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Which Thule 2-Bike Rack?

6698 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JasonDM
I've done some extensive research and I believe I'm sold on the Thule solution. I'll be carrying two adult cross-hybrid bikes, with some highway travel during the summer. The challenge becomes what's the right rack for me :D I'm interested in practical feedback, good and bad, on any of these 3, with emphasis on specifically what you DON'T like about the rack:

Thule T2 916

Thule Helium 970

Thule Doubletrack 990

I'm also interested in the must-have accessories. For example, is a Snug Tite 2 hitch lock required or will an aftermarket solution work just as well.
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hi andyman-
I have a valley 2" receiver hitch and have been using a thule roadway 4 bike rack since this spring and I love it. it is really easy to install and uninstall and also easy to load and unload the bikes. I rarely carry more than 2 bikes, but sometimes it is nice to be able to bring a friends' bike with us rather than take 2 cars.


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hi andyman-
I have a valley 2" receiver hitch and have been using a thule roadway 4 bike rack since this spring and I love it. it is really easy to install and uninstall and also easy to load and unload the bikes. I rarely carry more than 2 bikes, but sometimes it is nice to be able to bring a friends' bike with us rather than take 2 cars.
Thanks for this incremental lead.

I had originally looked at this as an option as it seemed to be a good value. I was a bit turned off since the reviews I read recommended additional components like no-sway accessories. I realize that I'd probably need these with the Helium solution, but I'm trying to keep the solution with as few add-ons as possible, even at the cost of additional $.

I am curious as to which accessories you use with this solution.
um, none. granted I don't do long highway trips with it, but I frequently do winding mountain roads at a fairly good clip, and I've had no problems whatsoever. I also have speed bumps on the way out of my neighborhood and I take those too fast, also no problems. not sure why you would need a sway bar with this set up?
after some research i am going with the T2 for a couple reasons...

1) paint on your bike frame won't get abused
2) you can still open both the upper & lower tailgate of the E without taking bikes off the rack!

there is a thread on the T2 and in the thread there is a youtube video showing you exactly how it works and functions... check it out! Good Luck!
EDIT: it's in the "bikin' campin' hikin'" section... FYI
T2 all the way!!! I have a T2 and I love it!

Hmmm... I can open the upper glass without moving a thing, and I can open the tailgate if I release the lower lever on the thule rack and lower the whole contraption until the bikes are resting on their tires. But generally, I don't need to open the back before the bikes are off, it's only happened a couple of times.
Well this is interesting.....

As a general rule, I always call the OEM tech support line before I make a major investment in a product. Thule's tech support had approx. a 12 minute on-hold time. The person I spoke with seemed knowledgeable and I followed up with additional questions. Below is the response I received (Answers earlier than the questions - recommend that you read in reverse):


Response (Thule Support) - 09/16/2009 04:23 PM

Good day Andrew,

1- It will be upgraded next to accommodate bigger wheels

2- Yes it is true you need to deflate the tires on bigger bikes but it will be resoles next years with the new rack, thank you.

Customer (Andrew) - 09/13/2009 05:45 PM

Hello, I'm just on the verge of purchasing a new Thule bike rack, the T2 2-bike to be specific. I have two questions:

1) Is there a new version of this rack coming out soon (like a 2010 model)? Alternatively, are there any plans to upgrade / enhance this rack or will it remain the same for at least the next year?

2) The following is a review on Amazon. I usually take these comments with a grain of salt, but since I have a larger bike, I ask that you confirm this issue regarding larger tire brace compatibility:

(from Amazon reviewer): The T2 is not perfect though: 1) (a terrible oversight by Thule designers) the locking front wheel arm DOES NOT handle fully inflated 700x32c (and larger) tires UNLESS you deflate the air volume by at least 30-50%. This is a pain because you must deflate the tire upon mounting it and then reinflate the tire upon arrival to your destination. The length of ratcheting notches does not extend far enough up the arm - if you have one you know what I mean. I had to buy another floor pump to keep in the van specifically for this purpose.

Full review here:


While I'm disappointed in this Thule T2 short coming, I am encouraged that tech support acknowledged this issue and provided direction on an upcoming fix. I have three 29" bikes and with winter coming soon, I think I will wait on my T2 purchase until the 2010 model is available.
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Although you didn't list it on your "final cut" list I would like to suggest you look at the Saris Thelma. While driving around Colorado last week I noticed a lot of people with bike racks on their cars (yes, some were Elements) and I noticed a large predominance of both the Thule T2 and Saris Thelma. I personally am interested in both of these units and can't decide which is the best.
Thanks for the recommendation - I will look into this Saris solution as well.
T2 and Thelma Tray Racks

I use the T2 on "B1ke Box" and my daughter has the Thelma on her CR-V. About 5 years experience with the T2 and 2 years with the Thelma. Unless you always plan on having bikes with top tubes nearly parallel to the ground then you should select a tray / platform rack like the T2 or Thelma. The Thelma was designed specifically for women and is the lightest, easiest rack I've ever used. Mostly plastic with aluminum reinforcement but so far has held up better than the Saris CycleOn rack it replaced. Very easy to put on and take off, so if you only use the rack occasionally this is a significant benefit.

The only issue we've had is with the front wheel enclosure. If you have a front fender you will have to remove it to get a secure fit and/or not damage the fender, and it does not work well with 20 inch front wheels (found on some recumbent and youth bikes).
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I actually had a chance to check out the Thelma. Interesting concept - seems like a sturdy solution too.

I also received another message from Thule support who confirmed the new model of the T2 should be generally available March 2010.
FYI, you may want to check out somebody else's T2. I was on a trip w/friends who ride 29ers this summer and we put one on his T2. We just had to rock the bike a little to the side, then swung the arm about 6" from the head tube and then slipped the wheel in under the arm. It's sort of at the apex of the motion that you have issues sliding the arm over the tire. Once it gets in close to the headtube it worked. There was about 2 minutes of head scratching at 6 am first try. :twisted: IIRC he was running WTB's which were fatties. It was obviously effortless with a 26er, and there is a solution coming to make 29er's effortless, but if you find a deal on an older model it just may work.

I love mine, it's heavy as hell, expensive, but works on all my bikes, cruisers, friend's w/thru axle forks, etc.

PS, the reason to go with the snug-tite...all locks (2 ratchet arms & receiver) can be keyed the same. Or you can even key them to your roof rack or roof box if you have a Thule one.
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Saris Cycle on

As a Thule T2 917 owner. I can confirm they work (or should I say can fit) 29" tires. I run Panaracer 2.35 Rampages. About the largest volume 29er tire out there. All you have to do is file the plastic where it hits the stop screw. The main disadvantage of the Thule is the wheight. The thing is over built with steel. It's heavy and it rusts. I would suggest the Saris cycle on. It's the same type rack but it's mostly aluminum.
Thule T2 and 29er

I carry my Gary Fisher Cobia 29er (2 inch tires) on the T2 without issue. I have had to replace some of the parts on the T2, but ORS Racks Direct carries all the parts so there was no issue.

With all large volume tires the locking arm is little deterrence to anyone savvy enough to let the air out of the front tire before stealing your bike. In addition to locking the arm, I use a chain through the front wheel and frame which passes through the hitch.
Still waiting for the Thule and Yakima 2010 models to be generally available.

Just in time for spring training :grin:
Anybody have any recent inside info regarding the 2010 Thule T2 or Yakima Hold Up? Last I checked they were expected to be generally available in march.
Couldn't wait any longer - ORS had 20% off Yakimas and Yakima added another 10% mail-in rebate. Got a HoldUp2 and two Frontloaders for the roof rack. Really could not beat the pricing out the door. Can't wait to get out there - its been a looooooooooooooong Chicago winter. :-D
Heads up to all Yakima Frontloader owners - there is a recall for select Frontloader models

I purchased 2 FL's in March 2010 and both are subject to this recall - will keep you updated on how well Yakima handles this situation. So far so good.... but unfortunate that this hits right as the weather starts getting nicer in Chicago.
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