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Saris vs Thule Bike Rack: Which one is best?

In the bike rack industry, Saris and Thule are two of the biggest and most recognizable names. So, if you are in need of a bike rack, which brand should you buy from? Is one brand better than the other? The answer depends on the type of rack. In this article, we will compare bike racks from both of these manufacturers. We will mainly talk about the three most common types of racks – hitch racks, trunk racks, and roof racks. In the end, you should be able to decide which brand to pick.

Saris vs Thule

Many of the Saris bike racks are manufactured by injection moulding which is a more environmentally friendly method. Contrary to what you might think, the plastic is strong enough to hold bikes. Saris bike racks are available in multiple colours as well. You can also get a Saris Bike Beam that helps you attach oddly shaped bikes. Thule is a company that specializes in outdoor equipment. They think of everything when it comes to their products, including their bike racks. Their bike racks combine ease of use with cutting edge-technology. Now let’s take a look at each rack type separately.

Hitch Racks

Both Saris and Thule offer a wide range of options in their hitch rack category. It is very difficult to separate the two since both brands can satisfy the needs of most people. However, Saris has a wider price range, slightly higher weight capacities, and some models have space for other cargo as well.

 SarisThule
Number of options1817
Price range$189.99 - $899.99$269.95 - $799.95
Number of bikes1, 2, 3, 4, or 51, 2, 3, 4, or 5
Rack types available10 platform style
8 hanging style
8 platform style
9 hanging style
Weight capacities60 lbs - 190 lbs37.5 lbs - 150 lbs
Rack materialSteelSteel
Aluminium
Foldable designAvailableAvailable
Bike attachment pointOnly frame
Only wheels
Both frame and wheels
Only frame
Only wheels
Hold downsRatcheting straps
Spring-loaded ratchets
Ratcheting straps
Vehicle access when loadedSwinging/tilting design available (for some models)Swinging/tilting design available (for some models)
Receiver sizes1 ¼” or 2”1 ¼” or 2”
Bike and rack locksIntegrated (for some models)
Also sold separately
Integrated (for some models)
Also sold separately
Extra cargo capabilityAvailable (for some models)No

Trunk Racks

While Thule and Saris are nearly head-to-head when comparing their hitch racks, Saris might be the better choice if you want to buy a trunk rack. They are comparatively cheaper, lightweight, and more options are available. However, Thule does have a spare tire rack and a unique platform style trunk rack in their collection.

 SarisThule
Number of options108
Price range$59.99 - $399.99$149.95 - $379.95
Number of bikes1, 2, or 32 or 3
Rack types availableRegular trunk rackRegular trunk rack
Platform style trunk rack
Spare tire rack
Weight capacities35 lbs - 105 lbs66 lbs - 105 lbs
Rack materialSteel
Injection molded plastic
Steel
Foldable designAvailableAvailable
Attachment to carRegular nylon/Steel reinforced straps with Spring/Ladder buckleNylon straps
Steel cables
Hold downsRatcheting straps
Button straps
Spring-loaded ratchets
Ratcheting straps
Button straps
Vehicle access when loadedNoPossible when unloaded (for some models)
Bike and rack locksIntegrated (for some models)
Also sold separately
Integrated (for some models)
Also sold separately

Roof Racks

If you are looking to purchase a roof rack, then Thule is your only option out of the two since Saris does not make any roof racks of their own. Therefore, Thule is the clear winner in this category. Thule roof racks come in three types according to the bike attachment point – frame attachment, wheel mounted, and fork mounted. The prices range from $189.95 to $499.95.

Other Products

In case you want any other bike related products, those are offered by these two brands as well. Saris is well known for their indoor bike trainers. You should try out their trainers if you are unable to ride your bike outside. They also make bike storage systems such as wall racks, freestanding racks, and ceiling storage systems as well.

On the other hand, Thule offers things like bike racks for truck beds, bike trailers, biking backpacks, and even child bike seats. Other than that, Thule has a reputation for making a wide variety of products for other sporting or outdoor activities as well. These include kayak racks, tents, cargo carriers, etc. Hence, you can find more products from Thule than from Saris.

F. A. Q.s

Q1. What other brands produce bike racks?

Ans.: These days, bike racks for cars are ubiquitous. There is a great abundance of options and brands to choose from. Other than Saris and Thule, these include Yakima, Kuat, SeaSucker, RockyMounts, Delta, Hollywood Racks, and plenty more. The downside is that shopping for a bike rack becomes slightly disorientating. Well, all of the brands that we have mentioned produce high quality racks. So, you can just pick one randomly, go through their collection, and choose a rack according to your requirements.

Q2. Do bike racks come with any warranty/guarantee?

Ans.: The answer can vary from one manufacturer to another. But generally, almost all bike racks come with warranty. Most of them have lifetime warranty which makes the rack a worthwhile investment to safely transport your expensive bikes.

Conclusion

So which is better, Saris or Thule? If you want a hitch rack or a trunk rack, then both brands have excellent options. However, Saris might have the edge due to the features, lower prices, and variety. Still, you should look through both their products to find one that is suitable for you. When it comes to roof racks, Saris does not produce any, making Thule the obvious choice.


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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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