Thule vs Yakima: A Detailed Comparison

A Detailed comparison between Thule and Yakima Bike Racks

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You’ll likely come across at least one of their bike racks on a car, truck, or van. However, the obvious question is which is better in the competition between Thule and Yakima bike racks?

Well, we will answer that question in this in-depth comparison. So let’s jump straight to it.

Thule vs. Yakima Bike Racks: A Detailed Review

Thule Bike Racks

Credits: Thule

Thule prices are in the range of $40 to $750. On average, a Thule bike rack costs $200. But if you need a Thule bike rack with extra bits and pieces, the price will be higher.

Thule offers different types of rack racks:

  1. Roof racks
  2. Trunk racks
  3. Hitch racks

In total, Thule offers 42 different types of bicycle racks!

  • 7 roof racks
  • 19 hitch racks
  • 10 trunk racks
  • 6 truck bed racks 

However, Thule does not offer bike racks for spare tires on off-road vehicles. Thule is renowned for its stylish and high-quality bike clothing, suitable for keen cyclists and anyone from amateurs to pros.

They test all their racks in a unique laboratory and conduct field tests. Thule racks are tested to ensure the safety of their attachment to cars and ensure your bike doesn’t get damaged or scratched.

Installing bike racks on your vehicle is easy and usually requires no tools. A significant advantage of Thule frames is that all accessories come with the frame. There is no need to spend extra money on accessories.

Thule sells its products in 145 countries worldwide. Wherever you live, it’s easy to find the right one for you.

Is It Worth Buying Thule bike Racks?

Thule is one of the significant and well-respected bike rack manufacturers globally. Yes, they are more expensive than bike racks. But the higher price is worth it, as it’s more than enough to protect your bike and car from damage.

Thule bike racks can last a long time, but they also come with a lifetime warranty covering any issues with the rack. Choosing Thule racks won’t ever disappoint you!

Yakima Bike Racks

Yakima offers bike racks priced between $160 and $600. Like Thule, most bike racks are in the $200 range. Yakima excels when it comes to hitch bike racks compared to trunk racks or roof racks. More than half of their products are hitch bike racks. Here is a list of what they have to offer:

  • Truck Bed Rack
  • Roof Rack
  • Hitch Rack
  • Trunk Rack
  • Spare Tire Rack

You have 28 racks to choose from with Yakima

  • 1 trunk bed bike rack
  • 5 roof bike racks
  • 18 hitch bike racks
  • 3 trunk bike racks
  • 1 spare tire bike rack
Credits: Yakima

Making bike racks for over 25 years, Yakima is an established brand, and you can trust their experience.

Perhaps one of the most exciting features of some Yakima bike racks is the bottle opener. The racks come with a bottle opener if you are a fan of a cold beverage after a tiring ride – it’s a tiny detail but puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Yakima is working together with Toyota in a partnership, and if you happen to be a Toyota owner, you should consider getting a Yakima rack. Yakima has also developed one of the lightest bike racks, the Yakima SingleSpeed, which weighs just 9 pounds.

Are Yakima Bike Racks Worth It?

Yakima’s primary goal is to transport your bike safely and securely. Whether you want to secure your bike on the roof or the boot, you can be sure it will be safe.

All racks are covered by a lifetime warranty, which means that if there are any problems, you’ll get a replacement free of cost. They don’t have as many choices for the number of bike racks, but they do offer a variety of bike racks. 

If you have a Jeep and looking to get a rack to install it on your spare tire, Yakima is the right choice for you, as Thule doesn’t offer extra tire racks. Most bike racks also have a locking function, which serves well when leaving it on your car without worrying.


Most vehicles on the market can be equipped with Yakima and Thule roof racks. In some cases, however, a specific car will be a better fit for one of the two racks, significantly improving the rack’s usability or making it more suitable and efficient for your vehicle.

To find the most suitable rack for your vehicle, you’ll need to enter the details of your car into the installation guides provided by Yakima and Thule.

What To Look For In Racks

Weight limits. You need a rack that can handle as much weight as possible. While this limit is almost always the same for all brands, it is still worth looking at because the difference is enough to choose some models.

Bar spread. You want a rack with the two crossbars spaced far enough to support long loads. In general, it’s better to have more distance between the bars.

Accessory Compatibility. Look at what each rack can carry, and make sure the rack you want can handle the type of load you want.

Manufacturer’s instructions. Read all instructions that come with the rack. On some vehicles, the rack may be disrupting some functionality of your car, such as opening the sunroof, etc.

Although the specifications for Thule and Yakima roof racks (including Whispbar and Prorack) are identical on almost all vehicles, it is essential to review them if your car is one of the few that fits best.


Almost all Thule and Yakima accessories (bike racks, kayak racks, ski racks, trunks, etc.) are compatible with both (and many are compatible with the original crossbar). 

But it is still better to go with one brand for all products because all products can be locked using one key. The good news is that both Yakima and Thule offer high-quality accessories for just about anything you want to tow. 

The fact that both Yakima and Thule make accessories for anything you might want to tow puts them at the top.  There are cases where one of the two has a distinct advantage. However, there is no difference in the quality of accessories. It is all a matter of preference. 

Related: 10 DIY Bike Racks


When you add balconies and accessories to your vehicle, the appearance of the vehicle changes. There is no best or worst option. It all depends on you, your car, and your preferences.

The most significant difference is the look of the accessories. Both companies offer essential roof racks, from which you can choose the one that suits you.


The final factor has to be price. All other variables are equal. Price is the only information you need to decide. Make sure you know the price of the rack and accessories you want. Also keep an eye out for sales, which can be an excellent way to save a few bucks.

Prices from most manufacturers are usually comparable. While it is possible to find racks for much less, it is essential to do your research and ensure the quality of the product you are buying. 

Both Yakima and Thule guarantee that their racks are safe and will not damage your vehicle. If you save money by choosing an all-in-one system, chances are your car will be damaged and cost you a lot more.

Will A Thule Bike Rack Fit Yakima Bars?

The answer is yes! Thyme and Yakima bars are very similar, and the only difference between the two is usually the price and the number of features. Both brands offer the best quality racks on the market, so the choice boils down to what features you want from your rack and how much you are willing to pay for them. 

About Thule – Swedish Quality

Thule – pronounced [tool-e] – is located in Malmö, Sweden, and develops a wide range of transportation-oriented products. Thule’s track record of quality, durable products has made it the world’s most favored supplier of roof racks.

Thule manufactures its products with the best materials and strives to contribute to the appearance and functionality of the vehicle. For these factors, people are very likely to buy Thule roof racks and use them for a lifetime.

Credits: BikeInn

About Yakima – A Rack For Everyone.

Yakima began as a small machinery store in Yakima, Washington. Then, in 1979, the company was purchased by avid kayakers and cyclists Steve Cole and Don Banducci, and in 1984 Yakima put itself on the radar by fitting every race car at the Summer Olympics with its distinctive aerodynamic cockpit.

Today, Yakima’s products are geared toward price-conscious and functional customers. Their roof racks fulfill their primary function without extras.

Credits: Paramedical Council

Thule Or Yakima: Our Verdict

All in all, Thule roof racks offer better styling and more features than Yakima roof racks, but at a correspondingly higher price. Yakima racks are more affordable and do their job with fewer complications. Which rack is better depends significantly on the rack in question and what the user wants?

When choosing a bike rack, the main thing you should keep in mind is what type of car you have and how many bikes you will be carrying. Bike racks come in different designs; some are mounted on car roofs, others on a towbar, tailgate, or flatbed on a pickup.

Your type of vehicle and its characteristics determine which options you can choose. Once you have decided which ones fit your car, you can limit the selection based on how many bicycles you transport.

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Written By

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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