If you’re a bike enthusiast, you know the importance of having a reliable, durable, and easy-to-use bike rack. The Thule T2 Pro XTR and X are two top-tier hitch bike racks that offer incredible versatility and convenience. Whether going on a family road trip or heading out for an adventurous mountain biking session, these racks are designed to meet your needs.
In this review, we’ll cover the features, functionality, and performance of the Thule T2 Pro XTR and Thule T2 Pro X to help you determine the perfect fit for your cycling lifestyle.
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The Thule T2 Pro XTR and its counterpart, the Thule T2 Pro X, are exceptionally versatile hitch bike racks suitable for many bicycles, such as fat, road, e-bikes, and even children’s bikes. These racks have earned an ‘Exceptional’ rating and are perfect for individuals in need of transporting varying bike sizes. Capable of accommodating 2 or 4 bikes with tires measuring up to 5" wide.
You should know that the Pro XTR variant has replaced the Thule T2 Pro XT, so you can see on Amazon that they are indicated as XT/XTR. The only discernible distinction between the two is that the latter features rolling wheels, facilitating more effortless movement when not attached to a vehicle. Furthermore, a new addition called the Thule T2 Pro X is a slightly more basic alternative to the XTR version.
The Thule T2 Pro racks are a platform rack system designed to secure bicycles using a front tire holder and shepherd’s hook mechanism. The process involves positioning the bike’s front wheel within the supporting tray, followed by connecting it with the ratcheted shepherd’s hook that goes over this wheel. The ratcheting action is seamless and user-friendly.
As pressure is applied to the hook, it tightens quickly and locks into place once fully cinched down. Until you press on its release lever, this hooked latch remains securely fastened. To add stability to the bike’s rear end, each bicycle has an adjustable sliding rear tire tray that aligns according to each bike’s particular wheelbase.
Finally, a robust plastic strap ensures your bicycle’s rear tire stays securely on its designated tray. It does so by strapping snugly over the rim of your back wheel - effectively eliminating any chance of instability or movement during transit.
The tire accommodation capacity of Thule T2 model racks is determined by the dimensions of their front tire trays. The more extensive XTR rack can safely secure tires of all widths, from slender road bike ones to 5" fat tires. In contrast, the slimmer tray on the X model accommodates standard-width tires up to 3".
The Pro XTR’s tray stands out due to its unique design; it contains three different slots, each designed for a specific tire width: a narrow slot at the bottom end for thin road bike tires, a medium slot that fits up to 3" wide standard-sized tires, and an outermost large slot capable of housing more significant fat bike types up to 5" in width.
Meanwhile, additional individual trays specially designed to accommodate broader fat bike tires (upwards to 5") are available as supplementary purchases tailored towards users of Pro X models requiring larger-width support.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR and X set the standard in the industry by providing a generous 12" gap between each tray. Anyone who has used any bike rack design can attest to the irritation of trying to keep handlebars and saddles from scraping against each other. In comparison with other racks that only offer as little as 8.5" space between bikes, it’s fair to say that the Thule T2 Pro models provide ample room!
To eliminate potential contact between handlebars and saddles, both versions of the T2 Pro have incorporated a feature where each bike mounting bar can be adjusted 4" on either side of the bike’s central mast. While you would need some tools for making these adjustments, once they are done, there will be no need for further modifications or resets in future use.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR is arguably one of the finest hitch-mounted bike racks on the market, offering an unparalleled blend of features in a well-constructed package. It includes an intuitive tilt lever, robust ratcheting arms, an integrated locking system, and the versatility to carry almost any bike type.
The Thule T2 Pro XT consistently delivered impressive performance in our tests, handling everything from electric to fat bikes with remarkable durability and stability. If you’re seeking a dependable, versatile, and well-rounded hitch-mounted rack, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is an excellent choice.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR, like other platform-style bike racks, requires some assembly. Conversely, the assembly is relatively simple and can be accomplished in 25 to 30 minutes using the provided tool.
Once assembled, loading and unloading bikes onto the Thule T2 Pro XT is a breeze. The easy-to-use ratcheting arms and intuitive rear straps make securing bikes quick and hassle-free. Even with heavy, regular use, we found no flaws in the design, highlighting the rack’s user-friendliness and reliability.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR can comfortably accommodate two bikes, regardless of the model—both the 2-inch and 1.25-inch receiver versions are designed to handle this capacity. However, what sets the T2 Pro XTR apart is its capability to carry a wide array of two-wheelers without needing adapters.
With its generous cradles that can hold tires up to 5 inches wide, the Thule T2 Pro XT can accommodate fat, mountain, road, and kids’ bikes with at least 20-inch wheels. This unmatched versatility makes it ideal for families and cycling enthusiasts with diverse bike collections.
Regarding weight capacity, the Thule T2 Pro XT can handle two bicycles weighing up to 60 pounds. This capacity is equal to or better than most competitors, making it a robust and reliable choice for transporting heavier bike models, including electric bikes.
As expected from a high-end bike rack like the T2 Pro XT, Thule has not compromised the materials’ quality. The metal frame of the T2 Pro XT is robust, and its plastic cradles and smaller parts feel equally sturdy. The rack’s durability, coupled with its exceptional performance, provides excellent long-term value, despite its premium price tag.
Weighing in at 52.04 pounds, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is on the heavier side of the spectrum. However, this is a common trait among top-tier bike racks and a testament to the quality of materials and components used in its construction.
The ratcheting arms of the Thule T2 Pro XTR are some of the most robust in the industry, providing excellent stability and security for your bikes during transportation. The system’s design, which features a sturdy top arm that compresses against the tire and the intuitive rear wheel restraint, is easy to use and highly reliable.
Thule’s tilt system, the HitchSwitch Lever, is ideally located for easy adjustments. The lever is positioned in the middle of the rack, away from the car and bikes, making it one of the most accessible tilt levers on the market. The effortless operation of the tilt feature is a testament to Thule’s thoughtful design and engineering.
A unique feature of the Thule T2 Pro XT is adding a set of wheels along the bottom of the rack. These wheels greatly facilitate the transport of the rack when it is not attached to the hitch. This feature is handy for those who need to frequently move the bike rack around their garage or transport it over longer distances.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR and the Thule T2 Pro X include a locking system for your bikes and the rack itself. This feature is a valuable addition that can save you money in the long run by providing extra security for your bikes during transportation.
The Thule T2 Pro series is an ideal match for the following:
- Enthusiasts of fat bikes - the Pro XTR variant can accommodate tires as wide as 5". Although the Pro X model fits only 3" wide tires, you can buy additional fat tire cups to increase this up to 5".
- For those prone to forgetting tools on their journeys - no assembly tools are required for the T2 Pro models! Their distinctive mounting mechanism also eradicates a hitch pin that could be lost.
However, the Thule T2 Pro line may not be the best fit for the following:
- It is heavy for those who plan on installing and removing the rack by themselves!
- Shorter adults mount the rack onto a taller car – the frame sits high up off the hitch
- Those who need to haul more than four bikes
The Thule T2 Pro XTR stands out from the crowd in three key areas – spacing between trays, load-bearing per tray, and its ability to accommodate fat tires. However, beyond statistics, the user-friendly design truly makes this model shine.
From packing up your bikes to unpacking at your destination, using these racks is a dream come true; it’s evident that Thule has given ample thought to every point of interaction on their product. The rack can be easily folded using a lever at its end while tightening or releasing the strap and shepherd’s hooks is straightforward. With 12 inches of space separating each tray, you can load any assortment of bikes without worrying about potential contact.
Like an armored vehicle designed for endurance rather than speed, the T2 Pro racks are built, too - solid and sturdy. Despite enduring varied weather conditions like snowfall or rainfall along with exposure to mud and sand (and not forgetting our trio of energetic kids), we haven’t had any requirement to date for servicing or replacing even a single part on our rack, which has been in use for over five years now.
Although the T2 Pro XTR and X racks are essentially similar in functionality, several unique characteristics set them apart:
- The Pro XTR is equipped with rolling wheels to simplify its transportation.
- The Pro XTR features broader tire trays accommodating 5" wide tires.
- An integrated bike locking mechanism is another notable feature of the Pro XTR.
Thule T2 Pro XTR exhibits more advanced features among these two versions and stands out by incorporating enhancements that improve user convenience and function. A vital attribute of the T2 Pro XTR is its capability to tilt downwards despite being laden with bicycles fully.
This characteristic proves considerably beneficial for users requiring access to their vehicle’s rear cargo space as it eradicates the necessity of unloading bikes before accessing this area. The integrated cable lock and lock knob on the XTR secure both bicycles to rack and rack to the receiver, providing an additional level against potential thefts. This superior security element further distinguishes it from other models.
On the other hand, the Thule T2 Pro X also offers several advantageous features. It has a tool-free AutoAttach system that makes it easy to install and remove. Like the T2 Pro XTR, it also allows for bike rack tilting, but only when not loaded. However, it stands out in its versatility – it can carry a wide range of bicycles design and styles, including those with unconventional frames, fat bikes, and e-bikes.
Regarding capacity, both racks can carry up to two bikes as standard but can be expanded to carry up to four bikes with an add-on. They also both offer generous spacing between bikes to reduce interference during transport.
In conclusion, while both models share many similarities, such as their robust construction, ease of use, and ability to transport multiple bikes safely, there are some differences between the Thule T2 Pro XTR and Thule T2 Pro X.
The choice between the two would depend on specific user needs and preferences. The T2 Pro X offers more versatility in the types of bikes it can carry. At the same time, the T2 Pro XTR provides additional convenience features like the ability to tilt when fully loaded and enhanced security measures.
- The Thule T2 Pro XTR has all the features you’d expect from a high-end rack, a wobble-free structure, a robust attachment system, and integrated locks.
- It features one of the most user-friendly tilt mechanisms on the market.
- The latest XTR model and its predecessor XT have shown excellent durability and stability in our tests.
- It is compatible with various wheel and tire sizes without needing adapters.
- The built-in wheels on the T2 Pro XTR make transporting the rack much more effortless.
- The Thule T2 Pro XTR comes with a hefty price tag.
- Like most platform-style racks, the T2 Pro XTR is relatively heavy, weighing 52 pounds compared to Kuat Sherpa 2.0, which weighs only 32 pounds, and Saris Freedom SuperClamp weighs 38 pounds.
- The integrated cable locks are short, which may limit your ability to secure the frame and wheel of some bikes.
The Thule T2 Pro XT is a testament to Thule’s commitment to providing high-quality, user-friendly, and versatile bike racks. Despite its premium price tag and heavier weight, it delivers excellent value thanks to its versatile features, ease of use, and impressive durability.
Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast with a diverse bike collection or a family with varying bike sizes and styles, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is a worthy investment that will reliably serve your bike transportation needs for years.