Life would be great if every one of our rides could start right out our front door. I recently retired to a location (South Lake Tahoe) where I have plenty of ride options to do just that. However, there are still many times when I need to load up the bike in my truck to head to a distant trailhead.
The low rent method to deal with this is to put your bike in the back of your car or truck, but at some point, it is time to get serious and score yourself a bike carrier.
The main rack options are roof, hitch, or truck mounts. There are pros and cons for all three methods, but my first choice is using a hitch mount. I am in the bad back club and it is much easier to load a bike off the back of your vehicle rather than on top, and I never have to worry about driving into the garage with a bike on the roof. Yes, I admit, I did that once.
Over the last 20 years I have owned several different hitch mounted racks from Yakima, Thule, and Sportworks. I have had racks that hold the bikes via the top tube, but much prefer tray mounts. I eventually settled on the Thule T2 as my favorite. This last spring, Thule introduced their new Thule T2 Pro, and I have been using one all summer. I am happy to report that there have been enough improvements over what they are now calling the T2 Classic to warrant the “Pro” designation.
First and foremost is the ease of operation. Raising or lowering the rack is a one hand operation with no bending over, unlike the original T2’s which required two hands and body contortions. There is also a drop down position, which lets you easily lower the rack, even with two bikes attached, to better access the back of your vehicle. On my truck, I can fully lower the tailgate.
Another feature that I appreciate is that the T2 Pro rides higher than most other tray hitch racks. This really is noticeable when I put the rack on my wife’s Honda CRV with an aftermarket hitch that rides low. I used to bottom out from time to time with the T2 and the Yakima Hold-up, but I haven’t had this issue with the Pro.
The weight of the Pro is similar to the Classic, but installing and removing the rack is much easier and unlike the Classic, does not require a tool
Another nifty feature on the Pro is that it can accommodate a fat bike with 5” tires right out of the box. In contrast, the T2 Classic requires that you purchase a separate fat bike accessory to do this.
The Pro includes built in security to lock your bikes to the, rack as well as to lock your rack to your vehicle. Keep in mind, however, that the thin cable lock is just to deter the casual theft. Whenever I am walking away from my bike to run into a store or restaurant, I always supplement the security with a u-lock.
The only real complaint that I have is the quality of the ratchets that tighten the strap on the rear wheels. I have learned not to ratchet those wheel straps too tight. Recently though, a friend mounted his bike on the back and snugged it up real tight. When we got to the trailhead we had a hell of a time releasing the strap. Our ride almost ended before it began. I have had many problems with this same mechanism since, but did find a funky workaround to get the strap to release. This is the same mechanism used in the fat bike attachments for the T2, and I had a history of problems with those as well. On the plus side, Thule has an outstanding warranty and customer service, and I currently have a replacement part heading my way.
Bottom Line: This is a great bike rack and deserving of the “pro” designation.
MSRP: $550. Attachment to carry two more bikes sold separately.