Review: Thule ProRide 591 Bike Carrier
Thule are famed for their quality roof racks and bike carriers, and a very high percentage of those found on UK and European roads come from the Swedish brand. The ProRide 591 sits towards the top of the brand's line-up of bike frame-clamping roof carriers, and it is a feature-packed option that performs faultlessly.
The Thule ProRide 591 is fairly easily identifiable by other road users, due to its unique frame design; with a distinctive curvature of the base rail. Whilst this might look like one of those innovative streamlined truck designs, it's not an aero addition at all, but actually holds a very useful purpose. The curvature means when you place the bike's wheels in the rail, and lift the clamping arm, the forward momentum on the wheels created by the curvature, helps to keep the bike resting against the clamp. Good looks and great functionality - neat!
It's not just this easy placement system that has been considered with the 591 though; the secure clamping mechanism is also easier to operate than most. Whereas most designs require you to scrabble up on the car and close the clamp on the down-tube of the bike itself, the ProRide features an easily accessible turning knob, located on the base rail. The knob makes tightening and opening the clamp far easier; you simply place the bike in the carrier, then turn the knob until it is tightly held in place. You can then lock the clamp to secure. Releasing is easy too, and a small button releases the spring-loaded clamp, and it pops open. It's a logical, but very sensible solution to the uncomfortable stretching required with most designs!
The way the bike mounts to the carrier is much improved over the standard then, but so too is the way the carrier itself mounts to the roof rails...
The ultimate partnership for the Thule carriers, is with one of Thule's new style roof racks, such as the AeroBar, WingBar or SlideBar. With these designs, you simply use the provided T-Track adapters, to perfectly position and secure the carrier to the roof bars. Alternatively, if you're still sporting one of the "retro" box section roof rail sets (like myself), then the carrier secures to the rack with an adjustable metal clamp.
Whether you use the T-Track adapters or the clamp system, the Thule ProRide has the great ability to actually lock the carrier to the roof rails. Being able to lock the bike to the carrier, and the carrier to the car, means a significant improvement in security over most systems; which typically just offer the first of these two. We all know you shouldn't leave bikes on the car for a prolonged period, but this is a bit of extra peace of mind, when you do leave your car unattended.
The other features of the ProRide are fairly standard, but as expected they are top-level in terms of quality. The quick release straps for the wheels, for example, are strong and easy to use; whilst also suitable for any depth of rim section or width of tyre. The lock keys are strong, and you get three keys in a pack, which is useful for when you have multiple users of the carrier.
Overall, the Thule ProRide 591 is a pretty faultless option. The build quality is so good that this is actually the only roof-mounted bike carrier on the market that has a carrying capacity of up to 20 kilograms (if you happen to have a bike made of lead!). That high level of quality is also reflected in the rack's ease of use, and the durability of its component parts.
If you're looking for a roof rack bike carrier that will securely take a wide range of bike types and sizes, and stand the test of time, then this is very hard to beat, both in terms of specification and value.
View the Thule range at Thule.com (Link)
|Quality straps with rubber pads to protect the rims of your wheels.|
|The closing knob, and quick release button make for easy mounting and removal.|
|Secure and safe. The rubber jaws are also gentle on your frame.|