A heavy-duty rack that’ll give you peace of mind when hauling your bikes
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Suzie Dundas / TripSavvy
The rack is big, wide, and heavy duty—bikes are stable and secure
Built-in locks on each adjustable arm help deter theft
Base rack can be extended to hold two additional bikes
Rack levers and handles are a bit stiff and take two arms to maneuver
Extends fairly far off the car’s back hitch
Unclear installation instructions
If you don’t mind using a little extra muscle to load and unload your bikes, you’ll be rewarded with a sturdy, secure rack capable of holding even the biggest bikes.
We purchased the Thule 2T Pro XT Bike Rack so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Bought a new bike this year? Congrats—you’ve got days of fun and fitness to look forward to. Not as enjoyable, however, is trying to awkwardly maneuver your bike to fit sideways in the back of the car. Or, worse, having to take off the front tire and jam your bike in the trunk on the way to the trailhead.
I’ve been road and mountain biking for years and at last count, there were six bikes between two people sitting in our garage. Because I like biking so much, I spend at least one to two days a week exploring new trails—which means I’m often hauling my bike around with my car. There are many ways to lug a bike around, to be sure. And I've tried nearly all of them—using hitch-mount bike racks, roof rack attachments, and twisting the handlebars at just the right angle to slide it into my small SUV.
Fortunately for my fellow cyclists, all that experience with different bikes and racks has helped me narrow down the best options on the market. One of those is the Thule 2T Pro XT. It’s heavy-duty, adjustable, and holds bikes securely enough to give confidence your bikes won't fly off the back of your car driving highway speeds or rough forest service roads.
We estimated around 20 minutes to install the Thule T2 Pro XT, and we ended up needing about twice as long. Though the rack comes mostly pre-assembled, buyers will need to connect the two horizontal bars that hold the bikes to the base bar that goes into the hitch. We found the instructions a bit unclear, and the bolts that connect the base and racks were hard to line up and took a few tries to eliminate rattling. We also had to use more force than expected to slide the back wheel rests onto each bar, to the point where we felt like we were doing something wrong.
Fortunately, we weren't doing anything wrong, and once assembled, the rack is fairly easy to mount and remove from the hitch. The base slides into your car's hitch and tightens with an expansion wheel. A small key locks the expansion wheel, making it impossible to remove the rack without said key. In fact, the entire lock pops out. Pro-tip: Make sure you don't lose the key as you'll need it to remove the rack from your car. Simply attaching it to your key chain with your car and house keys is a way to ensure it doesn't mysteriously fall into the abyss of your car seats.
Deep, large wheel wells on the front tires ensure your bike is well-secured, and the back wheel cup is adjustable to accommodate even the longest frame sizes.
One area where the Thule T2 Pro XT truly seems to excel is with secure storage. That's a great feature for a bike rack. Deep, large wheel wells on the front tires ensure there's no way the wheels could slip out. And the back wheel cup is adjustable to ensure it's directly under the back tire of bikes ranging from extra small to extra large. Once the adjustable arms are tightened on the front wheel, the bikes are well-secured. The only way they're going to fall off would be if our whole hitch fell off.
The only downside we found to this durability and security is that the rack is much bigger than our other racks, and it takes a good deal of muscle to adjust. When folded, there's a pull handle to bring the rack down (give it another pull, and it tilts the rack downward to accommodate opening the trunk.) However, our tester with less upper arm strength couldn't squeeze the handle or pull the rack down with just one hand as intended. The rack feels extremely stiff and tight. We ultimately felt that using an extra bit of arm strength to adjust the rack was a very fair trade-off for security and durability.
Also noteworthy is the height of the bikes as the rack sits higher off the ground than our other racks. The Thule T2 Pro XT holds the bottom wheels approximately 21 inches off the ground, so we needed to lift our bikes higher to mount them compared to other racks. The flip side of that height is extra clearance for your bikes when navigating rocky and steep roads.
Suzie Dundas / Lifewire
The Thule T2 Pro XT doesn't reinvent the wheel (pun intended) when it comes to design, but there's no reason to—Thule has been making car-mount gear racks since the 1960s, and it's clear they figured out bike carrying long ago. Like most of Thule's bike racks, the T2 Pro XT holds bikes with an adjustable arm that tightens around the front wheel and a strap that locks through the back wheel. You'll have to rethread the back tire strap through the cradle to add extra length if you have wide tires or a fat bike.
One design aspect worth noting for city-dwellers is that the 2T Pro XT extends rather far beyond the hitch when holding bikes. It extends 41 inches beyond our back bumper, as opposed to the 31 inches with our smaller Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Rack. This creates room between the bikes and eliminates the risk of the handlebars or pedals bumping together, but it may be a challenge if you parallel park in a city. (It adds 19 inches when folded.)
Like other bike racks we tested, the Thule T2 Pro XT angles outward for trunk access when bikes are attached—a helpful feature for anyone with a hatchback and SUV trunks.
Because of the rack’s burly materials, the T2 Pro XT has a carrying capacity of 120 pounds—60 pounds per bike, which is plenty for even a pair of heavy e-bikes.
Otherwise, the Thule T2 Pro XT is relatively plain and shouldn't dissuade anyone from adding it to their car. The materials are various shades of black and grey with the word "Thule" in white letters.
Sure, the Thule T2 Pro XT is heavy at 52 pounds, but that's because the steel is solid. And because of that sturdy steel, the rack has a carrying capacity of 120 pounds—60 pounds per bike, which is plenty for even a pair of heavy e-bikes. The adjustable back wheel cradle adjusts to accommodate bikes with long or short frame sizes.
Fortunately, if you need to carry more than two bikes, you can add a two-rack extender for a total carrying capacity of four bikes. However, it'll set you back another $450 plus another 50 pounds of weight. So make sure your vehicle and hitch have a tongue weight capacity higher than the total weight of your bikes and the rack combined.
There's only one sure-fire way to ensure a quick thief with a pair of wire cutters won't abscond with your bike—don't leave it unattended. But if you do need to make a quick pit stop before or after biking, you'll appreciate the rack's bike locks built into each front tire arm. A wire cord pulls out of the arm, wraps through the front fork, and locks back into the arm with the accompanying key (which, somewhat annoyingly, is not the aforementioned key that removes the rack from your hitch.) The locks retract into the arms when not needed, meaning you'll never be without a lock in a pinch. Of course, the more locks, the better, and owners of expensive bikes will likely want to use at least one additional lock if they can't keep their eyes on the bikes for an extended time.
At $650, The T2 Pro XT is one of the more expensive bike racks capable of holding two bikes on the market (the XTR model goes up to $700). However, it’s stronger, larger, and has a higher carrying capacity than other racks we tested, so we expect the price to be higher.
If $650 is too steep, you do have other good options.
We recently tested the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 bike rack and loved it. It weighs far less than the Thule rack at about 30 pounds and is much lighter and easier to maneuver one-handed. However, it's made of aluminum rather than steel, and the horizontal bike bars aren't as long. While the Sherpa 2.0 holds the bikes just as securely as the Thule rack, the shorter bars make it look like the back tire is hanging, which may (needlessly) worry some buyers.
If you only need to carry one bike or have less to spend on a rack, consider a carrier that mounts to your roof's crossbars. They're not quite as convenient, but they're far cheaper, especially if you don’t yet have a hitch installed. The Thule ProRide XT single-bike roof-mount rack is $199. Just know with heavier bikes, it can be a pain lifting and placing them on the top of your vehicle—especially if it's a taller SUV or truck.
If you don't mind spending top-dollar for this burly bike rack, you'll be rewarded with a rack that is sure to give you the peace of mind your bikes won't be slipping or adjusting on longer drives. But, if you're looking to save money—and weight—there are other better-suited options available. Like the Kuat Sherpa 2.0.
Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Bike Rack Review
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