Thule Echelon Fork Mount Bike Rack

2.1/5 (21 Reviews)
MSRP : $159.99


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Product Description

TheThule 518 Echelon fork mount bike carriers feature a dual-lock design,That locks your bikeToThe carrier andThe carrierTo rack. Centrally located cam lever and ergonomic adjustment knob allows for rapid bike loading and unloading Fits all disc and suspension combinations with a standard axle Dual-lock design, locks bikeTo carrier and carrierTo rack,Thule One-Key-System compatible FitsThule and Yakima Load Bars MaximumTire Width: 2.6 ins


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Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Pat Remington

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2012

Strengths:    The mechanism that clamps the front fork is the best in the industry. Fast, easy, and effective.

Weaknesses:    The clamp that holds the rack to the bar is an engineering disaster! If you're driving on a bumpy road, the tab that fits into the mount slips and and voila! You're bike is swinging back and forth barely held onto the rack. I thought it was a lemon with one rack, but it's happened to ALL four of my racks.

This means that the rack is useless, except for driving on smooth, flat road. One bump, and it starts to fail.

This is a design flaw and Thule should admit it, and come up with a fix. I have some ideas, but I want to see if they can figure it out first.


Bottom Line:   
Do not buy this rack unless--or until--Thule fixes this problem.

P.S., I have 4 slightly used Thule racks for sale. No guarantee that they'll work on your car rack.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Alex a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2012

Strengths:    Simple, solid, good , looking

Weaknesses:    wheel strap a little short for 2.35 tires, endcap does not hold well

Bottom Line:   
Great rack, I don't understand why everybody says it's weak, hard to install... By far the best for mounted carrier I have ever seen. People who can't understand how to install this must be the same king that find Ikea furniture impossible to assemble. The rear endcap can come off easily so I put some strip caulk to solidify it. This is the kind of rack that I'm not worried to take corners fast in my car with my expensive bike on the roof. Don't listen to all these reviews, this is the best rack.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   rigaud

Similar Products Used:   Thule echelon

Bike Setup:   Intense Tracer 29

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by VTSession a Weekend Warrior from Boston

Date Reviewed: August 5, 2011

Strengths:    Solid construction, well built, lots lots of metal, no plastic, holds heavy bikes well.

Weaknesses:    a little pricey

Bottom Line:   
This is a solid, sturdy, all metal rack great for heavier bikes. My 30+ lb bike is rock solid on this rack thanks to its sturdy, stiff construction.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $150.00

Similar Products Used:   Thule Velo Vise, Prologue

Bike Setup:   Santa Cruz Butcher

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Jeff a Cross Country Rider from Albany NY USA

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2011

Strengths:    Solid metal construction

Weaknesses:    Clamp mechanism doesn't work well

Bottom Line:   
So the problem with this rack is the clamping mechanism. Inside there is a turn knob to adjust clamping pressure, you then close the clamshell and the bike is clamped. The problem is that when you open the clamshell to remove the bike the skewers holding the fork don't release far enough to clear the safety tabs on the fork. This means that you have to then turn the adjustment knob to open them up more. The whole purpose of these is to not have to adjust them once they're set, with this one you would have to turn the knob every time you put the bike on and off which is a real pain in the neck. So I called Thule and they agreed that once adjusted you shouldn't have to turn the know to release the bike and the unit must be defective. So I returned it, got another and guess what...same problem. For the record this problem existed with my road and mountain fork. Thule is just not making any quality anymore.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Bike Setup:   Specialized Allez and Epic Marathon

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Bud Hawks a Weekend Warrior from Golden, CO

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2011

Strengths:    Fork clamping mechanism

Weaknesses:    Bracket to hold fork end on rack, locking mechanism.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this rack about 1.5 years ago, because other fork mount carriers interfered with the bottom of the Fox fork legs. My old Yakima units that clamped the down tube did not work on the large and non-round shape of the bike down tube.

The lock was often hard to turn, but I always got it.

I was using the carrier on Yakima round tubes, and suddenly, twice in two weeks, the bracket at the fork end rotate loose as described in other reviews. The first time I thought I had installed in wrong. I had used it for over a year with no problem, but had recently taken it off and then reinstalled it. The second time I realized that it was not me forgetting to tighten the bolts.

I called Thule, and described the problem. The rep said he had never heard of this problem before, but offered to send me a new bracket.

The bracket took a full two weeks to arrive, so I guess Thule was not as concerned with my bike's well being as I was. They did not even include new bolts.

In the interim, I read the reviews here, including Thule's description of the two problems at the top of the reviews. I decided that Thule was not quite telling me the truth, and I had lost all confidence in the carrier.

So I returned it to REI, where I was told there had been a run of these returned.

I will stick with Yakima from now on, as I have had very few issues, and I think the Customer Service is more proactive and honest.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Colorado Trail

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Yakima

Bike Setup:   Trek Fuel EX8

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by freezingprocess a Cross Country Rider from Oxford, NJ

Date Reviewed: May 28, 2010

Strengths:    Looks cool- And I thought the fork vise worked well.

Weaknesses:    As stated by some other reviewers here, the front carrier mount is very poorly engineered. All that holds the carrier to your crossbars is a flimsy metal bracket and two little screws.

Bottom Line:   
Do not buy it unless you plan to drive in a straight line only, on perfectly smooth roads. Zero thought went in to the front carrier mount. It's difficult to describe the exact mechanics, but the side-to-side leverage from a bike on the rack can easily cause the mounting bracket to fail, which is what happened to me on my second use. I promptly sent it back to Backcountry and purchased the Yakima "Viper", which should be a lesson in mechanical engineering for Thule. Top of the line, Thule? C'mon man!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Allamuchy

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $135.00

Purchased At:   Backcountry.com

Similar Products Used:   Yakima Viper

Bike Setup:   Specialized Rockhopper Expert 29er

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by bunnyslope18 a Cross Country Rider from Asheville, NC USA

Date Reviewed: May 4, 2010

Strengths:    Looks great

Weaknesses:    I own 2 of these racks and of the 2, one of them has some real issues with the lock cylinder. It takes allot of effort to operate the lock… So much so in fact that I have broken a key. I have seen this same issue occur in some other echelons! I believe the problem to be with the rack…not the lock cores themselves.

Bottom Line:   
Save your money…check out some other racks. Thule makes great stuff it’s just this particular tray I dislike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Bike Setup:   Ellsworth Epiphany (mountain bike) Salsa Pistola (road bike)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jboyd122 a Weekend Warrior from Columbia, MD

Date Reviewed: January 8, 2010

Strengths:    Does the job it's supposed to. Looks great.

Weaknesses:    price

Bottom Line:   
I've been using this carrier regularly for over a year and I have had absolutely no problems. The mounts hold well on my cross bars. I also have the locking cores and they work perfectly. I had one of the cores get a little sticky on my once, but once I added some light oil it was working well again. My only complaint would be that if you buy them new they are a bit over priced for what you get. They look better then other fork mount carriers but I doubt they work any better than equivlent carriers from rocky mounts, etc. Overall I am extremely hapy with the product and would recommend them.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Craigslist


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Kliemann53 a Weekend Warrior from Bonney Lake Wa. U.S.A

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2009

Strengths:    Looks cool (when there's no bike in it)

Weaknesses:    Poorly enginered, Bad customer service

Bottom Line:   
The under bar bracket is designed so the screw tention pulls the back tab out of the head and the only thing holding it on the car is two plastic wing nuts on the back bar. I called Thule and they where a little condecsending and said "Nobody has had this problem before". I'm sure REI will take it back,They have god customer service.If you buy this rack remember if comes off on the road and causes an accident your legaly responsible.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Skookum flats

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   REI

Bike Setup:   Specialized Epic, Yeti 575, Lemond Buenos Aires

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by telemark3@live.com a Cross Country Rider from Golden,Co

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2009

Strengths:    None

Weaknesses:    The mounting clamp is poorly designed.

Bottom Line:   
The mounting bracket attaches to the head unit via a tab in the back and two bolts in the front. If you over tighten the bolts, the tab bends and is pulled out of the head unit. Go down a bumpy road and the bracket will pull entirely out of the head and your bike will bounce off your vehicle and down the road.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   REI


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by thesober a Weekend Warrior from Toronto

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2008

Bottom Line:   
Thule is shipping the new heads now, I just received mine and the lock system works. So if you have issues with the system like the reviews below, give Thule a call, their customer service top notch!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Halvo a Cross Country Rider from Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Date Reviewed: September 2, 2008

Strengths:    SOLID construction, easy to mount, VERY easy to adjust, extremely stable, locking cores work fine! Thule must have figured out the problem (as of Sept '08).

Weaknesses:    None thus far - will update later.

Bottom Line:   
I went to REI for a Thule sale they were having and looked at both the 517 (Peloton) and 518 (Echelon). Despite the rave reviews for the 517, and the negative reviews for the 518 (all b/c of the locking core issue), there was no question that the 518 was MUCH more solid/sturdy, and the adjusting/clamping mechanism was much more user friendly. When I got the locking cores, I new there was a chance that there would be a problem and that I would have to return the racks to REI, but THEY WORK FINE! They only work in 1 of the 4 possible directions, but it doesn't take long to figure this out. I guess Thule has figured out the issue. So far, I am very happy with these racks. I feel bad for folks who have had a frustrating time with the locking core issue, but right now the racks seem to be OK.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Black Mtn in Pisgah

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $118.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   Smaller, independent roof rack co. - years ago.

Bike Setup:   I have too many bikes...

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Thule has been a PIA a Cross Country Rider from NC

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2008

Strengths:    Easy to use, and holds the bikes well.

Weaknesses:    Noisy. You need an adapter kit to use them on rapid aero bars. The adapter kit is noisy and makes a squeaking sound when driving on anything but a smooth highway. They STILL don't lock!!! Thule posted that message above about how they are a stand up company and are working to make things right.....yeah right.

I have waited close to a year for replacement heads for this tray. Last time I talked with them, which was in 2007, I was told my name was on a list and when the replacement parts came in they would expedite shipping them to me. I just called back a couple of days ago and my name is no longer on any list and they still don't have an idea of when the parts would be available. WHAT A JOKE. My name is on another list though, Marie's, who did a good job at acting as confused about the whole situation as I am pissed.


Bottom Line:   
Still don't lock even though they are listed on Thule's website again after being pulled for a while and I doubt they are even available yet. If they are, why don't I have replacement heads that lock? I bought these in June or July 2007 and the issues still have not been resolved.

Here's the bottom line. Thule doesn't care about customer issues. It must not be worth their time or money. Look for another tray.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   lbs


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by deputy a Weekend Warrior from Mass Berkshires

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2008

Strengths:    Marketing hype and product looks

Weaknesses:    Locks, mounting

Bottom Line:   
A brilliantly clever design! A little over the top for what it really has to do (clamp a freakin' fork). Too bad Thule couldn't pull it off. Sloppy die-casting and poor component quality and assembly make this thing a nightmare. Locks don't work. Haven't they figured this out yet? Bracket that clamps the head to the load bar looks like it came from some recycled Yugo. A classic case where mfg and quality couldn't execute/produce what was designed. I heard the top designers jumped the company for higher ground and this thing was left abandoned just before launch. Stay away. Go git yourself a conventional skewer fork mount carrier and be safe and happy.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   velo vice, rocky mounts

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Scalpel

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Thule has been a PIA a Cross Country Rider from NC

Date Reviewed: September 17, 2007

Strengths:    They look like they nice.

Weaknesses:    Apparently they don't work as designed.

Bottom Line:   
So far I am p!ssed but I am going to reserve judgment until I actually get to use the fork mounts. I have ordered a whole system from Thule because I figured they were a well respected company and their products were quality. I guess a company is only as good as the people that work for them because so far I have waited over 2 months for missing parts so I can't even install the Echelon's.

I mentioned that I had these trays and locking cores in a email to Thule but nobody thought to mention this issue to me while I waited on the other parts. I could have had different trays or replacement heads by now considering I have waited so long for the other pieces on backorder. I guess nobody there is thinking that far ahead considering these "awesome" fork mounts were designed with such oversights. At least they would have information on their site about this. Maybe I can go their to find out if the fork mounts I purchased were 1st generation, maybe I can find information about how to quickly get replacement heads sent, right? WRONG!! I would have never known this was an issue if I didn't come across this review! Looks like more waiting and wondering for me! So far, I can't see any reason for giving my money to this company. Almost 1K spent and still nothing to show for it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $180.00

Purchased At:   lbs

Similar Products Used:   So far I am wondering why I ever went away from Rocky Mounts. High dollar racks are proving to be a bunch of hype.


Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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