Top critical review
64 of 73 people found this helpful
NOT FOR MOUNTAIN BIKES
on July 2, 2012
Here is what I was looking for in a bike rack:
1. The ability to easily mount and carry Full Suspension bikes as well as Road Bikes.
2. Security in knowing that the bikes will not fall off at 65MPH.
3. Theft Prevention features.
1.Thule generally makes a fine product. I have been very impressed with the craftsmanship of a Thule products overall. But this rack just does not cut it. I purchased this rack to transport my full suspension mountain bikes. I was in a rush, needing the rack the night before a trip. At REI the salesman stated that it would work fine for full suspension mountain bikes. IT DOES NOT WORK FOR FULL SUSPENSION BIKES. So needless to say it was a struggle to get the bikes on the rack and an even greater struggle to get them off. Mounting the bikes onto the rack required removing the air from the tires. Can you spell BUMMER?
2. This rack requires the use of rubber straps to secure the bike to the racks. The straps have holes so you can wrap them around the frame and secure them onto a plastic pivot on either side.
However I must have pulled the strap too tightly because when I arrived at my destination, 2 of the four straps were split up the middle and one was broken in half. I found this to be a bit unnerving, considering they were holding $5,000 worth of bikes on a six hour trip. On the return trip I mellowed out and only one broke in half. In fact if it was not for the very long cloth strap they include that wraps around the bikes and the mechanism itself, the bikes might have fallen off on the first leg of my trip. (Maybe that is why they include the cloth strap, it seems like a quick-fix afterthought. It seems out of place with the rest of the product.)
3. The product was relatively easy to install and had some nice features like the ability to fold down both of the components of the rack. It should have come with a locking removable pin to mount to the hitch. It should also have had some means of locking the bikes onto the rack. It did not. The result is that I had to use a cable lock to prevent theft. I believe that most people do not keep this rack on their vehicle, only mounting it on the hitch when they are transporting bikes and removing it afterward. Yet,in terms of attaching the rack to the hitch, the only thing provided is a bolt and two washers, not a very strong theft deterrent and moreover, a hassle to take the rack on and off the vehicle.
So here are my suggestions:
1.Put a big conspicuous sign on the box -"Not for Full Suspension Bikes."
2.Replace the rubber straps with ones that do not break if pulled too hard. I am not Superman and I managed to break 4 of them.
3. Include a quick release locking mechanism to mount the rack to the hitch and to take it off.
For Mountain bikes I noticed most of the pros at the mountain use The Thule 916XTR, which holds the bike by the wheels and seems to include a locking mechanism. It is available for a good price on Amazon.com. REI took the rack back with no questions asked.