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Thule UpRide Review

A roof-mount rack with an exceptionally sturdy and secure hold of your bicycle with no frame contact
Thule UpRide
Photo: Thule
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Very secure hold, no frame or fork contact
Cons:  Design seems a little over-complicated, limited to vehicles with low roof height, you have to lift bike to height of roof to load
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 20, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 23
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 7
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 7
  • Security - 20% 8
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 10
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Thule UpRide is an impressive roof-mounted bike rack that takes a unique approach to carrying your bike. It delivers a very secure hold without any contact with your frame or fork. This versatile rack works with a huge range of wheel sizes and tire widths and doesn't require removal of the front wheel. It's quite easy to assemble, install and remove, and lock onto your roof bars. Due to its rooftop location, we found the UpRide to be better suited to vehicles with lower roof heights and lighter-weight bikes. At first, the loading process does seem a little complex, although it becomes easier with practice. Once we got used to it, we were impressed by the secure hold, stability, and versatility of the UpRide.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Thule UpRide
This Product
Thule UpRide
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $250 List$619.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$599.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$449.95 at Competitive Cyclist$549.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Very secure hold, no frame or fork contactEasy tilt release function, durable, fat bike compatible, tool-free installationLow loading height, easy tray adjustment, lightweight, tool free removalReasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locksLightweight, simple, foot pedal tilt mechanism
Cons Design seems a little over-complicated, limited to vehicles with low roof height, you have to lift bike to height of roof to loadHefty, priceyHigh price, sticky tilt release handle, cable locks are difficult to use, questionable durabilitySits slightly closer to vehicle than some, some assembly requiredLacks versatility, expensive, 40 lbs per bike weight limit
Bottom Line An highly engineered and somewhat complex rack that does a wonderful job holding your bikeA thoughtful design makes this versatile rack incredibly user-friendly and we think its the best hitch mount rack availableA lightweight alternative to other hitch racks, with great adjustabilityThis rack combines solid performance and a reasonable priceAs the lightest hitch rack we tested, the Sherpa was a favorite for its good looks and simple design
Rating Categories Thule UpRide Thule T2 Pro XT Yakima Dr. Tray RockyMounts MonoRail Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Ease Of EveryDay Use (20%)
7
9
8
8
8
Ease Of Removal And Storage (20%)
8
7
9
7
9
Versatility (20%)
7
9
9
9
6
Security (20%)
8
8
6
8
8
Ease Of Assembly (10%)
10
7
8
6
8
Durability (10%)
7
9
7
8
8
Specs Thule UpRide Thule T2 Pro XT Yakima Dr. Tray RockyMounts MonoRail Kuat Sherpa 2.0
Style Roof Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray)
Bike Capacity 1 2 2 2 2
Lock? Available but not included Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weight 17 lbs 51 lbs 34 lbs 44 lbs 2 oz 32 lbs
Other Sizes Available? No Yes, 1.25" receiver and rack add-on for 2 additional bikes Yes, 1.25" receiver and rack add-on for 1 additional bike Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately Yes, 1.25" receiver
Cross Bar Compatibility Round, Square, Aero, Most Factory N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Thule UpRide takes a unique approach to the relatively stale market of roof-mounted bike racks. Those who have been using more traditional roof racks for decades may find the loading process of UpRide to be a little complicated at first. That said, It becomes easier with practice and the hold on the bike is very secure. We found it to be somewhat more difficult to load than some of the competition, but it impressed us with its versatility, ease of assembly, and security.

Performance Comparison


The UpRide squeezes the front wheel from two directions for a secure...
The UpRide squeezes the front wheel from two directions for a secure hold.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Everyday Use


At first glance, the UpRide appears to be a complex bike rack. The front-wheel attachment is visually quite different, and it looks like there's a lot going on there. If you don't read the instructions or watch the loading video on the Thule website, the process isn't incredibly intuitive. Once you understand the system and you've loaded it a few times, however, it becomes much easier to use. If you frequently switch between the bikes you transport, it may require minor adjustment each time.

We recommend thoroughly reading the instructions and watching the short loading video on the Thule website before trying to use the UpRide. This rack has two counteracting arms that squeeze the front wheel and hold it in place at the front of the rack. Both of these arms fold down flat for travel when not in use. First, adjust the hooked arm for length based on your wheel size(between 20 and 29-inches), then fold it up into the open position. Open the rear-wheel ratchet strap at the back of the tray, and lift the bike up and place it on the tray with the front wheel pushed forward into the hooked arm/cradle. While supporting the bike with one hand, raise the other front wheel cradle up against the back of the front wheel, then ratchet it down to achieve proper tension. Lastly, use the ratcheting strap to secure the rear wheel at the back of the tray.

There is no doubt this system works well, but it seems a little like it was made by an overzealous engineer fresh out of industrial design class. If you switch between bikes often, you may need to adjust the wheel cradle for wheel size every time. If you load the same bike, however, the process is quite straightforward and doesn't need any adjustment. Like any roof rack, the UpRide requires the user to lift their bike to the level of the roof to load it, so it works best on vehicles with lower roof heights and with lighter-weight bikes.

The UpRide is quite easy to install and took less than five minutes.
The UpRide is quite easy to install and took less than five minutes.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Removal and Storage


Generally speaking, we think roof racks slot are more of a set it and forget it kind of rack. They aren't really in the way, so most people put them on for the season and maybe take them off for the winter if they are using them less. Whether you leave the rack on all year or take it off every time you use it, Thule made the installation and removal process of the UpRide a simple, tool-free task.

The removal process simply requires you to release three clamping points (which can be locked) and spin them loose. Once the clamps are loosened, simply finagle them around the load bars and the rack lifts right off the crossbars. Storage is easy enough, with the arms/cradles folded down, the Upride is slim and compact and won't take up too much space in the garage, shed, or closet.

Versatility


The UpRide is quite versatile. It works with wheels between 20 and 29-inches in diameter and tires up to 3-inches wide. It can also be used with fat bikes and tires up to 5-inches wide with the purchase of the UpRide Fat Bike Adapter ($29.95). The lack of contact with the bicycle frame or fork makes it a nice option for carbon fiber road frames or those with really expensive suspension forks. Road bikes, kids bikes, downhill bikes, BMX bikes, they all fit on this puppy.

It should be noted that there is a 44-pound load limit on this rack. That should be plenty for any kind of mountain bike, fat bike, road bike, and hybrid bike. Most electric bikes will be too heavy for this system, which is fine because most will be too heavy to lift and load on the top of your car anyway.

Despite the complex looks, this rack comes completely assembled. You...
Despite the complex looks, this rack comes completely assembled. You just need to attach it to your roof bars.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


Ease of assembly was a clear high point of the UpRide. Come to think of it, there was very little assembly required. This was a welcome change after dealing with a few racks that required well over 60 minutes and some reading glasses to assemble.

Upon opening the box, the UpRide is essentially all put together. Simply lay the rack in the proper position on your crossbars. Then, quickly assemble two of the clamps that hold this rack to the crossbar. Next, tighten each of these clamp points appropriately and snap them down. The entire process is tool-free. Some users may need to slide the rack forward or backward to avoid interfering with the trunk or hatch of their vehicle, but this is a tool-free and intuitive adjustment.

If you purchased the optional lock cores, they are just one simple additional step. There are locks that secure the clamps to the crossbar as well as a lock for the integrated cable lock.

Security


The UpRide has a few security features, although you will need to purchase a set of lock cores to use them. The rack has a locking cable that extends out of the rear of the tray. The cable can pass through the rear triangle and rear wheel and locks onto a port on the cable. While it adds a layer of security, this cable would be relatively easy for a seasoned thief to cut and serves more as a deterrent.

The rack itself also locks onto the crossbars. The clamps that connect the UpRide to the crossbars have space for locking cores. Again, the locks are sold separately and are easy to install.

The hooks and arms are meaty on the UpRide. That said, there are a...
The hooks and arms are meaty on the UpRide. That said, there are a ton of moving parts which is concerning.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Throughout testing, we observed no signs of substantial wear or evidence that the rack will not stand up to heavy usage. There is no play in the system and all of the knobs and buckles are functioning as they should.

Given the abundance of moving parts on the UpRide, there is more likelihood of something going wrong over its lifespan. Again, there is no evidence of any issues developing, but with more moving parts comes higher levels of concern. As you add more clamps, knobs, and ratcheting pieces to your design, you are opening the door for a higher chance of failure.

Yes, there is a lot going on with this rack.
Yes, there is a lot going on with this rack.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Value


We feel the UpRide is a decent value as it costs about the same as our other top-rated roof racks and delivers a solid performance. It is a quality roof-mount option that provides a secure and confidence-inspiring hold of your bike without any frame or fork contact or the need to remove the front wheel.

Conclusion


The Thule UpRide is a unique roof-mounted bike rack. We found the process of loading and unloading bicycles to be a little daunting at first, but there is no-doubt the UpRide delivers a high level of security and a strong hold. Additionally, you don't need to remove the front wheel and there is no frame or fork contact. It is quite versatile and should work with most styles and sizes of bikes. We feel its a great option for users with lower vehicles and lighter weight bicycles.

Pat Donahue