When a company redesigns and updates one of their flagship products, comparing the classic with the newcomer is always interesting. This is exactly the case with the Thule ProRide 598 vs the Thule ProRide 591.
The 598 introduces a lot of small upgrades. They might make a huge difference to user experience.
The ProRide 591 has been around for nearly a decade. It has become somewhat of a benchmark bike rack, maybe even a modern classic.
It has long been the go-to Thule roof rack for those wanting to transport one bike with the wheels on. Thule confidently claims that the 591 is “the world’s most popular bike carrier”.
The ProRide 598 might look quite similar to its predecessor. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the engineers at Thule have thrown all of their expertise into making the newest model even more versatile, user-friendly and secure than the classic.
Read on for an in-depth look into the differences between the ProRide 598 and the ProRide 591. In addition, we will provide an assessment on how important the marginal gains provided by the upgraded model really are.
Quick Look: Comparison Table
|Thule Proride 598||Thule Proride 591|
|Best For||Aero carbon road bikes with thin tires||Bikes with wider tires, and steel or aluminum frames|
|Price||See on Amazon||See on Amazon|
|Maximum Wheel Width||2.5"||2.5"|
|Suitable for E-Bikes||No||No|
|Roof Rack Compatible||20x20mm||20x20mm|
|Dimensions||57 x 13 x 3.5 in||57 x 13 x 3.5 in|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
Design & Ergonomics
When it comes to aesthetics, there is not much to set them apart at first glance. The dimensions and weight are almost exactly the same. So is the overall signature minimalist design.
Both racks consist of a single sturdy alloy beam and one-piece frame-grasping arm. They have two ratcheting wheel straps. They also feature sleek low-positioned tightening nobs.
Both models have Thule’s signature wheel-on design. That means you can mount your bike as is, without having to remove wheels.
You won’t need to worry about disc-brake placement. You also won’t need to worry about axle standards or wheel dimensions. A closer look, however, reveals several slight but clever improvements.
Roof Rail Fitting
The first thing that caught our eye when comparing these two racks is the improved roof-rail fitting. Just like the 591, the 598 can fit both Thule’s aerodynamic Wing Bars and your run of the mill square section rails.
That being said, they are designed to work seamlessly with the former. The addition of an accessory pack lets you mount it quickly and easily onto square section rails.
The Thule ProRide 591 set the standard for all bike roof racks. It is the best when it comes to ease of mounting and its tool-free mounting approach and key locking security.
With the 598, Thule added tool-free side switching. You can now release the bottom plate by turning two knobs with a key.
You can turn the panel over. That way, you can use it on both sides of your roof. It may be a small improvement and might not be overly useful on a day-to-day basis.
However, it is a neat feature nonetheless. It shows great attention to detail.
Both racks are designed to make dismounting bikes a breeze (almost as easy as a hitch-mount bike rack). That applies even if you have a taller vehicle.
To ensure the dismounting is a one-person job, both racks have a quick release lever. They open the spring-loaded jaws and allow you to do a controlled tip.
Bike Mounting Clamp
How your bike rack grips your precious two-wheeler is crucial for stability, not to mention how much confidence you have that your bike will not simply fall off your roof.
The 591 was bulletproof when it comes to how firmly it holds bike in place; but was slightly lacking when it comes to larger or more fragile bike frames. The 598 set out to tackle these problems and did so with two major improvements.
For starters, they have made the lower claw of the holding clamp slightly bigger, and this means it connects with your bike’s downtube with a larger surface area. By doing so, it has a more stable and secure grip, and leaves less wiggle room.
In addition to this, the claw now has improved and more substantial padding which allows it to snugly wrap around the downtube of the bike without creating a pressure point. This should prevent scratches to delicate paintwork and damage to fragile carbon framed bikes, which sometimes happened with the old model.
The last clamp-related improvement is the new and improved clamping adjustment dial, similar to the one that was first used on Thule’s Sprint 528 rack.
The tightening wheel on the clamp now has a dial with a torque limiter that prevents over-tightening and takes the guesswork out of clamping. It works much like a torque wrench and makes a sound that warns you when you are close to over-clamping your down tube.
Now that we have covered the clamp, it is time to look into the other two contact points: the wheel straps. Some reviewers of the 591 noticed that the front wheel of their bike was prone to wobbling, especially if the bike had skinny 23” road tires, and when driving at higher speeds.
While this minor defect did not cause any real damage or adversely affect performance, it definitely could be an annoyance in some situations.
The ProRide 598 has completely redesigned wheel straps that all but eliminate this problem. The fix is simple but very effective: they have switched from perpendicular straps to diagonal ones, and thus eliminated the possibility of any front wheel movement while the bike is on the roof rack.
A further small improvement is that each strap now has a small rubber covering. This might seem like an insignificant detail, but is extremely useful for rim protection, especially if you have expensive high-end carbon fiber rims that are prone to scratching and dents.
Just like all Thule products, the manufacturer designed both ProRide racks to be durable and stand the test of time. Thule backs this up with a no matter what five-year warranty.
Unlike many other racks, rust is not something you should worry about with the ProRide 591 and 598. The racks are lightweight rust-proof alloy and reinforced plastic. Both of those are extremely rugged and UV-resistant.
Now that we have covered all of the features of both racks, as well as the improvements introduced with the new model, the question is: which one is better?
All in all, it is undeniable that the 598 has many more significant improvements than to the already impressive 591. The changes and upgrades are not extremely significant but may be useful in certain situations. In a nutshell, the 591 is chock full of upgrades you never even knew you wanted.
However, if you already have a Thule ProRide 591 that is in good working condition, you might not necessarily need to upgrade to the 598. The largest marginal gains from upgrading can be reaped if you have an expensive carbon or aero road bike. In that case, we say go for the new model.
Thule is universally recognized as a leader in quality and innovation, and the new ProRide 598 perfectly illustrates their dedication to constant research, improvement and quality. In a nutshell, you cannot go wrong with either model, but the 598 has more bells and whistles that might well improve your overall product satisfaction, depending on your needs.