Thule Sidearm Bike Rack

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DESCRIPTION

Even if you are attacked by aliens from outer-space while on your way to thrash the singletrack in Loma, the Thule Sidearm Universal Bike Mount will hold your bike securely to your roof. When the aliens try to use their super-high-powered wind-gun on I-70, they will be no match for the Sidearm.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 32  
[Mar 22, 2017]
Dave Morgan
All Mountain Rider

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Strength:

?

Weakness:

Bent parts & a misleading warrantee

Well, I've been a lifelong Thule fan until now. I received the sidearm as a gift a year ago. Somehow the lower tire bar has significantly bent which now tilts the bike 15% when on the rack...not good. I attempted to get a replacement, even just the $5 part thru Thule's awesome lifetime warrantee. Now I'm told by them that it's not covered as I'm not the original purchasing customer and ownership has been transferred. Are you kidding me? Well Yakima is looking better all the time. Thule apparently doesn't care about my bike falling off the rack nor the liabilities? Boo!

[Jun 28, 2016]
marinjp
All Mountain Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

when installed properly this rack is solid and will not allow the bike to move. Totally rebuild-able. A simple and solid design.

Weakness:

not the most modern looking or functioning rack on the market

Thule platform racks set the standard for ease of use and solid, reliable performance

Similar Products Used:

Pretty much every bike rack that Thule or Yakima make

[Apr 03, 2016]
jontjioe
All Mountain Rider

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Strength:

None

Weakness:

Poorly designed. Does not securely hold bike. Lock cores are a joke since they are installed in plastic that could be easily popped open with a screw driver.

Did not secure my bike. At speed, the wheel lifted out of the front sidearm, which moved forward. The front wheel lifted up and while the rear wheel was strapped down, the strap slid towards the rear of the rail, knocked out the cheap plastic end cap, and there my bike went tumbling on the highway. The design of having the strap AFTER the rear crossbar (I have Thule Aero crossbars) is just poor engineering. There is nothing to hold the strap in place. The crossbars are also a poor design since it moved forward. My bike is ruined and my new car has a couple dings and scratches.

[Oct 24, 2012]
Steve Clark

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Easy bike loading, solid mount to Yakima round bars, best set up for Cannondale Lefty.

Weakness:

Really needs two wheel straps and locks for bomb-proof security.

Having a Lefty fork was getting to be a pain in the ass when it came to loading and unloading my bike. I had a full Yakima set up with a fork adapter for the Lefty, but I was getting tired of having to bolt/unbolt the wheel and brake caliper every time I rode. I checked out Yakima's offerings for a non-removal rack system and frankly, they were all crap in comparison to the Thule. Since the Thule Sidearm is pretty much a rebranded Sportrack Bob Ratchet, I figured I was good to go, and I was.

Installation was easy and the instructions were clear, IF YOU READ THEM! If you just look at the pictures, you're screwed. I did end up mounting the Sidearm backwards, as the rack protrudes too far forward past the front of the base rack and fairing for my liking. The added benefit of this is the rack can go on the driver side of the car, as it comes set up for the passenger side if you mount it in the forward position.

Once mounted, I test fit my bike and I could see where people were having issues. If you don't get the wheel in the peak of the ratchet arm, the bike will wobble and become loose. I also ordered a second wheel strap to hold the front wheel in the tray, which also gives me an extra few clicks on the ratchet arm to hold the bike in solidly.

As far as security goes, if you're not buying the locks for your racks and using a small cable lock through your bike frame, you're a dumbass. Additionally, if you want to keep someone from simply using the wingnuts to unscrew your rack and take it, simply use the longest screws that come with the Sidearm and add some nylon locknuts with washers to the underside of those and you will deter 99% of thieves. Unless they have the proper wrench in their back pocket, thieves aren't going to take the time to wrench on the vehicle. A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to using roof racks.

I didn't give it the highest marks because it isn't perfect and I had to spend a bit more for locks, the extra strap and a trip to Home Depot. Once I was done however, I immediately started looking for another Sidearm to accompany it.

[Jul 12, 2012]
Brandon

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
Strength:

Easy load/unload

Weakness:

1) Takes up large portion of rack
2) Pushes on front brakes
3) Arm can be shaken loose even when locked
4) Can be stolen with relative ease

I just bought and installed this rack today and am returning it tomorrow. After dealing witht he terrible instructions and install, I put my road bike up on the rack to see how it fit. When tightening the arm around the front tire, I noticed that if I wanted to make the arm adequately snug, I had to pull it so tight that there was a lot of contact with the front brakes of my bike. I thought I could let this go and just check my brakes before each ride so long as the rack was secure. However, even after spending the extra money on Thule's overpriced locks, I was able to squeeze the arm release button just enough to wiggle it loose. I don't plan on leaving the bike on the roof overnight so I'm not worried about it being stolen, but it sure doesn't bode well for its stability when travelling on the highway. Lastly, the only thing that keeps anyone from stealing the entire rack is a weak piece of plastic that require a lock (again, the extra cost) to stay in place, but could still easily be broken to provide access to the wingnuts. It's a decent design for short trips to the trails, but for $180- $200, it is a complete ripoff.

[May 02, 2012]
testtech

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Strength:

Moderately easy to load and unload, although arm takes some force to move.

Weakness:

The arm has released twice. On the first release, the rear strap secured the bike. On the second release, the bike fell off the car and was destroyed. The arm latching mechanism can release under the right combination of wind and vibration. When using a road bike, the front wheel could not be secured. It would hop from the tray. A bungee had to be used.

If you value your bike, buy a different rack.

[Mar 16, 2012]
Robertr720
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Holds bike very securely, easy to load and unload, just make sure you can lift your bike above your head...,

Weakness:

kind of an eyesore when not in use, some of the lag bolts and sidearm bracket bolts rusted inside of a week of owning them, and yes it offers little to no security

It holds the bike very securely on the top of my wrx going 80 down the highway or driving on curvy roads with bumps and gravel. It does contact the fork some but does no damage to the bike. If it didn't there is no way it would be so secure. If your bike is falling out of this rack you are not using it properly.

Similar Products Used:

fork mount trays

[Feb 07, 2012]
cfrea
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Very easy placement/removal of bike
No need to remove front wheel

Weakness:

Horrible instructions
Doesn't mount perfectly to Thule Aeroblade bars
Lack of security

Overall I'd would definitely go with the 594xt but add a few extra things as safety.

First, get a second wheel rachet for the front. This is crucial! Before this, I had the front wheel lifting into the air and wobbling at around 60-70mph even though I had throughly secured it down. The second ratchet in the front solved this. Second, the security lock stinks, someone can easily steal the bike. I solved this buy using my Kryptonite bike lock and attaching it to the front wheel and the back support for the front wheel.

Instructions stink, and the fit with the Aerobars isn't perfect.

[Jun 19, 2011]
i.a.n.
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Strength:

None that I can honestly say.

I did my due diligence before purchasing this rack system, and thought I had made a well-informed purchase. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The arms are incredibly stiff to operate and require regular lubing, otherwise rotating them is quite a chore, especially when standing below the pivot.

Mounted they aren't the most attractive works of art, but I figured I got to hold my bikes, not look good. On the maiden voyage one of the locking covers for the feet blew off on the freeway. It was secured properly and apparently the tab that held it in place snapped off. Also, the Sidearm spontaneously backed out, leaving the bike bobbing from side to side.

It's first real trip was a ride to Oregon. I had a 29er HT and a Cannondale Left mounted to the roof of my car. Driving on I-5 created much more drag than I was expecting, but that's not the racks fault. After a quick gas stop I noticed the front wheels of both bikes had hopped out of the trays and were resting dangerously on the edge of the trays nearly popping out completely. I centered the wheels back in and made sure to check that everything was installed properly. The Sidearms were fastened tightly and locked down. I pushed up on the wheel and it rolled back easily, almost rolling past and out of the wheel catcher. One not-so-hard push and the wheel would roll completely out. I realized that the wind had pushed the bikes up and out of the tray, which meant I had to strap the front wheel to the tray in addition to the rear, otherwise it will lift completely out and flop around on the hood of my car.

I quickly realized that it would take no more than 10 seconds to release a bike from the Sidearm...while locked, with a simple push.

Do not purchase this rack system. I can't stress enough how poorly thought out this design is and can't believe Thule even considers these crappy locking cores a viable anti-theft option.

I've since purchase a 1Up Quick Rack and consider this an expensive life lesson.

[Oct 19, 2010]
r1de
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Strength:

Very stable mount, easy to operate.

Weakness:

Doesn't straddle Thule footpacks, and there isn't enough free space on my crossbars to mount in front of/behind the footpacks. Bought it to replace a Big Mouth mounted in that position, so it's a non-starter for me (since I have another Big Mouth + a ski rack already on those bars).

Also, the "security" is a joke and the rack is pretty obtrusive when not in use.

It's a great mount for stability, that anyone can easily steal a bike from (and possibly take the whole mount, too), and that won't fit on your roof unless you have plenty of space on those crossbars.

Similar Products Used:

Big Mouth

  • Available At
$199.95

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