best place to start. If the model in question has top grades and if experienced people recognize its value – why not listen to the experts? Admittedly, opinions are a highly subjective category, which can make them somewhat unreliable, but if you go through an objective guide, such as this one, you will receive an abundance of useful knowledge about bike racks.

Durability

Since bike carriers are a relatively expensive commodity, ideally you would want to buy one and have it for a lifetime. As a matter of fact, the majority of modern bike rack companies will give you a lifetime warranty on their product, with terms and conditions applied. As lovely as this sound, the situation in the real world is somewhat different and some models are much more durable than others.

Finding a long-lasting bike carrier requires you to know how to choose top-quality products. In other words, you need to look for models created out of heavy-duty steel, high-quality rubber, and durable plastic components. If the bike rack in question satisfies all of these criteria, you can rest assured that, with proper usage and maintenance, your bike carrier will be your faithful servant for years to come.

Safety and Security

Ideally, your bike rack will be a perfect combination of gentle and strong, of durable but elegant, and of stylish but sturdy at the same time. However, we often forget the element of safety, which is a crucial segment if you want to transport your bikes in an efficient way. What we mean by safety is the overall security of you as the driver of the car, the security of your bike, and the protection of other participants in the traffic.

Strong locks and cables are a guarantee that the bike will stay firmly in place, but you should always double check everything before setting off on the road. Also, Anti-theft accessories can be of great value in the long run. If the bike only moves when you want it to move, i.e. when taking it off the bike rack as you plan to go for a ride, you can be confident that the bicycle is safe and secure within your chosen bike carrier.

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. For example:

Study the instruction manual: Even before the installation process, you should consult the manual and check what it has to say about the product. You can easily damage your bike rack if you try to force it and bend parts in the directions in which they are not supposed to go. Also, a bunch of straps can be a bit overwhelming at first, and a comprehensive guidebook will safely take you through the process.

Choose rust-resistant models: Naturally, 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 out of stainless steel or some similar combination of metals. If you choose one such model, your bike carrier can easily last for decades.

Take it down when not in use: Removing the bike rack every once and a while may seem like a nuisance, but this activity could significantly prolong the life of your bike carrier. By staying out of the rain or scorching sun, the bike rack will remain in much better condition.

Do not overload: Every bike rack model has a certain limit when it comes to their load capabilities. Try not to extend those limits too much since this can cause bending under the weight, especially if some components of the bike rack are made out of aluminum.

Conclusion

Choosing the appropriate bike rack should be a breeze with our comprehensive guide, and we hope that we provided you with sufficient information about the top 10 Thule bike racks. Since we fully understand the importance of having a high-quality bike carrier, we have put a lot of effort into creating this overview for our readers.  Use the information wisely and go buy the best bike rack now that you are full of useful knowledge and relevant information!

Rack Maven

I love the outdoors and I'm fortunate enough to be able to spend most of my free time exploring it with my mountain-bike. In my spare time I write reviews and guides for bike racks.

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