Ever since its founding in Sweden in 1942, Thule has been known for producing high-quality products that help you transport anything that you care for. They design their products so that you can transport your belongings safely, easily, and in style so you can keep living your active lifestyle. They make products for almost anything including snowboards and skis, bikes, canoes, or even just luggage. Out of all their products, I am going to primarily focus on bike racks and all of the different types that are available to you. In this blog I will go through all of the different mounting options along with the different styles for how the bike is secured.
Let’s start off!
First, we have the roof mount option. The roof mount option has been a very popular option for bike enthusiasts for years simply because you don’t have anything hanging off of the back of your vehicle. One thing that you should know before getting a roof mount bike rack is that it requires crossbars on the roof to mount to. Don’t worry, crossbars are an extremely popular addition to cars and Thule makes them for almost every vehicle with a couple of different styles. When it comes to how the bike carrier secures your bike there are four primary ways. First, there is the Thule Sidearm which makes contact with a hoop style clamp that locks in over the top of your front wheel. Second, there is the Criterium and the Big Mouth models that clamp directly onto your frame. This style is nice because it is an extremely secure grip onto the frame of your bike, which then provides a secure ride. The next mounting option is a thru-axle style which secures to the axle for your front wheel. Basically, you take off your front wheel and then slip your axle out of the rim and put it pack onto the forks of your bike as if there was still a wheel there. The Thule bike rack then clamps to the axle with its universal capabilities. The last method for mounting your bike would be a fork mount which gives you a mock axle to mount the forks of your bike to. Like the previous style, you do have to remove your front wheel; however, it is an easy mount nevertheless. With all of these models, there is also a strap going through your rear wheel to provide extra security while the bike is in transport. Overall, these are the four main mounting options for a bike rack on the roof of a vehicle.
Second, we have the hitch mount. Hitch mount bike racks are nice because they allow you to be able add the bike rack and remove it easily when you want. Additionally, it adds no extra height to the top of the vehicle like the roof mounting option. To put it on all you really have to do is slide it into your receiver and then put your hitch pin in to secure it. When it comes to the different styles, there are two primary options: platform and hanging. The platform style provides a full channel for the bike’s wheels to sit in along with a the type of clamp that goes over your front wheel similar to one of the roof mounting options. There is also the strap that goes through the rear wheel to provide extra security. What is nice about many of the platform styles offered by Thule is that the entire platform can tilt away from the back of the vehicle when you need so you access to the back of your vehicle. On the other hand, one drawback is that they can only carry two bikes. Moving on, the other option for a hitch mount is a hanging option, which basically hangs your bike from the top tube of your frame. To load your bike, you lift it up to where the top bar of your bike sits on top of the two mounting bars and then you use the easy straps that are attached to secure the frame to the bike rack. As with the platform style, many options tilt away from the vehicle so that you can access the rear of your vehicle. However, Thule also offers a swing away option which lets you swing the bikes to the side in order to get into the back of your car. The main benefit that sets this style apart from the platform style is that it can carry up to 5 bikes, depending on your hitch rating. Additionally, the part that the bike sits on can be folded down when it is not in use so that it doesn’t stick out so far from the vehicle. In the end, these are the two main options available for a rear hitch mount bike rack.
Third, we have the rear mount. This option is extremely popular for people who have small cars because you don’t need a hitch or roof racks. Additionally, there is the option to mount the bike using the platform style and the hanging style like mentioned above. Both of these have a fully framed unit that uses straps to secure to the trunk/rear of the vehicle. The platform style can only carry two bikes while the hanging style can carry up to three bikes. Both of which secure the bike very similarly to the hitch mount, except for the fact that the platform style clamps to the frame instead of the front wheel. Thule makes these for almost every car, including hatchbacks.
The last style for mounting a bike is a bed mounting option and there are two styles available. The first is the Bed Rider option which stretches between the rails of your truck and secures very simply by basically using outward pressure towards the rails in order to stay secure. As far as how the bike mounts, it is like the fork mount mentioned above where you take the front wheel off and then there is a mock axle there for you to secure the forks too. This option is very secure, however, the one drawback is that you have to take off the front wheel. The other option is called the Insta-Gater and it secures very easily to the tailgate when it is closed. What is great about this is that it is extremely easy to install and remove. All you have to do is open and close your tailgate. As far as how it secures the bike, it clamps over the front wheel like many of the other options mentioned above. Overall, both of these options are very easy and provide a secure location to secure your bike to.
Overall, these are the four primary styles for bike racks made by Thule. Thule also does make many locking options available for most of these bike racks. As you can see, whether you want them on your roof, hitch, bed, or rear of your car, Thule has you covered with their variety of options. At Campway’s Truck Accessory World we have all of these options available along with many other Thule accessories. Call or visit our expert staff in order to get your vehicle set up to carry your bikes!