Thule does classify the ProRide as “carbon frame friendly” but only by using the included frame protector. But let’s be honest: this little protective piece of rubber and plastic that secures to the frame is a good idea to use even if you have a steel or aluminum frame for maximum protection of your bike’s paint job. It’s included so why not use it?
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Thule simply makes the best-engineered accessories (with the possible exception of the wheels that Yakima makes for kayaks). If you use square Thule bars, your kayak will not push the saddles forward (unlike Yakima, with its round bars). Thule bike trays have improved (the old ones had junky, tricky mounting hardware), and their new kayak saddles are elegant and attach with only one screw and can be removed quickly (unlike Yak's ugly, plastic saddles that are high, noisy, and have two difficult to turn thumbscrews on the bottom). Compare them and you'll see what I mean.
I was very pleased with my experience at Rack Solid. Customer service was professional, friendly, and very accommodating. The Rock Solid Company is ethical and practices honesty and fairness, as they didn’t try to sell me more rack locks than I needed, like other rack retailers do. (I needed 5 locks, but other retailers only sell packs of 4 or 6. Here, I was able to save money and buy exactly 5.) I was referred by a third party to visit Rock Solid, and now I see why others refer them. I will definitely encourage people to buy from this company, especially since they are a specialty store, and have a wide variety of rack systems, carriers, and accessories. They even do installations…it’s one-stop-shopping at it’s best!
No, the XL Cargo Box won’t win any design awards. Its two-tone aesthetic is as utilitarian as its name, but with 18 cubic feet of space, you get a lot of storage at a price that won’t break the bank. Unlike other boxes in this article, it opens only on the passenger side, keeping you safe from traffic when handling the insides. The high-density plastic is a tough as it looks, and it fits most factory and after-market cross bars rated to carry up to 150 pounds.
My latest car is an estate/touring with a set of roof rails so requires a roofbar that can clamp directly to the rail. After looking at the OEM version I decided to take a closer look at the Thule Wing bars. Mainly because the OEM version sat quite high off the roof and from BMW would have cost a small ransom. I have had a few different sets of Thule bars in the past and still own/use a set of Thule ProRide 591 bike carriers so it made sense to have a look at the newer offerings. In addition Thule have a pretty good reputation world wide and certainly have great customer service here in the UK.
The ProRide meets requirement number three no problem and is no problem when left in situ. Thule do advise you take it off when not in use as it will affect your fuel consumption. But I found it to be negligible, happily staying around 62-64 mpg on long motorway drives. With a bike on it typically dropped to nearer 60mpg, but this number is affected more by the way you drive than having a bike on the roof.
The covers for the the TK8 fit kit do not sit flush on the car. There is a rather substantial gap on the inside edge of the cover. This allows water to get under the trim. Thule recommended smearing a heavy layer of grease on the metal under the rail twice a year so that the metal does not rust. This is a problem. The gap is obvious and also does not look good. Thule has been aware of this problem for a couple of years and have chosen not to rectify it.