Distributed by : Pro-RV Auto Styling

You will know you are an avid cyclist when your first consideration in choosing that new car got something to do with how many bicycles it can accommodate. After getting that brand new ride, more often than not, you will start to realize that you cannot bear to stuff your muddy mountain bike into the rear of it, fearing that you might dirty it or scratch something. This is when you will begin to explore other ways you can transport your bike, keeping that dirty bike out of the car. Another advantage of carrying the bike externally is that it frees up valuable internal space, allowing you to pack more riding kakis or gears in it.

The two most common external bike carrying system locally is the trunk rack and roof rack, although we are seeing tow bar mounted racks becoming more popular recently. And between the two, the former has the advantage of cost while the later scores well in convenience and stability. I have been a user of the trunk mounted rack for years, but since my car manufacturer recommended against mounting one at the back of my car, it kind of seals my fate to the roof rack.

The Thule Proride 591 roof carrier is one of the newer models from Thule and boosts the flexibility to accept a wide range of frame designs and sizes. This would not be a major consideration if you are on road bike or a hardtail, but it is a major plus if you are on full suspension bikes. Bike manufacturers tend to have very different full suspension designs; it is good to feel assured that your choice of the next bike would not be constraint by your rack?s limitation.

The Complete Package

Roof rack system de-mystified. A typical roof system is made up of three components, the feet (the 4 black mounting blocks that attach to the car roof), the load bar (the 2 bar that runs across the width of the car) and the bike carrier (the attachment which you secure your bike to). The items can be sold separately depending on your need. The feet are car specific, thus you will need to let the distributor know your car make and model so he can get you the right one. If your car comes with factory fitted roof rails, then feet is not needed.

Unlike the feet, the load bars are generic, and can be use across all makes and models and for the different types of carriers the rack manufacturer may produce. These bars form the base of the rack for the carriers to be mounted upon. If your car already comes with factory installed roof rails, you can mount the load bar directly to the rails without the feet. Thule makes a wide range of carriers which allow you to mount from bicycles to canoes. There are even carrier box which expand your trunk capacity if needed. As mentioned, all these carriers are compatible with the same load bar, thus giving you the convenience to switch between different carriers when needed.

Within the bicycle carrier range, Thule has a selection of bicycle carriers with various way of securing the bike. The bicycle can be secured via the fork, the front wheel or the frame like the Proride 591 in this review. The greatest convenience of securing the bicycle via the frame is that it dispenses the need for dismantling anything from the bike and it is able to adapt to different wheel sizes and frame designs easily. A single swivel arm on the Proride 591 secures the bike to the rack via the down tube, while the two wheels are anchored to two wheel channels via two separate securing straps. The whole system is made from complete aluminum construction which minimizes weight while ensuring that it can withstand the harshness of local weather.

Experience

The roof rack came with pretty detailed instruction on how the racks should be mounted. While the installation seems simple enough, I preferred to leave it to the experts. In all, the 2 experts from the distributor took about 15 minutes to set the rack up. I figured if I had DIY, it should take me about 45 minutes to an hour to do the same.?

Once the rack is up, mounting of the bicycle is a breeze. All you need to do is to lift the bicycle up, let the wheels rest on the wheel channels, align the swivel arm to the down tube, turn the locking mechanism to lock the frame down and lastly secure the two wheels to the wheel channel and wa-lah, you are done, all under 30 seconds. Having mounted numerous types of bikes on them in the last 6 months, I am happy to report that there is no one frame this rack could not handle. Yes, there are some frames which took longer to mount, typically the smaller sized dual suspension frames which have the shock and linkages located in the front triangle, but at the end of the day the rack is able to carry all of them. When properly secured, I am able to travel in excess of 110 km/h with peace of mind.