The Thule ProRide 598 bike rack holds your bike safely and securely to the roof of your car, and it's super-easy to use.
The Thule ProRide 591 has been something of a modern classic so it's a brave decision to tinker with the design. Thule has brought in two major changes with the ProRide 598. First, the wheel trays are wider than before. Second, the claw – the bit that clamps to your down tube – has an extended lower jaw. I'll come back to each of those features.
You can fit the ProRide 598 onto roof racks with 20 x 20mm T-tracks (20 x 20mm adapters are included for mounting on Thule WingBar Edge, WingBar, SlideBar, and AeroBar). It'll also fit roof racks with 24 x 30mm T-tracks with a £14 adapter, and square bar roof racks with a £5 adaptor. Initial setup is straightforward whatever system you use, and moving the rack from one side of your car to the other is a trouble-free job that doesn't require any tools. You can lock the ProRide 598 to your roof rack to stop anyone waltzing off with it.
Once in place, the ProRide 598 could hardly be simpler to use, as long as you can reach the top of your car easily. You position the wheels in the wheel trays – you'd have guessed that, right? – and put the claw around your bike's down tube. The extended lower jaw – it's significantly deeper than before – will hold your frame in place even before you've tightened it, making bike installation that much easier.
The clamping surfaces of the jaw are covered with squishy rubber pads to spread the pressure and conform to unusual tube shapes, and a torque limiter dial prevents over-tightening. Essentially, when you reach 7Nm the dial won't tighten any more, just clicking like a torque wrench does when you reach your set point.
I tried it with a whole bunch of bikes and even with some thin-walled plumbing pipes I had lying about, just as an experiment, and none of them were crushed or damaged in any way. Thule suggests that if you have a carbon frame/fork you consult the manufacturer to check that it's okay to use the ProRide 598, and that's probably a good idea just to be on the safe side.
The jaws take tubes up to 100mm deep and 80mm wide, and I can't imagine any non-standard shapes proving a problem. The maximum bike weight is 20kg (44lb); that covers the vast majority. Once it's tightened, you can lock the claw shut so no one else can remove your bike (both the claw lock and the one that holds the ProRide 598 to your roof rack use the same key).
Thule says the wheel trays will take wheels with maximum dimensions of 3in (7.6cm). I got the ratchet-closed straps to reach round 58mm-deep rims with inflated 23mm tyres very easily – I had about 20mm of space to spare – although you might struggle with the deepest of deep-section rims. Fit £25 adaptors and the rack will even take the whopping tyres of a fat bike, if that's your thing.
Rather than crossing the wheels at right angles, the straps run diagonally. This means there's slightly more strap in contact with the wheel and the strapped area is wider. It certainly seems to avoid any instability when you're driving at speed. Speaking of which, Thule says you shouldn't drive at more than 130km/h (81mph) with a bike attached, although considering the speed limits in most parts of the world, that's not much of an imposition.
I had no issues at all with stability or security while driving, the ProRide 598 holding all bikes firmly in place. I found that the quick release strap clips could occasionally be difficult to open at the end of a journey – you sometimes need strong thumbs – but removing your bike is otherwise just as easy as getting it installed in the first place.
When not in use, the ProRide 598 folds down flat to measure 145 x 32 x 8.5cm. Chances are that you'll fit it into your boot without much trouble.
Overall, this is a really solid product for simple, stress-free transportation of your bike.
Solid, secure and simple-to-use rack for carrying your bike on top of your car
road.cc test report
Make and model: Thule ProRide 598 bike rack
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Thule lists these features:
* Automatically positions your bike when you secure it, thanks to the uniquely designed frame holder and wheel tray.
* Quick and easy bike securing – the torque limiter dial controls the force going into the bike frame with a clear sign of correct mounting.
* Pressure is spread via large, soft claw pads that adapt to your bike's frame tubes – minimising the risk of frame damage.
* Safe mounting – your bike is prevented from falling thanks to the claw's extended lower jaw.
* Stable wheels – firmly fixed in smartly designed wheel holders with diagonal quick-release wheel straps.
* Easy, tool-free interface for switching carrier from one side of your car to the other.
* Maximum bike weight up to 20 kg.
* T-track adapters (20x20mm) are included for mounting on Thule WingBar Edge, Thule WingBar, Thule SlideBar, and Thule AeroBar.
* Fulfils the City Crash norm.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thule lists these tech specs:
* Load capacity (kg) 20
* Dimensions (cm) 145 x 32 x 8.5
* Weight (kg) 4.2 kg
* Fits round frame dimensions (diameter in mm) 22-80
* Fits maximum oval frame dimensions (mm) 80x100
* Fits maximum wheel dimensions (in) 3
* Thru-axle compatible
* Fits roof racks with 20x20 mm T-tracks
* Fits roof racks with 24x30 mm T-tracks Adapter Required: T-track Adapter 889-1
* Fits square bar roof racks Adapter Required: Thule ProRide SquareBar Adapter 8895
* One Key System compatible
You also get a five year warranty.
You can buy cheaper, but you are getting a high-quality rack here.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It's simple to use and very stable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of use and security.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hmm, it's more expensive than many rivals.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's not the cheapest roof-mounted bike rack out there but it's simple to use and it works very well indeed. That gives you plenty of peace of mind. Personally, I'd prefer to buy something of high quality that works well than to save a few quid on something that's not up to scratch.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.