Thule better than other brands of bike rack?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thule better than other brands of bike rack?

    Hello.

    I was noticing that Thule sold for a lot more money than a lot of other bike racks look very comparable.

    I was wondering if Thule bike racks were better build and a better quality than some of the other bike racks such as sportrack, hidden hitch, and a lot of the others .

    Are you just paying for the thule name or are there substantial quality issues associated with Thule above some of the other brands?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    In my opinion they are nowhere near the best. I had Thule racks and had nothing but problems! Not to mention they are close to twice the price up here in Canada as compared to the US. Went to Yakima which are slightly better for my application, still overpriced and finally ended up with a North Shore Rack which is the best rack I have ever used. Check my thread out below if you want more info.

    Cheers

    Buzz

  3. #3
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    Then again I've had two Thule bike racks (trunk & roof) and never had a problem with either. Sometimes it's mfr fault when there's a problem and lots of times it's an installation mistake. It's truly amazing how many people don't interpret installation instructions correctly. ;-)

    Is Thule the best? Not really, but there aren't really any that are better, but of the same value. For me the Thule roof rack setup was about $80 less than a Yakima setup for the same thing. Those seem to be the two most widely used companies in the U.S.

  4. #4
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    I am returning my Thule rack tommorrow. I bought a cargp box that was Thule at the same time and the cradle at the bottom fell off when I got it home. Piece of crap design.

    So, I got no response from Thule and returned the Cargo box and will return the bike carrier tommorrow.

    I have all sorts of older thule racks and the new stuff seems like overpriced crap.

  5. #5
    redefined
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    I prefer Yakima. Pricey but their products seem to be much better built. All my Yakima stuff has taken a beating over many years and still works as good as new.

  6. #6
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    I've got both Thule kayak racks, a cargo box made by Thule (marketed and sold by Sears) and a Thule Ridgeline hitch mount rack. I've been extremely happy with all of them. The hitch mount rack is better than an equally priced Yakima IMHO.... it was the anti-sway cages that sold me. I wanted to limit myself to those two brands because they are sold EVERYWHERE here, whereas I can't find any other brands without mail order or internet order. Unacceptable, I want to see it and try it before buying.

    I've been very happy with their design, and I'm a mechanical engineer. I've had ZERO issues.

  7. #7
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    Yakima for me.
    "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

  8. #8
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    I've owned a yakima ski rack but I went over to Thule for everything else. What put me over to Thule is a sale at REI. I got a flyer today for the labor day sale August 28th to September 7th. Thule racks are again 20% off at REI. Sometimes Yakima matches the 20% but I didn't see anything about that on the flyer. Most rack attachments are interchangeable but if you want to have 1 key for all the locks you'll have to pick one system - either Thule or Yakima.

    Also Thule has a great online store. I managed to run my bike into the garage while on my Thule rack. Totally bent and popped the rack. Luckily the bike was OK but I mangled the rack and scratched the paint on the car. Anyway - I went onto the Thule website and you can order just about any part so I was able to repair the rack and not have to buy a complete new one.

    As for quality I've been pleased with both.

  9. #9
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    I got the Thule because it was the most overbuilt for the intended role.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  10. #10
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    What's the best Thule 2-3 bike rack for a 1 1/4 hitch?
    RH SL Pro

  11. #11
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    There is essentially no difference between brands on a macro basis. I've had (and have) them both. For some cars one is better than the other. For some accessories, the other is better. It's a toss up. Usually, on the accessories, there is a definite advantage on one over the other in that particular application.

    for example, I've found I like Yakima's boxes better. I like Thule's bars better if the car has rails already on the car (like BMW or Volvo wagons). I like Thule's towers better on Subaru Impreza. I like Thule's ski attachements better. I think yakima's highroller bike attachment is better than the equivalent one from thule. I think both thule and yakima's hitch racks pale in comparison to 1upUSA and Raxter's hitch racks.

    So, right now I have thule bars on two of our three cars, and the third is getting a Yakima set up. The accessories are mixed based on which is better. The only penalty for that is I need two keys (no big deal).

    J.

  12. #12
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    One thing I like about Yakima is they offer more options. For instance, they're the only ones I know who make a special designed adapter for my Xterra. They are very clean and well thought out. A friend gave me a Thule ski rack and I was able to use the Yakima adapters to mount it. It's much better than having to add crossbars when you have factory ones already there.

    Also, Yakima and Rocky Mounts now make universal bike racks that also mount directly on the factory x-bars. I'm not sure when they started, but a few years back this option wasn't available. With Thule you still needed to buy a mounting kit with there x-bars. I got a great deal on the Rocky Mounts.

    In terms of use or quality I can't really tell a difference between any of them. YMMV.

  13. #13
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    It all depends on the model of your car. There are cars that Thule supports that Yakima doesn't. This is basically a "tastes great" vs "less filling" sort of argument.

    j.

  14. #14
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    Depends on the rack itself. For hitch racks, I generally prefer Thule and definitely prefer the T2 (Sportworks design) over the Saris or Yakima. There are some smaller companies out there with good designs (1UPUSA) but I stick with the big three.

    Boxes- prefer the Thules by a big margin so far, though the new Thule boxes have been redesigned.

  15. #15
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    I liked the thule boxes until last year. They are just floppy and wiggly. I bought one last fall and sold it in Feb and replaced it with a Yakima Skybox. I think Thule is circling back and redesigning the boxes this year.

    j.

  16. #16
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    Sorry, I take that back- I meant to say that I prefer the YAKIMA boxes by a big margin...I have a Skybox 16. Thule did redesign the Atlantis series this year to make them stiffer (lid has new ribs) and put a new lock mech on them. Before the latest redesign, they were pretty floppy and had other problems as well.

  17. #17
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    Allen

    I bought an Allen trunk rack 19 years ago, and it is still kicking. So when it came time to buy a 3 bike 1 1/4" hitch rack, I chose Allen over the big 3. Saved a bunch of cash and the rack is built like brick s#!t house.
    Responds to gravity

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Sorry, I take that back- I meant to say that I prefer the YAKIMA boxes by a big margin...I have a Skybox 16. Thule did redesign the Atlantis series this year to make them stiffer (lid has new ribs) and put a new lock mech on them. Before the latest redesign, they were pretty floppy and had other problems as well.
    I agree - that makes sense.

    The old Atlantis was good but then they took out the one I needed for my skis. I had to replace it after the car wash wrecked it. The new one was awful and I got rid of it after a couple of months. The Skyboxes are great. I have an older one where you could unlock it and take the key out. I was disappointed to see that the new one I bought you couldn't do that.

    j.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    It all depends on the model of your car. There are cars that Thule supports that Yakima doesn't. This is basically a "tastes great" vs "less filling" sort of argument.

    j.
    I suppose I wasn't clear on what I was referring to:

    http://www.yakima.com/product/800351...ghtymount.aspx

    They make these mighymounts specific to cars with the mounts (where you would put the bolt through to hold on rack/box onto) either vertical or horizontal. I bought these with the horizontal mount to mount the thule rack I was given. It ended up being a very clean setup - nicer than what I could do with thule oem. I've never seen anything similar offered by thule. I checked on thule's site and with dealers.

    Also see here:

    http://www.rei.com/category/4501511

    On this page there's the Rocky Mounts Noose SL and the Yakima Universal which both mount directly onto factory cross (horizontal) bars. These mount onto almost anything including big bars like on my Xterra. While I'm sure there are some crossbars the thule will mount directly to, thule's bike racks always say, "Mounts easily to Yakima round bars and Thule square bars."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    I agree - that makes sense.

    The Skyboxes are great. I have an older one where you could unlock it and take the key out. I was disappointed to see that the new one I bought you couldn't do that.

    j.
    I bought a Skybox last winter.... I can unlock it & take the key out. Is this a change for 2009?

  21. #21
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    Yep. No locking system. You have to lock it to take the key out. I bought mine in Feb 2009. It's different from the box that I bought 18 months ago (also a Skybox 12).

    I don't like it but then again I'll never lock my keys in it either. But it wasn't a problem before either.

    J.

  22. #22
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    which basic Thule Hitch mount for 2 bikes do u guys recommend? (or 3 if the price increase isn't by much)

    i'm looking for the best bang/buck here.

    i have a class 1 Curt 1.25" hitch
    RH SL Pro

  23. #23
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    I have one of each, a Thule roof rack that is almost 10 years old and a Yakima trunk rack that is a year old. I actually ended up using both on the same car this summer to haul 6 bikes on one Saturn.
    My experience is that quality is about the same with Thule's stuff being slightly more "designer" looking. Yakima's trunk racks seem to work better and fit more cars than Thule's.
    2009 Redline Conquest Pro, 2008 Trek Fuel Ex8
    2007 Kona Cinder Cone utility bike
    Yes I spent too much on bikes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisssss
    What's the best Thule 2-3 bike rack for a 1 1/4 hitch?
    Thule Ridgeline.

  25. #25
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    I had a Thule fork mount carrier that broke at the bolt inside the head of the carrier where it attaches to the cross bar of the rack. (Fortunately nothing happened to the the bike.) Took it into my LBS; they called Thule, who sent out a brand new, latest model carrier, no charge. I had been using the original one for a few years and had no receipt. I like that kind of customer service.

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