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Hi Everyone,

Having spent most of my weekend trying to fit Thule roof bars and a cycle rack to my 159 and having a real job of it I thought it might be useful to post some advice to anyone thinking of doing the same. I hope it helps.

The Thule components used/required are:

Thule 754 foot pack
Thule fitting kit 1419
Thule 120cm standard roof bars
Thule 591 cycle carrier

The 1419 fitting kit is for both the 4 door saloon and the SW (without roof rails) and fits all models from 2005 to 2010.

First thing to say is that the instructions are not very good (Thule are Swedish and must share their instruction-writing company with another famous Swedish outfit), in an effort to cut costs I guess, there are no words just pictures which are exactly the kind of instructions I hate. However, assembling the foot pack, attaching the bars and assembling the cycle carrier can all be done without needing any additional tools and not very much time once you’ve fathomed what the pictures are trying to tell you.

The difficult bit comes when you take everything out to the car.

The instructions give some specific measurements. They say that for the front bar the foot should be set at a setting of 28.5. What that means is that basically the foot slides along the roof bar and there are some marked measurements, you simply have to line up the foot to the 28.5 mark on both sides and then clamp the foot into place. For the rear bar they give a setting of 25.5. For the SW it’s a slightly different setting at the back (25) if I remember correctly.

They also give some measurements on how far away from the windscreen line the front bar should be (240mm) and how far behind the front bar, the rear bar should be (650mm). Now, these appear to be very dodgy measurements indeed and this is where all of my problems started. If you put the bars at this setting then the fixing bracket at the front appears to be approx 4 inches too short and 2 inches too short at the back. No amount of force or pulling is going to make the bracket stretch that far! If you decide to set the feet further apart to make them fit and fit 240mm away from the windscreen as it says, then the bars are clearly at about a 50 degree angle and there is no way the cycle carrier is going to fit, more worryingly at this setting the brackets don’t sit square around the door frame. Plus it looks stupid.

So after much faffing about (about 2 hours) changing the feet distances and changing the distances between the bars by trial and error I noticed quite by accident that in the shut line of the car right at the top there are 2 very distinct “hoops” in the weld line. They are there in both the front and back door frames. They also seemed to correspond with where the roof was flattest and when I measured between the centre of the 2 front hoops and the 2 back hoops – guess what – 650mm exactly. What a revelation albeit about 2 hours too late! Anyway, if you place the front foot bracket right in the middle of these 2 hoops then the 28.5 setting on the roof bars makes perfect sense and the bars fit, anywhere else along that door and they don’t, even half an inch difference. Same for the back. Once tightened up using the built in tightening tool they are a really good fit and they are not budging and they are both level.

As for the cycle carrier, it is really easy to assemble and fits onto the roof bars with no problem at all (as long as they are not at the above mentioned 50 degree angle!). Out of the box it has to go on the driver side since the tightening device is on the right hand side but you can swap this over if required. It’s really easy and actually looks quite smart when attached.

And that’s it – hopefully this might save someone some time when doing the same thing.

All the best. :thumbs:
 

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"First thing to say is that the instructions are not very good (Thule are Swedish and must share their instruction-writing company with another famous Swedish outfit),"

Abba?:D
 

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I used to struggle with mine to start with but they fly on now and sit properly..... about 10mins is all.

I have problems pulling the locking end cap out of the bars (aero) in order to un-tigthen, i have actually broken the one flappy thing off and broken two keys trying to lever it out....

I too noticed the markings on the underside of the roof beam although have to say I havent tried locating them there as I have had problems with noise when i use the roof box (which is the only reason i use the rails, thus far anyway)....

Good appraisal though, the other thing i have done in the past is take a photo on my phone of important pages in instructions so that when i put them back on (when we are away, preparing to come back) i know what im doing with the measurments....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"First thing to say is that the instructions are not very good (Thule are Swedish and must share their instruction-writing company with another famous Swedish outfit),"

Abba?:D
:lol:

Good appraisal though, the other thing i have done in the past is take a photo of important pages in instructions so that when i put them back on (when we are away, preparing to come back) i know what im doing with the measurments....
Great idea :) I'm hoping from now on it will be a quick job taking them off an putting them back on.
 

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GTMAT

I've just had some of the same issues fitting a Thule roof rack on my 159 SW. I reckoned like you that the correct place for placing the foot bracket is in between the two 'hoops' on shut line in the door frame, when positioned between these the rack looks about right- certainly not too far forward as it looks when you fit them according to the instructions. I called Thule and they claim that their instructions are correct and these are the dimensions that the racks are tested to and any deviation from these are at the users own risk. They claim the the two 'hoops' are most likely for the fitting of Alfa's own brand racks and not specific to Thule.

Can anyone advise on what roof racks Alfa have available and why the Thule should appear to be misfitting !
 

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Discussion Starter #6
GTMAT

I've just had some of the same issues fitting a Thule roof rack on my 159 SW. I reckoned like you that the correct place for placing the foot bracket is in between the two 'hoops' on shut line in the door frame, when positioned between these the rack looks about right- certainly not too far forward as it looks when you fit them according to the instructions. I called Thule and they claim that their instructions are correct and these are the dimensions that the racks are tested to and any deviation from these are at the users own risk. They claim the the two 'hoops' are most likely for the fitting of Alfa's own brand racks and not specific to Thule.

Can anyone advise on what roof racks Alfa have available and why the Thule should appear to be misfitting !
I called Thule too and the company I bought the bars from. They both said that the instructions were “correct” (meaning according to their database, they were for the right model and year)and that fitting them differently to the instructions should be done with care, at risk etc… I explained that if I followed the instructions to the letter, the bars not only did not fit as per the illustrations but also were clearly on an angle and for my purposes unusable as my bike carrier will not fit on a bar that is at an angle! I was not given any satisfactory advice from either...

Regarding the “hoops”, I don’t believe that these are necessarily for the fitting of Alfa’s own brand rack (if such a thing exists – and you can probably bet that if it does, it’s made by Thule) but rather they indicate the most level (and possibly strongest) part of the roofline. In the manual they are referred to as “rack mounting points” but I think this is perhaps a bit misleading. I do understand why Thule would issue such a warning though of course.

Through slight changes I now mount my front bar right in the middle of the two hoops at the front and the rear bar over the centre of the hoop which is furthest forward. This just makes it slightly easier to get the rubber feet in the rain gulley. All I can really say is that over the past 3 months I have covered over 500 miles with the roof bars, cycle carrier and my 17kg bike firmly attached. I’ve covered motorways (up to 60mph), speed humps, cobbles, hills, windy days, storms, rain, you name it and it’s not moved at all and I’m very happy with the setup.

Good luck! :thumbs:
 

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GMAT

Thanks for the advice. I did ask Thule whether they made the Alfa roof rack and they said that they didn't. If you have a look at the UK AR website and click under accessories and then click under storage you will find the AR roof rack. It can't be too different from the Thule. I am also looking to mount a bike rack on the roof (Thule 591) what distance do you recommend between the bars? Any idea on how fast you could safely go with rack and bike on the roof !!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
GMAT

Thanks for the advice. I did ask Thule whether they made the Alfa roof rack and they said that they didn't. If you have a look at the UK AR website and click under accessories and then click under storage you will find the AR roof rack. It can't be too different from the Thule. I am also looking to mount a bike rack on the roof (Thule 591) what distance do you recommend between the bars? Any idea on how fast you could safely go with rack and bike on the roof !!
The Thule 591 is excellent, can't recommend it enough, it's light, it's easy to fit to the bars and an absolute breeze to mount the bike on. The shoulder height tensioner is a great idea and it's very sturdy. It's fully adjustable so the distance between the bars is not a limiting factor for the rack but for me it's around 650mm.

Speed with the rack and bike on. How are your nerves? ;)

The Thule statement says no faster than 90km/k (58mph), they are of course going to err on the side of caution..

You don't need to drive like Miss Daisy, around town you can drive normally, the bike is going nowhere and the rack is crash tested so even emergency stops are covered. Overall height (with my set up) is 2.95 metres so watch out for car park height restrictions!

I've done 65mph on a motorway and nothing moved but the wind noise gets up and you start to feel the effect on steering, it's like having a sail on the roof and the faster you go, the denser the air passing over the bike. I value my bike and my car too much to do anything daft, i've seen folks doing 80 plus on the motorway with bikes on the roof but for me i keep safe. I'm not sure how i would feel if my steed disappeared through some poor devil's windscreen at 80mph, if i had to brake suddenly from 80 too I'm 99% sure there would be some damage.

Hope this helps.

Matt
 

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Matt

Thanks again for the advice.

I'm well aware of the dangers of unsecured loads having once been in a car where a windsurfing board managed to come loose and propel itself over the central barrier of the M25 and hit an oncoming car. The whole road was closed whilst we recovered our property !!
Old Bill as good as gold no fine nothing just a 'you might want to learn from this' speech !!

Conor
 

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Matt

I'm sure I'm stating the blindingly obvious, but with aerobars you need to lift out the rubber trim on top before fitting the cycle rack and then cut the trim to fit the now in place cycle rack. This will obviously make it more of a hassle to take off the cycle rack should you not wish to always leave it on the roof !!
 

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I used the 591 carrier on my Seat Leon, just bought a 159 so I need to new bars and footpack etc. The carrier is brilliant, but you need to be wary if you have an odd shaped frame.

I have a Marin Wolfridge 6.8 The North West Mountain Bike Centre Ltd - Online Bike Shop | Marin Wolf Ridge 6.8 2009

which has a reinforced frame where the shock fits. Luckily the 591s arm clamps just below that point, and as long at the chain is in granny ring it clamps on, and to add security I have a strap around the 591s arm and the crank arm, and also two toe clips straps on the wheels!

The first journey was a bit nerve racking though!:(
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Matt

I'm sure I'm stating the blindingly obvious, but with aerobars you need to lift out the rubber trim on top before fitting the cycle rack and then cut the trim to fit the now in place cycle rack. This will obviously make it more of a hassle to take off the cycle rack should you not wish to always leave it on the roof !!
Yep - this is one of the reasons (as well as cost) why i didn't go for aerobars, i just got the standard ones. Perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing but for my purposes, a bit more practical.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I used the 591 carrier on my Seat Leon, just bought a 159 so I need to new bars and footpack etc. The carrier is brilliant, but you need to be wary if you have an odd shaped frame.

I have a Marin Wolfridge 6.8 The North West Mountain Bike Centre Ltd - Online Bike Shop | Marin Wolf Ridge 6.8 2009

which has a reinforced frame where the shock fits. Luckily the 591s arm clamps just below that point, and as long at the chain is in granny ring it clamps on, and to add security I have a strap around the 591s arm and the crank arm, and also two toe clips straps on the wheels!

The first journey was a bit nerve racking though!:(
I would do the same if i had a full suspension bike. My frame is an unusual shape, almost rectangular in profile and I was a bit wary at first but the carrier has no problems with it. The more security you can build in with straps the better for peace of mind of course! Very nice bike by the way :)
 

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Yep - this is one of the reasons (as well as cost) why i didn't go for aerobars, i just got the standard ones. Perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing but for my purposes, a bit more practical.

Matt
You could just take the strips off couldnt you, I thought they were only for strapping things to the bars, gives a bit of protection for the object your carrying, and a touch more grip.
 

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Thule roof bars on 159 saloon

I assembled and fitted these today and had no problems at all. The instructions are complicated but if you are methodical its not hard. Fitting to the roof is also easy, providing you follow the exact spacing distances in the instructions.

There is also a great little fitting video which helps a lot:
Thule Videos

The support brackets are cleverly made and high quality, and you need no tools at all to assemble or fit. Expensive, yes, but definitely worth it - you don't want to take chances with roof loads! (I bought the black steel bars which look good on my black car)
 

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Did you use the thule measurements or did you put the bars and fixing kit inbetween the two 'hoops' in the door frame?

I just had a quick go at fitting the 754 footpack, 1419 kit and bars as per instructions, the front seemed ok but the back seem like they will never fit.

I'm going to try the method on the first post as this seems the better fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi TallPaul, are you fitting these to your QV or your 159 SW? only reason I ask is that i've now switched from a 159 to a Guilietta and wondered if the Thule fitting kit for the G is available yet. If it's for Mrs TallPaul's Ti then i'd recommend the 'hoop method' but thanks for reposting the vid. :thumbs:
 
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