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Thule OutWay Trunk Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Thule OutWay Trunk Bike Rack


Hi, everyone. It's Eve Angeline here at etrailer. And today, we are looking at our Thule OutWay trunk bike rack here at etrailer. So some reasons you may be interested in this bike rack is, let's say you don't have a hitch or you can't get a hitch on your car, but you still wanna carry around your bikes. Another reason you may want this is you're looking for a collapsible, easily storable bike rack, something that you can just fit into your trunk, or into your closet, or in your garage. Or you're really limited to only getting a trunk bike rack for your vehicle, but you want the premium trunk bike rack of all the options out there.

So if any of these apply to you, or if any of those reasons apply to you, this may be a good option. The Thule OutWay comes in two versions, so you have the two-bike or the three-bike hanging rack, and you also have a platform rack. So for the two-bike and the three-bike versions, they work the exact same way, have the exact same specs, they just have an extra cradle here on the three-bike, so it does depend on you as well as how many bicycles you have and what situations you're gonna be using them to choose between the two. Here, we have our three-bike version of the Thule OutWay hanging-style trunk-mounted bike rack. So as you can see, this gives you an extra cradle for your bicycles, which means is we have it on our Subaru Forester.

So if you have more people riding with you, or if you wanna go out on a bike ride, this gives you that extra cradle compared to having just the two-bike version. So I consider the OutWay as the premium bike rack among our selection of trunk-mounted bike racks that we have here at etrailer because of how it combines premium features that you would expect with a really easy install process that you don't expect. So of course, you get all the things like the integrated cable locks, you get all of the mounting feet and attachment points that some bike racks require you to purchase separately. This has all of that included. Plus, it has a very unique ratcheting system that makes the install process a lot easier.

The bike rack itself has a weight capacity of 33 pounds per bike. So now, this is gonna fit most of your bikes, but it is kind of on the low side when it comes to a trunk-mounted bike rack 'cause you would expect the weight capacity of 35 pounds. So just be very conscious with the weight of your own bikes when you do have this mounted on there. Make sure your heaviest bike is facing or is as close to the vehicle as you can get it, and your lighter bike is on the end. Instead of an anti-sway cradle that comes down from the arms, what this uses is an anti-sway spacer.

So this is a spacer that just fits between the frames of both of your bikes or three of your bikes if you have the three-bike version, and as you can see, this does not really reduce the sway of the bikes themselves, but it does prevent the bikes from swaying into each other. So as you are riding along, your bikes will sway with each other and away from each other, kind of creating a safer experience for your bicycles. As an extra feature, they also have this stabilizing strap that comes with your bike rack. So that's just gonna go around your wheels, around your frames, maybe around the bike rack, depending on how large your bicycles are. And that's just gonna help limit the sway from your front wheel. Since you do have those handlebars that swing around sometimes, it does depend on how your bikes fit together, so just try to find the best fit for you and your bicycles. And before we take our bikes off, we first have to take this cable lock off. So this is integrated to our bike rack. So if you just unlock that cable lock, you can take it off. Or when you're ready to lock up your bikes, you just pop that into that tab and lock it down. One thing to note is that this can be used with your other Thule accessories since you can get them all keyed alike. So just make sure to figure out what key or what lock core you're using and you can get the lock cores to match and switch them out. That way, you can just use one key to access all of your Thule accessories. One thing I did notice with this cable lock, it is kind on the thinner side. I do see when we have integrated keylocks on other bike racks, they're usually larger and thicker. So if this isn't enough for you, you can also get a supplemental cable lock here at etrailer just to add that to your system. Now, when you wanna stow this away, you just feed that lock through the arm of your bike rack. So get it as far into as you can get it. And then, go through the top, just push that tab into that hole, and it's not gonna go all the way through, but it's gonna give you a little extra loop just to make it easier for you to pull it back out when you need to use it. This connecting post has rubber straps that wrap around the frame of your bicycle, so when you're ready to take them off, you just pull that rubber strap out of that tab. So one on each end, you can go through the top or the bottom, and just lift that out. And that way, you can take your bikes off. Holding the bikes into place to the bike rack itself are these ratcheting straps. So these go diagonally over your frame. They have this nice cushion just to help cushion that frame and keep it in place. So when you wanna take your bike off, you just press this lever at the end and pull that strap out. So each bike is gonna get two of these straps. So do both straps, and once you have them swung to the side, you can then lift your bike up through the arms and you're ready to go on a bike ride. And with our bike off, we get to take a closer look here at the arms. So this does not have the traditional cradles, which holds your bike up, but it rather has a sort of flat surface here with a slight groove for your bike's frame. Note that it does not have the traditional groove on the inside for your brake cables. So that's just something to keep in mind when you are mounting your bike. Now, when you do have it up on there, this is a nice rubber surface. So this is gonna be an anti-skid surface, so it's gonna hold on that frame pretty well. It also explains why you have a diagonal strap here. That's gonna give it a little bit more surface to hold that frame down, as well as that rubber cushion here on this strap is gonna add to that rubber cushion here on the arm, holding your bike together. This ratcheting lever has a very interesting design where if you put the strap in the right way, make sure it is far away from the lever and not inside the lever, just press that lever and put that strap in. And to get a tighter fit, you can lift up on that lever, and then it will ratchet that strap down for you. Your arms are individually adjustable, so that means you can move them back and forth to accommodate different bike frames. You can also move them up and down. So the way that works is you have this knob over here. So you move it towards the minus sign and that's gonna loosen it up, allowing you to open up this latch. And then with that latch open, you can then adjust your arms up and down. So moving your arms up and down, if you have an alternate frame bike like a women's bike or a children's bike, or just a strangely placed tube on the top of your bike, you have some options. So one could be, you could get a frame adapter bar, kinda like what I have here. That's in order to create an even and level frame to go onto your bike rack. Another option is if you're just carrying around one bicycle, you can actually move this, so it's slightly uneven here, and that will create a better or more even level for your bike's frames to rest on. So that way, if you're just carrying one bike around, you can just adjust it to make it the best fit for your bicycle. On the side of the arms, we have these marks on the ends. So what that does is that shows you where are your grooves on your bike rack you have your arm set up. So this is gonna help make sure your arms are even. So if you have one arm over on the second notch, you can put this second arm to the same notch, just line that up and then use the latch to lock it into place. And when you're planning on maybe not taking your bikes off, but you still wanna keep your trunk mount on, what you can do is to move this into the portable position. To do so, you just loosen the knob, open the latch, and just slide that arm down. To do the same thing on the other side, loosen the knob, open the latch, and just swing it down. Make sure to avoid your vehicle. So if you do have a hatch, you may need to bring it out a little bit further and just lock those into place. Make sure they're aligned with your tabs. And just like that, it's in the portable position. An extra special feature is that when this is properly secured, you can actually open your hatch or your trunk with the bike rack installed. Now, I recommend to always double check your knobs on each end, make sure that everything is torqued down and that clicks just like that. That's how you know that, that fit or that strap is secure to your vehicle. And then, you can open your trunk and see how our legs are holding onto it on the bottom, and our straps are holding up on top. And that allows you to open your trunk and get in to the trunk or into your hatch and grab whatever you need without having to take the bike rack off. Now, some personal notes from me about when you do open your trunk or your hatch with your bike rack on it, like what we have here, there's no assist. So I'm holding that bike rack up with my own strength. So depending on your trunk, you may need to give a little extra effort with holding it up since you do have that bike rack weight added. Speaking of that weight, for some hatches, they have struts right over here that help you lift up that hatch, that door, that trunk. So over time, I recommend just using your best judgment just to make sure you don't wear out those struts before their time. What keeps it so lightweight is because it's made of aluminum. So that construction you can see throughout, keeping it lightweight as well as corrosion-resistant. So as you have the sun coming down and the rain coming down, that's gonna be really helpful to holding up underneath the extreme elements. The install process has a slight learning curve, so I'm gonna guide you through that process. But once you master it, it's actually really simple and really easy, you can do it by yourself. So compared to other trunk racks that have like three sets of straps and hooks and anchors that you have to figure out on your vehicle, what this has is kind of just a three-step process. So let's take a look at that. Before installing your bike rack, I do recommend just cleaning off the areas or the contact points between your bike rack and your car. So like what we have here is we have the car where our feet are gonna go over the edge, so that's where we're gonna clean, as well as the areas where our straps and our hooks go on. So you're gonna want to do that in order to prevent those contact points from creating extra scratches from the dirt. So the first step is to attach the hooks that are on your support arms. So you are gonna need to lift your trunk or your hatch before you do so. Just line up those hooks underneath and then close your trunk or your hatch on them. Next step is to lift your support arms up, so you're gonna need to unlock them. Press this button and lift this latch to the side. And from there, do the same thing on the other side. You can then lift your bike rack up until it's lined up to where your feet need to rest and then latch it into place by pushing this in. And it's automatically gonna click, showing that it's secure. On a side note to that second step is you're gonna have to choose which feet you need to attach, depending on your vehicle. So here on our coupe, we're gonna use the version that has this groove or this angle since that fits on the edge of our trunk. Now for your hatch, you're gonna have to use the flat foot. And then the way this mounts is this fits into the center of your support arm, and then you just rotate it to lock it into place. And that's gonna be what holds or supports your bike rack as you mount it to your car. The final step is to attach your straps to the top of your trunk or your hatch. So first, you loosen this knob, make sure you are spinning it towards the minus sign. Then, you pull up on the strap and latch it to the top of your door. Do the exact same thing on the other side, right over there. Once your straps are secured, you then rotate those knobs towards the plus side, and that's gonna tighten it down. Note that you will have to rotate these several times until it fully tightens down. But once you do got it sort of tight, just keep going till you hear the click twice. So once you've confirmed that all your connections and all your straps are secure and you've locked all the knobs, then that's it for the install. So I had a conversation with some of my coworkers about this bike rack where we discussed their questions about it and what they thought of it, so let's take a look at the discussion. Okay, everyone. Hi. We have our OutWay trunk rack here right now. We have it mounted on a sedan, but this also works with hatchbacks and other vehicles. So this is kind of the, I would like to say the replacement for the Thule Raceway. This has a hanging style as well as a platform style, but what I have right here is the hanging style. Kind of interesting install process with ratcheting straps that just cinches it in and allows you to open the trunk or your hatch with your bikes off but your bike rack on. So some interesting features about it, have you guys been able to look into the bike rack, get kind of familiar, do you have any extra questions pertaining to the bike rackRemote Employee I found it really neat that this one actually attaches with two straps. You know, most of 'em are four or more. When we take a quick look at that, is that I believe the two straps are what allows the trunk to open while the bike is still onYeah, with the bike rack on. So yes, we definitely have, so we have the top straps and then we have legs with hooks. So it's not really a strap, but more of a support leg. And then in the middle, we have another support leg which goes onto the lip of your sedan. Or if you have a hatchback, it goes kind of on your hood slash glass. Cameraman And those are just interchangeable feet that pop in and out. Yep, they're just interchangeable feet here in the middle so that just it's there. But it has a hook and a top hook. I can take the bike off if we wanna take a closer look at how that works. Remote Employee Yeah, I wanna see the trunk open as well. Eve Yeah, one thing I did notice is they have a strap that goes diagonally across our bike. So usually what happens is you have a strap that goes, you know, around kinda like that, then you have an anti-sway cradle. This does not have that. It just uses two diagonal straps and a cable lock. Remote Employee Is it still as secure as a three-strapperSo no, it doesn't have, sorry, did you say three strapsRemote Employee Yeah, do you notice any more or less sway because of the less number of strapsSo I think the sway is kind of normal amount of sway, but the reason they have for that is because they have the, could you go grab the thing, the frames So what happens is you're still gonna have sway, but they sway together. Cameraman It's more so a collision of the bikes being prevented rather than any kind of sway being stopped. Yeah, so you have this spacer that goes between your bikes. That way, as they sway, they sway to one side together, so you don't have bikes bumping into each other. So I think the sway is still normal. It's not like an impressive decrease of sway, but it's a less destructive sway if that makes sense. All right. So with your bike off and then your straps kind of tightened down, you should be able to open the hatch as long as everything is secured. So this is torqued down. You have to make sure your knobs are super tight, so you know they're tight when they click like that. I'm just double checking just to make sure we don't open the trunk without it tightened down. You can see here how our bike rack's on if I lift the hatch. Remote Employee Do you guys have a number for how much it weighs, the rackOn the product page, I think it says 18 1/2 pounds. Yeah. Yeah, that's right. So that's the trunk bike rack itself. The three-bike is a little bit more. So a big thing of course, just make sure you don't have a bike on your bike rack as you do have it swinging up or go up. Yeah, so because it is torqued down at the bottom, I think that's what gives it that support. Did I explain that feature a bit enough for you guysRemote Employee Yeah, I liked it. Yeah. Remote Employee Now, there's locks on each of those that prevent the straps from becoming detached from the trunk, correctUh-hmm. So you have this knob down here. That's what I tightened down in order to torque it down. So like click, click. As for a lock like a security feature lock, is that what you mean That's what this is. Remote Employee And where are the locks for the bikesSo the bike lock is a cable lock. So that's right over here and it goes out. Now, this kinda can be difficult to use 'cause I noticed it gets stuck on our arm if you don't have it facing the right way like it is now. There's a little, it gets caught on like a tab on the inside. So there we go. So this is a small, thin cable lock that goes around your bikes and locks right there. Then, we have that key, so it's keyed alike too. And then, so lock it into place and you can't pull that out. So it technically is an integrated cable lock. Cameraman It just seems kinda like they skimped out on this part because they do have this braided cable right here, and then you have whatever this is, just flimsy. Someone could cut that with a multi-tool. Yeah, what do you guys think of this integrated cable lock for the bikesRemote Employee There's one in each armJust this one. Remote Employee Just one. Remote Employee It looks pretty skittish, but I think most of the time that we're looking at locks too, we always have this conversation when we bring up locks about how much is actually locking and how much is it just, "Hey, look. It's locked, you can't just take this."Yeah, deterring theft. Yeah, most locks really are just theft deterrents, so you can't just randomly grab the bike, you know You'd have to put a little effort too, either way. Remote Employee So now that you've got it tightened down and everything, can you latch those arms and then give it a good shake side to side, see if it movesSo side to side, it really can move back and forth. So it's a little bit of a learning curve to use this. That should be loose. Almost. Remote Employee While you're working on that, I saw the video on Thule's website. They have one person being able to put this onto a vehicle by themselves. Did you guys try that at all or just one person tried to do it by themselvesYeah. Yeah, it is possible. You just have to make sure you get it lined up with your door and 'cause you just have to get the bottom one into place and then it just sits there. That gives you some time to, you know, just pull it up with one hand to get your straps over it, so yes. Cameraman We'll make sure to show that in the install portion of the video. We we're in the middle of getting through some of the specs and everything. Remote Employee So yeah, can you just give it a good push side to side once, like say you we're going around the corner Oh no, you gotta get in there and give it a push. Cameraman Brad, get in there. Remote Employee There you go. Yeah, it's shaking the whole car, okay. A little bit more strength there. Yeah, it's a sturdy fit. That's 'cause it is torqued down, click, click. Now, the downside to that is if you do have a plastic spoiler, it's a little bit more tentative on how much force you can put on it. Cameraman Can go find the dog bones So this comes with a dog bone kit, which is just like a little plastic piece. Brad's gonna go grab it now. It sits on the inside of your trunk or hatch if you have a spoiler. And then right up here, there's this groove where the strap runs through. Brad's got 'em right here. So this would sit, dangle on the inside and you'd close your hatch around here. Then, run the strap back up through here and tighten it down. But yesterday, we we're messing with that, cinching it down, pulling it as tight as we could, and trying to get it in. And you end up with the plastic piece still just flopping around on the inside. It wasn't taking any of the weight off of the spoiler because on the hatchback of Eve Angeline's Prius, the end of the spoiler is right up under here and you could hear the plastic start to creak. So we had to stop and take it off 'cause it wasn't a good fit. Remote Employee Yeah. Yeah, you're gonna run into that a lot with those types of things, I think. Cameraman It's a really good design and it makes for a really fast install if it's a fit on your vehicle. But it seems like it's such a niche mount system for so few models of cars out there that are specifically built for it almost. Or this is specifically built for. Yeah, so it's very tentative what vehicles can work with this bike rack 'cause you have to make sure if it's a hatch, your spoiler won't be pulled down by this hook torquing down on it. And then you also have to make sure that your struts won't get weighed, your struts inside your trunk or your hatch, won't get worn down. And you also have to make sure if you do have a sedan that you don't have a spoiler lip here on the end 'cause that's what it's mounted to. It's mounted to the edge of your trunk. Cameraman The 50, 50 between the window and the flush part of the body for the flat feet for an SUV. And if you do have a hatch, they would recommended with your flat foot that half of it is on your door or on your hood and the other half is on your window. Cameraman So this is the flat piece here and it's just got this little tiny end cap that pops on the inside of this. So this just you can pull it out. But on a SUV or hatchback, they recommend you set it up like this. But as you can see here-It was really hard to find a vehicle that had good enough traction right there where it wasn't too big of a lip where it would fit on. I hope that answered any questions you might have about the Thule OutWay. If you have other questions, you can check out the product page for this trunk-mounted bike rack where we have a lot of other details about the rack. And you can also ask questions here at etrailer.com. So my final thoughts about the Thule OutWay hanging-style trunk-mounted bike rack is I do like how it has a bunch of unique features. This is a premium bike rack with a kind of a high price point, but it does come with a very unique install process. I can install it by myself, which is very rare for a trunk-mounted bike rack. And it has pretty much everything you need. It has an integrated cable lock, it has ratcheting straps, it has its own anti-sway stabilizing system. I think there's a lot of really cool and really interesting features, so if you're into that and you wanna get all the features, you want everything to keep your bike safe as you have it trunk-mounted on your trunk, this may be a good option for you. So that was a look here at the Thule OutWay trunk-mounted bike rack here at etrailer. My name is Eve Angeline, and I hope you enjoyed the journey..


Info for these parts were:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Evangeline M
Test Fit:
Evangeline M
Employee Thomas T
Video by:
Thomas T

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