A fork-mounted rack literally made my jaw drop the first time I saw it. When I first saw it, I couldn’t comprehend why someone would choose to use it instead of a roof-mounted carrier. It just didn’t make sense to me. I cannot understand why someone would go through the trouble of opening a front wheel in order to mount a bike on it?
As a result, I feel embarrassed to even be able to recall how I felt about fork-mounted racks at one point, since now I understand how much easier it is to mount a bicycle on top of your car once you do not have to worry about the front wheel weighing you down.
The problem that I faced is the fact that I’m neither very tall nor a bulky guy, so I had to go through a lot of hassles to lift up my bike to the top of the car and mount it. With a fork-mounted rack, I did not have to contend with these issues, even when I used an SUV for my journey.
When I did not have the front wheel on my bicycle, it felt as though the weight of it was negligible.
I have been a big fan of such racks for quite some time now. Anyway, I have tried out quite a number of fork-mounted carriers over the course of the past few years, and among them, I have come to find the Thule TopRide and FastRide to be absolutely excellent.
My mind began wandering. I thought to myself, which one of the Thule TopRide vs. FastRide racks is better suited for your car and bike? So, today I am here to show you guys which one of these carriers is better suited for your car and bike?
The Two Roof Bike Racks that I used for my Run
While you guys are here to learn about the differences between the racks, I am still going to share my experience and give you a general overview of what you can expect from the carriers. I believe that the more you know about the carriers, the better you will be able to analyze them.
A Review of Thule’s UpRide and ProRide After My Time With Them
It would be very much appreciated if you could take a moment to hear about my experiences with the two products before diving into their similarities and differences. Taking a closer look at the bike racks is okay if you jump right in, but it will help you to understand the little things better if you take a closer look.
Thule TopRide Roof Mounted Bike Rack
After having used the UpRide and ProRide carriers in the past, I was already a big fan of Thule. But before using or buying the TopRide carrier, I had used the UpRide and ProRide carriers and I felt both were worth the money they cost. However, the TopRide carrier is a little different from the two I have mentioned above.
It is a fork-mounted bike carrier which only works on bikes with quick release and thru-axle, so the front wheel must be carried separately. I took a little time to get used to it, as I was unfamiliar with the whole mounting system. It became more convenient over time, and I was able to complete the process in a matter of seconds.
The best thing about fork-mounted racks is that they are extremely lightweight. The TopRide carrier weighs only 7.7 pounds, so it does not take long for the user to place it on top of the frame, and it is quite easy to install.
It is important to keep in mind that one of the disadvantages of such racks is that you have to remove the front wheel every time you plan on mounting your bike on it. I have a mountain bike with a thru-axle, and opening the front wheel only takes a matter of seconds.
It is still necessary to have the thru-axle or quick release attached to the bike rack once you have opened the front door. I usually keep my bike’s thru-axle attached prior to putting it on the carrier. However, the quick release or thru-axle can also be attached to the front of the rack, so that the bike can be positioned afterward.
A bike rack is an extremely easy way to mount a bicycle. The TopRide comes with Thule AcuTight torque limit knob that makes a click sound and shows a green sign when the bike is perfectly positioned on the rack, making it easy to mount on the rack. The bicycle simply needs to be lifted, placed on the rack, and then the front or thru-axle can be slid on.
With the help of the included adapters, your rack can quickly and easily accommodate quick-release and thru-axles measuring 12x100mm, 15x100mm, 12x110mm, and 15x110mm, but if your bicycle features a 20x110mm axle, then you’ll need to purchase an additional adapter.
The rear wheel is secured at the back by a strap, which can be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit, so I did not have any issues here with securing the wheel.
It is still unclear what to do with the front wheel, however. I used to keep it inside the car the first few times, but that was not a good idea for me. To solve this problem, I purchased a wheel holder and installed it on the other side of the crossbar. Now my bike as well as my front wheel are on top of the roof and I can ride as long as I want.
Things I Like About the Rack
- It weighs only 7.7 pounds
- Mounting my bike on the rack was not even a challenge
- Due to the audible click and the green sign, I was confident that my bicycle was securely placed
- The rack was suitable for bikes that came with both quick-release and thru-axle
- The wheel strap made sure the rear didn’t wobble much during the ride
Things That Could’ve Been Better
- The locking cable seemed a little too weak and could be sliced open without much effort
Thule FastRide Roof Mounted Bike Rack
It is only when both sides are equally strong as well as fierce that a battle feels like it is at its best. Therefore, I had to choose something that could stand up to Thule’s very own FastRide roof-mounted bike rack, since I wanted something that could stand up against the TopRide carrier.
There was no difference in my overall experience with both racks from the beginning to the end. If one was, let’s say, a hitch rack, then things would have been quite different.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the FastRide carrier. It weighs only 7.3 pounds and has an easy installation process that is almost exactly the same as TopRide’s. Installing the rack is also very easy and does not take too long. All roof-mounted racks require a crossbar, which is a requirement for any roof-mounted racks, but the good news is that FastRide is compatible with all Thule and T-track crossbars.
There are a few things different about this rack’s mounting system than the one I used on my bike. Here, I had to lift my bike up and then put the front part (without the wheel) on the axle of the rack. After positioning the rack, there is a knob for the torque limiter which I had to rotate a few times until it clicked into place.
One thing that I didn’t like about the rack is that it only accommodates bikes that have a 9mm quick-release axle, so if your bike doesn’t have that, you’ll need to purchase an adapter for it, which will require you to buy it separately.
The TopRide carrier also came equipped with a locking cable, but without a core. To increase the security of the carrier, I had to purchase the core separately from the carrier, just like it did with the TopRide carrier.
As a result, I was able to drive more peacefully on bumpy roads because the bike, even on bumpy roads, did not wobble as much as before. There was no unnecessary vibration from the bike on the FastRide rack.
Things I Like About the Rack
- It is very easy to install the rack
- I didn’t need to keep the quick-release axle handy to mount the bicycle
- It weighs only a few founds, so lifting it to the top wasn’t a challenge
- I was able to switch the rack from the driver to the passenger side without any effort
- The carrier is compact, so there was a lot of space left on top of my car
Things That Could’ve Been Better
- I had to buy an adapter to mount my thru-axle bikes
What Are The Similarities Between the Thule TopRide and FastRide
As I have given you my honest opinion about the carriers so far, let me move on to the points which are similar between them. Once you see the points where they are similar, you will be able to see where the differences lie.
The two racks have a lot of things in common. The obvious one is that they both have fork-mount carriers, and the less obvious one is that both are made of aluminum and have a powder coating to protect them from corrosion.
There is no difference in the installation process of the racks. They can easily be switched from one side to another with minimal effort and hassle. Both carriers come with a locking cable, but are not equipped with a core, which means you will have to purchase it separately.
With the FastRide and TopRide carriers, there is an adjustable wheel strap at the rear for securing the back wheel in the racks. Both carriers are compact, so that you will have a lot of space left on the top of your vehicle.
Thule TopRide vs FastRide
After having discussed the differences between the two racks, here is the part of the review that you’ve all been looking forward to – the reason why one of these racks is better than the other or, in other words, why one is more suited to your needs than the other.
The Mounting Pattern
In terms of how the bikes have to be mounted on these racks, each of them has a unique design that makes them all different from each other in terms of how they are mounted on them.
If you want to mount a bike on the TopRide rack, you have to place the adapter (included with the purchase) either inside the front panel of the rack or set it up on the front wheel area with the thru-axle before mounting it. The top of the rack has a green indicator and a release lever on the top.
As soon as you put your bicycle on the rack and slide it forward, you’ll hear a click and the indicator on the rack will turn green, indicating that your bike has been secured securely to the rack.
In contrast, FastRide racks do not involve any sliding in order to secure the front of the bike. It is simply a matter of taking up the bike and placing it on the adapter, which is located at the front portion of the carrier. You rotate the knob until it is snug enough to hold the front in place.
Quick-Release and Thru Axle
It is also noteworthy that one of the racks (TopRide) is compatible with both quick-release bikes and bicycles with thru-axles, while the other rack (FastRide) can only transport bicycles with quick-releases.
It is true that there is a catch to this story. Thule TopRide racks come with multiple adapters, which are included with the purchase; therefore, the rack can be used for bikes that have thru axles or quick-release axles.
As for FastRide, however, the situation is very different. The rack is designed to work only with 9mm quick-release bicycles of the standard type. However, if you get your hands on the adapters, which must be purchased separately, then you will be able to mount both types of bicycles.
Dismounting the Bikes
In this case, you can already guess that if the mounting process is different, it is clear that if you dismount the bikes from the rack in a different way, you will also have to do a different thing. Yes, you did guess, right. They’re not the same, and I do believe that removing a bike from a TopRide carrier is easier than removing a bike from a FastRide carrier.
Having said that, here is what you need to do when it comes to the former. As I told you before, there is an indicator on the rack as well as a front panel that clicks when you slide a thru-axle onto it. There is also a release lever right near the indicator and slightly behind it.
When dismounting your bicycle, all that needs to be done is to press the release lever, which will unlock the bicycle’s axle from the panel, and then you can simply pull it out when you are ready to go.
You have to pull the front part of the bike off the rack and then remove the wheel straps if you are using the FastRide rack. Alternatively, if you are using Thule’s AcuTight torque limiter, then you need to turn the knob backward and loosen up the axle.
It basically comes down to the fact that TopRide lets you dismount using a release lever, while FastRide requires you to turn a knob in order to do so.
Drawing the Curtain
As you have thought through all the facts and details, you will now be able to decide which one of the two racks is better than the other. Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference between the two racks as far as durability and security are concerned.
There is no doubt that if I were to choose one of them, I would choose the Thule TopRide roof-mounted rack over the FastRide one. It is not because the carrier is better than the FastRide, but because I like its overall design. That is my opinion, and you may feel differently.
For example, if you asked me for recommendations in order to help you decide which Thule TopRide rack would be most appropriate for your needs, I would tell you to go through the details and see which one would be most suitable for you.