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Thule Xsporter PRO

Thule Xsporter PRO
Price: CDN$ 949.95


Once again Thule has a winner

Like other Thule vehicle accessories, I’m impressed with how well this is built and the engineering that went into the design. It was easy to set up, about an hour to assemble and mount, and it’s sturdier than I was expecting. The manual is simple to follow, the images are accurate and laid out in a logical sequence. I was somewhat surprised upon opening the box, there are a lot more pieces than I thought it would need to function. Fortunately every piece works and there were no hitches setting it up. Like furniture you buy at a big box store that needs assembly, the kit came with three different sized allen wrenches, everything I needed to finish putting it together and mounting on the truck. The only other tool I needed was a knife to cut the optional rubber channel covers and I only had to cut them because I installed the end pieces as shown in the images.

I had the opportunity to compare the fit between the top three different makes of 1/2 and 3/4-ton pickups. There is enough room for adjusting the width between the uprights. After fitting it to a 1/2-ton GMC pickup (our acreage general duty and garbage truck) there is still a good four inches of room to the outside of each upright. In other words we could fit this on an vehicle that where the box was 8 inches wider. We tried it on:
Chev 2500
Ford F150
GMC 1500
Dodge 2500
Because the uprights can be slid closer together as well I can see that this would fit a 1/4 ton, just as long as the box sides are constructed in such a way that the pads can be properly placed. We found that if the truck has a Truxedo box this will not work without removing the outer rails which support the cover cross members. This is somewhat inconvenient but there is no way to account for all the different configurations available for covers.

The height adjustment is so simple, loosen off the hand screws and either pull up or push down. There are indented increments on the side facing the bed, each one is labelled and each upright is labelled the same making it easy to get the same height on each without having to measure.

Placement of the uprights can be changed according to the individual vehicle. On one truck I have after market loop covers, for tying things down, mounted in the box holes. The pads which hold each upright can be slid in front or behind of the holes allowing me to keep the tie down capability. Each pad is held in place by two very heavy duty die cast clamps. Each clamp has a long clamp screw with inner pad which makes for very solid mounting. Once the two clamps are in place and tightened down these things don’t move. For those who worry about paint getting damaged, each pad has a nice full-sized rubber strip, which is longer than the pads, that sit between the pad and box. This rubber strip also helps provide friction between the box and pads, keeping the pads solidly in place.

For security there are four locks included. This is enough to lock one mounting pad on the front and back uprights in place. Then on the opposing side a lock is used to hold the upright to each pad. While this doesn’t make it impossible to steal the thing it certainly makes thieves think twice about spending the time required to remove it.

The movable hook mounts which can be added to the top of each bar are perfect, they keep things from sliding off the end of a bar while loading and then they can be used to secure the load. Each has a good sized hook that can be used with rope or ratchet straps. They can be spread apart like I have them or moved closer together as needed and then tightened down.

Once we had both front and back rails secured with the clamps I gave it my best effort, trying to see if I could bend or otherwise twist the uprights, front to back and side to side. The way this thing is put together it remained solid and it will take a lot of force to do any damage. I believe the 450 pound rating, that’s only 112 pounds per upright and 225 pounds per bar. I’m well over 200 pounds, when we placed a single bar across two work horses and I sat on it, there was no bending. If all your hauling is a canoe or aluminium, boat this thing is overkill and your not going to damage it.

This is a great addition to the acreage truck and I can see a lot of uses, from bringing home construction supplies to hauling out dead fall for firewood.

My only real concern here is that with a short box (like the truck in the images) the front overhang could end up thumping against the roof because longer items will be placed such that the majority of over hang is shifted forward. Things like 12 foot pieces of copper pipe can easy bend that much so I’ll always need to keep a narrow piece of plywood with me when hauling this kind of load. The other items such as timbers for the horse corral are no problem.

End result is that this is well worth the money in that it’s going to last and because of the available adjustments, we can move it from truck to truck in a matter of minutes.

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