Review: Thule ProRide bike rack

The Thule ProRide bike rack is solid, secure, practical, simple to use and – best of all – means we can finally take our family bike rides on the road.

I’ve been looking for a decent bike rack for years. I used to own a cheap crappy  one that hooked onto the back of my cheap crappy hatchback car, but it never felt safe and needed all kinds of straps, bungee cords and other faffy nonsense to fasten our bikes to it.

Since buying an estate car I’ve been desperate to try out a roof carrier for my bikes, and my only nagging problem with the Thule ProRide 598 is that I didn’t get it sooner! Combined with the Thule WingBar Edge roof bars, it’s an easy and safe way to transfer my bike (and toddler bike seat) to all the awesome cycling locations we’ve been planning to visit.

Thule ProRide bike rack

Easy to fit

Choosing the right roof bars and bike rack for your car is easy, because Thule’s Online Buyer’s Guide does all the hard work for you. For the roof bars simply enter the make, model and year of your car and the website suggests the best product for you. Then follow a similar step-by-step process for the bike rack. After that, all you’ve got to do is fit them!

It’s safe to say I’m not the handiest of guys out there, but even I managed to fit the Thule ProRide bike rack to my car with no issues at all. First I had to attach the WingBar Edge roof bars (which I have to admit took longer than it should have because I went bulldozing in without reading the very simple instructions properly), but once they were on the ProRide was installed in less than 10 minutes. It comes pre-assembled and you don’t use any tools to fit it. Everything you need is in the box!

Thule ProRide bike rack

Safe and secure

One thing that always scares me about bike racks is security. Both in terms of my bike toppling off the car on a busy road or someone pinching it when I’m parked up somewhere. Fortunately there are no such issues with the Thule ProRide bike rack. When I first looked at the rack I couldn’t quite understand how my bike was going to be solidly anchored to the car, but as soon as I lifted the bike on it all became clear. It was automatically positioned thanks to the sliding wheel trays that adjust to the size of your bike, then clamped into place using the huge claw than fits to the base of your frame. All that’s left to do then is tighten the wheel straps, lock the claw into place with a key, and your bike’s going nowhere.

Thule ProRide bike rack

Quick to attach and remove

When you’ve got an impatient toddler in the car, ready to kick off at any minute, doing things quickly is often all that matters. No problems there either. After a couple of practice runs at home, I tested out the Thule ProRide bike rack on a cycle round Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire with my little boy Sonny. And wow was I impressed. I put Sonny in the car first, fitted the bike in less than a minute while he chuckled at me from his car seat; then repeated the process in reverse when we arrived at Grafham Water by unclipping the bike first then unbuckling Sonny from his seat. The quick-release wheel straps and single-button release on the claw make this whole process impressively simple.

Thule ProRide bike rack

Reassuringly expensive

There’s always a drawback when you find a product this good, and it’s almost always the price. The ProRide itself isn’t too expensive at £105, but when you add on the Wingbar Edge roof bars at £225 it starts adding up quite quickly. I’m so impressed by the ProRide that I’m planning to buy a second one this weekend, which takes the total to £435 to attach two bikes to the car. Ouch! So it all comes down to how often you think you’ll use it, how much you value real top-of-the-range quality (which this undoubtedly is), and how simple you want the whole process of fitting bikes to your car to be. When I weigh all that up in my head, I think it’s just about a fair price for a really excellent piece of kit.

Thule ProRide bike rack

Outdoor Dad verdict – Thule ProRide bike rack

Safe, solid, secure and simple to use. If you want to take your family bike rides on the road, this could be the best piece of kit out there.

Where to buy it

Thule ProRide bike rack: £105

Thule WingBar Edge roof bars: £225

Cycling round Grafham Water

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