The following review is from Tim Wiggins’s blog Life in the Saddle: Back in the summer I reviewed the Thule ProRide 591; a roof-top bike carrier that is very well recognised on UK roads and is renowned for being superbly built and functioning faultlessly. Indeed, Thule confidently claim that the 591 is “world’s most popular bike carrier”.
At Eurobike last year, the Swedish brand announced that they would be launching a new roof-top carrier, which would have improvements on the 591 in multiple aspects. The 598 has now arrived, and I’ve been testing it over the last month and seeing how beneficial the new “marginal gains” are in the real world.
Improved Roof-Rail Fitting
Thule started from the bottom up with the new 598, and have made some significant improvements on how the carrier mounts to the roof rails of the car. Similar to the 591, the 598 will fit multiple roof rails, including square section rails and Thule’s aerodynamic Wing Bars. It is really designed to work best with the latter of these two types, and the 598 will actually need an accessory pack to mount on traditional square bars; how ever, it works faultlessly on both and is quick and easy to mount, with key locking security.
The “marginal gain” on the mounting front, comes in the form of tool-free side switching. Underneath the front mounting panel, there are now two knobs that you can turn with a key to release the underside plate, allowing you to flip the panel round so you can use it on both sides of the car. Neat.
Improved Bike Mounting
When it cornes to how the rack holds the bike, Thule have also made some notable irnprovements with the design of the 598, compared to its predecessor.
The second, is that the claw now has a new style of padding. The large soft rubber area conforrns to the shape of the downtube, and avoids pressure point, which are usually what cause frame or paintwork carnage.
The third area that has seen evolution, is the wheel strapping. Unlike the previous perpendicular straps on the 591, 598 has diagonal straps to hold the wheels in place. This is a great improvement, and it stops the front wheel from doing that annoying wobbling that is used to do on the 591, especially when you were using it with skinny road tyres and at high motorway speeds.
The final area that has been adapt. on the new 598 release, is the clarnping adjustment dial. Thule have added a torque lirniter dial to the tightening wheel, so that much like on a torque wrench, you are warned against over-clamping your downtube. A great idea for carbon frames and particularly aero frames.
Overall, the 598 is a notable improvement over the already fantastic Thule 591 Carrier. The Swedish company is renowned for its quality and constant research and development and the 598 showcases both of these superbly. I can see that this will fast becorne the new “world’s most popular bike carrier’.