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Advice on bike roof carriers

unseenukunseenuk Posts: 10
I'm looking to be able to carry all our bikes on the roof of our Alhambra.. Now height issues aside (I'm 5'11 and know I'll need a step to reach the middle bike racks!), I'm stuck on which actual racks to buy :(

I'm looking at either the Thule 530 Freeride or 591 Proride. Searches on here seem to suggest the 591 is the one of choice but then that ugly word 'budget' keeps creeping up on me.. So I guess my questions are:

Is the 591 all that, that it's worth blowing the budget to get 4 matching?

Do I go for the slightly more wallet friendly 530 or are they any less secure?

Last option I guess would be a mix and match approach of 2 of each.. the 591's holding mine and the wifes... Oddly I can feel the evils off the children with that option! :)

I've had to discount towbar options as although I'm not towing anything now we do plan on using these next year on our hols so would have trailer tent on the back.

Bikes they'd be carrying are Specialized Crosstrail, Trek Navi 300 (till the wifes CtW Specialized Myka is ordered) and the girls bikes both decathlon a rockrider 5.2 and a.n.other I can't remember it's name! (sorry!).

Any advice on either, especially 530 owners really appreciated as I'm absolutely stuck on this one! :( And my deadline is to have it all "fitted" ready for the ride the lights in blackpool next tuesday! *gulp!*

Thanks from a summer hols frazzled dad!
Specialized Crosstrail - Commuter/Everyday


  • We have 530 racks to carry 4 bikes on the roof of our Octavia estate and works absolutely fine. Just back from hols in Normandy and Brittany carrying a Dawes Super Galaxy, Spec MTB, Luath 26 and Beinn 26 (previously have carried others including road bikes and smaller kids' bikes).

    Drove about 1,300 miles, mostly motorway, and loaded/unloaded the bikes probably 6 times over the 2 weeks.

    Easy to fit four bikes (I twist the bars 90 degrees on the kids' bikes). Loading/unloading ditto. No step needed to reach the middle ones on our car - just open the rear door and use the sill.

    In the 4 years or so we've had them no issues with a bike falling off or coming loose, and given the design and assuming reasonable care in fitting/loading I can't really see how they could.

    I do restrict the speed to 70-75 mph, but mostly since it does increase fuel usage (to an average 43 mpg in our case).

    I wanted to get Thule since I trust the brand, but can't see the point in spending more than on the 530s. Just looked and the 591s cost almost twice as much - blimey!
  • unseenukunseenuk Posts: 10
    Thanks for that Andrew, especially that tip about the kids bikes!..

    I've only looked at Thule for the same reason you stated and I'm glad I'm not the only one that gulped at the price of the 591!
    Specialized Crosstrail - Commuter/Everyday
  • othelloothello Posts: 577
    I have 2 of the 591's which are fantastic. But then I did get them on a special web-only deal a few years ago!
    Blogging about junior road bikes
  • Couple of other tips:

    - I find it easiest to put the kids bikes in the middle

    - Setting up first time may take a little longer to avoid bits overlapping (evening before, cup of tea job, but I expect the same applies to any carriers if you want to fit 4 of them). I mark the carriers for each person so they just bolt straight into place next time.

    - Worth jotting down the position of the roof bars for the next time

    - Fit the main clamps and front wheels on all the bikes first and then the straps for the rear wheels since you may need to adjust the pedal positions


  • unseenukunseenuk Posts: 10
    Thanks for all the advice Andrew much appreciated.

    Picked up 4 of the 530's (PF Jones in manchester.. Top tip check their website for the pricing as it's different in the "accessories shop" they run but will charge you the online price if you mention you saw it there!)

    Only had time to get one on tonight before the light faded.. I can see why you mark up the bars to specific bikes now as the middle monsters bike wouldn't fit on the default settings so had to change it with the supplied bits to the smallest setup.

    Only problem (if it is one!) is on her bike I couldn't get the front wheel to sit "right" on the holder. It fastened but the strap looked to be at an odd angle, after much thinking though (dangerous!) I think bringing the roofbars closer together (but within the 700mm Thule recommend) might solve the problem.. That's one for tomorrow with a fresh head and a fresh coffee :)

    But even like it was took the car for a brief spin and bike was still there (much to the horror of said child who I think expected to see bike disappearing in to the distance! lol) And I tried to ignore the suggestion from a helper (my younger brother) who thought it looked wierd without someone sat on it... :roll:

    Stay tuned.. May take a pic tomorrow when it's all done.. Definitely going to have to watch out for low bridges though! LMAO!
    Specialized Crosstrail - Commuter/Everyday
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