A great bit of kit that I now wouldn’t want to be without… the Thule 591 Proride Bike Carrier…
From Dirt Issue 114 – August 2011Words & Photos: Ed Haythornthwaite
Up until my last car blew up I didn’t really get roof mounted bike carriers. The vast majority of the time I’d just wing my bike in the back of the car, and then should there be no room to do that I just used one of those ones that clips on to the back of your car. I just thought that was the easiest way, none of that having to lift a heavy DH bike onto the roof of your car and then faffing around trying to secure it at full stretch without dropping it onto your roof.
Anyway, I get my new motor and discover that thanks to some flimsy looking bits of body work above the boot I haven’t got a chance in hell of being able to run my old rack. I first considered getting a tow bar fitted so I can mount one to that, but that wasn’t going to happen in time and seemed like way too much hassle, so instead I resigned myself to having to use a bloody roof mounted one. I actually already had some Thule roof bars because as much as I am ashamed to admit it I’ve got one of those hideous roof box things for serious road trip duties, so it made sense to try out a Thule rack, especially because I’ve heard nothing but good things about their stuff.
Fitting it turned out to pretty easy, especially because I had the Thule bars that have a slot in them that this fits neatly into. The only thing that took a bit of time (about ten mins) was swapping the arm around on one of the racks so that it worked on the other side of the car, but it was simple to do. Then it was time to try and fit the bike, and I’ve got to admit the first attempt didn’t go too well…
You see they don’t really come out of the factory set up for long travel bikes with relatively high bottom brackets, and so when the bike was clamped in the front wheel was hanging off the front. Another ten minutes later though and I’d moved the support arm backwards and the problem was solved. Was it then still a bugger to load the bike? Anything but. Somehow I found it far easier than a rear rack. Lift the support arm up to roughly the right angle, undo the wheel straps, lift bike up and the wheels sit nicely in the troughs, guide frame into clamp, turn the clam dial (which is handily at roof height), lock with a key, do wheel straps up, and hey presto you’re done. It’s quicker to do than it is to type, getting it off again is even quicker, and it’s so easy that I never use the boot now. I’ve tried it with a few different types of bike too, and it seems to be very accommodating of quirky designs. If you’ve got a frame with no space for the clamp anywhere near the bottom bracket then you might be in trouble (go for the fork mounted design instead, which even has 20mm adaptors built in), but otherwise you should be fine.
Overall I’ve been massively impressed with this in every respect. It holds the bike as solid as a rock, even at motorway speeds that I shan’t type, and the way in which all the Thule products work together is great. The roof bars lock to the car, the carrier locks to the bars, and the bike is locked to the carrier. You can even buy a kit to change all the locks so that you only need one key for the lot. Of course you can use the carrier with the vast majority of other roof racks, but if you haven’t already got one then I’d really recommend going for the full Thule setup, and they make adaptors so that you can fit one to pretty much any vehicle.
A great bit of kit that I now wouldn’t want to be without…and maybe my mum should get one too seeing as last week her rear mounted carrier fell off whilst on the motorway!591 Proride: £89.99 Roof Bars: £34.99 – £76.99 Fitting Kits: £31.49 – £91.99