Thule T2 Classic Review: Your Bike’s New Best Friend

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In this article, we’ll review the Thule T2 Classic bike rack in-depth. It’s a platform-style rack with many valuable features that will make any avid cyclist’s day.

It also has a subtle user-friendly design that makes carrying bikes less of a chore.

Mind you, this one is a bit pricey (well, not that pricey) like all the premium platform-styled bike racks out there. Therefore, our goal is to find out if this one is worth the price tag it comes with.

Also, I’ll present you with alternatives later, given that this one fails to meet your standards. 

With that said, let’s put on the Sherlock hat and place this product under an electron microscope. Fair warning, this will be a long read, for we’re gonna take this bike rack apart molecule by molecule.

Quick Review of Thule T2 Classic if You’re in a Hurry!

Thule T2 Classic Review

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This thing is a classic. The T2 has been in the market for more than ten years, and it still rocks every aspect of an ideal platform-style bike rack.

Build-wise, it’s solid as a rock. T2 has a solid all-aluminum construction with a black powder coat finish. The rack is strong, rugged, and made to be in service for a long time.

Since it’s made of aluminum the rack should be lightweight, right? But the Thule T2 Classic still weighs about 50 pounds. Well, I leave this matter in your hands to pass judgment on this one.

Moving on, the weight capacity of T2 is exemplary. This rack can haul up to 120 pounds of weight which is quite impressive.

Is this rack versatile? Yes, absolutely. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be in the market this long. No matter what kind of bike you have, from step-over to step-through ones, it will carry them.

The only exception is the bikes with front fenders. Thule doesn’t support this kind of bike since it has a clamp-arm mechanism that holds onto the bike’s front tire.

As for the ease of use, Thule T2 Classic “Does” stir up some debates. However, the loading height is significantly lower, and it doesn’t take more than 10 seconds to load a bike on this thing. Also, you can install the rack on your vehicle within 5 minutes.

The only issue that might irritate you is the lever that activates the tilt mechanism. The gray lever is placed in the middle of the backbone of the rack.

With one bike loaded, you can pull this with no problem. But if you have two bikes loaded onto this thing or, with an extension, 4 bikes…well, good luck on reaching the lever by yourself. Well, all great things have their faults. Even Aristotle was fundamentally wrong about the idea of gravity!

Anyway, apart from those main two cons, Thule T2 Classic Pro is a fantastic platform rack…so much so that it puts many modern racks with lots of bells and whistles into shame.

Finally, don’t worry about tire sizes. This one can house bikes having 20 to 29-inch wheels. And as for the tire width, you can carry anything from racing bikes with narrow tires to mountain bikes with fat tires.

Let’s Jump into the Detailed Review, Shall We?

Thule T2 Classic Review

If you’re more curious about this product, you may want to read on because now, we’ll go deep into this product. And in the due process, we’ll discuss things with a little freedom rather than listing feature after feature.

So, without further ado, let’s start from the ground up, which in this case is the build.

Aluminum Build: Made to Go the Distance

Regarding durability, T2 Classic Pro knocks it out of the park. This platform rack will be there for a long time if you use this properly. By that, I mean if you don’t exceed the weight capacity limit from time to time. Durability is certainly not an issue with this product.

As for the build, Thule went with aluminum on this one. Their goal was to make the rack sturdy and lightweight simultaneously. I don’t know whether you’ll agree with the latter statement, but I’m pretty sure you’ll like how sturdy the whole structure is.

Thule made every single part of this bike rack, from the threaded hitch bolt to the tire straps of this thing, with care. The stinger and the primary backbone are pretty strong.

The horizontal arms ( highly adjustable) upon which your precious bikes will rest are also pretty heavy. So, when you’re cruising along the pacific at 100 km/h, your bike will be steady as a rock on the rack.

The clamp arms, ratchet straps, locking pin, and even the wheel trays are made nicely. Apart from the whole ruggedness thing, this rack wears a subtle, classy look. And thanks to the black powder coat finish, the rack is prepared to withstand abusive weather conditions.

A Bit on the Heavier Side (50 pounds) but can Carry up to 120 Pounds

Now, how much does it weigh? The Thule T2 Classic Pro, despite its aluminum body, seems to weigh a bit more than other modern bike racks (Sherpa 2.0, RockyMounts Monorail, etc.).

The body weighs 50 pounds, and honestly, I don’t think it will be a big issue. You can lift it quite easily all by yourself.

You can also think of it this way: the heavier a bike rack is, the more stable it will be when you’re on the road. And again, you should have zero difficulties handling this much weight while maneuvering the rack around your vehicle.

Let’s talk about how much weight it can carry with that out of the way. As a matter of fact, Thule T2 Classic Pro has an impressive carrying capacity of 120 pounds. Keep in mind you can carry up to two bikes with this rack. So, that means 60 pounds per bike.

This weight capacity will let you carry anything from a road bike to a monstrous mountain bike without putting any strain on the bike rack. A word of advice, always calculate the weight of your bike before purchasing a bike rack.

The bottom line is Thule T2 Classic Pro is moderately heavy but with good cause. And it can carry serious weights without any hiccups thanks to its sturdy build.

5-Minutes Installation Makes Things A Breeze!

If you are a bit anxious about the weight of this rack, then this segment will surely bring a smile to your face. Installing the Thule T2 Classic is simple. And everything you’ll need to install comes with the package. So, here’s how you do it:

Hold the rack in a way that the stinger is parallel to the ground. In that way, you can support the rack with your thighs and knees. Hold the rack by the arm and lift it with your knees to bring it to a vertical position. Then, guide the rack using your thighs and carefully drop the stinger down onto the ledge.

Now, use the ¾-inch threaded bolt that comes with the package to secure the rack to the hitch of your car. The bolt also has a lock washer and a flat washer.

Remember to put them on in this particular order: first, the lock washer and then the flat washer). The whole thing reduces wobble and firmly secures the rack to your vehicle.

After you’ve placed the bolt into the hole, use the wrench that comes with the package. You can also use your own. Tighten the bolt properly and put on the lock at the end of the hitch bolt. Finish the installation process by turning the key and closing the dust cover.

People Can Load Bikes in Less than 10 Seconds

Loading bikes on a platform-style bike rack has never been easier. Thule T2 Classic Pro has a low loading height, making the job much easier. Unlike other bike racks, you won’t find yourself in an awkward position or hurt your back while loading your bikes.

It’s quite simple and easy and doesn’t take more than 10 seconds to do so. Just simply grab your bike’s main frame and lift it. Place the bike’s front wheel on the front wheel tray and the back wheel on the back tray.

Don’t let go of the bike yet. Pull the clamp arm all the way up to a position where it’s closest to the circumference of the wheel and push it down on the front tire.

You can be a little mean with this process to ensure the clamp adjusts firmly to the wheel. After that, concentrate on the rear wheel and lock it using the adjustable ratchet strap.

Thule T2 Classic Bike Rack is Versatile and Capable

Thule T2 Classic is one of the most versatile platform-style racks out there. No matter what kind of bike you have, this rack will carry it with ease. It doesn’t discriminate between bike frames or sizes. Since it has a front clamp arm mechanism, it will house bikes regardless of the frame design.

It doesn’t come into contact with the bike’s frame at all. So, whether you have a step-over bike, step-through bike, racing bike, E-bike, or mountain bike, Thule T2 Classic will carry it. Therefore, you won’t lose any sleep over the compatibility issue again.

There’s one exception, though. If you have a bike with a front fender, you can’t use this. In this case, you can seek refuge in Thule EasyFold XT, Hollywood Racks Sport Rider SE2, or KAC K2 Overdrive Sport. You can either go with any of these or use them as your navigation tool to find the one that suits your needs.

Returning to the Thule T2 Classic, let’s talk about this rack’s wheel size and tire width accommodation. And yet again, it doesn’t disappoint. It can house bikes anywhere as low as a 20-inch wheel size and all the way up to a 29-inch wheel size.

So, this gives you the ability to carry anything from a kid bike to a large mountain or E-bike. And as for the tire width, it supports the majority of the bikes on the market. Do you have a racing bike that has a 20mm tire width? Don’t worry because the wheel tray of Thule T2 Classic has a thin trough just for that.

On the other hand, if you have a, let’s say, one of those massive mountain bikes having 5-inch wide tires, it will house them as well. This range portrays how powerful this bike rack is when it comes to being versatile.

Not to mention, this one works perfectly with a 2-inch hitch receiver. It also has a model that’s compatible with a ¼-inch hitch receiver as well. However, with the latter, you can’t use the add-on if you want to carry two more extra bikes.

That’s only available for 2-inch models. And the option for using an adapter is absent in this one. Given this model’s age, I think you can easily let this slide.

Thule T2 Classic Rack is Highly Adjustable

Thule T2 Classic gives its user a lot of flexibility when it comes to adjusting the rack to better accommodate your bikes. And I’m not talking about the clamp arm mechanism or wheel tray adjustments. These are the standard features of most bike racks.

What separates this from the rest is that you can adjust the arms of the rack to offset your bikes so that they don’t touch each other. If you look closely, you’ll see three white lines on the arms of the rack. They indicate how much you can move the arm.

The good thing is you can move them both sideways and back and forth. There aren’t many racks that allow you to do that. This single feature alone makes Thule T2 Classic more versatile than any other bike rack on the market.

It Can be Tilted but not without Some Difficulty

This might be the only major downside of this rack. Yes, you can tilt it and access the back of the vehicle. However, the gray lever that helps you tilt it is placed in the middle of the rack.

With one bike loaded on the rack, it is pretty easy to work that lever. On the other hand, with two bikes on the rack, reaching that lever can be a bit tricky.

If you can make your peace with this kind of scenario, then fine. But honestly speaking, the placement of the switch makes tilting the rack unnecessarily annoying.

Anti-Theft Features are ‘Okay’

Even though it has some quality locks to protect your bikes and the rack, I would still recommend you have some extra protection. And this goes true for any kind of bike rack. Anyway, let’s focus on what this rack has as means of security.

Starting with the locking hitch pin, you can easily set it up while installing the rack onto your vehicle. After you push the threaded bolt through the hole in the hitch, you can use the lock to secure it.

The key that locks also works for the cable lock that comes with the package. Thule does provide two keys and a blank key for future convenience.

There are also two separate cables that you can use to secure both of your bikes. They are cleverly tucked away in both clamp arms of the rack.

 I wish I could. These are high-quality cables, but sadly enough, Thule did seem to slack off on this one. They would keep away amateur troublemakers, yes. But against professionals, these cables don’t stand a chance.

Thule T2 Classic Alternatives that are Worth a Look

Here I’ll present you with some options that don’t have the downsides that are pretty apparent in the Thule T2 Classic. I mean, there are lots of bike racks that are better than this. So here’s a handful of decent alternative bike racks that you can take a look at.

Thule PRO XTR

One of the most significant issues with the Thule T2 Classic is that it’s quite heavy and a bit difficult to maneuver. To some users, this might not even be an issue. But if you have a beef with this, let me introduce another Thule Product, the Pro XTR model.

It has the same weight as the T2 Classic, but there’re two little plastic wheels under the main frame that lets you move this around with a lot of ease. It has the same weight capacity and build quality as the T2 Classic. And you can use the add-on to carry 4 bikes as well.

In addition, you don’t need any tools (wrench per se), unlike Thule T2 Classic, to install this. Remember the odd placement of the tilt release lever of the T2 Classic?

Well, in the XTR model, this is not an issue. The remote tilt switch is at the end of the backbone. Thus you can tilt the rack without any problem whatsoever.

RockyMounts Monorail

Moving on, you can also consider Rockymounts Monorail bike rack as an alternative to Thule T2 Classic. This is cheaper, lighter, easy to use, and has the same weight capacity as the T2. Unlike the former, it has all-steel construction. Despite that, it still weighs significantly less than the T2(39 pounds).

In terms of versatility, this one supports a wide range of bikes, from standard to massive mountain bikes, so there is no problem there. However, this one does have the upper hand when it comes to hitch compatibility. Thule T2 Classic doesn’t have the option to use an adapter.

RockyMounts Monorail, on the other hand, is much more flexible in this matter. You can use this rack with both a 1.25 and 2-inch hitch receiver. And regardless of the hitch size, you can use the extra add-on that lets you carry one more extra bike.

And as for adjustability, Monorail also has the upper hand over the Thule T2 Classic here. I mean, the tilt-release handle is much easier to work with, it has a low-loading height, and the rear wheel trays automatically adjust to your bike’s tire. You don’t have to actively adjust it while loading your bikes.

For Bikes With Front Fenders

So far, the possible alternatives that I mentioned aren’t compatible with bikes having front fenders. In case you have one, here are a few bike racks made especially for that purpose. What are they? Let’s take a look…

The first one is the EasyFold XT. This is also from Thule and is one of the best bike racks that you can use for carrying your bikes. It can carry two bikes, has a compact design, can be tilted, and is very easy to install and use.

The main body is made from aluminum, and still, it weighs a solid 45 pounds. So…yes, the rack is pretty rugged. It has more carrying capacity than all the racks discussed above…a staggering 130 pounds! That means you can also transport heavier E-bikes with this bike rack without any issues.

EasyFold XT, just like RockyMounts Monorail also compatible with both 1.5 and 2-inch hitch receivers, and it doesn’t require any tools to install it. And as for the fenders of your bike, don’t worry. This one uses the power-grip mount option. So, no contact with the bike’s frame or the fenders whatsoever.

Let me give you one example that follows the exact power-grip mechanism: The Sport Rider SE2. It’s a bit heavy but does the job nicely. It is more versatile and perfect for carrying E-bikes. It has a solid build, compact design, good security features, and an excellent anti-wobble system.

Okay… so those are the alternatives that you can definitely take a look at. They all have their strength and weaknesses. There are still a lot of bike racks out there on the market better than these.

But the products that I have mentioned are certainly worth checking. You can if you want to go with any of them as long as it fits your standards.

You may also read: Saris SuperClamp EX 2 Review

Drawing the Curtains on Thule T2 Classic Review

For any avid cyclist, Thule is a comforting brand. It never disappoints its customers and has a pretty strong lineup of good bike racks. And Thule T2 Classic definitely has a seat in that lineup.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this one still dominates the market even though it came into existence a long time ago. So, that says a lot about the timelessness of the product. Apart from the two significant factors: weight and the tilt release handle, you can’t find any significant flaw. It has good construction, the design is okay, it can carry some serious weights, and, most importantly, this is an achingly versatile bike rack. It will literally house any bikes you may have, from racing bikes, kid’s bikes, step-through bikes, mountain bikes to even E-bikes!

Jeff Phillips Racktutor
About the author

Jeff Phillips is the able founder of RackTutor.com. In his professional life, he has been offering Paintless Dent Repair and Hail Repair services in North Texas since 1990. He is the owner of DentMasters. He is still passionate about outdoor adventures with his family, bikes and cars. So he has first-hand experience on bike racks. He is regularly testing suitable racks for his upcoming trip. His aim is to create a user-friendly free website where bikers can easily read bike rack informations without any hassle.

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