When you’re a cycling enthusiast, there’s nothing quite like hitting the open road and feeling the wind on your face. If you’re cycling a fair distance from your home, the practical issue of how to transport your bike comes up.
The answer is the get a high-quality bike carrier. Thule has built a solid reputation for innovative and high-quality products. In this post, we’ll compare two of their most popular hitch mounts: the Vertex and the Apex.
Do you choose the two-mount hitch or the five-mount hitch? Is the quality worth the price? We’ll answer these questions and more in this post.
Quick Comparison: Thule Vertex Vs Apex
|Feature||Max. Number of Bikes||Max. Bike Weight||Design||Integrated Locking Cable||Space Between Bikes||Integrated Handle|
|#1. Thule Vertex|
Our Best Pick
|2||35.2 pounds||Arc||Yes||5.5 inches||Yes|
|5||37.5 pounds||Column||Yes||5 inches||Yes|
- The Vertex has an innovative arc design. This design makes it easier to load and unload the bike. It also offers security for the bikes while in transit.
- The integrated, heavy-duty cable lock secures the bikes to your rack. It stows away inside the rack when you’re not using it.
- The mast height is longer to improve the clearance from the ground.
- The holdfast cradles are cushioned to protect the bikes from getting scratched.
- This design has an anti-sway cage to prevent the bikes from crashing into your vehicle if you hit the brakes.
- The switch allows you to fold the carrier arm away when it’s not in use. It also makes it easier to access the trunk.
- Easy to carry thanks to the handle built into it.
- The Snug-Tite receiver lock is available as an optional extra. This lock locks the rack in place and prevents more movement.
- The hitch adaptor makes this versatile. It allows you to fit most of the 1¼ inch or 2-inch receivers on the market.
What do We Like About It?
- Easy to install.
- It can be adapted to fit most standard hitch receivers.
- Good ground clearance.
What Don’t We Like About It?
- The price.
- The straps are a little bit cheap and can break easily with a non-standard bike.
- It’s hard to fit a non-standard bike.
- The bikes need some form of protection during transport because the anti-sway mechanism is not always sufficient. A cut-down pool noodle solves this issue.
- The Apex includes an integrated anti-sway mechanism, preventing the bikes from scratching each other. This model is more discreet and has a lower profile when not in use.
- The bikes are held 5.5 inches apart.
- The ratcheting cradle strap makes it a lot easier to load and secure your bikes.
- The cradle design is low profile and can hold a wide variety of different frames and sizes.
- The locking cable is integrated into the mechanism for greater security.
- The arms fold down neatly when not being used.
- It’s easy to gain access to the trunk if you use the HitchSwitch lever.
- The convenient handle makes it simple to carry around.
- Installation is simple. The Snug-Tite stinger lock is included with this model.
- Will fit 1.25 inch to 2-inch receivers.
What We Like About It
- Easy to fit.
- Tilts down right out of the way when it’s not loaded.
- Good ground clearance.
- The Snug-Tite lock comes with this model.
What We Don’t Like About It
- The price.
- The straps are problematic again.
- You’ll need to pad the bikes during transport. A pool noodle does the trick nicely.
What’s Similar Between These Models?
- You can tilt the mounts down so that you have easier access to the hitch, which makes it easier to access your trunk when the bikes are not loaded on.
- Both racks have a locking mechanism incorporated into the design. Also, the Snug-Tite mechanism can provide extra security.
- You don’t need any tools to attach either model.
- The bike clearance is excellent. That’s great for when you’re out on less than ideal roads.
- The arms are spaced at 12 3/8 inches.
- Both models are compatible with carbon frames.
- Neither model allows you to tilt it down when the bikes are in place.
What are the Differences?
At first glance, they seem quite similar. There are some significant differences, though.
- The first difference is the price. The Vertex is the more expensive of these two models, which doesn’t make sense as the Snug-Tite lock comes with the Apex model.
- The Vertex provides better ground clearance and more space between your bikes.
- The Vertex comes with a two-year warranty that includes damage due to discoloration or normal wear and tear. This might account for the higher price.
- The Apex warranty is a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects only. The warranty expressly states that normal wear and tear are not covered.
Which One Do You Buy?
Thule has an excellent reputation as a premier brand. These cradles are on the more expensive side of the market. If we had to choose just one, it would depend mainly on where and how it’s being used.
If you’re out on rough roads, the Vertex’s superior ground clearance is useful. For standard cycling, though, we find it hard to account for the higher price with the Vertex.
The warranties also give us cause to consider the cheaper Apex. The limited lifetime warranty seems far more useful than the two-year warranty on the Vertex. We do recommend checking on this point before purchasing, though.
According to the Thule site for the Vertex, bike carriers come with a standard two-year warranty with the option of choosing an extended three-year warranty after that. This warranty also states that normal wear and tear are covered, and frankly, that makes little sense.
Why would a company cover you for normal wear and tear? Overall, the Apex warranty makes more sense. That, and the added value for money that the Apex offers, put it over the top for us.