The Thule Clipon 9106 may seem like a lot of money for a boot-mounted rack, especially one which can only hold two bikes, and things don’t get much better when you realise how much assembly is required. Everything from bolting the main sections together to fitting the rubber ends to the wheel trays is left to the buyer. Assembly took us nearly two hours and involved a lot of swearing. Some stores will however, for a small fee, install it — top tip!
Happily, however, once assembled it does exactly what it sets out to do. It locks on to the boot both securely and easily thanks to the pair of tensioning fasteners on either side. More to the point, bikes are attached to the rack via the wheels, and secured with clamps on to the top tube (the outermost of which is lockable).
When compared to a rack like the Saris SUPERbones’ more conventional approach — using straps to attach the top tubes to the rack — this has some huge advantages. Firstly, it means the bikes are less inclined to rock back and forth, as they are secured both low down at the tyre and high at the top tube. Secondly, full-sus bikes with unusual top tube designs are more likely to fit.
The extendable wheel trays should fit most bikes — an XL Nukeproof Mega 290 fitted without issue, despite a fairly long 1,240mm wheelbase.
The main thing we liked about the 9106 was the high mounting position, which means your number plate and rear lights are visible when the bikes are installed, so there’s no need for a lighting board. On the downside, this means bikes are held above the roofline of smaller cars, which increases drag. Happily, the height at which the bikes are held is adjustable, so you can lower it to suit your car, or for use with a lighting board.
The design isn’t as adaptable as some, so check Thule’s recommendations to see if it will fit your car. It’s also worth noting the fold-down size is bulky, but the quality construction and secure, safe design make it a winner nonetheless.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.