Thule is perhaps one of the best known manufacturers of bike racks for cars and other vehicles in Europe. Thule bike carriers come in many different options raging from simple ‘hook on the back of your boot lid’ type to more complicated models which fit to the tow bar or hitch of your vehicle and pivot out of the way to allow access to your boot. In essence though Thule bike racks can be broken down in to three main categories:
- Roof Mounted – usually using a roof bars system
- Back Mounted – these usually clip on to the boot lid but there are some bike racks for SUVs in there range that fit to the rear door.
- Tow Bar/Hitch Mounted – this will fit to any vehicle with a tow bar or hitch.
Many vehicle will accept all of these types or bike racks and each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. See the article the pros and cons of rear mounted bike carriers for cars for more information, and the post the pros and cons of bicycle carriers for cars that fit on the roof for the advantages and disadvantages of roof mounted systems.
Thule started life as a company in Sweden and this is perhaps the reason why Thule is known as ‘The’ brand of bike racks in Europe. If you asked someone in the UK if they had ever heard of a Saris bike rack they would probably reply with who are Saris? Thule really does dominate the European market for load carrying systems for cars with over 60% of their income coming from European countries. All of that said Thule do have a number of offices serving north America and the are relatively well known in the States, the problem that they have in the USA is competitors such as Yakima bike racks and the aforementioned Saris.
Thule are by no stretch of the imagination a cheap manufacturer of bike racks, but what you can be assured of when you buy a Thule bike rack is that your money could not have bought better. Their bike racks are extremely well made and are very durable, to back this up all of Thule’s products come with a 5 year guarantee. All of the Thule product range comes with clear instructions which are very easy to follow and a good range of accessories and spare parts.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the Thule systems is their flexibility in terms of usage. For example if you bought a roof bar system you would not just have to use those roof bars for carrying bicycles – there are many different types of accessories you can buy that will allow you to carry all sorts of equipment from skis to canoes. So although Thule products may seem expensive to initially they do carry out many functions and could end up saving you money.