This newest iteration of the Thule Bike Rack for mounting on a car is better than ever, with only one small change that I’m not sure I like.
The Thule Speedway 961 bike rack that I bought several years ago is still serving me very well, but hubby decided he wanted one of his own since we are often going in different directions for our recreation. He went looking, and his choice was the same rack, now called the Thule Passage 910, but of course the design has evolved a little bit.
This comes unassembled in the box, but there are complete directions as to how to assemble it for each particular vehicle. They claim that it will fit any vehicle, and it does have a long list of vehicles with a key for which slots on the hub to place the bars into. Hubby thought that the diagrams weren’t quite as helpful as he would have liked, but he got it set up for his car. One significant difference is that I have a hatchback Subaru Forester, and he has a small sedan... very different car types, and yet this rack does indeed work beautifully on each body type.
The basic design has not changed. There are two U-shaped support bars with foam padding that are pressed against the vehicle. These are held in place by six nylon straps that simply clip around the edges of the rear opening of the vehicle- trunk or hatchback. These adjust easily and can are tightened by pulling the strap through a locking buckle. The extra length of strap is a problem with the newer model. Mine came with little velcro straps to fasten these down so they don’t flap. These velcro straps apparently no longer come with the rack.
Even with a trunk mount the bike is carried vertically behind the car. Protruding from the “hub” into which the two U-supports fit are two short bars. The top tube of the bike rests on rubber cradles on the bar. One big change from the older model is that the rubber strap which fits over the bike tube used to be all part of the cradle. Now there is a separate piece of rubber which you clip over the top bike tube. It’s pretty much the same system, but I’m sure I would lose that separate piece. Hubby says that he keeps them in the glove compartment when he’s not using them.
The new model does come with an extra strap to tie the wheels together. Hubby says he doesn’t like this much and plans to buy a bungee strap to hold them, the same as I have done.
He really likes it that you can fold the bars that hold the bike down. This makes it easy to slip the rack in the car when not in use, and he also prefers to fold them down if the car is parked without the bike on it.
This model will carry two bikes. You can purchase what is essentially the same rack, model 911, but with slightly longer bars so that three bikes will fit.
Last week a friend stopped by, wanting to leave her bike and rack at our house because she was afraid her rack was coming off her car. She was right. I don’t know what brand it was, but trying to work with hers, after enjoying the ease and security of the Thule racks, I am even more impressed with how well these work.
The following lists are really similar to my list with the other Thule Speedway rack
- It’s really easy to mount on the vehicle.
- Even if the straps are not super tight they don’t seem to come off when you are driving
- It’s really easy to get the bikes on and off.
- You can rotate the bars on which your bike sits to make them lie flat to the rest of the rack making it more compact
Not so good things:
- It’s really easy to forget it’s back there. It makes the car about two feet longer.
- You could lose the rubber strap top pieces
- You have to supply your own solution to the extra lengths of nylon strap
- On some cars you can’t use the rear wiper when it’s mounted.- Depending on the shape of your bike you may need to be careful about the following:
- On my hatchback the bike rides low enough that I need to be careful on steep driveways, on hubby’s car the bike rides higher
- Where the bike tire rides in relation to the exhaust pipe. Once I mounted the bike so that tire was too close to the exhaust and ruined a tire.
- There is no security. You can’t lock the rack to the car. You could conceivably lock the bikes to each other and/or to the rack. This would make it more annoying to steal the whole mess, but it’s certainly not actually secure