There are hundreds of different racks on the market that can be attached to your vehicle. Whether you’re looking to find the best kayak roof rack, the right hitch cargo carrier, or you simply want a good quality garage bike rack, the first step is always to look at the reviews.
Even the best companies can make mistakes; reviews give you an honest, independent, opinion on a type of rack or even a specific one. If you’re considering the Thule Insta-Gater Truck Bed Bike Rack then you need to check out this review first; it’s worth a few moments of your time.
Let’s check out the specs of the Thule Insta-Gater:
- One Key Compatible
- Weighs Just 9.9 pounds
- Quick To Install
- Can Handle Bikes Up To 50lbs
- Fits wheels between 20-29 inches
- Maximum tire width 3 inches
- Tailgate gap required: no more than 1 inch
- Size 30” x 17.8” x 9”
On paper it certainly looks good, but is it the answer you’re looking for?
The Thule Insta-gater is a high-quality product, if you have a truck then it’s probably going to be a good investment, thanks to the following positive features:
Speed Of Fitting
The Thule Insta-gater can be fitted into your truck bed in a matter of minutes, including clamping your bike in position. You can check out a video of the process here:
Simply open the tailgate on your truck and stand the blocks at the end of the ratchet straps in the groove between your truck bed and tailgate. You can then close your tailgate. There’s a ratchet lever on each side of the bike clamp, pump these levers several times and the ratchet straps will go tight, securing the rack in position. Give it a little wiggle, it’s not going anywhere!
You can now lift your bike into the tailgate and slide the front wheel between the two raised bars on your Thule Insta-gater. You’ll notice the ratchet arm is currently down, against your truck bed. Simply pull this up and use the ratchet lever on the side to bring it down snug against the wheel of your bike.
It should be positioned just behind the front fork. Once it’s ratcheted into position your bike is secure!
At this point it’s a good idea to use the one key Thule locks in the ratchet arm; this will prevent anyone from being able to separate your bike from the rack. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t come with the rack.
That’s it! The whole process is completed in less than 5 minutes.
Installing two, or even three racks is possible. It all depends on the size of your truck bed. The process is exactly the same for each one, you can even open the tailgate to slide the rack into the right position for your bikes.
This isn’t just a good way of carrying multiple bikes. It also gives you the freedom to carry other items at the same time as one or two bikes. In fact, carrying bikes like this will also leave your tow hitch free for a trailer; in case you need to carry a lot more!
If you don’t fit a bike rack then you’re going to need to chuck your bike into the truck bed and hope it doesn’t get damaged. The Thule Insta-gater clamps on to the wheel of your bike and holds it firmly in position. It’s not likely to swing into the other bikes in your truck, which means there is very little chance of any damage happening to your pride and joy.
That has to be a good thing!
Of course, no bike rack is perfect. There are a few concerns that you should be aware of before you decide to spend your hard-earned cash:
Tightness Of Fit
If the gap between your truck bed and tailgate is 1 inch then your Thule Insta-gater will fit snugly. However, if the gap is wider you’ll find that the rack can still move, no matter how hard you try to tighten the ratchet straps.
This means it is essential to check the gap on your truck before you invest in the Thule Insta-gater.
It is disappointing to note that the Thule Insta-gater is compatible with the one key system but no lock is included. You’ll need to purchase this separately in order to make sure your bike is secured properly to the rack.
However, you also need to have a locking tailgate. If you don’t then anyone can open the tailgate and remove your bike with the rack attached. Even with a locking tailgate, it is possible to cut the nylon ratchet straps. However, this may not release the Insta-gater; it will depend on how snug a fit it is in your truck bed/tailgate gap.
This is not the cheapest rack on the market. Although it is a good quality rack, backed by a lifetime warranty, you will need to be using it regularly to justify the price tag. It should be noted that the warranty is not transferrable should you decide to sell the rack.
If you’re going to use the rack on a regular basis then this can be seen as a worthwhile investment. However, if it’s just once a year for the family vacation there are better options.
Is The Thule Insta-Gater the Right Choice For You?
The Thule Insta-gater is a high-quality bike rack which should last you for years. It’s worth considering whether you have any plans to change your vehicle in the near future. Although this rack will probably fit into your next truck it won’t be much good if you buy a saloon. Equally, you should check the length of your truck bed to ensure the bike will fit in once the rack is in place; it may not on shorter truck beds.
But, if you plan to keep your truck and use your Thule Insta-gater regularly then this is the right rack for you. Add a locking system and you’ll be able to take your bike securely anywhere with you.