“Best rated upright bike rack available on the net”

It has been interesting searching through the web and analyzing customer feedback to search for a winner of best roof mounted rack. There are plenty of upright bike racks that fall well short of giving enough customer satisfaction to enough users.

So what has led to us deciding on the Thule 594XT Sidearm roof mounted bike carrier coming out on top?

Obviously, the usual things matter:

  • Ease of use
  • Safety
  • Durability
  • Quality materials

The Thule 594XT sidearm bike rack is not perfect, for example ease of use is twofold. First of all installing the bike rack and then second of all loading and unloading your bikes.

thule 594xt sidearm roof bike rackWell on the first count there is much talk about the installation instructions not being clear enough and the installing of the tray to the roof bars being too fiddly. Our experience of this rack has been as follows. There are no tools required, which is good news. If you are clear about how to pre-assemble and loosely assemble the mounting hardwear as you attach the tray to the roof bars it’s pretty easy. However, we can’t deny that a few people complain that it isn’t easy enough!

And on the second count? The loading and unloading of the bikes is simple, quick and easy which as far as we are concerned is important with roof mounting, otherwise it’s a frustrating job. Well Thule has made that task with this rack easy.

Let’s take a closer look.

Getting your bike loaded

Depending upon which side of the vehicle you want the bike rack installed, the passenger side or drivers side, will determine which way round you attach the ratcheting arm base, because this should always be facing you when you are loading or unloading your bike to make life much easier for you.

Installing more bike racks on the roof bars need the ratcheting arm base for each rack facing the side of the vehicle you will be on when you load your bike onto that particular bike rack.

The mounting hardware requires no tools to lock the bike rack tray to the roof bars. It is a simple process, the mounting hardware is loosely assembled, it then slides into a channel on the bike tray and the tray is then attached to the roof bar by threading through and tightening the wing knobs.

thule 594xt sidearm roof mount bike rack security lockThe mounting hardwear has a cover that locks with a key to safely secure the tray to the roof bars and prevent theft (this is sold separately).

When the tray is mounted onto the roof bars there is a rubber wheel adapter provided which can be set for a mountain bike or road bike and securely clamps the back wheel into the tray.

thule 594xt sidearm roof mount bike rack ratcheting armYou are then ready to load the bike. First make sure the front ratcheting arm is in the forward position and the wheel loop is in the down position. The bike can be stood up with the wheels in the bike tray and the front wheel slotted into the front wheel loop.

The ratcheting arm can then be pulled up over the front wheel where the hook is secured a couple of inches in front of the forks.

thule 594xt sidearm roof mount bike rackThe hook pulls down on a ratchet until it is secured and tight. The ratchet arm then locks with a key to make sure the bike remains securely held down and to stop thieves removing the bike from the rack.

Finally the rear wheel strap is strapped down and the bike is then really well attached to the rack and you are ready to drive.

Taking the bike off the rack when you reach your trail literally takes a few seconds and loading again takes thirty seconds or so.

This is one of Thule’s most popular roof mounted bike racks and it is compatible with Thule aero blades, square bars, Yakima round bars, Whispbar and in fact most roof bars.

Thule’s SecureHook™ cleverly grips the front wheel instead of the bike frame, which means different shapes and sizes of frames and frame tubes, thru axles and disk brakes also do not affect clamping down, making this a very flexible rack.

The rack is manufactured from corrosion resistant double aluminum tray for greater durability and strength.

thule 594xt sidearm roof mount bike rack lockingThe ratchet hook can be locked and the front mounting hardware base can be locked using the 2 One Key™ cylinders (these are sold separately. This locking system locks the bike to the rack and the rack to the roof bars for added security.

The tray fits bikes with 20-inch to 29-inch wheels and with tires measuring from 1-inch to 2.6-inches wide, which provides lots of flexibility to fit many types of bikes.

Staying in touch with 4 points

There are several advantages with this frame. There are 4 points of contact for additional clamping security. The 2 wheels are sat in the tray and fixed. The front wheel sits back in a wheel loop to secure it and stop twisting. The front wheel is clamped down onto the rack with a padded hook.

You get total frame protection because nothing clamps to the frame, which means no damage to the frame.

A corrosion resistant double-wall aluminum tray provides maximum strength and durability.

The Thule 594XT rack weighs a total of 22 lbs and has a carrying weight limit of 37½ lbs if the tray is attached to factory roof racks or 50 lbs if it is attached to Thule fit roof bars.

thule 594xt sidearm roof mounted bike rack

Fits Thule Wing Bars
Fits Thule Aero Bars
Fits Thule Square Bars
Fits Rhino Sports Bars
Fits Prorack Whisp Bars
Fits Rola RBU series Bars (universal T-track)
Fits Rola Sports Bars
Fits Thule Professional Bars
Fits Thule Slide Bars
Fits Rhino Commercial Bars

A long road to travel

If a manufacturer wants to give its customers some peace of mind it seems reasonable to back their own bike racks with a lifetime warranty. After all a bike rack that is looked after should give you years of service.

Happily this manufacturer gives you this peace of mind because all Thule Bike Racks are backed by a Lifetime Warranty.

The Bike Rack Test: Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Bike Rack

The 7 essential ‘components’ that go into making a good bike rack:

1. Quick and simple to install –
The instructions for installing the rack to the roof bars aren’t great so it could be made easier if the instructions were better. However, once you’ve done it once it’s good.
Component Grade 7/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
2. Attaches very snugly –
Good attachment and a good fit once it’s installed properly.
Component Grade 8/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
3. Quick and easy to load and unload bikes –
It’s about as easy as it gets to install a bike onto a roof mount rack, though never as easy as it is at the back of the vehicle.
Component Grade 8/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
4. Loading system that fits a variety of bike frames and bike sizes –
Fits bikes from 20-inch to 29-inch wheels so this is a very flexible rack for carrying lots of different bikes.
Component Grade 9/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
5. Secure 2x locking system –
Security is provided with 2 one key cylinders, one locks the rack to the roof bars and the other locks the bike to the rack. It is very neat and only one key is needed which is really good. The problem is – these Thule Lock Cylinders have to be purchased as an extra, we feel it’s a must, so come on Thule this should be included at no cost.
Component Grade 9/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
6. Designed to stop damage –
4 points of attachment makes the bike secure on top and the frame isn’t touched so there is no chance of scratching to the frame which is good.
Component Grade 9/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
7. Anti-road vibration technology –
The attachment system holds the loaded bike a 4 places and the hook pulls the bike downwards into the rack. This deals well with vibration and the hook can be locked in place (if you buy the locking cylinders).
Component Grade 10/10 [1 to 10 (Pass grade is 7) 1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]

The Bike Rack Test Grades – Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Mount Bike Rack

Essential components Research includes:
Features; Manufacturer Marketing Literature; Customer comments, Review site, User reviews
Grade – 1 to 10 (Pass is 7)
[1-very bad, 3-bad, 5-average, 6-okay, 7-good, 9-very good, 10-excellent]
1. Easy installation Extensive information available 7
2. Solid Attachment Extensive information available 8
3. Easy bike loading / unloading Extensive information available 8
4. Fits many bike sizes & frames Extensive information available 9
5. Secure 2 locking system Extensive information available 9
6. Damage prevention design Extensive information available 9
7. Anti-vibration technology Extensive information available 10
    Total grade: 60

Passes every component (scored 7 and above). Total grade of 60 out of 70.

It’s nice to know what people think! …

Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Mount Bike Rack

Pros: Cons:
  • Easy to load bikes
  • Weight is properly distributed on the roof
  • Nice locking system
  • Good not having to remove the front wheel
  • Bike is held secure
  • Stable
  • Lightweight
  • Quality long lasting materials
  • Poor instructions to install rack
  • Awkward to install
  • Security system isn’t secure enough

Any Complaints?

We have spent time searching and analyzing user feedback and there are a couple of concerns regarding this rack.

First a few people have been frustrated at how difficult it is to install the tray to the roof bars. However, when we tested it we found that loosely pre-assembling the mounting hardwear to the tray prior to attaching to the roof bars makes the whole procedure pretty straightforward. However, the good news is once the rack is attached, loading and unloading your bike is the easiest in this bike rack class.

Another concern has been the locking system of bike to rack is not robust enough. It is certainly a deterrent having a key lock on the rack, however, additional bike lock security can be added to secure your bike to the rack if you intend to leave your bike unattended on a regular basis.

86% of the comments from users are extremely positive regarding this rack. It very sturdy when loaded which is crucial and a real bonus when you don’t have to remove the front wheel which is a real benefit. And it is a doddle to get a bike on and off this rack which is definitely terrific news for a roof mounted rack.

We have looked at and analyzed tons of owner’s reviews taking on board their genuinely valuable feedback and the online ratings are as follows:

***** Average 4.3 out of 5 stars from 70 online customer user reviews, which is good user feedback and support’s it as the best rated roof mount bike rack online.

Where Can I Get The Best Price?

We continue to track online pricing for this Thule 594XT Sidearm bike rack. The most competitive price on the internet from a seller you can have confidence buying from is Amazon. Go to Amazon to buy this Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Mount Bike Rack, because they offer such a competitive price, you know you get customer support you can have confidence in and this product has free shipping with super saving shipping. Bear in mind though, it is a popular bike rack and good value, so it often sells out, so if you need a reliable roof mounted quality bike rack then avoid missing out and order now if you see they still have some in stock.

Where Can I Read More Reviews for the Thule 594XT Sidearm Roof Mount Bike Rack?

Get reviews from people who have bought and use the bike rack, read them at Amazon. Click here to read more customer reviews.