As a nature-lover and adventure junky, it goes without saying that I love to carry my bicycle on long trips, especially road trips and camps. These are my fix for adventure cravings.
I had to search for a way or two to carry my bikes. Eventually, I found bike racks. They gave me a permanent solution when it securely came to towing bikes. You’ll find these in several types for those who don’t know.
Now, every kind has pros and cons – at least, that is what my research tells me. Still, I eventually caught myself checking out the platform style simply because it is easier to use.
I love to exercise, but I would like it to begin after I start my bike, not when I start mounting it to my car.
That being said, opting for the platform rack brought me to two of the most coveted models in use at the moment – the YAKIMA HoldUp Hitch Mount Tray Bike Rack, and the Thule T2 Classic Hitch Mount Bike Carrier.
The catch is that they are both fantastic at their jobs but have slight differences that cater to different users. So, after much research and testing, I decided to write this comparison piece on Yakima Holdup vs. Thule T2.
I will certainly clarify those little question marks other bikers might have.
Yakima HoldUp vs Thule T2: Quick Comparison Table
|Yakima HoldUp||Thule T2 Classic|
|Type||Platform Rack||Platform Rack|
|Load Capacity||120 lbs||120 lbs|
|Expandable||Yes, to 4 bikes||Yes, to 4 bikes|
|Item Weight||49 lbs||40 lbs|
|Hitch Sizes||1.25” or 2”||1.25” or 2”|
|Item Weight||44 lbs||39 lbs|
|Max Tire Width||up to 3”||up to 5”|
|Wheel Size||20” to 29”||20” to 29”|
|Receiver Lock||SKS Locks included||SnugTite Lock included|
|Price||Buy From Amazon||Buy From Amazon|
The Bike Rack Experience
Before we dive into which rack gets awarded winner, a little overview of both the racks and their general functions might be insightful, and certainly helpful towards making the final decision.
YAKIMA HoldUp Hitch Mount Tray Bike Rack
Before using the Yakima HoldUp, I was primarily looking into Hanging racks because they are comparatively on the cheaper side. But, after checking a few out and seeing how they function, I opted out. Hanging racks might be cheaper, but they are equally harder to use.
Ease of use and accessibility are my top priorities, especially if I’m traveling. So here comes the review for what I did opt for – the Yakima HoldUp.
This is a pretty straightforward rack that comes in 3 pieces with 8 screws to put them together and a very easy-to-understand instruction manual (Do Note: I’m not the most patient person, but the instructions were direct and simple enough for me to avoid hiring a person to assemble it).
What is important though that the car has a hitch. Mine came with one, but if yours doesn’t, it is easily solvable at any repair shop.
Post assembly, I locked it into place, and the lock is pretty solid. The only downside I faced here was shaking the rack a bit to hear the lock secure.
It does not automatically lock after you set it, and I had to pay some attention here. If it remained unlocked, I would have risked it falling onto the ground.
Coming to the main function, the bikes. This model can hold up to 2 bikes, weighing a maximum of 60 pounds each (Total 120 pounds), and accommodate wheels ranging from 26 to 29 inches.
It covers most bikes out there. However, the maximum tire’s thickness is 3 inches wide, which is a downside for me as some mountain bikes come with thicker tires.
Mounting a bike onto this was also simple – place the tires onto their designated holders. For the front tire, there is a stabilizing locking arm that holds the tire down securely. The back tire comes with a lock that ties it down.
Now for the bit that got me really excited – I only use one bike when I am traveling solo. But sometimes I like to travel in groups, and the two rack poses a problem then.
Instead of investing in a new rack entirely, this one gives me the option to add an extension for a little charge, which allows two more bikes – so yes, that is a total of 4 bikes.
What I liked:
- Mourning this on takes about a few seconds, great for solo travelers.
- The bike is secured down using the tires without scratching or damaging the bike frame.
- Adding on the extension is easy and affordable
- It comes with a security lock, which is surely a bonus!
What I didn’t like:
- Have to cross-check to see if the rack is locked securely
- Bikes with thick tires (above 3 inches in width) won’t fit.
Related Yakima Rack Comparison: Difference Between Yakima FullTilt and RidgeBack Rack
Thule T2 Classic Hitch Mount Bike Carrier
After using the Thule T2 followed by the YAKIMA HoldUp, there were quite a few instances where I could observe a difference.
While fixing the Thule T2 with my car, I needed a little bit of brute force when mounting the rack onto the hitch. After mounting it on, I pushed the hitch into the hole, tightened it using the wrench that came with the rack, and put on the lock on the other end to tightly secure it.
I will admit this created a very strong connection and will be hard to loosen up on its own.
This was followed by the ‘anti-wobble’ feature this rack sports. It claims that a bolt threads into the weld nut on the inside of the stringer, making it secure and tight.
Minus the jargon, it simply means that the rack will not wobble. For another layer of assuredness, it has a bolt with a key that secures the rack from movement and theft.
After placing the bike onto the rack, the front wheel was secured with the front hook, it took a couple of clicks, and it sat quite nicely. The back tire was secured using the rubber strap, which I could adjust in length for the tire – all very straightforward and easy to use.
The front arm did include a slot for a bike lock, but the lock didn’t come with the rack, which was a bummer. I could get it separately for enhanced security, but spending another 50-70 bucks is a hassle.
A unique feature I enjoyed about this rack is that it allows for an access position. This means that every time I needed to open up the trunk of my car, I didn’t have to unload the bikes but simply reposition the rack.
To get to this, I had to take out a tethered safety bar and use a handle to bring it down. It puts the bike away enough to access the trunk without friction or collision on either side. To put it back, I simply pulled it back up, and it locked into position. I put the tether back in, and voila!
One of the key features I loved about this is the adjustability it provided over most other models in the market. The rack can hold between 20 and 29-inch tires, with tire thicknesses up to 5 inches (a solid number!), and bikes weighing up to 60 pounds each (120 pounds total).
What I Liked
- Includes access position to access the trunk of the car
- ‘Anti-Wobble’ feature for a secured rack
- Accommodates various sized tires
- Locks automatically when placed in the carrying position
What I Didnt Like
- Does not include a bike lock
- Cannot accommodate bikes with front fenders due to ratchet
Similarities Between the Two Racks
Looking at Yakima Holdup vs. Thule T2, they have many similarities in terms of usage, design, and security.
Primarily, they are both platform-style bike racks, making the mounting process easy for the user. Mounting a bike on top of a car is no easy task, and neither is hanging it on the hanging racks, which require a lot of strength.
Due to the platform design, one can place their bikes on without a helping hand, which comes in handy when heading out solo.
Both of these racks come with some anti-theft measures, but in reality, they are not the best. They might act as a good deterrent, but they could succeed if someone was determined to steal the bikes from the rack.
The last similarity, and one I love about both, is that they initially come with 2 racks for 2 bikes. However, if I need to add more bikes in the future, I can get an extension instead of a new rack, saving me a lot of money.
Yakima Holdup vs Thule T2: The Differences Between The Racks
While both the racks sport a range of good features, there are some that widely distinguish them from each other. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Adjustability is One of the Differentiator
The Thule T2 has the upper hand regarding adjustability for a few reasons. First, not every bike is made the same, so the more room for adjustment, the better.
Thule T2 allowed me to adjust the trays in forwarding, backward, right and left motions, which increased the rack’s versatility.
While I didn’t need to use the feature right away, if I ever find myself mounting a bike with a larger frame, I can adjust the distance to ensure they don’t collide, which is a pretty solid selling point for me.
Tire Size for Each of the Rack is Different as Well
The downside of YAKIMA here is that it can only accommodate bikes with 3 inches tires in width. While this is not a bad number, it limits the usage, especially for mountain bikes with fat tires.
The Thule T2, on the other hand, has a very ergonomic design that allows it to hold even the thinnest tires which sit in the trough. The extended design slowly accommodates larger tires, too, all the way up to 5 inches thick.
This is one of the largest tire thickness capacities that any rack provides on the market, which means anyone with a fat tire will have to opt for the Thule T2.
Locking Mechanism Differs for Each of the Racks
Both of these bike racks really prioritize their security features. The YAKIMA comes with a lock for an added level of security. At the same time, the Thule T2 only includes the lock slot – the lock itself must be purchased separately. A lock isn’t exactly cheap, so that could put some people off this model, especially those on a budget.
The Final Decision
At the end of the day, much of it boils down to what the user wants. I am a fan of adjustability, and that played a major role in my decision which makes me personally prefer the Thule T2. But then again, someone else might prefer the extra locking mechanism included with the YAKIMA HoldUp but missing from the Thule T2. Checking the details of Yakima Holdup vs. Thule T2, the comparison basically prints a side-by-side picture of what they look like, highlighting the key points. It has helped me decide on the rack to use in the long run, and hopefully, it will be just as helpful to you!