Fork mount bike carriers aren’t as versatile as they once were, mainly because of an increasing number of axle standards. But Thule’s new premium fork mount bike carrier is still an attractive option for those who still want a ‘wheel off’ roof carrier.
Despite the spiralling axle standards, fork mount carriers still offer the benefits of a lower clearance and access height. They also offer better fuel economy than newer ‘whole-bike’ type roof racks. We originally took a look at the Sprint more than two years ago, and it is now available.
xx: David Rome / Immediate Media
Simply wind the grip at the front to attach the bike
The Sprint has the quickest dropout locking system we’ve seen. The Acutight knob is an added bonus; it clicks-out once you reach the optimal clamping force at the dropout. This feature is a game changer given the delicate carbon dropouts on many current lightweight road forks – consider it a torque wrench for your bike rack.
To load the bike onto the rack, you simply place the dropout of your fork into the skewer part and tighten the knob at the front until it clicks. Finally, strap the rear wheel in place.
A sleek design means the sprint has been designed with aerodynamics in mind: a sleek design means the sprint has been designed with aerodynamics in mind David Rome / Immediate Media
The Sprint is designed to cut through the air, saving you fuel
Beyond the clamping mechanism, the Sprint takes a proper aero approach. Its sleek, bullet-like design should do well to conserve fuel, especially when it’s not loaded.
The rear wheel tray is on a telescoping arm: the rear wheel tray is on a telescoping arm David Rome / Immediate Media
The rear wheel tray easily telescopes, while a long ratcheting strap should work well with even deep-section carbon wheels
The telescopic wheel tray can be adjusted to suit the length of the bike by sliding it in and out to. This makes for greater clearance with hatch boots on smaller cars.
The Thule Sprint 528 is shipped fully assembled and weighs 4.85kg. Fitting it to your car is made simple thanks to the universal Speed-Link system – it’s tool-free and compatible with all major cross-bar types.
Large rubber pads and straps secure the rack in place. this system locks on solid and means the rack will fit nearly all cross-bar types: large rubber pads and straps secure the rack in place. this system locks on solid and means the rack will fit nearly all cross-bar types David Rome / Immediate Media
The rubber system simply straps into place. The little handle at the back of the pad is used to tension the rubber strap
It didn’t take us long to mount the Sprint on our aero crossbars, without needing to use tools. The flexible rubber mounting system means there’s no issues with crossbar compatibility either.
Lock cores are sold separately (not installed or pictured), but allow the bike locked to the rack… : lock cores are sold separately (not installed or pictured), but allow the bike locked to the rack… David Rome / Immediate Media
Not fitted to ours yet, lock cores are available at an additional cost. This is done so you can get lock-cores to match your other Thule products, therefore only needing to use a single key
It’s possible to lock the bike and the rack itself, but, like other Thule racks, the lock cores are not included in the price – they are considered an aftermarket accessory. The rack itself retails for US$249.95 / AU$399 / £157.50, making it very high-priced. The upside is it could potentially save you from a cracked fork.
We’ll be putting the Sprint to test over the coming months, but early indicators are looking positive.
Note: The Sprint is also available in a ‘T-Track’ type mount for a bolt-on fit with compatible cross-bars.