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Thule Speedway Bike Rack Fits Almost Any Vehicle

Reviewing: Thule Speedway 961  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Cars & Motorcycles Expertise:
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The Thule Speedway rear mount bike rack model will fit on the trunk or back hatch of nearly any vehicle. Its six-strap system and adjustable arms allow it to be modified to securely carry two or three bikes

The model that I own (961) will carry two bikes, but the 962 is designed for three bikes. There is some assembly of the parts when you buy the rack. This is the only complicated thing about this rack. You may need to spend some time getting it set up for your vehicle. There is a chart book (similar to looking up your windshield wipers or oil filter) with makes and years of cars. Based on the information in the chart you set the bars into the hub on each side of the rack at a certain angle. They claim it will fit any vehicle. It seems likely to me that this is a bit of a stretch, but the list includes 40 makes (various years and models). There is a number coded list of tips for each mounting, to help you understand the setup. An example of such a tip would be “#10 Set lower clip/hook onto edge of structural bumper located behind plastic bumper.”

Once you get the rack set up for your vehicle it is easy to mount it each time you want to use it. It takes me about 2 minutes... just hold the rack against the vehicle and slip the clips at the ends of the straps around the edges of the hatchback. If the straps have worked loose a bit you can tighten them at this time. Excess strap length can be accordion folded and held in place by small velcro straps so there are no long strap ends flapping as you drive.

It’s also easy to place the bike on the rack. Lift it so that the top bar is above the protruding rods and slide it into place. The bar should rest in the rubber cradles on the rack rods. Each of these rubber cradles has a strap with holes. Pull the strap and latch a hole onto the hook on the other side of your bike bar.

If I am going to be traveling a long distance I usually fasten the bike wheels with a bungie strap, but it’s not really necessary. I have driven without this extra strap; I’m just fussy about having the bike wheel spin or the bikes wobbling a bit.

They claim you can even use this on hatchbacks which have glass all the way to the top, by just slamming the strap in the door, instead of using a mounting hook. I’ve only used it on my vehicle, so I can’t be sure how well this works.

I’ve carted my bike everywhere from New York to North Dakota in all kinds of conditions and terrain, and this rack has worked really well. I’ve owned this for about six years and have had no problems with it whatsoever.

Five-year warranty. Oddly enough, I cannot find any information on the type of metal used for these racks, but they appear to be some sort of aluminum alloy.

Good things:

- 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. I worried about this a lot at first- how much they would stretch. I still check them somewhat compulsively at rest stops, but you do not need to keep them as taut as a bow-string! The stretch a little in the rain, but apparently not enough to be a problem.

- 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 so you can slip it inside the vehicle when the bike is not being transported.

Not so good things:

- It’s really easy to forget it’s back there. It makes the car about two feet longer.

- On some cars, mine included, 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:

- How low to the ground the bike tire travels. Not a problem most of the time, but steeply angled driveways or exceedingly bumpy roads may be an issue. I’ve had to take the bike off to back up in certain situations at odd angles

- 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.