Photo credit: Evgeny Bakharev via Shutterstock
When going on your next outdoor cycling adventure, a bike rack can be priceless. You don’t have to disassemble the bike to carry it to your destination as a dedicated rack can save you from this time-consuming task. Among all the bike rack manufacturers, Thule and Yakima stand out with their high-quality products and are considered industry leaders. But which brand is really the best for your needs?
Thule Bike Racks
With a manufacturing tradition going back to 1942, Thule is one of the leading brands in the bike rack manufacturing world. Today, Thule employs thousands of people and creates some of the best bike racks for cyclists. The manufacturer focuses on a few key categories. They include:
- Roof racks – 7 products
- Hitch-mounted racks – 19 products
- Trunk-mounted racks – 6 products
At the same time, a few retailers still carry some of the designs from the manufacturer that are not in production anymore. With a large selection of products, Thule covers racks that carry from one to 4 bikes. There are a few main benefits to using the different bike racks from Thule. Among these multiple racks, you can find solutions that require no frame contact.
This makes the racks valuable to cyclists who want to protect expensive frames and custom paintwork. Many of Thule’s racks are also made to be installed with no tools. This is why they can be seen as user-friendly designs for so many cyclists. At the same time, the manufacturer also offers systems which lock the bikes to the racks which prevent theft attempts.
Another interesting feature that is typical to the manufacturer comes with the anti-sway cages. But why is this important? To illustrate the importance of this design characteristic, you simply need to imagine what continuous contact between your bikes during transport can result in. This is where the anti-sway cages are recommended for better bike lockdown. Combining durable materials and efficient designs, Thule delivers products which are made to last. This is why their bike racks are also covered by lifetime warranty.
Did you know?
- Thule bike racks come with all the accessories you need
- Most bike racks from Thule need no tools for installation
- Each product comes with a lifetime warranty
- Thule bike racks are sold in 145 countries around the world
- There are 2.200 employees currently working for Thule in 9 manufacturing facilities
- Thule’s test center ensures the best product quality
Yakima Bike Racks
As one of the most important manufacturers in the industry, US-based Yakima has an impressive history. Seen even at the 1984 Olympics, the manufacturer now offers an impressive range of bike racks. They include:
- Hitch-mounted racks – 5 products
- Roof-mounted racks – 5 products
- Trunk-mounted racks – 3 products
The bike racks come with unique characteristics which make them highly appreciated by many cyclists. Among these characteristics is the adjustable spacing between the bikes. With racks that offer even a distance of up to 18-inches between bikes, it is not hard to see why the products of the brand are so popular. Other interesting features of the racks include the capacity to carry bikes of all size. Most Yakima bike racks are able to handle bikes up to 29”. The bikes are often secured with the practical ZipStrips which make the task easier and faster.
So how many bikes can a Yakima rack carry? The racks are made to suit both the individual cyclist and families or group cyclists as well. You are able to choose a design which carries a single bike or a rack which can carry up to four bikes.
With the tilt design, many Yakima-made hitch-mounted racks are able to offer improved practicality. It is when you mount these racks on cars such as SUVs that the design allows you to access the trunks while the bikes are mounted as well. The bikes which can be mounted on Yakima racks include mountain bikes, fat-tire bikes, road, women’s, BMX, e-bikes, hybrids and even kids’ bikes.
Did you know?
- Yakima bike racks come with a lifetime warranty
- Toyota is one of the Yakima partners in the automotive world
- Yakima Singlespeed is one of the lightest hitch-mounted bike racks with its 20lbs weight
- Most products from the manufacturer need no installation tools
- Spareride is one of the few bike racks which mounts on rear-mounted spare tires
- Some Yakima bike racks come with built-in bottle openers
Our Final Verdict
Which brand to choose between Thule and Yakima?
It might be hard to make a final decision between these two leading brands. But at the end of the day, as a cyclist, you have to consider a few variables for an informed decision. The type of car you have has an important role. If you have a van, choosing a roof rack might not be recommended. This is due to the fact that it would further elevate the center of gravity of the vehicle.
On the other hand, some drivers might feel the inconvenience of trunk access with some hitch-mounted designs. This is why it is important to choose a bike rack with a tilt-away or swing-away design. The types of bikes you own also have an important role. The good news is that the racks from both Thule and Yakima work well with different bikes up to 29”.
There are a few considerations you need to make with your car as well. For example, most roof racks can prevent you from using the sunroof of the car. Another example comes with the rear window wiper blades which can become unusable with some trunk-mounted racks.
Both Thule and Yakima offer similar products in terms of quality. But in terms of loading and unloading bikes, Yakima’s FullSwing can be an indication of what to expect with its unmatched practicality. In terms of safety, both manufacturers offer valid solutions. From the knob lock to the adjustable cable lock, you can choose the options which work for you. In terms of installation, Thule has a small advantage with its AutoPin design.
Finally, you should also consider the look of the bike racks. In this aspect, there is no clear winner. The look of the bike racks will be viewed differently by cyclists. Both Thule and Yakima offer different styles you can choose from. Regardless of your brand choice, you should rest assured that the quality of the products is able to serve all your bike-carrying needs.
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