Sunday, August 21, 2011

A 29"er Hauler

I have been using a Thule T2 rack on our vehicles for several years now. The fold-up rear hitch mount rack could hold two 29"ers, albeit just barely. Especially if they had big tires. Well, I finally had to replace my rack due to severe rust, (don't leave yer rack on all winter long, ya dufus!), and I went for the T2 rack again. Guess what? It's been updated!

Rack folded up
Rack folded down!
Looks pretty much the same, eh? Well, there are a few details that set this one apart from the older T2. This time Thule recognized that 29"ers are a force to be reckoned with, and allowed for more travel on the ratcheting arm that secures your front wheel. No more grazing the front tire, or pushing down on it to gain clearance.

The next thing they did was to install integrated locking cables to secure the frame on the ends of the ratcheting wheel  holder. You simply pull out the cable from the end of the tube, and it retracts when you unlock it from your bike. (Note: The original place for lock cylinders on the base of the ratcheting wheel holder is still there, but lock cylinders for those are not supplied.) So, you can lock each bike to the rack, and a separate key and lock cylinder now comes with the T2 to lock the hitch pin to the hitch as well. Nice!

Getting Close There!
What's Not So Nice? Well, as with the previous T2 I had, the wheel tray might get into the rear bumper cover of certain vehicles in the folded up position. This is an issue with our 2003 Highlander. I had to trim a significant portion of the tray off to clear the bumper on the old rack. This shows how close it is on my "Truck With No Name". I couldn't put my index finger in between the bumper and the tray without pinching a bit. The other thing I noted was that my fat bike won't fit on this rack either.

Looks like I may have a project making some Snow Dog compatible wheel trays for the T2!

Over all though, the T2 does work great. It folds up out of the way when not in use, and you can drop it down to get access to the back of vehicles with hatch backs, or to lower the end gate on a truck. (My truck's end gate clears like a champ.) You don't have to remove wheels from bikes, so through axles are no issue, and nothing touches your frame, unless you use the locking cables.

The rack doesn't sway around, is stable, and is reasonably weather resistant. (Don't be stupid like me and leave it on all winter though!) You can even get a two bike extension for the T2, increasing capacity to 4 bikes. The T2 holds bikes from 20"ers to 29"ers, and is adjustable for wheel base.

Expect to pay something well north of 4 hundred bucks for one of these. I say it is well worth the dollars if you take seriously long trips with bikes, or just appreciate a nice, secure, easy to use rack.

1 comment:

Wes said...

Try loading your Snowdog on the T2 as is. I carry my Fatback on mine, the only modification is some nylon webbing to strap down the rear wheel. With the low tire pressure the tires squeeze into the tray pretty well.