If you're looking for the ultimate 2-bike hitch rack, then you have found it in the Thule T2 Hitch rack. This user-friendly hitch rack allows you to securely transport two bikes from 20" to 29" wheel diameter.
Strengths: Robust Construction, Folds up tight to vehicle, When extended can access rear window, expandable
Weaknesses: Nothing yet.
Got the rack for $350 I think...maybe $300....I don't remember, but it's a great rack. Solid as heck, easy to use. No frills, just solid construction and dependable thus far.
I liked the cores that were included. I think all too often a company these days would just leave out the cores. Sure, the price might be a bit lower in that case, but then you have to go through the hassle of ordering some. That's just my take on it. I never leave my bikes in a place they might be stolen for any amount of time at all. Perhaps here and there, and I run the cable. If someone wants your bike badly enough....they'll take it.
Date Reviewed: October 11, 2012
Strengths: • 20% discount + no tax + free shipping are easy to find online. Do the math, you can easily find this for a great price.
• Compare Thule's 4-bar pivoting system to their competitors. It's much more solidly built with absolutely no wobble.
• Being provided with a locking hitch bolt + security cables + 3 core locks makes the 916XTR T2 a great value.
• The trays are mounted to the main assembly via a clamp design. For me, this is a good thing as it allowed me to adjust the spacing between bikes because my girlfriend's handlebars were on top of my saddle. Other designs are fixed and non-adjustable.
• The space between the 1st bike (closest to the vehicle) and the rear bumper is huge! I can easily access my cargo area without having to "shimmy" through a tight fit. I thought I would need a swing-away rack like the 9031 Vertex Swing but that's not the case.
Weaknesses: • The rack itself is heavy which leads to a "durable feel" but when loaded with 2 full-suspension bikes it takes some strength to raise and lower the entire assembly.
• It's made out of steel so over time I know it’s good looks will be marred by rust. I may spend some $ to have the rust removed and the rack re-finished.
Something to consider when griping about only receiving 3 locks cores even though there are 5 places for them. The SecureHook doesn't need a lock core. A thief just needs to deflate the front tire and remove the front wheel. It's better to reserve the 3 included lock cores for the hitch pin and 2 security cables. This way you can secure your bike at a post-ride coffee shop or while picking up some bananas at a grocery store. For extra security, buy a U-bar style lock and cable. Run the cable through the front tire and a secure to the U-bar. Run the U-bar through the seat tube and rear tire. When locked, this will secure both tires and the frame.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2012
Strengths: Mounting bikes is quick and easy; does a good job holding the bikes so far; accommodates 29" wheels; easy to fold up/down
Weaknesses: Rust easy. Clamps don't hold the trays secure enough. Didn't come with enough lock cores. Ratcheting system that goes over front wheel came with loose, stripped screws and has a lot of play in it, looks very cheap and flimsy. All of the locks look very cheap and are poorly made.
The trays do shift around, I don't care how tight you get them. That's why I did what others have said and got everything where I wanted it and drilled holes and taped it (threaded). It is a lot more secure now. My biggest peeve about this rack is the ratcheting system that comes down over the front wheel. The plastic housing looks like it wasn't made to fit the metal bar that runs though it. It is very loose and looks as if I were to hit a bump hard enough it would disengage the ratcheting mechanism and then I would be picking my bike off the road, not to mention maybe injure the people in the car behind me. Yakima's HoldUp Rack looks to have a nicer ratcheting system, and it's made in the good ol' USA. I should have never bought a Thule, very disappointed. I should have spent the little bit of extra cash and bought the Kaut NV 2. Kaut makes some very solid looking bike racks.
Had to spend an extra $70 to get more lock cores because I wanted one key to match all locks. I paid $360 at Agee's bicycle shop in Richmond, VA. Definitely not worth the grand total of $430. This rack might be worth about $199.
a All Mountain Rider
from Atlanta, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2012
Strengths: Mounting bikes is quick and easy; does a good job holding the bikes; accommodates 29" wheels; easy to fold up/down
Weaknesses: The rack doesn't come with enough lock cores to outfit the entire thing. So you have to buy more and considering the quality of the lock cores they are ludicrously expensive. I spent another $80 just on lock cores. Could have bought just enough to outfit the rest but I wanted 1 key for every lock on the rack.
The rack sticks out a good bit and scrapes on the ground when going up any moderately steep hill. This of course depends on your vehicle and as I drive a Ford Taurus it's a somewhat unusual configuration. It should be fine on a truck for instance. No significant damage yet that would affect the structural integrity, just scrapes.
Finally...the front wheel arms. At first they worked great although I was surprised at the amount of play in them. However, the locks in them are very poorly designed. As in, the locks that require you to insert a lock core and turn a key to ostensibly lock the lever so that they can't be removed. They don't work. If you cinch the bar down on a wheel and lock it, it is indeed hard to push the levers down - referring to the lever you press down to unlock the bar and free the front wheel. However, all you have to do is apply moderately firm pressure and wiggle the arm and it pops right up. Extremely disappointing, but even though I wasted money on that lock core I overlooked it because otherwise it worked fine.
Next problem...after a few months over the winter (not a cold winter mind you, this is Atlanta, maybe 20-30 F at the absolute coldest), the arms because much less dependable. Rather often they just don't lock on their own. There are no clicks when you try to cinch the arm down and when you release it it will just pop back up. The solution is to hold the arm down on the front wheel, and while doing so pry the lever up with your fingers so that it will engage the teeth and stay put thanks to the tension from the tire. So far this has worked fine, but I just don't feel like I can trust the rack anymore. For the price ($400 but I got a 20% off coupon from REI) this is unacceptable.
I'm about to drop a few grand on a new bike and I think with it a new rack as well. Just not worth dropping a bike and potentially causing an accident...nevermind the cost of the bike!I bought this one over the similar Yakima because it had an attachment that would allow you to carry four bikes. However the new Kuat rack will have a similar option and I may go that route. It is pricey but not unreasonably so over the T2, and the build quality is stellar.
It's possible that I received a bad rack and I may end up replacing it with the same one thanks to REI's stellar return policy. If I do I will report back about the new rack to see if the same problems surface.
I really wanted to like this rack and did a lot of research, even trying a trunk mounted rack before deciding that it wasn't for me. I can overlook a LOT of issues with a product but the one with the arms not locking is just too much to live with. That's most of the function of the whole rack! It is probably a simple fix and I may pull it apart but again, I shouldn't have to at this price point.
Having said all that I would recommend it to a friend assuming they bought it from a store with a good return policy (REI for instance), they needed to possibly carry more than 2 bikes someday, and the Kuat was too pricey.
Similar Products Used: Trunk mounted rack...never again!
a Weekend Warrior
from Walnut, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2012
Strengths: [NOTE: I am reviewing the 2" 916XTR T2 model]
In the market for a good platform rack, I narrowed my choices down to the Thule 916XTR T2, the Yakima Hold-Up, or the Kuat NV. I didn’t want to spend more than $400, so the Kuat was out (plus it seemed a little quirky.) I liked the Yakima Hold-Up (used my cousin's for a few rides) but two things bothered me about it. 1 – the lock cable was separate from the actual rack, and 2 – sometimes we would have issues with pedals hitting or seats and handlebars coming together. The Thule 916XTR T2 had solutions for both of those issues: each lock arm had a built-in locking frame cable for each bike, and the rails that the bikes would ride on were adjustable both side-to-side and fore-aft, allowing me to position each rail with as much spacing as I needed.
Assembly took all but 30 minutes, and once I had it on the Toyota Highlander I began to see the features of the unit more clearly – for example, the hinge – it’s beefy, using two pivot points instead of one, allowing for little if any side-to-side wiggle or wobble. The individual frame cables are a nice touch – not to mention that the included 3-lock set all use a single key for convenience (though I needed 5 - see "Weaknesses"). I don’t know about you, but having a total of 5 locks seems to be more of a theft deterrent compared to the single separate cable lock that the Yakima comes with.
The hook arm that grabs onto your front wheel is easy to use and ratchets down tight. The rear ratcheting straps are also easy to use, and is versatile thanks to the sliding rear wheel mount. Loading up two full-suspension bikes is very easy and quick. Oh, and about spacing: the lower rack "legs" that the bikes are held to can be adjusted fore/aft to vary the space between the vehicle and each individual bike. I don't have to worry about my pedals hitting the pedals on my brother's bike anymore, because I was able to adjust the spacing correctly for clearance.
Some people complain that the rack is heavy, but for me a good bike rack SHOULD have some weight to it; If I'm loading almost $10,000 of bikes onto it, I would rather load that investment onto something that feels tough and sturdy. I am not a weightlifter, but I have no trouble removing and attaching the rack to my SUV for weekend rides.
Weaknesses: Although there are 5 places to have cylinder locks (two for the locking frame cables, two for the hook arms themselves, and one for the STL hitch bolt) there were only 3 matching locks included with the 916 XTR T2. Thule sells matching lock sets in packs of 4, 6, or 8 - and I wanted the entire setup to have matching locks, so I had to spend another $50 for the 6-lock set (since they don't make a 5-lock set).
I'm happy that I chose Thule's 916XTR T2 platform carrier. The ratcheting arms and rear wheel straps make loading up my bike quick and easy. Being able to adjust the spacing between the bikes is a big plus as well. The built-in cable locks for each bike and as the availability of 5 matching locks adds to the theft deterrence. It barely moves on the freeway at 85mph and thanks to the threaded hitch bolt the rack stays put when driving over bumpy roads and railroad tracks. Great platform rack, good choice.
Similar Products Used: Kuat Rack, Yakima Roof racks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Roswell, GA
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2011
Strengths: Great Rack! Holds the bikes securely, doesn't rattle, will hold almost any style of bike/frame.
Weaknesses: If you're going up a steep driveway with the rack down it can scrape the ground a little bit. I've done this numerous (my driveway is quite steep) and I've yet to have any issues as a result... the rack is just scratched up where it scrapes.
I bought this rack used and I've had nothing but success with it. I've never had a bike fall off, and I've seen no evidence at all of the trays trying to work their way off the back of the rack. It's not the nicest rack I've ever seen (that has to go to a Kuat rack that one of my buddies has), but it's definitely up there.
Similar Products Used: Yakima stick-up (absolute junk), Yakima and thule roof racks
Bike Setup: 3 full suspension all mountain bikes and 1 XC hardtail
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 29, 2011
Strengths: Easy to use, solid, easy to use, no sway or wiggle, easy to use, fits most any bike, easy to use
Weaknesses: Could provide more security, but is adequate; a little heavy, but that's probably needed for the design
I use this rack more than once a week and it has been great. My old Draftmaster was fine, but it required removal of the front wheel. When I got the new bike with a 15QR front hub, that became a real pain in the a**. The new rack is SO much easier than any other I have used. I believe my vendor included the locks, but I might be misremembering that. Whenever I am leaving the bike in a vulnerable spot (most anywhere I am not watching it) I add a cable lock. One thing they should add is a more convenient place to loop the cable through than the hinge.
I am mystified by the negative reviews here. Many of my friends have these, they all like them, and no one has had any trouble that I know of.
Similar Products Used: Yakima RimRock, Draftmaster
Bike Setup: Turner 5Spot, 15QR front hub
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2010
Strengths: Quick to mount (I keep a battery-powered impact wrench in the trunk to tighten the hitch bolt). Secure. Most convenient for a sedan (no danger of hitting things as with a roof mount, can access the trunk unlike with a trunk mount).
Weaknesses: Very soft mounting bolts. Front tire swing arm is hard to rotate yet a little wobbly. Too heavy (but I usually only use one bike rail not two). A bit pricey.
I cheaped out and first bought a truck mount rack. A colossal waste of time and money on all levels and have nothing but a scratched trunk and bumper to show for it. Shied away from roof mount as like almost everyone I know I'd run into something. For me carrier-style hitch mount is is infinitely the best solution but the Thule T2 is not without room for improvement:
Mounting bolts - no excuse here - simply far too soft. If you're in the habit of taking one of the bike carriers off replace the bolts which is easy to do at the local hardware store (metric M8 bolts I think). You'll at best be able to tighten/untighen twice before the heads strip.
Front tire swing arm - it's simultaneously hard to rotate yet wobbles a bit. Tightening the joint/bearing bolts eliminates wobble but then it's virtually impossible to rotate. However once the bike is all loaded and everything secured the bike doesn't wobble.
Weight - I suspect the rack is (over) designed to accommodate the 2-bike extension but I have the 1.5" hitch version which is not rated for the extension. All the extra beef is thus unnecessary, but I usually only roll with one bike carrier though which helps a lot.
Price - Purely from a product design/engineering standpoint (which I do for a living) I fail to see why this is $400+ product. I can see $250 being much more reasonable.
As to the myriad complains about paying for locks, I have two other Thule rack systems (roof mount ski and snowboard carriers) for a total of 13 locks. Owing to Thule's lock strategy I now only have one key for all of them. Imagine have three separate keys? No thanks.
a Weekend Warrior
from Reno, NV
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2010
Strengths: Includes locks
Holds bike stable
Weaknesses: Poor construction
My blazer has a roof rack but we shuttle a lot and many of us have 20mm forks so putting them on and off the roof is a pain. So I thought I'd get a hitch rack where I could just toss bikes on and go.
For the prices of these hitch racks that approach what it costs to get a whole roof rack and two bike trays they all have their weaknesses and none are worth anywhere near $400. The T2 is nice because it has adjustable trays to fit different bikes, includes locks, and holds the bikes solidly, but the construction is suspect and there are documented failures resulting in bikes hitting the road.
First the button head 8mm main bolts they use are soft and the heads strip easy when tightened. I replaced them with grade 8 8mm cap screws. Also as is documented in the forums there's no good bolt tightness that eliminates slipping of the trays. If too loose the trays slip, if too tight it flexes the clamp and reduces surface contact. It's a poor design, it allows adjusting the trays but is not secure. The fix is to get them where you want them and drill and bolt them through the main beam. It eliminates both types of documented failures of the rack, both the clamp loosening or the clamp breaking and failing completely. The threaded hitch pin really adds to the stability of the rack, but it would be nice if the threading went all the way through the main beam instead of just a thin nut welded inside it.
Also compared to the Yakima Holdup the T2 greatly reduces off road clearance since the T2 extends out from the hitch due to it's pivot mechanism 18-24" while the yakima bends up and away from the hitch quickly. This means the T2 is much more likely to drag on the ground in steep driveways or off road. However the Holdup does not hold bikes as stable and has no tray position adjustability.
The rear wheel strap/holder is also poor. Not only does it have way too much slop on the rail, but the strap is not attached to the rack meaning every time you open the strap it falls on the ground and since the rear wheel holder that slides on the rail has so much slop in it, a more solid connection would increase bike stability though probably not much.
It would also be nice if they included some reflectors or even offered an optional taillight setup that plugged into a trailer harness. As depending on your state they could consider the rack or rack/bikes to obstruct your tail lights and get you a ticket. I bought a roll of reflective tape and put a few pieces on the rack just to aid day dreaming drivers a little more notice. Also be aware that if an officer wants to be critical when folded up on most vehicles the rack obstructs your license plate which is illegal in most states. The threaded hitch pin while adding stability makes removing and installing the rack more difficult. Also with the poor metal the rest of the rack is made with I'd be willing to bet the hitch pin nut is made soft metal and I'd bet repeated uninstalling and reinstalling of the threaded hitch pin would eventually strip the threads.
I give it 2 for value as for $400 a person shouldn't have to replace bolts and fix documented issues that can leave a bike on the highway at 70mph and 3 for it's overall rating as sadly it's still probably one of if not the best hitch rack option.
Similar Products Used: Yakima Holdup, Roof racks, super cheap trunk rack
Bike Setup: Ventana El Terremoto, Titus RacerX
a Weekend Warrior
from Baton Rouge, LA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2010
Strengths: Super strong, easy to load bikes. Locking cylinders work great. Holds bikes by tires with NO frame contact to rack or bike to bike. Holds bikes very secure even on interstate at 70mph. Able to hold very heavy bikes all the way up to 3" tires
Weaknesses: Only holds 2 bikes. Extension available but rack would stick out too far.
This is a great rack. I've been blown away by the quality and ease of use. I upgraded to this tray-style rack from the hanging style Yakima becuase I needed something to hold two heavy DH bikes securely. I didn't want any frame contact and this rack holds the bikes perfectly by the tires. Pivots up perfectly and sits close enough to the back of the car to where I don't have to take it off when not in use. Great rack and would recommend to ANYONE!
Strengths: Looks good but manufactured wrong from the factory.
Weaknesses: Manufacture defect on the lever system that allows you to change the position of the rack. The rack is stuck in the bike carrying position. I expected better quality out of an expensive rack. Even with several attempts to resolve the issue, Thule ignored me and blew me off for over a month. Thule finally said they would exchange the defective rack but I would need to ship the oversized rack back at my expense.
I would not buy from Thule again or recommend Thule products to anyone based on my customer service experience. I’m sure the rack would be nice if it were manufactured correctly. Rack gets a D rating since it’s only 1/3 useful (can still carry bikes but cant fold up/down). Thule as a company gets a big fat F since the customer service department ignored me and blew me off hoping I would go away.
a Cross Country Rider
from PA USA
Date Reviewed: June 4, 2009
Strengths: Ratcheting system. Holds bike securely.
Weaknesses: Locks are not included. Price.
This bike rack is great. It holds two bikes very securely. The T2 DOES work with 29er bikes as well. You have to push down the ratcheting arm all the way down towards the outside of the rack. Put the bike in the rack and pull the arm back. Once its near the tire, tilt the bike to one side until the arm clears the tire. Then push it down until it clicks at least twice.
The core locks and hitch lock should be included in price. That is my only beef besides price. Thule gets a 4 Overall because the rack should come equipped with locks.