Thule and Yakima have created rack mount systems that have become highly popular in recent years. There is quite the debate over which of these two companies creates the best rack mounts. The good news is that this is a sure sign that they are both high-quality, regardless of which of the two you happen to go with.
If you’re reading this review, you likely want to know what the differences are between the Yakima Frontloader and the Thule Sidearm. You can use both of these products to mount your bicycle to a roof rack. Keep in mind that each of these products is specially made to mount on a rack that is from the same company as their creators. For example, the Thule Sidearm is meant to mount on a Thule rack, and the Yakima Frontloader is meant to be mounted on a Yakima rack.
You may still be in the process of deciding which of these companies to go with for the vehicle rack. In order to help you decide, we have created this Yakima Frontloader vs Thule Sidearm comparison so you can get a better idea of how they stack up against each other.
Related: Best Thule Bike Racks
Thule Sidearm vs Yakima Frontloader
How The Thule Sidearm Works
The Thule Sidearm can fit bicycles that have 20 to 29-inch wheels. This is pretty standard for bicycle racks. It can also hold fat tires up to 2.6 inches wide. It has a corrosion-resistant aluminum tray in order to increase maximum strength. You can also purchase a lock cylinder to lock the bike in place for extra security.
But the Thule Sidearm works differently from the Yakima Frontloader. With the Thule, you place the Sidearm somewhere near the brake of the front wheel. The bicycle is held straight from the side and set it from the front. But like the Yakima Frontloader, the Thule Sidearm allows you to clip the back wheel in place in a very similar way.
How The Yakima Frontloader Works
The Frontloader is similar to the Thule Sidearm and the fact that it makes zero contact with the bicycle frame. The bicycle is held upright using the wheels and accommodates the brakes and the full suspension.
What we love about the Yakima Frontloader is the stability that it provides a bicycle while traveling at high speeds. Unlike the Thule Sidearm, the Frontloader receives the front wheel between two durable bars. Simply roll the front wheel into the compartment, as the name ‘Frontloader’ suggests.
The Frontloader accommodates 20 to 29-inch bicycle wheels, just as with the Thule Sidearm. And finally, one thing we love about the Yakima Frontloader is the fact that comes with a ‘Love it ‘Till You Leave It Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Yakima offers some of the best bike mounts. Check out our review of Yakima Highroller vs Frontloader bike mounts!
Thule Sidearm vs Yakima Frontloader: Price Comparison
If price is of the essence, you may want to compare them before you make a decision. Truth be told, there is only a slight price difference between the Thule Sidearm and the Yakima Frontloader. This is likely due to how similar they are in the features they have.
Thule Sidearm vs Yakima Frontloader: The Verdict
Now, here is the fun part. Which bicycle wheel mount system is the best for you? As stated above, the Yakima Frontloader allows you to mount the front wheel of your bicycle between two bars instead of just a sidearm. This actually makes it more stable at higher speeds. One Thule Sidearm customer has noted that their front bicycle wheel came detached from the arm rail after a large truck passed by. Another customer noted that at high speeds, they can feel a vibration with the Thule Sidearm.
The Yakima Frontloader seems to be the better bet if you want something more stable. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is an excellent addition to a wonderful product. Both of these bicycle mounts are very comparable in price and in quality. There is just the fact that the Frontloader seems to be the most stable. This comes as no surprise based on the fact that the front wheel is encased by two bars instead of being held by one bar.
An often overlooked benefit to the Yakima Frontloader is the fact that it comes assembled right out of the box. Also, it is a bit easier to mount onto the top of your vehicle than with the Thule Sidearm. There are fewer steps to take than with the Thule.
Our vote is for the Frontloader. But regardless of which of these models you choose, we are certain that you will be satisfied.
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