The boys in at Thule USA are always looking for new ways to carry your bikes either on top of your vehicle or behind. As mountain bike designs have evolved, the need for versatile racks has emerged as a top priority in the industry. Traditional fork-mount designs are a pain in the butt because many people no longer have a standard quick-release front axle. The Cannondale Lefty, all 20mm axle front forks and many bikes equipped with disc brakes are great examples of bikes that don’t work well with traditional, fork-mount racks.
Thule Super G Product Details
The Thule Super G upright bike rack is a modern miracle of shiny aluminum and durable plastics. The front wheel is supported by a large swingarm cradle and locked in position by a clamping mechanism that also straps to the front wheel from behind.
The Super G also has a built in locking cable that can stretch 5 feet to wrap around your frame and back to the rack. The tray is different than the traditional black aluminum gutter-style tray. It’s actually reinforced thermoplastic with aluminum sides for good looks. The Super G is built to mount to any type of crossbar system–factory, round or square.
All tire widths and wheel sizes are easily accommodated on the Super G–all without removing the front wheel.
Thule Super G Performance
Installation is slightly different from the standard bolt through the plastic clamp that’s the industry staple. Small, C-shaped clamps hook to one side then are tightened by attaching to bolts on the other side of the crossbar. Be sure to keep constant downward pressure on the clamps to keep the hooks together. Once adjusted and tightened, the Super G could easily straddle my Thule Crossroad Towers, thus keeping the bike closer to the edge of the vehicle.
Placing a bike in the Super G is quick and easy. Simply move the front wheel lever forward, open the rear wheel strap and place on the rack. The front wheel tray automatically rolls the bike forward and into position for hands-free latching of the rear wheel. Once in place, the front tire is then secured by a sliding lever from behind. It’s important to clamp down the front tire as much as possible to ensure a secure fit. This process can be eased if you park next to a curb… but, most trailheads don’t have curbs do they?
I like how the bike is placed directly into place on the rack. There is no need to place it way back on the rack and then wheel it forward as with the Yakima King Cobra bike rack.
At first, the Super G seemed to securely handle 45 lb. bikes, but after a month or so of use, a considerable amount of lateral flex began to develop in the rack. So much so that I had to be extremely careful on dirt roads and potholes. With my Outback’s large moonroof open, the creaking sounds and swaying bike was a bit unnerving. I would just close the roof and trust that the bike would stay on top. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.
Because heavy DH and freeride bikes can create tremendous amounts of leverage, I’d recommend only using the Super G for bikes weighing less than 35 lbs. And, I’d say to be careful while off-road. Most of all, I’d reccomend NOT placing a 45 lb. bike on top of any vehicle. Get yourself a Sportworks (Thule) T2 if that’s your flavor.
The integrated lock is much longer than that found on the Yakima King Cobra, but does have an interesting locking mechanism that provides ample theft deterrence. Word to the wise… don’t just trust the lock if you live in high-theft areas.
The Bottom Line
I had high expectations for the Thule Super G rack because it was highly touted as a durable and easy to use upright bike rack. But, after using it to carry my 44 lb. Norco Six for a few months, the rack did develop a little too much lateral flex. Still, the bike rack remains easy to use and has great features as good or better than other designs. Setting a bike in the Super G is easy, plus the angled front wheel tray automatically stabilizes the bike for hands-free securing. For bikes under 35 lbs. and mostly on-road driving, the Super G is a great choice. With some strengthening, the Super G would could be best-in-class.