Tested: Thule UpRide 599 Bike Rack
It is the worst nightmare for anyone who has ever transported precious cargo on roof-mounted bike carrier, having their pride and joy fly from the rack while travelling at speed.
The location was West Head Road north of Sydney on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon. We had ridden past two keen mountain bikers who appeared to have finished their ride. They were loading bikes onto rooftop bike carriers fitted to a Subaru station wagon.
Off Into The Sunset
As the vehicle drove past I admired the sight - I’ve always enjoyed seeing bikes on cars - it’s a sign of travel, adventure, exploration, making the most of the great outdoors and keeping the dream and passion of the sport alive.
But a short time later that dream turned to a nightmare for our MTB friends. As we approached the now stationary Subaru, a worse-case scenario was obvious. The dejected driver was walking a slightly mangled mountain bike back up the road toward his vehicle. Yes, his prized steed had come free from the rack and bounced along the road. And at speed.
He was loading the bike into the back of the station wagon as we passed by … and no, he wasn't happy.
It obviously wasn’t a Thule rack and no, it didn’t look like a model from the other major players in the market. But an important and obvious lesson was learned that day - invest in a quality bike carrier.
Rule #1 - Use A Quality Bike Carrier
In a worse case scenario it’s not only your two wheels you need to protect but potentially the occupants of the vehicle travelling behind you. Even worse, that bike flew from the roof on a road popular for cyclists on a busy Sunday afternoon. Being knocked off by a flying mountain bike would not be a pleasant experience.
Jump forward a few days and - as irony would have it - we’ve been tasked to review the latest from the world’s leading bike and accessory carrying manufacturer, Thule.
The UpRide 599 is a carrier primarily designed around protecting your pride and joy while offering the most secure transportation possible.
Locking the front wheel in place with a clasp then securing the rear wheel to the rail of the unit, the UpRide does not make contact with the frame of your precious bike. This means valuable carbon-framed bikes are safe from the potentially crushing stresses of a clasp type roof carrier.
Attention To Detail
Look closely at the UpRide and attention to detail abounds. Designers have paid close attention to absolutely every detail of the unit - from the way it secures and locks into the roof bars to the ratcheting rear wheel strap and versatility factor … yes the UpRide will accomodate non-traditional frame designs, bikes with rear suspension and wheels from 20 to 29 inches and 3 inches in width.
We’ve tried and tested the UpRide and can say that road and gravel bikes sit rock solid securely in place. Fitting the bike to the rack then securing the front wheel does indeed feel a slightly simpler process over the more traditional downtube clamping carriers.
Once the front wheel has been locked into place it’s simply a matter of ratcheting the rear wheel down and you’re ready to go. The rack will take bikes to a whopping 20kg - a sign of just how securely it will hold your 8 or 9kg Gran Fondo machine.
We found the UpRide 599 to inspire confidence and total reassurance - exactly what’s required when transporting anything on the roof of a vehicle.