Thule is ubiquitous – yes, ubiquitous I say! – on the roofs of vehicles across the land. And for good reason; they make something to carry just about every major piece of gear you can attach to a car or truck, and for just about anywhere on said auto that you would like it attached.
The ThruRide 535 fork mounted bike carrier was a big step for the Family Gearflogger. Towing an R-Pod 177 trailer left no room for the old standby, a Thule T2 hitch mount bike carrier that we knew and loved. After shoving a Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak on the roof, we determined that due to our enlightened foresight in choosing a wider-than-recommended Thule Aeroblade roof rack system we still had room for a pair of ThruRides on either side. Sure enough, everything fit and with a Novara Afterburner kid's bike trailer in the back of the Jeep we were off like a herd of gear-encumbered turtles.
The ThruRide comes with two attachment options: a small t-bolt that slides into the channels on the Aeroblade system, and a clamp that will work with just about anything. Both are solid, and both can be secured with various options that involve throwing more money at "the system," in the form of purchasing keyed lock cores. Or you can just lock the whole enchilada to your crossbars with a bike cable. Once you dial in the tension on the fork clamp – a very quick and easy process 'cause there's, well, a dial – you just pop your front wheel off, muscle the bike up top, strap the rear wheel down and clamp the front.
It's not as convenient as a hitch mount since you have to remove the wheel, but it is very secure and necessary if the hitch is not an option. For our Jeep Grand Cherokee it was doable for me by myself to hold a 30 pound mountain bike overhead, place the wheels in the cradles and then push the bike upright. This is something to keep in mind if you have a tall vehicle, are smaller or weaker or just lack motivation. Running boards would make a difference, and on a lower car it would be much easier.
One thing to be aware of is if your bike doesn't have a through axle. Both of ours are slightly older (please, send us new ones!) Gary Fishers with drop axles, so this required us to throw yet more money at the ThruRide 9mm Skewer Kit. It's not nuthin' either: that's $39.95 a pop and we needed two, so budget for that if you've got drop axles. The only other issue was the little black plastic cover over the fork mount end fell off both our carriers out of the box and not in a way that was fixable. Fortunately it appears to be merely cosmetic so we just ignored it. Bottom line: the ThruRide is a solid and secure, if expensive, option in the event that you can't use a hitch mount.