Best Thule Roof Bike Racks – 2021 Round-up

Isaac
| Last Updated: February 14, 2021

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Do you have your eye on a Thule roof bike rack but aren’t sure which one is right for you? With varying styles of both bicycles and vehicles, there is no doubt choosing the right one is confusing for some buyers.

Good news. We rounded up the best Thule roof bike racks available on the market today to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Our Top Picks for Best Thule Roof Bike Racks

  • Versatile rack
  • For most bikes
  • Safe and secure
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  • Easy to install
  • Secure option
  • Easy to use
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy locking option
  • For most bikes
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Comparison of the Best Thule Roof Mount Bike Racks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Will easily fit on most roof carriers
  • Can carry many different bike types and sizes
  • Hooks will keep the bike secured in place
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  • Very easy to attach to most vehicle
  • very strong mounting for better security
  • Automatic positioning of bike frame on the bike rack
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  • Best for the Money
  • Will easily lock bike to rack to keep it secured
  • Can be used for most bike sizes
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Who is Thule? 

Thule is the leading outdoor and transportation company on the market today. Founded in Sweden in 1941, it has been serving customers globally in over 136 countries since then. The company is known for its bags and cargo solutions, and its products range from bike racks to hitch cargo carriers to rooftop tents. 

People love Thule because they have solutions for almost anything you need to carry. Wherever you’re going, Thule can help you get there safely and with ease. Its main goal is to help you simplify life’s adventures. 

Their motto is “Bring your life,” and they live by it.

What Makes Thule Roof Racks Stand Out From the Competition?

Thule roof racks stand out from the competition because of their safety standards. Each product has gone through rigorous testing. Not only that, but they are exceptionally durable. The roof racks are approved only after withstanding crash tests, wear and tear simulations, extreme temperatures, and even chemical exposure.

If safety and strength weren’t enough, Thule roof racks are also incredibly user-friendly. You don’t need a collection of tools to install any of the units, and you can be sure your roof rack is secure using the new torque limiter key that clicks once it’s safely in place. We haven’t seen this anywhere else.

Quick Take  - Best Thule Roof Mount Bike Racks

Before you get any further, here are our recommendations for the best Thule roof mount bike racks:

  1. Thule UpRide
  2. Thule ProRide XT
  3. Thule OutRide

Review of the Best Thule Roof Mount Bike Racks

Let’s have a look at some of the best Thule roof-mount bike racks out there. We’ll review products ranging from best overall to best bang for your buck to our editor’s pick. 

Best Overall:
Thule UpRide

Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack

PROS

  • Can hold bicycles up to 44 lbs
  • Switch rack from one side of the vehicle to the other with ease
  • Frame never comes into contact with the vehicle for complete protection
  • Fits most bikes, which is great for families or owning multiple styles of bikes
  • Quick and easy to secure bike, complete with ratcheting wheel strap and hook

CONS

  • Locking system sold separately
  • Secures mountain bike tires better than thin street bike tires

What Recent Buyers Report

What stands out most is the security of the Thule UpRide. Many customers report their bikes to remain safely in the locked position while driving up to speeds of 70-90 mph on the highway. The only reviews that claim the bike came loose likely didn’t have it installed properly. Most people like the easy installation process as well, even with only one person to do the job. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Thule UpRide is rated number one on the list because of its unbeatable safety and security. Undergoing testing in the Thule Test Lab is also a huge bonus in terms of durability. Being pre-exposed to the elements gives you peace of mind in knowing your bike rack can withstand whatever you put it through. We love how user-friendly it is for both amateur and novice cyclists alike. Being able to transport, store, and access your bike with ease is incredibly important, especially while traveling alone. Although sold separately, the ability to lock your bike is a huge bonus as well. 

Bottom Line

This product is applauded for its overall safety and security when it comes to both transportation and storage. The UpRide is one of the best Thule roof bike racks we’ve seen because it works so well with almost every different bike style.

Thule ProRide XT Roof Bike Rack Black, One Size

PROS

  • Excellent option for fat-tire bikes
  • Torque-limiter ratchets are built-in to prevent damage
  • Automated system secures your bike in place as you position it
  • Mounts to all Thule rack systems and the majority of factory racks
  • Damage to the bike is minimized by soft claw pads, which adjust to the shape of the wheels

CONS

  • Locking system sold separately
  • Not as ideal for the lightest weight carbon bikes

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love that they can travel in many conditions, and their bikes are secure and mounted in place. On the other hand, a few say they had problems with the lack of adequate instructions, while most others say installation is straightforward.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We included the Thule ProRide XT on our list because it’s the next best thing following the Thule UpRide. We love how versatile it is in accommodating a wide variety of bicycle styles, with everything from street bikes to mountain bikes. Despite some of the trouble installing the roof rack, most buyers agree that once installed, it’s completely secure in a variety of conditions. The durability of this unit makes it stand out against other roof racks. We also like that this product is quite sleek and visually appealing.

Bottom Line

If you want to be confident that your bike roof rack is secure, then the ProRide XT is a great option for most bike styles. Just be sure to check the Fit My Car Tool to ensure compatibility with your particle vehicle before purchasing. 

Best for the Money:
Thule OutRide

Thule OutRide Roof Bike Rack, Silver, One Size

PROS

  • Lightweight product
  • Very affordable pricing
  • Bike rides lower to the vehicle providing extra security
  • Much more security because the rack uses the bike's front fork dropouts
  • Great option for cyclists due to how easy it is to hoist the bike without the front wheel

CONS

  • Can’t transport a thru-axle bike without an adapter
  • You must remove your front wheel before using this product

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love the on-the-road stability they have with this roof rack, even while traveling at fast highway speeds. Aside from that, what customers talk about most is how easy this product is to install. The only downside we’ve seen buyers mention is the lack of a locking system that comes with it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

What stands out the most to us is the added security you get when you use the bike’s front fork dropouts. To some, this may sound tedious, but it’s well worth the peace of mind you get when your bike rides closer to your vehicle. This rack is an option for cyclists who have trouble hoisting their bikes onto the roof of their cars. Without the front wheel, the bike becomes significantly lighter.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable roof bike rack, then this product should be high on your list to check out. As long as you don’t mind removing the front wheel, you’ll enjoy the extra security and safety with this product.

Editor's Pick:
Thule ThruRide

Thule ThruRide Roof Bike Rack

PROS

  • Fits thru-axles without needing extra adapters
  • Has universal roof mounting capabilities for all vehicles
  • Fork-mount style makes it a very stable option for bumpier roads
  • You can mount the rack to your crossbars without using any tools
  • Sleek design makes it more aerodynamic than many other bike racks

CONS

  • Difficult to install the rack
  • Must adjust clamp every time you switch axle standards

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers report enjoying the safety and stability they have when driving long distances with the Thule ThruRide. Others love the multi-use you get from this product. The main complaints seem to be getting the rack installed initially. Once everything is set up, most buyers comment on how easy it is to mount and unload their bikes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product is our editor’s pick because of its versatility. Being able to work with any axle standard is a huge plus in our books. The fact that it’s tool-free is also an added benefit that many other products don’t have. Additionally, this rack is very diverse because of its capabilities of being installed onto any vehicle. We like that this model rides lower to your roof because of its D-shape design, which makes it less noisy and more secure while traveling at highway speeds. It’s also a great choice for cyclists who take part in 4X4ing.

Bottom Line

This bike rack is a great model for cyclists who need the added stability you receive from the fork-mount style. Just be sure you won’t need to move the bike rack often before purchasing it, as installation can be tedious.

Honorable Mention:
Thule 532 Freeride

Thule 532 Freeride Cycle Carrier - Silver

PROS

  • Great value at a fair price point
  • Quiet and secure while driving at high speeds
  • It is compatible with thru-axle for added security
  • Very lightweight product and can easily be lifted by one cyclist
  • Locks are included upon purchasing this rack, unlike many other models

CONS

  • Not well-suited for carbon frames
  • Has a lot of parts to put together upon installation

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers report how easy it is to mount their bikes with this model. They also like how budget-friendly this product is. On the other hand, they do mention a large number of parts that it comes with upon setup. One customer even reported damage to their carbon frame bike as well. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This roof rack stands out to us because it is the most cost-effective. If you’re on a budget, this is an excellent product - and you won’t sacrifice for quality. It’s sleek and simple design makes it a nice addition to any vehicle. We also like the fact that it comes equipped with locks to prevent potential theft. That’s a bonus that some other models don’t seem to have. This unit is also quite diverse as it can accommodate all wheel sizes. When not in use, you can fold down the 532 Freeride if you wish.

Bottom Line

This product is an excellent choice for cyclists whose bike frame is not carbon. The first installation of the 532 Freeride will be the most difficult. Once the hard part is complete, mounting your bike can be done with ease on your own. 

Can Any Thule Roof Bike Rack Be Used for Any Vehicle? 

In short, yes. Thule makes roof bike racks to fit vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Whether you have a car, van, truck, or sport utility vehicle, there’s a solution for your bike transportation needs. The units are easily customizable and can fit on cars with either raised side rails or a bare roof. If you want to know which bike racks work best with your car, have a look at their Buyer’s Guide. Simply enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model, and the automated system brings up the appropriate products. With that said, you might be wondering which one is best for you. Let’s jump right in.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Thule Roof Mounted Bike Mount?

There are several important factors to consider as you read this review. Before buying a Thule roof-mounted bike mount, keep these things in mind:

  1. How light of a product you need. If you are a solo cyclist who will have trouble hoisting the rack on your own, you should opt for a more lightweight bike rack.

  2. Are you okay with having to remove the front wheel every time you transport your bike? Even though this provides you with extra security while driving, some buyers prefer easier mounting of their bikes.

  3. How many bikes will you potentially need to carry? Some models are only compatible with one bike at a time. If you’re transporting bikes for a family, you need more than a single-back rack.

  4. Which designs are compatible with your bike? Mountain bikes generally require different mounts than those with lighter carbon frames. Bicycles made of carbon are damaged much easier than heavy-duty bikes. With that said, some roof racks are universal and suited to any bike style. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the appropriate model for you.

How Do Thule Roof Bike Racks Compare?

Thule vs Yakima Bike Rack

There is no doubt that Thule is a great company for reliable roof bike racks, but it’s good to weigh your options. So, how does Yakima measure up?

Similarities

  • Like Thule, Yakima roof racks are also tested in extreme conditions.

  • Both companies have a Vehicle Finder feature to see which racks are compatible with your vehicle.

  • Both roof racks are composed of aluminum material.

Differences

  • Yakima comes with zap straps to secure your bike, while Thule has a locking system (sometimes sold separately).

  • Thule has a wider variety of models available.

  • Yakima roof racks come with a Lifetime Warranty.

  • Thule has custom roof racks for different vehicles.

  • Yakima products are more difficult to install. Some require drills and tools.

SportRack vs Thule Roof Bike Racks

Now let’s have a look at how SportRack compares to Thule. 

Similarities

  • SportRack is part of the Thule group.

  • Similar to Thule, many SportRack products don’t require the removal of the front wheel.

  • Both companies have secure and versatile products that are easy to install.

  • SportRack also has a buyer’s guide to making sure the rack fits with your vehicle.

Differences

  • Most Sportrack products are even more budget-friendly.

  • Thule has produced more models to choose from.

How to Install a Thule Bike Rack

  1. Take the shoe out of the box and lay them all out on your vehicle, so it’s easy to see. Open up the side of the first shoe and locate where your bracket will go. Click it into place inside the shoe, attaching it to the plastic piece inside. The bracket should lock into place.

  2. Secure the rubber piece into place on the bottom of the shoe. You should be able to easily press it into place. Repeat this process until all of the shoes are complete.

  3. Next, take out the bars. There is a small clamp on the back of every shoe, which you should lift on each. 

  4. Slide the shoe onto the bar and press down on the clamp to secure it into place. Don’t forget to put the caps on the end of the bars.

  5. Slide each piece onto your car, securing them inside the rain gutter. Your car should already have clamps, which you will place the brackets.6. Up next, you should assemble the middle piece, securing everything with the proper plates and bolts. Lock the middle plate into place using the remaining brackets.7. The windscreen is optional to reduce noise when traveling on your bike rack. Additionally, locks come with some roof racks for added security. Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of the installation process. 

Conclusion 

Whether you’re a mountain biker or cyclist, the appropriate rack is important in enhancing your riding experience. We love Thule for how diverse their products are. Whether you ride alone or in a group, there is an option for you. We hope this review of the best Thule roof bike racks has helped find the right fit for you. 

People Also Ask

As a buyer, you should be confident in your purchase. If you still have questions after reading this review, we have compiled some of the most popular FAQ questions to wrap everything up.

How to Lock Thule Roof Bike Rack

Some Thule roof racks come with locks, while others are sold separately. You can also use zap straps in a pinch if you are worried about the security of your bike. Although they are secure, theft is always a possibility without a proper locking system.

What is the Thule 4 Bike Tire Rack Weight Capacity?

The maximum weight capacity for the four bike tire rack is 150 lbs. This bike rack is an excellent choice for families or cyclists who ride in groups.

Where is the Serial Number on a Thule Bike Rack?

The serial number is on the underside of your Thule bike rack. You can also find it listed on the box if you still have your original packaging. It’s a good idea to keep it on hand somewhere if you have recently purchased your product.

Where Are Thule Bike Racks Made?

Although Thule is a Swedish company, the majority of products are made in the USA. Some bike racks are manufactured in Europe, but the two primary factories reside in Connecticut and Chicago.

What Kind of Warranty Does Thule Offer For Their Bike Racks?

Thule will cover any damage to your bike rack, and this promise covers the two-year warranty period, even for regular wear-and-tear. This level of coverage is highly unique to Thule, as most companies will only replace defective products.

How Many Bikes Can a Thule Roof Bike Rack Hold?

Each model varies, but they can hold from one to four bikes. Their hitch racks can carry up to five. Be sure to check with each product, as some are only suitable for single bicycles.

Isaac

I used to work in construction and landscaping, so I've seen my fair share of ratchet straps, winches, and similar rigging gear. I started Winch Central because I've seen some nasty accidents due to crappy rigging or poor practice. I wanted to be able to recommend good equipment that's SAFE and also provide resources for how its used. I handle the research side of things here as well as product selection for gear reviews.