There was a time when I was in high school. I got geared up and loaded up my bike in the car. Yes, you heard that right, I loaded up my bike inside the car. It was so much fun riding along the narrow rocky roads, and everything seemed perfect until I came home.
In pulling out the bike from my car— I found that the front seats, mat, and everything behind the front seats were completely covered in dust and dirt. As a result of my lesson learned, I vowed to never carry my bikes in the car again, but I still had to carry them with me no matter what; therefore, I started searching for roof racks, and my search led me to the Thule UpRide and ProRide roof racks.
As someone who has used both bike racks in the past and found out their benefits and demerits, I thought it would be useful to make a comparison between them to assist people like my past self who are still trying to decide between the two or those having a hard time making their decision.
It’s time for me to share my years of experience with the racks and to let you know which one will win the battle between the Thule UpRide vs. ProRide based on my years of experience.
A comparison of the features of both racks at a glance
There are a lot of you who would like to make a quick decision based on data and facts, I know. For those who don’t have the time to read through detailed comparisons of both products, I’ve created a comparison chart that you can easily use. Let’s spend some time looking at the important stats to assist you in making your decision.
I had a great time with the Thule ProRide and UpRide
I would really like you guys to take a look at my experience with the two products before discussing their similarities and differences. Whether you want to jump right into the sections below or take a closer look, a detailed review of the bike racks will give you a better understanding of the small things.
Thule UpRide Roof Bike Rack
It is a bit difficult to decide where to begin. Let me begin by telling you about how I learned about the rack and what I thought about it for the first time. I never liked roof-mounted racks because I thought they were insecure and unsafe. The questions in my head were playing a game of hopscotch – what if it fell down, if it hit a tunnel or a tree, what if it dents my car’s roof, and so on.
There was a reason why I decided to purchase the Thule UpRide bike rack in the first place. It was quite affordable, which was the biggest reason why I decide to purchase the roof rack in the first place.
If you’re looking for a bike carrier, there are a few things to keep in mind. It weighs about 18.5 pounds, so the weight doesn’t have a big impact on your car. The rack is designed to hold only one bike, and it can carry up to 44 pounds at a time.
My car is a 2017 Lexus NX300, which comes with factory crossbars. I wasn’t sure if the rack would work with the factory crossbars, but it did, and without any tinkering. This experience helped me realize that most sedans and SUVs can be accommodated by the carrier. It is important to remember that SUVs are taller than sedans, which is why it will not be easy to mount the bike without any assistance.
Anyway, the bike that I took with me was the Yeti SB130. It weighs around 29lbs with a wheel size of 29-inches and comes with a rack that I installed on the roof of my car without a problem. However, mounting my bike proved a little more difficult.
I did not experience this problem because of the weight of the bike or my height. It is a little tricky to mount the bike, and it will take a few runs before you get used to it. Once you get used to the mounting process, you will find the task of mounting very easy. In the beginning, I found it very helpful to read the instructions, as it helped me a lot out.
There have not been any visible defects or substantial wear to the rack during my time using it, so I can confidently say that the rack is sturdy and will last for a very long time. The buckles and knobs also worked as they should and did not wobble or loosen as time went on.
Despite the fact that the bike carrier comes with a secure hook and a ratcheting wheel strap to keep your bike secure in one place, the best thing about this carrier is that it doesn’t come in contact with your bike’s frame, preventing unwanted dents from occurring.
You can increase the security of the bike by purchasing additional locks, however they are sold separately. I was not willing to take the risk of risking my precious bike, so I chose to go with additional locks. You have the option to make the final decision.
It is important to note that the Thule UpRide fat bike adapter you may have to purchase if your bicycle has a fatter tire makes it impossible for the rack to accommodate the fatter tire. If your bicycle has a fatter tire, you will be required to purchase a Thule UpRide fat bike adapter to compensate for the fatter tire.
Things I Liked About the Rack
- My mind was at ease, knowing there was nothing to scratch or dent the bike’s frame
- It is suitable for all types of Thule crossbars and can work with most factory crossbars
- I was able to mount my bicycles rather easily
- Any bike with 3-inch-wide wheels and 20-29″ wheel size will sit perfectly on the rack
- It is very easy to switch the carrier from one side to another
What I Think Could be Better
- Locks are sold separately, so that’s a bummer
Thule ProRide XT Roof Bike Rack
This rack is also a single-mounted rack, which means that you will only be able to lug one bike at a time and not more than that. It has a maximum weight capacity of 44 lbs, so if your bike weighs more than that, you shouldn’t use the rack.
I have already mentioned that the bike I use weighs approximately 29 pounds, so I did not have to worry about exceeding the capacity. I also found it to be quite simple to install the rack; however, you will need to have crossbars on your vehicle.
It is the advantage of ProRide that it is compatible with almost all standard car crossbars. Therefore, even if you don’t have your vehicle’s factory crossbars, you can easily buy one and attach it to your vehicle.
Besides wheel straps, the Thule ProRide rack also comes with a frame holder. I was a bit concerned about scratching my bike’s frame, but the holder came with claw pads, which kept my bike securely in place while preventing any chances of my bicycle being scratched or dented by accident. In my opinion, because of the frame jaw, putting my bike up on my car felt safer than putting my bike on the ground.
At first, it appeared a little wobbly; however, after driving for a few miles, I was confident that my bike would not fall off the rack, even though it seemed a bit wobbly at first.
The process of putting my bicycle on the rack was easy. The bike positioned itself on top of the rack automatically once I placed it on top. I did not even need to follow the instructions. It has to be said that while I was trying to mount my bike, the tire straps did get in the way, but it is not a big deal.
In addition to what I found interesting about the carrier, I also found it interesting to note that I was able to switch the carrier from one side to the other without having to use any tools due to the unique interface of the carrier.
It was very helpful to me to use the torque limiter dial. What it does is regulates the force moving into the frame, and it helped me know whether I had properly mounted the bike. Since I often leave my car and bike unattended, I purchased the mount lock (not included with the purchase) to protect my bike and rack from being stolen.
Things I Liked About the Rack
- I didn’t have to remove the rack every now and then because it didn’t increase fuel consumption by much
- As the rack remains at the top, I didn’t have to detach the rack to access the car’s rear, and I never had to compromise visibility while driving
- The rack is very easy to attach, and I didn’t even need to go through the manual to do it
- Frame jaw kept my bicycles secured in place
- I didn’t have any trouble dismounting my bike due to the diagonal quick-release straps
What I Think Could be Better
- The tire straps bothered me a little while I was mounting my bicycle
Similarities Between the Roof Bike Racks
The purpose of your visit is to discover the differences between the carriers, not the similarities between them. Don’t worry; I have a reason to point out the similarities. The reason I would like to point them out is because once you are aware of the similarities between the racks, it will become easier for you to comprehend the differences between them.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that both of these racks have in common. Their manufacturer is Thule, and both of these racks can carry only a single bike. Their maximum capacity is limited to 44lbs, so anything over that will cause the rack some serious damage.
In addition to that, both racks have a limitation when it comes to how big the wheels can be. They can hold bikes with a maximum tire diameter of 29 inches (diameter) and a maximum width of 3 inches as well.
There is one more thing I found in common between both of them, and that is the ratcheting wheel straps. Okay, it’s not entirely the same, and there is a little, but not significantly different difference between the two. However, I’ll discuss that later on.
In terms of durability, I have not noticed anything that is particularly noteworthy during my time with the racks and therefore, I am confident that both of them will last a long time and will fare well in the long run.
In conclusion, both racks are easy to install and remove, and they can also be used with all Thule roof bars and crossbars, as well as all Thule T-track roof bars.
Thule UpRide vs. ProRide
In this post I am going to rant on and on about my experience with the carriers and their similarities, but you will thank me later (if you actually have read it). We are here to see the differences between the racks, so without wasting any more of your time, let’s get on with it.
The Clamp System
It is the clamping mechanism of the rack that makes the most significant difference between the UpRide and ProRide racks. Neither of the racks use hooks that contact the frame of the bike. There are two arms at the front of the rack, along with a ratcheting lever at the back. In order to set your bicycle on the carrier, you will have to adjust both of them.
It’s a little tricky to adjust the hooks, and if you do not do it correctly you’ll either have the bike wobble while you’re driving, or the arms will come into contact with the frame while you’re driving, so make sure that you adjust them correctly.
On the other hand, the ProRide mount has a clamp that goes along with the downtube of your bicycle, and there is a torque limiter dial that allows you to regulate the amount of force that is being applied along the frame of your bicycle.
You will need to adjust the dial on your bike’s clamp to ensure the force is not going into the downtube in a way that is too much or too little. The frame, or more specifically, the downtube, will be inside the clamp.
Because the claw features soft pads, you don’t have to worry about scratching or denting your precious bike when you tighten the clamp. On the other hand, be careful not to exert more force than necessary, or else the excess force may cause severe damage to the frame of your bike.
The Mounting Mechanism
Because the carriers feature different clamping systems, mounting your bikes on the rack cannot be done in the same way as mounting your bike on a rack.
You will have to flip the front arm and use the grey lever at the front of the rack to determine the correct size of your bike wheel before you can mount a bicycle on the UpRide. This will require you to flip the front arm and use the gray lever at the front to determine the correct size of your bicycle wheel.
After that, you will have to open the rear wheel strap and place your bike on the carrier. It is very difficult to adjust the hooks of the carrier because you need to find the perfect balance between them in order to keep your bike in place.
On the contrary, it is much easier for the bike to be positioned on top of the Thule ProRide roof rack because of the clamping system that has only one arm that connects to the downtube of the bike.
It starts with opening the wheel straps and opening the frame clamp. After that, you will need to raise or adjust the arms of your bike to approximately 30 degrees. Next, you will need to place the bike on the rack and ensure that the downtube is in the clamp. The next step is to attach the straps and tighten the clamp, and then you’re ready.
Throughout this article, I have established that both racks have a maximum capacity of 44 pounds, but I have never mentioned the individual weight of either rack throughout the article.
Despite the fact that both bikes have the same capacity, they differ in terms of their weight. The UpRide weighs around 18.5 pounds, while the ProRide weighs only 11 pounds.
It may seem like it is not worth mentioning, but trust me, it is worth mentioning. When you choose the first option, your vehicle will be carrying more weight, which means it will have a greater fuel consumption, or a lower mileage.
It can be said that a heavier rack is more stable than a light carrier in terms of wobbling during long drives. A heavier carrier also means that the tubes are denser, so they can withstand the impact of the impact or the effects of nature better.
On a rainy day or on a dirt track, there is nothing like riding a bike with mudguards to keep yourself away from dirt while you are riding.
I have brought up the topic of mudguards because there is no way that you can mount or carry a bike with a mudguard on the Thule UpRide because the wheel hooks or clamps will crush the guard.
In contrast, the case is different when it comes to the former or the ProRide. This is because the clamp attaches to the downtube of the bike and not the front wheel, so you do not have to worry about flattening the mudguards.
It is important to keep this in mind before you settle on either of the racks, so you can make an informed decision.
Which One Should You Go Home with?
As you can see, both of the racks have their pros and cons, as well as their pros and cons. As an example, mounting a bicycle on the Thule ProRide rack is easy, but the clamp sticks to the frame. However, the UpRide does not have that problem, but you can’t carry bicycles with mudguards.
Obviously, both of these bike racks differ in many ways. For that reason, it is crucial that you take into account the features that you need for your bike and vehicle when making a decision. If your car cannot handle heavyweight, then I would suggest you purchase the ProRide carrier.
If you are looking for a rack that will last for a long time or perhaps you are looking for something that will be stable, then you should consider the Thule UpRide. Ultimately, everything depends upon your needs and preferences.
In terms of choosing between Thule UpRide and Thule ProRide, there cannot be a champion. Maybe the former is the best choice for you, but for someone else the latter may be the best choice. In case you would like to learn more about another Thule roof rack, please read my Thule TopRide & FastRide rack comparison post.