Thule has always been preferred by the masses because of their innovative designs. Almost all their racks and accessories are of excellent quality and sure to offer a smooth experience to their users.
The same goes for the Thule Easy XT 2. It’s one of the most compact and convenient racks of all time. The carrier is one of a kind, and you’ll know it only after getting a taste.
However, is it worth the money? I ask this question because the rack is quite expensive. So, if you want to know if the carrier is worth the purchase, then take a good look at the Thule EasyFold XT 2 review.
It should make things clear for you to decide whether you should get the rack or not.
Breaking Down the Thule EasyFold XT 2
I shared my experience of using the Thule Easy Fold XT 2 down below. Take a look to learn the capabilities and limitations of the rack. It should help you decide whether the carrier is suitable for your requirements or not.
Build and Design
Okay, design-wise, the Thule EasyFold XT 2 is in the league of the best; however, if you compare its durability to other top-tier hitch racks, then there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.
Let me backup my bold statement with actual facts. First of all, the EasyFold XT 2 comes with a silver and black finish. Some of the parts feature aluminum, which is known to be strong and durable, but some parts are made up of plastic, and everyone knows that plastic materials are more prone to damage.
Honestly, I was a little concerned about the plastic parts, but who wouldn’t be? I was worried they may break or wear off in a matter of months, but soon I came to realize that it won’t matter if you have experience using bike racks. However, if you have never used a carrier before, then it may become an issue.
In any case, these plastic parts are located in only some non-crucial places on the rack. So, even if you’re a new user, but you are careful enough, then it shouldn’t put you in a difficult situation.
I was fascinated with the overall design of the carrier from the very first look. It’s a platform-style hitch rack with a loading ramp, plus it was able to fold up like a compact briefcase. So, you can guess why I was into the design of the rack.
Hold on a second; that’s not all there is to the carrier. The rack weighs around 45 pounds, which most people and I would consider quite light. But if you think 45lbs is a lot to move around, then worry not because there is a wheel at the bottom of the carrier. Hence, if you don’t feel like lifting the rack, you can easily drag it around with the help of the wheel.
As you can see, the EasyFold XT 2 isn’t a traditional hitch rack. It comes with some extraordinary features which make it more user-friendly and convenient for everyday usage.
Bike Quantity and Maximum Weight Capacity
Take a look at the name of the rack— ‘Thule EasyFold XT 2’; the ‘2’ stands for two bikes. It means the EasyFold XT 2 is able to carry two bicycles and not more. There are no adapters or anything that can allow the carrier to accommodate more than two bikes, so make sure you’re planning to take no more than two bikes before buying the rack.
It was never Thule’s intention to enable the EasyFold XT 2 to carry more than two bicycles. The rack was built to haul the heaviest of bikes, not the largest number of cycles.
The EasyFold XT 2 has a maximum weight capacity of 130lbs, meaning 65lbs for each bike. It is more than the average weight of an e-bike. There are only a few e-bikes that are heavier than the given capacity of the rack.
In order to test the strength and the limits of the carrier, I mounted my heaviest bicycles on the rack, not once but a couple of times. Most of the time, I wasn’t even worried about the weight of my bikes, but one time I took it a little too far and hauled the Lectric XP 2.0 (65lbs) and Aventon Level 2 (59.9lbs) on the rack.
Both of these e-bikes are pretty expensive and very heavy, so naturally, I was concerned if the carrier had what it took to keep my bicycles secured. I kept the former closest to my vehicle because it weighed more and the latter on the second platform. You should also do the same when you’re mounting bicycles on any rack and not just the Thule EasyFold XT 2.
In any case, I was worrying for nothing because the rack held them like it was a Sunday evening walk. I could feel the weight while driving, but it didn’t cause any nuisance.
Once I was confident enough, I even took the e-bikes with me for a long 1200-mile drive. I did stop at some points to readjust the straps and check the hitch, but other than that, it was a pretty smooth experience.
The Thule EF comes with two clamp arms instead of ratcheting hooks to secure bicycles. Now, some of my friends didn’t like the new system, but I most certainly enjoyed the rubberized jaws. One of the clamps is a little shorter than the other. The shorter one is for the bicycle closest to the vehicle, and the longer arm is for the outer bike.
Additionally, you’ll notice a total of four straps for wheels on the platforms to ensure the safety of the bikes further. You can carry a wide range of bicycles using the rack, but the max wheelbase shouldn’t be more than 29-inches, and the tires can’t be wider than 3-inches.
If you do want to haul a bike with a larger wheelbase and fatter tires up to 4.7-inches wide, then you’ll need to purchase the XXL strap kit. It doesn’t cost much, but the manufacturers could’ve easily included it with the carrier. It’s a little annoying that I had to purchase a strap kit separately just to accommodate my fat tire electric bicycles.
In any case, I started the compatibility test with two mountain bikes, the Yeti SB130 and the REI Electra Cruiser. I was able to mount them easily because they had a wheelbase of 29-inches or less, and the tires were also thin. So, the first test went smoothly.
The Thule EF XT 2 is famous for accommodating heavy e-bikes, but most electric bicycles come with a fat tire. While mounting the Lectric XP 2.0, I had a pretty rough time. The tires were 3-inches wide, so the straps were able to hold it inside barely.
So, I got the XXL strap kit, and things got much easier. A piece of advice— unless you buy the strap kit, you shouldn’t try hauling fat tire bikes on the rack. The clamps do a pretty good job of keeping the bicycles secured, but you must use the straps if you’re going on long trips.
One more thing— the trays aren’t as thick as they should be, so you’ll need to go through some adjustments before mounting your thick-tire bikes on the carrier. You may find it a little tricky at first, but after a few tries, it will feel like a simple everyday chore.
Hitch Attachment and Mounting Ramp
With the Thule EasyFold XT 2, you don’t need to choose between 1.25-inches or 2-inches hitch bars because it has both. The rack comes with a gray removable sleeve on the hitch area which allows it to support 1.25 or 2-inch receivers.
The sleeve is the key to change. When it is on, you can use the rack for 2-inch receiver bars, and when it’s removed, the overall dimension of the hitch changes to 1.25-inches. Removing the sleeve is very easy, and all you will need is an Allen wrench.
There is an auto-locking pin and tightening knob, which secures and stops the rack from wobbling, respectively. The installation process is also a piece of cake but I will get into it later.
Nonetheless, you’ll need a hitch receiver to install the carrier to your vehicle. So, if you don’t have one, make sure you get it before purchasing the rack.
As for the mounting ramp, you won’t find it unless you take a closer look at the carrier. It remains in the cargo space right beside the hitch. The loading ramp makes it easier to haul heavy bicycles on the trays. How do you think I mounted my 60lbs e-bikes without breaking a sweat? Well, now you know the secret.
Unlike other standard racks, the EasyFold XT 2 doesn’t come with locking cables to keep your bicycles safe from thieves; instead, it features clamp arms with locks to do the same job.
I prefer the rubberized jaws over locking cables because they aren’t as easy to break or cut as the former. Anyone with some simple tools can easily cut through locking cables, but they won’t be able to break the clamps without making some noise or going through quite a bit of trouble.
The clamp arms attach to the frame of a bicycle, so as you can guess, it will keep your bike safe but may scratch or ruin the paint of your bicycle. Therefore, it’s best if you use the Carbon Frame Protector adapters before snapping the jaws on your bikes.
You will need to buy them separately, and I know how annoying it is to purchase accessories after spending so much on a rack, but it is quite affordable.
There is also a hitch lock which prevents anyone from removing the rack without your permission. The clamp arms and the hitch lock use the same key, making it easier to keep track.
Usually, when I’m using racks with locking cables, I always remain alert, and it puts a lot of stress on my mind. However, with the Thule EasyFold XT 2, I never had to look back or worry about my bicycles being stolen from the rack.
It’s time to introduce the feature which is very dear to most, especially to people who like to access the cargo or trunk without having to remove their bicycles from the rack. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s the ability to tilt downwards.
Almost all of us keep something in the cargo space behind our vehicles, especially if we are going on long drives or trips. So, every rack should or must have the feature to tilt or swing away.
The Thule EasyFold XT 2 can also do the same with the press of a lever. You will see a gray lever at the very end of the rack, and once you push it, you should be able to tilt the carrier downwards. It’s effortless, and you can do it even when the rack is fully loaded.
Compact and Portable
The best thing about the Thule EF hitch rack is that it is unbelievably compact and portable. Even when the carrier is unfolded, the dimension is 48.4 x 25 x 26.7-inches, which is not a lot considering how much weight it can carry.
When you fold the rack, the overall dimension changes to 31 x 12 x 26-inches. It becomes as compact as a small briefcase. Furthermore, there is a wheel at the bottom to make things even more convenient.
With the ability to fold and the integrated wheel, storing or moving the carrier from one place to another becomes a breeze.
I used to keep the rack in the trunk of my car whenever I wasn’t using it. Unless the cargo space of your vehicle isn’t too small, you also shouldn’t have any issues storing it at the back.
How to Install and Mount Bikes on the Thule EasyFold XT 2
Installing the Rack
Tools Required: Included Allen Wrench (only if you need to remove the adapter from the hitch)
If you have a 2-inch hitch receiver installed on your vehicle, then you won’t need any tools to attach the Thule EasyFold XT 2. It comes fully assembled right out of the box, unlike most standard carriers, and I found it to be highly convenient.
So, the installation process is pretty basic. First, you’ll need to pull down the shank until you hear a click. If you can listen to it, then it means the shank is in place and won’t move or wobble. Now, insert the hitch into the receiver but make sure to open the automatic pin before doing so. The pin is usually on the opposite of the driver’s side.
When you have the receiver hole aligned with the hitch hole, push down the automatic pin to lock the rack in place. Now, you will still notice some wobbling or play on the carrier, and in order to stop it completely, you’ll need to tighten the anti-wobble knob.
Once you’re done tightening it, lock the knob using the included key. It should prevent thieves from easily removing the carrier from your car.
Mounting Bikes on the Rack
Now, it’s time to learn how to mount bikes on the Thule EasyFold XT 2. Again, it’s a piece of cake because of the mounting ramp, but let’s not jump the gun.
So, the first thing you’ll need to do is unfold the platform from both sides. Once it is unfolded, you’ll need to place your bikes on the trays. You can either do it by lifting the bicycles or by using the mounting ramp. Go with the latter because why would you haul a 50-60lbs bike?
You’ll find the mounting ramp in the cargo space situated near the vehicle’s end. Unfold the ramp and attach it to the notch at the side of the rack. You’ll see two notches at the sides, one for each tray. Once you plug the ramp in, you can easily drag your bicycles on the carrier.
After placing the bicycles on the platform, you will need to adjust the clamp arms and use them to secure your bikes. Use the included key to lock the rubberized jaws and make sure nobody can easily steal your bicycles.
Use the straps at the bottom to secure the wheels and you’re done. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to install and mount bicycles on the Thule EasyFold XT 2.
Who is it for/Not for?
- Someone who needs to carry more than one bicycle
- People who prefer a compact portable bike rack
- Someone who doesn’t have a lot of cargo space to store a big carrier
- People who lack the upper body strength to lift their bicycles on the rack or just don’t want to
- Anyone looking to travel with heavy electric bikes
- Someone who needs to carry more than two bikes
- People who are on a tight budget
Comparing the Thule EasyFold XT 2 with OnRamp 2
I decided to compare the EasyFold XT 2 with a similar rack known as the OnRamp 2. Both of these bikes come from reputed brands Thule and Yakima, respectively. I believe it should help you understand the overall value of the EasyFold XT 2 when it’s compared with similar top-tier carriers.
Weight and Capacity
There is actually almost no difference in terms of weight and capacity between the two carriers. The EF XT 2 and the OnRamp 2 weigh nearly the same, the former slightly less than the latter.
Both racks can carry up to two bicycles, but the OnRamp has a maximum weight capacity of 66lbs for each bike (only 1lbs more than the EasyFold). As you can see, the difference is negligible.
In Terms of Design
The EF XT and the OnRamp differ a lot when we talk about their overall design. It’s true that both racks use clamps to secure bicycles, but the position of the center bar is in different places.
On the EF XT 2, the bar where the clamps are attached is situated near the hitch. However, on the Yakima OnRamp 2, the center bar is in the middle of the trays. The latter has some design advantages because of the position of the bar. It allows users to secure bicycles with minimum effort.
This one is a little tricky. I liked both ramps on both carriers even though they are pretty different from each other. The ramp on the Thule EasyFold can be folded into three sections but it has plastic parts. So, the ramp is more compact but could be more durable.
On the other hand, the one on the Yakima OnRamp can’t be folded, so it consumes a lot of space. However, it’s one solid steel piece; hence, it is incredibly durable and can take heavy loads.
If you ask me to choose, then I will lean a little towards the ramp of EasyFold, as it is unbelievably compact yet durable enough to handle most heavy-duty tasks.
Ease of Use
The round goes to Thule EasyFold without a doubt. After comparing both carriers, I figured out that the XT 2 is more portable, compact, and easy to use when compared to the Yakima OnRamp 2.
Tilting the EasyFold is a one-man job whereas it may take you two people to tilt the OnRamp when fully loaded. So, The OnRamp is a little tricky to maneuver, and it will take you some time to figure out the ins and outs of the rack.
Everybody knows that Yakima focuses on affordability while maintaining decent quality. Thule, on the other hand, focuses on quality and not at all on affordability.
So, you can guess which among the EasyFold XT 2 and OnRamp 2 will be more affordable. Yes, both racks are pretty expensive, but the OnRamp 2 is a little cheaper than the XT 2. In terms of price, the Yakima OnRamp 2 wins this round.
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Time to Close the Curtains
As you can see, the Thule EasyFold XT 2 comes with a ton of features to make carrying heavy electric bikes a cakewalk. I admit it’s not the most affordable bicycle out there; in fact, it is not affordable at all, but the unique aspects of the rack certainly make up for the price.
In my Thule EasyFold XT 2 review, I talked about everything you need to know to decide whether the rack is a good choice or not. Still, if you want my advice, then I would say— if you have the budget, then the carrier is an excellent choice, but if you don’t, then you should look into other more affordable options. Good Luck!