Hitch mount racks have come a long way in the past 3-4 years. During this evolution, many different designs have been introduced–some more effective than others at carrying a variety of frame designs and bike styles. Well, the folks at Sportworks (now Thule), have come up with a design that’s been proven on mass transit bike racks for years. This design offers the simplest and most secure bike attachment on the market today.
Thule has worked hard to integrate the Sportworks consumer bike rack line into their own line and was completely Thule branded for Outdoor Retailer 2005 in Salt Lake City, August 2005.
The all-new Thule Sportworks T2 hitch rack offers the most user-friendly hitch mount design ever conceived. Looking around the industry, there are several designs that aim to be compatible with the widest variety of frame designs. The problem is that most hitch racks (with a few exceptions) will still only work well with traditional frame designs. Introducing complicated monocoque or full-suspension designs severely limits the compatibility of some designs. To combat this, the Thule T2 banks on one simple fact–that all bikes DO in fact have a front wheel. Sounds overly simplistic and borderline crazy, I know, but trust me… the Thule Sportworks T2 will work with ANY bike design.
With Thule purchasing the consumer products from Sportworks in April 2005, Thule has been scrambling to re-badge the T2 and will be completely selling all Sportworks racks under the Thule brand by 2006.
Kudos to Thule for making the T2 available in both 2″ and 1 1/4″ receiver designs. However, only the 2″ receiver can carry four bikes with the add-on system (160 lbs. total). The 1 1/4″ receiver is limited to only two bikes and 100 lbs. total. The trays will accommodate up to 3.0 DH tires and are sturdy enough to handle even the burliest of bikes.
Thule T2 Performance
The Thule Sportworks T2 hitch rack comes partially assembled, but does include detailed instructions on how to finish the job. From my experience as the type of person who never reads the instructions, I’d reccomend actually following the instructions so you don’t have to re-mount the trays several times like I did. The moral of the story is just read the installation instructions and you’ll be ready to go in 10 minutes.
Once installed, the T2 is sturdy and worry-free without any play in the receiver at all. The lever allows you to tilt the entire rack up and against the back of your vehicle (without touching the back of your car). You can also tilt the entire rack down and away from your vehicle to gain access to the rear hatch of a wagon or SUV while the bikes are still on the trays–a GREAT feature. The overall construction is very confidence inspiring and built to last for years of worry-free service.
Mounting your bikes on the back is as easy as it comes for bike racks. There really isn’t any easier way to get your bikes on your vehicle. Simply extend the ratchet arm all the way out and forward, set your bike on the tray, bring the arm back and clamp it right where the front tire and fork meet, secure the rear wheel and you’re ready to go. All this happens in 10 seconds tops. The result is the sturdiest bike rack system on the market today. If you’re into roof racks, we’d recommend the Thule Sportworks Bob Ratchet roof rack, which uses the same mounting design.
The Thule SportworksT2 bike rack will carry any bike up to 60 lbs. with a 100 lb. limit for the 1 1/4″ receiver and 160 lbs. total with the 2″ receiver. Using the T2 with a variety of mountain bike and road bike designs proved to be an easy task. If you haven’t been convinced that hitch racks are the way to go yet, this is your wake up call and I’m your alarm clock! it is by far the best way to transport your bikes, period, end of discussion.
The only drawback to the Thule Sportworks T2 rack is that it doesn’t currently have any locking functionality. But, for 2006, expect SKS lock cores to be integrated into the lever arm as a theft deterrent. The only other drawback, which is mainly a drawback for hitch racks in general, is that you become hyper-sensitive to watching the car behind you. If you’ve got the bling bling bike on the back, other drivers may get distracted and get a little too up close and personal. Thankfully, the T2 is burly enough that I think it would inflict more damage on the oncoming vehicle before really allowing damage to your bikes. And, it’s MUCH SAFER than carrying your bikes on top, believe me!
The Bottom Line on the Thule T2
Having already been sold on the Thule Quick-Load bike rack design, the new Thule T2 is the evolution of their proven roof-mounted designs. If you ride heavy freeride or DH bikes, there are few solid options for carrying your bikes. The Thule T2 hitch rack works with ANY frame and will carry any bike up to 60 lbs.
I found the T2 easy to install and even easier to use. The offset nature of the design prevents bikes from clanging into each other and keeps them from interfering with each other on the rack. The Thule Sportworks T2 rack is by far the best hitch mount bike rack on the market today.