Thule T2 Hitch Rack

Words Jon Harris
Photos Jon Harris
Date Jan 25, 2015

Sweden is famous for flat pack furniture, meat balls, ABBA, Volvos and well thought out design. Thule falls into that last category, designing roof racks to transport your life with you since the 60’s. Now they provide just about every piece of sporting equipment the chance to travel by car as well.

For me the need for a tray style rack was imperative as my vertically challenged fiancé stands at 5ft even; for her to try to load a bike on to the roof or even something like the North Shore Racks style is pretty much impossible.

The Thule T2 is a tray style hitch mounted rack. Here conveniently attached to a fellow Swede.

The Thule T2 is a tray style hitch mounted rack. Here conveniently attached to a fellow Swede.

Thule has been selling the T2 rack for some time now. If you sign up to the “if it ain’t broke” mantra you would be right in thinking that the T2 has all the features you want to transport you bike from home to trail head without a sweat.

After years of various solutions for attaching your pride and joy to a rack, it seems that all the manufacturers have honed in on a similar style. The hooked arm that ratchets down onto the front tire just in front of the fork brace firmly secures your bike without rubbing the frame. The rack can accommodate bikes with wheel sizes from the huge 29 inches down to a tiny 20”. It can also grab on to tires up to 3” wide if you’re still rocking a Gazzaloddi 2002 style. Maybe not quite big enough to fit a fatbike and I didn’t try it to see. Sorry.

The T2 uses the popular hooked arm to ratchet down onto the front tire just in front of the forks brace. No contact to the bike and keeps your ride secure when you whisk it to you trailhead of choice.

The T2 uses the popular hooked arm to ratchet down onto the front tire just in front of the forks brace. No contact to the bike and keeps your ride secure when you whisk it to you trailhead of choice.

The back wheel is held with a simple strap but it is here that Thule has separated itself from the crowd with a neat quick release solution. The end of the strap is t-shaped and once you have hooked it in and set the length of the strap in the ratchet, the final cinching up of the strap is taken care of with a lever.

The strap that holds the rear wheel tightens with a simple cam...

The strap that holds the rear wheel tightens with a simple cam…

...hook the other end of the strap over the wheel and pull down the lever and the strap is snug. No need to be furiously watching the strap down every time.

…hook the other end of the strap over the wheel and pull down the lever and the strap is snug. No need to be furiously ratcheting the strap down every time.

Out of the box the T2 requires some minimal assembly and is pretty easily to put together. The arms initially feel a bit loose on the ratchets which was a touch disconcerting. It made me wonder if they were not properly assembled as they were rotating slightly on the lower part of the arm. Everything seemed tight and it turns out that this is just how they come.

The rack is made from a mix of powder coated box section steel for the main beam with two aluminum cross members that hold the bikes themselves. That makes the T2 pretty weighty, especially if you have ever picked up a Kuat rack before. This means that installation is best for those who have the back for it, something to consider if you find yourself taking the rack off on a regular basis.

When assembling the rack you may need to adjust the spacing of the trays to accommodate any wider rear ends, the clearance can be tight on some bikes with the trays set up as recommended.

When assembling the rack you may need to adjust the spacing of the trays to accommodate any wider rear ends, the clearance can be tight on some bikes with the trays set up as recommended.

The rack will tilt away from the tailgate to allow access with the bikes loaded.

The rack will tilt away from the tailgate to allow access with the bikes loaded.

A threaded pin helps take up any slack in the hitch and is lockable to prevent the pin from being removed for extra peace of mind. The rack can fold up out of the way when not in use and when loaded up it can tilt away from the car to access the trunk, all with the simple pull of a lever. Once again, having the strength to hold the rack when tilting it back is important as with two bikes on there it can swing down on you pretty quickly. There is a simple cable lock built into the arms that won’t slow down a dedicated thief for too long, but will work for keeping the bike safe when you go in to pay for gas when filling up.

A simple lockable cable is enough to deter an opportune thief and peace of mind when nipping into a gas station. Any longer away and a proper cobweb of locks and cables will be needed.

A simple lockable cable is enough to deter an opportune thief and give peace of mind when nipping into a gas station. Any longer away and a proper cobweb of locks and cables will be needed.

In use the T2 keeps your bikes secure and wobble free. Staring out of the rear view mirror you can breathe a sigh of relief as your precious sits there quietly being whisked along to where the dirt awaits. I’m a pretty intensive user, probably loading bikes up onto the rack 4 days out of 7, even in the winter and the T2 has been on the car since late September. Bar one arm having a sticky ratchet (fixed with s squirt of WD40) the T2 has been trouble free.

A simple lever is all you need to pull to get the T2 to fold up out of the way when not in use.

A simple lever is all you need to pull to get the T2 to fold up out of the way when not in use.

The rack comes in a 1.25” hitch version and a 2” hitch version. For those of you lucky enough to have a 2” hitch, the T2 can be expanded to add another two bikes. My version here is the 2” version and retails for $629.99 CDN, $449.99 USD (you can blame the downward sliding exchange rate for the difference).


Blonde & blue eyed…the Thule T2 is nether of these but it does come from Sweden. Seems that Jon has a thing for Swedes – do you?

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Comments

dirtpig
0
Dirtpig  - Jan. 29, 2015, 1:58 p.m.

One other thing to be aware of with this rack, on certain model cars, the rack can cover your brake lights. I have this exact rack on a subaru outback, and have been pulled over twice because the front tire tray lines up perfectly with my tail lights, completely blocking them. I think there is some room for adjustment so the outside rack can move up or down, but the line provided by the factory tends to put the rack right in the worst spot possible…just food for thought. Other than that, it's a great rack.

Reply

ron-chang
0
Ron Chang  - Jan. 28, 2015, 6:34 a.m.

The ratcheting arm likes to attack my fork rather quickly.

Reply

nick-nimmo
0
Nick Nimmo  - Jan. 26, 2015, 6:28 p.m.

I don't see the point of the ratchet. I have a Kuat NV and it's a simple pull through that requires minimal effort and there's really no risk of over tightening it. If you're looking at this Thule I strongly recommend checking out the Kuat (it looks way cooler too)

And one very important thing I've found is keeping a couple small cloths to put between the strap and rear rim, and also between the hook on the front wheel as it will rub away paint on your crown.

Reply

dea1276
0
Dea1276  - Jan. 26, 2015, 6:09 p.m.

So cool rack and all but how about an update on those sweet looking I9 wheels!

Reply

woodrow
0
woodrow  - Jan. 26, 2015, 11:32 a.m.

what about these ratchets and carbon wheels?

Reply

jonathan-harris
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Jonathan Harris  - Jan. 26, 2015, 11:50 a.m.

They seem to go over my Enve rims just fine… they even accommodate my very deep Enve rims on my road bike.

Reply

usedtoliveinpdx
0
usedtoliveinPDX  - Jan. 26, 2015, 9:08 a.m.

be gentile with those ratchets for the rear wheel, I have seen a few dozen fail because people over tighten the ratchet then push the lever down. It sheers the rivets that holds the ratchet lever in place. Its an easy fix, but to make it like new again it costs about $50USD to replace the part, or a rubber ski strap works better than the stock ladder/ratchet system.

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