Hands-on Gear Review

Thule ThruRide Review

The Thruride is a fork mount rack designed to accept multiple axle standards, unfortunately the rack falls short of the competition.
ThruRide 535
By: Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 31, 2017
Price:  $230 List  |  $229.95 at REI
Pros:  Versatile
Cons:  Poor ergonomics, lack of security, expensive
Manufacturer:   Thule
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 23
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 7
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 4
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 6
  • Security - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
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Our Verdict

The Thule Thruride is a fork mount roof rack that is compatible with a variety of axle standards. It is a direct competitor to the Kuat Trio, winner of an Editors' Choice Award. Thule uses an entirely different engineering approach to address the challenges of carrying bikes with multiple axle standards; while the Thruride is quite versatile, it still falls short compared to our award winning competitors. Keep reading for the full hands-on review below.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Thule has an answer to the challenge of carrying multiple axle standards with a fork mount rack, and it is the Thruride. This model delivers on its promise to accommodate various axle standards, but the design has many flaws that we uncovered over months of testing.

Performance Comparison


The Thule Thruride can cary a wide range of bikes with different axel standards.
The Thule Thruride can cary a wide range of bikes with different axel standards.

Ease of Everyday Use


When analyzing the design of this rack before use, we figured that the adjustable clamp was an excellent idea. Essentially, it can hold any diameter axle regardless of length, which makes it compatible with any of the various wheel spacing standards found on bikes. Kuat uses an entirely different approach by selling its racks with a variety of different axle tube diameters and lengths. On paper, we like the clamp design as it eliminates the axle length variable. However, in practice, loading bikes is rather difficult because the clamp must be adjusted to the required spacing by trial and error, while you are balancing the bike with one hand.

The surface that the axle sits on is not stable enough to allow you to let go of the frame while you set the clamp. Also, setting the clamp is difficult because it relies on a cam lever to get the final few millimeters of play out of the system, so it is not as simple as spinning the clamp wheel until it contacts the axle. Each time you switch axle standards, the clamp must be readjusted to correct position. Our testers found this to be difficult and almost dropped heavy bikes on more than one occasion while trying to secure the clamp. Great idea, yet poor execution.

Ease of Removal and Storage


Mounting the tray to your cross bars is a tool free operation. However, our testers found it to be harder than other racks that require tools, such as the Kuat Trio. To get the rack to mount securely, the cam levers and wing nuts must be adjusted perfectly; otherwise, only one clamp is doing all the work, and the rack will shift from side to side, or sit at an angle. The rear cross bar clamp is rarely easy to use as it only utilizes one cam lever, so equalizing tension is not an issue. Overall, the assembly is rather cumbersome, and the confusing directions are not much help. If you choose this model, you will not want to move it very often. Like other roof mount racks, we tested the Thruride takes up a minimal amount of space when not in use.

Versatility


The Thruride stands out from other fork mount racks that only accommodate one axle standard. It can carry virtually any axle standard with its adjustable clamp mechanism that will clamp any axle (except 9mm) up to 20mm. For 9mm axles, you must use the included 9mm adaptor. In addition to the ability to mount any axle, the Thruride will also work with any style of cross bar.

The adjustable clamp on the Thule Thruride fits a variety of axels  including this 15mm through axel on a cross bike.
The adjustable clamp on the Thule Thruride fits a variety of axels, including this 15mm through axel on a cross bike.

Ease of Assembly


The tray portion of the Thruride comes fully assembled, except for the rear wheel strap that must be adjusted so that the ratchet mechanism is on the right side of the tray.

Security


This model falls short when compared to its competitors, like the award winner, the Kuat Trio. This is primarily because there is no provision for locking a bike that uses a 9mm quick release. The 9mm adapter is simply a tube with quick steel release installed that must be clamped in place like any other axle, while the steel tube can be locked using the cam lock that secures the axle. All a thief would need to do is un-thread the skewer to steal your quick release equipped bike; this is a major design flaw. Also, the Thruride does not come with any lock cores, so to utilize the lock system, you will be looking at an additional purchase. While selling racks without lock cores is a common practice, we feel a contender in this price range should come with locks and keys.

Durability


This model proved to be durable throughout testing, and the functionality of the rack was never compromised due to wear and tear during testing. The finish was not as durable as our highest scoring products, such as the Kuat NV or Thule T2 Pro XT, and was prone to scratching.

Best Applications


This contender is best suited for riders who have bikes with multiple axle standards.

Value


We do not feel that this competitor is an exceptional value. Other competitors, such as the Kuat Trio, provide the same level of versatility in a much easier to use package at a lower price. Also, the Thruride does not come with lock cores, so an additional purchase will be necessary to complete the rack.

Conclusion


The Thule Thruride has a promising design that could, with some refinement, be a competitor for the Kuat Trio. However, we cannot recommend this rack due to its poor ergonomics and lack of security.

Curtis Smith

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