Thule ThruRide Review
Cons: Poor ergonomics, lack of security, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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. Testers found the Kuat Trio to be easier to use, as well as roof mount tray racks that don't require the removal of the front wheel like the RockyMounts BrassKnuckles.
Ease of Removal and Storage
Mounting the tray to your crossbars 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 crossbar clamp is really 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.
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 crossbar. While this is a versatile rack, we also like the roof mount tray racks that don't require wheel removal, like the Yakima Front Loader, since you don't even need to worry about axle size when securing the 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 correct side of the tray.
This model falls short when compared to its competitors, like the award-winning 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.
This model proved to be durable throughout testing, and the functionality of the rack was never compromised due to wear and tear. 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.
This contender is best suited for riders who have bikes with multiple axle standards. Due to the roof mounted nature of this rack, it also works west for vehicles with lower roof heights since you need to lift the bike up there every time you load it.
We do not feel that this competitor is an exceptional value. Other roof-mounted racks, such as the Kuat Trio, provide the same level of versatility in a more user-friendly 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.
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