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Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack
Price: $799.95 MSRP Type: Hitch, platform Hitch Size: 2 inches, 1.25 inches Bike Capacity: 2, 4 with add-on Wheel Size(s): 20 inches to 29 inches Max Load: 60 lbs. per bike E-Bike Rated: Yes RV Rated: No Off-road Rated: No Integrated Lock(s): Yes, 3 Loading Ramp: No Weight: 52 lbs. Warranty: Lifetime
Pros: – Extremely easy to load and unload and works with a very wide range of bike styles and sizes. – Tilt lever is intuitive, easy to access and simple to operate. – Wheels make moving the rack to and from the garage for storage a breeze. Cons: – Weighing in at 52 pounds, it’s not a great lightweight option. – Like most hitch-mounted bike racks, it takes up a lot of space when stored. – Expensive.
The Bottom Line
The Thule T2 Pro XTR is a phenomenal hitch-mounted bike rack, making it a great choice for discerning riders who demand a premium carrying experience for their bikes. Out of the box, the Thule expertly carries carbon gravel bikes, all styles of mountain bikes, electric bikes, kids’ bikes, fatbikes, and more. What really sets the Thule T2 Pro XTR apart from the competition is it’s overall ease of use. Loading and unloading bikes is a cinch, the tilt lever allows for easy access to the back of your vehicle, and removal and storage is a class-leading experience. Simply put, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the most user-friendly and versatile bike rack I’ve used in the past 15 years.
I don’t know about you, but I always wonder what sort of condition big and heavy items will arrive at my house in. Will part of the rack be protruding from the box? Maybe there will be a giant hole and nuts or bolts will be missing. Thankfully, despite a beat-up looking box, the Thule T2 Pro XTR arrived unscathed. Opening up the box you’ll find an expertly packed bike rack with just enough packaging to keep it protected, but not so much that you’ll question your impact on the planet.
Thule T2 Pro XTR Assembly
I’ve assembled over 20 bike racks in the past 15 years, and the Thule T2 Pro XTR falls right in line with what I expect from a platform-style hitch rack. It’s a relatively straightforward process with no special tricks or wizardry involved, but it does take a little patience. You can follow Thule’s own instructions but my process went like this. Unbox all the parts and spread them out on the ground. Insert the main frame of the rack into the receiver hitch and tighten down using the anti-sway knob. From here, attach both trays to the frame, then add the front and rear wheel cradles using the supplied hardware and tools. For comparison, it was considerably less tricky than the Yakima StageTwo (in-depth review here), whose bolts were challenging to line up. All told, it took me 28 minutes to assemble the T2 Pro XTR.
Thule T2 Pro XTR Performance
Overall Ease of Use
The Thule T2 Pro XTR is hands down the easiest hitch-mounted bike rack I’ve ever used, which makes it my highest recommended bike rack at the moment. So what sets it apart from the competition? For starters, it’s extremely quick to load and unload bikes, taking about one minute to do so. Additionally, the tilt mechanism is very easy to operate, even when loaded with two heavy electric bikes. Further, the ratcheting arms require little effort to cinch down–as well as release–on the front wheel, and the rear wheel strap is intuitive and straightforward. Finally, in terms of installing and removing the T2 Pro XTR from your vehicle, Thule nails it again with the easy-to-turn anti-wobble knob and the little wheels designed for transport. Out of the more than 20 bike racks I’ve used, I have yet to test a more user-friendly hitch-mounted version.
Loading and Unloading Bikes
Mentioned above, removing and loading bikes onto the Thule T2 Pro XTR is a standout performance characteristic of the rack. With a little bit of practice and some familiarity–which is achieved in short order given the user-friendly design–it’s easy to have a bike loaded and be gone in 60 seconds (that one’s for you Nicolas Cage). It goes something like this: prepare the rack by swinging the ratcheting arm parallel to the ground and disconnecting the rear wheel strap, lift the bike up and onto the platform, bring the front arm back up and over the front wheel and tighten, then thread the strap through the rear wheel and cinch it down. Voila, you’re ready to go.
What is the Weight Limit for the Thule T2 Pro XTR?
The Thule T2 Pro XTR is rated to carry bikes that weigh up to 60 pounds each. This falls in line with most of its competitors like the Kuat NV 2.0 (60 pounds), 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double (50 pounds), and the Thule T2 Pro X (50 pounds). Personally, the T2 Pro XTR easily meets my needs in terms of weight limit. However, if you’re carrying exceptionally heavy electric bikes and are looking for even more capacity, then the Yakima StageTwo with its 70 pound weight limit and loading ramp is a very good choice.
Will my Bike Fit on the Thule T2 Pro XTR?
Bike compatibility is a definite strong suit for the Thule—the T2 Pro XTR easily carries everything from 16-inch kids bikes to 29-inch mountain bikes. I personally hauled carbon fiber gravel bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, electric bikes, and a fatbike all without issue or the use of adapters–something that’s not possible with popular alternatives like the Yakima StageTwo, Kuat NV 2.0, or 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double. In terms of wheelbase, which is an important piece of information for exceptionally tall riders with long bikes, the T2 Pro XTR is rated to accommodate bikes with wheelbases up to 1270 millimeters in length. That said, I was just barely able to squeeze an S5 (XL) Specialized Kenevo eMTB onto the Thule, which boasts a class-leading 1322 millimeter wheelbase.
Build Quality and Durability
I’ve logged well over 10,000 miles of driving with the T2 Pro XTR on the back of my 4Runner and I have to say I’ve been very impressed with the rack’s build quality and durability. The metal frame of the rack is powder coated, which helps resist rusting, and the metal feels very thick and substantial. And while I don’t love the use of plastic, the T2 Pro XTR is a step above what other bike racks, like the Yakima StageTwo, use. This is especially noticeable in sub-freezing temperatures as the Thule’s plastic remains somewhat pliable whereas others start to feel brittle. Overall, the Thule T2 Pro XTR uses top-notch materials throughout and I have no concerns with its build quality or durability.
Regardless of brand or make, vehicle access is limited in one way or another by a hitch-mounted bike rack. There’s just no way around it. However, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the least annoying option when it comes time to access the rear of your pickup, SUV, or car. It really comes down to how quick and simple it is to lower the rack down and out of the way, even with bikes loaded. For comparison, the tilt mechanism that lowers the Thule is significantly easier than other popular models from Kuat and 1UP USA (racks I have tested extensively).
How Much Does the Thule T2 Pro XTR Weigh?
The Thule T2 Pro XTR weighs 52 pounds, which is by no means light. However, this is normal for hitch-mounted bike racks and it falls right in line with competing options. For reference, the popular Kuat NV 2.0 weighs 56 pounds and the all-aluminum 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double comes in slightly lighter at 46 pounds. One final comparison is the beefed-up Yakima StageTwo, which weighs a whopping 66 pounds. However, the Yakima is rated to carry significantly heavier bikes (70 pounds vs the Thule’s 60).
Removing and Storing the Thule T2 Pro XTR
Another standout feature of the Thule T2 Pro XTR is how easy it is to remove and store (for a hitch rack that is). To remove the rack, simply unscrew the grippy, triangular-shaped anti-wobble knob and pull out the integrated hitch pin, then slide the rack out of your hitch receiver. And as much as I hate to admit it, those gimmicky looking wheels make moving the T2 Pro XTR significantly easier, saving my back in the process. In terms of storage, there’s no denying that the big and bulky rack takes up quite a bit of room in a garage when not in use. But this is true of any platform-style hitch rack and you can’t fault the Thule any more than its competitors.
Key Features of the Thule T2 Pro XTR
Ratcheting Arms and Rear Wheel Strap
Quick, simple, streamlined, and effective is the best way to describe the ratcheting arm and rear wheel straps of the Thule T2 Pro XTR. Starting with the front, the ratcheting arms are very robust and keep bike movement to a minimum, even on pothole-filled roads. Additionally, they’re easy to move and cinch down on the front wheel, exhibiting a reassuring click when locked into place.
It’s the same story at the back of the bike. The rear wheel strap is easy to engage and has deep notches to secure it in place, providing peace of mind that it won’t slip during transport. The strap also includes a little rubber bumper that helps to protect the rear wheel from scuffs, which is especially important if you have carbon fiber wheels. Finally, the strap is thick and remains pliable even when temps drop below freezing, which wasn’t the case with the Yakima StageTwo. However trivial it may seem, Thule did a great job with the rear wheel strap and its execution is much better than most of its competitors.
Thule HitchSwitch Tilt Lever
One of my favorite features of the T2 Pro XTR–and the main reason I often recommend the Thule to friends and family–is its tilt lever. Out of the dozens of bike racks I’ve used over the past 15 years, it’s simply the easiest to engage and use. So what makes it such a standout performer? For starters, the tilt lever handle is located outward of the rack and always within reach–the Kuat NV 2.0’s tilt lever requires you to use your foot and is very challenging to reach. Secondly, the lever requires only a slight amount of force to engage, ma bit less so than the Yakima StageTwo. Finally, Thule appears to have placed the pivot point in an ideal location to create a type of mechanical advantage, as the rack is extremely easy to lower and raise even when loaded down with two heavy electric mountain bikes.
Does the Thule T2 Pro XTR come with Locks?
At this price point, Thule was smart to include three integrated locks with the T2 Pro XTR. There’s one located in the anti-wobble hitch knob, securing the rack to the vehicle, and the other two are housed in extendable cables in the ratcheting arms. Thule also kindly included two keys with the T2 Pro XTR, in case you misplace one. However nice and convenient the included locks are, I can’t say I’d trust them in high-theft areas or to secure your bike on the rack overnight. That said, they do offer some security for quickly running into a grocery store or coffee shop. For long-term storage, I highly recommend investing in a high-quality chain bike lock.
Like most premium hitch racks, the T2 Pro XTR features an anti-sway knob that keeps the rack–and bikes–from moving around too much while traveling. Once again, Thule nails the execution of this feature. The T2 Pro XTR’s knob is easy to reach, its action is smooth, and the triangular shape is easy to grab and turn. Round knobs, like those found on the Kuat NV 2.0 and Yakima StageTwo, are just a little less easy to get purchase on. It’s the little things like this that really set the Thule apart. Finally, there’s a lock built into the knob, that when engaged, allows it to spin freely and the knob can’t be loosened and removed.
Integrated Transport Wheels
When I first saw the little integrated wheels on the T2 Pro XTR, I definitely let out a laugh, thinking they were simply a gimmick to help sell more bike racks. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve shuffled around dozens of hitch racks over the past 15 years–including the T2 Pro XTR’s predecessors, the T2 Pro XT and T2 Classic–and I have to say, the wheels on the updated Thule are a game changer. They roll well on pavement, gravel, and dirt, and they save your back when it’s time to move the rack from the vehicle to the garage, and vice versa. Compared to other hitch racks I’m testing at the moment, which includes the Yakima StageTwo and 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the clear winner when it comes to installing and removing the rack.
Popular Accessories for Thule T2 Pro XTR
Thule T2 Pro XT 2-Bike Add-on
If you need to increase your bike carrying capacity, Thule offers a 2-bike add-on, bringing the total number of bikes to four. The T2 Pro XT Add-on features the same excellent design as the main rack–tilt lever included–and works with everything from fatbikes to 20-inch kids bikes without the need for adapters. The one downside to using the 2-bike add-on, and this isn’t unique to the Thule, is that it greatly increases the overall length and heft of the rack. That said, it’s a convenient way to increase capacity as your family, or list of riding buddies, grows.
Thule License Plate Holder
Some states and countries require you to have your rear license plate visible at all times, which hitch racks often obstruct. To be honest, I’ve never been one to worry about it too much. However, Thule does offer a license plate holder that straps nicely onto the T2 Pro XTR. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s probably a lot less than a ticket.
Thule Cable Lock
If you plan to leave your bike unattended on your rack for any amount of time, it’s worth investing in a quality lock. Sure, you can rely on the built-in locks on the T2 Pro XTR, but I wouldn’t trust them to stop a determined thief. Thule offers a 6 foot cable lock as an accessory. The main selling point of their own model is that it can accept Thule’s locking cores, so it’s possible to have one key work for all the locks on your rack.
Thule Hitch Extender
It’s not uncommon for there to be clearance issues with hitch-mounted bike racks. A couple of vehicles that come to mind are Jeep Wranglers with the spare tire hanging off the back and cargo vans with their near vertical rear ends–both of which can interfere with handlebars. If clearance is an issue then Thule’s hitch extender can solve the problem by moving the rack farther away from your vehicle.
What is Thule’s Warranty Policy?
Thule offers a limited lifetime warranty on all their bike racks, which adds great peace of mind when purchasing such an expensive item. The warranty covers any manufacturing or material defects that may occur for the life of the product, which is similar to other premium brands like Yakima and 1UP USA.
Issues with Thule T2 Pro XTR
I’ve logged thousands of miles with the Thule T2 Pro XTR this season and have not experienced a single issue with the rack. It’s been subjected to long trips over mountain passes and miles of dirt roads, and I’ve even done some light off-roading with it. It’s carried lightweight carbon gravel bikes and heavy full-suspension electric mountain bikes, and did it all with ease and finesse. Through it all, the Thule T2 Pro XTR has been a steadfast companion and I have had zero issues with the rack. As always, if anything crops up I’ll come back and update this review.
With its overall ease of use, well-thought-out features, and durable build, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the best overall bike rack I’ve ever used. However, there’s one bike type where the Thule can fall short, and that’s with electric bikes. Enter the Yakima StageTwo (in-depth review here), which is nearly as refined as the T2 Pro XTR but ups its max load capacity to 70 pounds per bike (the Thule is rated for 60 pounds). Like the T2 Pro XTR, the Yakima StageTwo is very user friendly, works well with most types of bikes, and has an easy-to-access tilt lever. Yakima also offers a ramp that attaches to the StageTwo, which makes loading and unloading e-bikes a breeze. For the best overall experience, go with the slightly more refined Thule T2 Pro XTR. However, if you’re an e-biker and need the extra weight capacity, the Yakima StageTwo is the better choice.
Thule T2 Pro XTR vs. Thule T2 Pro X
The Thule T2 Pro X is a popular alternative to the more premium T2 Pro XTR reviewed here, and shares many of the same features as its more expensive brother. Specifically, the T2 Pro X uses the same heavy-duty frame and easy-to-use tilt lever, and it works with a very wide range of bikes. However, priced at about $150 less than the T2 Pro XTR, the T2 Pro X has to give in some areas. The front ratcheting arms on the T2 Pro X aren’t as user-friendly, the rack maxes out at 50 pounds per bike (the T2 Pro XTR is rated for 60 pounds), and there are no wheels for rolling it to the garage and back for storage. Also, there are no locks included in the ratcheting arms in the T2 Pro X, and it needs a different front wheel tray to carry fatbikes. If cost isn’t too much of an issue, then the more feature-heavy and user-friendly T2 Pro XTR is the better option. However, if you’re looking to save a few dollars then the Thule T2 Pro X is still a very good choice.
Thule T2 Pro XTR vs. Kuat NV 2.0
A third option is the Kuat NV 2.0, another popular rack that I have a lot of experience with. Similar to other premium hitch racks, loading bikes is quick and easy, the rack tilts down to access the back of your vehicle, and it holds a wide range of bikes in a very secure manner. However, the Kuat has a cool trick up its sleeve, and that’s a built-in bike repair stand. If you regularly work on your bike before or after rides–or maybe you’re a racer who would appreciate this feature–then this is a huge selling point.
Having said all that, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the superior rack in just about every way. The Thule is much easier to use–mainly when it comes to tilting the rack as the Kuat requires you to use your foot–and it’s made out of much higher quality materials. In my time with the Kuat I had issues with rust and parts breaking, which hasn’t happened with the Thule. And since I rarely need to work on my bike at the trailhead, the Thule T2 Pro XTR remains my rack of choice.
Thule T2 Pro XTR vs. 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double
One final consideration with a cult-like following is the 1UP USA Heavy Duty Double, a rack I’ve put about 30,000 miles on. There are three main things that set the Heavy Duty Double apart from the competition, including the T2 Pro XTR. One, it uses two ratcheting arms, front and rear, that only make contact with the tires–completely eliminating frame or fork rub in the process. Two, it’s constructed entirely out of aluminum, making it extremely durable and long-lasting. Three, it’s one of the only major bike rack companies whose products are 100% made in the USA. The downside of the 1UP USA, however, is that it’s not nearly as user-friendly as the T2 Pro XTR. In particular, the metal-on-metal ratcheting arms on the 1UP can be a little sticky. And the tilt lever is located under the rack, which is challenging to reach when bikes are loaded. In terms of overall ease of use, the Thule T2 Pro XTR is the clear winner.
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Erik Nilson, founder of Cascade Gear Reviews, boasts a decade-long journey in the outdoor industry. He began his career at REI, excelling in marketing, merchandising, and product development. Later, at Switchback Travel, Erik managed cycling content. With multiple Pro podium finishes in mountain biking, he’s not just an industry expert; he’s an active participant. Whether testing gear, capturing photos, or crafting reviews, Erik’s hands-on approach defines his dedication. Based in Winthrop, WA, he brings experience, expertise, and passion to outdoor gear reviews.
Erik Nilson, founder of Cascade Gear Reviews, boasts a decade-long journey in the outdoor industry. He began his career at REI, excelling in marketing, merchandising, and product development. Later, at Switchback Travel, Erik managed cycling content. With multiple Pro podium finishes in mountain biking, he's not just an industry expert; he's an active participant. Whether testing gear, capturing photos, or crafting reviews, Erik's hands-on approach defines his dedication. Based in Winthrop, WA, he brings experience, expertise, and passion to outdoor gear reviews.
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