Choosing a car rack can be a task filled with frustration. They can be expensive and a rack that is a pain to use will soon end up collecting dust, whilst you resign yourself to chucking bikes in the boot. Choosing the right car rack can also be confusing, as the vast array of racks available can lead you to give up before you even begin.
The main concerns that you'll probably have when looking at what's on offer are:
- Will it carry all of my bikes?
- Will it hurt my car?
- Will it fall off?
- Will it drop my bikes across the dual carriageway?
All valid considerations, but you should also add:
- Will it take me half an hour to fit?
- Will it damage my bikes?
- Is it going to fill my garage up?
- Will it fit my bikes?
- Will it fit my car in the first place?
Thankfully there is a car rack that answers a resounding �YES� to nine of these questions and an almost definitely to the other (not any of the bad ones).The Thule raceway is one of the most useful , easy, secure, and space saving racks available.
Will it carry all of my bikes?
Depends on how many you have - it carries up to three on the three bike version and up to two on the... well you get the idea.
Will it hurt my car?
The rack couples with the car by two basic connections. The first is the body of the rack itself, which is covered with a textured rubber that doesn't allow it to slide and won't damage the car paint. The cables which hook on to various points at the rear of your car, feature the very same rubber. So all good on the paintwork front.
Will it fall off?
The cables that attach to your car, hook on to the top and bottom shut lines of your motor's boot door. The dials on either side then ratchet in the cables, providing a locked tension tighter than a duck's you-know-what. This coupled with the textured rubber means it isn't going anywhere. The Raceway also has a lock to prevent it being removed from the car by anybody without a key
Will it drop my bikes across the dual carriageway?
Firstly, the body of the rack contains a foam interior to absorb vibration from the road, this prevents the bikes from bouncing on the rack. The rack can deal with up to 15Kg per bike, for a three bike rack that's a hulking 45Kg. If you're not carrying any bikes you could also strap one of your children to the back to end any 'are we there yet' episodes*. The bikes are held down by tough rubber clasps, a cable lock on the back bike, and they're also secured around the seat tube to stop them from swinging about. Your bikes are safe.
Will it take me half an hour to fit?
Nope. The Raceway is ridiculously easy to fit. Unfold it (easy), put it against the back of your car (easy), pull out the cables and hook them on (easy), tighten the ratchet dials (easy), then stand back and have a cuppa (piece of cake).
Watch the video
Will it damage my bikes?
No. There are no mechanise clasps holding the bike so you can't over tighten and crush any carbon. The holding points are also rubber lined to stop damage to any paintwork too.
Will it fill my garage?
No. The Raceway folds up to a flat package and is easily hung out of the way of lawnmowers, kids, golf trolleys, and bikes.
Will it fit my bikes?
The two arms that support your bikes, slide and lock along the width of the rack. This means that bikes with a tiny front triangle can be accommodated. However, you may need a frame adapter for some female specific bikes.
Will it fit my car in the first place?
I've saved the �almost definitely� till the end. Thule have designed the race way to be a rack that can be universally used on as many cars as possible. You can move it between motors with a minimum of fuss and worry. That being said there are a very small number of cars that it won't fit. The hilarious irony being that one of the Thule bosses at the product launch actually owns one of these.
Thule have a brilliant Fit Guide on their website to enable you to check the compatibility of the Raceway with your vehicle.
Are there any downsides?
The only real issue with the Raceway is that you should make sure you're finished in the boot before fitting it, as once it's on you're not getting back into boot. This tiny gripe aside - which affects most rear car racks anyway - the Raceway is a brilliant solution to the normal palaver of fitting bikes to the car.
*Don't do this. Rutland Cycling does not condone, and will not accept responsibility for any damage caused to property or persons by attaching children to a car rack. Even if they are painting the windows with chocolate.