If you’re considering a new bike rack then you’re going to think about Thule. It’s potentially the best-known brand in the world with a reputation for quality and durability. Of course, you need to be clear that the Thule Bed Rider XTR is designed for the back of your truck, this isn’t an option if you’re looking for a roof-mounted bike rack. Although, if you do need a roof-mounted bike, you should take a look at these offerings from Thule.
Don’t forget, Thule has been in existence since 1942, it’s not surprising that they know what they’re doing. In fact, they continue to grow and expand their range with new and innovative solutions for carrying your bikes and other gear. Of course, they produce a wide array of racks to suit your every need, the question is whether you’re prepared to pay the extra for a Thule rack and whether it’s really worth it. Before you answer that, you should check out this list of the best Kuat Bike racks 2019, it’s a viable alternative that I’ve been really impressed by.
There are plenty of positive thoughts you can have when considering and using the Thule Bed Rider XTR:
Ease Of use
The simplicity of this design means that it can fit virtually any truck bed. The arm itself is telescopic, allowing you to extend it and ensure it fits snugly against each side of your truck bed.
It’s worth noting at this point that for this rack to fit properly it must be able to sit on the lip of your truck bed.
The ends of the telescopic arm have thick rubber feet, this provides grip and protects your vehicle from damage.
Installing is as simple as climbing into the back of your truck with the Thule bed rider XTR. Place the adjustable end against the side of your truck bed with the lipped piece sitting on top of the lip of your truck bed. Pull the lever up.
Now hold the bar just above the other side of your truck bed and twist the bar as many times as it takes for the bar to fit snugly into position. While you don’t want to overdo it, you also want to make sure the bar can’t move.
Once this is done, slide the original lever back down, this locks the bar into position. You shouldn’t be able to move it.
If you can, you’ll need to twist it a few more times.
You can then lift your bike onto the truck and rest the forks on the clamps, which can be slid across the bar to find the best position for you. A simple locking skewer works in the same way as a quick-release clamp on the bike wheels, locking the forks into position.
That’s it! You can check out this video to help guide you through the process, it really is that simple
One of the biggest issues with some racks is actually the inability to lock the rack to your vehicle or the bikes to the rack. This isn’t an issue with the Thule Bed Rider XTR as it has locking cylinders built-in. All three use the same key.
One locking cylinder is located on the lever that secures the bar in place, this effectively locks the bar to your truck.
The others are located on the clamps, one per clamp, allowing you to lock the clamp shut and make it very difficult for anyone to remove the bikes if you leave them for any period of time.
Strength & Stability
The telescopic arm is made from aluminum, ensuring it is both light and strong. You also don’t need to worry about it being left out in bad weather as it won’t rust.
In short, this rack should last you for years.
The fact that it is made from aluminum also means that it is light enough to carry anywhere with you. That means you can even lend it to a friend when you want to get their truck dirty instead of yours!
No bolting or drilling required
It should be fairly obvious but it’s worth mentioning that this rack does not require you to drill or damage your truck bed in any way. The clamps sit over the edge of the truck with rubber padding and are held in place with pressure.
Not only will you not need to damage your truck, but you can also remove it whenever you want!
The Thule Bed Rider XTR comes with two clamps, allowing you to securely fasten two bikes into the back of the truck. However, you can purchase extra clamps which will allow you to put three, or even four bikes. The only real limit is the size of your truck bed.
It’s also worth noting that the XTR can be used with any model of bike, providing the front forks fit over the clamp. That makes it much more flexible than many other options on the market.
However, there is very little in this world that is perfect, you should be aware of the following issues:
No good if you have over the rail bed liners
Thule states that the Thule Bed Rider XTR cannot be used with trucks that have bed rail caps, where the bed liner comes over the side of the truck. This is because the bar may not be able to create enough pressure to stay in position securely, without damaging the top of the bed liner.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the rack won’t work. But, you’ll need to consider how much damage it could do before you decide if it is the right rack for you. It’s surprising how much pressure it will place on the side of your truck.
Need to remove the wheel
In order to put your bike on this rack, you’ll need to remove the front wheel. This means you have the added hassle of removing a potentially muddy wheel and you have to store it somewhere.
This is more of an issue if you don’t have a quick-release front wheel.
Although the truck bed can seem like an obvious place for the removed wheel(s), you’ll need some sort of bag or container to ensure they are strapped down and not likely to bounce, causing damage.
Modern Mountain Bikes
Although it appears that this rack will accommodate any bike, there are several modern mountain bikes that have axles too thick for the clamps that arrive with the XTR.
Thule has thought of this but, you’ll need to spend extra in order to get adaptors and ensure the clamps fit properly.
The Bottom Line
The Thule Bed Rider XTR is definitely a great bike rack if you have a truck! It’s easy to fit, durable and well made; it will last for years! Also, a great option to be able to add extra clamps to allow additional bikes to be carried.
Definitely a worthwhile investment for all truck owners!