Founded in 1924, Thule ranks among the best manufactures of bike accessories, roof racks and car racks. So far, the company has been in business for 96 years. This is no mean achievement, and perhaps the company’s excellent and patented bike rack design is the main driver behind such an enduring and sustainable enterprise.
So, what makes this rack so unique, you may ask?
Well, you will realize that Xt2 pro is an upgraded version of the T2 Classic. Being an upgrade means it has added features for your convenience and guaranteed bike safety.
Let’s dive a bit deep to get a better understanding of why this rack is so popular.
An overview of the features and technical specs
- It is perfectly designed to accommodate bikes with fat or wide tires. What’s more, it offers enough space between the bikes to keep them from bouncing against one another, as this can cause damage.
- The installation and removal process is simple thanks to the convenient Auto Attach system (tool-free)
- It is customized to fit the 20inches-29 inches’ wheels and up to 5 inches tires devoid of adapters.
- This is a compact bike rack, complete with secure cable locks and user-friendly tilt lever, all made of high- grade material. When you don’t need it, the carrier folds and tilts away from your car to allow rear access. The Hitch Switch lever enables the folding.
- It is designed to load two bikes and is ideal for the various models including the ebikes, downhill, mountain and the fat bikes.
- You can also secure a bike without frame contact using the frame-free ratcheting arm.
- Ideally, it is designed to carry two bikes, but it is simple; if you wish to load more, just acquire the T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Add-On to add the carrying capacity to four bikes. It is bought as a separate accessory.
- 1.25 IN 51 pounds
- 2 IN 52 pounds
- 1.25 IN 1.25 inches
- 2 IN 2 inches
- 1.25 IN:
- 2 IN +2
Max Weight Per Bike (lbs)
- 60 pounds
Number of Bikes
- Two bikes
Rear Liftgate Access
Arguably, Thule’s T2 Pro XT is the finest hitch-mounted bike-rack out there because it has all the features any modern rack user would anticipate in a such a product. It is masterfully designed to feature
- built-in lock system
- secure ratcheting arms
- User-friendly tilt lever
A particular group of users subjected this rack to two years of aggressive testing and concluded that it is a hardy, enduring product built to last. Additionally, they confirmed that it could accommodate just about any bike model and even shoulder more than its recommended weight without caving in.
If that fits in the description you have for a sturdy hitch-mounted rack, then go for Thule’s T2 Pro XT
It is easy to set it up and use
As is the case with other similar bike racks, the Xt2 pro must be assembled before it is mounted for use. However, compared to other models, for example, Yakima Dr Tray or Kuat’s NV Base 2.0, it takes a little longer to set up the Xt2 pro.
On average, it may take you twenty-five minutes to fix it.
While fixing the front wheel cradles, please pay special attention to some underlying intricacies involved, for example, ensuring that they (Wheel cradles) are facing the right direction. Otherwise, you may place them wrongly and end up with a faulty installation.
If you have an experience with the platform version of hitch racks, you must have realized just how user friendly they are. The Xt2 pro is no exception to this merit, and in fact, it is a trailblazing example.
It only takes about 10 seconds to load or unload one bike, which is really fast. What’s more, the ratcheting arms are straightforward to apply. You simply have to rest the bike up on the rack and then close the arm over the front wheel before pulling down the handle to ensure that it has a proper grip on the tire.
Once you’ve fixed the front wheel, you can secure the rear wheel by looping the strap over it.
Despite subjecting the rack to aggressive use, most users have had little criticism to share regarding this aspect of the Xt2 pro.
Xt2 pro bike capacity & wheel sizes
Both Xt2 pro receiver models, i.e. the 2” and 1.25” can generally take two bikes. However, this product’s uniqueness is its capacity to accommodate a broader range of bikes without adapters.
Given the broader cradles which can take in tires measuring up to five inches wide, this product can comfortably ferry road bikes, mountain bikes, and fat bikes.
Competitors like Kuat Racks, Yakima, and 1Up USA need you to purchase swapping parts and extra hardware to enjoy the same functionality.
If you need to ferry more than two bikes, you can easily double up the rack’s capacity using a separate add-on. However, this extension is only available for the two inches’ receiver model.
Unfortunately acquiring this extension is a pricey affair as you will need to dig out an extra $ 450.
The Xt2 pro can carry two 60 pound bikes that equate or make it better than its competitors. A test run once done by a user confirmed that this rack could hold two e-bikes weighing 65-70 pounds comfortably over a 60-mile distance.
While this is slightly above the recommended weight, this test run showed that the rack could handle some extra weight with minimal risk. However, you are strongly advised to remain within the manufacturer’s weight recommendations.
Is it well built and durable?
Well, what else would you expect from an elite rack like the Xt2 pro? Clearly, the manufacturer did not compromise on the materials’ quality because it is noticeably among the heaviest duty racks available today. Actually, it looks heavier than the Yakima Dr Tray, and it is even slightly more expensive (It cost approximately $21 more than Yakima Dr Tray)
It features a relatively sturdy metal frame with plastic cradles and other parts that are equally robust.
However, if you compare the Xt2 pro with 1Up USA, you quickly notice that the latter is much stronger because of its Heavy Duty Double full metal construction.
We talked to one user who had put this rack to a two-year test run to qualify its durability. Apparently, the only issue he raised with the equipment was a tiny loose screw fixed on the tilt lever handle. To correct the problem, he simply applied a drop of Loctite thread locker Blue 242 and all was well again.
“While I have experienced some durability challenges racks from Kuat and Yakima, Thule’s Xt2 pro has been outstanding and exceptional,” he said
Although Xt2 pro is a little more expensive and comparatively heavier, its long term value is remarkable.
The rack’s weight
The equipment weight is of great concern for any rack user because no one wants to drive around with something bulky weighing down their vehicle’s rear. Apparently, Xt2 pro features among the heavier gadgets, weighing approximately 52 pounds.
Not to worry much, though, because 52 pounds is reasonably within the range of the other quality racks. That weight is also justified by the strong metal and other quality elements in the mix.
A moment of quick comparison would reveal that.
· Kuat’s NV Base 2.0 is a little lighter, weighing 51 pounds.
· 1Up USA’s HDD Weighs 46 pounds
· Thule Helium Platform 2 Bike Hitch Rack weighs 43 pounds
· Yakima’s Dr Tray is much lighter than the rest weighing just 34 pounds
What are the outstanding features?
This bike’s ratcheting arms are arguably the sturdiest in its category. They inspire a feeling of absolute security even when you pull them side to side deliberately. This sense of attachment easily manifests in other parts as well.
For example, the top arm that presses against the tire can secure different machines, including the fat, road and mountain bikes. You will undoubtedly notice a particular clicking sound to confirm that your tire is secured and that the bike would be safe even on a bumpy ride.
The attachments for securing the rear wheel are equally sturdy and user friendly. Its strap features deep notches and two stopping locations. One of these is ideal for standard mountain and road bikes while the other one serves the fat bikes better.
On various platform racks, all you have to do is pull the strap till tight using your bare hands.
2. The Tilt Lever (Thule’s Hitch Switch)
The rack’s tilt system, popularly known as the HitchSwitch lever is strategically placed at the centre of the car rack which is a fair distance away from the car and the bikes.
Unlike other rack brands, you can easily access that function on the Xt2 pro even when your rack is fully loaded.
You will certainly be impressed by how simple it is to adjust your rack and bikes both ways (up and down) once you disengage the lever.
One user whom we interviewed on this said,
“I am amazed at the magnitude of physics that the manufacturer put into this feature! It looks like pure magic how Thule created a pivot point that makes adjusting the bikes up and down much easier than all the racks I have used before.”
Reaching the 1Up Heavy Duty Double tilt lever is indeed more challenging. In fact, to address this issue, 1Up will sell you a tilt lever extender for about $70
3. The locks
Most hitch mounted racks have a locking system for your rack and bikes. Indeed, this is a remarkable security feature designed to spare you the unforeseen expenditure resulting from loss or damage.
For the Xt2 pro, each ratcheting arm has an integrated lock at its end. The expanding wedge knob that fixes the rack to the vehicle also features an integrated lock. Considering their position, it is easy to slip the cable locks through each bike’s fork.
For certain travel mountain bikes, you can run the cable locks through the frame. However, it is tricky to attempt securing the bikes through the frame and front wheel simultaneously as an extra six inches would be required.
You will undoubtedly appreciate how the three locks are concealed and superbly integrated into the carrier. Of course, this means that you won’t have to carry any extra cables in your vehicle.
There is little doubt that the Xt2 pro is among the market leaders as far hitch-mounted racks are concerned. However, some worthy competitors have kept the Xt2 pro creators on their toes for a while.
1. NV Base 2.0 by Kuat Racks
Kuat Racks, with their NV Base 2.0 are among Thule’s fiercest competitors. Like the Xt2 pro, this rack boasts a cool feature set that comprises
· a sleek design
· sturdy arms
· integrated locks
· an expanding hitch wedge
Why then would it play second fiddle to the Xt2 pro?
Well, the NV Base 2.0 doesn’t carry fat bikes without adapters, and unlike the XT2 pro, its tilt lever is close to the car. For just 21 extra bucks, we think Thule is the real deal.
2. 1Up Heavy Duty Double
No doubt, the Heavy Duty Double takes the chuck of credit for durability. This is primarily due to its exceptional all-metal build that is lighter than the xt2pro by 6 pounds.
However, it shoulders slightly less weight than the Thule. At 50 pounds, the 1Up carries 2 pounds less than Thule, and you will need an adapter to carry a bike with tires measuring over 3.1 inches. The xt2 pro can take up to 5-inches.
What’s more, its lever location is a bit hindered, meaning you have to access it under one of the mounted bikes to adjust.
Last though not least, the 1Up Heavy-duty double lack a robust locking mechanism that you would expect of a rack of its caliber. Additionally, its attachment system, which comprises two metal arms that close over the tire is not as secure as the xt2 pro