Hitch simply the best way of carrying bikes. But most sedans don’t come with a hitch or cannot even accomodate a hitch. so sedans are usually outfitted with roof racks when the rider is serious enough to commit to a roof rack.
A roof rack is expensive at over $500 and although it usually works very well, it has a few disadvantages. Some are: It drops the mileage of a car by 4-5 mpg when there’s a bike on top and about 1-2 mpg even when there’s no bike mounted. Another is wind noise and pretty much all roof racks will generate some wind noise at speed. And finally, it really there’s always the danger of driving the bikes into a garage when one forgets that there’s bikes up there.
We looked at some trunk mounted racks despite knowing the downsides of these devices. The biggest weakness is they’re just not that good at carrying different style bikes with sloping tubes, odd shaped full suspension frames and precious carbon road frames. Trunk racks are usually inexpensive and temporary ways of transporting bikes. They are particularly popular with beginners and riders who are not fully committed to the cycling lifestyle. We were surprised to see a tray style rack that is trunk mounted.
We ordered it up and here are our first impressions.
- Extremely well made with glass fiber material
- tray rack style is functionality not seen with trunk style racks before
- Cable straps are on adjustable by a ratchet wheel
- Cable straps are lock in place
- mounting and dismounting a bike on the rack only takes a few seconds
- Trunk can still be opened even when rack is attached.
- rack is very compact when folded in place.
- It is heavy and can put stress on the trunk of the car
- 70 lb load weight limit is not enough for two downhill bikes
- $350 price is expensive for a trunk rack.
Notes: We’ve used it a couple times and it’s worked very well so far. We initially installed it wrong and rested the rack on the bumper. We later adjusted it so all weight is on the trunk of the car. It is easy to make this mistake and we suspect many are resting it on the bumper of the car and put stress on that plastic part.
MSRP is $349
Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
Stock Description: Thule Trunk Bike Racks – TH9003
Transporting your bikes goes off without a hitch when you use the Thule Raceway Platform. This tray-style, trunk-mounted 2-bike rack offers easy loading, keeps bikes separated with frame clamps and secures to your trunk with a locking knob.
- Trunk-mounted, platform-style 2-bike carrier provides fast and easy loading
- Sloping, telescoping, aluminum wheel trays minimize lifting, so bike loading is effortless
- Center bikes automatically on the carrier
- Hold wheels in place with soft rubber straps
- Adjust to accommodate most bike sizes, including children’s bikes
- Adjustable bike-frame clamps keep bikes separated and secure during transport
- Grab bikes by top tube or seat post
- Include Thule One Key System lock cylinder to secure bikes to carrier
- Patented FitDial makes mounting the rack to the vehicle quick and easy
- Vehicle-specific number settings make rack adjustment as easy as 1-2-3
- Rack base adjusts to fit your ride with the lift of a lever
- High-strength, retractable cables with hooks anchor the bike rack to the vehicle at 4 points for stability
- Tighten with the turn of oversize, ratcheting knobs
- Locking knob includes Thule One Key System lock cylinder to secure the rack to your vehicle
- Store in hub when not in use
- Store cables in hub when not in use
- Will not fatigue over time like nylon straps
- Tighten with the turn of oversize, ratcheting knobs
- Platform folds up and upright bar folds down for flat storage
- Molded rubber pads on rack base protect vehicle’s trunk or hatch from scratches and abrasions
- Carrying capacity: 2 bikes
- Weight capacity: 70 lbs
- Arms where the bikes sit measure 23″ long
- Works with most factory spoilers
- Limited lifetime warranty
The Thule Raceway Platform two-bike carrier gives you the convenience of a wheel-mount-style carrier even if you don’t have a trailer hitch. The tray-mount design allows for bike loading and unloading at a lower, more manageable height, and the telescoping base adjusts to carry a variety of bikes, including children’s. Adjustable bike-frame clamps grab each bike at the top tube or seat post, keeping your bicycles separated and secure. The clamps also lock to secure your bikes to the carrier.
The Raceway uses Thule’s patented FitDial system to ensure a snug fit on your vehicle and to make installation a snap. The included instructions indicate which FitDial number is right for your vehicle; simply lift the lever and adjust the arm until the arrow lines up with the right number.
Sure-Tight ratcheting cables are extremely sturdy and provide outstanding security for your bicycles. They require only four attachment points for safe use, unlike standard straps, which require six attachment points. Having fewer straps makes it easier for you to put the rack on and take it off as needed. The installation instructions indicate the best attachment points for your vehicle. Hook the cables around the trunk panel, then tighten them by turning one of the oversize ratcheting knobs. The locking knob keeps the cables in place and deters would-be thieves when your trunk is closed.
The locking clamps and locking knob both use Thule’s One Key System lock cylinders, so they lock with the same key. These cylinders can also be changed out to make all your Thule products keyed alike.
The bike rack folds up for storage or for those times when you’re not carrying bikes but don’t want to remove the carrier.