Don't get me wrong. I use Thule racks and locks and cradles and locking cable and straps… the whole kit. That's because security and convenience and bicycles and protecting the roof of my car are also important, and because I started with a used Thule rack, gradually accumulating a closet full of proprietary extrapolations and substitutions as needs changed. And it does work. It all works. It's just that every single bit of it is clumsily engineered and imprecisely manufactured, requiring brute force as well as wiggling and finagling to get it just right. Some parts fit loosely, some tightly, some are robust and some flimsy. Every change, every adjustment to a Thule rack is a project and a series of compromises. Admittedly, I change things around a lot, but as familiar as I've become with my rack, I still spend an inordinate amount of time getting all the parts straight and tight and solid before I reach for my boats.
On your car roof, one these 3 alternatives will most likely be possible: a bracket specific to your roof shape that clips into the door frame: attachments for a dealer installed roof rail; OR a T-track. This review assumes that you have already figured out how to get two roof bars on your car roof – and that can be somewhat convoluted if you have an unusual car, good luck!
Part conservationists, part outdoorsman, part storyteller, Matt has devoted much of his life to environmentalism and that crafty, fleeting mistress known as writing. Having worked with over two-dozen brands and lifestyle publications, he’s carried out his passion for all things flora, fauna, and fiction through a litany of written mediums — one adventure, one sentence at a time.
If, like me, you are upgrading from an earlier Thule FreeRide FR35 then preparing the clamping mechanism for the bike frame is unchanged. The black ends of the clamping arm each have two holes and you use the one which corresponds to your frame size. If your partner or children have notably different bike sizes to you then you might have to change this regularly…on the previous model I never had to change it in about 10 years.
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I used the rack with a standard road bike and a mountain bike with a big chunky downtube, both were clamped snuggly in place as the rubber lining of the clamp moulds around the tube whatever its shape. We got the quick release wheel straps over a set of Cannondale Knot 64mm deep section wheels and there was plenty of strap to spare. The design of the mounts also means any width of tyre will fit with the possible exception of fat bikes.
However I am going to comment on some of the installation steps and things to watch out for as it is a little daunting to open the FreeRide 532 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the FreeRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, fitting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
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However - there's no need to fret, at Halfords we offer a market-leading range of roof top bars, roof racks and fittings, from brands such as Thule, Exodus and Cruz as well as our own brand alternatives. Our roof bars will suit all leading vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, Volvo, BMW and Vauxhall and we also offer universal models that will suit many vehicles.
Finding the perfect Thule roof rack couldn’t be simpler. Choose exactly what you need for your vehicle’s make, model and year. We’ll show you the perfect solution of strong, durable feet and roof bars plus fit kit. Or choose an all-in-one, pre-assembled roof rack that already matches your needs. Finally you can add options such as locks and locking straps so all your bases are covered. With a Thule roof rack, you’re all set to head off on your adventures and make sure you have everything you want with you. When combined with other Thule products, our roof racks are also a starting point for carrying the extra special gear that lets you live your passions – with holders for your bikes, your skis, your canoes or kayaks, and your surfboards. Not to mention extra-secure roof boxes and spacious carrier baskets for special cargos
Choose aerodynamic roof bars for superior performance and a sleek, sophisticated look that complements the lines of your car. These roof rack cross bars also have many smart design features. A textured surface disturbs the airflow and greatly reduces wind noise. The aluminium extrusion creates one of the strongest load bars in the market. The design gives you quick, no-hassle installation. While the end cap pivots and T-track make it easy to add further loading options.