Thule 9034XTB T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack

The T2 Pro XT came in a large box, best to be carried by two people. It has four convenient slots for your hands at each end.

Once opened, the unpacking was easy, with no individual object being overly heavy, and the main assembly being the heaviest.

The steps to install are generally straightforward once understood, however the installation manual itself can be difficult to follow; they entirely use pictograms for assembly instructions (think IKEA, which maybe isn’t surprising as Thule is also a Swedish company).

I had difficulty right from step 1, trying to understand how the rack locked into the hitch. Once I removed it from the hitch, and played with the tightening wheel and it’s key, it became clear; you have to use the key to unlock the tightening handle, then spinning the handle clockwise will wedge the rack into the hitch. If the key slot for the handle is put to the locked position, the tightening handle will still spin, but not actually engage the wedge for the receiver. This method makes it easy to install the rack without the need for tools, and the wedge design keeps it very sturdy with no wobbling.

Once past step 1, the rest was easy to assemble. A hex key was provided for all the screws, but if you had your own hex bits with a drill, it would be even easier. If needed for bikes that are impacting each other while strapped down, each of the carriages for the bikes can be adjusted side to side after loosening the mounting bolts (and then re-tightening after adjustment, of course!).

Mounting a bike to the rack itself, it would seem to me that this would be most optimized for bikes with disk brakes, and not calipers; using the arm to hold the wheel into the cradle would put pressure on caliper brakes and I would worry it could bend them or put them out of adjustment over time and during travel. That said, its simple mounting process does hold the bikes very securely. Note that if you’re using a cruiser style bike with fenders, this rack is not recommended for you; the fender wouldn’t allow the retaining arm to come down on the wheel, and trying to keep enough pressure for the bike would likely warp the fender.

The rack is also easily used for fat wheel bikes, but a minor adjustment is needed for the hold-down straps on the rear wheels. The straps can be pulled back out of it’s assembly, and then re-inserted further up, giving the strap more length and allowing it to go around a fat bike wheel and reach the ratcheting retainer.

Once bikes are on the rack, it’s an easy one handed operation to use the release, and then the bikes can be lowered for opening any rear lift gates. Depending on the weight of the bikes, you may want to be using two hands for the lowering and lifting of the bikes, but the release handle will automatically reengage at horizontal when it reaches level again. The rack also includes a very handy cable lock at the end of each retaining arm, which is keyed the same as the tightening wheel.

Took a pair of bikes out for a ride, drove a little over 100 kilometers, and the rack and bikes were just as tight as when I started.

When the rack is not in use, the one handed release will allow it to be tilted up and out of the way. If you have a vehicle with a back-up camera, depending on it’s location this may be severely impeded by the rack in it’s raised position.

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary “Thule 9034XTB T2 Pro XT 2 Bike (2″ ) Black”  from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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