8.5
Reviewed Cycling Gear - 1%

Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review

£389.58 £384.50

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SKU: VeloCompact 927
Brand: Thule

Thule bike carriers have a premium price tag, but are they worth the money? We buy a Thule VeloCompact 3 bike carrier to find out.

We’ve tried a few different ways of transporting our bikes from A to B over the years. Some more expensive than others.

A premium brand of cycle carriers is Thule. They appear to set the gold standard for bike carriers you want to fit your car. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive, which is why we’ve only just bought one.

Why we chose the Thule VeloCompact 927

Since changing our car, our previous tow-hook mounted cycle carrier no longer fits. And, although I bought a bike rack for the roof bars, getting the bikes on the top of our very tall car is not easy.

Our old rear-window mounted cycle carrier wasn’t going to work either. And so, I started looking at the bike platforms that attached to the tow ball.

Our old rear-window mounted cycle carrier wasn’t going to work either. And so, I started looking at the bike platforms that attached to the tow ball.

There are some different options out there, but I kept coming back to Thule, even though it was more than I had budgeted for. Why? Well…

  • I wanted one that I could keep locked to the car. This is in case we take the bikes further and want to stop at motorway services, or when we just want a quick ride without having to worry about detaching and re-attaching the bike carrier.
  • I wanted one that I could lock the bikes to in case we stopped somewhere.
  • We needed to take at least three bikes.

The Thule VeloCompact 927 ticked those boxes. It also has a tilting mechanism to get into the car boot, though that’s not such an important feature for us since we can get to the boot from inside our car.

Lockable Cycle Carrier

As well as being able to lock the Thule bike carrier to the car, the bikes can also be locked onto the carrier

It’s big. Very Big.

After shopping around, the best deal I could find at the time was on Amazon.

The box soon arrived, and it was big. Very big. This cycle carrier will take up a lot of storage space.

The Thule Cycle Carrier it its box

The Thule VeloCompact comes in quite a big box

Assembling the Thule Velo Compact 927

Assembling the cycle carrier

Some self-assembly is required, but not too much.

you can get this Thule bike carrier together relatively quickly

There is some self-assembly required, but not much. I remember looking at another brand of cycle carrier, and people recommended you needed at least 2 hours to put it together. Fortunately, you can get this Thule bike carrier together relatively quickly.

You need to attach the upright support, the arms that hold the bikes in place, and a curious bit of plastic around the base of the hitch lock. More on that soon.

What it looks like after assembly

The bike carrier is now set-up, ready for attaching to the tow ball.

Attaching it to the tow ball

This part didn’t go as well.

There is an adjustment dial on the hitch lock, but the instructions are so bad, they only point out that there’s an adjustment dial and not how it should be used.

The problem was that it just wouldn’t secure itself to the tow ball. A lot of trial and error with the adjustment dial was needed.

Fitting the bike carrier to the tow ball

The bike carrier grips the tow ball when the hitch lock is pushed down.

Apart from the poor bad instructions, there were two things I found an issue.

Apart from the poor instructions, there were two things I found a problem.

The first, the odd bit of plastic that the instructions say fit on the bottom of the hitch lock appeared to be getting in the way. The plastic hadn’t slotted together well, and so I removed it. It looks like this is only there to protect the underside of the hitch lock.

The second I found, was that it needed to be perfectly level. With the shape of our tow ball, I think this last point is the most important, as if it wasn’t entirely level, the hitch lock couldn’t get a grip all the way around the tow ball.

Trouble fitting the cycle carrier

I found the Thule VeloCompact didn’t fit my tow ball that easily

Tilting to get into the boot

The tilting mechanism works quite well, though I noticed that the bike carrier needs a firm push to click back into the upright position.

The bike carrier tilted for boot access

The Thule VeloCompact tilts so that you can get into the car boot

Verdict

There are some things I like about this bike carrier.

  • It feels well made (though not perfectly put together).
  • The locking mechanism works well.
  • It’s straightforward to get bikes on and off.
  • Good quality straps and ratchet mechanism for securing the bikes.

However, considering the additional money this was over the non-locking alternative makes, I was quite surprised at the following:

  • It isn’t that quick and easy to fit the tow ball. Perhaps I need practice, but it wasn’t as simple as other videos show.
  • Fitting three bikes might be a challenge as the rear support that has the securing arms on is only as high as an adult bike. This means that the third arm might be difficult to attach with two adult bikes on it.
  • It wasn’t perfectly made. I just hope it lasts.
  • It takes up a lot of room. Thule recommends storing it flat, which takes up even more space.
  • The instructions aren’t great

Although, on the whole, I’m pleased with this cycle carrier and it has been doing the job I bought it for, don’t expect that for a premium price it will be perfect. If you don’t need the locking mechanism, a cheaper alternative might be OK.

Comparison of Similar 3-Bike Tow Ball Carriers

Reviewed
Thule
VeloCompact 927
  • 3 Bikes
  • Locks to car
  • Locks bikes
  • Tilts for boot access
Thule
943 EuroRide
  • 3 Bikes
  • Locks to car
  • Purchase an adapter to lock bikes
  • Tilts for boot access
Witter
ZX203
  • 3 Bikes
  • Doesn't lock to car
  • Doesn't lock bikes
  • Tilts for boot access
8.5
Value for Money
7.5
Quality
8
Features
10
+ Positives:
  • It's easy to put the bikes on and off and the bikes and carrier can be left locked.
- Negatives:
  • It didn't attach that easy and the instructions were rubbish. Fitting three bikes on it is going to be tricky.

Videos: Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review

Photos: Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review

Where to Buy: Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review

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  1. Ian Dobson

    Hiya

    We had a similar needs list and opted for the Atera Strada. Very well made, quick to assemble initially, a doddle to fit/remove to tow ball and to load bikes and easily accommodates the different bike combos that we use with quick adjustments. Also stores easily hanging from the shed roof. My only gripe is that if carrying three bikes you will need something (I use foam pipe lagging) to stop bikes rubbing together, I had the same problem on my previous Thule 2 bike carrier though so seems to be a general issue.

    Ian

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    • Tireless Trekkers

      Gav Grayston

      Thanks Ian. Great idea on the foam pipe lagging.

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    Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

    Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review
    Thule VeloCompact 927 Cycle Carrier Review

    £389.58 £384.50

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