Thule Vertex 9031 Review

My circle of friends loves bikes of all shapes and sizes. Every time we plan to bike together in a commonly agreed upon place, I’m usually the one who is responsible for transporting all of our bikes to that destination. As a proud owner of an SUV, I need an SUV bike rack that is stable yet adjustable – not to mention capable of impressing my friends greatly. Luckily, I found the Thule Vertex 9031 Swing Away 4 Bike Hitch Rack. I’m happy to report that it really managed to impress not just my friends, but also me, and I’m more of a down-to-earth type of guy.
There are certain dangers in using a roof mount bike carrier, especially with four bikes being lugged around. What if one of the bikes suddenly flies away, carried by the wind? What if a crafty thief decides to yank a precious thousand-dollar bike from the bunch? Good thing Thule is a renowned maker of bike holders for cars, so we entrusted the safety and security of our bikes to the Vertex 9031 that I bought for $400.
Eventually, the turnout of our maiden voyage with the Vertex 9031 was nothing short of impressive. Installation is a walk in the park. I just mounted the rack to the hitch and then tightened its hitch pin bolt with the provided wrench. Bam! Installation complete! Another thing I loved about the rack is it left enough room between itself and the bumper, so I never had to worry about annoying collisions on the back while driving. As a swing away rack, the folding mechanism is a nice touch. If we ever had to tailgate after a tiring biking session, I could just swing the rack away from the hatch, open the hatch door, and enjoy the party.
The Vertex 9031 has some quirks in some areas. For one thing, the swing away feature leads to some instability. Fortunately, there is a stabilizer that helps minimize the swinging. Sure, using the stabilizer may be an extra step in lugging the bikes, but it can be done. On rough roads, we expected some wobbling and loosening of some rivets, but they were fortunately not that severe and only took some tightening from the provided wrench to fix the anomaly. The lack of a locking function for both the bikes and the rack means the bikes are easy prey for thieves. For that, we had to buy additional antitheft devices.
What is the only thing about the Vertex 9031 that brings my blood to a boil? The straps! They are needed to secure the bikes in place, but how in the world did Thule screw them up?! Sure, the straps were meant to be soft to prevent paint chips from clinging to them, but what were the good folks at Thule thinking? After that long maiden voyage, at least one each of the attachment straps, anti-swinging straps, and non-swinging straps broke. If only Thule had replacements for those…
By and large, the Thule Vertex 9031 Swing Away 4 Bike Hitch Rack is a masterpiece. Sure, there were chinks in the armor – and the rack itself is built to be tough, which I forgot to mention – but they can be easily patched up. My friends and I highly recommend it.


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