Thule UpRide Review
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|Pros||Very secure hold, no frame or fork contact||Reasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locks||No front wheel removal, holds any axle type, easy install||High-end construction, capable of carrying a wide range of bikes, slightly easier to load than wheel on models||Very inexpensive, no assembly required, lightweight, folds small for storage|
|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||Sits slightly closer to vehicle than some, some assembly required||No locks included, difficult to load, not fat bike compatible||Ease of assembly could be easier, have to lift bike to roof level to load/unload||Not adjustable, support arms may not work with all frame shapes/styles, no security features|
|Bottom Line||A roof-mount rack with an exceptionally sturdy and secure hold of your bicycle with no frame contact||A versatile hitch-mount rack that provides a high price to performance ratio||A favorite for sedans and other vehicles with low roof heights||This is an awesome fork mount roof rack that can hold almost any type of axle||A very affordable, bare-bones trunk rack for the infrequent rack user on a tight budget|
|Rating Categories||Thule UpRide||RockyMounts MonoRail||Yakima Front Loader||Kuat Trio||Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...|
|Ease of EveryDay Use (20%)|
|Ease of Removal and Storage (20%)|
|Ease of Assembly (10%)|
|Specs||Thule UpRide||RockyMounts MonoRail||Yakima Front Loader||Kuat Trio||Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...|
|Lock?||Available but not included||Yes||Yes, sold separately||Yes||No|
|Rack Weight||17 lbs||44 lbs 2 oz||13 lbs||7 lbs||7 lbs 9 oz|
|Max Weight Per Bike||44 lbs||60 lbs||30-40 lbs (varies based on crossbar spread)||45 lbs||35 lbs|
|Other Sizes Available?||No||Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately||No||No||Yes, 3 and 4 bike versions|
|Cross Bar Compatibility||Round, Square, Aero, Most Factory||N/A||Fits Yakima round, square, factory or aerodynamic crossbars||Most factory||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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