In this Thule UpRide 599 Review we will look in detail at Thule’s top-end, roof-mounted bike rack.
The UpRide 599 is a premium bike rack but does that premium justify the design? Is it easy to install on your car roof? How quickly can you get a bike on and off? It looks a little unusual, does the bike wobble at speed?
We will answer all those questions and more in detail in this Thule UpRide Review.
The review is quite long so skip ahead to the section that interests you or sit back and enjoy your coffee.
This review is about all the aspects of fastening the UpRide 599 to your EXISTING ROOF BARS and then using it with a variety of wheel types and bike/frame types – including carbon.
Thule was founded in 1942 but its pedigree for bike carriers started in the 1960s. Thule has diversified into a wide range of related products from aero roof bars to jogging buggies, backpacks and towbar bike mounts.
Thule Bike Fitting LOCATION Options
On your car roof, one these 3 alternatives will most likely be possible: a bracket specific to your roof shape that clips into the door frame: attachments for a dealer installed roof rail; OR a T-track. This review assumes that you have already figured out how to get two roof bars on your car roof – and that can be somewhat convoluted if you have an unusual car, good luck!
A further rack type option is a roof mounted bike rack that requires you to remove the front wheel and then your bike’s forks attach to the Thule OutRide 561 rack (link). This will help eliminate wobble during transport on a cheaper design but you have a rather large wheel to carry inside the car.
Fitting on your existing roof bars
I’m assuming you already have a roof bar. But there are different kinds & shapes of roof bars.
By default the Thule UpRide 599 assumes that you have a roof bar with a standard 20mm T-track, as shown above. (ie a track for T-shaped bolts to fit in to)
T-Tracks can also be found on several non-Thule brands.
The Thule UpRide 599, by default, also supports Thule’s own WingBar, SideBar and AeroBar models. If you have one of these all you need to do is buy the UpRide 599 and you should have all the parts you need. NO ADAPTERS NEEDED.
Some cars, like BMWs, have a non-standard T-track and, in the case of BMW, require a 24mm T-track adapter (Thule part: 889-1)
Older cars, with older square bars like mine, require an adapter kit (Thule part: 889-8).
As shown on the image to the right., this adapter kits provides the 80mm U-bolt clamps that fasten the UpRide around your roof bar
Got all that? Then you are good to go…
You will need to buy the rather large box with a top that looks like this.
Open the box up and you will get a bike rack that is mostly pre-assembled along with the following additional pieces.
These parts form: 3 levers; 2 locks; a rear wheel protector made of rubber; and a hexagonal allen wrench/key.
In my case I will be attaching to Thule square roof bars and so I discard the 3 bolts shown above and instead use the contents of the Around-the-Bar-Adapter kit. Note: I still KEEP the levers and cylindrically shaped nuts.
I’m not going to give step-by-step installation instructions. Thule’s manual is in an “IKEA-format” ie instructive pictures with a minimal amount of words.
However I am going to comment on some of the installation steps and things to watch out for as it is a little daunting to open the UpRide 599 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the UpRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, mounting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
It’s a good idea to partly assemble the mount on the ground so that you can figure out which way the nuts, bolts, levers, locks and 80mm U Bolt Clamps all fit together.
and like this
And you should also put on the rubber protector to the rear strap.
Have a good play with the locks too. Both at the rear of the rack which is used to stop your bike being stolen
and the lock which stops the bike rack from being removed and stolen from your roof bars. Both keys are the same
Fitting of the UpRide 599 on the Roof Bars
I would imagine that the T-Bar installation is super-straightforward.
Instead I used the adapter kit with square roof bars.
Getting the clamps from the adapter kit around the square bar for the first required a bit of fiddling. But once you’ve figured out where everything goes and how it tightens up, it soon becomes ‘obvious’ (with hindsight).
The UpRide is the heaviest of Thule’s roof mounted bike racks but can easily be lifted by one person. In the preparation of this Thule UpRide 599 Review I looked at other Thule roof-mounted bike racks and the 599 was the heaviest.
The brackets that fasten my roof bar to the car body sometimes got in the way of where I would like to attach the UpRide. Re-site the UpRide further from the edge, ensure it’s straight and tighten up the levers – use the lock if you want to fasten it more securely to the bar.
It will be fine to align the UpRide’s position by eye. It’s good to align it exactly pointg forward but don’t worry too much if you are an inch out.
The UpRide CAN be modified (without any additional new parts) so that the controls can be used on either the left-side or right-side of your car. It’s explained in the manual and take about 15 minutes to do.
I managed to install one UpRide and 3 of the older style Thule bike racks simultaneously on one car (ie 4 bike racks). A total of 3 is relatively easy but adding the fourth bike required the pedals to be removed from the bikes and was quite a squeeze. If you are going to install 3 or 4 bike racks then you will need to alternate the direction in which they face (forward-back-forward-back) and you will need to ensure that the various closing mechanisms on each of the bike racks are relatively easily accessible. Good luck 😉 !
I am not sure if it would be possible to have 3 or 4 UpRide racks on one car. 2 is certainly possible. 3 probably is possible but I doubt if 4 would fit together as the UpRide is wider than the other Thule bike racks. The following image shows the UpRide as the third from the left – as you can see it takes up quite a bit more space (width) than the others. Then again, maybe your car is wider than my estate.
Putting Your Bike on the UpRide 599
I have a wide variety of bikes from kids’ bikes to carbon fibre racing bikes and a relatively heavy aluminium-framed mountain bike. I tried them all for this Thule UpRide 599 Review .
The heavier bikes are obviously harder to lift onto the roofrack of whichever brand of rack you buy.
The UpRide 599 DOES look horrendously complex with the way it attaches to the front wheel of your bike. However I would say it is probably quicker and easier, in reality, to get a heavy mountain bike into a semi-secure position (where you can let go of it on the UpRide 599) than it is on other models. It just doesn’t look like that!!
Ultimately you want it to end up looking something like this, with the base of the wheel all the way forwards to the front of the rack.
To get to that point. First you do this with the lever that attaches to the front of the wheel
and then you raise the one to the rear (as shown below) and slide it down tightly onto the tyre
The KEY thing to ensure is that the two arms that you raise upwards attach together in the place where they touch. ie at this point shown in the following image
With that done all will be good.
You will need to have ensured that you earlier had set the correct wheel size on the first arm you raised.
Finally you secure the rear wheel with the strap on your high-spec carbon time trial bike. Or on one of these 😉 …
At this point you can then optionally secure the bike against theft with the cord that pulls out of the rear of the UpRide. Ideally this will go through your FRAME and not just through the wheel. By going through the frame and wheel AT THE SAME TIME you secure both (NOT shown above).
The following image shows the RELEASING lever for the second arm that is raised. You won’t need to touch that when putting your bike on. But when releasing your bike you will need to press it down to release the arm…the clue is in the name.
Different Bike Types Covered by the Thule UpRide 599 Review
The principle is the same for all the bike types I tried in the preparation of this Thule UpRide 599 Review and each of the following were fine to fit onto the UpRide.
Heavy mountain bike with chunky (ish) tyres
Kids Bike – Surprisingly Heavy
Road Bike – Carbon Frame, 50mm Rim Wheels
80mm Rim Rear Wheel & Disc Wheels
This 80mm Mavic rear wheel has a carbon rim. I don’t think the rim would be damaged by the rubber strap. Not THAT much pressure is needed to hold the wheel in place.Contrast that with other bike mounts where a LOT of pressure is required to clamp to a carbon frame (#NotGood)
Also note that if your RIM is deeper than 80mm, the strap will be too short.
You will also have problems with rear disc wheels. Some discs do have a hole where you could feed the strap through but my guess would be that road vibration during transport WOULD damage those discs that have a foam-like interior. #ExpensiveWheels
My previous travels with a disk wheel meant I just put a trainer wheel or spare wheel on the rear for transporting the bike. Remember than on windy days your disc wheel will be banned in races or have reduced performance in cross winds so always take and use a spare.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Theft, stupidity and plain bad luck will be encountered by all of us at some time or other. This Thule UpRide 599 Review looks at some of the things you will want to avoid.
- THEFT: A determined and well-prepared thief will have the tools to steal your bike. The UpRide’s anti-theft mechanisms are sufficient to prevent the casual thief. Use your own bike lock when parked to better deter would-be thieves ie lock the bike to the frame with a motorbike lock or similar
- TYRE DEFLATION: This has never happened to me. In theory if this happened during transport then the bike would become considerably more loosely attached. I don’t think it would fall off as the two front arms are locked together in place. If you purposefully deflated the tyres before attaching the bike to the UpRide then I would guess that vibration during transport WOULD damage your wheel rims to a small degree. Thieves MAY deflate your tyres to make the bike OR WHEEL more easy to remove – remember they can easily take out your wheel skewers.
- LOST KEY: Keys are numbered and you can get a replacement.
- DRIVING THROUGH A LOW HANGING SIGN – Hey. You know what to do next time.
- Tightening the levers. The instructions imply that the levers need to be very tight. I think if you do them VERY tight they will break, so approach those with care but still make them tight.
- The rear strap design now requires the strap to go at an angle rather than directly over the wheel (as with previous Thule rack models). Make sure that you twist the strap clasp lock as well so it points to about 2 o’clock. I’m not entirely sure why this aspect of the design was changedm the straight-through strap always seemed fine to me and was more easily stowed away.
- Wobble – This is probably the most important point. I think I’m reasonably good at looking at things and then extrapolating how I think they will work. To me the UpRide design looked like the bike would wobble like crazy. However IT DOES NOT WOBBLE LIKE CRAZY. I would say that I was surprised to find that there is LESS wobble than with the other, cheaper Thule bike roof racks. It seems that fixing the front wheel absolutely solidly is the thing to do.
- Tip: Ensuire that the centre of the wheel approximately aligns with the centre of the adjustable tray that each wheel sits on.
- Tip: don’t leave the rear strap flapping around when not in use. Fasten it up.
Positive Thoughts on this Thule UpRide 599 Review
- If you are concerned about compressing your expensive carbon frame then you ARE RIGHT to be concerned. The UpRide 599 design does not compress the carbon frame AT ALL.
- The bike is easy to load onto the rack. Probably slightly more easily than with the cheaper Thule models – even though the cheaper model LOOK easier to use.
- Supports 29″ wheels and the small children’s bike sizes indicated in the images, above.
Thule UpRide 599 Review Manual
Thule provide a relatively straightforward manual to aid installation and usage.
Link to: Thule UpRude 599 Manual
Specifications for Thule UpRide 599 Review
|Load capacity||20 kg|
|Fits round frame dimensions||All|
|Fits maximum oval frame dimensions||All|
|Fits maximum wheel dimensions||–|
|Carbon frame compatible||✓|
|Carbon fork dropout compatible||–|
|Fits roof racks with 20×20 mm T-tracks||✓|
|Fits roof racks with 24×30 mm T-tracks||Adapter/s required: Thule T-track Adapter 889-1|
|Fits Thule SquareBar||Adapter/s required: Thule Bike Rack Around-the-Bar Adapter 889-8|
|One Key System compatible||✓|
Accessories for Thule UpRide 599 Review
These are the adapters you might need depending on your car/bar setup
- Buy a 24mm T-Track adapter (eg BMW) (Thule part: 889-1).
- Buy a square bar adapter kit (eg old Thule bar) (Thule part: 889-8).
This is a well-made bike rack with an unusual-looking design. The design works better than the FreeRide and ProRide models when it comes to loading on your bike. It also offers better inbuilt security for your bike and furthermore does not touch the frame and so cannot damage the frame. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the FreeRide model and a little bit heavier BUT it is selling at about the same price as the ProRide…it IS better than the ProRide; I guess people don’t buy it because of the looks and the weight.
It looks GREAT and will last you MANY years. If you can afford it, I would suggest carefully looking at this vs the FreeRide that you w.
Price, Discounts and Availability
The Thule UpRide bike racks are available to buy in many outlets.
If you benefitted from this Thule UpRide 599 Review it would be great if you bought the rack (or anything else) from one of my partners
RRP Prices in September 2018 should be: Eu 190, £160, $160-$220.