The humble quick release is still the name of the game for road bikes and some aging cross country bikes – for me, my beloved Gary Fisher Hifi Pro (2008 vintage – a fine year for aluminum) and my sleek Litespeed Ultimate both use the venerable system to hold things together. The Sprint from Thule is a sleek, sophisticated classic using the quick release format.
Thule Sprint Bike Rack Features:
- AcuTight knob clicks when you reach optimal hold to ensure your bike is secured to the rack
- Tool-free installation with Thule’s Speed-Link mounting system
- SonicHead design provides added bike security and timeless style
- Telescoping wheel tray moves in and out securely fitting most bikes while providing greater hatch clearance
- Load capacity: 1 bike
- Fits tires up to 3″
- MSRP: $249.95
Clamp it down!
I now have three bicycles. Two of these use a quick release, while the third uses a thru-axle. Hauling around my thru-axle bike is still a bit of a pain but it’s made me appreciate all the more the convenience of Thule’s Sprint. The design is sleek and functional, making it perfect for taking your Trek into the LBS to replace the quick release.
Thule worked hard to make installing the Sprint as easy as possible. It’s a tool-free install, and all you need to do is pop the rack onto your cross bars, position the rack’s footings at the appropriate distance apart for your bars, and then use a built-in crank to tighten the rack down securely. I’ve had to take the rack off once for repairs after having it sit on the car for roughly 5 months and I did find that the mechanism tightens up with time – however, I was able to get it off without resorting to WD-40, which should suggest that it was still pretty easy to get off.
The Sprint clamps onto the dropouts of your fork using twin metal clamps which are tightened using a very sleek-looking cone at the front of the rack. It takes a good ten to fifteen twists to tighten the clamps down tight enough and once your bike is secure you’ll be rewarded by a nice ‘click’ from the tightening mechanism. On the rear end, Thule included a telescoping wheel tray that is exceptionally easy to adjust to all manner of bike sizes. It tightens down with a small knob and stays put well, too. It features a deep ‘cup’ for the wheel to sit in, which also aids in keeping the bike in position while tightening it down. You can then horse down on the rear wheel as hard as you’d like, knowing that the ratchet works well as far as letting the tension out once it’s time to get your bike off of the rack.
I should note that this is a bit of a long-term review; I’ve had this rack for roughly six months, which has given me ample opportunity to observe its strengths and weaknesses. Since the design has so much metal, it’s somewhat prone to icing up if you’re transporting a bike in wet, cold weather – the windchill can cause water on the dropouts to freeze, making it tough to get your bike out. That’s not so much a design flaw as it is a reality of physics, since putting plastic in this section would have been too flimsy. Additionally, there was one incident where the tightening mechanism skipped a cog somewhere inside of there and would no longer function. I essentially took it off the car, poked at it with a screw driver, banged on it with a hammer and, voilá, it worked again. Bike racks are subject to exposure and abuse, so while it’s not perfect it’s definitely a reliable carrier.
- Quick and easy to mount
- Quick and easy to put the bike on!
- Telescoping rear tray is convenient and secure
- Overall design is just remarkably sleek – it’s a beautiful product
- I briefly had trouble with the tightening mechanism, but was able to resolve it
- A premium product comes with a premium price
Bottom Line: Thule Sprint
Thule really deserves applause for their dedication to building beautiful products that function extremely well. The rack is very sleek but it’s purely functional in every way. I ran into some problems with the tightening mechanism but was able to resolve them myself, which I credit as representing a good design that had been subject to abuse. I’d happily recommend this rack to a friend, so long as they had the coin to buy a premium rack.
Buy now: Available from REI.com