Thule T2 Pro FinFin-2

We have anxiously awaited to see what Thule has had up their sleeves regarding the redesign on their iconic (and long in the tooth) T2 hitch rack. On the outside it looks great and has some welcome additions, but when a company commits to a re-do of their “adopted” iconic flagship model, they’d better do it right.

Can the T2 Pro hold its own and live up to the reputation of its ancestor?

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-1

Having been around since 1942, Thule was a pretty well established brand mainly known for their roof racks and cargo boxes until the mid 2000’s. While big in Europe, (they’re based in Sweden), in the US, they had a much smaller presence than the U.S. based Yakima who could mount about anything, anywhere on a vehicle. To compete and increase their branding, Thule needed to greatly expand their lineup. Sportworks, a successful yet still niche brand at the time was purchased in 2005 by Thule, and at the top of their line-up was the T2 hitch rack. The Thule T2 has been tested more than any other hitch rack on the market, and aside from a few minor updates, (because of 29ers & fat bikes, and locks were eventually added), the T2 has remained practically the same for more than 10 years.

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-3 Thule T2 Pro FinFin-4

The most noticeable feature of Thule’s T2 Pro are the wheel trays and holders. Obviously built to accept fat bikes, the channels within the wheel tray are shaped so that everything down to a road bike tire will fit snug and securely. The tensioning strap, though functionally similar to the previous version, is beefed up for a secure, long lasting hold.

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-8

The redesigned “SecureHook” is wider with a stiffer and more secure mechanism. They use the same basic “Snug Tight” lock that hides within the arm when not in use. The cable wraps around the frame and locks to itself, which is really just a deterrent while grabbing a coffee. Even the folks at Thule say if a bike is going to be left unattended for any amount of time, invest in a good chain lock that can be looped through the frame & both wheels and secured to the provided open space on the hitch’s main body.

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-6

One of, if not the BEST feature of the T2 Pro is the re-positioned lever for folding the rack up or down. Despite being much more robust, the T2 Pro actually weighs the same as the current T2, but folding it up with the handle release lever located further out felt twice as easy. This also makes tilting the rack down with bikes on it to access the tailgate much MUCH easier since you don’t have to reach through a bunch of dirty bikes to engage the release lever. What makes it even better is that the handle mechanism simply detaches to add a 2-bike extension and reattaches to the extension, functioning just the same. This is a big improvement as when the standard T2 is fitted with an extension, it is virtually impossible for one person to reach the lever while folding the rack up and especially down with bikes on it.

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-7

Another improvement is the tool-free “AutoAttach” hitch interface with a built in lock making swapping the rack between vehicles much easier.

Thule T2 Pro FinFin-5

Thule extended the rack’s distance from the vehicle by 40% to help clear rear mounted spare tires and increased ground clearance by a whopping 35% over the standard T2. Jeep Wrangler owners rejoice! The bike trays also sit an additional inch further apart from each other so there is less of a chance of the bikes interfering with each other. So, yes, it will stick out a good bit further than before. The rack will fit anything from 20 to 29 inch wheels.

According to Thule’s Communications Manager, Chris Ritchie, the rack is assembled in the US and features parts made in the USA and abroad. The mast, spar of the clamping arms and folding hitch portion (aka the large, heavy items that take a lot to ship) are all made in the USA.

The T2 Pro will retail for $549, plus $399 for the 2 bike extension and be available in February 2016. For those that want a great bang for the buck hitch mounted tray rack, Thule will still be selling the now “Classic T2” for a reduced $399.

Thule.com

21 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t worry, you’ll get tired of that POS soon anyway and move on to the best racks out there: 1-Up. They didn’t do anything to fix the problems with the old design, so why the increase in price?

  2. The only rack you will need is a 1-up. I have had their 1st version for 15 year, and it is still good as new. Made in USA and cant be beat.

  3. Yeah I second that, get a refund and purchase the 1up rack. There is no plastics on the rack that will break down over time. I question the price but it’s an investment in the sense I don’t need to buy another rack probably ever again.

  4. I’m on my 2nd T2, as the first was replaced when the regional rep happened to notice my first was rusting. The 2nd is rusting as well, and the wheel arm ratchet is no longer very secure. Several friends have the Kuat racks, and they work very well for a similar price as the T2.
    Is the new T2 still steel? Original T2 was also a PIA to fold up/down, as the release is very sticky.
    I generally like Thule products, but the T2 has been a real letdown. Doubt I’d be willing to take a chance on any update that was still steel.

  5. The original Sportworks is still better. Good thing One-up exists so I’m not stuck with the flimsy options from the big brands. Just that fact that I can leave it folded in 1 bike mode & still open my hatch is a revelation.

  6. There’s little debate in my mind that the 1 Up is a superior rack and the old T2 is clunky and outdated. I owned a T2 and although it did a solid job I tired of its clumsiness in folding, sold it, and went with the Yakima Hold-Up. After 2 years and multiple trips I’m still happy with it, solid rack. I don’t see anything in the updated T2 to make me believe it’s a significant improvement over the old. I’ve traveled with a friend who has a 1 Up and it’s easily the best I’ve see. With that said, the Yakima is a close second. Updated Thule? A distant third.

  7. Saris Superclamp 4 is a solid 4- bike rack, light weight and can handle my 29er, my wifes 26er, and 2 24″ kids bikes. Super easy, made in USA as well.

    One up I am sure is the best, but you gotta PAY to play….

  8. Made in USA 1-UP is hands down, best rack I’ve ever owned and it is the only rack I will ever own. There is no competition, and price is absolutely worth it.

  9. 1up has its own issues with aluminum fatigue life and overall resilience in the event of a fender bender. If you have owned a 1up for more than a couple years without issue, its because you are likely very easy/light on the product. Make no mistake, 1Up offers a product that is pretty to look at for an engineer, but it doesnt solve as many problems as its owners would lead you to believe. Most 1Up owners are too proud of the money they spent to admit they arent that much better at getting your bike where it needs to be. My old thule T2 was heavy, kinda ugly and clunky but lasted a very long time while remaining tight. My current yakima hold up just had its trays warrantied after 1 year of use. I am excited to get the updated T2. I am very abusive to bicycle racks. I work at a shop, carry a ton of bikes on a daily basis, and use the racks off road. You wont see me using a 1up under those circumstances.

  10. Thule!! Made in the U.S.A. Lifetime warranty!!! Why was your money on 1-up?? Oh yea so you can boast on Bike Rumor that you over paid for a rack.

  11. I’m wondering if the T2-Pro will do a better job of not banging up against brake calipers on road bikes. That was the main reason for me considering a Saris instead

  12. My justification is I own and use a T2. I’d guess about 5 seasons of year round living on the ass end of a car through typical salty Northeast winters, it’s been hit by a bus, and multiple times in parking lots. Has always worked well, can’t see the need to spend $200 more on an already expensive sport accessory

  13. I sell the T2’s and I hate them. I ALWAYS try to steer customers to the vastly superior Kuat NV. Not only that, I’ve had one hanging out on the back of my car for 3 or 4 years now and it’s been through all kinds of weather, mud, whatever, and been absolutely flawless. I’ve used a LOT of racks over the years and I always come back to that NV.

    ALL THAT SAID, I am incredibly intrigued by what 1-up is doing. I love a lot of what they have to offer and have a few customers that have gone that route and been plenty happy. There’s a few reasons that I still like my Kuat better but I gotta hand it to them, they make a very compelling product.

  14. I can’t say enough good things about my 1-Up rear hitch rack. Solid aluminum without a bunch of plastic and rubber and it’s made in the USA. Compared to this new Thule, it’s cheaper too. To each his own and I choose to own 1-Up!

  15. these hitch racks are all different yet the same….US built, US assembled, fold down fold up, ratchet this ratchet that, fits this tire size and more……i continue to wait for the one company that has been able to figure out a “bombproof” type of locking system….Kuat has their cables integrated into the rack but, for me at least, seem just a wee bit short for two bikes/ intertwining between wheels and frames…Thule has their cable locking etc……….all these companies have it dialed to transport bikes safely and easily……but all continue to “swing and miss” when it comes to the locking security…….Rack/Bike Transport makers please address this continue lacking security issue…Please and Thank you!!

  16. Coming late to this parade, but..

    I’ve owned two T2’s over the past decade, one on my car, one on my wife’s. When I’ve made the mistake of letting one stay on my car through any part of a Cleveland winter, the salt just destroyed it. I’ve replaced parts as needed…the wheel hooks both rotted through and snapped on my last one, the rivets on the rear wheel straps rusted and broke, now the horizontal crossbars are rotting at the ends. Now it’s basically so rusty, I’m concerned about the integrity of the metal. The Kuat gets good reviews for its finish, so I’m wondering if it would do better with winter salt? When people say their rack has survived through “all types of weather, rain, mud, etc”, I wonder if they’re including winter and road salt in their statement. I would consider surviving rain to be a bare MINIMUM requirement for something that’s mounted on the outside of your car…but road salt is an altogether different animal.

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