Thule vs Yakima Bike Rack

Depending on your preferences when shopping for a bike rack, there are many options, some good and others not so good. But if you have ever shopped for a rack several times, it is an open secret Thule, and Yakima bike racks are among the best. And with these two options, it becomes challenging to choose one.

The two companies are among the leading manufacturers of quality bike racks, thus offering buyers a tough choice. Further, both racks have a lot of things in common, like their ability to mount almost anywhere on your vehicle and their bike-carrying capacities.

But beyond their surface-level similarities, several fundamental differences exist, which can help you make informed choices. And with our research and expertise, this post enables you to unravel the Thule vs Yakima bike rack mystery.

Their Origin and Specialty

Before looking at the products, here is a quick brief of the origin and what each company specializes in.


The company traces its roots to the Thulin family back in 1942 but became known in the 1960s when it started producing roof racks.

But it wasn’t until 1992 that the company produced its first bike rack, thus setting the industry’s pace until today. Its factories are located in Seymour and Chicago.

Regarding specialties, market experts believe Thule is a master in cargo box baskets and kayak racks.


Yakima was founded in the 1970s by Otto and Jeanne in Yakima hence the name. It has factories in the USA, China, and Taiwan.

The company is famous for producing all the bike racks used in the 1984 Summer Olympics. Therefore the company has built a big brand name.

Also see: Is yakima a good bike rack?

Further, it is believed Yakima is the best in crossbars, truck and bike racks because many consumers prefer this brand.

And now to the features;

Which is better, Thule or Yakima?

Both companies have excellent reputations for making high-quality bike racks. Further, they have been around for years and have earned a good reputation among cyclists everywhere. However, some differences between them might affect how much confidence you have in their products

Additionally, the best bike rack has to check several factors. And in that case, let us look at the features to determine the Thule vs Yakima bike rack battle.


A bike rack falls or stands on the crossbars fitted on your vehicle. The crossbars are, therefore, a crucial aspect of bike racks.

Yakima’s crossbars emerge top in this category. Their bars, such as the Flushbar, are strong yet relatively light so that it does not weigh down your car. Further, the crossbar comes with a lifetime warranty and provides a quiet environment, meaning there is almost zero noise when your bike is fastened.

On the other hand, Thule’s crossbars are also good but rank lower in functionality. Although they reduce noise, are strong, and are easy to install, their prices are relatively higher than Yakima’s, yet they cannot match the user-benefit provided by Yakima.

This means Yakima’s racks are more adaptable than Thule’s. Therefore it is advantageous if you have several vehicles or are looking to sell your car.


The two brands have no significant differences in the accessories provided. After purchasing a bike rack from either of the two, you will need accessories to help lock the rack.

Generally, both companies offer these, but Yakima is known to provide better accessories.

Bike Racks Quality

Yakima is well-known for its high-quality bike racks. It has been in the business for a couple of decades; thus, its experience sets them apart. These racks are universal, ideal for any vehicle type and have a torque right knob. The two main types are HighSpeed and HighRoad, with prices ranging from $200.

Thule’s bike racks are also not a pushover. Its main bike racks are FastRide and TopRide, which are easy to install and can fit various bikes, although with different adapters. Further, they are not as adaptable as Yakima’s, meaning you would have to purchase several different ones if you have several vehicles. Its price is also in the $200 range, although not as cost-effective as Yakima’s.


The bike rack price depends on several factors, one being the product’s quality. If you want a high-quality bike rack, then you will have to pay more for it. But if you are looking for an affordable option, you should look for something that is not too expensive but still has good quality.

Yakima bike racks are generally cheaper than Thule bike racks. This is because they often come with fewer features and less security. However, Yakima is the best choice if you are looking for an affordable bike carrier.

Further, there’s not much difference between these two brands. The average prices are around $100-150 for basic roof racks and $200-300 for higher-end models.

This means Yakima offers value for money because its bike racks are high-quality and affordable, unlike Thule’s, which are high-quality and out of reach for many looking to save.


The design of a bike rack is fundamental. It has to be sturdy and reliable, but it also needs to look good. Thule and Yakima provide you with different designs of bike racks, all of which are of high quality. But which has a better appearance?

Thule makes high-quality products that last for years without showing signs of wear or tear. They have been around since 1942 and have plenty of experience creating functional and attractive products.

Similarly, Yakima has become one of the largest bicycle accessory companies in the world because they know how important it is for their customers to feel comfortable with their purchases.

They offer multiple styles for different types of bikes and vehicles, along with many different colors, so everyone can find something that suits their tastes perfectly.

Generally, Thule has better-looking bike racks due to the material and technology used compared to Yakima.

Ease of Installation

The Thule and the Yakima racks have been designed with ease of installation. Although they do not have the necessary accessories, both racks can be installed without tools.

You do this by simply bolting them onto your car’s roof bars or mounting them onto any after-market cross bars you may already have installed on your vehicle.

Therefore, this category has no clear winner, although your preferences may play out here.


The primary concern with any bike rack is security. If you invest in a high-end rack, you want to ensure that your bikes are safe from theft.

Yakima makes several security options for their hitch racks, including locking cable locks and lockable fork mounts. They also offer locking hitch pin locks if you don’t want to rely on cable locks alone for added peace of mind.

Thule also provides several options for locking their hitch racks. It provides cable locks, lockable fork mounts, and locking hitch pins.

Additionally, both racks are strong enough to withstand high speeds or bumpy rides. However, this does not mean throwing caution to the wind. If you want to secure your bike effectively, avoid overspeeding, especially on rough roads.

Weight Capacity


Both Thule and Yakima make mounts that can hold heavy bikes. However, Thule’s system is capable of carrying more weight. Thule is the ideal consideration if you have kids or heavy bikes.

The Verdict

In conclusion, both bike racks are great for transporting bikes around and are perfect for the person interested in working out.

The Yakima is great for you if you need an affordable but quality bike rack. On the other hand, Thule bike racks are pricey but will serve you better.

Ultimately your choice is dependent on several factors. But since you know the differences between the two, you can go to the market confidently and make an informed decision.

If you’re only going to buy one bike rack,  invest in a versatile one, but if you want an excellent rack that can be used for any occasion or activity, then you should spend more time researching to find one that fits all of your needs.